A Road to Disaster; A New History of America’s Decent into Vietnam by Brian VanDeMark. Custom House Books. How and why the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations made decisions that set the course of American entry into the path of the Vietnam War.
The Calculus of Violence; How Americans Fought the Civil War by Aaron Sheeham-Dean. Harvard University Press. The American Civil War was deadly, three-quarters of a million lives were lost. Guerilla warfare brought huge numbers of civilians into the path of the wars destruction. Never-the-less it could have been worse.
The Injustice Never Leaves You; Anti-Mexican Violence in Texas by Monica Mu Martinez. Harvard University Press. Between 1910 and 1920 vigilantes and law enforcement professionals killed Mexican residents living in rural areas, hanging, shooting, burning, and clubbing to death.
President’s Speech; The Stories; Behind the Most Memorable Presidential Address by C. Edwin Vilade. Lyons Press, paper. An Analysis of twenty-five presidential speeches that provides the context and events of their time.
War Beyond Words; Languages of Remembrance from the Great War to the Present by Jay Winter. Cambridge University Press, paper. We need lenses to filter out the horrors of twentieth-century warfare. Shared remembrances, monuments, but also a shared language of memory.
Victory City; A History of New York and New Yorkers during World War II by John Strausbaugh. Twelve Books. German U boats lurking off the city’s shoreline. Plus the Brooklyn Navy yard and the thousands of soldier boys departing for Europe.
Barnum; An American Life by Robert Wilson. Simon & Schuster. A vivid account of the forefather of American entertainment. How were his performances staged? What was the life of an entertainer like in those days?
The Improbable Wendell Willkie; The Businessman Who Saved the Republican Party and His Country and Conceived a New World Order by David Lewis. This surprising portrait of Wendell Willkie, businessman turned presidential candidate, who proved to be a stabilizing factor the early years of FDR’s Presidencies.
A Conspiracy So Immense; The World of Joe McCarthy by David Oshinsky. Free Press, paper. The forces that launched McCarthy’s political career, what carried him to national prominence but then triggered his decline and fall.
The Republic for Which It Stands; The United States during Reconstruction and the Gilded Age, 1865 to 1896 by Richard White. Oxford University Press. This is one of a series in The Oxford History of the United States. It is of particular interest because these decades are often neglected by historians.
The Company They Keep; How Partisan Divisions Came to the Supreme Court by Neal Devins & Lawrence Baum. Oxford University Press. Still much to be said on this topic; the book comes out in February 2019.