South Washoe DEMS Book Club
Next "Meeting" - July 9, 2020

The South Washoe DEMS Book Club has been meeting monthly since September, 2013. We generally get together about once a month or so. The exact date for the next meeting is chosen at the end of each meeting. It is a great opportunity to be with a group of nice folks and have some lively discussions on topics of current interest and enjoy some light food & beverages.

The next book we will be discussing is, Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann. Our "meeting" will be on July 9, 2020 at 6:00 pm. Due to the COVID 19 Virus outbreak, we are meeting by video conference. Please contact Tracey Lane (traceylane05@gmail.com) to get the access link for the video call.


Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann

Killers of the Flower Moon Book Cover From New Yorker staff writer David Grann, #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Lost City of Z, a twisting, haunting true-life murder mystery about one of the most monstrous crimes in American history.
       
In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, they rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe.

Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. Her relatives were shot and poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more and more members of the tribe began to die under mysterious circumstances.

In this last remnant of the Wild West—where oilmen like J. P. Getty made their fortunes and where desperadoes like Al Spencer, the “Phantom Terror,” roamed—many of those who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered. As the death toll climbed to more than twenty-four, the FBI took up the case. It was one of the organization’s first major homicide investigations and the bureau badly bungled the case. In desperation, the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including one of the only American Indian agents in the bureau. The agents infiltrated the region, struggling to adopt the latest techniques of detection.  Together with the Osage they began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.

In Killers of the Flower Moon, David Grann revisits a shocking series of crimes in which dozens of people were murdered in cold blood. Based on years of research and startling new evidence, the book is a masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, as each step in the investigation reveals a series of sinister secrets and reversals. But more than that, it is a searing indictment of the callousness and prejudice toward American Indians that allowed the murderers to operate with impunity for so long. Killers of the Flower Moon is utterly compelling, but also emotionally devastating.

REVIEWS

Named a best book of the year by Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, GQ, Time, Newsday, Entertainment Weekly, Time Magazine, NPR's Maureen Corrigan, NPR's "On Point," Vogue, Smithsonian, Cosmopolitan, Seattle Times, Bloomberg, Lit Hub's "Ultimate Best Books," Library Journal, Paste, Kirkus, Slate.com and Book Browse

  • The Amazon Editors' Pick for the Best Book of 2017: In the 1920s, the Osage found themselves in a unique position among Native Americans tribes. As other tribal lands were parceled out in an effort by the government to encourage dissolution and assimilation of both lands and culture, the Osage negotiated to maintain the mineral rights for their corner of Oklahoma, creating a kind of "underground reservation." It proved a savvy move; soon countless oil rigs punctured the dusty landscape, making the Osage very rich. And that's when they started dying. You'd think the Osage Indian Reservation murders would have been a bigger story, one as familiar as the Lindbergh kidnapping or Bonnie and Clyde. It has everything, but at scale: Execution-style shootings, poisonings, and exploding houses drove the body count to over two dozen, while private eyes and undercover operatives scoured the territory for clues. Even as legendary and infamous oil barons vied for the most lucrative leases, J. Edgar Hoover's investigation – which he would leverage to enhance both the prestige and power of his fledgling FBI - began to overtake even the town's most respected leaders. Exhuming the massive amount of detail is no mean feat, and it's even harder to make it entertaining. But journalist David Grann knows what he's doing. With the same obsessive attention to fact - in service to storytelling - as The Lost City of Z, Killers of the Flower Moon reads like narrative-nonfiction as written by James M. Cain (there are, after all, insurance policies involved): smart, taut, and pacey. Most sobering, though, is how the tale is at once unsurprising and unbelievable, full of the arrogance, audacity, and inhumanity that continues to reverberate through today's headlines. — Jon Foro, The Amazon Book Review

  • In 1920s Oklahoma, many members of the oil-wealthy Osage Nation were dying untimely and suspicious deaths. The widespread crimes against the Osage and the inability to identify those responsible led to the establishment of what is now known as the FBI. Grann, author of the best-selling The Lost City of Z, makes a complex web of violence and deception easy to follow by keeping the focus on one Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, whose family members were murdered one by one. This gripping title uncovers a baffling level of corruption. The author points his investigative lens at the perpetrators of the murders, reveals cover-ups by authorities all the way up to the national level, and illustrates that the deception continued almost a century later. There are plenty of curriculum connections: Native American and Osage tribal history, economics, law enforcement, and journalism. A varied selection of photographs help to set the scene for readers. End pages include comprehensive source notes, citations, and a bibliography. VERDICT This thoroughly researched, suspenseful exposé will appeal to followers of true crime programs such as the podcast Serial and the Netflix documentary series Making a Murderer, as well as to fans of Louise Erdrich's The Round House. — Tara Kehoe, formerly at New Jersey State Library Talking Book and Braille Center, Trenton

  • "The best book of the year so far." —Entertainment Weekly

  • "A marvel of detective-like research and narrative verve." —Financial Times

  • "A shocking whodunit…What more could fans of true-crime thrillers ask?" —USA Today

  • "A master of the detective form…Killers is something rather deep and not easily forgotten." —Wall St. Journal

  • "Extraordinary" —Time Magazine

The book is available in hardback, paperback, eBook and audio from your local or online bookstores.


