BOOKS


What Karl's reading

After three years preparing The Triumph of William McKinley by reading very little but books, letters, articles and newspapers from the Gilded Age, I’m trying to get back into my regular routine, which I’ll chronicle here with an occasional review of what I’ve read.

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In recent years, there’s been an interesting trend in presidential studies. Historians have continued to churn out volumes on the big men who occupied the nation’s highest office – Lincoln, Washington, Jackson, FDR, Jefferson and Reagan, for example. But there’s also been a healthy batch of books revisiting and revising the records of other significant but less often discussed presidents such as James K. Polk, Calvin Coolidge, Woodrow Wilson and George H.W. Bush.
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Ronald C. White is a fine writer with a penchant for research and a predilection for coming at his subject from a fresh angle. So it is with his spectacular biography of Ulysses S. Grant.
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Candice Millard is a fine, fine writer. Her previous books – DESTINY OF THE REPUBLIC (President Garfield’s assassination) and THE RIVER OF DOUBT (TR’s post-presidential near-death journey down a tributary of the Amazon) – are both terrific reads.
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Just in time for this year’s wild contest, this longtime Washington journalist who is now moderator of “Face The Nation” on CBS on Sunday mornings has written a breezy volume that veers back and forth through 204 years of races for the White House.

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