Rove’s Christmas recommendations

The January issue of the American Spectator belatedly runs its annual list of holiday gift suggestions in a literary vein from distinguished readers and writers. Among those invited by the Spectator to submit recommendations are a number of thoughtful folks including Jed Babbin, Paul Greenberg, Michael Horowitz, and Roger Kimball. By far the most interesting recommendations and comments, however, come from Karl Rove. Here are his recommendations in the order he makes them with excerpts from his comments:
1. Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship, by Jon Meacham: “This is a fast-paced and impeccably researched story of the rise and decline of the critical relationship.”
2. The Conquerors, by Michael Beschloss: “FDR comes across a little better in this one [than in Franklin and Winston], though there are some surprisingly short-sighted figures in this drama.”
3. William McKinley, by Kevin Phillips: “Best short biography of a near-great President and even better political leader.”
4. The Modern American Presidency, by Lewis Gould: “…should dramatically twist your thoughts on the World’s Most Powerful Office.”
5. Boots on the Ground: A Month With the 82nd Airborne in the Battle for Iraq, by Karl Zinsmeister: “When I finished [it], in one gigantic burst on a cross-country flight this fall, I wept. My apologies to the guy next to me whose cocktail napkin I filched to dab my eyes.”
6. Paradise of Cities: Venice in the 19th Century, by John Julius Norwich: “…a delicious view of Venice as it slid into decadence and decline as Europe’s pleasure spot.”
7. God’s Secretaries: The Making of the King James Bible, by Adam Nicholson: “Marvelous!”
8. Gouverneur Morris: The Rake Who Wrote the Constitution, by Richard Brookhiser: “When’s the mini-series?”
9. Reagan: A Life in Letters, ed. by Martin Anderson: “Dip into the deep pool of RR’s thoughts in this big volume.”
10. Art: A New History, by Paul Johnson: “If you’re like me and don’t know good art unless you see it…”
Having said all this, Rove still wasn’t through. He adds a final paragraph: “…I offer this simple rule. Buy any book by one of these authors which is pleasing to the eye and the contents will be so, too: David McCullough (must you fall in love with all your subjects, and hey, what about Adams and the Alien and Sedition Acts?), Sir Martin Gilbert (anything by him, anything), Paul Johnson (see above), Gabor Boritt (Hungarian refugee arrives in U.S., goes to Yankton College, the only college in South Dakota that will accept him, becomes leading scholar on Lincoln and Civil War–is this a great country or what?), and Gary Gallagher (what can you say about a Civil War scholar who knows where they buried Stonewall Jackson’s arm? Go figure.)”
Folks, President Bush is in good hands.

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