We do hope you will join us for this meeting. We will have some refreshments, a good discussion of the book and the issues it raises and, most of all, we always have a good time!

As always, please bring a list of books you would like to discuss in the future! Also, come prepared to enjoy a nice evening with your friends. We hope to see you there!

If you would like to receive our monthly SWD Book Club Reminder Email, or to let us know if you are coming, please email Fred & Millie May (may5432@gmail.com).


Previous Books Read and Discussed by the South Washoe DEMS Book Club

  • May, 2020
  • April, 2020
  • February, 2020
  • January, 2020
  • November, 2019
  • September, 2019
  • August, 2019
  • May, 2019
  • March, 2019
  • February, 2019
  • January, 2019
  • November, 2018
  • Earlier Books

The Lost City of the Monkey God
by Douglas Preston


The Lost Cith of the Monkey God Book CoverThe #1 New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller, named one of the best books of the year by The Boston Globe and National Geographic: acclaimed journalist Douglas Preston takes readers on a true adventure deep into the Honduran rainforest in this riveting narrative about the discovery of a lost civilization -- culminating in a stunning medical mystery.

Since the days of conquistador Hernán Cortés, rumors have circulated about a lost city of immense wealth hidden somewhere in the Honduran interior, called the White City or the Lost City of the Monkey God. Indigenous tribes speak of ancestors who fled there to escape the Spanish invaders, and they warn that anyone who enters this sacred city will fall ill and die. In 1940, swashbuckling journalist Theodore Morde returned from the rainforest with hundreds of artifacts and an electrifying story of having found the Lost City of the Monkey God-but then committed suicide without revealing its location.

Three quarters of a century later, bestselling author Doug Preston joined a team of scientists on a groundbreaking new quest. In 2012 he climbed aboard a rickety, single-engine plane carrying the machine that would change everything: lidar, a highly advanced, classified technology that could map the terrain under the densest rainforest canopy. In an unexplored valley ringed by steep mountains, that flight revealed the unmistakable image of a sprawling metropolis, tantalizing evidence of not just an undiscovered city but an enigmatic, lost civilization.

Venturing into this raw, treacherous, but breathtakingly beautiful wilderness to confirm the discovery, Preston and the team battled torrential rains, quickmud, disease-carrying insects, jaguars, and deadly snakes. But it wasn't until they returned that tragedy struck: Preston and others found they had contracted in the ruins a horrifying, sometimes lethal-and incurable-disease.

Suspenseful and shocking, filled with colorful history, hair-raising adventure, and dramatic twists of fortune, THE LOST CITY OF THE MONKEY GOD is the absolutely true, eyewitness account of one of the great discoveries of the twenty-first century.

REVIEWS

  • "Preston builds a compelling case for the scientific significance of what the expedition unearthed....The year may still be young, but I would wager a small fortune that Douglas Preston has already written the best snake-decapitation scene of 2017....The book's most affecting moments [center] on the otherworldly nature of the jungle itself....Memoirs of jungle adventures too often devolve into lurid catalogs of hardships [but] Preston proves too thoughtful an observer and too skilled a storyteller to settle for churning out danger porn. He has instead created something nuanced and sublime: a warm and geeky paean to the revelatory power of archaeology....Few other writers possess such heartfelt appreciation for the ways in which artifacts can yield the stories of who we are."―The New York Times Book Review

    "A well-documented and engaging read...The author's narrative is rife with jungle derring-do and the myriad dangers of the chase."―USA Today

    "Deadly snakes, flesh-eating parasites, and some of the most forbidding jungle terrain on earth were not enough to deter Douglas Preston from a great story."―The Boston Globe

    "Breezy, colloquial and sometimes very funny...A very entertaining book."―The Wall Street Journal

    "This modern-day archeological adventure and medical mystery reads as rapidly as a well-paced novel, but is a heart-pounding true story."―Shelf Awareness, Starred Review

    "A captivating real-life adventure tale... Preston deftly explains the science behind this work and makes it exciting."―Science News

    "Be prepared to turn the pages furiously as the heart of every adventurer is opened wide by the thrilling journey outlined in THE LOST CITY OF THE MONKEY GOD."―The Bookreporter

    "A swift and often hair-raising account... Preston pushes "The Lost City of the Monkey God" well beyond the standard adventure narrative."―The Chicago Tribune

    "Packed with the power of realism and history unfolding."―The Star Ledger

    "Admirers of David Grann's The Lost City of Z will find their thirst for armchair jungle adventuring quenched here... Irresistibly gripping."―Publishers Weekly, starred review

(NOTE: The Book Club did not meet in March, 2020)

Why We're Polarized
by Erza Klein


Why We Are Polorized Book CoverDiscover how American politics became a toxic system, why we participate in it, and what it means for our future--from journalist, political commentator, and cofounder of Vox, Ezra Klein.

