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Bob Dixon

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JAMIE'S BOOKSHELF: More Exciting Books Coming Your Way



Compiled by Jamie H. Vaught

Updated July 24, 2023


--The Butterfly Cage by Rachel Zemach (Unruly Voice, $18.99 for paperback) is a remarkable memoir written by a caring teacher who reveals some of the flaws in the field of the Deaf education at a public (hearing) school. While the book is funny, surprising, and disruptive, the reader will notice a Deaf teacher's frustrations and struggles with staff, administration, and aides who sabotage the teachers at every turn. The book "blows the lid off the California public school system's treatment of deaf students. You will be both enlightened and outraged," said John Geogegehan, a successful business executive who has written a book about his deafness. Zemach, the author who became Deaf at the age of 10, struggled with her childhood education, attending a series of schools that had one thing in common -- a lack of accessible education -- until she found herself at a school for the Deaf. After completing a degree in education, Zemach began teaching in the Deaf classroom at a local public school. Shocked at the deprivation she encountered there, she retired with a sense of urgency to write this book. She and her husband live in Northern California.


--The Corporation and the Twentieth Century: The History of American Business Enterprise by Richard N. Langlois (Princeton University Press, $50) discusses the rise and fall of managers during the 20th century. This new account of the rise and fall of managerialism holds major implications for contemporary debates about industrial and antitrust policies and the role of the corporation in the 21st century. The 800-page hardcover offers an alternative version: a comprehensive and nuanced reframing and reassessment of the economic, institutional, and intellectual history of the managerial era. Writes Daniel Akst of the Wall Street Journal, "(The book is) a monumental history of American business during the eventful decades when managers ruled." Another reviewer, Tyler Cowen of George Mason University, wrote the book "is a major achievement and stands as the best and most important work on the history of the modern American business corporation." The author is professor of economics at the University of Connecticut.


--The Columnist: Leaks, Lies, and Libel in Drew Pearson's Washington by Donald A. Ritchie (Oxford University Press, $34.95) is a fascinating story about a famous news journalist who wrote a daily "Washington Merry-Go-Round" column for 40 years. He also did a weekly radio and TV commentary. Breaking secrets was the heartbeat of Pearson's columns and radio/TV commentaries which led to the censure of two U.S. Senators, sent four members of the House to prison and undermined many political careers. The 367-page hardcover reveals the mystery behind Pearson's leaks and the accuracy of his most controversial revelations. The author is Historian Emeritus of the U.S. Senate.


--Secret City: The Hidden History of Gay Washington by James Kirchick (Henry Holt and Company, $25) is a gripping story about how homosexuality shaped every presidential administration from Franklin Delano Roosevelt to Bill Clinton. For the 827-page paperback, the author utilized thousands of pages of declassified documents, interviews with more than 100 people and material unearthed from presidential libraries and archives around the country. George Stephanopoulos of ABC News praised the book. "Not since Robert Cano's The Years of Lyndon Johnson have I been so riveted by a work of history," he wrote.


--Blowback: A Warning to Save Democracy from the Next Trump by Miles Taylor (Atria Books, $30) is a chilling glimpse of what could happen in the U.S. if we are not careful. With the 2024 election approaching, the formerly “Anonymous” official is back with bombshell revelations and a sobering national forecast. Through interviews with dozens of ex-Trump aides and government leaders, Taylor predicts what could happen inside “Trump 2.0,” the White House of a more competent and more formidable copycat. The author is a national security expert who works in Washington, D.C. He previously served as chief of staff at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security under the Trump administration.


--Phyllis George: Shattering the Ceiling by Paul Volponi and Lenny Shulman (University Press of Kentucky, $27.95) is a biography about the former First Lady of Kentucky who was better known as the first female anchor of a major network sports show. The hardcover traces George’s evolution from Miss America to broadcasting to First Lady who helped her husband, John Y. Brown Jr., get elected Governor in 1979.


--Power Failure: The Rise and Fall of an American Icon by William D. Cohan (Portfolio, $40) is an incredible story of the General Electric Company’s dramatic rise and unbelievable fall. A financial journalist who has written several bestselling books, the author diffuses the myth of GE, exploring in a rich narrative how a once-great company wound up broken and in tatters. It is a remarkable business book.


--In the Nation’s Service: The Life and Times of George P. Shultz by Philip Taubman (Stanford University Press, $35) is a definitive biography of the statesman who served as U.S. Secretary of Labor, Secretary of the Treasury, and Secretary of State. Based on exclusive access to Shultz’s personal papers, the 504-page hardcover provides a remarkable insider account of the behind-the-scenes struggles in unwinding the Cold War.


--The Right Call: What Sports Teach Us About Work and Life by Sally Jenkins (Gallery Books, $27.99) shares what it takes for ordinary people to achieve extraordinary results. The author uses dramatic sports anecdotes, featuring well-known personalities Bill Belichick, Pat Summitt, Peyton Manning, Diana Nyad, and Steve Kerr, among others, to illustrate seven inner qualities that allow ordinary people to overcome pressure, elevate their performance, and summon their best at the moments when they most need to. The author, who has written many books, has been a columnist and feature writer for The Washington Post for more than 20 years.


