Monday, November 13, 2017

Nonfiction November Week 3 - Ask The Expert

It’s Week 3 of Nonfiction November. If you haven’t read my previous Nonfiction Novemeber posts you can read Week 1 here and Week 2 here.

This week is ‘expert’ week. The discussion is being hosted by Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness. Here’s the prompt for the week.

Be The Expert/Ask the Expert/Become the Expert: Three ways to join in this week! You can either share 3 or more books on a single topic that you have read and can recommend (be the expert), you can put the call out for good nonfiction on a specific topic that you have been dying to read (ask the expert), or you can create your own list of books on a topic that you’d like to read (become the expert).
I am choosing to ‘Ask The Expert’. I have an ongoing project to read my way through the U.S. presidents. My goal is to read at least one book about each U.S. president or his presidency. So far, I’ve not done very well with that one. Unless you count books I read many years ago, I’ve read exactly one book towards my goal; Destiny of the Republic about James A Garfield, (but it was a good one!).

So now I am putting the call out—I need recommendations for books about presidents. I prefer these to be narrative nonfiction, well researched, but not overly long. I want to get a feel for the man and his presidency, and the issues that shaped him. If you’ve read a book about one of the U.S. presidents that you enjoyed, please leave me a comment with the name of the book. I’m looking forward to finding lots of recommendations!

You can read more about my Presidents Project here.

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  1. I just read a good book about Alexander Hamilton, who I know wasn't a President, but sure rubbed elbows with a lot of them. It was by Martha Brockenbrough. Everyone tells me that the book about John Adams by David McCullough is excellent. But it is LONG. He is an excellent writer. I love the books I've read by him. Come to think of it, I did read 1776 which is largely about Washington by McCullough. I listed some good books on Mental Illness: Nonfiction November-3

    1. Thank you. I'll add those to my list. I should probably probably read the Hamilton book anyway, and soon. I have tickets for the musical in April, and having the background information would make it even more interesting.

  2. I thought about doing a project like this one awhile back, but then I remembered that I struggle with giant biographies and sort of abandoned the idea. If I were going to do it I'd need to do it this way, with narrative nonfiction. I was going to suggest Candace Millard, but I believe she wrote the Garfield book you mentioned so you probably know her already. Founding Brothers by Joseph Ellis is also pretty well-reviewed. I hope you get some good suggestions!

  3. Awesome topic! I don't read enough about US history, and reading a book about each President would be such a great way to start. I'm sorry I don't have any recommendations for you!

  4. What a great reading project! I love to hear about individual reading projects. Unfortunately I don't have a book to recommend but I hope you get some great books to add to your list!

  5. Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama was really good. Granted it's before he was president and more of a memoir...So I don't know if you'd count it! I've also heard Eric Foner's Trial By Fire on Abraham Lincoln is quite good and not a bug chunkster. Good luck!

  6. I've not read the Barack Obama book yet, though I intend to. At this point, I think it is probably as good as any that would be written on his presidency. I kind of feel like writing a book on a President should be like voting a baseball player into the hall of fame. It takes a bit of time to gain some perspective before you can make a valid judgement!

  7. Love this project! I added Destiny of the Republic to my list last year during Nonfiction November, but have not gotten to it yet.

    A couple of recommendations:
    No Ordinary Time: Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II by Doris Kearns Goodwin

    JFK's Last Hundred Days: The Transformation of a Man and the Emergence of a Great President by Thurston Clarke

  8. Ron Chernow has great books on both George Washington and U.S. Grant. But you really need to be committed because they are huge books!