After Election Day 2016, both supporters and opponents of the soon-to-be president hailed his victory as a historically unprecedented event. Most Americans could agree that no candidate like Donald Trump had ever been elected President before. But political journalist Ezra Klein makes the case that the 2016 election wasn't surprising at all. In fact, Trump's electoral victory followed the exact same template as previous elections, by capturing a nearly identical percentage of voter demographics as previous Republican candidates.

Over the past 50 years in America, our partisan identities have merged with our racial, religious, geographic, ideological, and cultural identities. Those merged identities have attained a weight that is breaking much in our politics and tearing at the bonds that hold this country together.

In this groundbreaking book, Klein shows how and why American politics polarized around identity in the 20th century, and what that polarization did to the way we see the world and each other. And he traces the feedback loops between our polarized political identities and our polarized political institutions that are driving our political system towards crisis.

Neither a polemic nor a lament, Klein offers a clear framework for understanding everything from Trump's rise to the Democratic Party's leftward shift to the politicization of everyday culture. A revelatory book that will change how you look at politics, and perhaps at yourself.

REVIEWS

  • "The story of this impeachment is the story of American politics today: polarization. It affects almost every aspect of American political life and has been studied by scholars from many different angles, with dozens of good historical and experimental approaches. Wouldn't it be great if someone would digest all these studies, synthesize them and produce a readable book that makes sense of it all? Ezra Klein has done just that with his compelling new work, Why We're Polarized. It is likely to become the political book of the year. . . . Powerful [and] intelligent." —Fareed Zakaria, CNN

  • "Few books are as well-matched to the moment of their publication as Ezra Klein's Why We're Polarized. . . . Klein's careful book explains how different groups of Americans can see politics through such different lenses, examining how various psychological mechanisms allow committed partisans to rationalize almost anything their party does. . . . This book fully displays the attributes that have made Klein's journalism so successful." —Dan Hopkins, Washington Post

  • "Why We're Polarized delivers. . . . What Klein adds especially to [is] our understanding of how we got here—why Trump is more a vessel for our division than the cause, and why his departure will not provide any magical cure. . . . A thoughtful, clear and persuasive analysis." —Norman Ornstein, New York Times Book Review

  • "Superbly researched and written . . . Why We're Polarized provides a highly useful guide to this most central of political puzzles, digesting mountains of social science research and presenting it in an engaging form. . . . An overall outstanding volume." —Francis Fukuyama, The Washington Post "Brilliant and wide-ranging. A book about what just might be our central, perhaps fatal problem. This is the kind of book you find yourself arguing with out loud as you read it and will stick in your head long after you've finished. Absolutely crucial for understanding this perilous moment." —Chris Hayes, host of "All In with Chris Hayes"

  • "Eye-opening . . . Klein's brilliant diagnosis and prescription provide a path to understanding—and healing." —O Magazine

A History of the World in 6 Glasses
by Tom Standage


A History of the World in 6 Glasses Book CoverFrom beer to Coca-Cola, the six drinks that have helped shape human history.

Throughout human history, certain drinks have done much more than just quench thirst. As Tom Standage relates with authority and charm, six of them have had a surprisingly pervasive influence on the course of history, becoming the defining drink during a pivotal historical period.

A History of the World in 6 Glasses tells the story of humanity from the Stone Age to the 21st century through the lens of beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, and cola. Beer was first made in the Fertile Crescent and by 3000 B.C.E. was so important to Mesopotamia and Egypt that it was used to pay wages. In ancient Greece wine became the main export of her vast seaborne trade, helping spread Greek culture abroad. Spirits such as brandy and rum fueled the Age of Exploration, fortifying seamen on long voyages and oiling the pernicious slave trade. Although coffee originated in the Arab world, it stoked revolutionary thought in Europe during the Age of Reason, when coffeehouses became centers of intellectual exchange. And hundreds of years after the Chinese began drinking tea, it became especially popular in Britain, with far-reaching effects on British foreign policy. Finally, though carbonated drinks were invented in 18th-century Europe they became a 20th-century phenomenon, and Coca-Cola in particular is the leading symbol of globalization.

For Tom Standage, each drink is a kind of technology, a catalyst for advancing culture by which he demonstrates the intricate interplay of different civilizations. You may never look at your favorite drink the same way again.

NOTES

  • New York Times bestseller

  • "[A HISTORY OF THE WORLD IN 6 GLASSES] is loaded with the kind of data that get talked about at the figurative water cooler...Incisive, illuminating and swift." ―Janet Maslin, The New York Times

  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tom Standage is technology editor at The Economist magazine and the author of four history books, "A History of the World in Six Glasses" (2005), "The Turk" (2002), "The Neptune File" (2000) and "The Victorian Internet" (1998). He holds a degree in engineering and computer science from Oxford University, and is the least musical member of a musical family. He is married and lives in Greenwich, London, with his wife and daughter.

