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I made an all-too-hasty promise at the start of 2010 to list my reading and comment on the books as I made my way through the year. I failed, in large part, because my book tour (110 cities in 90 days) put me behind on my own reading and way behind on writing about it. While I did a little bit better in 2011, this year I’ll attempt to get my notes on books I’ve read done in a more timely fashion.
So here’s what I’ve knocked out so far, starting with the book I finished most recently and working back to 2010.
Within just a few months, two slim, brillant volumes from a great writer. "What did Jesus teach?...The only way to grasp his teaching is to read all the Gospels repeatedly, until permeates the mind." "The Christianity he bequeathed has not been tried and failed. As G.K. Chesterton once wrote, it has been found difficult and left untried."
A tough book by a former White House colleague, it will make you very angry and maybe even very afraid.
4 A Country of Vast Designs: James K. Polk, the Mexican War and the Conquest of the American Continent.
A wonderful volume on one of America?s more consequential and lesser-known presidents who was a mixture of Reagan vision and Carter micro-management. Polk died days after relinquishing office, but had accomplished all three big goals he set for his term and left America?s economy strong and the nation a continental power.
Rollicking, fast-paced, brilliant. Best short bio I?ve every read of one of the 20th century?s greatest figures by a man who knew the great man. Like anything Paul Johnson writes, well worth reading. And if you haven?t read Paul Johnson, begin with this slim volume. Then dip into anything else he?s written, perhaps going with Modern Times or History of the American People, both favorites of mine.