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2018 Book Parade

The 2018 Collection:








The 2018 Book Parade continues with history & historical fiction published in 2018 but not featured here in the USA-eVote Reads section. Some of these we just didn’t get around to writing up for one reason or another, others I haven’t even gotten around to reading yet! Some you’ll see featured in the coming year – maybe even in history series posts!

2018 History: 

The Faith of Donald J. Trump by David Brody

RFK by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.The Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy by Tim Tate









A Blueprint for War: FDR and the Hundred Days That Mobilized AmericaThe Escape Artists: A Band of Daredevil Pilots and the Greatest Prison Break of the Great War

1983: Reagan, Andropov, and a World on the Brink








The Skorzeny Papers: Evidence for the Plot to Kill JFK



2018 Historical Fiction: 

The Tattooist of Auschwitz

Transcription Dear Mrs. Bird








 My Real Name Is HannaThe Goose RoadA Forgotten Place (Bess Crawford, #10)








An Irish Country Cottage (Irish Country #13)Orphan Monster Spy

The Kennedy Debutante









Stayed tuned in 2019 for more USA-eVote Reads posts! As well as more history series featured books!

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The Age of Eisenhower

2018 Collection: The Age of Eisenhower chronicles the rise and, well, never really fall of Supreme Allied Commander turned cold War Era President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The Age of Eisenhower argues that the age would rightfully encompass post-WWII America as our soldiers were coming home victorious to grand parades, up to (and some may find this surprising) that fateful day in Dallas. Yes, November 22, 1963.

Summary (official):

An original and penetrating assessment of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, showing Ike’s enormous influence on modern America, the Cold War, and on the presidency itself.

In a 2017 survey, presidential historians ranked Dwight D. Eisenhower fifth on the list of great presidents, behind the perennial top four: Lincoln, Washington, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Teddy Roosevelt. Historian William Hitchcock shows that this high ranking is justified. Eisenhower’s accomplishments were enormous, and loom ever larger from the vantage point of our own tumultuous times. A former general, Ike kept the peace: he ended the Korean War, avoided a war in Vietnam, adroitly managed a potential confrontation with China, and soothed relations with the Soviet Union after Stalin’s death. He guided the Republican Party to embrace central aspects of the New Deal like Social Security. He thwarted the demagoguery of McCarthy and he advanced the agenda of civil rights for African Americans. As part of his strategy to wage, and win, the Cold War, Eisenhower expanded American military power, built a fearsome nuclear arsenal and launched the space race. In his famous Farewell Address, he acknowledged that Americans needed such weapons in order to keep global peace—but he also admonished his citizens to remain alert to the potentially harmful influence of the “military-industrial complex.” 

From 1953 to 1961 no one dominated the world stage as did President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The Age of Eisenhower is the definitive account of this presidency, drawing extensively on declassified material from the Eisenhower Library, the CIA and Defense Department, and troves of unpublished documents. In his masterful account, Hitchcock shows how Ike shaped modern America, and he astutely assesses Eisenhower’s close confidants, from Attorney General Brownell to Secretary of State Dulles. The result is an eye-opening reevaluation that explains why this “do-nothing” president is rightly regarded as one of the best leaders our country has ever had. 

Like all good biographies, the story starts when Eisenhower’s story starts – in 1890 with birth of the third child of David and Ida. But we won’t spend much time on that, since a whole post will be devoted to that later, in the Biographies section. But, suffice to say, Hitchcock does spend some time discussing Eisenhower’s childhood, his time at West Point – where he graduated in 1915 with Omar Bradley – and his time serving in our great army.

But the focus on this particular biography is the Age of Eisenhower. See, although Ike graduated in 1915 while the Great War was going full scale over in Europe, he did not earn a coveted spot over seas as his first assignment. Instead, when President Wilson declared war in April 1917, Ike was stationed at Fort Oglethorpe in Georgia. He would not see war yet, despite his recent graduation from West Point.

So, his story cannot really pick up until June 24, 1942 – and this is all in the first chapter! For it was on this date that Eisenhower arrived in London, assuming the commanded of the Allied war in Europe.

Now the story can begin.

