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Discussion thread: What's the best NEW book you've read this year?
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Posted on 12/24/2001 10:10:07 AM PST by ken5050

Was just wondering what new books various Freepers enjoyed most this year? and why? Fiction or non fiction? And books published this year please.....so the Bible, or any of the classics are out....Was it, sadly, Barbara Olson's last book, or the Adams biography, or a good novel?


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There were a lot of good books published this year. For myself, I most enjoyed the biography of Paul Tibbetts, "The Man Who Won the War"....just a really good read. It brought tears to my eyes to read about Tibbets and his crew today, what they think and feel about their momentous mission, after all the intervening years. I can heartily commend it to you all...

I'm gone from FR from now till Wednesday...lots of prep for Christmas dinner tonite...we have a full house, and the usual riot of activity tomorrow. So, to one and all, Merry Christmas. May we have Peace on earth, and Godspeed to our troops.

1 posted on 12/24/2001 10:10:07 AM PST by ken5050
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To: ken5050
Almost finished with Peggy Noonan's book about Ronald Reagan, ' When Character was King'. That would be my selection for 2001.
2 posted on 12/24/2001 10:15:18 AM PST by Dittohead_2
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To: ken5050
I'm so far behind on my reading list, it's not even funny... and I know I'll get more books for Christmas (my parents always asked me what I wanted for christmas when I was a kid, and the answer was always the same: books) ... but the best book I've read this year was 'Unintended Consequences'... I re-read 'Atlas Shrugged' this year, and also re-read 'Pillars of the Earth' by Ken Follet (which, oddly, is one of my all-time faves)... I also had to read 'The Hobbit' and the 'Lord of The Rings' books again, since the movie is out (I won't take my kids to see the movie until they've read the Hobbit and the first of LOTR, so it'll be a few more weeks before we go...)

Where, oh where does the time go???? Mybe I've changed my mind - this year, for Christmas I want Time... ;0)

3 posted on 12/24/2001 10:16:23 AM PST by Chad Fairbanks
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To: ken5050
Band of Brothers - the companion book to the HBO series. Excellent!
4 posted on 12/24/2001 10:18:15 AM PST by Jaxter
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To: ken5050
I'm a horse racing devotee, so my pick would have to be Laura Hillenbrand's "Seabiscuit." Even if you're not into the sport, it's a terrific story and beautifully told.
5 posted on 12/24/2001 10:24:19 AM PST by white rose
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To: ken5050
Can I sneak in Jeff Shaara's "Gone for Soldiers," published last year?
6 posted on 12/24/2001 10:26:46 AM PST by DeaconBenjamin
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To: ken5050
The John Adams biography. What a guy. I also read "The Poisonwood Bible" by Barbara Kingsolver, whose politics I can't stand, but I liked the book lots. A very Merry Christmas to you and to everyone on FreeRepublic. I expect to get some good reading ideas on this thread.
7 posted on 12/24/2001 10:26:53 AM PST by Bahbah
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To: ken5050
No contest: John Kegan's " The First World War" . You can read several hundred works on this subject ( I have) and still learn much from his boook. As far as I know he is the first to refer, even in the most guarded terms , to the mutiny of the British Fifth Army in 1918 and the only popular historian to point out that WW1 didn't really end in Nov 1918. Also, who else can you read who lectured at Sandhurst AND Vassar ?
8 posted on 12/24/2001 10:29:31 AM PST by RocketWolf
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To: Dittohead_2
I agree - just finished Peggy Noonan's book "When Character Was King" last night. Very readable and enlightening biography of Reagan. I also just finished "Bias" - it was good, but not "best" of the year.
9 posted on 12/24/2001 10:30:15 AM PST by mountaineer
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To: ken5050
I always have a difficult time assessing what book is "best." There are so many different reasons as to why one or another would earn that description.

This year I read We Were Soldiers Once...And Young. Virtually every page in that book left me in awe. Stories of courageous actions when life and limb are the stakes always leave me with that feeling.

Certainly, the Ia Drang engagement wasn't the worst battle in the history of the world. Nor were the casualties at the highest percent of combatants as in every battle in history.

Still, it was described vividly. There had to have been an epiphanies throughout the American command.

For frightful intensity, it remined me of the two day Wilderness engagement between Grant and Lee in 1864. My hat will always remained tipped to those that were there and didn't shrink from responsibility.