Unsheltered
by Barbara Kingsolver


Unsheltered Bookcoverhe New York Times bestselling author of Flight Behavior, The Lacuna, and The Poisonwood Bible and recipient of numerous literary awards—including the National Humanities Medal, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and the Orange Prize—returns with a timely novel that interweaves past and present to explore the human capacity for resiliency and compassion in times of great upheaval.

How could two hardworking people do everything right in life, a woman asks, and end up destitute? Willa Knox and her husband followed all the rules as responsible parents and professionals, and have nothing to show for it but debts and an inherited brick house that is falling apart. The magazine where Willa worked has folded; the college where her husband had tenure has closed. Their dubious shelter is also the only option for a disabled father-in-law and an exasperating, free-spirited daughter. When the family’s one success story, an Ivy-educated son, is uprooted by tragedy he seems likely to join them, with dark complications of his own.

In another time, a troubled husband and public servant asks, How can a man tell the truth, and be reviled for it? A science teacher with a passion for honest investigation, Thatcher Greenwood finds himself under siege: his employer forbids him to speak of the exciting work just published by Charles Darwin. His young bride and social-climbing mother-in-law bristle at the risk of scandal, and dismiss his worries that their elegant house is unsound. In a village ostensibly founded as a benevolent Utopia, Thatcher wants only to honor his duties, but his friendships with a woman scientist and a renegade newspaper editor threaten to draw him into a vendetta with the town’s powerful men.

Unsheltered is the compulsively readable story of two families, in two centuries, who live at the corner of Sixth and Plum in Vineland, New Jersey, navigating what seems to be the end of the world as they know it. With history as their tantalizing canvas, these characters paint a startlingly relevant portrait of life in precarious times when the foundations of the past have failed to prepare us for the future.

NOTES

  • New York Times bestseller

  • An NPR pick for Best Books of 2018

  • An O, The Oprah Magazine's Best Book of 2018

  • A San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2018

  • One of Christian Science Monitor's best fiction reads of 2018

  • One of Newsweek's Best Books of the year

(NOTE: The Book Club did not meet in October, 2019)

Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis
by Jared Diamond


Upheaval Book CoverIn his international bestsellers Guns, Germs and Steel and Collapse, Jared Diamond transformed our understanding of what makes civilizations rise and fall. Now, in his third book in this monumental trilogy, he reveals how successful nations recover from crises while adopting selective changes -- a coping mechanism more commonly associated with individuals recovering from personal crises.

In this book, Diamond compares how six countries have survived recent upheavals -- ranging from the forced opening of Japan by U.S. Commodore Perry's fleet, to the Soviet Union's attack on Finland, to a murderous coup or countercoup in Chile and Indonesia, to the transformations of Germany and Austria after World War Two. Because Diamond has lived and spoken the language in five of these six countries, he can present gut-wrenching histories experienced firsthand. These nations coped, to varying degrees, through mechanisms such as acknowledgment of responsibility, painfully honest self-appraisal, and learning from models of other nations. Looking to the future, Diamond examines whether the United States, Japan, and the whole world are successfully coping with the grave crises they currently face. Can we learn from lessons of the past?

Adding a psychological dimension to the in-depth history, geography, biology, and anthropology that mark all of Diamond's books, Upheaval reveals factors influencing how both whole nations and individual people can respond to big challenges. The result is a book epic in scope, but also his most personal book yet.

REVIEWS

  • "A Bill Gates Summer Reading Pick A "riveting and illuminating" (Yuval Noah Harari) new theory of how and why some nations recover from trauma and others don't, by the Pulitzer-Prize-winning author of the landmark bestsellers Guns, Germs, and Steel and Collapse." - Good Reads

  • "A lively, though engagingly idiosyncratic, look at the forces that shape nations and the way leaders behave when faced with the inevitable consequences of those forces. And before he's finished he focuses on the United States and the challenges of our time. Spoiler alert: He's more optimistic than readers may expect in the face of climate change, political paralysis, public incivility, and low voter turnout ... The great pleasure of this volume is the random intriguing insights peppered throughout these cases ... Some readers may regard Diamond as a chronic worrier—he deplores barriers to voting, the high cost of elections, social and financial inequality, decreased economic mobility, the decline in investment in education, and huge variations in educational opportunities across the states, races, and classes. But no. He's actually an optimist, though of a curmudgeonly sort." - The Boston Globe

  • "So I dug into Diamond's latest, intrigued by his thesis that the way individual humans cope with crisis might teach something to countries. Then, before long, the first mistake caught my eye; soon, the 10th. Then graver ones. Errors, along with generalizations, blind spots and oversights, that called into question the choice to publish. I began to wonder why we give some people, and only some, the platform, and burden, to theorize about everything ... The Framework is driving the inquiry here, and everything stands at its service ... Sometimes the book feels written from a drying well of lifelong research rather than from the latest facts ... A remaining problem with Upheaval is one that cannot be fact-checked away, but, happily, is already being fixed across the world of letters. Until recently, in much of American life, and American writing, the default setting of human being was white and/or male. Today so much writing shatters this default, complicates the point of view. And Upheaval reminds us why that matters." - New York Times Book Review

The Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West
by David McCullough


The Pioneers Book CoverPulitzer Prize–winning historian David McCullough rediscovers an important and dramatic chapter in the American story—the settling of the Northwest Territory by dauntless pioneers who overcame incredible hardships to build a community based on ideals that would come to define our country.

