Thursday, September 1, 2016

New recommendations for books

Book Recommendations:

Edson's Raiders: The 1st Marine Raider Battalion in World War II by Col. Joseph H. Alexander USMC (Ret.) 
I recently picked up this definitive history of Edson's Raiders and was delighted with it. Col. Alexander is a fine historian and an excellent writer. (Okay, I'm 70 but I'm still bucking for gunny; you never know.) It has a particularly detailed and vivid account of the battle for Edson's Ridge on Guadalcanal, an iconic fight for Marines. Though as a Marine, and a military history buff with a master's in history I have read a lot about the Guadalcanal campaign, this volume greatly extended my knowledge and understanding. I had the privilege to become friendly with a Marine Raider vet in the Chicago area who was very sharp and had great stories; we lost him this year. Edson's Raiders is a must for Marines and well worth reading for anyone with an interest in military history.

Rebellion The History of England from James I to the Glorious Revolution. By Peter Ackroyd
We listened to this long but excellent book on CD in the car. it runs 16 discs, but was well worth the time. I had read a great deal about the Stuart Dynasty in Scottish history, so it was interesting to have it covered from an English point of view. It had a great many details and facts that I didn't know about, and held both my and my wife's interest. You get a real feel for the times and the people, which many histories fail to impart. I recommend it to history buffs.

Richistan: A Journey Through the American Wealth Boom and the Lives of the New Rich by Robert Frank

I found this book fascinating. What I liked is the rich--pun intended--descriptions of the newly wealthy, both their lifestyles and their problems. It neither seeks to demonize or glorify the growing American wealthy class, but to describe what they and their lives are like. As someone who, like most of you will never be wealthy absent finding the winning Powerball ticket on the street, I did not envy the super wealthy their lifestyles. Though of course, compared to billions of people in this world I am wealthy. Almost anyone born in America is, if they don't have some physical or mental handicap that has held them back, such as throwing their lives away on drugs. It was interesting that no matter how much money a person had, they tended to say that if they could double it, they'd feel secure, whether it was a billion or ten million. I'm far below that level but I feel the same way! I think you will find Frank's book both informative and entertaining.

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