Dana’s April Recommendation

Destiny of the Republic:  A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard

destiny of the republic“Millard (The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey) presents a dual biography of the 20th U.S. President and his assassin. James A. Garfield and Charles Guiteau were both born into hardscrabble Midwestern circumstances. While Garfield made himself into a teacher, Union army general, congressman, and President, Guiteau, who was most likely insane, remained at the margins of life, convinced he was intended for greatness. When he failed to receive a position in Garfield’s administration, he became convinced that God meant him to kill the President. At a railway station in the capital, Guiteau shot Garfield barely four months into his term. Garfield lingered through the summer of 1881, with the country hanging on the news of his condition. In September he died of infection, apparently due to inadequate medical care. Millard gives readers a sense of the political and social life of those times and provides more detail on Guiteau’s life than is given in Ira Rutkow’s James A. Garfield. The format is similar to that in The President and the Assassin, Scott Miller’s book on President McKinley and Leon Czolgosz. VERDICT Recommended for presidential history buffs and students of Gilded Age America.” – Library Journal

3 Similar Reads

Dark Horse:  The Surprise Election and Political Murder of James A. Garfield by Kenneth Ackerman

The First American:  The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin by H. W. Brands

Rebbe:  The Life and Teachings of Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, the Most Influential Rabbi in Modern History by Joseph Telushkin

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Mary Ann’s March Recommendation

Dog Whistles, Walk-Backs, and Washington Handshakes:  Decoding the Jargon, Slang, and Bluster of American Political Speech by Chuck McCutcheon and David Mack

dog whistlesMary Ann says:  “This book explains many current political terms used by those in government and by news pundits.  Each term is illustrated with a quote and/or an incident, most from recent years.  Examples:  wing nut, high-class problem, red meat, Chicago-style politics, slicing the salami, Sister Souljah moment.”

Please note:  this book is not available at River Forest Public Library.  It may be ordered through the SWAN network.

3 Similar Reads

All the Truth Is Out:  The Week Politics Went Tabloid by Matt Bai – “The former chief political correspondent for The New York Times Magazine brilliantly revisits the Gary Hart affair and looks at how it changed forever the intersection of American media and politics. In 1987, Gary Hart–articulate, dashing, refreshingly progressive–seemed a shoo-in for the Democratic nomination for president and led George H.W. Bush comfortably in the polls. And then: rumors of marital infidelity, an indelible photo of Hart and a model snapped near a fatefully named yacht (Monkey Business), and it all came crashing down in a blaze of flashbulbs, the birth of 24-hour news cycles, tabloid speculation, and late-night farce.” – Summary from catalog

Dog Whistle Politics:  How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class by Ian Haney López – “López (White by Law) examines the intersections of declining economic opportunities and race affiliation as expressed by political parties.” – Library Journal (note:  this book is not available at River Forest Public Library.  It may be ordered through the SWAN network.)

The Way We Talk Now:  Commentaries on Language and Culture from NPR’s Fresh Air by Geoffrey Nunberg – “Compiling humorous commentaries about language in the United States, Nunberg, a language and computer technology researcher and a consulting linguistics professor at Stanford, here offers essays prepared for National Public Radio’s Fresh Air. Some of the many topics covered are the long-lasting linguistic impact of movies, software that checks grammar, and word histories.” – Library Journal (note:  this book is not available at River Forest Public Library.  It may be ordered through the SWAN network.)

Ellen’s February Recommendation

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt

the righteous mindHere is a summary of this book from our online catalog: “Why can’t our political leaders work together as threats loom and problems mount? Why do people so readily assume the worst about the motives of their fellow citizens? In The Righteous Mind, social psychologist Jonathan Haidt explores the origins of our divisions and points the way forward to mutual understanding.”  Ellen says that is a “very thought-provoking book”.

Read about or request this book from the online catalog!

3 Similar Reads (Nonfiction)

The Political Brain: The Rule of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of Our Nation by Drew Westen

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make A Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath

Mary Ann’s February Recommendation

Back to Blood by Tom Wolfe

back to blood“I love Tom Wolfe and since I’m visiting Florida I chose his latest, which is set in Miami.  I enjoy his look at political and police dynamics.  As usual, he works in lots of ethnic and class details relevant to the place.  I learned a lot about today’s Miami, such as the influx of Russians and Haitians.  I’ll look for Dave Barry’s Insane City for a funny take on the same place.”

Read about or request this book from the online catalog!

3 Similar Reads (Fiction)

Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon

South Beach by Brian Antoni

Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon

3 Similar Reads (Nonfiction)

Muck City by Bryan Mealer

Miami by Joan Didion

The New New Thing by Michael Lewis

Pat’s January Recommendation

Arguably: Essays by Christopher Hitchens by Christopher Hitchens

“Hitchens can join the list of great conversationalists.  No one can match his “cerebral pyrotechnics.” If you’ve ever seen/heard him interviewed, you know what I mean.  Strong, tough and unafraid to speak his mind on many subjects.    He died recently … too young.”

Read about it or request it from the library catalog

Sophia’s December Recommendation

Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys over Girls and the Consequences of a World Full of Men by Mara Hvistendahl

“The economist Amartya Sen often refers to “missing women”, that is women who should be a larger part of a country’s population but in fact their numbers are smaller and thus they are “missing”. Sen hypothesized that resources such as food and medical were not provided and therefore the female children were more likely to not survive than the male children were. Mara Hvistendahl’s book proposes that in many instances female children are aborted in excess of male fetuses thus never entering the
population in the first place.

A fascinating book that asks us to consider what happens when the values of freedom of choice (being able to control the gender of the offspring), freedom to control fertility, social order and sustainability conflict. This tough question is not being addressed in countries like India, Korea, and China. These and other countries have rules banning sex-selective abortions; however, these are not enforced in practice. This is leading to an imbalance favoring a larger male percentage of population, which down the road leads to well documented instability, as men cannot find wives, and social turmoil and aggression increase”.

Read about it or request it from the library catalog

Claudia’s July Recommendation

True Compass: A Memoir by Edward M. Kennedy

“Senator Kennedy, the youngest sibling of John F. Kennedy, tells a very personal story about his family, his nearly fifty years at the center of national and world politics, and his health battles.  He wrote with warmth, wit and grace about the history of his family as it intertwined with the history of his country.”

Read about it or request it from the library catalog.

You can find this book in the library at Call # BIO KENNEDY