As part of the Treaty of Paris, in which Great Britain recognized the new United States of America, Britain ceded the land that comprised the immense Northwest Territory, a wilderness empire northwest of the Ohio River containing the future states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. A Massachusetts minister named Manasseh Cutler was instrumental in opening this vast territory to veterans of the Revolutionary War and their families for settlement. Included in the Northwest Ordinance were three remarkable conditions: freedom of religion, free universal education, and most importantly, the prohibition of slavery. In 1788 the first band of pioneers set out from New England for the Northwest Territory under the leadership of Revolutionary War veteran General Rufus Putnam. They settled in what is now Marietta on the banks of the Ohio River.

McCullough tells the story through five major characters: Cutler and Putnam; Cutler’s son Ephraim; and two other men, one a carpenter turned architect, and the other a physician who became a prominent pioneer in American science. They and their families created a town in a primeval wilderness, while coping with such frontier realities as floods, fires, wolves and bears, no roads or bridges, no guarantees of any sort, all the while negotiating a contentious and sometimes hostile relationship with the native people. Like so many of McCullough’s subjects, they let no obstacle deter or defeat them.

Drawn in great part from a rare and all-but-unknown collection of diaries and letters by the key figures, The Pioneers is a uniquely American story of people whose ambition and courage led them to remarkable accomplishments. This is a revelatory and quintessentially American story, written with David McCullough’s signature narrative energy.

REVIEWS

  • "A tale of uplift, with the antislavery settlers embodying a vision of all that was best about American values and American ideals." The New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice

  • “David McCullough has become perhaps our best-loved chronicler of America’s past. . . . The Pioneers is the account not just of one Ohio settlement but of myriad such places across America, where innumerable immigrants (as the settlers were known) came to make a fresh start in a strange land. It is a story as resonant today as ever.” Author: Gerard Helferich, The Wall Street Journal

  • "McCullough is a master of research along with being a wonderful storyteller. He takes the history of the area and turns what could be dry and dull into vibrant and compelling tales. . . . Lovers of history told well know that McCullough is one of the best writers of our past, and his latest will only add to his acclaim." Author: Jeff Ayers, Associated Press
  • "To read The Pioneers is to understand that the settlement of the Northwest Territory was, in some ways, a second phase of the American Revolution – a messy experiment, touched by high ideals and bitter conflicts, that still resonates in ways we’re only beginning to grasp."
    Author: Danny Heitman, Christian Science Monitor

  • “Like McCullough's other books, The Pioneers succeeds because of the author's strength as a storyteller. The book reads like a novel, with a cast of fascinating characters that the average reader isn't likely to know about. . . . A worthy addition to McCullough's impressive body of work.” Author: Michael Schaub, NPR.org

(NOTE: The Book Club did not meet in June & July, 2019)

Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World -
and Why Things Are Better Than You Think

by Hans Rosling


Factfulness: The stress-reducing habit of only carrying opinions for which you have strong supporting facts.

Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World Book CoverWhen asked simple questions about global trends―what percentage of the world’s population live in poverty; why the world’s population is increasing; how many girls finish school―we systematically get the answers wrong. So wrong that a chimpanzee choosing answers at random will consistently outguess teachers, journalists, Nobel laureates, and bankers.

In Factfulness, Professor of International Health and global TED phenomenon Hans Rosling, together with his two long-time collaborators, Anna and Ola, offers a radical new explanation of why this happens. They reveal the ten instincts that distort our perspective―from our tendency to divide the world into two camps (usually some version of us and them) to the way we consume media (where fear rules) to how we perceive progress (believing that most things are getting worse).

Our problem is that we don’t know what we don’t know, and even our guesses are informed by unconscious and predictable biases.

It turns out that the world, for all its imperfections, is in a much better state than we might think.That doesn’t mean there aren’t real concerns. But when we worry about everything all the time instead of embracing a worldview based on facts, we can lose our ability to focus on the things that threaten us most.

Inspiring and revelatory, filled with lively anecdotes and moving stories, Factfulness is an urgent and essential book that will change the way you see the world and empower you to respond to the crises and opportunities of the future.


REVIEWS
  • “One of the most important books I’ve ever read―an indispensable guide to thinking clearly about the world.” – Bill Gates

  • “Hans Rosling tells the story of ‘the secret silent miracle of human progress’ as only he can. But Factfulness does much more than that. It also explains why progress is so often secret and silent and teaches readers how to see it clearly.”  Melinda Gates

  • "Factfulness by Hans Rosling, an outstanding international public health expert, is a hopeful book about the potential for human progress when we work off facts rather than our inherent biases." Former U.S. President Barack Obama

(NOTE: The Book Club did not meet in April, 2019)

Leadership: In Turbulent Times
by Doris Kearns Goodwin


Leadership: In Turbulent Times Book CoverIn this culmination of five decades of acclaimed studies in presidential history, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Doris Kearns Goodwin offers an illuminating exploration of the early development, growth, and exercise of leadership.

