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BOOKSHELF: Entertaining Books, Including Baseball & Politics, Are Plentiful

Compiled by Jamie H. Vaught

This is the second of a two-part series on recently-published nonfiction books.

--“Fever Swamp: A Journey Through the Strange Neverland of the 2016 Presidential Race” by Richard North Patterson (Quercus, $26.99) is a masterful attempt to examine the unusual political race in a humorous way. Recognize the author’s name? Yes, he’s the same famous person who is best known for his best-selling novels. The 448-page book is basically a collection of insightful articles or essays that Patterson wrote for the Huffington Post during the presidential campaign.

--“Casey Stengel: Baseball’s Greatest Character” by Marty Appel (Doubleday, $26.95) is an intimate biography of the colorful Hall of Famer who was the only person in history to wear the uniforms for all four New York teams: the Dodgers, Giants, Yankees and Mets. As a legendary manager, he had complicated relationships with stars Yogi Berra, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and Billy Martin. After serving as the Yankees manager for 12 years, winning seven World Series titles, Stengel – nicknamed the “The Old Perfessor” – came out of one-year retirement and managed another New York team, the expansion Mets when he was 72 years old. Appel, who has written over 20 books, was the youngest PR director in baseball history when owner George Steinbrenner promoted him to the New York Yankees post in 1973. The book is scheduled for release in March.

--“The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World” by Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu with Douglas Abrams (Avery, $26.00) is a fascinating and inspiring story about the two legendary figures who are perhaps the most joyful people in the world despite more than 50 years of exile and hardships. In 2015 they spent one week together sharing intimate stories and their spiritual feelings and practices after Archbishop Tutu traveled to Lama’s home in India to help celebrate the latter’s 80th birthday. And they looked back to answer a burning question: How do we find joy in the face of the life’s anticipated suffering?

--“The Making of the President 2016: How Donald Trump Orchestrated a Revolution” by Roger Stone (Skyhorse Publishing, $29.99) is the inside story of how Trump’s campaign came up with a stunning election victory that almost no one saw coming. It is a 363-page hardcover about how inexperienced candidate Donald Trump pulled off arguably the greatest political upset in U.S. history without the help of the mainstream media who didn’t really take him seriously. A political veteran of several Republican presidential campaigns, the author has written recent bestsellers about Richard Nixon, the Bush family and the Clinton family.

--“The Case Against Sugar” by Gary Taubes (Alfred A. Knopf, $26.95) is a powerful, persuasive account about the sweet-flavored substance that isn’t all that healthy. As the book points out, sugar is at the root of health-related problems such as diabetes, obesity and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. The 365-page book makes a strong argument that sugar is the tobacco of the new millennium and makes us sick. The author also wrote a bestseller titled, "Why We Get Fat," several years ago. Wrote Katie Couric, “The obesity epidemic is an ever-growing threat to the overall health of our nation. In making the case against sugar, Gary Taubes details the often insidious efforts by the sugar industry to hide how harmful it is, just as the tobacco companies once did. This is required reading for not only every parent, but every American.”

--"The Last of the President's Men" by Bob Woodward (Simon & Schuster, $28) is now available in paperback. It is an untold story of Alexander Butterfield, the White House aide who revealed the secret taping system that led to President Richard Nixon's resignation in 1974. Most of the details in this book was obtained from 46 hours of interviews with Butterfield and his thousands of White House documents. The award-winning author has written numerous presidential and political-related books, and has shared in two Pulitzer Prizes, first for the Washington Post's coverage of the Watergate scandal (with Carl Bernstein), and later for coverage of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

--"A Consequential President: The Legacy of Barack Obama" by Michael D'Antonio (Thomas Dunne Books, $27.99) is an insightful look at the historic Obama Presidency, revealing the high and low points of the eight-year administration. Interestingly, D'Antonio is the same author who recently wrote a Donald Trump biography. In addition to several books, he has written articles for major publications such as Esquire, Sports Illustrated, New York Times, among others. D'Antonio once captured a Pulitzer Prize in 1984 (along with a team of reporters at Newsday) for investigative stories about the Baby Jane Doe case.

--"War on the Basepaths: The Definitive Biography of Ty Cobb" by Tim Hornbaker (Sports Publishing, $16.99) is a full story of Baseball Hall of Famer's life and career, some of which has been lied about and mythologized for many decades. Nicknamed "The Georgia Peach," Cobb had a reputation as a "dirty" player who was supposedly was a racist, among other things. But this new 356-page paperback, which was first published in hardcover in 2015, attempts to provide a more accurate story about one of the greatest players ever to grace a baseball diamond.

Jamie H. Vaught, a longtime columnist in Kentucky, is the author of four books about UK basketball. He is the editor of magazine and a professor at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College in Middlesboro. You can follow him on Twitter @KySportsStyle or reach him via e-mail at

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