Archive for November, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am thankful for:
  1. The music of 1776 and the availability of the film on Netflix’s Instant Queue.
  2. My four awesome nephews.
  3. Pie (nephews are technically tied with pie)
  4. Essays about John Winthrop
  5. Books about Lyndon Johnson
  6. Raps about Alexander Hamilton
  7. The local library/local art museum
  8. Art museum docenting
  9. Great art like the Mona Lisa or the music of Squeeze
  10. The not low number of similarities between Rutherford B. Hayes and Jimmy Carter
  11. The page of The Grapes of Wrath I’ve read this week.
  12. William Seward
  13. Literacy and a huge ego
  14. Bookshelves
  15. Books about John Adams
  16. Everything and television

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Nancy: A Portrait of My Years with Nancy Reagan by Michael Deaver. Nancy is the kind of absolutely glowing portrait one might expect Mike Deaver to write. Deaver is perplexed that Hollywood doesn’t praise Reagan more, and this situation can only be corrected by awarding RR 6-7 posthumous Oscars. When Deaver isn’t Goin’ Rogue on Ronald’s enemies, he writes a sweet little 90 page hagiography to Ol’ Nancy Pants that will please any Nancy Davis Reagan completionist.

Blind Ambition by John Dean. I highly recommend this one, as it is a great book about Watergate and Dean’s drinking problem. I read my sister’s copy while in California last summer and was about to purchase the 1 cent copy available on Amazon, when I heard on G. Gordon Liddy’s radio show that Dean was coming out with a new edition in the fall. On the air GeGo blamed Dean for Watergate, and told a caller that naturally he would do Watergate all over again, only not include Dean, actually doing it. GeGo’s rant, combined with the fact that he sucks at Twitter, of all things, makes me want to buy the new edition. Because I will do anything to upset the guy who wrote The Monkey Handlers.

Alternate Kennedys edited by Mike Resnik. If you are a fan of the Kennedys, science fiction and alternate history, you will enjoy this book. I did not, but I only like one thing* on that list. Personally, I fail to see how something can be called alternate history if in almost every story, Kennedy is still assassinated. And preposterously enough, by Joe Kennedy Jr.

*”What if the Germans had won the war, Lemon?”

“Mo”: A Woman’s View of Watergate by Maureen Dean. It’s a real nice ladies Watergate book for ladies. She’s no Martha Mitchell.
The Defining Moment: FDR’s Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope by Jonathan Alter. This book has received lavish and well deserved praise.
American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Meacham.This book has also been praised, and I would recommend it, except for the chapter where it floats over the Cherokee nation’s forced expulsion. You don’t understand, the book pleads, Jackson had to do it for AMERICA or Georgia or something. The last chapter is all about how much every president after him, including Lincoln (Book: Yeah, that *wink* Lincoln) loves Andrew Jackson. It’s a well written book, which accomplishes the task of making you both frustrated and fascinated with Jackson, but I wouldn’t read it if you are, say, Sarah Vowell.

1960 LBJ vs. JFK vs. Nixon: The Epic Campaign That Forged Three Presidents by David Pietrusza. I read this at the beginning of the year and it’s still my favorite book so far. It’s engaging and rich with fascinating details, which makes for a great reread. I especially loved the discussion of the Nixon/Kennedy debates. Instead of the usual “Nixon was better on the radio, but Kennedy was better on TV,” the book describes a pre debate Kennedy being injected with a mixture of vitamins and animal placentas. So, that’s really why Kennedy won with TV viewers.

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