My Reading List
You are what you read or, as Santayana said: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

I've always envied the people who read a book or two a week like my mother. I spend several hours a day reading, mostly the newspaper and periodicals. I've read newspapers daily since I was a high school debater. I have subscribed to a science magazine and American Heritage for over twenty-five years. I used to read Newsweek cover to cover though today I tend to skim over it. Thank God for National Public Radio news which I listen to while perusing the paper. 

Books require much more endurance than the short bursts of interest I easily muster for short articles. As a kid I had a Faustian desire to know all things. Because I've never known who to sell my soul to the best I could do was read. Although my reading list is modest it is eclectic. I don't know how to solve the world's problems but I do have a good head for trivia. 

Shortly after my failure teaching history I consciously began filling in the gaps in my knowledge and started keeping track of the books I'd finished. Starting with 1979 I've listed the books which I've read cover to cover excluding children's literature. There are many other books in my library with bookmarks tucked between the pages where I left off. I conclude this list with all the books I could recall having read prior to 1979. 

*        *        *


The Hobbit                            J.R. Tolkien
Hawaii                                  James Mitchner
Fellowship of the Ring            J.R. Tolkien
Two Towers                           J.R. Tolkien
Return of the King                  J.R. Tolkien
Plain Speaking
        A lauditory, but partly fraudulent, book about Harry Truman
Giants in the Earth                   Rölvaag
Campaigning for President        Weisbord
        Stories of various American presidential campaigns
Birth of Britain                        Winston Churchill
        A florid account of England's early history, first in a series of four volumes
Republican Roosevelt                Morton Blum
Roman Republic                        Isaac Asimov
Brave New World                        Aldous Huxley
Dragons of Eden                    Carl Sagan
Napoleon                                    ?
Red Badge of Courage            Stephen Crane
The Greeks                            Isaac Asimov
Roman Empire                       Isaac Asimov
Dark Ages                             Isaac Asimov
The Egyptians                        Isaac Asimov
The Near East                        Isaac Asimov
The Challenge and Rejection    Julius Pratt
        Perhaps about Woodrow Wilson or American Diplomatic History
The Religions of Man                Huston Smith
        a survey on all the major religions
Ascent of Man                        Jacob Bronkowski
        a humanist's view of the development of civilization
Dawn of African History            Roland Oliver
A History of Asia                    Bingham, Conroy, Iklé
Medieval Europe                    Hollister
The New Archaeology               Wilson
The Land of Caanan                Isaac Asimov
The Shaping of England            Isaac Asimov
The Forgotten Empire                Isaac Asimov
        History of the Byzantine Empire

I read thirty books in 1979. I'd never done anything like this before and I haven't done it since. Books in red are fiction. Books in Green are science related)


The History of England            John Borke
The 100                                  Michael H Hart
        one man's list of the 100 most influential people in history
To Kill a Mockingbird                Harper Lee
Shogan                                    James Clavell
Minnesota                                Theodore Blegen
        a history
Alexander Hamilton                            ?
A Child is Born                                    ?
        for new parents
What Every Mother Should Know about Having a Baby


All Quiet on the Western Front    Maria Remarck
        influential anti-war novel about WW1 that helped turn America to isolationism
Times Atlas of World History        London Times
        Half maps, half history, I read it cover to cover
Fathers and Sons                        Turgenev
Broca's Brain                                Carl Sagan
        Science and social history
This Hallowed Ground                    Bruce Catton
        Civil War History
Man's Search for Meaning            Viktor Frankl
        Holocaust survivor's account and psychological insights in inner strength
Runaway Horses                        Yukio Mishima
        a novel by a Japanese nationalist who later committed seppuku as a moral example for a nonmilitant generation of Japanese 
Latin American History                Wilgus & D´eca
Barron's Essentials of American History        Nelson Klose


The World According to Garp        John Irving
Clan of the Cave Bear                    Jean Auel


Dune 1st of Trilogy                        Frank Herbert
Dune 2nd of Trilogy                        Frank Herbert
Path to Power                                Robert Caro
        Lyndon Johnson Bio the early years, highly regarded its sequel was panned
Valley of the Horses                    Jean Auel
The Murder of Napoleon                        Ben Weider, David Hapgood
Gorky Park                                    Martin Cruz Smith


Polar Star                                    Martin Cruz Smith
The Read Aloud Handbook            Jim Trelease
        my bible on reading out loud to kids with a great bibliography of kid's lit.
( I either stopped reading or stopped keeping track of the books read for these years or perhaps both)


