July 23, 2013

More Summer Book Club

Normally, this is where you get Talkin’ Baseball, but since Keith is still on vacation (and only really talks baseball with The Colonel, and no I do not know the secret club handshake) you get me for one more day. But if you're here for sports, the big stories in baseball right now are: the Ryan Braun PED suspension, Matt Garza got traded deep in the heart of Texas, the Rays can't lose, and the Natinals are imploding

Earlier this summer, Keith gave you some good choices for summer reading. However, he picked all fiction. So, I'm going to give you a couple of picks for interesting summer nonfiction.
                                                                                          Difficult Men by Brett Martin: This is the story of television’s third golden age, told by the people that created some of the greatest dramas of the last decade. Wait a minute, you might say, I already read that book by Alan Sepinwall; well you kind of did, but this one has a different angle. While Sepinwall’s book read like a giant recap of each series, this is a narrative tale of the (mostly) men who created and wrote these shows. This book is full of little details that expose just how connected people like David Chase, David Simon, and Matthew Weiner (like the fact David Chase almost ended up running the later seasons of “The Wonder Years,”or Weiner refused to hire the casting director of “The Wire” for “Mad Men” since he hated all of the British actors who were on Simon’s show) really are. The book focuses on Chase and “The Sopranos” mainly because it was the show that started the revolution and helped to create the TV auteur, but there are lots of good stories in here about each writer and their show. It’s a must read for fans of television, and a good companion to Sepinwall's book.

Gettysburg: The Last Invasion by Allen Guelzo: This summer marks the 150th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg and this book is the best story of the battle I've ever read (and I've read most of the ones published in the last 60 years or so). Guelzo does a great job with both the strategic and tactical decisions of both armies and their commanders; big as well as small. He takes you inside the terrain and the seemingly small choices undertaken by desperate soldiers that ended up having massive impact on the battle, and ultimately, history, as well the limitations of war technology in that era. But what sets this book apart is the depth in which Guelzo reveals the simmering resentments and political division in both the Confederate Army; and especially in the Union Army, whose generals were hopelessly divided between radical Republicans and those who not only hated Lincoln, but wanted some kind of restoration of the pre-war United States. This book is full of long forgotten details and is a must read if you are a Civil War devotee, or someone who has spent many, many hours hiking over the hallowed fields of Southern Pennsylvania.

These are just two of the many good nonfiction books available this summer.

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