Book Haul: Thirty-Eight Dollars




My bride and I enjoyed going to a used book sale last Thursday that we have been attending for about the last fifteen years.   We spent $38.00. As usual Don the spendthrift purchased most of the books:


1.  My bride purchased A Guide Through Narnia by Martha G. Sammons (1979) (Essays on C.S. Lewis’s “Chronicles of Narnia” – but it was with the travel books, so I was expecting more of a Narnian gazetteer for travelers), The Bride Wore Pearls by Liz Carlyle (2012) (Historical romance novel set in the Victorian era; our Anglo-Indian heroine’s costume in the cover art is late Regency, though, and she hops into bed with our quasi-Masonic hero about half a dozen chapters in; not worth finishing), Lose 200 Lbs. This Weekend by Don Aslett (2000) (Another of his “de-clutter your life” books) and Schroeder’s Antiques Price Guide (1999) (The most recent they had there — presumably the collectors are hanging onto anything more recent; what I really needed was a print version of info I’d already found online about the collectible figurines I’m selling on eBay, plus tips on how to pack them for shipping).

I purchased all the rest:

2.   The Battle:  A History of the Battle of Waterloo by Alessandro Barbero (2003)-I like the fact that the author begins his book with quotes from Wellington indicating what folly it was to attempt to write the history of this battle.

3.   Ivory Vikings by Nancy Marie Brown (2015)-Speculation on the origin of nine medieval chess pieces.

4.   The Arms of Krupp (1968-paperback 1970)-William Manchester’s history of the German family of weapons manufacturers.

5.   The French and Indian War by Walter R. Borneman (2006)-The French and Indian War has been attracting more attention recently by scholars, which is a good thing.  The various French wars of the seventeenth and eighteenth century had an enormous impact on the colonies that would become the United States.  Our first steps toward a unified nation were taken as a result of these conflicts, and many of the men who led our forces in the American Revolution learned the trade of war in the greatest and last of these struggles.

6.   The Achievement of Samuel Johnson by W. Jackson Bate (1955)-A look at the writing and thought of one of my favorite literary curmudgeons.

7.   Bomber Offensive by Noble Frankland (1970)-One of the myriad Ballantine buck books on World War II that I gobbled up as a teenager.

8.   Abraham Lincoln by Thomas Keneally (2003)-One of the brief Penguin Lives where established authors write a short life of some famous individual.  The authors usually have no special expertise as a biographer of the subject they are writing about.  As one might expect, this experiment has produced mixed results.

9.   Leadership in War by Sir John Smyth (1974)-A look at British generals in World War II by a Brigadier General and holder of the Victoria Cross. (The Brit equivalent to the Medal of Honor.)

10.  Patton:  A Study in Command by H. Essame (1974)-A well written look at Patton by a British Major General who commanded a brigade in World War II.

11.  Aristotle For Everybody:  Difficult Thought Made Easy by Mortimer Adler (1978)-I have long been a fan of the work of the late Mortimer Adler.  A leader of the revival of interest in Saint Thomas Aquinas in the twenties, he founded the Great Books Program.  He spent his life explaining to moderns in the West their intellectual heritage.  A non-observant Jew, he long was attracted to Catholicism.  Baptized as an Episcopalian in 1984, the faith of his wife,  he was baptized into the Faith in 1999, two years before his death. Continue reading

So Many Books


I assume that all readers of this blog are probably book lovers.  Here are my answers to a favorite book meme that has been floating around the internet for years:

1. One book that changed your life: A Canticle for Leibowitz. An extended meditation on History and the role of the Church in History disguised as a first rate science fiction novel.

2. One book that you’ve read more than once: Thucydides’ The Peloponnesian War.

3. One book you’d want on a desert island: Lord of the Flies.

4. One Book that Made You Laugh: Lest Darkness Fall by L. Sprague DeCamp. A hilarious time travel novel where the protagonist seeks to stop the conquest of Italy by Belisarius in the Sixth century. Continue reading

Book Haul



My bride and I attended the book sale of the Normal Public Library in Normal, Illinois on Friday March 20, 2015 to feed my bibliophilia addiction.  For $50.00 my bride and I picked up quite a few books.  She got several books and magazines on crocheting, she being on a crocheting crusade for the past two years.  (I have to stay on the move in my house, lest I be covered over in afghans.)  I thought there might be some mild interest in the books I picked out, and here they are:

1.  Frontsoldaten by Stephen G. Fritz (1995)-A look at the common frontline soldiers of the Wehrmacht, and a tome that underlines this maxim of the British Army-Those who have not fought the Germans do not know war.

2.  Hard Magic (2011) and Monster Hunter Vendetta (2010) both by Larry Correia.  I have heard good things about science fiction/fantasy author Correia, but these will have been the first of his books I have read.

