Compiled by Jamie H. Vaught
This is the second of a two-part series about recently-published nonfiction books.
--"Ambition, Pragmatism And Party: A Political Biography Of Gerald R. Ford” by Scott Kaufman (University Press of Kansas, $34.95) captures the former president’s long and remarkable political career. For this 443-page biography, the author also interviewed family members as well as congressional and administrative officials for fresh perspectives, tracing Ford’s path from a Depression-era childhood through service in World War II to entry into Congress. Before Ford became President in 1974, replacing embattled Richard Nixon, he served as the House minority leader.
--"Yours In Truth: A Personal Portrait Of Ben Bradlee, Legendary Editor Of The Washington Post" by Jeff Himmelman (Random House Trade Paperback, $18) is a biography about crusty charismatic Washington, D.C., icon whose decisions at the helm of the Post during Watergate scandal changed the course of history. The author draws on never-before-seen internal Post memos, correspondence, personal photographs and private interviews to track Bradlee's 45-year career, including his close friendship with President John F. Kennedy. Wrote Chicago Tribune of the book, "The absolute best nonfiction book of the year . . . a work of journalistic art . . . history straight and true . . . should be required reading at the Columbia School of Journalism.”
--"Media Madness: Donald Trump, the Press, and the War over the Truth" by Howard Kurtz (Regnery Publishing, $28.99) is a stunning expose of how supposedly objective journalists have moved into the opposing camp after President Trump's rise to the White House. The author includes behind-the-scenes interviews with reporters, anchors and insiders within the Trump White House, discussing the uneasy relationship with the media and the president. The conservative publisher says it could be the most important political book of the year.
--"Educated: A Memoir" by Tara Westover (Random House, $28) is a remarkable story about a young girl from the mountains of Idaho who was kept out of school, left her survivalist family and earned a PhD from Cambridge University. Her family was isolated from mainstream society and the children didn't go to school or see a doctor. Her father didn't believe public education and medical establishments. The family was treated with herbalism at home when needed. When a brother went to college and came back with news of the world beyond the mountain, the author decided to try a new life. She taught herself enough mathematics, grammar, and science to take the ACT and was admitted to Brigham Young University, studying many subjects and learning for the first time about the major historical events like the Holocaust and the Civil Rights Movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her overseas, and attended Harvard and Cambridge University. The interesting volume is a tale of fierce family loyalty, and of the grief that comes from breaking away from her family.
--"Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic" by David Frum (Harper, $25.99) is a powerful book which warns the Americans that President Trump has undermined our democracy in ways even the most critical media has missed. Frum, who was George W. Bush’s speechwriter at the White House, writes, "From Russia to South Africa, from Turkey to the Philippines, from Venezuela to Hungary, authoritarian leaders have smashed restraints on their power. Media freedom and judicial independence have eroded. The right to vote remains, but the right to have one’s vote counted fairly may not. Until the U.S. presidential election of 2016, the global decline of democracy seemed a concern for other peoples in other lands. . . . That complacent optimism has been upended by the political rise of Donald Trump. The crisis is upon Americans, here and now."
--"The Faith of Donald J. Trump: A Spiritual Biography" by David Brody and Scott Lamb" (Broadside Books, $26.99) is a 377-page hardcover that attempts to show a different side of our current president that we don't read about very often. The authors, who have conducted extensive interviews with President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, noted that the president seems to be on a more spiritual journey lately, mocked by his critics and admired by his friends. Trump supporters have argued that Trump may be just what U.S. needs right now even though he is far from perfect as he has been married three times. Trump, by the way, was raised as a Presbyterian.
--"What Happened to Bernie Sanders" by Jared H. Beck (Hot Books, $17.99 paperback) is a story about how about presidential candidate Sanders lost the 2016 Democratic primary election to Hillary Clinton because of corruption. The book -- which attempts to explain what happened during the Democratic primaries using uncovered documents and other primary sources -- is written by the author/lawyer who sued the Democratic National Committee and Debbie Wasserman Schultz for collusion and fraud.
--"Game Face: A Lifetime of Hard-Earned Lessons On and Off the Basketball Court" by Bernard King with Jerome Preisler (Da Capo Press, $27) is a very insightful memoir about his personal life, growing up in Brooklyn, N.Y., and his playing days at the University of Tennessee and in the NBA. Because of UK-UT hoops rivalry, I certainly enjoyed reading about his college days, including games against the Wildcats during the mid-1970s. He also discussed coach Ray Mears and racism at UT.
--"It's Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration Is Doing in America" by David Cay Johnston (Simon and Schuster, $28) goes inside the White House to show how the federal agencies that touch the lives of all Americans are being undermined, using examples of following topics such as Stocking the Swamp, Climate Change, the Wall, and the Kleptocracy. This volume, which attempts to explain how the Trump administration is compromising our jobs, safety, finances and more, is written by a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter who knows Donald Trump more than most media folks. Johnston, who has been following Trump since 1988, recently wrote a bestselling biography of our current president.
Jamie H. Vaught, a longtime columnist in Kentucky, is the author of four books about UK basketball. He is the editor and founder of KySportsStyle.com 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 KySportsStyle@gmail.com.