Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson and the Opening of the American West by Stephen E. Ambrose (recommended by Connie, spouse)
It is a biography of Meriwether Lewis (1774-1809). He was a Virginia Tidewater gentleman and lifelong friend of Thomas Jefferson’s. Ambrose makes clear that Meriwether Lewis was the brain and soul of the 1803-1806 Lewis and Clark Expedition across the continent. He also explores the relationship between Lewis and Jefferson.
Ambrose reconstructs the 2000 mile journey through the Louisiana Purchase Lands, basing that on Lewis’ voluminous journals. He also covers Lewis’ early life, military career, work as the private secretary for Jefferson, and post expedition career as governor of Upper Louisiana Territory. This book is well-researched and is very well-written. Enjoy!
Three Minutes in Poland by Glenn Kurtz (recommended by Stephen, Press Unit)
Selected as one of the “Best Books of 2014” by The New Yorker, The Boston Globe, and National Public Radio. I recommend this book because it is a blend of a memoir, several mini biographies, survival stories, travelogue, and a historical re-telling of Nasielsk’s once-vibrant Jewish community. Based on 3 minutes of a family film recorded in Nasielsk in 1938 and countless hours of research spanning several years and dozens of interviews, against all odds Kurtz identifies people in the film, reconstructs the daily life of this lost community, and shares the amazing tales of a few of the Jews from Nasielsk who survived the Holocaust. It’s a true story, and a must read.
A Secret Life: The Polish Officer, His Covert Mission, and the Price He Paid to Save His Country by Benjamin Weiser (recommended by Brookie, Political-Economic Section)
Kuklinski’s story is a harrowing personal drama about one man’s decision to betray the Communist leadership in order to save the country he loves, and the intense debate it spurred over whether he was a traitor or a patriot. Through extensive interviews and access to the CIA’s secret archive on the case, Benjamin Weiser offers an unprecedented and richly detailed look at this secret history of the Cold War. Readers familiar with Warsaw will find themselves on a visual journey as the book details the various points and routes around the capital that Kuklinski used in carrying out his covert activities. I encourage all Poles to leave their expectations at the book’s front cover and allow themselves to uncover the details of COL Kuklinski’s subterfuge, as well as Moscow’s machinations, which for many years were not fully known by any but those who lived it.