The next 18 chapters covers Ike’s time in Europe and his time in the White House, followed by a closing chapter that explains why the Age of Eisenhower did not end on January 20, 1961, but actually on November 22, 1963. See, if one looks closely, the two ran the country in similar fashions. They both spoke about the “Rights of man” being derived not from the state, but from “the hand of God.” The tackled the Civil Rights issues in similar fashions (and at similar speeds), “In his management of the cold war, Kennedy picked up right where Eisenhower left off” (510). Even issues like Laos and Vietnam were tackled in a Eisenhower-esque fashion. Kennedy even consulted Eisenhower on any number of critical issues – from the Bay of Pigs on down through the next three (almost) years.

These points are important because we should remember that Kennedy accomplished what he did because of Ike’s time in office – because Ike paved the road. Eisenhower’s “peace through strength” stance, his hardline with Khrushchev and Castro were not just important to the following administration, but to this country. Eisenhower was the president to pass Brown vs. Board of Education. Eisenhower desegregated the schools. Eisenhower had to send in troops when schools and governors refused to cooperate with his mandates. Eisenhower rebuilt up our military and our arms.

And most importantly, it was Eisenhower who rededicated this country back to God. It was his Back to God program his outwardly display of faith that made the 1950’s the decade we look back so fondly on.

Sure, there were recessions – there always will be. But Americans had, for the first time, extra money for houses, cars, and these new fangled things called televisions. It was Eisenhower’s post-WWII America that saw the boom of economy and the boom of Christianity. It was during the Eisenhower administration that we saw “In God we trust” on our money.

Eisenhower, faulted like any human being, was – and should be today – a 20th century American legend. A hero who served his country from 20 to 70 – and as an advisor until his own death. He was Supreme Allied Commander, a 5-Star General, President of the United States.

Yet, Eisenhower seems to have been forgotten in the realms of history. We pull him out to discuss D-Day, but his name doesn’t often come up afterwards. Yet, this is the man who stood strong during the Cold War, made steps in the Civil Rights movement, and reminded this country why we were great.

So, if you need to be reminded of why Eisenhower was important. If you need to be reminded of the stamp he left on history, then The Age of Eisenhower is the book for you.

Genre: History

Era: 1940’s & 50’s (predominately)

Goodreads: The Age of Eisenhower: America and the World in the 1950’s

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Who Killed Bobby?

2018 Collection: In honor of the 50th anniversary (remember I said last week that this is the year of the anniversaries – 100, 75, 55, & 50, just to name a few), Who Killed Bobby is actually a rerelease. I believe another, albeit, similar book was released this year. Actually, come to think of it, there were a few released this year. I’m sort of, uh, reading one right now. But, hey, it was free on Kindle Unlimited so I figured why not! Each account pays attention to different details.

Summary (official):

On June 5th, 1968, at L.A.’s Ambassador Hotel, Robert F. Kennedy celebrated his victory in the California Democratic primary with a rousing victory speech anticipating a successful run for the presidency. Moments later, gunshots shattered that dream. The police quickly apprehended Sirhan Sirhan, who the world believed had single-handedly masterminded the shooting. But in Who Killed Bobby? Shane O’Sullivan makes a stunning case that will fundamentally alter the way the public views Bobby Kennedy’s death. After an autopsy, LA County Coroner Thomas Noguchi concluded that the deadly shots had been fired from an inch behind Kennedy’s right ear, but not a single witness placed Sirhan this close; most placed his gun several feet away, and in front of the senator. Moreover, Vincent Di Pierro, along with several other witnesses, saw Sirhan with a girl in a polka-dot dress in the pantry, exclaiming, “We shot him. We shot him.” O’Sullivan presents new interviews with key witnesses the LAPD browbeat into changing their stories.

He also presents a damning case against Sirhan’s psychological state. Sirhan repeatedly scrawled “RFK Must Die” in his notebook and recreated the same kind of automatic writing when later hypnotized by his defense team. O’Sullivan cites psychiatric evidence that Sirhan was an extremely susceptible hypnotic subject, whose behavior on the night of the shooting fit the profile of a programmed assassin. Was Sirhan programmed to be a decoy for the real killer?

Essentially, Who Killed Bobby or any of the numerous others, deals with, well, the assassination and subsequent investigation. Or lack thereof. Because further investigation of the investigation shows just how many facts were ignored or covered up and just how many witnesses they forced to change their story.

Who Killed Bobby discusses the extra bullets – there were more bullets fired than Sirhan’s gun could hold. A number of which were found in walls and the ceiling but all were conveniently misplaced. There were also more bullets found in Senator Kennedy than reported.

