There are some great books available for holiday giving to the most difficult of all creatures, the men in our lives for whom we shop.
What better place to start than THE ART OF MANLINESS MANVOTIONALS. Brett and Kate McKay have compiled a set of the seven manly virtues, and how to live them. Each chapter covers a specific topic, with the best advice possible from speeches and essays from esteemed men like Benjamin Franklin, Walt Whitman, and Aristotle. Manliness, Courage, Industry, Resolution, Self-Reliance, Discipline, and Honor are all highlighted. There’s also some very good poetry, and a touching letter to his wife written just before his death from British explorer Robert Falcon Scott. An excellent present to give a young man just deciding his path in life, or an older one who’d like the opportunity to reflect.
For manly escapism, there’s Q. R. Markham’s ASSASSIN OF SECRETS. Cut from the cloth of Ian Fleming’s classic spy novels, this thriller features gorgeous babes, a dastardly supervillain, powerful guns, and of course, harrowing chases. Set in 1968, this tale of a top CIA agent, who was tortured in Korea and now seeks to bring peace to the world, is perfect for a vacation. It also works just fine for that rare afternoon on the couch, free from the honey-do list.
If your fella loves boxing, pick up PACMAN, Gary Andrew Poole’s behind the scenes look at champ Manny Pacquiao. Though hardly a puff piece, the story of a kid who grew up in a cardboard shack, ran away at fourteen, and who became a Congressman in his native Philippines is inspiring reading. Many predict that Pacquiao may use his celebrity to become President of his country, the better to advance his cause of eradicating the poverty that shaped his youth.
If the man in your life loves to take photographs, DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY is an essential addition to the library. This basic manual is written by Henry Horenstein, an acknowledged master in the field, and a professor at the Rhode Island School of Design for more than twenty years. As the red light of the darkroom blinks out, digital cameras now dominate the field of image making. Here’s everything that’s worth knowing about the subject in one volume.
Both BAND OF BROTHERS and THE PACIFIC have heightened our interest in World War II. Buy him the deluxe DVDs or the giant set that contains both, and don’t let him know you’re fascinated by Damian Lewis in the first, and captivated by James Badge Dale in the second.
December 7th brings the 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. Mindful of this fact, Stanley Weintraub recounts the events of the PEARL HARBOR CHRISTMAS in 1941. In the spotlight is Winston Churchill’s journey to plan strategy with Franklin D. Roosevelt, a visit that included the Prime Minister attending both Christmas services and the holiday dinner with the President and his family. This book is chocked full of detail, yet reads like a novel.
Ian W. Toll gives us the definitive view of the largest naval war in history, in the PACIFIC CRUCIBLE. Subtitled WAR AT SEA IN THE PACIFIC, 1941-1942, Toll presents a treasure trove of research, not only about the details involved in the massive undertaking, but also about the emotions of those making the all-important decisions. This is also the story of how naval airpower came to the forefront of the war effort. Both the American and the Japanese viewpoints are expressed.
Korea is sometimes called “the forgotten war.” David Sears reminds us that we should always remember SUCH MEN AS THESE, the brave Navy pilots who flew over Korea. Sears tracked down the heroes who inspired James Michener’s “The Bridges at Toko-Ri,” and here presents a gripping account of their sacrifice and bravery. It’s interesting to note that weather played a major part in the conflict, and was sometimes as treacherous as the airborne battles which were fought.
Giving books for the holidays means no worries about sizes or forcing Granddad to wear that hand knit sweater with Rudolf prominently displayed across his middle, complete with shiny red nose.
Michall Jeffers is an accomplished Cultural Journalist and an avowed bibliophile. She writes extensively, both in print and online. Her eponymous cable TV show is syndicated throughout the tri-state area, and features celebrity interviews, reviews, and commentary. Michall is a voting member of National Book Critics Circle. www.michalljeffers.com