In all of the discussions of Albert Einstein’s genius, its rarely taken into account how World War I—and the unprecedented slaughter it heralded—shaped the revolutionary physicist. Einstein formulated much of his groundbreaking theory of general relativity living in veritable isolation and starving while blockaded in Berlin. As a war waged around him, Einstein fundamentally revised our conception of the universe.
Building on his decades of experience working within our justice system, former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara provides an important and highly readable overview of how that system works. Perhaps more importantly, Bharara gives an impassioned treatise on the essential nature of not only the rule of law, but faith in the rule of law, to our society.
The Lost Gutenberg
Margaret Leslie Davis
Perfect for fans of The Orchid Thief, The Lost Gutenberg traces the strange and sordid history of an original copy of the Gutenberg Bible known as “Number 45”. Only fifty copies of the Gutenberg Bible exist—Number 45 is one of the finest—making it an extraordinary prize for rare book collectors. This is a remarkable account of obsession across five centuries is at turns hilarious, strange, and utterly gripping.
The Allied forces had virtually no answer for the devastating power of the German Panzer tanks—not until the Pershing, a state-of-the-art “super tank” built to stand up the Panzer’s deadly dominance. Spearhead tell the story of a Pershing crew led by an unassuming gunner from Pennsylvania named Clarence Smoyer. His iconic duel with a German Panzer during the Battle of Cologne would go down in history and shape the rest of his life.
My Father Left Me Ireland
Michael Brendan Dougherty
Born to an Irish father and Irish-American mother who separated before his birth, Michael Brendan Dougherty grew up with a keen sense of absence. His mother worked hard to keep him tethered to his cultural roots, but both time and resentment toward an absentee father frayed that tether. Then, when Dougherty discovered he would soon be a father, he sought to reclaim his cultural history and reconnect with the father he barely knew. His memoir charts that journey and probes deeper questions into the meaning of cultural identity in America.
Robert L. O'Connell
With Revolutionary, military historian Robert L. O’Connell gives readers a fresh view of America’s first President—one of a young, brash soldier who would one day lead a nation to freedom. Revolutionary charts Washington’s early days a frustrated young aristocrat in Virginia to a disastrous campaign in the Seven Years War that would none the less shape his future tactical brilliance and his inevitable rise to Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army.
In our 242 year history, only two Presidents have been impeached: Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. With The Impeachers, Brenda Wineapple pulls back the curtain on the extraordinary events, and the extraordinary figures, that drove the 1868 impeachment proceedings against Johnson. It is a thoroughly researched and unfortunately timely look at the impeachment of a defiant, erratic, and controversial Commander-in-Chief.
In the summer of 1968 it was increasingly looking like NASA would lose its race to the moon against the Soviets. With few options, NASA made a last-ditch effort—an unprecedented hail Mary. Everything would be risked on a sudden launch with just four months of planning. It was an all-or-nothing gambit. Rocket Men gives an incredible insider’s view into that push delivering readers a truly epic, true-to-life life thriller.
The Washington War
Given the awe-inspiring (and terrifying) displays of U.S. military might that brought an end to World War II, it’s easy to forget that the United States entered the war in 1941 with a relatively small Army and a struggling Navy. By 1943, the US had increased the size of its military nearly five-fold and effectively turned the tide of the conflict. The Washington War is a superb chronicle of the behind-the-scenes political dealings that made this possible.
Chasing the Moon
The Moon landing is arguably the defining moment of the twentieth century—a staggering achievement of human ingenuity and humanity’s boundless curiosity. Serving as a companion piece to the PBS’s “American Experience” film of the same name, Chasing the Moon is a comprehensive exploration of the extraordinary minds behind this unprecedented achievement.
Into the Storm
Set against the devastation of Hurricane Joaquin, Into the Storm tells the parallel stories of the El Faro, a massive American cargo ship, and the Minouche, a smaller freighter, caught up in the brutal destruction of the hurricane. The story of these two ships—one hopeful and one ultimately tragic—makes for a page-turning, true-life tale of adventure, desperation, and survival against staggering odds.
Mind and Matter
As a mathematician and former offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens, John Urschel is a walking rebuttal of the “dumb jock” trope. In this entertaining and insightful memoir, he recounts his journey from mathematics prodigy auditing college calculus courses at 13 to gridiron phenomenon on his way to the NFL and back again. It makes for a fascinating view into the life of a man balancing two equally held passions.
How To Raise A Boy
Michael C. Reichert
Drawing on decades of research, psychologist Michael C. Reichert looks to upend the conventional view of masculinity and the ways “boys become men.” How to Raise a Boy explains how the traditional paradigm of the stoic masculine figure can actually a child’s emotional development and lays a roadmap for raising boy’s who are both empathetic and kind.
Grilling is the most ubiquitous of Dad hobbies and Father’s Day tradition for many. What better way to celebrate than an inventive charcoal focused cookbook? In Charcoal, celebrated LA chef Josiah Citrin lays out myriad recipes and techniques to up any backyard chef’s grilling game.
Sergei Urban, a stay-at-home dad and creator of TheDadLab, has proven an internet sensation with his weekly videos and DIY science experiments geared toward kids. His new book, filled with fifty step-by-step projects, is the perfect reference for any parent looking to inject a little STEM fun into their child’s routine.
The Problem of Democracy
In yet another unfortunately timely political tome, historians Nancy Isenberg and Andrew Burstein take a deep dive into the malcontent, contrarian natures of Presidents John and John Quincy Adams. The father-son duo each recognized the inherent weaknesses in our democracy and more specifically the penchant of an electorate towards cults of personality and hero worship. The Adamses keen, if harsh, insights feel particularly prescient in our current political climate, for better or worse.
