I'm pretty sure we've had one of these every summer on this blog, but the search feature on SBN doesn't seem to want to cooperate, so I can't prove that.
Anyway, the concept is simple and I am mostly detailing it just to get past the minimum word thing: the author names some books here in the main post, and then you talk about books you recommend.
And you better have something funny to say too, you rats.
Anyhow, books you should read and books I plan to read!
1. The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs.
If you ever have wondered why urban America is so often a hellhole, this book will help tell you why. And it will tell you much more. It is one of the most influential books written in this country in this century. Suck it, Robert Moses!
Jacobs herself was an amazing character. She was just a plain housewife living in Manhattan in the 1960s who somehow appeared out of nowhere with a remarkable knowledge base including basically all of American urban planning history and random crap about fish monger guilds in medieval London. She was wonderful.
2. Stalin: The Court of The Red Tsar by Simon Sebag Montefiore
The standard of drunken horseplay was not much better than a university frat house. Khrushchev and Poskrebyshev drunkenly pushed Kulik into the pond - they knew Stalin had lost respect for the buffoon. Kulik, famously strong, jumped out soaking and chased Poskrebyshev who hid in the bushes. Beria warned: "If anyone tried something like that on me, I'd make mincemeat of them." Poskrebyshev was regularly pushed in until the guards became so worried that a drunken magnate would drown that they discreetly drained the pond. The infantilism delighted Stalin: "You're like little children!"
These people successfully managed a world war and killed tens of millions of people with ease.
3. War by Sebastian Junger.
Well, I mean, unless you don't want to understand what combat is like for the people we send into battle.
4. Without God, Without Creed by James Turner
Haven't you ever wondered why you're an agnostic heathen?
And that's it. No fiction recommendations from me because I never read those books for some reason.