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Jamie’s Bookshelf: These 13 additional summer reading titles offer politics, history and inspiration


By Jamie H. Vaught
KyForward Columnist

This is the second of a two-part series about recently-published nonfiction books.

“Yes We (Still) Can: Politics in the Age of Obama, Twitter and Trump” by Dan Pfeiffer (Twelve, $28) is a part political memoir, part blueprint for progressives in the Trump era. The author, who was one of President Obama’s longest-serving advisors, tells little-known stories from Obama’s presidential campaigns to his time in the White House. The book is a must-read for everyone who isn’t happy with Trump and hopes for a better future for the nation.

“The Light Within Me: An Inspirational Memoir” by Ainsley Earhardt (Harper, $27.99) is a spiritual story about her rise to Fox & Friends, a popular morning news show. With strong support from her hardworking parents and growing up in the church in South Carolina, the author discusses how her television career success has been shaped at every step by her family and her faith. Former football standout Tim Tebow, by the way, wrote a blurb, praising this 219-page book. 

“Born Trump: Inside America’s First Family” by Emily Jane Fox (Harper, $27.99) is a richly detailed look at President Donald Trump’s five children as well as son-in-law Jared Kushner, exploring their lives, their roles in the presidential campaign and administration, and their relationships with their father. The author, who is a senior reporter at Vanity Fair, argues that you must know his children in order to understand President Trump. The 340-page volume contains many fascinating tidbits, including Donald Trump Jr.’s passion for hunting, something his father never understood. During the presidential campaign, Iowa governor Terry Branstad invited the future President to a hunting trip in the state. Trump declined and sent Don Jr in his stead. “Don, you can finally do something useful for me,” the elder Trump told his son.

“Chasing Hillary: Ten Years, Two Presidential Campaigns, and One Intact Glass Ceiling” by Amy Chozick (Harper, $27.99) is a personal story of a political reporter’s journey in covering Mrs. Clinton’s pursuit of the presidency. Chozick is a writer-at-large for the New York Times. A former writer for the Wall Street Journal, she served as a national political reporter and was the Times’ lead reporter covering Mrs. Clinton’s 2016 campaign. The 383-page hardcover reads like a political novel with humorous tales thrown in. 

“The Comic Book Story of Baseball” by Alex Irvine (Ten Speed Press, $18.99) is a remarkable graphic novel-style history of baseball, illustrating and spotlighting the major games, players, and rule changes that shaped the former national pastime. The author, along with artists Tomm Coker and C.P. Smith, have teamed up to present an unusual volume which reads like a thick comic book which will entertain baseball fans, young and old alike.

“Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup” by John Carreyrou (Knopf, $27.95) is a best-selling and highly-reviewed business book about the incredible rise and shocking collapse of Theranos, the multibillion-dollar biotech startup led by founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes. The author, an investigative reporter for The Wall Street Journal who is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, first broke this inside story of the biggest corporate fraud since Enron. Wrote The New York Times Book Review, the 340-page hardcover “. . . reads like a West Coast version of All the President’s Men.” 

“The Faith of Dolly Parton: Lessons from Her Life to Lift Your Heart” by Dudley Delffs (Zondervan, $22.99) spotlights the country music superstar’s spiritual beliefs with inspiring stories. The hardcover looks at 10 faith lessons as evidenced in Dolly’s life, music, interviews, and attitude, focusing on the ways Dolly’s life can inspire us all to be more authentic, to trust God during hard times, to stay grounded during the good times, and to always keep our sense of humor. Like Parton, who grew up near the Great Smoky Mountains, the author – an award-winning writer of fiction and nonfiction — is from Tennessee. 

“The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights, and Other Appreciations” by John McCain and Mark Salter (Simon & Schuster, $30) is a new political and personal memoir by ailing Senator John McCain, a American hero who is fighting cancer. McCain looks back on his years in the Senate, his 2008 campaign for the presidency against Barack Obama, and his crusades on behalf of democracy and human rights. McCain also criticizes the nationalism and political polarization afflicting American policy, but gives a positive vision of our nation that looks beyond the Trump presidency. 

“Reporter: A Memoir” by Seymour M. Hersh (Alfred A. Knopf, $27.95) is a revealing autobiography about a Pulitzer Prize-winning, best-selling author and investigative journalist. His fearless reporting has earned him fame and front-page bylines in every major newspaper. There are also interesting stories about well-known political and journalism figures such as Henry Kissinger and Ben Bradlee. Said Scott Sherman of Columbia Journalism Review, “If there is a smoking gun lying around the White House, the reporter most likely to find it is Seymour Hersh.” The 81-year-old author currently lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife.  

“How Bernie Won: Inside the Revolution That’s Taking Back Our Country – and Where We Go from Here” by Jeff Weaver (Thomas Dunne Books, $27.99) is a first-hand look about the presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and his 2016 campaign. Written by Sanders’ campaign manager, the 378-page hardcover shows how the U.S. Senator built a movement that would sweep the country, inspire millions and take on the establishment. The readers will observe the very early conversations between the candidate and the author as the campaign was born. The author, who graduated from the University of Vermont and Georgetown University Law School, began working for Sanders in 1986.  

“When the Center Held: Gerald Ford and the Rescue of the American Presidency” by Donald Rumsfeld (Free Press, $28) is a political memoir of President Ford written by someone who was very close to the White House during the mid-1970s. That someone is Rumsfeld who served as Ford’s chief of staff as well as the Secretary of Defense. The author — who later became the Pentagon chief again under President George W. Bush — shares his experience of what it was like behind the closed doors of the Oval Office during this tumultuous time when Ford replaced Richard Nixon after the Watergate scandal. And it was Ford who brought the country together with his integrity and decency. Said journalist David Broder, “Gerald Ford was the kind of president Americans always wanted — and didn’t know they had.”

“Through My Father’s Eyes” by Franklin Graham with Donna Lee Toney (Thomas Nelson, $26.99) is the first book about evangelist Billy Graham that is written from the perspective of a son who knew him best. The 319-page hardcover is a look at both Billy Graham the evangelist and Billy Graham the father, and the impact he had on a son who walked in his father’s steps while also becoming his own man, leading ministries around the world, all of it based on the lessons his father taught him. The elder Graham passed away in late February. 

“Political Risk: How Businesses and Organizations Can Anticipate Global Insecurity” by Condoleezza Rice and Amy B. Zegart (Twelve, $30) examines what businesses can do to prepare for today’s political environment and rapidly-changing world. The hardcover offers a framework that can be arranged in any organization, from startups to Fortune 500 companies. Organizations that take a serious, systematic approach to political risk management are likely to be surprised less often and recover better. Rice is a former U.S. Secretary of State under President George W. Bush and Zegart is a professor at Stanford University. 

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