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Jamie’s Bookshelf: The Presidency, political history highlight these nonfiction titles for fall reading


• “Burning Down the House: Newt Gingrich, the Fall of a Speaker and the Rise of the New Republican Party” by Julian E. Zelizer (Penguin Press, $30) is an alarming story of how Georgia native Gingrich, a former House Speaker, and his allies have polluted U.S. politics, and created the bitter partisan warfare between the Democrats and the Republicans that you are seeing today. The author is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University, and also serves as a commentator for CNN and National Public Radio.

• “The Garden: A Spiritual Fable About Ways to Overcome Fear, Anxiety, and Stress” by Jon Gordon (Wiley, $17) is an inspiring story that reveals the five D’s that can sabotage us and a proven plan to help us overcome and capture the battle in our mind. Having worked with many leaders, companies, sports teams, professional athletes, and high school students, the bestselling author fills this life-changing story with thought-provoking ideas, practical strategies, and a framework to overcome fear with faith.

• “Trump: The Presidential Photographs” by the official White House photographers (William Morrow, $30) is a stunning pictorial hardcover about the Donald Trump presidency. Working with the trust and close confidence of President Trump, the White House photographers are granted freedom to accompany the First Family behind the scenes as the full-color pictures capture a private side of the president unseen by the news media.

• “Reaganland: America’s Right Turn 1976-1980” by Rick Perlstein (Simon & Schuster, $40) is a remarkable 1,108-page volume for anyone who wants to understand the rise of conservatism and how U.S. politics arrived where it is today. The new hardcover primarily covers the years from Jimmy Carter’s election in 1976 to his defeat at the hands of Ronald Reagan in 1980. The bestselling author has written the last of his four-volume account of the rise of modern America conservatism.

• “Sex with Presidents: The Ins and Outs of Love and Lust in the White House” by Eleanor Herman (William Morrow, $27.99) is a fascinating hardcover which uncovers the bedroom secrets of our presidents and explores the startling ways voters have reacted to their leaders’ sex scandals. The author has written several bestsellers including “Sex with Kings” and “Sex with the Queen.”

• “His Very Best: Jimmy Carter, A Life” by Jonathan Alter (Simon & Schuster, $37.50) is an intimate and well-researched biography about our former president, who grew up in one of the meanest counties in the Jim Crow South. Interestingly, Carter, who is perhaps the most misunderstood president in American history, is the only president since Thomas Jefferson under whom the U.S. Military never fired a shot or dropped a bomb. The 783-page hardcover contains numerous tidbits or little-known facts about President Carter, who was interviewed more than a dozen times by the author. An MSNBC political analyst and former senior editor at Newsweek, Alter previously has written three bestsellers.

• “Authoritarian Nightmare: Trump and His Followers” by John W. Dean and Bob Altemeyer (Melville House, $29.99) uses psychological studies to look at Trump and his supporters in a context of authoritarianism: who are they and why are they enabling him? The 352-page volume explores the role that authoritarianism has played in Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 crises and the #BlackLivesMatter protests, and its implications for the upcoming presidential election. Dean served as White House counsel for President Nixon. It was Dean’s Congressional testimony which helped lead to Nixon’s resignation during the Watergate scandal. Altemeyer is a professor at psychology.

• “Rage” by Bob Woodward (Simon & Schuster, $30) is a stunning up-close look at Donald Trump and his presidency with 17 on-the-record interviews with the president from December 2019 to late July 2020. Drawing from hundreds of hours of interviews along with participants’ notes, emails, diaries, and other confidential documents, the 453-page book goes behind the scenes like never before, with surprising new details about early national security decisions and operations, and Trump’s moves. This is another extraordinary book – his 20th – by Woodward, who is an associate editor at The Washington Post.

• “Rigged: America, Russia, and One Hundred Years of Covert Electoral Interference” by David Shimer (Alfred A. Knopf, $29.95) is a definite history of the hidden struggle between Russia and America to influence elections, why the threat to American democracy is greater than ever in 2020, and what we can do about it. The author also reveals that this type of intrusion can be used to harm Democrats and Republicans alike as Russia’s central aim is to disrupt our democracy.

• “Think Like a Rocket Scientist: Simple Strategies You Can Use to Make Giant Leaps in Work and Life” by Ozan Varol (Public Affairs, $28) is a practical look at the habits, ideas and strategies that will empower you to overcome the impossibles. The author, himself a rocket scientist, discloses nine simple strategies from rocket science that you can use to make your own giant leaps in work and life such as landing your dream job, fast-tracking your business, learning a new skill, among other things. Now a professor, Varol studied astrophysics and served on the operations team for the 2003 Mars Exploration Rovers project.

• “We Should Have Seen It Coming: From Reagan to Trump – A Front-Row Seat to a Political Revolution” by Gerald F. Seib (Random House, $28) reveals how the 40-year conservative movement, which began to rise around 1980, came to rule national politics before evolving into the populist movement that Donald Trump rode to power. With behind-the-scenes stories, the hardcover shows how President Trump transformed Republican relations with the business community, crushed conservative principles on trade and immigration, and challenged our country’s long-standing alliances. The author is the executive Washington editor of The Wall Street Journal.

• “Open Borders Inc.: Who’s Funding America’s Destruction” by Michelle Malkin (Regnery Publishing, $28.99) is a comprehensive and shocking look of who’s behind our immigration crisis. The conservative author, who has written several bestselling books, writes there are powerful forces working to erase America through uncontrolled immigration both legal and illegal.

• “The 21 Biggest Lies About Donald Trump (and You)” by Kurt Schlichter (Regnery Publishing, $28.99) unleashes political wit to debunk the biggest lies the left-wing groups, political establishment and mainstream media are actively driving to smear President Trump and conservative voters in the lead-up to the 2020 presidential election. A retired U.S. Army colonel, the author is a trial lawyer and a columnist who frequently appears on Fox News, Fox Business Network and major radio shows.

Jamie H. Vaught, a longtime sports columnist in Kentucky, is the author of five books about UK basketball, including newly-released “Chasing the Cats: A Kentucky Basketball Journey.” 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 email at KySportsStyle@gmail.com.


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