Ok, this is crappy and I know it but I am finishing the cannonball. Last year I finished book 52 on the 31st but I was a dozen reviews behind. This year, I got to 64 books and I’m still behind on my reviews but I can get there and I read all of these books for the same reason and that is professional development at work which makes them inherently less interesting to those who do not share my profession. Anyway, here I go.
The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman
I read this book for a few reasons in addition to the fact that it was on the suggested reading list. First, it is the centennial of the end of WWI and this book is a history of the events that led to the war. Second, it was written by a woman. I do not do enough to find female historians to read and I want to work on that. This is a start. Third, this is a classic, maybe even seminal work of WWI history and it won the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction in 1963. It more than exceeded my expectations. It was written in an easy to follow manner and felt complete and comprehensive. If you are interested in WWI, read this!
World Order by Henry Kissinger
This book is very popular in other curriculums at my grad school. I was interested because I know less than I should about Henry Kissinger. I know he was Secretary of State for Nixon and helped open diplomatic channels with China, that he was thought to be but was not Deep Throat, and that he is the one person Anthony Bourdain most wanted to kill. This book discusses both the how and the why the world operates in the manner that it does. Kissinger covers the history of diplomacy going back to the Westphalian principles. I feel like I understand more about the way the world works and I would recommend this book to anyone interested in international relations. As an aside, I must mention that this book is another great one to read in the current state of American politics.
The Face of Battle by John Keegan
This is another classic of military history. Keegan. opens by discussing how historians had previously written about history and how he planned to do it differently by examining the battles from the perspective of the individual soldiers rather than just the leaders. He then covers three battles in depth: Agincourt, Waterloo, and the Somme.