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Monday, June 22, 2020

It’s Monday, What are you Reading? Exercise of Power




It’s Monday, What are you Reading?

Exercise of Power: American Failures, Successes,

and a New Path Forward in the Post-Cold War World

by Robert M. Gates



This looks like it would go well with Team of Five… history over several presidential terms from a different perspective. He had both governmental and academe experience to contribute.

From Amazon Description:
From the former secretary of defense and author of the acclaimed #1 best-selling memoir, Duty, a candid, sweeping examination of power in all its manifestations, and how it has been exercised, for good and bad, by American presidents in the post-Cold War world.

Since the end of the Cold War, the global perception of the United States has progressively morphed from dominant international leader to disorganized entity, seemingly unwilling to accept the mantle of leadership or unable to govern itself effectively. Robert Gates argues that this transformation is the result of the failure of political leaders to understand the complexity of American power, its expansiveness, and its limitations. He makes clear that the successful exercise of power is not limited to the use of military might or the ability to coerce or demand submission, but must encompass as well diplomacy, economics, strategic communications, development assistance, intelligence, technology, ideology, and cyber. By analyzing specific challenges faced by the American government in the post-Cold War period--Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, North Korea, Syria, Libya, Russia, China, and others--Gates deconstructs the ways in which leaders have used the instruments of power available to them. With forthright judgments of the performance of past presidents and their senior-most advisers, firsthand knowledge, and insider stories, Gates argues that U.S. national security in the future will require learning, and abiding by, the lessons of the past, and re-creating those capabilities that the misuse of power has cost the nation.


Monday, May 25, 2020

It’s Monday, What are you Reading? Team of Five


It’s Monday, What are you Reading? Team of Five:
The President’s Club in the Age of Trump 
by Kate Andersen Brower
 




When I became aware of this book about the President’s Club, I knew I had to have it and read it. A favorite subject, for sure. Not disappointed.

Description from Amazon:
 
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Residence and First Women—also a New York Times bestseller—comes a poignant, news-making look at the lives of the five former presidents in the wake of their White House years, including the surprising friendships they have formed through shared perspective and empathy.

 
After serving the highest office of American government, five men—Jimmy Carter, the late George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama—became members of the world’s most exclusive fraternity. In Team of Five, Kate Andersen Brower goes beyond the White House to uncover what, exactly, comes after the presidency, offering a glimpse into the complex relationships of these five former presidents, and how each of these men views his place in a nation that has been upended by the Oval Office’s current, norm-breaking occupant, President Donald Trump.
With an empathetic yet critical eye and firsthand testimony from the Carters, Donald Trump, and the top aides, friends, and family members of the five former presidents, Team of Five takes us inside the exclusive world of these powerful men and their families, including the unlikely friendship between George W. Bush and Michelle Obama, the last private visits Bill Clinton and Barack Obama shared with George H.W. Bush, and the Obamas’ flight to Palm Springs after Donald Trump’s inauguration. Perhaps most timely, this insightful, illuminating book overflows with anecdotes about how the ex-presidents are working to combat President Trump’s attempts to undo the achievements and hard work accomplished during their own terms.
Perhaps most poignantly, Team of Five sheds light on the inherent loneliness and inevitable feelings of powerlessness and frustration that come with no longer being the most important person in the world, but a leader with only symbolic power. There are ways, though, that these men, and their wives, have become powerful political and cultural forces in American life, even as so-called “formers.”
Team of Five includes 16 pages of color photographs.


Monday, April 13, 2020

It’s Monday, What are You Reading? Front Row at the Trump Show



It’s Monday, What are You Reading? 
Front Row at the Trump Show
by Jonathan Karl
 


This post is the one-hundred and seventy-third entry for this meme suggested by Sheila@ One Persons Journey Through A World of Books. [Entries 22-25 in the series were posted at  the Dr. Bill Tells Ancestor Stories]


I got this one in Kindle Edition, hoping for a good story from a respected journalist who has covered and known Donald Trump personally for over 25 years, long before he ran for President. And, he literally does sit in the front row of press conferences… and is often called on by the President. This is a very even handed report of what it is like to be there, and have been there. Good read.


Book Description from Amazon:

An account like no other from the White House reporter who has known President Donald Trump for more than 25 years.

We have never seen a president like this...norm-breaking, rule-busting, dangerously reckless to some and an overdue force for change to others. One thing is clear: We are witnessing the reshaping of the presidency.

Jonathan Karl brings us into the White House in a powerful book unlike any other on the Trump administration. He’s known and covered Donald Trump longer than any other White House reporter.  With extraordinary access to Trump during the campaign and at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Karl delivers essential new reporting and surprising insights.

These are the behind-the-scenes moments that define Trump’s presidency--an extraordinary look at the president, the person, and those closest to him. This is the real story of Trump’s unlikely rise; of the struggles and battles of those who work in the administration and those who report on it; of the plots and schemes of a senior staff enduring stunning and unprecedented unpredictability.

