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Best Books of 2022 – Chapter 5

I just love David McCullough’s writing and I have read almost every one of his books.  For Truman, he won the Pulitzer Prize so I knew it too would be a meticulously researched and exceptionally well written book.  Once I learned that my dad had thoroughly enjoyed reading it, I did not hesitate to put it on my wish list to read.  My only delay in picking it up was being the slow reader that I am, I was a bit intimidated by its printed length weighing in at over 1,100 pages.  I knew it would take me a long time to get through it, but I am certainly glad I did.

I probably knew as little about Truman as most Americans who have not extensively studied history.  So, through this detailed book, I learned of his life from his early beginnings, his success and failure at business, his service in the first world war, and then his entry into politics.  But ultimately, I found his years as president and the challenges he faced the most remarkable.

With my interest in the development of the atomic bomb, I was most interested about the part he played in its use.  And I found when I got to that part in the book when he was at the Potsdam Conference in the summer of 1945, I could not put it down.  It was here that Truman, having been thrust into the presidency only a few months before, really excelled in his international diplomacy with Churchill and Stalin, an area in which he had no prior experience.  This one decision prior to the deployment of the bombs probably is the one most people are familiar with and as usual, McCullough thoroughly researched the sources available dispelling some falsehoods in the process.

I then went on to read tremendous details of how Truman handled such well-known events as the discovery of bomb secrets being stolen and given to Russia, the McCarthy years, the Berlin airlift, and the debacle in Korea.  And thrown in were many less controversial but still significant things that Truman did, including one that I never knew about, a tremendous restoration of the White House.  Thanks to McCullough’s book, I have so much more knowledge of the life of Harry Truman and a much better appreciation for what all he accomplished.

Having read and thoroughly enjoyed her second novel published in 2022, What Might Have Been (which also made my best of list), I decided to go back and read Holly Miller’s debut novel, The Sight of You.  This novel, like her second, had alternating chapters but this time from the perspective of the two main characters: Joel, the person born with a gift (or curse) of dreaming future events and Callie, the woman he meets and discovers she is the love of his life.

Joel doesn’t dream about the world at large, only about the people he loves, good and bad dreams.  He thrills with the good dreams and despairs with the bad dreams hoping he will be wrong or trying to alter the course of nature.  There is so much I would want to tell you about this book but if I did, it would spoil it for you.  My only suggestion is that you read the line above Holly’s name on the book cover and decide for yourself.

If you have previously read my annual book blogs, you know that to make up for missing out on reading classics in high school, I read one classic novel each year.  And in every case, there is always a story behind the selection I chose.  In this case, it was actually my brother’s suggestion to read Mutiny on the Bounty by Charles Bernard Nordhoff and James Norman Hall.  He had just read my final Book blog post last year which I always conclude with my classic for the year and he wondered if I had read it (which I had not).  He said it was one of the first books he truly loved.  With that kind of a recommendation, how could I not give it a try.

Most everyone is familiar with the name of Captain Bligh and the mutiny that occurred on HMS Bounty in the late 1700s.  But prior to reading this historical novel, based on factual accounts of what actually happened, I knew nothing beyond the fact that the mutiny had occurred.  However, I learned a tremendous amount having read this book, which is the first of a trilogy by the authors.

This story is told by a fictional and likable character, but one based on a real person on the Bounty. Reading how cruelly Bligh treated his crew; it is no wonder why the mutiny occurred.  But beyond that, what I found with my reading was an incredible and most enjoyable tale of survival that spanned the globe from Tahiti to England.

The last few chapters of the book kept me on the seat of my chair and I had to force myself to put the book down and go to bed.  Having finished the book, I only imagined what fun discussions would have been had in a high school English class.  So I must say, thanks Bro for suggesting this book to me.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and I can see why it could have easily been one of the first books my brother truly loved.

I hope you have once again enjoyed reading my best of books for 2022.  If I have piqued your interest enough to read one, then my efforts have been worthwhile.  But if you read one and thoroughly enjoy it as much as I did, then my reading and sharing will have brought pleasure to both of us.  Because there is nothing better than a great book!

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