The Ghost Ships of Archangel
The Ghost Ships of Archangel is among the most fascinating, harrowing, and little known stories of World War II. A group of four Allied ships separated from their convoy in July of 1942 to make a perilous journey further into the ice field of the North Pole in a desperate gambit to avoid the Nazi infested waters of the North Atlantic. Their destination was the icebound port of Archangel with a goal of delivering supplies to their besieged Soviet allies and the war effort hung in the balance.
How to Shine a Shoe
If you’re looking for a gift for that Dad who likes to look his best, look no further. How to Shine a Shoe is a perfect addition to any gentlemen’s library. With tips on not only how to select quality footwear, but also on shoe care as well as pairing with patterned socks and other accessories, this is a must-own style guide for every dapper dad.
From legendary pitmaster, James Beard Award-winner, and overall barbecue guru Aaron Franklin, comes the ultimate guide to cooking that perfect steak. Franklin takes readers through all the necessary steps from choosing the right cut to seasoning to the best way to cook making this book a must-read for any dad looking to up his steak game.
My First Rodeo
Stoney Stamper was living the life of a happily confirmed bachelor. He was as surprised as anyone else when he fell in love with a mother of two. Suddenly navigating a new, and unexpected, life as a family man, Stamper made the decision to start a blog—The Daddy Diaries. My First Rodeo is an extension of that popular blog featuring the inspirational and heartwarming stories that have made The Daddy Diaries such a hit.
Whole Hog BBQ
In the world of barbecue, two styles reign supreme: Texas style brisket and North Carolina style pork. Traditional North Carolina style chopped (or pulled) pork calls for cooking the whole hog and Whole Hog BBQ is the definitive guide for doing just that. Written by a third generation Carolina pitmaster, Whole Hog BBQ is equal parts a history of this delicious style and how-to guide for pulling it off in your own backyard.
Nuking the Moon
We like to think that intelligence agencies aren’t just a bunch of dudes sitting in a room saying things like, “Ok, but hear me out: what if we used cats to spy on the Soviets” or “You know how we can take down Fidel Castro? An exploding cigar.” We like to think that, but we would be wrong. As Intelligence historian Vince Houghton illustrates in Nuking the Moon, spies really do just throw every idea at the wall and hope something sticks. Fortunately, the results are delightfully hilarious.
The Flying Tigers
The Flying Tigers centers around the hidden true story of a group of young American pilots secretly recruited to defend America’s Chinese allies before Pearl Harbor. Traveling under false identities, these pilots left America in 1941 for a run-down airbase in Burma. Little did they know that an impending surprise attack on U.S. soil would soon place them on the front-lines of the Pacific Theater, taking on the might of the Japan Air force.
In the Hurricane's Eye
This bestseller from Nathan Philbrick is a thrilling recounting of the battle that won the Revolutionary War. In 1780, an increasingly frustrated George Washington understood that to defeat the British, he needed a Navy and France was his only option. However, making that happen seemed a logistical impossibility—at least until the stars aligned in September of 1781 and the French Navy engaged the British at the Battle of Chesapeake. This stunning naval victory laid the path for Washington’s decisive victory at Yorktown and the rest is history.
The image of desperate Vietnamese scrambling to board a helicopter as Saigon falls around them is perhaps the most iconic image of the Vietnam War—a striking visual of America’s failure. Or is it? In Honorable Exit, Thurston Clarke digs into the real story behind the photo and the events that led up to it, the actions of scores of courageous Americans who risked everything to help the South Vietnamese escape.
The Favorite Daughter
Patti Callahan Henry
This emotional and poignant novel centers around a group of estranged siblings coming together amid their father’s failing health. Lena Donohue has not returned home since a wedding day betrayal forced her to flee the small town she grew up in. Word of her father’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis has called her home. Now she and the siblings she left behind struggle to preserve their father’s history as his memories are ruthlessly stolen from him.
Black Leopard, Red Wolf
This stunning bestseller is a Game of Thrones by way of African mythology—a thrilling, brutal adventure all told with the characteristic narrative flair of Man Booker Prize-winner Marlon James. The first volume of James’ Dark Star Trilogy focuses on a mercenary hired to track down a missing boy across an increasingly harsh landscape populated by terrifying creatures and shifting alliances. It is likely unlike anything you’ve read before.
David L. Roll
This enthralling biography recounts the history of vaunted soldier and statesman, George Marshall. Long heralded as a genius, Marshall helped shape the path to victory in two world wars and his decisive actions as Secretary of State during World War II laid the groundwork for the emerging world order. This is a fascinating portrait of a complex and deeply human figure set against a backdrop of twentieth century upheaval.
All That You Leave Behind
Erin Lee Carr
When her father, celebrated journalist and author David Carr, suddenly collapsed and died in the newsroom of The New York Times in 2015, Erin Lee Carr felt her world turn upside down. Erin, herself a documentary filmmaker, began combing through the years of correspondence with her father to deal with her grief. What she found, however, was an entirely new lens to view her own life and the influence of her father.
Father’s Day is just around the corner and I can hear a tiny human dashing around my living room as I write this. There’s likely a fair chance my wife—while not chasing down the said tiny human—is wracking her brain for gift ideas for this particularly difficult-to-buy-for Dad. If you’re looking for a few dad-centric gift ideas and don’t know where to start, we’ve got you covered. Here are some recent favorite father’s day books that are sure to be a hit with the dads in your life.
Featured image: @crystalmariesing via Twenty20