Are leaders born or made? Where does ambition come from? How does adversity affect the growth of leadership? Does the leader make the times or do the times make the leader?

In Leadership, Goodwin draws upon the four presidents she has studied most closely—Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson (in civil rights)—to show how they recognized leadership qualities within themselves and were recognized as leaders by others. By looking back to their first entries into public life, we encounter them at a time when their paths were filled with confusion, fear, and hope.

Leadership tells the story of how they all collided with dramatic reversals that disrupted their lives and threatened to shatter forever their ambitions. Nonetheless, they all emerged fitted to confront the contours and dilemmas of their times.

No common pattern describes the trajectory of leadership. Although set apart in background, abilities, and temperament, these men shared a fierce ambition and a deep-seated resilience that enabled them to surmount uncommon hardships. At their best, all four were guided by a sense of moral purpose. At moments of great challenge, they were able to summon their talents to enlarge the opportunities and lives of others.

This seminal work provides an accessible and essential road map for aspiring and established leaders in every field. In today’s polarized world, these stories of authentic leadership in times of apprehension and fracture take on a singular urgency.

REVIEWS
  • "After five decades of magisterial output, Doris Kearns Goodwin leads the league of presidential historians. Insight is her imprint."—USA TODAY

  • "A book like Leadership should help us raise our expectations of our national leaders, our country and ourselves."—The Washington Post

  • "We can only hope that a few of Goodwin's many readers will find in her subjects' examples a margin of inspiration and a resolve to steer the country to a better place."—The New York Times Book Review

The Fifth Risk
by Michael Lewis


The Fifth Risk Book CoverWhat are the consequences if the people given control over our government have no idea how it works?

"The election happened," remembers Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, then deputy secretary of the Department of Energy. "And then there was radio silence." Across all departments, similar stories were playing out: Trump appointees were few and far between; those that did show up were shockingly uninformed about the functions of their new workplace. Some even threw away the briefing books that had been prepared for them.

Michael Lewis’s brilliant narrative takes us into the engine rooms of a government under attack by its own leaders. In Agriculture the funding of vital programs like food stamps and school lunches is being slashed. The Commerce Department may not have enough staff to conduct the 2020 Census properly. Over at Energy, where international nuclear risk is managed, it’s not clear there will be enough inspectors to track and locate black market uranium before terrorists do.

Willful ignorance plays a role in these looming disasters. If your ambition is to maximize short-term gains without regard to the long-term cost, you are better off not knowing those costs. If you want to preserve your personal immunity to the hard problems, it’s better never to really understand those problems. There is upside to ignorance, and downside to knowledge. Knowledge makes life messier. It makes it a bit more difficult for a person who wishes to shrink the world to a worldview.

If there are dangerous fools in this book, there are also heroes, unsung, of course. They are the linchpins of the system―those public servants whose knowledge, dedication, and proactivity keep the machinery running. Michael Lewis finds them, and he asks them what keeps them up at night.

REVIEWS

  • “[A] page turner.… [Lewis'] most ambitious and important book.”
    New York Times Book Review

  • “Fascinating―and at times harrowing…. Lewis tells an important and timely story, one that all of us who pay for, care about, and want government to work should hear.”
    NPR

  • “A hymn to the 'deep state,' which is revealed as nothing more than people who know what they're talking about.”
    Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing

  • “[A] spellbinding, alarming analysis of the most serious threats to Americans’ safety happening now from inside the U.S. government.”
    Quartz

  • “Displaying his usual meticulous research and fluid prose, [Lewis] makes the federal bureaucracy come alive by focusing on a few individuals within each agency with fascinating―and sometimes heartwarming―backstories.…[A] well-written primer on how the government serves citizens in underappreciated ways.”
    Kirkus (starred review)

  • “Illuminating.… It's relevance to readers won't end with the Trump era.”
    Publishers Weekly

The Doctor's Prescription for What's Ailing America
by Vance Alm. MD


The Doctor's Prescription for What's Ailing AmericaComplacency is Killing Healthcare! We have watched as costs have risen, access has decreased, and quality has deteriorated. We've allowed these things to occur without discussing alternatives. Dr. Alm has spent over twenty years in medicine and believes that it is time to make dramatic changes to medical care provided in the United States. First, he discusses why a change is needed; including a broad discussion of key indicators of health and the staggering costs to the US taxpayer. He presents his plan for how the medical system in the United States could be improved. He presents how care could be provided by the federal government. Providing care through federal facilities by federal employees would provide better care, more effectively and more efficiently. The presentation points out differences in his plan and the current healthcare system; included is discussion of who would be affected if this plan were implemented, both those positively and negatively affected. A primary idea runs throughout the book: there are more problems to the current healthcare system than just who will pay for healthcare. Dr. Alm is concerned about these other problems and addresses physician training, research, need for rural healthcare facilities and the extremely important lack of mental healthcare in this country. This book is not just an effort to point out the problems in the system but also a possible solution to the issues facing healthcare in America. He finishes with some things that the reader can do to improve their own healthcare.

