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Every year I compile a listing of the books I've read and rank them. This year, thanks to Ida Tarbell, I've only read about 10 or so (I normally read anywhere from 25 to 30 a year). I think, without a doubt, the best I've read this year was Kathleen Brady's biography of Tarbell. It presents an overarching view of her life and attempts to explain her motivation for various aspects of her life. It would be my book of the year. A close second is Edmund Morris's book of essays, This Living Hand, which I'm reading now.

What sticks in your mind for your best book of 2012?

Best
Rob
Rob, I think for me it would be Jason Emerson's bio of Robert Lincoln.
I have been so busy looking at manuscripts that might become books that I have had little time to read published ones. However, two that stand out for me right now are Under a Flaming Sky about the great Hinckley Fire (that may have consumed Boston Corbett) and The Mary Lincoln Enigma - I just love that book!
For me: They Have Killed Papa Dead!
Hands down.
My pick is Neptune's Inferno:The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal by James D. Hornfischer. The book concentrates on the great surface combats of the Guadalcanal campaign in 1942,the only period in WW2 in which the American and Japanese Navies fought as equals.

Hornfischer writes with verve and power. My generation and our successors could not have endured what our sailors went through in this campaign and triumphed.
Tom
I'd have to put in a pitch for Rise to Greatness - Abraham Lincoln and tAmerica's Most Perilous Year [1862] by David Von Drehle. It is a quick read, not because it is light, but because it is so well written. It relies on many of the diaries of Cabinet members and has many details not found in other Lincoln books. It tells an amazing story of how Lincoln, with all his intellectual powers and knowledge of human failures, got through the year and came out with Emancipation to boot.
Chris Jones
Maryland Voices - Wonderful book about what it was like to experience the war in Maryland - particularly Baltimore and Southern Maryland - lots of first hand primary accounts -

I also did a re-read of Leech's Reveille in Washington - great book to get the feel of the war in DC - much of the history of the trial is taken from Perley Poore....
A fascinating read about the NYC draft riots is #1 on my 2012 list: "The Devil's Own Work."
My favorite non-fiction reads were "Frederick W. Lander, The Great Natural American Soldier," by Gary Echelberger; Echelberger was really kind and helpful in my Aiken research when I found that Aiken and Lander were friends and fellow spies; and

"In The Hands of Providence Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain and the American Civil War," by Alice Rains Trulock.

But c'mon, I know you all are really smart, but don't you ever read fiction?

My perennial favorites (that I usually re-read every year):

"These Is My Words" by Nancy Turner and

"The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Oh, and anything Jane Austen Smile I was THRILLED when my 15 year old (who I had to pay to read books just last year) asked for the complete collection of Jane Austen books from Santa. One wish I'm happy to oblige Smile
Christine, in yet another "six degrees of . . . ", off and on between 1866 and 1877, Jeannie Gourlay, of the Ford's Theatre company, acted with Lander's widow in tours of New England; it was in Mrs. Lander's company that Jeannie met her soon-to-be husband, Robert Struthers. There are photos of Mrs. Lander holding Jeannie's young child, Mabel, who performed with them.
I have read a few good books this year. As far as Lincoln goes, I would say that Ronald White's A.Lincoln was the best that I have read. Outside of the Lincoln genre I read a few good books that stand out in my memory. One of them is Nick Lomb's history of the Transit of Venus (which occurred on June 05 of this year.) Another would be Ivan Van Sertima's They Came Before Columbus which was the story of a possible African Expedition (from Mali) to the New World in the year 1311.
Glad to hear that, Craig. I have White's book in the cue. I liked David Donald's Lincoln, read earlier this year. Its heavy on 1864 political machinations, I thought.
(12-18-2012 09:36 PM)Mark MacKenzie Wrote: [ -> ]Glad to hear that, Craig. I have White's book in the cue. I liked David Donald's Lincoln, read earlier this year. Its heavy on 1864 political machinations, I thought.

Mark, I have not read Donald's book yet. It is on my short list! Currently reading Lincoln's Melancholy.
The Best Book that I read this year was "The Inner Lincoln"-tied with "Ambrose Bierce"-"Short Stories of The Civil War".
I forgot to mention"Henry Villard's Memoirs" of the Lincoln's---Especially Mary Lincoln!
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