These are just a few books I have read over the last few summers. Some may contain mature content that is not suitable for all readers. The most recent ones are at the top.
The Book of Five Ringsby Miyamoto Musashi translated by: William Scott Wilson Year Published: 1645 translated 2012
When the undefeated samurai Miyamoto Musashi retreated to a cave in 1643 and wrote The Book of Five Rings, a manifesto on swordsmanship, strategy, and winning for his students and generations of samurai to come, he created one of the most perceptive and incisive texts on strategic thinking ever to come from Asia.
Musashi gives timeless advice on defeating an adversary, throwing an opponent off-guard, creating confusion, and other techniques for overpowering an assailant that will resonate with both martial artists and everyone else interested in skillfully dealing with conflict. For Musashi, the way of the martial arts was a mastery of the mind rather than simply technical prowess—and it is this path to mastery that is the core teaching in The Book of Five Rings.
Butch Cassidy: The True Story of an American Outlawby Charles Leerhsen Year Published: 2020 History
Born into a Mormon family in Utah, Robert Leroy Parker grew up dirt poor and soon discovered that stealing horses and cattle was a fact of life in a world where small ranchers were being squeezed by banks, railroads, and cattle barons. A charismatic and more than capable cowboy—even ranch owners who knew he was a rustler said they would hire him again—he adopted the alias “Butch Cassidy,” and moved on to a new moneymaking endeavor: bank robbery. By all accounts a smart and considerate thief, Butch and his "Wid Bunch" gang eventually graduated to more lucrative train robberies. But the railroad owners hired the Pinkerton Agency, whose detectives pursued Butch and his gang relentlessly, until he and his then partner Harry Longabaugh (The Sundance Kid) fled to South America, where they replicated the cycle of ranching, rustling, and robbery until they met their end in Bolivia.
1776by David McCullough Year Published: 2005 Non-FictionIn this stirring book, David McCullough tells the intensely human story of those who marched with General George Washington in the year of the Declaration of Independence¿when the whole American cause was riding on their success, without which all hope for independence would have been dashed and the noble ideals of the Declaration would have amounted to little more than words on paper.Based on extensive research in both American and British archives, 1776 is a powerful drama written with extraordinary narrative vitality. It is the story of Americans in the ranks, men of every shape, size, and color, farmers, schoolteachers, shoemakers, no¿accounts, and mere boys turned soldiers. And it is the story of the King¿s men, the British commander, William Howe, and his highly disciplined redcoats who looked on their rebel foes with contempt and fought with a valor too little known.Here also is the Revolution as experienced by American Loyalists, Hessian mercenaries, politicians, preachers, traitors, spies, men and women of all kinds caught in the paths of war.At the center of the drama, with Washington, are two young American patriots, who, at first, knew no more of war than what they had read in books¿Nathanael Greene, a Quaker who was made a general at thirty¿three, and Henry Knox, a twenty¿five¿year¿old bookseller who had the preposterous idea of hauling the guns of Fort Ticonderoga overland to Boston in the dead of winter.But it is the American commander¿in¿chief who stands foremost¿Washington, who had never before led an army in battle.The book begins in London on October 26, 1775, when His Majesty King George III went before Parliament to declare America in rebellion and to affirm his resolve to crush it. From there the story moves to the Siege of Boston and its astonishing outcome, then to New York, where British ships and British troops appear in numbers never imagined and the newly proclaimed Continental Army confronts the enemy for the first time. David McCullough¿s vivid rendering of the Battle of Brooklyn and the daring American escape that followed is a part of the book few readers will ever forget.As the crucial weeks pass, defeat follows defeat, and in the long retreat across New Jersey, all hope seems gone, until Washington launches the ¿brilliant stroke¿ that will change history.The darkest hours of that tumultuous year were as dark as any Americans have known. Especially in our own tumultuous time, 1776 is powerful testimony to how much is owed to a rare few in that brave founding epoch, and what a miracle it was that things turned out as they did.Written as a companion work to his celebrated biography of John Adams, David McCullough¿s 1776 is another landmark in the literature of American history.
Blood Meridianby Cormac McCarthy Year Published: 1992
An epic novel of the violence and depravity that attended America's westward expansion, Blood Meridian brilliantly subverts the conventions of the Western novel and the mythology of the "wild west." Based on historical events that took place on the Texas-Mexico border in the 1850s, it traces the fortunes of the Kid, a fourteen-year-old Tennesseean who stumbles into the nightmarish world where Indians are being murdered and the market for their scalps is thriving.
The Great Influenzaby John M. Barry Year Published: 2005
An account of the deadly influenza epidemic of 1918, which took the lives of millions of people around the world, examines its causes, its impact on early twentieth-century society, and the lasting implications of the crisis.
Thomas Paine Crusader of Libertyby Albert Martin Year Published:
How one man's ideas helped form a new nation
The Onion Fieldsby Joseph Wambaugh Year Published:
Chronicles the events and aftermath of a fateful confrontation between two criminals and two police officers in a deserted California onion field, which ended in death for one of the officers.
Say Nothingby Patrick Radden Keefe Year Published: 2019 Non Fiction
"Masked intruders dragged Jean McConville, a 38-year-old widow and mother of 10, from her Belfast home in 1972. In this meticulously reported book -- as finely paced as a novel -- Keefe uses McConville's murder as a prism to tell the history of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Interviewing people on both sides of the conflict, he transforms the tragic damage and waste of the era into a searing, utterly gripping saga."
The Killer of Little Shepherdsby Douglas Star Year Published: Non Fiction
At the end of the nineteenth century, serial murderer Joseph Vacher terrorized the French countryside, eluding authorities for years, and murdering twice as many victims as Jack The Ripper. Here, Douglas Starr revisits Vacher's infamous crime wave, interweaving the story of the two men who eventually stopped him—prosecutor Emile Fourquet and Dr. Alexandre Lacassagne, the era's most renowned criminologist. In dramatic detail, Starr shows how Lacassagne and his colleagues were developing forensic science as we know it. Building to a gripping courtroom denouement, The Killer of Little Shepherds is a riveting contribution to the history of criminal justice.