The book is available in paperback from your local or online bookstores.

(NOTE: The Book Club did not meet in December, 2018)

Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Explain Everything About
the World (Politics of Place)

by Tim Marshall


Prisoners of Geography Book CoverIn this New York Times bestseller, an award-winning journalist uses ten maps of crucial regions to explain the geo-political strategies of the world powers—“fans of geography, history, and politics (and maps) will be enthralled” (Fort Worth Star-Telegram).

Maps have a mysterious hold over us. Whether ancient, crumbling parchments or generated by Google, maps tell us things we want to know, not only about our current location or where we are going but about the world in general. And yet, when it comes to geo-politics, much of what we are told is generated by analysts and other experts who have neglected to refer to a map of the place in question.

All leaders of nations are constrained by geography. In “one of the best books about geopolitics” (The Evening Standard), now updated to include 2016 geopolitical developments, journalist Tim Marshall examines Russia, China, the US, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Japan, Korea, and Greenland and the Arctic—their weather, seas, mountains, rivers, deserts, and borders—to provide a context often missing from our political reportage: how the physical characteristics of these countries affect their strengths and vulnerabilities and the decisions made by their leaders.

Offering “a fresh way of looking at maps” (The New York Times Book Review), Marshall explains the complex geo-political strategies that shape the globe. Why is Putin so obsessed with Crimea? Why was the US destined to become a global superpower? Why does China’s power base continue to expand? Why is Tibet destined to lose its autonomy? Why will Europe never be united? The answers are geographical. “In an ever more complex, chaotic, and interlinked world, Prisoners of Geography is a concise and useful primer on geopolitics” (Newsweek) and a critical guide to one of the major determining factors in world affairs.

REVIEWS

"Quite simply, one of the best books about geopolitics you could imagine: reading it is like having a light shone on your understanding." (The Evening Standard)

"In an ever more complex,chaotic and interlinked world, Prisoners of Geography is a concise and useful primer on geo-politics." (Newsweek Europe)

"Marshall is excellent on some of the highways and byways of geopolitics." (Financial Times)

"This is not a book about environmental determinism – the geography of aregion is never presented as fatalistic; but it does send a timely reminderthat despite technological advances, geography is always there, often forcingthe hand of world leaders." (Geographical Magazine)

"Fans of geography, history and politics (and maps) will be enthralled." (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

"Lively and perceptive political and historical analyses are frequent. The chapter on China is excellent; the chapter on Africa combines geography and history in a convincing way; the chapter on Western Europe...is a brilliant narrative of European relations,particularly between France and Germany. The superb chapter on the Middle East makes for a clear indictment of the Sykes–Picot agreements and of their tracing of artificial borders. The chapter on the Arctic is precise and informative ...A very lively, sensible and informative series of country reports in which geography occupies its rightful place along with shrewd historical reminders and political judgments." (Survival: Global Politics and Strategy)

"Marshall's insistence on seeing the world through the lens of geography compels a fresh way of looking at maps—not just as objects for orientation or works of art, but as guideposts to the often thorny relations between nations." (New York Times Book Review)

"This book is especially timely...Landscapes, rugged or otherwise, and what the land holds in resources, exert their own kind of sway that no one, not even a Putin, can surmount. This book grabbed me because of its enormous relevance to our world today." (Booktrib.com)

"A convincing analysis of Russian geopoliticalthinking....Also makes clear the terrible price the world has had to paybecause European officials decided to create nation-states with borders thatcompletely ignored cultural geography." (Washington Post)

Lincoln in the Bardo: A Novel
by George Saunders


Lincoln in the Bardo Book CoverFebruary 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln’s beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill. In a matter of days, despite predictions of a recovery, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. “My poor boy, he was too good for this earth,” the president says at the time. “God has called him home.” Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returns, alone, to the crypt several times to hold his boy’s body.

From that seed of historical truth, George Saunders spins an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of its realistic, historical framework into a supernatural realm both hilarious and terrifying. Willie Lincoln finds himself in a strange purgatory where ghosts mingle, gripe, commiserate, quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance. Within this transitional state—called, in the Tibetan tradition, the bardo—a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie’s soul.

Lincoln in the Bardo is an astonishing feat of imagination and a bold step forward from one of the most important and influential writers of his generation. Formally daring, generous in spirit, deeply concerned with matters of the heart, it is a testament to fiction’s ability to speak honestly and powerfully to the things that really matter to us. Saunders has invented a thrilling new form that deploys a kaleidoscopic, theatrical panorama of voices to ask a timeless, profound question: How do we live and love when we know that everything we love must end?

