Monday, June 29, 2009

Suggestions for the Next Reading Group?

Not to rush our current discussion on Team of Rivals, but what would persons like to read next? Some of the titles that have been suggested include:

Nixonland by Rick Perlstein, although this review suggests his book on Goldwater is better.

The Ascent of George Washington by John Ferling

American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Meacham

Alexis de Tocqueville: A Life by Hugh Brogan

Renegade: The Making of a President by Richard Wolffe

feel free to suggest your own titles.

20 comments:

  1. I would go with any of those, but am open to other ideas, too.

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  2. For something totally different, here is a book I've been looking at:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/14/books/review/Gage-t.html

    Be nice if we could find a book that most everyone here would be interested in. Rick, Bo, untermensch, others .... any suggestions?

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  3. Looks like an interesting title, avrds, although I have to wonder about Lears calling TR the "ideological ancestor" of Dubya. TR may have been one to carry a big stick but he never used it. Unlike Dubya, TR used the "stick" to avoid wars not initiate them. I would say Truman was much more Dubya's "ideological ancestor," especially in how Truman used the power National Security Council order to initiate a Cold War, much like Dubya did with his War on Terror.

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  4. Interesting point, Gintaras. I've never understood the adulation of Truman but there seems to be a pattern in my view of presidents.

    I think it can be argued that the nation's move to expansion and occupation came under TR's ideological leadership. I'll have to read the book and report back.

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  5. If any ideological precedent was set it was during McKinley's term, not TR's. After all it was McKinley who initiated the Spanish-American War, claiming Cuba, Philippines, and other former Spanish territories. TR supported the war but during his term there wasn't much expansion on these policies as the Navy was in a pretty sorry state and the European powers ruled the Sea. TR reinforced the Monroe Doctrine when it came to Venezuela, when Britain and Germany threatened to collect debts, and he no doubt spurred the secession bid of Panama to open up a canal, but these actions pale in comparison to the Truman Doctrine, which is very definitely the ideological precedent to the Bush's War on Terror.

    On the domestic side it is pretty hard to make any link at all between TR and Dubya as they seem at opposite ends of the spectrum.

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  6. I don't disagree with you on any of this, Gintaras.

    There's a book I read awhile back in part on the Philippines -- Barbarian Virtues (TR's phrase) -- that looks at the role race, nationalism, and TR's crazy notions of masculinity played in advancing the idea of American superiority in the world. If I can dig it out, I'll quote some from it.

    That may be what Lears is getting at, but can't tell without reading the book. Guess I'll have to move it into the buy basket....

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  7. The book seems a little bit on the thin side for dealing with such a broad issue. TR's "masculinity" in itself would warrant 450 pages or more. Seems to me like one of those books that is relying heavily on its theme to sell copies. Here's a fun one on "Manliness,"

    http://www.amazon.com/Hoffmann-Bros-Damn-Sheer-Manliness/dp/1575440849/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1246458709&sr=1-3

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  8. Good one...!

    The academic alternative, which Robert and I briefly discussed here earlier, is the Rotundo book on American Manhood. It was written by the husband of one of the TR historians we interacted with at the NY Times.

    I found the parts I read fascinating -- masculinity/femininity is definitely socially constructed.

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  9. Here's another one I have my eye on, but it isn't out for another couple weeks:

    Wilderness Warrior, a biography of TR by Douglas Brinkley.

    http://www.amazon.com/Wilderness-Warrior-Theodore-Roosevelt-Crusade/dp/0060565284/

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  10. I was planning to pre-order this from Amazon, but it says it won't ship until August 3, so I think I'll just wait until it hits local bookstores. I still think this might make a good reading choice for the group, but maybe after the next book when it's more widely available.

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  11. Wilderness Warrior looks excellent. I plan on ordering it.

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  12. So do I. I ran across it the other day, but since I'm overspending on books, I'm all too
    happy to wait until July 28--its over 900 pages of TR -- I'll be in my glory

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  13. COOL! Are others interested? Can we read that one in August then?

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  14. Sounds like a perfectly "manly" book for the end of summer.

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  15. Yahoo! I hope others will join us.

    Any other ideas for what we should look at in the meantime? If I could find Race and Reunion I'd join you on that one, but it's as wild in my garage as it is in my backyard. Not sure I can dig it out.

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  16. I don't imagine I will see a copy of Wilderness Warrior before mid-August, so maybe it is best to make it the September book. Maybe we can read something else before then?

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  17. That would be fine with me. What are others thinking?

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  18. If you guys all have Nixonland, I plan on returning to it after I finish Race and Reunion.

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  19. Another option is to a book like Uncle Tom's Cabin, which would fit in nicely with the discussion we are having on Lincoln, race and reunion.

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  20. Here's an excerpt from Wilderness Warrior if anyone is interested:

    http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2009/05/teddy-roosevelt-excerpt200905

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