and write about it!
Great thing about my book club (aside from admitting the likes of me) is members won’t stand for massive tomes. Which probably rules out the Head Groundskeeper’s current read, which totals 758 pages. That would be the Last King of America; the misunderstood reign of George III, by Andrew Roberts. (We’ll review it later.)
Hey, if Warren Harding can be rehabilitated (and a book is out that promises to try) so could and should George III. We’re convinced the USA would have fought for independence against Mahatma Ghandi. George III was a pretty decent king. Even had good things to say about General Washington.
In addition to Last King, these are the books the Head Groundskeeper borrowed from the Stately Manor’s Dan Quayle Memorial Lending Library during 2021, best we can remember. They’re listed in rough order of their impact on an impressionable blogguer:
A Brilliant Solution: inventing the American Constitution, by Carol Berkin, 320 pages. Readable exploration of the passions, divergent interests, personalities, and political concessions that created a document that may well withstand A.O.C. and Donald Trump. (Rhode Island never did sign the Constitution and only one delegate from populous New York, a certain Hamilton.)
Pacific Crucible; war at sea in the Pacific 1941-42, by Ian W. Toll, 544 pages. Riveting, seat of the pants stuff. You don’t know Pearl Harbor until you read this book. (First of a trilogy.)
Twilight of the Gods: war in the western Pacific, 1944-1945, Ian W. Toll, 864 pages (Third of a trilogy.) Defeated Japanese generals entertain while bleeding to death from seppeku (ritual hara kiri).
Maximilian and Carlota: Europe’s last empire in Mexico, by M.M. McAllen, 544 pages. France’s attempt to take over Mexico with an inconveniently enlightened Habsburg prince while the U.S. was busy with its own civil war.
Madison’s Gift; five partnerships that built America, by David O. Stewart, 432 pages. The Founder accomplished more than Vel Phillips.
The Fall of France: the Nazi invasion of 1940, by Julian Jackson, 274 pages. What could go wrong, did. Mainly, lack of coordination and communication — plus the fatigue of the first world war.
The Heir Apparent: a life of Edward VII, the playboy prince, by Jane Ridley, 752 pages. But a pretty decent king.
Born Standing Up; a comic’s life, by Steve Martin, 209 pages. A wild and intelligent guy.
Churchill & Son, by Josh Ireland, 464 pages. Winston, at least, could hold his likker.
Hillbilly Elegy: a memoir of a family and culture in crisis, by J.D.Vance, 272 pages. More Jerry Springer Show than social commentary.
American Nations: a history of the eleven rival regional cultures of North America, by Colin Woodard, 384 pages. Purports that America remains heir to colonial patterns.
The Long Weekend: life in the English country house, 1918-1939, by Adrian Tinniswood, 344 pages. Downtown Abbey real estate and manners guide.
The American Country House, by Roger W. Moss, 343 pages. The American version.
Blaska’s Bottom Line: We don’t read fiction (truth is stranger) or self-help (we’re beyond help). Nor do we read front to back. (We like to skip ahead and see how they died.) Special interest in U.S. presidents, architecture, the Churchills, British monarchy, and British history.