3.  Hitler’s Renegades by Christopher Ailsby- (2004)-An interesting look at the non-German troops who fought with the Third Reich.  The section on the Spanish Azul (Blue) division was a bit brief for my taste however.

4.  Art in the Third Reich by Berthold Hinz-(1979)-Proof positive that most art produced under the auspices of the Third Reich can be described in two words:  banal kitsch.

5.  The Ancient Near Eastern Tradition by Milton Covensky-(1966)-Part of the Major Traditions of World Civilization, one of those multi-volume looks at world history which were all the rage in the sixties.

6.  The Mughal World by Abraham Eraly-(2007)-A look at life in Mughal India by perhaps the foremost expert on that period.

7.  Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey The River of Doubt by Candice Millard-(2005)-A masterful look at the Amazonian expedition of 1913-14 that almost killed Roosevelt.

8.  History of the Byzantine Empire, vol. II, by AA Vasiliev-(1952)-I have always thought the best Byzantinists have been Russians, and perhaps the greatest of them was Vasiliev who emigrated from Russia in 1925 and who taught in the US for years.

9.  Samuel Pepys Diary by Samuel Pepys-A Random House edition of selections from the diary of Pepys.  Pepys was something of a rotter but he is never dull.  At random on a page I see three passages.  On the first he thanks God that it has been three years since he had a kidney operation to cut out a stone and that he is still free from pain. (I can empathize with his joy.)  In the next passage he listens to a preacher at church who preaches like a fool.  Finally he visits a friend, notes that his servant girl is pretty and searches her out for a kiss.

10. A History of French Literature by L. Cazamian-(1955)-A book that I trust will remedy my bone ignorance on the subject. Continue reading



Hattip to Mrs. Darwin at my co-blogger Darwin Catholic’s eponymous blog, for the following book meme questions:


1. Favorite childhood book?
American Heritage Golden Book of the Civil War

2. What are you reading right now?
Early Byzantine Historians; The Road to Disunion:   Secessionists at Bay;  A World on Fire;  Lincoln’s Sword;  Bismarck:  A Life.

3. What books do you have on request at the library?

4. Bad book habit?
Buying way, way too many as my basement library can attest.
5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?

6. Do you have an e-reader?
My I-pad is a surprisingly good e-reader.

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
 I have always read several books at a time.  I am a slow reader and a few pages from several books each day suits my pace.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?

9. Least favorite book you read this year (so far?)
A series on US Presidents I read through with my autistic son.  Even for a kid’s series the research was abysmal.

10. Favorite book you’ve read this year?
A World on Fire, a comprehensive look at Britain’s role in out Civil War, by Amanda Foreman, Phd from Oxford and mother of five young kids.

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
Every day, mostly while browsing the net.

12. What is your reading comfort zone?
Science fiction, alternate history, fantasy, history and politics.

13. Can you read on the bus?
Presumably not, as I have difficulty reading in a car on the rare occasions when I am not driving.

14. Favorite place to read?
In bed.  A grand way to end the day.

15. What is your policy on book lending?
Open-handed.  I like to encourage people to read.

16. Do you ever dog-ear books?
Never, although my wife does, one of her few imperfections. Continue reading

Ten Books

Weighty Subjects

Judging from our posts, I believe it is safe to say that we at The American Catholic are a bookish lot.  I think this applies also to most of our learned commenters.  I have always loved books, a trait I inherited from my sainted mother who had a deep passion for the printed page.  If I were not married to a fellow bibliophile, and a librarian of course !, I can imagine my love of books perhaps having been a sore point in my marriage.  “Another bookstore?”  “Can’t we go anyplace without you dragging me to a dull bookstore?”  “You paid what for that history of the Peninsular War!?!”  “The books are in the dumpster.  Say a word and you may end up there too!”   Instead, both I and my bride of 27 years view bookstores as homes away from home, to the vast amusement of our kids.

In this post I am going to list ten books I would recommend.  These ten books have all had some impact on my life.  I invite everyone who is interested to also give their book recommendations in the comments.

1.   The Bible-Since my parents gave me my first Bible, at my request, on Christmas Day 1970, I have attempted, and usually succeeded, in reading a chapter from the Old Testament and a chapter from the New each day.  The varied type of literature in the Bible I find endlessly fascinating:  novels, court chronicles, proverbs, otherworldly prophecies, military history, gospels, letters, an endless literary and intellectual feast.  Aside from the spiritual benefits of the Bible, which of course is the main reason for reading the Bible, no one in our civilization can be considered to be well-educated if they are bone ignorant of this book.  Continue reading

Follow The American Catholic
Bookmark and Share
Subscribe by eMail

Enter your email:

Recent Comments
Our Visitors. . .
Our Subscribers. . .