INDIANAPOLIS – Gov. Mitch Daniels has released his eighth – and his final – list of Christmas book recommendations.
The outgoing governor said that he faced some difficult choices in putting together this year’s list.
“I got a lot of good reading done after our final legislative session ended and I withdrew from partisan political activity,” said Daniels, who in January will become the president of Purdue University.
“If anyone is interested in a list of books about higher education, I can prepare a separate selection from the heavy homework I’ve been doing on that subject lately,” Daniels writes.
Here are Daniels’ recommendations, with his commentary about each selection:
Coming Apart by Charles Murray: This probably should be #1 and #2 and #3 or whatever it takes to get you to read it. Came out just after last year’s list or it would have headed that one. Murray, as he has before, has the facts, the insight and the heart to look into our national condition more thoughtfully than anyone else around.
Eisenhower in War and Peace by Jean Edward Smith: Of the several bios of this increasingly appreciated American hero, this is my new favorite: honest, clear, inspiring. The man in this book is what that monument in D.C. should look like.
Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell: A young Orwell fights for the Left in Spain, begins to see the real face of socialism, and starts the journey to 1984.
The Dark Valley by Piers Brendon: So packed with detail and insight, you’ll feel like you lived through the ‘30s. A nation by nation travelog, as prolonged economic misery propelled the world into war.
On China by Henry Kissinger: The most important country to our future, analyzed by the most important foreign policy thinker of our times.
The Making of the Masters by David Owen: The most authoritative and objective unveiling of Augusta National Golf Club and its intriguing history. A fascinating tale, whether or not you subject yourself to the Infernal Game.
Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard: Shot by a lunatic but killed by his doctors, James Garfield unified Americans in death as he might have as a great president. Made me embarrassed that I hadn’t known more about this extraordinary man and moment in our history.
The Icarus Syndrome, A History of American Hubris by Peter Beinart: The author challenges the foreign policy assumptions of past eras and leaders ranging across the philosophical spectrum from Wilson to Kennedy to Bush to Obama, that the U.S. can and should shape events in the rest of the world. It will cause you to think carefully about what approach we should take in the circumstances of the present day.
The Great Game by Peter Hopkirk: It was Britain vs. Russia in Central Asia, in the Great Power Super Bowl of the middle 19th Century, with India as the prize. A great and often gruesome yarn. You’ll see today’s news from Iran, Afghanistan and all those other “-stans” in a different way after reading it.
Energy for Future Presidents by Richard Muller: My friend the Berkeley physicist has provided us another factual but highly readable primer on the energy issues of the day, blessedly free of bias or wishful thinking.
Game Six by Mark Frost: The superb writer who gave us The Match and The Greatest Game Every Played tells the story of the Red Sox vs. the Big Red Machine in what some call the greatest baseball game ever, which came as free agency was about to change the National Pastime forever.
Nearing Home by Billy Graham: No matter how near “home” one is, the reflections of this historic figure have something to offer.