Summer Reading For Men

July 16, 2008

Manly men, that is. The following list of books will be a good counterpoint refuge from all those chick-lit lists of late:

Collision by Jeff Abbott ~~ Two men, one a successful corporate consultant who is mourning the murder of his new bride; the other, a former CIA agent known only as “Pilgrim,” whose current assignment for a fringe espionage agency is so treacherous he doesn’t trust even his own boss are thrown together in a violent, unexpected event. They realize that they’ve been framed in an elaborate setup. Unsure who to trust and who may just be trying to draw them into the open, the unlikely partners have no choice but to work together.

Devil May Care by Sebastian Faulks ~~ An Algerian drug runner is savagely executed in the desolate outskirts of Paris. This seemingly isolated event leads to the recall of Agent 007 from his sabbatical in Rome and his return to the world of intrigue and danger where he is most at home. The head of MI6, M, assigns him to shadow the mysterious Dr. Julius Gorner, a power-crazed pharmaceutical magnate, whose wealth is exceeded only by his greed. Gorner has lately taken a disquieting interest in opiate derivatives, both legal and illegal, and this urgently bears looking into.

Empires Of The Sea by Roger Crowley ~~ Acclaimed historian Roger Crowley has written his most mesmerizing work to date–a thrilling account of this brutal decades-long battle between Christendom and Islam for the soul of Europe, a fast-paced tale of spiraling intensity that ranges from Istanbul to the Gates of Gibraltar and features a cast of extraordinary characters: Barbarossa, “The King of Evil,” the pirate who terrified Europe; the risk-taking Emperor Charles V; the Knights of St. John, the last crusading order after the passing of the Templars; the messianic Pope Pius V; and the brilliant Christian admiral Don Juan of Austria.

Death And Honor by W.E.B. Griffin ~~ The year is 1943, and Argentina is officially neutral, but crawling with every kind of spy, sympathizer, and military official imaginable. The hero is Cletus Frade, a Marine pilot recruited by the OSS, with strong family ties to Argentina, and in Death and Honor—Griffin’s fourth book in the series and the first since 1999—he’s got a lot on his hands.

Moscow Rules by Daniel Silva ~~ the death of a journalist leads Allon to Russia, where he finds that, in terms of spycraft, even he has something to learn. He’s playing by Moscow rules now. This is not the grim, gray Moscow of Soviet times but a new Moscow, awash in oil wealth and choked with bulletproof Bentleys. A Moscow where power resides once more behind the walls of the Kremlin and where critics of the ruling class are ruthlessly silenced. A Moscow where a new generation of Stalinists is plotting to reclaim an empire lost and to challenge the global dominance of its old enemy, the United States.

Patriot Pirates by Robert H. Patton ~~ “In this deeply considered book, based on overlooked primary sources, Robert H. Patton illuminates the raucous, illicit origins of our American democracy. The privateers of the Revolution operated in a twilit world of idealism and greed, launching the new nation on the double edge that would thereafter define it. Many familiar names–the Browns of Providence, the Cabots and Derbys of Salem, the Binghams and Franklins of Philadelphia–appear here in unfamiliar, less admirable ways. With neither rancor nor illusions, Patriot Pirates reminds us again of the mystery and unpredictability of true history.” –Stephen Fox

Mack To The Rescue by Jim Lehrer ~~ When Governor “Buffalo Joe” Hayman calls for privatizing state government, Mack decides to oppose his re-election bid, but a medical mishap prevents Mack from running. While attending a lieutenant governors’ conference in Washington, he suddenly collapses. Hospitalized, he is given a heart bypass operation intended for another patient. Mack backs out of the race and throws his support behind his flaky friend and former state house Speaker, Luther Wallace. Embroiled in a medical malpractice suit while following Luther’s questionable shenanigans, Mack finally has no choice but to come to the rescue when the governor’s race takes a particularly ugly turn.

We Would Have Played For Nothing by Fay Vincent ~~ Former Major League Baseball commissioner Fay Vincent brings together a stellar roster of ballplayers from the 1950s and 1960s in this wonderful new history of the game. These were the decades when baseball expanded across the country and truly became the national pastime. The era opened, though, with the domination of the New York teams: the Yankees, Dodgers, or Giants were in every World Series of the 1950s — but by the end of the decade the two National League teams had moved to California. Representing those great teams in this volume are Whitey Ford, Ralph Branca, Carl Erskine, Duke Snider, and Bill Rigney. They recall the great 1951 Dodgers-Giants playoff that ended with Bobby Thomson’s famous home run (served up by Branca). They remember the mighty Yankees, defeated at last in 1955 by the Dodgers, only to recover the World Series crown from their Brooklyn rivals a year later. They talk about their most feared opponents and most valued teammates, from Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle to Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella to Willie Mays.

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