This week, we suggest a bit of humor to brighten your days, and recommend a classic American play that will touch your heart.
A Forgotten History of America
History of the United States
By Noah Webster
Written for students in 1838, this textbook by prolific author Noah Webster (of dictionary fame) is a fascinating look into early America’s place in the world, as colonists dealt with unfriendly native tribes and being the pawns of powerful European nations.
Forgotten Books, 2018, 364 pages
Landmark Battles of Western Culture
Carnage and Culture
By Victor Davis Hanson
From the naval battle at Salamis in Greece to Midway in World War II, from the defeat of the Romans at Cannae to the Battle of Tet in Vietnam, “Carnage and Culture” brilliantly traces the rise of the West, emphasizes the role of warfare in creating its institutions and ideals, and provides vivid descriptions of nine pivotal battles. Given our recent failures in Afghanistan, an increasingly dangerous world, and a weakened American military, this history of conflict is a must-read.
Anchor Books, 2007, 546 pages
The American Revolution, in a Poem
Legends of Liberty
By Andrew Benson Brown
“Legends of Liberty” is a witty, inventive, and brilliant new poem by a fresh and great star in the American poetic galaxy, Andrew Benson Brown. This is poetry that will make you laugh out loud, make you think and question what you know, and make you admire the linguistic pyrotechnics that are a hallmark of this accomplished work. Good news, too: It’s a narrative—so, a real story you can follow!—that takes you on a journey through the American Revolution. If you want poetry that really entertains while informing, then this is the book for you.
TAJ Classics, 2021, 169 pages
Mirth and Mayhem
Right Ho, Jeeves
By P.G. Wodehouse
Welcome to the world of Bertie Wooster and Jeeves, where the butler time and again rescues his employer from dire straits. A cousin’s broken engagement, the Market Snodsbury Grammar School prizes, and Gussie Fink-Nottle’s romantic pursuit of Madeline Bassett—these are only some of the webs in which Bertie becomes entangled. Can he escape? Only by the intervention of the remarkable Jeeves. One of the great comic novels of literature.
Arcturus Publishing, 2019, 256 pages
Dispatches From the Dooryard
By Timothy Cotton
Cops are keen observers of human nature, and these short vignettes drawn from actual police reports in small-town Maine provide good chuckles. We come along for the ride as they deal with the inebriated—they detect the “slight scent of the nectar of bad decisions” aka “Devil’s Kool-aid” aka “liquid license remover”—and suspects with humanity.
Down East Books, 2021, 224 pages
The Great American Play?
By Thornton Wilder
Set in the fictitious Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire, at the beginning of the 20th century, this 1938 play focuses on two young people, Emily and George, and their dreams, their mutual affection, their marriage, and Emily’s early death. For decades, the play’s powerful ending has often moved audiences to tears. A wonderful reflection on embracing life while we live it. “Oh, earth,” Emily laments from the grave, “you’re too wonderful for anybody to realize you.”
If you or your teens have missed “Our Town,” you’re in for a marvelous surprise.
Harper Perennial Classics, 2003, 204 pages
Building a 13th-Century Fortress
By David Macaulay
Aimed at the older elementary school crowd, “Castle” recreates the efforts required to build a castle and its surrounding town in the Middle Ages. This book clearly explains the engineering and work that went into making these fortresses.
Houghton Mifflin Publishers, 1977, 80 pages
For the Love of Books
By Michelle Knudsen
In this picture-rich book, a lion marches into the library and proves to be surprisingly well-suited for the environment. When extenuating circumstances present themselves, the lion is forced to break the rules in order to help.
Candlewick Press, 2006, 48 pages
Are there books you’d recommend? We’d love to hear from you. Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org