Washington, The Indispensable Man              J.T. Flexner


The Romance of Bible Scripts & Scholars       John Reumann
        a history of different versions and translations of the Bible
Plagues and People                                      William H. McNeill
        a history of the effects of pandemics on world history
The Laughing Savior                                       John Dart
        a history of Gnostic Christianity


The Bad Popes                                E.R. Chamberlin
        a history about some really bad popes
Washington Goes to War                David Brinkley
        a reminiscence from one of America's preeminent journalists about Washington DC's growth as America entered WWII 
From Harlem to the Rhine                   Arthur Little
        a history of the all black 369th Infantry, raised in Harlem, NY which fought in WW1 and to which my grandfather George Robb was assigned as an officer. In the racist US Army of that era black troops were mostly commanded by white officers.
Hot Blooded Dinosaurs                     A. Desmond
Dinosaur Heresies                            Robert Bakker


Parting the Waters                            Taylor Branch
        a remarkable history of the modern Civil Rights movement
The Emperor, Downfall of an Autocrat    Ryszard Kapuscinski
        an idiosyncratic, patched together narrative of the fall of Ethiopia's Emperor for Life, Haile Selassie, written my a communist journalist who was given remarkable freedom to chronicle unflattering things about the non-communist world.
Twelve Parables of Jesus                    Maxie Dunnam
        a Sunday school study guide
Surrender or Starve                            Robert D Kaplan
        the story about the intentional starvation of the Ethiopian people
Catcher in the Rye                            J D Salinger
        read for the second time
Hannibal                                            Harold Lamb
Hiroshima                                        John Hersey
        an account of the dropping of the bomb from the viewpoint of the people on the ground
The Trial of Socrates                           I F Stone
From Beirut to Jerusalem                    Thomas Friedman
        current events


More Like Us                                    James Fallows
        a writer's thoughtful analysis of what makes American's Americans
Wonderful Life                                    Stephen Jay Gould
        about the explosion of new life found in precambrian fossil shale deposits
Decision in Philadelphia                       Chris & James Lincoln Collier
        the creation of the US Constitution


Lincoln and his Generals                       T. Harry Williams
Is Paris Burning                                   Collins & LaPierre
        How Paris was spared destruction in WWII
Confucius and the Chinese Way            H G Creel


Forgotten Scripts                                Cyrus Gordon
        The story of the decipherment of lost languages
Who Wrote the Bible                            Richard Friedman
        Analysis of the Old Testament's authorship
Jurassic Park                                       Michael Crichton
Zealous Intruders                                   Naomi Shepherd
        The rediscovery of the Holy Land by western tourists in the 17 and 1800s
The African Slave Trade                        Basil Davidson
        explains how the slave trade unraveled African society and culture
Vanished Library                                   Canfora
        The destruction of the great library of Alexandria
The Man in the Roman Street                Garret Mattingly
        Everyday life in ancient Rome
The Persians                                        Time Life, ed. by Jim Hicks
        a history
1933                                                    Philip Metcalfe
        five people's experiences in Germany the year Adolph Hitler became Chancellor
The Christians as the Romans Saw Them     Robert Wilkin


The Learning Gap                                Stigler & Stevensen
        gap between rich and poor in education or something like that
King of Pontus                                    Alfred Doggan
        Biography of Mithradates enemy of Rome
Aaron Burr The Great Am Rascal            Philip Vail
Balkan Ghosts                                       Robert Kaplan
        Balkan History
Pilgrims in their Own Land                    Martin Marty
        History of American Christianity


The Great Triumvirate                            Merrill Peterson
        Biography of Webster, Calhoun and Henry Clay
Profiles in Courage                                John F Kennedy
The Armada                                          Garrett Mattingly
        Spanish Armada


Bob Dole                                            Richard Ben Cramer
The Time Before History                       Colin Tudge
        Human Prehistory
1066 The Year of the Conquest            David Howarth
        (audio book) the last successful invasion of England
The Last Best Hope on Earth                Mark E Neely Jr.
        Abraham Lincoln 
No Ordinary Time                                Doris Kearns Goodwin
        Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and the coming of war


The Celts - First Masters of Europe        New Horizons
Undaunted Courage                               Stephen Ambrose
        Journey of Lewis & Clark
Longitude                                            Dava Sobel
        History of mastering of navigation technology
How the Irish Saved Civilization                Thomas Cahill
        transmission of ancient classical texts


