Democracy by John Dunne (Atlantic, 2005) is book that gives deep political consideration of the concept of democratic government throughout the written history of the world. Although the subtitle is “A History,” I found it to be much more a philosophical text about what democracy has meant throughout time rather than a straight-forward history book.

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The Weight of Vengeance : The United States, the British Empire, and The War of 1812 by Troy Bickham (Oxford University Press, 2017) is a scholarly look at the “forgotten war.” Throughout my life, I have known very little about the War of 1812, so I was eager to learn more about this war that

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Indigenous Continent: The Epic Contest for North America by Pekka Hamalainen (Liveright Publishing, 2022) is a new approach to the history of North America, focusing on the ways Native Americans succeeded in holding on to their territory. The author looks as the strategies the Native Americans used to form alliances to strengthen their position and

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1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created by Charles C. Mann (Knopf, 2011) details the ecological and human impact of the Columbian exchange. As a dense book full of research carefully explained and expanded, 1493 was certainly not a book I “galloped” through, as one of the historian commentators exclaims on the back cover. But

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Teach by Dennis DiNoia captures some basic ideas on, as the subtitle explains “creating independently responsible learners.” These concepts are essential to successful teaching. He begins by outlining some of the issues of traditional schooling set-ups and explains how the role for teachers should be that of “coach.” Our main goal in teaching children is

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The Second Coming of the Lord by Gerald Lund (Deseret Book, 2020) collects and explains various scriptures and quotes from the prophets about, as the title indicates, the time when the Savior will return to the earth and reign with glory. With a personal approach to this religious topic, Lund manages to bring the difficult

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Heart of the Matter: What 100 Years of Living Have Taught Me by Russell M. Nelson (Desert Book, 2023) is a collection of teaching, stories, and spiritual insights from pioneering heart surgeon and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As a member of that Church, I sustain him as a prophet

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History in the Making by Kyle Ward (The New Press, 2006) is a nonfiction volume of curated and categorized passages from a variety of high school American history textbooks, from the early days until 1999, showing the ways various stories from history have been told to students over the years. The lengthy subtitle of the

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With the silly concept of rating things in life according to a five-star scale, The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green (Dutton, 2021) combines the author’s thoughts about humankind, our influence on the world, and the world’s changing influence on each of us in a collection essays. The essays range from somewhat silly to insightful. As

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The Collars of RBG: A Portrait of Justice by Elinor Carucci and Sara Bader (Clarkson Potter Publishers, November 2023) is a lovely coffee table book celebrating the unique personality and strong political influence of Ruth Bader Ginsburg with detailed photographs of her legendary collars. The text of the book highlights the origin of each collar

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Mr. Darcy: the swoon-worthy hero we all are waiting for. But maybe not? In The Darcy Myth: Jane Austen, Literary Heartthrobs, and the Monsters They Taught Us To Love (Quirk Books, November 2023), literature scholar Rachel Feder retells this narrative in a more accurate way. With an abundance of humor and with plenty of modern

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Stanley Wells is one of the world’s premier Shakespearean scholars, with, as he discusses in his epilogue, more than 80 years of experience of studying, teaching, reading, and watching Shakespeare. His newest book is an exploration of the man: What Was Shakespeare Really Like? (Cambridge University Press, September 2023). He writes about Shakespeare by considering

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