What Have I Been Reading?

It has been a couple of years since I updated my reading list, so I thought I would jot down the titles of some of the books I have read this year (2017). I’m not much of a reader of modern history; but for some reason, this year I got into this groove of reading about the 19th century and early 20th century.

Columbus: The Four Voyages, 1492-1504
Laurence Bergreen

I’ve read a few histories of Columbus’ voyages. This was an insightful look into the significance of his later voyages which were more responsible for global change than the one everyone usually talks about.

The Hero Schliemann: The Dreamer Who Dug for Troy
Laura Amy Schlitz

Discoverer of Troy, and otherwise much of a wastrel. That was Heinrich Schliemann.

Victorian Britain
Patrick N. Allitt

This was an eye-opener. I was familiar with some of the history; but Prof. Allitt really got into the nitty-gritty of theis history.

The Heir Apparent: A life of Edward VII, the Playboy Prince
Jane Ridley

Edward VII was a massive disappointment to his mother, choosing his wife’s Danish family over his own German family; and yet, when he became king, he surprised everyone with his skill and handling of the empire.

The King and the Cowboy: Theodore Roosevelt and Edward the Seventh, Secret Partners
David Fromkin

One of those fascinating historical trivialities. The two men both lived life to the fullest, but they could not have been more different. 

Leonardo da Vinci
Walter Isaacson

Isaacson is one of the preeminent biographers at work today, and his history of Leonardo looks at both the man and the artist.

The Vanderbilts
Jerry E. Patterson

Rich, powerful and ultimately ruined. A great look into the world of the gilded age.

Lusitania: Triumph, Tragedy, and the End of the Edwardian Age
Greg King and Penny Wilson

Bringing the world of Victorian England and gilded America to an end, the sinking of the Lusitania was far more significant than just “the reason the US entered World War I.”

Washington: A Life
Ron Chernow

A great, balanced biography of Washington from his early life to the end. A fascinating work.

Washington’s Immortals
Patrick K. O’Donnell

This was one of those “wow!” books. I did not know anything about the Immortal 400, a group of elite troops that stalled the British while Washington’s Continental Army escaped New York. 

American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House
John Meacham

Oh, Andrew Jackson and your federalist presidency. 

Polk: The Man Who Transformed the Presidency and America
Walter R. Borneman

It was interesting how the careers of Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren and James K. Polk intertwined to make what was essentially a solid block of federal presidencies.

Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West
Stephen Ambrose

A classic. Worth your time.

The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey
Rinker Buck

This was my dark horse book. It was a modern adventure along a 19th century trail.

The Amoskeag Manufacturing Company: A History of Enterprise on the Merrimack River
Aurore Eaton

Manchester, New Hampshire, is what I consider my “hometown” so this was a piece of my own history. 

@War: The Rise of the Military-Internet Complex
Shane Harris

YIKES! This book will scare you, especially when you read about technology that allows drones to fire missiles down your cellphone signal.

On Language: Chomsky’s Classic Works Language and Responsibility and Reflections on Language
Noam Chomsky

Chomsky – confusing, philosophical and illuminating all at once.

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