I enjoy reading but go through periods where I’m not reading as much as I’d like. I used to write “book reports” after I finished a book and post them here, but I got out of that habit. In the last year and a half I’ve kicked up my reading again but I know I’ll never getting around to writing my old book reports, so here’s a list of what I’ve read recently. Most recently read books are on top; the list starts at the beginning of 2019, which is at the bottom.
Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II
By: Liza Mundy
My primary interest in this book is the code-breaking part, but the cultural commentary on the role of women in the early 20th century is also fascinating. This is kind of a continuation of my interest in WWII spy stuff that started earlier this year.
Apollo 8: The Thrilling Story of the First Mission to the Moon
By: Jeffrey Kluger
I’ve read a lot of books about the space program, since it was a defining part of my childhood, growing up in the 1960’s. This book is mostly the story of Frank Borman and Apollo 8.
In the Enemy’s House: The Secret Saga of the FBI Agent and the Code Breaker Who Caught the Russian Spies
By: Howard Blum
A continuation of my interest in the early CIA and MI6, but definitely the poorest book of the lot.
The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story
By: Douglas Preston
I have an interest in the history of the Americas prior to Columbus, and this seemed like an interesting title about a part of the world (Central America) that I hadn’t read a lot about. Other than very lengthy chapters about global warming and pandemics, this was pretty good.
Rogue Heroes: The History of the SAS, Britain’s Secret Special Forces Unit That Sabotaged the Nazis and Changed the Nature of War
By: Ben Macintyre
Not my favorite of Macintyre’s books, but still good.
Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal
By: Ben MacIntyre
The Wright Brothers
By: David McCullough
I’ve read other books on the Wright Brothers. This one was pretty good.
A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal
BY: Ben Macintyre
The Second Founding: How the Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution
BY: Eric Foner
This book has really helped to re-shape what I understand about the Constitution, federalism, and racism. I think those of us who tend toward conservative political positions tend to quote the Constitution as written and intended by the Founders and ignore the enormous effect of the Civil War and post-Civil War period on how we think about who we are and how we experience America.
Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies
BY: Ben Macintyre
Very fascinating background behind the invasion of Normandy
Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory
By: Ben Macintyre
If you’ve never heard of Operation Mincemeat, you definitely need to read this book. This reads like the plot of an over-the-top Hollywood movie, but took place in real life.
The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War
By: Ben Macintyre
This was the first of Ben Macintyre’s books I read. It is an amazing account of a Russian double-agent who spent years handing over Soviet secrets to the British, which changed history—but you’ve probably never heard of him. The rest of the Macintyre books listed above are all good even though I may not comment on each one.
Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game
By: Michael Lewis
Saw this movie but thought the book looked more interesting.
The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History
By: Robert M. Edsel
Saw this movie and assumed the book would be more interesting. Not completely disappointed. Well-written.
The Suspect: An Olympic Bombing, the FBI, the Media, and Richard Jewell, the Man Caught in the Middle
By: Kent Alexander
Saw the author interviewed on TV and thought the book would be interesting. It was. Better than the made-for-TV movie version he was being interviewed about.
The Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West
By: David McCullough
This was a tough read but turned out to be very interesting. For those of you who, like me, assume the Northwest Ordinance has something to do with Oregon and Washington — prepare to be surprised.
Inside Trump’s White House: The Real Story of His Presidency
By: Doug Wead
The book does not live up to its title. The author had access to the President and his staff for a very short period of time. There’s no unreported, minute-by-minute account of things you think you know from seeing it on the news. There’s no insight into how things work that you never realized. It’s just an account of the few interviews the author got with a few members of the family and staff.
Game of Thorns: The Inside Story of Hillary Clinton’s Failed Campaign and Donald Trump’s Winning Strategy
By: Doug Wead
Like the next Doug Wead book I read, it lacks both depth and scope. No insights into Hillary’s failed strategy; no real insights into Trump’s winning strategy. These books were hyped a lot on Fox News but really aren’t that good.
The Plot Against the President: The True Story of How Congressman Devin Nunes Uncovered the Biggest Political Scandal in U.S. History
By: Lee Smith
This is a must-read for every American. Most people don’t realize the degree to which the media has hidden an attempt by key members of the law enforcement and intelligence community to overthrow the President. And as of this date (mid-2020) it’s still going on.
