Books I Read During 2022Submitted by Moneywatch Advisors on December 20th, 2022
I debated only listing books I recommend as good reads but decided to include all the books I read this year so as to be able to provide a warning for books you might want to avoid. So, enjoy or avoid! Asterisks indicate a good read.
- *Richard Nixon: The Life, by John Farrell, 558 pages. Good, not great, bio. Brilliant and brilliantly flawed man and president. So many wonderful domestic policies and foreign relations victories overshadowed by, well, you know what.
- The Columnist: Leaks, Lies and Libel in Drew Pearson’s Washington, by Donald Ritchie, 276 pages. He was one of the first muckraking journalists before investigative journalism was so prominent. While he uncovered many scandals, he, in my opinion, crossed the line by doing deals with elected officials whose ideals he shared and by openly endorsing candidates.
- *Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, by Doris Kearns Goodwin, 754 pages. Wonderful bio that repeatedly shows his magnanimity, kindness and propensity to see good in everyone - even people who are against him - while still focusing like a laser on what he thinks is best for the country.
- Margaret Thatcher: Herself Alone, by Charles Moore, 846 pages. A good biographer combines meticulous research with compelling storytelling – this tome only includes the former.
- *Washington’s Iron Butterfly: Bess Clements, An Oral History, by Donald Ritchie and Terry Birdwhistell, 206 pages. If you care about Kentucky history, you’ll enjoy this biography of the daughter of a Kentucky Governor who served as the White House social secretary in the Johnson administration and then chief of staff to Joan Mondale.
- *Zero Fail: The Rise and Fall of the Secret Service, by Carol Leonigg, 487 pages. Since its inception to now, the Service is scrutinized by the Washington Post reporter who has many sources who reveal the culture problems and poor management that has caused many near disasters.
- *Freezing Order: A true story of money laundering, murder, and surviving Vladimir Putin’s wrath, by Bill Browder, 303 pages. A true accounting of the origins of the Magnitsky Act and the lengths Putin and his cronies went, and go, to avoid threats to their illegal wealth.
- Liar’s Poker, by Michael Lewis, 310 pages. About his time at Salomon Brothers in the ‘80’s and how Wall Street manufactured products to help them, not investors. Like some other Lewis books, this one ends before it’s really finished.
- Putin: Operative in the Kremlin, by Fiona Hill, 397 pages. Fascinating observations, not a biography because it’s impossible to obtain accurate info or honest assessments from those who know him, on how Putin thinks, works, acts and plans for contingencies. He’s ruthless and won’t quit and believes the West is out to get him - and has for decades.
- *The Harlem Shuffle, by Colson Whitehead, 318 pages. A wonderful novel set in 1960s Harlem from the complicated perspective of an entrepreneur of both the legal and illegal variety.
- *The Guest List: You’d Kill to be on it, by Lucy Foley, 313 pages. Wonderful murder mystery set on an island off the west coast of Ireland. Fun, quick read.
- Force of Nature, by Jane Harper, 324 pages. Page turner of a murder mystery novel set in Australia.
- American Pastoral, by Philip Roth, 323 pages. Pulitzer Prize winning novel that combines beautiful writing with less than a compelling story.
- Naming the Dead, by Ian Rankin, 452 pages. Murder mystery set in Scotland. I’ve now read three Rankin books and I’m done.
- *Northern Spy, by Flynn Berry. Spy novel set in Northern Ireland prior to the Good Friday agreement - really good. Author really showed the conflict from both points of view and the terrible impact on both.
- *April in Spain, by John Banville, 316 pages. Continuing a personal tradition of reading fiction set in a location where I’m traveling, this novel takes place in San Sebastián, Spain. Stepping outside tradition, this is a wonderfully written story. Banville is a prolific Irish fiction writer with a masterful touch - had never heard of him. Tight story with quite a deft touch describing people and scenes. Highly recommend.
- Private Moscow, by James Patterson, 446 pages. Good read for a long overseas flight.
Any recommendations for me?
Steve Byars, CFP®