BOOKS

1861: The Civil War Awakening

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This is a wonderful, brisk exploration by a talented historian of the Civil War’s first year.  Adam Goodheart tells the story of America’s descent into conflict through sketches of memorable characters who may be unfamiliar now, but who were very well known to the country then.  These include the commandant of Fort Sumner, the young military officer whose tragic death plunged President Abraham Lincoln into despair, and the three slaves whose escape to freedom helped alter public opinion in the North and seal the fate of the South’s “peculiar institution.”  This is a great read.    

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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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At the age of 70 and after ten years with little new work published, Jorge Luis Borges brought out first a volume of poetry and fiction, In Praise of Darkness (Borges was blind for many of his productive years), and a year later, a collection of short stories under the title of Brodie’s Report.
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Decorated Iraq War veteran, conservative activist, and all-round good guy, Pete Hegseth has written an inspiring call to service. Hegseth draws on the Founders’ vision of an involved and enlightened citizenry that works – sometimes through government, often not – to make their community better, help those in need, and serve and support their country. The book is patriotic, personal and moving.
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Since this year (actually April 23) is the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare, expect more than a few books on the Bard of Stratford-upon-Avon in the next few book reviews. Emma Smith is an Oxford professor who has written about the famed “First Folio,” the effort of two of Shakespeare’s friends and fellow actors to collect and publish the works of the man now considered the world’s greatest dramatist.
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Blogger and radio host Ed Morrissey has written a slim, powerful volume about what Republicans must do to win the 2016 presidential election. He examines trends in seven counties in battleground states that President George W. Bush won in 2004, but which were lost by Senator John McCain in 2008 and Governor Mitt Romney in 2012.

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