Benjamin Franklin - America's Most Endearing Statesman
On April 14, 1790, Benjamin Franklin died at the age of 86 after an extraordinary life that began as a 15 year old runaway apprentice and culminated as America's most revered and accomplished elder statesman. Walter Isaacson's "Benjamin Franklin: An American Life" chronicles Ben's adventurous life and and the qualities that made him so appealing.
Top Recommendation for April
Benjamin Franklin, by Walter Isaacson (2004 – 608pp)
A lively, casual and engaging panorama of Ben as a man of amazing depth and breadth who wore many hats and continued to reinvent himself.
Theodore Roosevelt's Greatest Journey - Survival on the Amazon
In March of 1912,after losing his bid for the presidency, Theodore Roosevelt set off on the adventure of his life, exploring the Amazon...and nearly died in the process. Adventure writer Candace Millard's acclaimed "River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey is rich, lush and filled with beautiful scenic descriptions and grisly depictions of man-eating catfish, ferocious piranhas, white water rapids and the prospect of starvation.
Top Recommendation for March
Thoroughly enjoyable yarn about an ex-President's fervent desire for adventure and acceptance after his humiliating defeat for reelection in 1909. Candice Millard (2006 - 432pp)
The Revolution at Sea - Global Conflict and the Fate of the Americas
An extraordinary, behind-the scenes perspective on the American Revolution. Yes, there were great land battles - Brandywine, Saratoga, Yorktown. But, the war at sea was global, fought at huge expense by England, France and Spain. Sam Willis's recent (Feb, 2016) "The Struggle for Sea Power: A Naval History of the American Revolution" paints great fleets in constant battle across vast oceans and an American Navy, mostly privateers struggling to survive.
Top Recommendation for February
A remarkably informative, entertaining and often humorous look at the global forces at work during the Revolution and the critical role and vast expense of sea power. (2016 - 608pp)
Pearl Harbor and The End of the Japanese Empire
December 7, 1941 was, as FDR famously said, "A Day that will Live In Infamy". The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor changed the course of history and in 1945 issued in The Atomic Age. Naval historian James D. Hornfischer's new (Oct, 2016) "The Fleet at Flood Tide: America at Total War in the Pacific" recounts the savage battles of the last year of the war with an in-depth look at the defense plans for the Japanese Islands...an invasion nightmare.
Top Recommendation for December
A master WW II historian's engaging look at the barbaric last year of the war in the Pacific from both the Japanese and American sides and why the A-Bomb was a necessity (2016, Oct - 640pp)
The Mayflower - The Pilgrims' Epic Struggle for Survival
On November 27, 1620 the first passengers on the the Mayflower stepped from an open 21' shallop onto the wintery shores of Plymouth, MA and began their great experiment in democracy and religious freedom. Nathaniel Philbrick's "Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community and War" is a timely, readable account of their terrifying trans-Atlantic voyage and desperate attempts to survive against nearly insurmountable odds.
Top Recommendation for November
Engaging, highly readable account of the 1620 voyage of the Mayflower and trials of the first settlers in an oft frightening, life threatening new world. Nathaniel Philbrick (2007 – 480pp)