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Jamie’s Bookshelf: Ten more good books for the avid readers on your shopping list (they always fit)

By Jamie H. Vaught
KyForward Columnist

Second of two parts

Are you ready to browse for entertaining new books, which seem to be more plentiful during the holiday season? I shared the first 10 yesterday.

Still in time for Christmas shopping for your loved ones who are avid readers, here’s the rest of my list of recently published nonfiction books, in no particular order, with many of them highly-reviewed:

–“A Common Struggle: A Personal Journey Through The Past And Future of Mental Illness And Addition” by Patrick J. Kennedy and Stephen Fried (Blue Rider Press, $28.95). The youngest child of late U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy and former U.S. Congressman from Rhode Island, Patrick discusses his personal and political battles with mental illness and addiction as well as becoming one of the country’s leading advocate for mental health and substance abuse care. In 2006, while he was serving in Congress, it was revealed for the first time the younger Kennedy had been struggling with bipolar disorder and prescription painkillers.

Bullies of Wall Street book cover

–“Cheney One On One: A Candid Conversation with America’s Most Controversial Statesman” by James Rosen (Regnery, $27.99) is a raw, exclusive look inside the mind of former Vice President, one of the most measured, discreet and misunderstood men in American politics. Cheney — who had been in government for four decades, including serving as the White House Chief of Staff under President Ford — takes stock of his life and legacy with unprecedented candor. One interesting tidbit: During his early days, Cheney was a Yale dropout who became an important figure in Ford Administration by his mid-30s.

–“The Courage To Act: A Memoir of a Crisis and Its Aftermath” by Ben S. Bernanke (W.W. Norton, $35.00) is a 610-page book that reveals his feelings about the financial crisis of 2007-2009 and offers candid impressions of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, leading members of Congress, Wall Street CEOs and policymakers when he was the Federal Reserve chairman. A professor who was chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System from February 2006 to January 2014, Bernanke grew up in South Carolina and has a PhD in economics.

–“Jack Kemp: The Bleeding-Heart Conservative Who Changed America” by Morton Kondracke and Fred Barnes (Sentinel, $29.95) is a biography about the former Buffalo Bills quarterback who became the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in President George H.W. Bush’s administration. A positive personality, Kemp was also a nine-term Congressman, serving in the western part of New York state. The authors used never-published papers and more than 100 Kemp Oral History Project interviews to trace Kemp’s life. The former pro football star was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama in 2009.


–“The Bullies of Wall Street: This Is How Greed Messed Up Our Economy” by Sheila Bair (Simon and Schuster, $17.99) is about how the Great Recession of 2007 to 2009 impacted families on a personal level using language that everyone from age 12 and up can understand. The author, who was the former head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), describes the many ways in which a broken system led families into financial trouble, and also explains the decisions being made at the time by the most powerful leaders in business and government that led to the recession. Bair also wrote “Bulls By The Horns: Fighting to Save Main Street from Wall Street and Wall Street from Itself” which was first published in 2012.

–“Raw: My 100% Grade-A, Unfiltered, Inside Look At Sports” by Colin Cowherd (Gallery Books, $26.00) is an insightful look in the sporting world based on his personal experience, containing behind-the-scenes stories on everything from the NFL to NASCAR to March Madness. Cowherd is one of the most outspoken sports broadcasters and serves as host of The Herd on Fox Sports Radio and Fox Sports 1.

–“Huckabee: The Authorized Biography” by Scott Lamb (W Publishing Group, $24.99) is an intimate look at one of the country’s most likable leaders who is running for President. For the time, the former governor of Arkansas opens to friend and author to tell his life story. With full access to Huckabee’s personal library, files, and family records, the readers will get the definitive account of his rise to political prominence. Huckabee, who is also a pastor, is from Hope, Ark., and shared the same grade school teacher as President Bill Clinton, who is nine years his senior. Personally, I’m not a big fan of authorized biographies, but this one is an enjoyable read for the most part about a pleasant man whether you like him or not politically.


–“The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope” by Austen Ivereigh (Picador, $16.00) is a 447-page paperback about Pope Francis who grew up in Argentina. Based on extensive interviews in Argentina and years of study of the Catholic Church, this biography describes how this revolutionary thinker will use the power of his position to challenge and redirect the Catholic Church.

–“Lady Bird Johnson: An Oral History” by Michael Gillette (Oxford
University Press, $21.95) is now in a 400-page paperback, a reprint of the 2012 hardcover. It is an intimate story of a shy young country girl’s transformation into one of the most effective and admired First Ladies in U.S. history. Mrs. Johnson recorded 47 oral history interviews in a period of 18 years and these conversations form the heart of this book.

–“In This Together: My Story” by Ann Romney (Thomas Dunne, $27.99) is a candid story about her journey with MS, a disease affecting over 2.3 million people, her faith and finding joy. Recognize the author’s name? A former First Lady of Massachusetts, Romney is the wife of former presidential candidate and ex-Gov. Mitt Romney.

In case you missed it earlier, you may want to check my Bookshelf column from October.

Have a wonderful Christmas!


Jamie H. Vaught, a longtime columnist in Kentucky, is the author of four books about UK basketball. He is the editor of KySportsStyle.com online 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.

See the first ten here.

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