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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It is easy to forget that the greatest conflict in human history – World War II – was won mostly through the efforts of teenagers who made up the vast preponderance of soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and merchant marines.

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I spotted this book on a list of reading recommendations from Yuval Levin in NATIONAL REVIEW and don’t tell Yuval, but I pay attention to what the man has picked up and often follow suit.  I’m glad I did with this large and fascinating study of ancient Rome.

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John B. Judis is the Democrats’ political analyst who was among the first on the left to suggest Democrats could regain the White House after George W. Bush by forging what he called the coalition of the ascendant – the young, non-whites, and college educated.

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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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