10 posted on 12/24/2001 10:30:27 AM PST by stevem
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To: ken5050
My son just finished a couple of books on the AR15 rifle and he lent me his copy of Handloading for Competition by Glenn Zedicker. I feel like I'm starting all over again and this time I want to do it right. I want to change the way I read a book. It's not going to be just for a time waster or for amusement. I want to get something out of this and study. Hopefully, the next time someone asks me how I liked a book, I'll be able to remember even the smallest details.
11 posted on 12/24/2001 10:38:07 AM PST by Shooter 2.5
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To: ken5050
Relatively new:

Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan.

Puts the emperor in a new (and not very flattering) light. It also shows how little our so-called experts knew about Japan and the Japanese culture both before and after the war. Much of what we are told about their culture truly did not come about until the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but we are taught that these are philosophies are centuries old.

12 posted on 12/24/2001 10:40:51 AM PST by sharktrager
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To: ken5050
As of right now, "John Adams" by David McCullough, but I better leave the final choice open because I've dropped an awful lot of hints for the Peggy Noonan Reagan book to show up under the tree tomorrow.
13 posted on 12/24/2001 10:42:24 AM PST by Reo
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To: Shooter 2.5
1. Jeffrey T. Richelson: The Wizards of Langley

2. James Bamford: Body of Secrets

14 posted on 12/24/2001 10:42:57 AM PST by Doctor Stochastic
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To: white rose
If you want the best-ever horseracing book, buy "Champions". It is the history of the sport in North America, and provides complete Racing Form past performances of over 500 of the alltime greats. Pricey, but indispensable for a true addict.
15 posted on 12/24/2001 10:44:08 AM PST by Elvis van Foster
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To: ken5050
I don't really go by whether a book is "new" per se- as long as it is new to me is what counts.
Notable books (to me) I've read this year- "Flowers for Algernon"; "The Thin Red Line" (much better than the film); "In Harm's Way"; "Only Forward" (by Michael Marshall Smith); and working on "The Road to Serfdom". I've gone back and re-read some books that I saw discussions on at Free Republic including "The Secret Agent" (Joseph Conrad).
Merry Christmas.
16 posted on 12/24/2001 10:46:40 AM PST by Prodigal Son
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To: ken5050
Thanks for asking -- now I can take everyone's suggestions and shop at Amazon after Christmas for the books I really want!

My favorite book was "Scandalmonger" by William Safire. It's about James Callender, the English newspaperman who took on Adams, Jefferson, Hamilton and others in the 1795-1805 period. Absolutely first rate historical novel.

17 posted on 12/24/2001 11:36:24 AM PST by RandyRep
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To: ken5050
Neal Stephenson. Cryptonomicon.
18 posted on 12/24/2001 11:47:23 AM PST by goorala
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To: ken5050
I also recommend "Band of Brothers." Ambrose certainly does his homework. Also, just finished "Duty" by Bob Greene, the newspaper columnist. It's about his dad, that generation and Gen. Paul Tibbetts, the pilot of the Enola Gay. Pretty interesting...the Boomers are re-evaluating the "Greatest Generation"...finally...after calling them warmongers and pigs when they were young.

sigh.

19 posted on 12/24/2001 12:20:09 PM PST by Keith
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"The Art Of Shen Ku" by Zeek. You really cannot read this book to get the best from it. You have to live it.
20 posted on 12/24/2001 12:43:42 PM PST by catonsville
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To: ken5050
Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold set in the Harding administration this story about a stage magican has as many twists and turns as a good magic act. In fact it's kind of structured like a good magic act. I will probably buy his next novel on the basis of reading this one. Both my wife and I liked it.

Living Terrors: What America Needs to Know to Survive the Coming Bioterrorist Catastrophe by Michael T., Ph.D., M.P.H. Osterholm, John Schwartz A good basic primer on biowarfare written a couple of years ago and published last year in hardback and now out in paperback. This is the kind of book that you can give to someone without much scientific knowledge and by the end of the book they will have a decent layman’s knowledge of the subject. Sets up examples that read like a decent thriller and then goes on to explain the basic problems in clear concise and readable form.

John Adams by David McCullough. He’s an outstanding historian and writer and I’ve pretty much read every book he’s written. A couple months before I read his book on Truman. While I enjoyed that book you can tell from reading it that McCullough was a big Truman fan and it may have colored the writing a bit. In Adams you don’t have that problem and the writing is superb.