The infamous girl in the polka dot dress and her connection with Sirhan is discussed; other sightings and her plausible role in the assassination plot included. Additionally, O’Sullivan looks at how Sirhan was duped into playing the role of “assassin” while someone else actually fired the gun (most probably Thane Eugene Caesar). Some witnesses even suspected that Sirhan was shooting blanks. He also discusses how Dr. Noguchi’s autopsy shows that the gun was fired a mere inch or two from behind the Senator’s ear, while Sirhan was reportedly anywhere from 2-6 feet in front of the victim.

Many people buy the “official” story, but many people also question the many plot holes and the LA police department’s questionable handling of the case. Eye witnesses were harassed into changing their answers, vital key pieces of evidence were lost or misplaced or completely ignored. Any evidence that didn’t fit into the pre-determined story line was basically thrown out.

Now, I will be the first to say that I do not buy every single conspiracy theory out there. However, when it comes to certain assassinations (Patton, the Kennedy brothers, etc.) or assassination attempts (Reagan), one has to admit that the “official stories” are, well, a bit . . . fishy. For one, isn’t the fact that they use the same plot time and time again getting, well, a little old? Now, maybe I’m wrong, but these theories do carry a lot of credence. Admittedly, not every “conspiracy” novel is rooted in fact. I read (and I mean that lightly) one about President Kennedy’s assassination that claimed that his brother was behind it. Yeah right.

But, if you’re on the lookout for some good conspiracy theories, well, this is a good one. If you’re looking for others (Kennedy, Patton, etc.) take a look at our Goodreads account, where we have painstakingly sorted our shelves. There, you can find our Conspiracy Theories shelf. We’ll continue to add more as, well, as I read them.

Not interested in conspiracies? Well, we have plenty of history and historical fiction, too!


Genre: Conspiracy Theories

Era: 1960’s

Goodreads: Who Killed Bobby?


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The Unknowns

A special WWI Centennial post. Honoring that fact that this year (well, today, precisely) is the year of anniversary (50 years, 55 years, & 100 years, just to name a few). This book looks at the heroes of WWI – the very heroes that would carry the Unknown hero to his burial in Arlington Cemetery.


Summary (Official):

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is sacred ground at Arlington National Cemetery. Originally constructed in 1921 to hold one of the thousands of unidentified American soldiers lost in World War I, it now also contains unknowns from World War II and the Korean and Vietnam Wars, and receives millions of visitors each year who pay silent tribute.

When the first Unknown Soldier was laid to rest in Arlington, General John Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Force in WWI, seleted eight of America’s most decorated, battle-hardened veterans to serve as Body Bearers. For the first time O’Donnell portrays their heroics on the battlefield one hundred years ago, thereby animating the Tomb by giving voice to all who have served. The Body Bearers appropriately spanned America’s service branches and specialties. Their ranks include a cowboy who relived the charge of the light brigade, an American Indian who heroically breached mountains of German barbed wire, a salty New Englander who dueled a U-boat for hours in a fierce gunfight, a tough New Yorker who sacrificed his body to save his ship, and an indomitable gunner who, though blinded by gas, nonetheless overcame five machine-gun nests. Their stories slip easily into the larger narrative of America’s involvement in the conflict, transporting readers into the midst of dramatic battles during 1917-1918 that ultimately decided the Great War.

Celebrated military historian and bestselling author Patrick O’Donnell illuminates the saga behind the creation of the Tomb itself and recreates the moving ceremony during which it was consecrated and the eight Body Bearers, and the sergeant who had chosen the one body to be interred, solemnly united. Brilliantly researched, vividly told, The Unknowns is a timeless tale of heeding the calls of duty and brotherhood, and humanizes the most consequential event of the twentieth century, which still casts a shadow a century later.


The Unknowns is the incredible story of the eight body bearers of the unknown soldier:

  • Chief Gunners mate James Delaney; member of SS 
  • Gunnery Sergeant Ernest A. Janson; 1stBattalion 5thRegiment Marines,
  • Color Sergeant James W. Dell; U.S. Army Field Artillery
  • Corporal Thomas D. Saunders; 2ndRegiment engineer
  • Chief Water Tender Charles Leo O’Connor; member of USS Mount Vernon,
  • First Sergeant Harry Taylor; master sergeant with U.S. Army headquarters
  • Sergeant Samuel Woodfill; a U.S. Army
  • First Sergeant Louis Razga; Coast Artillery Corps

So, this is eight separate stories about real heroes. Men who were willing to sacrifice everything; men who were willing to put their lives on the line for those they fought with. And not just once, but time and again.

These men went above and beyond the call of duty.