American Sphinx                                John Ellis
        Bio of Thomas Jefferson
To Kill a Mockingbird                            Harper Lee
Japanese Destroyer Captain                T Hara
        war memoir


One Hundred Days                            Alan Schom
        Napoleon from Elba to Waterloo
The Rape of Nanking                           Iris Chang


King Leopold's Ghost                        A Hochschil
        The Rape of the Congo by King Leopold
Guns Germs and Steel                    Jared Diamond
        How latitude, geography and environment have determine history's winners and losers
The Lynchings in Duluth                    Michael Fedo


Day of Deceit                                    Robert Stinnett
        FDR's conspiracy to provoke a Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor - supports the theory
April 1865 the Month that Saved America     John Winik
        The last month of the Civil War
A Short History of Reconstruction                Eric Foner
Frederick Douglass                            William S. McFeely
The Professor and the Madman            Simon Winchester
        The history of the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary
Taliban - Militant Islam, Oil, Fund...        
    alism in Central Asia                      Ahmed Rashid


Founding Brothers                                 Joseph J. Ellis
    The Revolutionary Generation
Libraries in the Ancient World                 Lionel Casson
The Hidden Hitler                                    Lothar Machtan
E=mc² ...the World's Most Famous Equation     David Bodanis
Confederates in the Attic                        Tony Horowitz
        travelogue of the modern "Confederate" South by a Pulitzer winner
Ulysses S. Grant Soldier & President       Geoffrey Perret


The River Congo                                        Peter Forbath
The White Headhunter                                Nigel Randell
    Impact of Europeans on Melanesian Society
The Map that Changed the World                Simon Winchester
Wm. Smith, makes sense of English stratigraphy and gives birth to the science of geology
Life of Pi                                                    Yann Martel
I read this out loud to my wife. It's wonderful!
Tuxedo Park                                                Jennet Conant
     A wall street millionaire's obsession with science leads to discoveries that will win WW2


The Miraculous Fever Tree                        Fiammetta Rocco
        History of the the drug Quinine which is still the world's most reliable cure for Malaria 
God's Secretaries                                    Adam Nicolson
        on making the King James Bible
"We are Lincoln Men"                              David Herbert Donald
Wine & War                                            Don & Petie Kladstrup
    French vintners roll in W W II
Paris 1919 Six Months that Changed the World    Margaret MacMillan
Cicero  Life and Times of Rome's Greatest Pol       Anthony Everitt
The Good Women of China                        Xinran
        Wrenching stories of the pain endured by Chinese women since 1949
The Bridge of San Luis Rey                        Thornton Wilder


1912 - Wilson, Roosevelt,Taft and Debs
Election that changed the Country                James Chace
Lincoln at Cooper Union the speech that 
made Abraham Lincoln President                 Harold Holzer
Lincoln                                                       Gore Vidal
Stalin, The Court of the Red Tsar                  Simon S Montefiore
Animal Farm                                               George Orwell
Naked                                                        David Sedaris
Wall St. Journal Guide to Wine                     Gaiter & Brecher
The Devil's Disciples  - Hitler's Inner Circle     Anthony Read


1812 The War that Forged a Nation                Walter R. Borneman


Master of the Senate                                      Robert A Caro
Dial M The Murder of Carol Thompson              William Swanson


2009 .......For two years I was so wrapped up in a political project that I read no books from cover to cover.


Sunburnt Country                                         Bill Bryson
A humorist's Australian Travelogue
Thunderbolt Kid                                            Bill Bryson
A humorist's Iowa Childhood memoir
Lincoln, The biography of a writer                   Fred Kaplan
1776  Washington crosses the Delaware        David McCullough
The Diary of Anne Frank (Definitive edition)    Anne Frank
Nature's Building Blocks A-Z guide to Elements
                                                                   John Emsley

In Tasmania                                                 Nicholas Shakespeare
The Fatal Shore THE one volume Australian    Robert Hughes
History (Began reading it 20 years earlier)


Searching for Aboriginal Languages                R.M.W. Dixon
A History of New Zealand                               Keith Sinclair
Carnivorous Nights (Trail of Taz Tiger)             Mittelbach & Crewdson
New Zealand Wildlife BRADT  travel guide       Julian Fitter
Australian Wildlife BRADT      ditto                 Stella Martin
The Last of the Nomads                                 W J Peasley
True account of the hunt for the last Aborigines
to relive the traditional nomad life in the 1970's
after the fled to the inhospitable Outback
for breaking a tribal taboo
The Original Australians Aborigines History     Josephine Flood


