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JAMIE'S BOOKSHELF: More Bookish Fun For Winter Reading

Updated: Feb 15, 2020

Updated February 2020

Compiled by Jamie H. Vaught

Here's a list of recently-published nonfiction volumes that you may be interested in.

–“LBJ’s 1968: Power, Politics, and the Presidency in America’s Year of Upheaval” by Kyle Longley (Cambridge University Press, $15.95) is a new 361-page paperback which tells a fascinating story about President Lyndon B. Johnson and the significant events of 1968. The author leads his readers on a behind-the-scenes tour of what Johnson characterized as the “year of a continuous nightmare.” By the way, the author – who is currently a professor at Arizona State University – has connections with the state of Kentucky. In 1993, Longley received his PhD in history at UK where he was a teaching assistant and instructor for several years. He also was a visiting assistant professor at Centre College for one year. Dr. Longley has written numerous books, including “Senator Albert Gore, Sr.: Tennessee Maverick.”

–“One Soul At A Time: The Story of Billy Graham” by Grant Wacker (William B. Eerdmans Publishing, $24.99) is a well-researched biography about one of the most famous evangelists in history. The new 324-page hardcover includes the author’s decades of research on Graham and U.S. evangelicalism along with personal interviews, archival research and never-before-published photographs from the Graham family. Graham died in 2018 in North Carolina at the age of 99.

–“A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump’s Testing of America” by Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig (Penguin Press, $30) is an explosive look at the first three years of the Trump White House. The 465-page hardcover by Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post journalists takes readers behind the scenes to reveal never-before reported details of President’s shocking behavior and new evidence of chaos in his administration.

--"Author in Chief: The Untold Story of Our Presidents and the Books They Wrote" by Craig Fehrman (Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster, $30) is a behind-the-scenes and delightful story about our Presidents as authors which offers a rare window into the public and private lives of our leaders. The remarkable volume unearths countless insights, including newly uncovered information, about the presidents through their literary works. Wrote Thomas Mallon of The Wall Street Journal, “One of the best books on the American presidency to appear in recent years.”

–“The Broken Road: George Wallace and a Daughter’s Journey to Reconciliation” by Peggy Wallace Kennedy with Justice H. Mark Kennedy (Bloomsbury Publishing, $28) is a powerful memoir about the politics of her youth as well as intimate stories about her famous father and family. The elder Wallace, who opposed racial desegregation, was the controversial governor of Alabama for many years and a former presidential candidate. While her father eventually renounced his racist views at the end of his life, the author has been widely hailed as a “symbol of racial reconciliation.”

–“Profiles in Corruption: Abuse of Power by America’s Progressive Elite” by Peter Schweizer (Harper, $29.99) is revealing look of the shady deals and corrupt practices of the modern left. The bestselling author, who researched for more than 18 months for this volume, has 1,126 footnotes to back up his reporting. The 354-page hardcover uncovers the private finances and secret deals of some of America’s top leaders.

. –“The Power of Wow: How to Electrify Your Work and Your Life by Putting Service First” by the employees of Zappos as told to Mark Dagostino (BenBella Books, $29.95) tells powerful stories and lessons that they have learned in business and in life. It will show how leading and infusing humanity into the workplace can change everything in your business, your community and your life. The hardcover is essentially a follow-up to Tony Hsieh’s “Delivering Happiness,” which was published in 2010.

–“The Great Rift: Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, and the Broken Friendship That Defined an Era” by James Mann (Henry Holt and Co., $32) explores each powerful man’s life and career to show how and why this deep and permanent disagreement occurred. Through dozens of original interviews and surprising revelations from presidential archives, the author brings to life the very human story of how this influential friendship turned so sour and transformed the way U.S. acts in the world.

In the George W. Bush White House, Cheney served as the vice president, while Powell was the Secretary of State. This is Mann’s eighth book on American politics and national security issues.

--"Free, Melania: The Unauthorized Biography" by Kate Bennett (Flatiron Books, $27.99) is a 269-page hardcover about one of the most fascinating First Ladies in American history. A former model who grew up in a communist country, Mrs. Trump is a reluctant pillar in a controversial presidential administration who speaks five languages and runs the East Wing like none of her predecessors ever could. The readers get an insider's look at the current and complex First Lady, from her childhood in Slovenia to her days in the White House, and everything in between.

–“American Oligarchs: The Kushners, the Trumps, and the Marriage of Money and Power” by Andrea Bernstein (W.W. Norton & Company, $30) is a compelling narrative that tells how the Trump and Kushner dynasties encouraged and profited from a system of corruption, dark money, among other things. The author is an award-winning investigative journalist.

--"Running Against the Devil: A Plot to Save America from Trump -- and Democrats from Themsleves" by Rick Wilson (Crown Forum, $28) is basically a guidebook for beating President Donald Trump's tricks and tweets during the 2020 presidential campaign. A longtime Republican strategist with decades of national political experience, the author does not like Trump and offers a biting analysis about saving America and the guide to make Trump a one-term president after a poor three-year performance in the White House. Obviously, it's a 327-page volume the Trump supporters wouldn't enjoy.

Jamie H. Vaught, a longtime columnist in Kentucky, is the author of five books about UK basketball, including "Chasing the Cats: A Kentucky Basketball Journey." He is the editor and founder 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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