That’s why they were chosen to be the body bearers.

Because after eight incredible stories, there’s one more tale to tell.

See, after the war, the government decided that it wanted to honor the brave men who fought in the War to End All Wars. More precisely, they wanted to honor all of those unknown soldiers.

So, a huge celebration was planned, and during this celebration, they were going to bury, with honor one unknown solider, who would represent all of the unknown soldiers who had died in the war. Then, the eight body bearers would partake in the ceremony, honoring all the men who had died, especially those who would forever go unknown.

So, if you want a story about real, true heroes. Men who were willing to sacrifice everything, this is the book for you. Eight body bearers and an unknown solider.

Better yet, even though today is the 100th anniversary, we still have another seven weeks left of the year. Perfect timing to read up on WWI!

Genre: History

Era: WWI

Goodreads: The Unknowns


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Three Days in Moscow

The first USA-eVote Reads post not to be featured in a history series post. But, it is also the debut of the 2018 Collection: History books (and Historical Fiction, of course) released in 2018, in case anyone cares to peruse 2018 releases in this last 8 weeks of the year.


Summary: (Official)

On May 31, 1988, Reagan stood on Russian soil and addressed a packed audience at Moscow State University, delivering a remarkable—yet now largely forgotten—speech that capped his first visit to the Soviet capital. This fourth in a series of summits between Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, was a dramatic coda to their tireless efforts to reduce the nuclear threat. More than that, Reagan viewed it as “a grand historical moment”: an opportunity to light a path for the Soviet people—toward freedom, human rights, and a future he told them they could embrace if they chose. It was the first time an American president had given an address about human rights on Russian soil. Reagan had once called the Soviet Union an “evil empire.” Now, saying that depiction was from “another time,” he beckoned the Soviets to join him in a new vision of the future. The importance of Reagan’s Moscow speech was largely overlooked at the time, but the new world he spoke of was fast approaching; the following year, in November 1989, the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Union began to disintegrate, leaving the United States the sole superpower on the world stage.

Today, the end of the Cold War is perhaps the defining historical moment of the past half century, and must be understood if we are to make sense of America’s current place in the world, amid the re-emergence of US-Russian tensions during Vladimir Putin’s tenure. Using Reagan’s three days in Moscow to tell the larger story of the president’s critical and often misunderstood role in orchestrating a successful, peaceful ending to the Cold War, Baier illuminates the character of one of our nation’s most venerated leaders—and reveals the unique qualities that allowed him to succeed in forming an alliance for peace with the Soviet Union, when his predecessors had fallen short.

Three Days in Moscow, by Bret Baier (from Fox), can sort of be seen as a companion to 2017’s Three Days in January, about the 1961 administration shift from President and 5-Star General Eisenhower to war-hero Kennedy. Three Days in Moscow, covers President Reagan’s summit in Moscow with Premier Gorbachev. It released just in time for President Trump’s historic summit meeting in Singapore with Kim Jung Un. Actually, I think I was reading it at the time . . . or had just finished it, maybe.

Three Days in Moscow doesn’t just cover the historic summit, but Reagan’s role in bringing down communism. And, in an age were both communism and socialism seem to be trying to make a comeback, it’s important to read about how our country strode to keep it in check the first time around.

But it’s not just communism, like all good histories, Three days in Moscow starts with Reagan’s childhood, follows him through WWII, his time as an actor, his time a Screen Actor’s Guild president and touring for General Electric, his time as California Governor, and all through his time as President. Though don’t worry, by chapter 4, Reagan is already in the White House, so it’s not one of the books that spends so much time setting the stage that by the time you get to the subject of the book, it’s already half over. The bulk of the book follows Regan’s attempt to get a grip on communism and on a succession of Soviet dictators, who all seem crazier than the last (which is a fair assessment of a dictator).

But see, you don’t just follow Reagan as he attempts to get a summit, as he attempts to deal with nuclear weapons and communism, you get a feeling of why it was all so important. Because, just imagine, had the wall not come down in ’89 . . . well, could we still be dealing with it? Thankfully, we don’t have to know.

So, if you’re at all interested in the downfall of communism, in the cold war, in the Reagan Administration, or just in American History, itself, Three Days in Moscow is a good read (and maybe Three Days in January, as well, if you feel so inclined). It’s refreshing to get a positive account of a conservative president. Those are certainly few and far between these days.

Genre: History

Era: 1980’s (predominately)

Goodreads: Three Days in Moscow


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