A tribute is in order for David McCullough, author of John Adams. The story of John Adams life is truly an amazing, riveting one, but having it presen...moreA tribute is in order for David McCullough, author of John Adams. The story of John Adams life is truly an amazing, riveting one, but having it presented in such a well-written book makes reading it an entirely enjoyable and unforgettable experience. His writing flows into the mind smoothly and easily. Mr. McCullough has a great respect for the founding fathers and says that "we can never know enough about them." He writes about John Adams with warmth and respect, but never whitewashes the truth, staying thoroughly in what we can know of reality. He presents a real human being, weaknesses and strengths, victories and defeats, with all the ups and downs that are present in every life. It was a sad day when I finished reading this book - it's one of those books you wish could go on and on.(less)
This is a life changing book. This is the story of Joni Eareckson Tada's walk with God and the development of her relationship with Him, starting with...moreThis is a life changing book. This is the story of Joni Eareckson Tada's walk with God and the development of her relationship with Him, starting with her earliest childhood memories. Joni has suffered in ways that most of us cannot imagine and God has used this suffering to show Himself to her in ways that a lot of us have never seen. One of the running themes in this book is that those who lean on God the hardest find out His strength and love in the deepest ways. God shines through Joni's life brilliantly; her humility allows Him to receive great glory. She readily admits her failures and faults and her need for God, and this gives so much more power to her message than if she had it all "put together."
Lately I have been struggling with the "whys" of suffering in my own life. This book has offered new perspective and hope. It has made me desire God more and trust in His goodness more. I needed to read this book. (less)
Okay, I must apologize in advance for getting a little gushy in this review…
I have been working on a presidential reading project for a few years now...moreOkay, I must apologize in advance for getting a little gushy in this review…
I have been working on a presidential reading project for a few years now and have been greatly anticipating the day when I finally got to read Harry S. Truman’s biography by David McCullough: a book about one of my favorite presidents written by one of my favorite authors. And this book truly lived up to all of my expectations for it. McCullough writes beautifully and warmly with great attention to detail about President Truman, leaving not a stone unturned, with a liberal sprinkling of personal and intriguing details about this humble man who attained the highest office in the land. If you read this book, I guarantee that your view of both Truman and McCullough will be positively impacted.
What stands out to me the most in reading this book is Truman’s character. He truly believed in working hard, telling the truth, forgiving and being gracious to your enemies, loyalty to family and friends, caring for the poor and the marginalized, and a host of other down-home American values. But he didn’t just believe these things, he lived them to the best of his ability, putting feet to his beliefs. And what is truly amazing is that the power of the presidency did nothing to tarnish or take away his virtue, but rather provided a platform for him to affirm and live out his values in a very public way.
Did Truman have his faults? Yes. And David McCullough is not afraid to discuss these. He had a temper, he tended have poor judgment in picking friends, and did not always make the wisest of decisions. But when you look at the running themes of his life, you see a lot to admire and respect. Even though he was a faulty human – and he knew he was – he truly tried to do his best.
If I had to pick one thing that I really admire about Truman I would have to say it is his great love and devotion to his wife and family. He was completely faithful to his wife through every phase of life. He was always completely above-board in all of his conduct towards women in his life, protecting and valuing his relationship with his wife above all others.
I’ve said this before, but I really, really appreciate how graciously David McCullough handles his subjects. He presents a balanced view of the person, isn’t afraid to bring up faults or mistakes or quote the enemies, but yet it is all done with great respect. He shows you the humanness of the people he writes about, both the good and the bad, but somehow he leaves you with a warm and hearty respect for the good that the person was able to accomplish, the courage they had to overcome, and the character they developed in spite of weakness. I am so thankful for the great contributions that David McCullough has added to the telling of America’s story. (less)
Evelyn’s husband (Rick Husband) was the captain of the crew on the Columbia space shuttle that blew up in 2003. Her husband was a very godly man and i...moreEvelyn’s husband (Rick Husband) was the captain of the crew on the Columbia space shuttle that blew up in 2003. Her husband was a very godly man and in the book Evelyn does a wonderful job highlighting his growth and faith in the Lord. She also shares how the Lord sustained her through his death and beyond. It is a sad book in some ways, but very encouraging and uplifting. It's wonderful to see the Lord taking care of people who go through things like that. There is no sorrow too deep for Him.
This is definitely a good read - The author’s writing style is very down-to-earth, engaging and humorous at times. You feel like you're sitting in her living room, sharing a cup of tea with her and hearing her tell her story. It's hard to put down.(less)
This is an excellent biography of an excellent man. I knew very little about James Monroe before picking up this book and was pleasantly surprised to...moreThis is an excellent biography of an excellent man. I knew very little about James Monroe before picking up this book and was pleasantly surprised to find his life to be one full of excitement, passion, great accomplishment, and excellence. Harlow Unger tells James Monroe’s story in a very positive, respectful way, and even though his tone glows a bit at times, it doesn’t detract from the story but rather enhances it in my opinion. I very much enjoyed reading this book and have now a new-found respect for the 5th president of our nation. (less)
As I read through this book, my respect for Clarence Thomas grew greatly. He is a very honest, hard-working, sensitive person, and he writes transpare...moreAs I read through this book, my respect for Clarence Thomas grew greatly. He is a very honest, hard-working, sensitive person, and he writes transparently about his struggles and achievements. He is a humble person and is quick to attribute his successes to the influential people in his life, his grandfather being the chief one.
