Books Read in 2008

Here are the books I read in 2008, in chronological order. It’s interesting for me to look back and see the random paths and byways my mind traveled across this year.

The Votes That Counted: How the Court Decided the 2000 Presidential Election, Howard Gillman

Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-1963, Taylor Branch

An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963, Robert Dallek

Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood, Mark Harris

The Age of Reagan: A History, 1974-2008, Sean Wilentz

Everything is Illuminated, Jonathan Safran Foer

Arthur & George, Julian Barnes

Swish: My Quest to Become the Gayest Person Ever, Joel Derfner

The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary, Simon Winchester

Ad Infinitum: A Biography of Latin, Nicholas Ostler

Introduction to Latin, Revised First Edition, Susan C. Shelmerdine

FDR, Jean Edward Smith

An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943, Rick Atkinson (gave up after 100 pages)

Churchill: The Unexpected Hero, Paul Addison

The President’s House: A History, William Seale (recently begun)

2 thoughts on “Books Read in 2008

  1. I read a great many books too, and have one that stands out from the others to write about.

    January 12, 1888 dawns as very warm across the Dakotas and Minnesota. Children walked to school without coats, farmers went into their fields to take advantage of the weather to mend fences after what was already a long winter. Later that day without warning hell opened a door on the open prairie. In three minutes the temperature would fall 18 degrees. Hurricane-like winds whipped snow and ice as a cold front raged over the countryside. Sod homes were blown away. School roofs were ripped off. Windows exploded. Animals beat to the ground by the force of Mother Nature. And children in schools wanted to get home……..

    On January 13th, some 500 people were dead, many of them children. Some would survive the snow and darkness, but come Friday the 13th as they got to their feet they would succumb to the intense cold.

    This true account of one of America’s most ferocious storms starts in Norway, and the Ukraine as David Laskin introduces us to five families who will sell their belongings, say good bye to graves and loved ones, and set sail for America. The tale moves along as the immigrants settle in the Dakota territories and Minnesota. The first winter they make holes in the earth, put a few wooden slabs over the top, cover that with sod and try to survive a winter. Some try to do so on flour mixed with a little water and cooked with only salt and pepper for flavoring. In the summers they deal with grasshoppers and fire. They thought the long winter that Laura Ingall Wilder would write of was the worst…….but in 1888 a winter storm came that made everything tame by comparison.

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