2015 Reading List

American History

  1. Becoming Madison by Michael Signer. This 2015 release about United States president James Madison takes a look at Madison’s formative years — focusing mostly on the ages of 20-40. The book offers an insightful look at the forces and influences which shaped the political views of the Father of the United States Constitution. Review | Purchase
  2. 1968: The Year That Rocked The World by Mark Kurlansky. Many historians say 1968 marked the end of the 1960s and this book will help you understand why. Most Americans probably know Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy died in 1968, but the unrest on the world stage may not be as well known. This book covers United States and world events that signified all the civil unrest that was unfolding in the decade of change. Purchase

Books About Books

  1. 50 Classics Series by Tom Butler-Bowden. With the 2015 release of 50 Political Classics, there are seven books in this series. The first was released in 2004. The advantage of each of these books – I’ve read several – is the ability to quickly summarize the 50 books most important books on a subject (based on the author’s opinion). Purchase

Civil War History

  1. This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War by Drew Gilpin Faust. This is an intriguing look at the sheer number of deaths, the logistical problems the deaths caused and the impact lasting impact these deaths had on the American concept of the “Good Death.” Review | Purchase

General History

  1. Bold Spirit: Helga Estby’s Forgotten Walk Across Victorian America by Linda Lawrence Hunt is a story about grit, hope, despair, betrayal and loss. It is a story that would be forever lost if a 8th grade student had not written an essay about his great-great-grandmother’s walk across the United States. Review | Purchase
  2. How We Got To Now by Steven Johnson takes an in-depth look at the history for six technologies that impact our daily lives. Review | Purchase
  3. The Atomic Times by Michael Harris is a first person account of Harris’ year station on the Pacific island where H-Bomb tests were conducted. Review | Purchase
  4. American Massacre by Sally Denton examines the 1857 slaughter of 140 men, women and children in southern Utah to determine if the Mormon Church was involved. Review | Purchase

Just For Fun

  1. Think Like A Freak by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner is the third in a series of books that challenge many of the conventional interpretations of data and events. Review | Purchase
  2. I Remember Nothing and Other Reflections by Nora Ephron is a book of personal essays where the author of When Harry Met Sally pulls out the compelling from daily minutia. Review | Purchase
  3. Living A Country Year by Jerry Apps. The book is 12 chapters long — one for each month of the year. Very relaxing, enjoyable read. Review | Purchase
  4. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. Although for many this was required reading in high school or college, the book resonates better with a more mature audience. The book is a poignant reminder of Twain’s true feelings about his fellow countrymen. Purchase


  1. To Make Men Free by Heather Cox Richardson is an enjoyable read and a relatively concise history of the Republican Party. Review | Purchase
  2. The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Ruined Government, Enriched Themselves, and Beggared the Nation by Thomas Frank. Thomas Frank takes a hard, uncompromising look at the cronyism that came to define the conservatism movement and how government became inept because of it. Review | Purchase
  3. Throw Them All Out by Peter Schweizer. In the introduction to the book Schweizer, poses a simple question: How is it that politicians manage to enter office with relatively meager resources and often retire rich? Review | Purchase
  4. The Pentagon Propaganda Machine by Senator J.W. Fulbright is an expose of the methods used by the various branches of the military in the 1960s to win over the public. Review | Purchase
  5. Sideswiped by Robert Ney. In his tell all book, former Congressman from Ohio Robert Ney points fingers at other GOP members of the House for their alleged misconduct surrounding the Abramoff Scandal. Review | Purchase


  1. The Kaizen Way by Robert Maurer, Ph.D. The premise is very simple: when fear or apathy is preventing you from accomplishing a goal – reduce the task to the absolute small step possible. Purchase


  1. How the Bible Was Built by Charles M. Smith and James W. Bennett. This concise, easy-to-read book of less than 100 pages, explains how the modern Bible came into existence. The included timeline is a helpful tool for individuals seeking to understand how the various translations were created. Purchase
  2. Owning It: Zen And The Art Of Facing Life by Perle Besserman. The theme of the book, taught through a series of koans, is best summarized by this quote from the book, “there’s a difference between coping with the ebb and flow of our lifes and becoming the ebb and flow.Review | Purchase


  1. 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do by Amy Morin. This book is worth reading just to learn the personal story of the author. To put it mildly, Morin could have given up on life and few people would have faulted her for the choice. The book is filled with practical, down-to-earth methods to help a person overcome any obstacle. Purchase
  2. You Are Now Less Dumb by David McRaney. This book takes a quick, yet, insightful look at 17 psychological studies about common human traits and weaknesses. Some of the chapters include: The Benjamin Franklin Effect, The Halo Effect and The No True Scotsman Fallacy. Like the author explains we all exhibit one or more of the traits — including Fox Commentator Bill O’Reilly (The No True Scotsman Fallacy). Purchase


  1. The Man Who Quit Money by Daniel Suelo. Written by an acquaintance of Suelo, the book records the spiritual journey of Suelo — a man who has spent more than a decade promoting a ‘gift economy.’ Review | Purchase
  2. The Untethered Soul by Michel A. Singer. In the quest for enlightenment, Singer relies heavily on Buddhist tradition to explain how we are separate from our thoughts. Review | Purchase

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