The arrival of July 4th in the Hamptons means fireworks, parties, and the real beginning of beach-reading season. Our friends at Books & Books in Westhampton Beach get their red, white and blue on with seven sensational books showcasing American presidents and unsung heroes, heartfelt historical fiction and some favorite kid characters, all sure to keep you turning pages all summer long.
The Astronaut Wives Club: A True Story by Lily Koppel
As America’s Mercury Seven astronauts were launched on death-defying missions, television cameras focused on the brave smiles of their young wives. Overnight, these women were transformed from military spouses into American royalty. They had tea with Jackie Kennedy, appeared on the cover of Life magazine, and quickly grew into fashion icons. Many became next-door neighbors and helped to raise each other’s children by day, while going to glam parties at night as the country raced to land a man on the moon. As their celebrity rose—and as divorce and tragic death began to touch their lives—they continued to rally together, and the wives have now been friends for more than 50 years. The Astronaut Wives Club tells the real story of the women who stood beside some of the biggest heroes in American history.
American Gun: A History of the U.S. in Ten Firearms by Chris Kyle and William Doyle
Chris Kyle—fallen hero and #1 bestselling author of American Sniper—reveals how ten legendary guns forever changed U.S. history. Drawing on his unmatched firearms knowledge and combat experience, Kyle carefully chose ten guns to help tell his story. Through them, he revisits thrilling turning points in American history, including the single sniper shot that turned the tide of the Revolutionary War, the firearms designs that proved decisive at Gettysburg, the “gun that won the West,” and the weapons that gave U.S. soldiers an edge in the world wars and beyond. This is also the story of how firearms innovation, creativity, and industrial genius has constantly pushed American history—and power—forward. Filled with an unforgettable cast of characters, Chris Kyle’s American Gun is a sweeping epic of bravery, adventure, invention, and sacrifice.
Roosevelt’s Centurions: FDR and the Commanders He Led to Victory in World War II by Joseph E. Persico
All American presidents are commanders in chief by law. Few perform as such in practice. In Roosevelt’s Centurions, distinguished historian Joseph E. Persico reveals how, during World War II, Franklin D. Roosevelt seized the levers of wartime power like no president since Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War. Declaring himself “Dr. Win-the-War,” FDR assumed the role of strategist in chief, and, though surrounded by star-studded generals and admirals, he made clear who was running the war. Here, Persico examines the qualities we look for in a commander in chief. In an era of renewed conflict, when Americans are again confronting the questions that FDR faced—about the nature and exercise of global power—Roosevelt’s Centurions is a timely and revealing examination of what it takes to be a wartime leader in a freewheeling, complicated, and tumultuous democracy. Colin Powell says that Joe Persico “has brought his formidable talents to bear to bring the centurions to life. He is at the top of his game in this defining classic.”
Cronkite’s War: His World War II Letters Home by Walter Cronkite IV, Maurice Isserman and Tom Brokaw
After a four-year courtship, Walter Cronkite and Betsy Maxwell married in 1940. But before they could celebrate their second anniversary, he became a credentialed war correspondent and prepared to leave her behind to go overseas. The couple spent months apart in the summer and fall of 1942, as Cronkite sailed on convoys to England and North Africa. After a brief visit late that year, Cronkite left again, and this time the couple would not be reunited until the end of the war. Cronkite would console himself during their absence by writing her long, detailed letters describing his experiences as a war correspondent, his observations of life in wartime Europe, and his longing for her. Betsy Cronkite carefully saved the letters, and here they are finally published, revealing surprising and little known facts about this storied public figure in the vanguard of “The Greatest Generation” and a giant in American journalism, and about his World War II experiences.
A Chain of Thunder by Jeff Shaara
Continuing the series that began with A Blaze of Glory, Jeff Shaara returns to chronicle another decisive chapter in America’s long and bloody Civil War. In A Chain of Thunder, the action shifts to the fortress city of Vicksburg, Mississippi. In May 1863, after months of hard and bitter combat, Union troops under the command of Major General Ulysses S. Grant successfully cross the Mississippi River. Drawing on comprehensive research and his own intimate knowledge of the Vicksburg Campaign, Jeff Shaara once again weaves brilliant fiction out of historical fact. From the command tents where generals plot strategy to the ruined mansions where beleaguered citizens huddle for safety, this is a panoramic portrait of men and women whose lives are forever altered by the siege.
Judy Moody Declares Independence by Megan McDonald
Everyone knows that Judy Moody has a mood for every occasion, and now a visit to Boston has put our famous third grader in a revolutionary mood. When Judy meets an English girl named Tori at the Tea Party ship, she is gobsmacked to learn how many liberties her British friend enjoys — her very own phone, private loo, and pounds of allowance. When a day of cheerfully doing her chores doesn’t earn Judy Moody more rights, and staging a revolt in the form of a tea-throwing Boston Tub Party has her dad reading the riot act, Judy is forced into temporary retreat. Who would guess that a real-life crisis involving her brother, Stink, would finally give Judy a chance to show her courageous quick thinking—and prove her independence, once and for all?
The Frank Show by David Mackintosh
This hilarious, offbeat picture book reveals that there is more to the older generation than meets the eye. Grandpa Frank doesn’t have any interesting hobbies, unless you count complaining about how everything was better in the old days. He doesn’t speak Italian like Paolo’s mom, or play the drums like Tom’s uncle. He’s just a grandpa. So when the young narrator of this story is forced to bring Frank to school for show-and-tell, he’s sure it’s going to be a disaster. But Frank has a trick—make that a tattoo—up his sleeve! And a story to go with it. After all, the longer you’ve been around, the more time you’ve had for wild adventures. Share this heartwarming picture books with the little ones to teach them about the honor of serving one’s country.
The First Pup by Bob Staake
Once upon a time, a man named Barack Obama ran for president of the United States, and he won! On the night of his victory, he made a very important announcement: When he and his family were settled in their new home in Washington, D.C., his daughters would get . . . A PUPPY! Meanwhile, on a farm in Texas, a puppy had been born. One of ten brothers and sisters, this puppy was lively and smart, but he needed a new home. This is the real story of Bo—the First Pup!
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