I first read this book when it was realeased in 2012 on the 20th anniversary of the greatest sports team ever assembled. It was exciting to revist the players from the golden era of basketball when they were at their peak or near peak. This is the team that won games by an average of 44 points on the way to the 1992 Olympic Gold medal. It was the perfect time and place for this team to be created and would not or could not happen today.
Every year when they announce the new inductees into the Baseball Hall of Fame I will get caught up in the debate on who should or should not be honored with an entry into Cooperstown. Well, apparently, I am not the only one. Matthew Wood has created his own rankings of all the Hall of Fame players in an Excel spreadsheet. I’m an old school baseball fan and would probably cut 30 players out of the Hall of Fame, especially all those voted in on the Veterans Committee’s of the 1970’s. But, Mr. Wood is much kinder and just suggests that some players are more deserving than others. This is an excellent book to take a journey through the history of professinal baseball and its players.
This is the story behind the case that gave power to the Supreme Court and making it an equal part of the government beside both the Legislative and Executive branches. Marbury v. Madison set the precedent of “judicial review”, but also established the United States as a nation of laws. I completely enjoyed reading this book when it was published in 2009. I felt it was time to re-visit this book of history that could find a home in the political thriller section of your local library.
Read the words of our first President as he leaves office with a warning that rings true today. George Washington’s Farewell Address was a prophetic letter from a “parting friend” to his fellow citizens about the forces he feared could destroy our democracy: hyper-partisanship, excessive debt, and foreign wars. Most were stunned as the President announced he would not be seeking re-election for a third term, but even more so when Washington actually did step down to demonstrate to the world a peaceful transition of power.
I am a fan of David McCullough having read some of his other works, so I am used to the hefty lifting of reading one of his 992 page books. I’ve always had an interest in the political career of Harry Truman as few presidents have made as many pivotal decisions or faced the number of history-changing events. I was less interested in the first part of the book about not only his early life, but of his ancestors as well. But once he reaches the public stage, this book tells the tale of a truly historic life. The final months of World War II, the decision to drop two atomic weapons, the Potsdam conference, the Marshall Plan, the creation of Israel, the Berlin Airlift, and the Korean War. I am sure I left something out of all these issues that Truman faced during his presidency. If you can dig through the weeds of the first half of the book, the second half is worth the work.
This was less about the decisions of Jefferson, but the very messy birth of the American Navy and Marines. I had always wondered what the phrase, “To the shores of Tripoli” meant in the Marine’s Hymn and this is a decent account of the First Barbary War. I do have an issue with some of the revisionist bias from one of the authors. Events from 200 years ago should not be brushed with the paint of current events. I had been very excited to read this book and it was worth the time for a history lover who as the ability of critical thought.
This year I thought I would start blogging about the non-technical books that I am reading in my spare time. You will probably see a lot of books on history, baseball, and science fiction. The first book is one that has been on my bookshelf for a very long time that I finally got around to reading. An excellent alternate history on when the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Japan… or should I say did not drop it. A thunderstorm damages one of only two atomic weapons in the American arsenal. It will take time to rebuild it and there are those who are second guessing whether it would be good for humanity to unleash such a violent weapon. Instead, Truman decided to launch an invasion of Japan instead. Using actual historical documents, Alfred Coppel pieces together the American offensive as well as how Japan would have defended itself if this had been the actual history of the end of the second World War.