Private Library Note:
From Shakespeare & Co
Brands, Filkins, Robb


Having spent much of yesterday looking at book blogs and shaking my head in dismay (I’ll tell you why, some other time), I was inspired this morning, after an impromptu visit to the branch of Shakespeare & Co at Hunter College, to start documenting my book purchases, at least the ones that I make at New York’s excellent independent shops.

¶ H W Brands: Traitor To His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delanoe Roosevelt. (Doubleday; 978-0-385-51958-8). The title says it all: Roosevelt’s greatness sprang in large part from his background in a landed elite that he largely outgrew. We ought all to outgrow our origins, but when men from wealthy families meet the challenge, the results are usually impressive.

¶ Dexter Filkins: The Forever War (Knopf; 978-0-307-26639-2). I can truthfully say that I was pressured into buying this book by the Book Review, which listed it among the ten best of 2008. Do I need to read it? I don’t think so, but I’ll see. Sometimes you buy a book to give to a worthy cause — in this case, first-class reporting.

¶ Graham Robb: The Discovery of France: A Historical Georgraphy (Norton; 978-0-393-33364-0 [paper]).  This is a much-put-off must-read. As I understand it, Mr Robb explains just how recent the fusion of modern France is.

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