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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I have been very, very bad. I turned from finishing a weighty and fascinating volume on Shakespeare to rush through a childhood favorite, Edgar Rice Burroughs’ first John Carter of Mars book.
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For a man who wrote so many words in celebrated plays and sonnets, William Shakespeare left no writings – diaries, memos, letters or interviews – to explain how he arrived at his masterpieces. So we are left to guess at his muses and motivations.
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Two of the nation’s leading Civil War historians have joined to write a concise and deeply informed survey of the conflict that cost 620,000 lives while ending slavery and changing the country fundamentally.
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I increasingly find my reading list packed with books reviewed in the Wall Street Journal’s opening editorial page or in the excellent “Review” section of the weekend Journal.

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