I really gained encouragement reading about how the Lord sustained him and protected him through the fiery ordeal of his Supreme Court confirmation hearings. What really amazed me was his willingness to search his own heart during the attacks on his reputation; he looked to see if there was anything that he could purge from his life and found an inner pride that needed to be destroyed. It is not often that people have the moral fortitude to search their own heart when being criticized and attacked, yet Clarence is such a man.
I was also amazed by Clarence's humility and honesty in describing his relationship with his grandfather. He describes the harshness that his grandfather showed toward him as a child, yet he later shows how that was very beneficial in the shaping of his own personal character; he writes about the anger he had towards his grandfather and the subsequent rift that was formed, yet he shares how later in life he was able to see just how much his grandfather meant to him and the great love he received from him. Clarence could easily have retained a very bitter view of his grandfather, but he chose to instead look beyond the hurt and pain and see the great love and character behind it.
I was already happy to have Clarence Thomas on our Supreme Court, but after reading this book, I am thrilled to have such a great man of character holding one of the few most powerful positions in our country.
It’s been a couple of weeks since I finished this book and can’t really say that I remember anything notable about it. It read smoothly enough and it...moreIt’s been a couple of weeks since I finished this book and can’t really say that I remember anything notable about it. It read smoothly enough and it wasn’t terribly dull, but seemed to be just another ho-hum presidential book. Warren Harding is not an impressive character and his presidency was even less so. The author tries to make an argument for his presidency being more amazing than Harding is normally given credit for, but I wasn’t terribly convinced. I guess there were a lot of lies spread about Warren Harding (why, I don’t know!) and it is a relief to hear that he wasn’t as bad as you might first think. I wasn’t impressed, though, by his morals – he was not faithful to his wife. But then, she wasn’t the greatest wife either. Anyways, I’m glad this one is over. Calvin Coolidge here I come. (less)
I was pleasantly surprised by the readability of this book considering dryness of content (the politics of upper level military leaders does not appea...moreI was pleasantly surprised by the readability of this book considering dryness of content (the politics of upper level military leaders does not appeal to me much). Michael Korda does a good job balancing historical facts with glimpses into the personalities of the people he writes about. It was entertaining to read about some of the big names of World War II: Churchill, Monty, de Gaulle, and MacArthur. However, I found that I was not very impressed with the subject of the book, Ike, that is. For some reason, his personality seemed flat and his moral character questionable. Although Michael Korda seems to admire Eisenhower greatly, I didn't come away from the book with an understanding of what was so amazing about him. What really left a bad taste in my mouth was Eisenhower's unfaithfulness to his wife and his horrid temper - I guess I don't really "like Ike."
This book mainly focuses on Eisenhower's early life and his military course. It devotes about 75 pages to his presidency. From the sound of it, Eisenhower's presidency didn't have a lot of amazing episodes in it. Ike's military career is more interesting and you can't help but be grateful that he was Supreme Commander on D-Day with his patience and ability to make hard decisions. Also his skill in getting various countries to work together was quite awe-inspiring.
I liked Michael Korda's writing style and will probably look for more books by him. Don't know if I'll seek out any more Ike books.
One of my first thoughts as I began reading Laura's autobiography was: Wow, this is actually well-written!. Autobiographies are not always the most be...moreOne of my first thoughts as I began reading Laura's autobiography was: Wow, this is actually well-written!. Autobiographies are not always the most beautifully written books in the world, entertaining and interesting though they may be. But Laura's book is sprinkled with lyrical passages, beautiful words, and and overarching sense of calm and peace. I was impressed and blessed by her openness and her positive perspective in life. She always tries to see the best in everyone, even in those who are enemies.
After I finished the book, I found that what stood out to me about this book most was Laura Bush's grateful heart and her seeing each person and special and unique. Throughout the book she blends these two traits together as she describes in glowing colors the many, many people she met during the presidency, from the top leaders of foreign countries to the cleaning lady at the White House. She also highlights many charitable organizations and the ways they are making this world a better place to be. It is truly amazing that someone who has seen her husband ripped to shreds by the public and has suffered so much criticism of her family and herself maintains such a hope in humankind and can still find good in people (even political foes).
I was ready to give this 5 stars during the first half of the book, but came down a star after the last half. In describing the presidency, she tended to make it almost into a travel log and got bogged down in details that didn't necessarily need to be there. Don't get me wrong - I loved a lot of the behind-the-scenes details that she generously offered, but there were other things that just seemed to be book fillers. Or maybe just got tiresome and redundant. Like describing the White House Christmas card for all eight years. The last half seemed to lack focus and just became a "this is what we did next" type of chronology.
Another thing that I found sad was that she barely mentions God or her faith in God. If she is a true believer in Jesus Christ, it was hard to tell by reading this book. It could be that the editors pulled out most religious references or it could be true that God is not really at the center of Laura Bush's life (as I was led to think). Hard to tell.
And now my little tribute to Laura Bush - - In my personal opinion Laura Bush is one of the best First Ladies we have ever had. She is a very classy, elegant, lovely, intelligent person and she exudes calm and strength. She supports her husband wholeheartedly (even when she disagrees with him), she is a wonderful mother, and she is a very kindhearted and generous person. I even love her style choices (modest, elegant, and feminine).
I truly enjoyed reading this book and learning more about Laura Bush.(less)