Magicians of the Gods: Sequel to the International Bestseller Fingerprints of the Gods
By: Graham Hancock
I’ve read a lot of alt-ancient-history books. I think there’s more to the idea that highly advanced civilizations have come and gone on this planet than most people have even thought about.
The Low-Carb Athlete: The Official Low-Carbohydrate Nutrition Guide for Endurance and Performance
By: Ben Greenfield
I was looking for help figuring out how to eat before doing long runs. This was a little too general and a little too high-performance for me. I’ve subsequently discovered that if I use an electrolyte supplement like nuum tablets in my water, I can pretty much do a morning run for 2.5 hours with nothing but coffee for breakfast. We have a lot of stored energy. Might as well use it.
The British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777 (The Revolution Trilogy Book 1)
By: Rick Atkinson
This is the first of a trilogy. It is extremely long and detailed, but interesting nonetheless. I joke that it takes as long to read as the events took to happen.
Wild Bill: The True Story of the American Frontier’s First Gunfighter
By: Tom Clavin
I hadn’t read anything from this period of history, so this was pretty interesting. It dispels a lot of myths about Wild Bill.
Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster
By: Adam Higginbotham
Very interesting read that reveals both the technical details of what went wrong at this massive nuclear melt-down and how a bureaucracy bent on approaching all problems by denying they exist should not be trusted with nuclear reactors.
America Before: The Key to Earth’s Lost Civilization
By: Graham Hancock
I am about an 80% Graham Hancock fan. I haven’t read his books on hallucinogenics and spirituality, but I’ve read most of his books dealing with ancient history. His classic work is Fingerprints of the Gods, which prompted me to read a lot of alt-history back in the 1990’s. Some of his speculation about the lost continent of Atlantis in that book has been disproven over the years, but there is a lot there that will change how you think about history. This book deals with American pre-history and calls into question the commonly held opinion that the first “native Americans” came from Asia across a land bridge that spanned the Bering Strait.
The Reckoning: A Novel
By: John Grisham
I’ve read all of Grisham’s legal novels. His subsequent novels mainly about life in the South have not been as good. This one is told in a very interesting way but is somewhat unsatisfying in the end. The first chapter tells you what is going to happen in the end. The book is not about how we got there, but why we got there.
Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease
By: Robert H. Lustig
One of several low-carb, high-fat diet books I’ve read since adopting a LCHF lifestyle in August 2018. This one is a lot like the others.
Island of the Lost: An Extraordinary Story of Survival at the Edge of the World
By: Joan Druett
Several years ago, I read quite a few lost-at-sea books (I tend to get into a topic and read everything I can find). This book is unique in that it tells the story of two ships stranded 20 miles apart on the opposite ends of the same island at the same time, and how the differences between how each of the captains and crews approached the problem resulted in death for one crew and rescue for the other.
Life Inside the Bubble: Why a Top-Ranked Secret Service Agent Walked Away from It All
By: Dan Bongino
I normally don’t read books by politicians and news reporters about current political situations, but I like Dan Bongino and thought the book might be good. It was OK.
Deep State Target: How I Got Caught in the Crosshairs of the Plot to Bring Down President Trump
By: George Papadopoulos
Everybody needs to read this to understand how the Deep State plotted against Donald Trump to overthrow the results of the 2016 election.
Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble
By: Dan Lyons
This is a book about an old guy who gets a job in a tech start-up and faces generational challenges.
The Case Against Sugar
By: Gary Taubes
One of the better books that describes how we got to where the government is recommending a diet that is killing Americans. There are a lot of details to get bogged down in here, but the general theme about Big Sugar shaping everything you think you know about the safety of both natural and artificial sugar is fascinating. You are being poisoned and your sugar addiction will kill you, one way or another, but you are in denial and will happily comply.
Why Diets Fail (Because You’re Addicted to Sugar): Science Explains How to End Cravings, Lose Weight, and Get Healthy
By: Nicole M. Avena Phd
I read this because I thought it would help me understand why people have a hard time sticking with a low-carb diet, but it turned out to be yet another low-carb, high-fat diet book that didn’t offer a lot of new insights (assuming you understand that diets only work to the degree that they reduce the consumption of carbs, and that you are addicted to sugar).
The Curse of Oak Island: The Story of the World’s Longest Treasure Hunt
By: Randall Sullivan
I am a huge fan of the History Channel’s The Curse of Oak Island and have seen every episode. I was looking for a book that went through the history as opposed to proposing new theories involving Bigfoot, aliens, Templars, etc. This is a good review of the history of digging on the island.