I’ve read these recently and would really have to think about what I read earlier in the year that I would recommend. Well perhaps any book by George McDonald Frazer in the Flashman series. Not great literature but a lot of fun. I’ve read all of them. Another of recommendation would be all of the books by Lawrence Shames starting with his first one, Tropical Depression . Nothing serious just a light suspense novel which deals more with relationships and characters than it does with suspense. In the summer I describe it as a great book to take to the beach or to read on the plane.

21 posted on 12/24/2001 12:53:46 PM PST by airedale
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To: ken5050
hardt & negri's "empire"
22 posted on 12/24/2001 1:05:15 PM PST by gfactor
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To: goorala
Cryptonomicon is truly outstanding. I've read it three times in six months, something I have never done before except from boredom.
23 posted on 12/24/2001 1:08:11 PM PST by Iris7
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To: goorala
Cryptonomicon

Had that one on my wish list at Amazon. Hope someone bought it for me.

MM

24 posted on 12/24/2001 1:23:50 PM PST by MississippiMan
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To: ken5050
I guess "Bias," I can't remember what else I read...
25 posted on 12/24/2001 1:25:25 PM PST by xm177e2
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To: xm177e2
Jeff Head's "Dragon's Fury - Breath of Fire" was really excellent, is brand new, and was written by a legendary Freeper. Check it out!

Dragon's Fury

26 posted on 12/24/2001 1:33:50 PM PST by Jack Black
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To: Jack Black
"Carnage and Culture" by Victor Hanson. If you want to know why we kicked butt in Afghanistan---and it only has a little bit to do with weapons and technology!---read this.
27 posted on 12/24/2001 1:39:07 PM PST by LS
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To: ken5050
Would love to ask a more narrow question on this thread. What's the best technothriller of the year to you? I love stuff like Deaver's The Blue Nowhere and other thrillers that work in a heavy dose of technology. There are surprisingly few good ones out there.

MM

28 posted on 12/24/2001 1:45:37 PM PST by MississippiMan
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To: Chad Fairbanks
and also re-read 'Pillars of the Earth' by Ken Follet (which, oddly, is one of my all-time faves)

Interesting,Pillars of the Earth is one of my faves,too.Excellent Historical fiction.Brother Cadfael mysteries by Ellis Peters take place in the same time period and follow Englands history from the early 1100's to about 1170,the same timeline that Ken Follett followed in Pillars.If you enjoyed it,check out Bro.Cadfael mysteries.

29 posted on 12/24/2001 1:55:52 PM PST by cardinal4
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To: cardinal4
Thanks... I'll take a look... dang it, with my list, it'll 2004 before I get to 'em, though ;0)
30 posted on 12/24/2001 1:59:13 PM PST by Chad Fairbanks
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To: goorala
Yes... great book... enjoyed it very much... :0)
31 posted on 12/24/2001 2:01:04 PM PST by Chad Fairbanks
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To: ken5050
Fiction choice - Transfer of Power by Vince Flynn.
32 posted on 12/24/2001 2:01:08 PM PST by Churchillspirit
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To: Churchillspirit
BooBoo1000, I just finished " John Quincy Adams," a must read for anyone interested in history and the personal side of one of our most famous people

" A Band of Brothers" by Stephen Ambrose is very interesting and also interesting to note what some of the " Band" went on to accomplish in their lives

Finally " Nothing Like It In the World" also by Stephen Ambrose, the story of how the Central Pacific Railroad, and the Union Pacific came into being. Talk of Lying, Cheating, stealing on a grand scale, let alone moving the Sierra Nevada 85 miles west on a map, in order that the Southern Pacific would be paid more per mile of track than they received on the flat ground. A real piece of Americana

33 posted on 12/24/2001 2:16:07 PM PST by BooBoo1000
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To: ken5050
Just started reading Theodore Rex, by Edmund Morris, the second in his trilogy on Roosevelt.

The first book was bully; highly readable, with many amusing anecdotes; informative; not an academic biography but few bestsellers are.

Who knows what stories lurk in volume 2? Perhaps Theodore, as president, wrestling (physically) with Taft, hanging from a wire over the Potomac to strengthen his wrists, coining phrases ("throwing my hat into the ring", "good to the last drop")? Will Morris reveal the shocking true story behind the "Teddy Bear"?

Read it and find out.