Walter Mondale, The Good Fight                    Walter Mondale
Hubert Humphrey a Biography                        Carl Solberg
Lyndon Johnson The Passage of Power          Robert Caro
The Political Career of Floyd B. Olson             George H. Mayer
Bio about MN's Depression Era Governor
The Swerve, How the World became Modern   Stephen Greenblatt
Consequences of the Renaissance discovery
of an ancient poem by Lucretius
Lincoln, Team of Rivals                                  Doris Kearns Goodwin
The Devil in the White City                             Erik Larson
Account of a prodigious solo mass murderer
operating during Chicago's World Fair
Thaddeus Stevens 19th Century Egalitarian     Hans L. Trefousse,
Bio of the leading Civil War Radical Republican


Black Sea                                                    Neal Ascherson
Discursive History of the region
The Book Thief                                              Markus Zusak
Unreliable Memoirs                                       Clive James
by Australian Born British movie reviewer
The Barbarous Years                                     Bernard Bailyn
The first hundred years of 13 British colonies
Life on the Mississippi                                   Mark Twain
Polk, the Man who Transformed
the Presidency and America                           Walter R. Borneman
The Warmth of Other Suns                             Isabel Wilkerson
History of black migration out of South from
1915 to 70's


One Summer America 1927                            Bill Bryson
Fascinating weaving of many events
Zealot, Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth      Reza Alsan
Practical non biblical analysis of the times
of Jesus
The Bully Pulpit                                             Doris Kearns Goodwin
Teddy Roosevelt and his buddy Wm Taft
Lincoln's Boys                                               Joshua Zeitz
How his two secretaries rewrote his Pres. Bio
and elevated his reputation from saintly bumbler
to the most canny of Presidents
The Color of Water                                         James McBride
The story of a black reporter's discovery of
his Jewish Mother's remarkable beginnings
The Narrow Road to the Deep North                 Richard Flanagan
Man Booker winner about an Australian POW's
life before and after being interned in hell
The President's War - 5 living Presidents          Chris DeRose
who mostly disagree with their successor
Lincoln and his conduct of the War
Orphan Train                                                  Kristina Baker Kline 


Dead Wake Last Crossing of the Lusitania       Erik Larson
Wild Swans                                                   Jung Chang
Three Generations of Chinese women from the
Warlord period through the Cultural Revolution
My Promised Land                                          Ari Shavit
Israel's history 1897 - 2013
Harlem's Rattlers and the Great War                Sammons & Morrow


The Wright Brothers (audio version)                   David McCullough
In the Garden of the Beasts                              Erik Larson
A Bell for Adano                                              John Hershey
Empires of the Sea                                          Roger Crowley
Christendom stops Turkish Advance
Dark Horse a Bio. of Wendell Willkie                 Steve Neal
American Rose A Nation Laid Bare                    Karen Abbott


The Old Testament NRSV                                  Moses et al
Bleeding Kansas Contested Liberty                    Nicole Etcheson
in the Civil War Era
Country Driving: A Journey from                       Peter Hessler
Farm to Factory
1920 The Year of the Six Presidents                  David Pietrusza
Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and
Faith in the New China                                      Evan Osnos
Mr. Speaker the Man who Broke the Filibuster    James Grant
Destiny of the Republic (Garfield Assassination) Candice Millard
The Martial Adventures of Henry and Me            William Allen White
Minnesota Rag (Landmark Supreme Ct ruling)    Fred W. Friendly
Mao Tse-Tung and I Were Beggars                   Siao-Yu
Born a Crime                                                   Trevor Noah
Last Hope Island                                               Lynne Olson


*        *        *

Through Junior High School (1963-66)
( * books were required reading )

a biography of Harry Houdini                                  ?
Swiss Family Robinson                                         Johann David Wyss
Secret Garden                                                        Hodgsen?
Profiles in Courage                                                    John F. Kennedy
Danny Dever Books (several in a series)                    ?
        adventure books for boys
The Rover Boys (several in a series)                            ?
        adventure books for boys - belonged to my Grandfather Henry H. Welty
Kon Tiki                                                                Thor Heyerdahl
        This book helped awake in me an armchair wanderlust augmenting my stamp collection which bequeathed me a considerable geographic and historic knowledge.
Tale of Two Cities                                                Dickens
The Rover                                                            Joseph Conrad
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea            Jules Verne
Treasure Island                                            Robert Louis Stephenson
Black Arrow                                                   Robert Louis Stephenson
Island of the Blue Dolphin                                 Scott O'Dell
Old Yeller                                                         Fred Gipson
Animal Farm*                                                     George Orwell
Scaramouch                                                    Rafael Sabatini
Sense and Sensibility                                        Jane Austin