--The Bezos Blueprint: Communication Secrets of the World’s Greatest Salesman by Carmine Gallo (St. Martin’s Press, $28.99) reveals the communication strategies that Jeff Bezos pioneered to fuel Amazon’s astonishing growth. As one of the most innovative and visionary entrepreneurs of our time, Bezos reimagined the way leaders write, speak, and motivate teams and customers.


--The Fight of His Life: Inside Joe Biden’s White House by Chris Whipple (Scribner, $30) takes us inside the White House as the critical decisions of Biden’s presidency are being made. The author, who had a remarkable access to both President Biden and his inner circle – including Chief of Staff Ron Klain, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and CIA Director William Burns, pulls back the curtain on the internal power struggles and back-room compromises.


--Trillion Dollar Triage: How Jay Powell and the Fed Battled a President and a Pandemic – and Prevented Economic Disaster by Nick Timiraos (Little, Brown, $30) is an inside story of how Federal Reserve Board plainspoken chairman Jay Powell unleashed an unprecedented monetary barrage to keep the economy on life support. The Fed is one of the nation’s most important and least understood institutions. The author, who is The Wall Street Journal’s chief economics correspondent, draws on extensive interviews to detail the tense meetings, late night phone calls, and crucial video conferences behind the largest U.S. economic policy response since World War II.


--President Garfield: From Radical to Unifier by C.W. Goodyear (Simon & Schuster, $35) is the first authoritative biography of James Garfield in over 40 years. The last president born in a log cabin, Garfield was assassinated weeks after taking the White House in 1881. Before he held pubic office, Garfield was a scholar, a college president, and a preacher. He served nine terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. The 610-page hardcover, which is scheduled for release on July 4, is a must read for history buffs.


--Dinner with the President: Food, Politics, and a History of Breaking Bread at the White House by Alex Prud'homme (Knopf, $35) is a remarkable hardcover about the power of food (and eating) in the U.S. political world. Some of the most significant moments in history have occurred over meals, as U.S. presidents broke bread with friends or foe: Thomas Jefferson’s nationbuilding receptions in the new capital, Washington, D.C.; Ulysses S. Grant’s state dinner for the king of Hawaii; Teddy Roosevelt’s groundbreaking supper with Booker T. Washington; Richard Nixon’s practiced use of chopsticks to pry open China; Jimmy Carter’s cakes and pies that fueled a détente between Israel and Egypt at Camp David. The author shows that food is not just fuel when it is served to the most powerful people in the world. It is a tool of communication, a lever of power and persuasion, a form of entertainment, and a symbol of the nation.


--Winning Fixes Everything: How Baseball's Brightest Minds Created Sports' Biggest Mess by Evan Drellich (Harper, $32) is a revealing account of how a baseball team -- the Houston Astros -- could so dramatically descend into corruption. Through years of extensive interviews, the author who was former Houston Chronicle beat writer delivers the definitive account of baseball’s most controversial franchise and provides never-before-told details of a broken management culture. Drellich is now a senior writer for The Athletic.


--LBJ's Texas White House by Hal K. Rothman (Texas A&M University Press, $24.95) is an award-winning book in Texas that was originally published in 2001, but was republished later in 2018. The 300-page paperback tells a story about President Lyndon B. Johnson and his family ranch in Texas. The Johnson Ranch, to which LBJ took foreign dignitaries and national political leaders and to which he himself returned often while in office for renewal and perspective, represented the "real" America to many of its visitors.


--Baseball Rebels: The Players, People, and Social Movements That Shook Up the Game and Changed America by Peter Dreier and Robert Elias (University of Nebraska Press, $36.95) examines the key social challenges -- racism, sexism and homophobia -- that shaped society and worked their way into baseball's culture, economics and politics. Since baseball emerged in the mid-1800s to become America's pastime, the nation's struggles over race, gender, and sexuality have been reflected on the playing field, in the front office, in the press box, and in the community. Some of the baseball's rebels are widely recognized, but most of them either little known or known primarily for their baseball achievements, not their political views and activism.


--In the Arena: A Memoir of Love, War, and Politics by Chuck Robb (University of Virginia Press, $34.95) is a colorful story about President Lyndon B. Johnson's son-in-law who later became the governor of Virginia and U.S. Senator. Robb, who also served in the U.S. Marines and fought in the Vietnam War, married President's daughter, Lynda Bird Johnson, in a nationally broadcast White House wedding in 1967. This is Robb's first political memoir of his remarkable career, marriage, and life.

--Leadership: Six Studies in World Strategy by Henry Kissinger (Penguin Press, $36) examines the strategies of six great leaders of the 20th century and brings to life a unifying theory of leadership and diplomacy. The six extraordinary leaders discussed in the book are Konrad Adenauer, Charles de Gaulle, Richard Nixon, Anwar Sadat, Lee Kuan Yew, and Margaret Thatcher. To each of these studies, the author -- who served as National Security Advisor and then Secretary of State under Presidents Nixon and Ford -- brings historical perception, public experience and personal knowledge. Kissinger knew each of the subjects and participated in many of the events he describes. He received the 1973 Noble Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Medal of Liberty, among other awards.


Jamie Vaught, a longtime sports columnist in Kentucky, is the author of six books about UK basketball, including newly-published “Forever Crazy About the Cats: An Improbable Journey of a Kentucky Sportswriter Overcoming Adversity." 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 email at KySportsStyle@gmail.com.

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