34 posted on 12/24/2001 2:22:34 PM PST by monkey
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To: ken5050
My favorite was "Road to Rivoli" by Martin Boycott Brown. It recounts Napoleon's First Italian Campaign 1796-97 in consumnate detail. It was published in April of this year.
35 posted on 12/24/2001 2:31:42 PM PST by Eternal_Bear
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To: ken5050
"I Married a Communist," by Philip Roth. You can't agree with his ultimate political point of view, but it's a scaldingly honest and interesting novel -- by a novelist who's at the top of his form (which is considerable), doing what a novelist really should do: examining his own culture and his own time.
36 posted on 12/24/2001 4:36:42 PM PST by MoralSense
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To: white rose
One more vote for "Seabiscuit" -- fabulous. Also, "On Snooker," by Mordecai Richler, to keep the sports fans going.
37 posted on 12/24/2001 4:37:43 PM PST by MoralSense
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To: LS
Victor Davis Hanson's "Soul of Battle" is excellent, although I must say the man can't tell a story to save his life. Blistering, vivid style, but he's basically an essayist. Somebody ought to teach him about narration, then he'd have the whole package.
38 posted on 12/24/2001 4:40:03 PM PST by MoralSense
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To: ken5050
Warriors of God by James Reston,

This book details the third crusade involving Richard the Lionhearted and Saladin.

The treatment of Saladin was done after research among middle eastern scholars and sounds idyllic, naive and a white wash from a western point of view.

James Reston leaves himself open to the criticism of being estranged from Christianity to the point of not being able to be objective in his narrative.

His description of Christian crusaders, their motivations and treachery is contrasted against the idyllic Saladin.

If not for the third crusade, Saladin would have been well situated to take all of Europe. He had the resources, the backing of all Islamic leaders and had consolidated the power of the islamic world by becoming the emperor of Egypt and Syria.

This book is a must read for understanding why Saladin, a Kurd, is the blueprint and touchstone all Islamic leaders use. Sadam Hussein has referred to himself as "the new Saladin" as has Arafat. Every moslem wants to unit Islam, solidfy support and take over the world. They really Do want to take back Spain and Austria since they had conquered them at one time in the past and consider that a legitimate claim to ownership in the future.

Forget "moderate" mohammedans,... the impetus of islam is submit or die.

39 posted on 12/24/2001 5:34:59 PM PST by Podkayne
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To: ken5050
"Theodore Rex" is the best TR biography I've read - I'm not done with it. Enjoyable reading about a great President.
40 posted on 12/24/2001 5:40:35 PM PST by 185JHP
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To: ken5050
I loved "Cryptonomicon" by Neal Stephenson. But; my vote would have to be for Tim Power's "Declare" - the fantasy featuring Kim Philby.
41 posted on 12/24/2001 5:42:49 PM PST by robertc5
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To: ken5050
OCEANS 11...ooops you said book...I don't read anything but FR...sorry!
42 posted on 12/24/2001 5:47:27 PM PST by notyourregularhandle
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To: ken5050
Fiction: Gangs of New York. Written in 1928. Covers the period 1790-1920. Interesting read. Martin Scorsese making it into a picture for 2002 release.
43 posted on 12/24/2001 5:49:27 PM PST by breakem
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To: Podkayne
"Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban" by J. K. Rowling. It's a little long and has some strange foreign words but it's so good they might even make a movie of it.
44 posted on 12/24/2001 5:54:20 PM PST by bayourod
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To: ken5050
Non-fiction lies, I've learned long ago. Fiction, in literature, in cinema, is where the truth can be told.

The best new book I read this past year was Alexander Hemon's "The Question of Bruno". History fictionalized to get at the truth. Hemon is a Croat who emigrated to this country a few years ago speaking very little English and today he writes better than all your televised celebrity writers. Highly recommended. Here's the publisher's website.

45 posted on 12/24/2001 5:56:08 PM PST by Revolting cat!
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To: ken5050
Left Behind series

Frank Perretti series

46 posted on 12/24/2001 5:57:46 PM PST by RedBloodedAmerican
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To: ken5050
In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick is a great non-fiction book about the Whaler Essex that was stoved by a sperm whale.

This story was the inspriration for Moby Dick

47 posted on 12/24/2001 6:11:53 PM PST by Fzob
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To: ken5050
AT ANY COST How Al Gore Tried to Steal the Election by Bill Sammon

This reads like a nightmare for conservatives. It all works out okay in the end, though.

48 posted on 12/24/2001 6:26:39 PM PST by Faraday
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To: ken5050
I'm calling it a tie between The Tyranny of Good Intentions: How Prosecutors and Bureaucrats Are Trampling The Constitution In The Name of Justice (Paul Craig Roberts and Lawrence M. Stratton) and The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. And an extremely tight tie at that!
49 posted on 12/24/2001 6:28:05 PM PST by BluesDuke
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