Recommended Reads, Second in a Series

Some of my faves from the past three months:

* A Well-Paid Slave (Snyder). The account of Curt Flood's legal fight to break Major League Baseball's "reserve clause" and become a free agent, as well as the man himself, was a lot messier than I thought.

* Patriotic Treason (Carton). A vivid and haunting portrait of a vivid and haunting figure in American history, abolitionist John Brown.

* Mastering the Rockefeller Habits (Harnish). I dig the management guru books but have high standards; this one fulfilled, and left me contemplating how to apply the concepts to the organizations I'm a part of.

* The 21st Century City (Goldsmith). Though over a decade old, this handbook from the former mayor of Indianapolis and the privatization darling of the governance world was still a fresh and relevant read.

* The Coldest Winter (Halberstam). Halberstam's last book is an excellent exploration into a largely forgotten war, the Korean War, and is long enough to sufficiently cover both life in the trenches as well as the influence and foibles of the era's big names (Truman, MacArthur, Chiang, Mao, Stalin).

* The Civil War (Burns). This companion to the DVD series, which I still haven't seen but now want to all the more, was an excellent flow through our Civil War years; I especially enjoyed reading about how hard it was for the Confederacy, having been built on state's rights, to unite those very states towards a common cause.

* People of Paradox (Kammen). An insightful exploration into the paradoxical aspects of the formation of an American identity, peppered with such delightful words and phrases as "syzygy," "biformity," "pragmatic idealism," "conservative liberalism," "Calvinistic Babylon," and "honest graft."

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