Karl takes us from a TV set turned campaign office to the strange quiet of Trump’s White House on Inauguration Day to a high-powered reelection campaign set to change the country’s course. He shows us an administration rewriting the role of the president on the fly and a press corps that has never been more vital. Above all, this book is only possible because of the surprisingly open relationship Donald Trump has had with Jonathan Karl, a reporter he has praised, fought, and branded an enemy of the people.

This is Front Row at the Trump Show.


Happy Reading!

Dr. Bill  ;-)

Monday, April 6, 2020

It’s Monday, What are You Reading? Missouri Timeline


It’s Monday, What are You Reading?
Missouri: An Illustrated Timeline 200 Years 
of Heroes and Rogues, Heartbreak and Triumph
by John W. Brown
 


This post is the one-hundred and seventy-second entry for this meme suggested by Sheila@ One Persons Journey Through A World of Books. [Entries 22-25 in the series were posted at  the Dr. Bill Tells Ancestor Stories]


A new coffee-table book prepared for the Missouri Bicentennial. Interesting narrative along with great collection of photos and illustrations.


Book Description from Amazon:


Aptly named the Show Me State, Missouri has shown the nation its past, present, and future for more than two centuries. Representing the state’s 200 year history in a way that is both educational and entertaining, Missouri Timeline offers a look back even as it looks ahead to a fabulous future situated perfectly in the middle. As a state, Missouri blends everything our country has to offer, just the way we like it. As Missouri recognizes its 200th Anniversary as a state, it's important to look back at the amazing history that has had an impact far beyond the boundaries of the Show Me State. From successes in business, sports, and cultural events, to struggles against Mother Nature and failures of civil rights, a retrospective study paves an even better path for the future. This Missouri Timeline highlights the important moments in Missouri's history that have defined the state and notes the parallels in the state s trajectory as only a timeline can. Not long after the first skyscraper was built in Missouri, Laura Ingalls Wilder moved to southern Missouri where she wrote about life on the prairie. At the same time Lake of the Ozarks was filling up, Prohibition was ending, Bonnie and Clyde were having shootouts, and a golfer from Springfield was winning the first Masters Golf Tournament. This book allows readers to see Missouri s defining moments and provides a new understanding of how it all lines up historically.


Happy Reading!

Dr. Bill  ;-)

Monday, March 30, 2020

It’s Monday, What are You Reading? Thomas Paine



It’s Monday, What are You Reading? 
Thomas Paine and the Clarion Call for American Independence
by Harlow Giles Unger
 


This post is the one-hundred and seventy-first entry for this meme suggested by Sheila@ One Persons Journey Through A World of Books. [Entries 22-25 in the series were posted at  the Dr. Bill Tells Ancestor Stories]


This was the other book I got at Christmas time. I’ve not read a full biography on the controversial Thomas Paine, so this is that opportunity. Unger is a good writer/historian.


Book Description from Amazon:

From New York Times bestselling author and Founding Fathers' biographer Harlow Giles Unger comes the astonishing biography of the man whose pen set America ablaze, inspiring its revolution, and whose ideas about reason and religion continue to try men's souls.


Thomas Paine's words were like no others in history: they leaped off the page, inspiring readers to change their lives, their governments, their kings, and even their gods. In an age when spoken and written words were the only forms of communication, Paine's aroused men to action like no one else. The most widely read political writer of his generation, he proved to be more than a century ahead of his time, conceiving and demanding unheard-of social reforms that are now integral elements of modern republican societies. Among them were government subsidies for the poor, universal housing and education, pre- and post-natal care for women, and universal social security. An Englishman who emigrated to the American colonies, he formed close friendships with Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison, and his ideas helped shape the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.

However, the world turned against Paine in his later years. While his earlier works, Common Sense and Rights of Man, attacked the political and social status quo here on earth, The Age of Reason attacked the status quo of the hereafter. Former friends shunned him, and the man America had hailed as the muse of the American Revolution died alone and forgotten.

Packed with action and intrigue, soldiers and spies, politics and perfidy, Unger's Thomas Paine is a much-needed new look at a defining figure.


Happy Reading!

Dr. Bill  ;-)

Monday, March 23, 2020

It’s Monday, What are You Reading? Sam Houston and the Alamo Avengers



It’s Monday, What are You Reading? 
Sam Houston and the Alamo Avengers: 
The Texas Victory That Changed American History 
by Brian Kilmeade
 This post is the one-hundred and seventieth entry for this meme suggested by Sheila@ One Persons Journey Through A World of Books. [Entries 22-25 in the series were posted at the Dr. Bill Tells Ancestor Stories]

https://www.amazon.com/Sam-Houston-Alamo-Avengers-American/dp/0525540539/

This book was a Christmas Gift. Brian Kilmeade is a good storyteller, so I knew there would be some new stories to add to the classic Alamo tales. I've not been disappointed. Easy reading book. Nice explanation in back of how he used the many sources to come with his own version of the stories.