Through Senior High School (1966-69)

Confessions of Nat Turner                                William Styron
In Cold Blood                                                    Truman Capote
Nigger of the Narcissus                                       Joseph Conrad
Cry the Beloved Country*                                Alan Patton
A Choice of Weapons                                    Gordon Parks
        Autobiography of Gordon Parks
Kim                                                                Rudyard Kipling
Captains Courageous                                        Rudyard Kipling
Odyssey *                                                       Homer
Sidhartha                                                        Herman Hesse
Steppenwolf                                                    Herman Hesse
Damien                                                            Herman Hesse
Cheaper by the Dozen                                        Frank B., Jr. Gilbreth
Belles on their Toes                                        Frank B., Jr. Gilbreth
Tales of the South Pacific                                    James Michener
The Source                                                        James Michener
The Day Christ Died                                            Jim Bishop
The Day Lincoln Died                                           Jim Bishop
Catcher in the Rye                                            J D Salinger
Franny and Zooey                                            J D Salinger
Inheritors                                                            Golding
Alice in Wonderland                                            Lewis Carol
Heart of Darkness*                                                Joseph Conrad
Secret Sharer*                                                  Joseph Conrad
Huckleberry Finn                                                Mark Twain
Born Free                                                        Joy Adamson
( I have only included books I read completely. For instance, I never finished the required text Moby Dick. I read perhaps three fourths of it. It didn't help that I bought a small note pad and began jotting down every word in it I didn't know to look up in the dictionary. It slowed down the reading because it contained many unfamiliar words. I kept filling my note pad for several years thereafter. )

Through College (1969-73)
(I read very few college texts from cover to cover and except for works of fiction I can't recall most of the books anyway.)

Black Like Me                                             John Howard Griffin 
Metamorphosis                                            Franz Kafka
Japan Yesterday and Today                            ed. Ray Downs
Cat's Cradle                                                Kurt Vonnegut
Slaughter House Five*                                    Kurt Vonnegut
Catch 22*                                                    Joseph Heller
The Stranger*                                               Albert Camus
The End of the Road*                                        John Barth
The Forrest People                                        Colin Turnbull
The Harrad Experiment                                   Robert Rimmer
        (Everybody has read something embarrassing but, hey, I enjoyed the book.)
How to Pick Up Girls                                       Eric Weber
           (Ditto. Sorry, but I'm trying to be comprehensive here. It didn't help me much anyway. I was amazed to find it listed at Amazon.Com otherwise I'd never have remembered the author.)

Post College to 1979  (1973-78)
Lord of the Flies                                        William Golding
The Prairie Years Vol 1                            Carl Sandburg
        Bio of Lincoln
The Prairie Years Vol 2                            Carl Sandburg
Inside the Third Reich                            Albert Spear
        by Hitler's friend and associate
36 Children                                            Herman Kohl
        a teacher's year in a Harlem school
Autobiography of Malcom X                    Malcom X ed by Alex Haley
The Story of Language                            Mario Pei
        Actually, this is the only book on the list that I may not have completed cover to cover. I skipped around in it but I read most of its 450 pages. The story of the evolution of language.
The Mafia                                            Fred Cook
Boys of Boise                                    Gerassi
        The story of a ring of gay pedophiles that was hushed up after some early exposure
Marco Polo                                           Collins
Things Fall Apart                                    Chinua Achebe
Foundation                                            Isaac Asimov
Second Foundation                                Isaac Asimov
Foundation and Empire                            Isaac Asimov
1984                                                        George Orwell
Brave New World                                    Thomas Huxley
Chariots of the Gods                                Von Daniken
        a ridiculous speculation about extraterrestrial visitations that while not fiction might as well be
Green Hills of Mars                                Robert K. Heinlein
Beyond This Horizon                              Ray Bradbury  Grendel                                                John Gardner
Eva Peron                                               John Barnes
Sugar Blues                                            William Duffy
        Expose of the ills cause by sugar. I haven't stopped consuming it although I was inspired to bake a couple apples pies with honey. I'm a lousy cook.
How I Went from Failure to Success        Frank Bettger
        My boss gave it to me to inspire me to sell insurance. It didn't work.
Think Rich                                            Napoleon Hill
        Hey, it was the Eighties!
Blind Ambition                                      John Dean