I have to admit that I am not the biggest reader of history books. From time to time a book will catch my attention, so I will take it home and read it. I am always rewarded by doing so – my mind is enriched and stretched and I increase my knowledge. For instance, I have read two of Pierre Berton’s many excellent books. The two that intrigued me were Vimy and The Invasion of Canada, 1812-1813. Because the battle at Vimy Ridge is a part of our Canadian history that we are taught as children, I had known the basic facts. However, reading the book gave me a much broader and more intimate knowledge. Because Pierre Berton was known for his thorough research, and for including personal stories, I began to understand the horror of trench wars, what men experienced and how they felt. After reading the book I had a much greater respect for our Canadian men who served and fought there. The Invasion of Canada, 1812-1813 was also very interesting because all I knew about it was that it had happened. Once again Pierre Berton’s impeccable research and his ability to write so readers are drawn in, gave me the reasons why, exactly what happened and how it all ended.
This particular train of thought struck me today as I catalogued a new item for the library. It is both a book and a set of CD’s that record a series of conversations with Jacqueline Kennedy. In 1964 she sat down with Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. and recorded seven conversations about life with John F. Kennedy. Historic Conversations with John F. Kennedy was her way of creating an oral history of her husband’s life. I have not read the book or listened to the CDs, but it seems to me that it would be extremely interesting to listen to this first-hand account. Whether or not the conversations have been censored in some form, it seems to be a unique perspective on a man who played a fairly large role in history.
I know that we have many in our community who enjoy reading history because we can see how often the history books are going out. I think it would be interesting if some of you would share one of your favorite books. Sometimes we need a personal recommendation to read a book that is outside our usual reading habits. I hope to see several comments.
By the way – we have 24 books written by Pierre Berton for adults (including the two I mentioned above) and 7 for children.