Book Description from Amazon:

A New York Times bestseller.

In March 1836, the Mexican army led by General Santa Anna massacred more than two hundred Texians who had been trapped in the Alamo. After thirteen days of fighting, American legends Jim Bowie and Davey Crockett died there, along with other Americans who had moved to Texas looking for a fresh start. It was a crushing blow to Texas’s fight for freedom.

But the story doesn’t end there. The defeat galvanized the Texian settlers, and under General Sam Houston’s leadership they rallied. Six weeks after the Alamo, Houston and his band of settlers defeated Santa Anna’s army in a shocking victory, winning the independence for which so many had died.

Sam Houston and the Alamo Avengers recaptures this pivotal war that changed America forever, and sheds light on the tightrope all war heroes walk between courage and calculation. Thanks to Kilmeade’s storytelling, a new generation of readers will remember the Alamo—and recognize the lesser known heroes who snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.


Happy Reading!

Dr. Bill  ;-)

Monday, March 16, 2020

It’s Monday, What are You Reading? Blowout



It’s Monday, What are You Reading? Blowout: 
Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the
Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth 
by Rachel Maddow
This post is the one-hundred and sixty-nineth entry for this meme suggested by Sheila@ One Persons Journey Through A World of Books. [Entries 22-25 in the series were posted at  the Dr. Bill Tells Ancestor Stories]

https://www.amazon.com/Blowout-Corrupted-Democracy-Destructive-Industry/dp/0525575472/

I wasn’t going to get this one, but the topic is so current that I could not resist…

Book Description from Amazon:


#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
• Big Oil and Gas Versus Democracy—Winner Take All

In 2010, the words “earthquake swarm” entered the lexicon in Oklahoma. That same year, a trove of Michael Jackson memorabilia—including his iconic crystal-encrusted white glove—was sold at auction for over $1 million to a guy who was, officially, just the lowly forestry minister of the tiny nation of Equatorial Guinea. And in 2014, Ukrainian revolutionaries raided the palace of their ousted president and found a zoo of peacocks, gilded toilets, and a floating restaurant modeled after a Spanish galleon. Unlikely as it might seem, there is a thread connecting these events, and Rachel Maddow follows it to its crooked source: the unimaginably lucrative and equally corrupting oil and gas industry.

With her trademark black humor, Maddow takes us on a switchback journey around the globe, revealing the greed and incompetence of Big Oil and Gas along the way, and drawing a surprising conclusion about why the Russian government hacked the 2016 U.S. election. She deftly shows how Russia’s rich reserves of crude have, paradoxically, stunted its growth, forcing Putin to maintain his power by spreading Russia’s rot into its rivals, its neighbors, the West’s most important alliances, and the United States. Chevron, BP, and a host of other industry players get their star turn, most notably ExxonMobil and the deceptively well-behaved Rex Tillerson. The oil and gas industry has weakened democracies in developed and developing countries, fouled oceans and rivers, and propped up authoritarian thieves and killers. But being outraged at it is, according to Maddow, “like being indignant when a lion takes down and eats a gazelle. You can’t really blame the lion. It’s in her nature.”

Blowout is a call to contain the lion: to stop subsidizing the wealthiest businesses on earth, to fight for transparency, and to check the influence of the world’s most destructive industry and its enablers. The stakes have never been higher. As Maddow writes, “Democracy either wins this one or disappears.”


Happy Reading!

Dr. Bill  ;-)

Monday, March 9, 2020

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? The Sterling Affair



It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?
The Sterling Affair (The Forensic Genealogist Book 8) 
Kindle Edition
by Nathan Dylan Goodwin


This post is the one-hundred and sixty-eigth entry for this meme suggested by Sheila@ One Persons Journey Through A World of Books. [Entries 22-25 in the series were posted at  the Dr. Bill Tells Ancestor Stories]

https://www.amazon.com/Sterling-Affair-Forensic-Genealogist-Book-ebook/dp/B083ZJP7JC/


This was the longest of the 8 books in the series, but it was also the most complex, using DNA extensively in solving the case. I have enjoyed each book by Goodwin, and look forward to #9.

Amazon Description:


When an unannounced stranger comes calling at Morton Farrier’s front door, he finds himself faced with the most intriguing and confounding case of his career to-date as a forensic genealogist. He agrees to accept the contract to identify a man who had been secretly living under the name of his new client’s long-deceased brother. Morton must use his range of resources and research skills to help him deconstruct this mysterious man’s life, ultimately leading him back into the murky world of 1950s international affairs of state. Meanwhile, Morton is faced with his own alarmingly close DNA match which itself comes with far-reaching implications for the Farriers.

This is the eighth novel in the Morton Farrier genealogical crime mystery series of ten stories, although it can be enjoyed as a stand-alone story.