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Bob Dixon

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Middlesboro, KY 40965


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JAMIE'S BOOKSHELF: Popular Books That Could Be On Your Summer Reading List

Compiled by Jamie H. Vaught


–“Blood and Treasure: Daniel Boone and the Fight For America’s First Frontier” by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin (St. Martin’s Press, $29.99) is an explosive and fast-paced story about the mid-18th century struggles in our country, and the guide to this epic narrative – fueled by contemporary diaries and journals, newspaper reports, and eyewitness accounts – is America’s first and arguably greatest pathfinder Daniel Boone.

–“Our Team: The Epic Story of Four Men and the World Series That Changed Baseball” by Luke Epplin (Flatiron Books, $29.99) is a riveting story about the integration of the Cleveland Indians and their quest for a World Series trip during the late 1940s through four key participants – owner Bill Veeck and his players Larry Doby, Bob Feller and Satchel Paige.

–“This Country: My Life in Politics and History” by Chris Matthews (Simon & Schuster, $28.99) is a memoir of modern America through the story of his remarkable life and career. A former speechwriter for President Carter and Chief of Staff to legendary Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill, Matthews was the host of his TV news program on MSNBC, “Hardball with Chris Matthews.”

–“Bound by War: How the United States and the Philippines Built America’s First Pacific Century” by Christopher Capozzola (Basic Books, $35) is a remarkable portrait of America’s long and fateful military relationship with the Philippines amid a century of Pacific warfare. From the colonial-era Philippine Scouts (which was a military organization of the U.S. Army until World War II) to post 9/11 contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Filipinos were crucial partners in the exercise of U.S. power. The Philippines once was a U.S. territory.

--"The Premonition: A Pandemic Story" by Michael Lewis (W.W. Norton, $30) is a nonfiction thriller about three main characters -- a biochemist, a public health worker, and a federal government employee -- who understood the dangers or consequences of the coronavirus for our country early on as they studied this vicious disease. Sadly, our federal government and the White House didn't pay much attention to them during the very early days. The bestselling author writes how unprepared the government and its agencies were for what was about to come. Universal Pictures reportedly has screen rights to Lewis' book so we soon may be seeing a movie about the pandemic.

–“Killing the Mob: The Fight Against Organized Crime in America” by Bill O’Reilly (St. Martin’s Press, $30) traces the ruthless history of 20th century organized crime in the U.S. and looks at the nation’s most notorious serial robbers, conmen and mob family bosses. This 293-page hardcover reads like a crime novel and is the 10th in a series of best-selling “Killing” history books written by the author, who is a well-known TV journalist.

–“Antitrust: Taking on Monopoly Power From the Gilded Age to the Digital Age” by Amy Klobuchar (Alfred A. Knopf, $32.50) is a captivating history of the antitrust movement that shows us what led to the present moment and offers achievable solutions to prevent monopolies, promote business competition and encourage innovation. As the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights, Klobuchar is working on issues raised by giant tech companies such as Facebook, Google (it reportedly controls 90 percent of the search engine market), and Amazon, and puts forth her plans, ideas, and legislative proposals designed to strengthen the antitrust laws and antitrust enforcement.

--"Billy Graham: The Man I Knew" by Greg Laurie with Marshall Terrill (Salem Books, $29.99) is an extraordinary portrait that covers the famous and well-respected evangelist’s private challenges and public successes as well as his disappointments and joys. The author, who is also a pastor and a bestselling author, is one of the fortunate people who knew Graham personally as he sheds light on evangelist's lesser-known struggles—such as a broken heart before he met the love of his life and a crisis of faith from which he emerged stronger than ever.

--"An American Marriage: The Untold Story of Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd" by Michael Burlingame (Pegasus Books, $27.95) is an entertaining biography about President Lincoln and his marriage. Based on 30 years of research, the 302-page volume describes and analyzes why Lincoln had good reason to regret his marriage to Mary Todd. It shows the First Lady accepted bribes and kickbacks, sold permits and pardons, engaged in extortion, and peddled influence. The author, who holds the Chancellor Naomi B. Lynn Distinguished Chair in Lincoln Studies at the University of Illinois in Springfield, has written or edited several books about Lincoln.

--"The Man I Knew: The Amazing Story of George H.W. Bush's Post-Presidency" by Jean Becker (Twelve, $30) is a humble journey about a well-liked politician who went from president to man of the people. The 336-page hardcover provides a vibrant behind-the-scenes look into the ups and downs of heading the office of a former president and it is written by someone who knew Bush very well. The author was Bush's chief of staff for nearly 25 years from 1994 to his death in 2018.

--"Heart and Steel" by former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher with Michael Holley (Atria Books, $28) is a 274-page autobiography that takes the readers on his remarkable journey filled with success and heartbreaking moments, including a three-month period in 2010 when he lost his wife and his father. A member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Cowher was born and raised just 15 minutes from the old Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh.

–“Chaos Under Heaven: Trump, XI, and the Battle for the 21st Century” by Josh Rogin (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30) is an explosive, behind-the-scenes story of President Trump’s high-stakes confrontation with Beijing. The 356-page hardcover – filled with stunning revelations drawn from author’s access to top White House officials as well as the nation’s leading foreign policy experts – reveals an administration at war with itself during perhaps the most critical moments of our lifetime.

–“Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know” by Adam Grant (Viking, $28) examines the critical art of rethinking; learning to question your opinions and open other people’s minds, which can position you for excellence at work and wisdom in life. It is pointed out intelligence is usually seen as the ability to think and learn, but in a rapidly changing world, there’s another set of cognitive skills that might matter more: the ability to rethink and unlearn. An organizational psychologist who teaches at Wharton, the bestselling author writes that he argues like he’s right but listens like he’s wrong.

–“Getting to the Heart of the Matter: My 36 Years in the Senate” by Carl Levin (Wayne State University Press, $29.99 is a 338-page story about his early days in Detroit as the son of a respected lawyer and his 36-year career in the U.S. Senate, representing Michigan. Levin -- who has met numerous leaders around the world, including China's Jiang Zemin and Egypt's Anwar Sadat -- recounts experiences, thoughts and actions during his long Senate career. He retired from Senate in 2015.

–“Stronger: Courage, Hope & Humor in My Life with John McCain” by Cindy McCain (Crown Forum, $28) is an inspiring memoir about her adventurous life with her late husband, and their political trials and triumphs. The author was just out of college when she first met and fell in love with the celebrated Navy hero who later became a well-respected U.S. Senator and a presidential candidate.

–“Madam Speaker: Nancy Pelosi and the Lessons of Power” by Susan Page (Twelve, $32.50) is 439-page biography about the most powerful woman in U.S. political history. The hardcover is filled with more than 150 exclusive interviews with those who know her best as well as a series of in-depth interviews with Pelosi herself. The author is the award-winning Washington Bureau chief of USA Today where she writes about politics and the White House.

–“Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos and the Invention of a Global Empire” by Brad Stone (Simon & Schuster, $30) presents a fascinating picture of Amazon’s unprecedented growth and its revolutionary billionaire founder. The author, who wrote bestselling “The Everything Store,” is senior executive editor of global technology at Bloomberg News.

Jamie H. Vaught, a longtime sports columnist in Kentucky, is the author of five books about UK basketball, including recently-published “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 email at


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