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Jamie’s Bookshelf: Politics, power and corruption: A review of some recently-released nonfiction books


• “LBJ’s 1968: Power, Politics, and the Presidency in America’s Year of Upheaval” by Kyle Longley (Cambridge University Press, $15.95) is a new 361-page paperback which tells a fascinating story about President Lyndon B. Johnson and the significant events of 1968. The author leads his readers on a behind-the-scenes tour of what Johnson characterized as the “year of a continuous nightmare.” By the way, the author – who is currently a professor at Arizona State University – has connections with the state of Kentucky. In 1993, Longley received his PhD in history at UK where he was a teaching assistant and instructor for several years. He also was a visiting assistant professor at Centre College for one year. Dr. Longley has written numerous books, including “Senator Albert Gore, Sr.: Tennessee Maverick.”

• “One Soul At A Time: The Story of Billy Graham” by Grant Wacker (William B. Eerdmans Publishing, $24.99) is a well-researched biography about one of the most famous evangelists in history. The new 324-page hardcover includes the author’s decades of research on Graham and U.S. evangelicalism along with personal interviews, archival research and never-before-published photographs from the Graham family. Graham died in 2018 in North Carolina at the age of 99.

• “A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump’s Testing of America” by Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig (Penguin Press, $30) is an explosive look at the first three years of the Trump White House. The 465-page hardcover by Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post journalists takes readers behind the scenes to reveal never-before reported details of President’s shocking behavior and new evidence of chaos in his administration.

• “The Broken Road: George Wallace and a Daughter’s Journey to Reconciliation” by Peggy Wallace Kennedy with Justice H. Mark Kennedy (Bloomsbury Publishing, $28) is a powerful memoir about the politics of her youth as well as intimate stories about her famous father and family. The elder Wallace, who opposed racial desegregation, was the controversial governor of Alabama for many years and a former presidential candidate. While her father eventually renounced his racist views at the end of his life, the author has been widely hailed as a “symbol of racial reconciliation.”

• “Profiles in Corruption: Abuse of Power by America’s Progressive Elite” by Peter Schweizer (Harper, $29.99) is revealing look of the shady deals and corrupt practices of the modern left. The bestselling author, who researched for more than 18 months for this volume, has 1,126 footnotes to back up his reporting. The 354-page hardcover uncovers the private finances and secret deals of some of America’s top leaders.

• “The Power of Wow: How to Electrify Your Work and Your Life by Putting Service First” by the employees of Zappos as told to Mark Dagostino (BenBella Books, $29.95) tells powerful stories and lessons that they have learned in business and in life. It will show how leading and infusing humanity into the workplace can change everything in your business, your community and your life. The hardcover is essentially a follow-up to Tony Hsieh’s “Delivering Happiness,” which was published in 2010.

• “The Great Rift: Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, and the Broken Friendship That Defined an Era” by James Mann (Henry Holt and Co., $32) explores each powerful man’s life and career to show how and why this deep and permanent disagreement occurred. Through dozens of original interviews and surprising revelations from presidential archives, the author brings to life the very human story of how this influential friendship turned so sour and transformed the way U.S. acts in the world. In the George W. Bush White House, Cheney served as the vice president, while Powell was the Secretary of State. This is Mann’s eighth book on American politics and national security issues.

• “American Oligarchs: The Kushners, the Trumps, and the Marriage of Money and Power” by Andrea Bernstein (W.W. Norton & Company, $30) is a compelling narrative that tells how the Trump and Kushner dynasties encouraged and profited from a system of corruption, dark money, among other things. The author is an award-winning investigative journalist.

Jamie H. Vaught, a longtime columnist in Kentucky, is the author of four books about UK basketball. He is the editor and founder of KySportsStyle.com magazine and a professor at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College in Middlesboro. You can follow him on Twitter @KySportsStyle or reach him via e-mail at KySportsStyle@gmail.com.


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