Wednesday, June 15, 2016

What I've added to my TBR: Political Edition

I definitely chose the right reading goal when I decided to read 12 books about presidents, first ladies, the White House, politics, and American history this year. The publishing industry is capitalizing on the fact that this is an election year...and I'm reaping the benefits! My TBR is overflowing with new and old books that deal with presidents and politics, so many that I needed to give them their own post. So, here are 21 books about politics that I'm absolutely geeking out over.

The Kennedys

Jackie, Ethel, Joan came out back when I knew very little about the Kennedy family. Lately, I've been intrigued by the Kennedy women, especially wanting to know more about Ethel, the widow of Bobby Kennedy, pregnant with their eleventh child when he was assassinated. Author J. Randy Taraborrelli follows up Jackie, Ethel, Joan with After Camelot, which I'm very interested in. It covers the years 1968 to present in the Kennedy family.

And then there's The Kennedy Detail which I can't believe I didn't know about having fallen so deeply in love with Secret Service agent Clint Hill's work with Lisa McCubbin.  

I've been dithering over The Good Son about JFK's relationship with his mother Jackie, but I finally purchased a copy. Christopher Andersen has written so many books about the most famous of the famous, and I'm not sure if that makes me trust him more or less than most.

And then there's Ted Kennedy's memoir of his life in politics, True Compass. Now, I was not a fan of Kennedy politically, but I did respect the sincerity of his political views and his willingness to "cross the political aisle" to get things done, so I'm willing to give this tome a chance.

Other Presidents

Ever since reading Bill Bryson's One Summer (I'm pretty sure that's the book I'm thinking of...), I've been intrigued by President Herbert Hoover. There's a new biography coming out about the man in October, and if I can stomach 450 pages about any president by that point, I think I'll buy a copy.

Now, Candice Millard is one of my favorite history authors (more about her below), and her Destiny of the Republic about President Garfield's assassination is one of my favorite books of all time. Author Fred Rosen has a book coming out this September that asserts Garfield's doctor hastened Garfield's death not by the ignorance of antiseptic medicine, but because he wanted to him dead. I'm not sure how I feel about this book, and I'm not sure if I'll read it, but I am intrigued.

Secret Service

Ronald Kessler has written many books about the Secret Service, FBI, and CIA. I tend to have trust issues with journalists who investigate US investigators, but I'm willing to give one or both of these books a chance.

White House service memoirs

Kate Andersen Brower's The Residence and Oprah's production of The Butler has brought the lives of those who serve in the White House to the public imagination, and I've fallen hard for their stories. My 21 Years in the White House is an older book, originally published in 1960, and was re-released in February. And Upstairs at the White House, originally published in 1973, will be re-released later this month.

A couple more memoirs by White House workers: All the Presidents' Pastries and My First Ladies written by a White House pastry chef and florist, respectively.


If you know me at all, you know I absolutely lose my mind over trivia books, especially political trivia books. Ian Randal Strock is coming out with Ranking the First Ladies and Ranking the Vice Presidents this summer (July and August, respectively). I can't wait to check them out.

Also coming out in August is The President Is Dead! which I might forego since my allegiance belongs with Dead Presidents. And then there's White House Confidential, an updated version of a previous publication, I believe, due out in July. Now, I plan to vet all of these books thoroughly before committing, because I'm not interested in boring lists, shoddy research, gratuitous info, partisan bias, or same-old-same-old trivia put together to sell a few books. Just saying.

Non-U.S. history

Just when I think I couldn't love Candice Millard more, I learn that she's coming out with a book about Winston Churchill in September! I have wanted to read a biography of Winston Churchill for ages, but there are just too many options--and most of them seem overwhelming. What could be better than an author you respect coming out with a book about a subject you've been wanting to read about? Book heaven, I tell you, book heaven.  

Lastly, some tenuously political books

Love That Boy is a book I've been considering for some time. I'm not terribly interested in reading about health topics, but I'm interested in stories that even tangentially deal with political figures. This book straddles that line. Fournier is a journalist who covers the White House, and he and his autistic son meet presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush who help Fournier see fatherhood and his son differently. Could be great, could fall flat. I don't know.

I've never been a huge Anderson Cooper fan, but I've always had respect for the man's work. Because I have a hard time not being interested in most any best-selling memoir, I'm willing to read The Rainbow Comes and Goes written with his mother Gloria Vanderbilt. (Fun fact, I once owned a pair of bright yellow Gloria Vanderbilt pants because my cousins had good taste and outgrew them. And because it was the 80s)

And last but not least. In fact, far from least, I am looking forward to Megyn Kelly's Settle for More more than any other book on this list. I absolutely adore the sassy, funny, tough, and wickedly smart host of the The Kelly File. I've always wondered about her personal life, and this book is my chance to find out.

Whew, that's quite a list. 

Put your suggestions on other titles in the comments below. I'd love to see them!

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