REVIEWS

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • WINNER OF THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE

The long-awaited first novel from the author of Tenth of December: a moving and original father-son story featuring none other than Abraham Lincoln, as well as an unforgettable cast of supporting characters, living and dead, historical and invented

Named One of the Ten Best Books of the Year by The Washington Post, USA Today, and Maureen Corrigan, NPR • One of Time’s Ten Best Novels of the Year • A New York Times Notable Book

“A luminous feat of generosity and humanism.”—Colson Whitehead, The New York Times Book Review

“A masterpiece.”—Zadie Smith

 

October, 2018

In the Shadow of Statues Book CoverIn the Shadow of Statues
by Mitch Landrieu

(NOTE: The Book Club did not meet in August & September, 2018)

July, 2018

Dear Madam President Book CoverDear Madam President: An Open Letter to the Women Who Will Run the World
by Jennifer Palmieri

June, 2018

The Soual of America Book CoverThe Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels
by Jon Meacham

May, 2018

We Were Eight Years in Power Book CoverWe Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy
by Ta-Nehisi Coates

(NOTE: The Book Club did not meet in April, 2018)

March , 2018

How Democracies DieHow Democracies Die
by Daniel Ziblatt & Steven Levitsky

February, 2018

Fire and Fury Book CoverFire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House
by Michael Wolf

January, 2018

Strangers In Their Own Land Book CoverStrangers in the Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right by Arlie Russell Hochschild

(NOTE: The Book Club did not meet in December, 2017)

November, 2017

Requiem for the American Dream Book CoverRequiem for the American Dream: The 10 Principles of Concentration of Wealth and Power by Noam Chomsky

(NOTE: The Book Club did not meet in October, 2017)

September, 2017

Dark Money Book CoverDark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right
by Jane Mayer

August, 2017

Hillbilly Elegy Book CoverHillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis
by J.D. Vance

(NOTE: The Book Club did not meet in July, 2017)

June, 2017

The Firebrnd and the First Lady Book CoverThe Firebrand and the First Lady: Portrait of a Friendship: Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Struggle for Social Justice by Patricia Bell-Scott

May, 2017

Nudge Book CoverNudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness
by Richard H. Thayer and Cass R. Sunstein

(NOTE: The Book Club did not meet in April, 2017)

March, 2017

Don't Think of an Elephant Book CoverDon't Think of an Elephant! - Know Your Values and Frame the Debate
by George Lakoff

February, 2017

Lies, Incorporated Book CoverLies, Incorporated: The World of Post-Truth Politics
by Ari Rabin-Havt

(NOTE: The Book Club did not meet in October, 2016 thru January, 2017)

September, 2016

Grit BookcoverGrit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance
by Angela Duckworth

(NOTE: The Book Club did not meet in June, 2016 thru August, 2016)

May, 2016

Righteous Mind Book CoverRighteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion
by Jonathan Haidt

April, 2016

Rise of the Robots Book CoverRise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future
by Martin Ford

(NOTE: The Book Club did not meet in October, 2015 thru March, 2016)

September, 2015

The Post American World Book CoverThe Post-American World
by Fareed Zakaria

August, 2015

Elon Musk Book CoverElon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future
by Ashlee Vance

July, 2015

The Wright Brothers BookcoverThe Wright Brothers
by David McCullough

June, 2015

Is the American Century Over Book Cover Is the American Century Over?
by Joseph S. Nye, Jr.

NOTE: The Book Club did not meet in April & May, 2015

March, 2015

Islam for Dummies Book CoverIslam for Dummies
by Malcolm Clark

February, 2015

The Family Romanov Book CoverThe Family Romanov
by Candance Flemming

January, 2015

Rise and Fall of Joe McCarthy Book CoverRise and Fall of Joe McCarthy
by James Cross Giblin

NOTE: The Book Club did not meet in December, 2014

November, 2014

Truman Book CoverTruman
by David McCullough

October, 2014

The ROOSEVELTS Book CoverTHE ROOSEVELTS: An Intimate History
by cinematographer, Ken Burns

September, 2014

A Fighting Chance BookcoverA Fighting Chance
by Elizabeth Warren

 

August, 2014

Not For Profit Book CoverNot For Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities
by Martha C. Nussbaum

NOTE: The Book Club did not meet in July, 2014

June, 2014

The Divide Book CoverThe Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap
by Matt Taibbi

 

May, 2014

The Bomb Book CoverBomb: The Race to Build - and Steal - the World's Most Dangerous Weapon
by Steve Sheinkin

NOTE: The Book Club did not meet in April, 2014

March, 2014

Cybersecurity & Cyberwar Book CoverCybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know®
by P.W. Singer and Allan Friedman

 

February, 2014

American Nations BookcoverAmerican Nations: A History of the Eleven
Rival Regional Cultures of North America

by Colin Woodard

January, 2014

Outliners Book CoverOutliers: The Story of Success
by Malcom Gladwell

December, 2013

The Abolsultely True Diary of a Part Time IndianThe Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
by Sherman Alexie

November, 2013

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban
by Malala Yousafzai

October, 2013

The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper and Fairer Health Care
by T.R. Reid

September, 2013

How Do You Kill 11 Million People?: Why the Truth Matters More Than You Think
by Andy Andrews