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What non-fiction book would you like to read as a group starting in March? 
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 What non-fiction book would you like to read as a group starting in March?
Make suggestions here of NON-FICTION books you'd like to read and discuss as a group during March, April and May of 2014.

Include the title, author name and a link to where we can read more about the book. Don't forget the link.

And you'll do your suggestion a service by including an explanation of why you're suggesting the book. A brief post that just names a book and links to it will have very little influence of the other members. Spend a few minutes and sell us on your suggestion. If you don't have the time or inclination to type a few sentences about your book we know you're not going to actually stick around and discuss it with us.

The Non-Fiction Book Forum is a great place for visiting authors to share their books, however, this particular thread is for our ACTIVE and current members to discuss and select our next NON-FICTION book for group discussion. Please do not make suggestions if you're a brand new member with less than 10 posts on our forums. From experience we know you're only here to promote your book. And that is totally acceptable in this FORUM but not in this THREAD.

After you leave your book suggestion PLEASE look at the other suggestions your fellow members have made. Tell us if you would consider reading and discussing the books they suggested. We need this feedback in order to know which books are of broad appeal. Any suggestions made that do not generate interest from other members will not be considered. After all, we cannot have a book "discussion" with only one person advocating a particular book.



Tue Jan 28, 2014 3:33 pm
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Post Re: What non-fiction book would you like to read as a group starting in March?
My non-fiction suggestion is...

Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War
by Robert M. Gates

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From the former secretary of defense, a strikingly candid, vividly written account of his experience serving Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Before Robert M. Gates received a call from the White House in 2006, he thought he’d left Washington politics behind: after working for six presidents in both the CIA and the National Security Council, he was happy in his role as president of Texas A&M University. But when he was asked to help a nation mired in two wars and to aid the troops doing the fighting, he answered what he felt was the call of duty. Now, in this unsparing memoir, meticulously fair in its assessments, he takes us behind the scenes of his nearly five years as a secretary at war: the battles with Congress, the two presidents he served, the military itself, and the vast Pentagon bureaucracy; his efforts to help Bush turn the tide in Iraq; his role as a guiding, and often dissenting, voice for Obama; the ardent devotion to and love for American soldiers—his “heroes”—he developed on the job.

In relating his personal journey as secretary, Gates draws us into the innermost sanctums of government and military power during the height of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, illuminating iconic figures, vital negotiations, and critical situations in revealing, intimate detail. Offering unvarnished appraisals of Dick Cheney, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, and Presidents Bush and Obama among other key players, Gates exposes the full spectrum of behind-closed-doors politicking within both the Bush and Obama administrations.

He discusses the great controversies of his tenure—surges in both Iraq and Afghanistan, how to deal with Iran and Syria, “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” Guantánamo Bay, WikiLeaks—as they played out behind the television cameras. He brings to life the Situation Room during the Bin Laden raid. And, searingly, he shows how congressional debate and action or inaction on everything from equipment budgeting to troop withdrawals was often motivated, to his increasing despair and anger, more by party politics and media impact than by members’ desires to protect our soldiers and ensure their success.

However embroiled he became in the trials of Washington, Gates makes clear that his heart was always in the most important theater of his tenure as secretary: the front lines. We journey with him to both war zones as he meets with active-duty troops and their commanders, awed by their courage, and also witness him greet coffin after flag-draped coffin returned to U.S. soil, heartbreakingly aware that he signed every deployment order. In frank and poignant vignettes, Gates conveys the human cost of war, and his admiration for those brave enough to undertake it when necessary.
Duty tells a powerful and deeply personal story that allows us an unprecedented look at two administrations and the wars that have defined them.


Gates worked under 8 different Presidents, both Democrats and Republicans. This book gives us some insight into the challenges he faced leading our nation through two major wars concurrently. Whether you supported the military actions of this nation or not we can get a glimpse into the reasoning behind some of the decisions.


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Tue Jan 28, 2014 3:58 pm
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Post Re: What non-fiction book would you like to read as a group starting in March?
Another non-fiction suggestion with 6,400 reviews on Amazon.com...

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
by Laura Hillenbrand

Quote:
Amazon Best Books of the Month, November 2010: From Laura Hillenbrand, the bestselling author of Seabiscuit, comes Unbroken, the inspiring true story of a man who lived through a series of catastrophes almost too incredible to be believed. In evocative, immediate descriptions, Hillenbrand unfurls the story of Louie Zamperini--a juvenile delinquent-turned-Olympic runner-turned-Army hero. During a routine search mission over the Pacific, Louie’s plane crashed into the ocean, and what happened to him over the next three years of his life is a story that will keep you glued to the pages, eagerly awaiting the next turn in the story and fearing it at the same time. You’ll cheer for the man who somehow maintained his selfhood and humanity despite the monumental degradations he suffered, and you’ll want to share this book with everyone you know. --Juliet Disparte

The Story of Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Eight years ago, an old man told me a story that took my breath away. His name was Louie Zamperini, and from the day I first spoke to him, his almost incomprehensibly dramatic life was my obsession.

It was a horse--the subject of my first book, Seabiscuit: An American Legend--who led me to Louie. As I researched the Depression-era racehorse, I kept coming across stories about Louie, a 1930s track star who endured an amazing odyssey in World War II. I knew only a little about him then, but I couldn’t shake him from my mind. After I finished Seabiscuit, I tracked Louie down, called him and asked about his life. For the next hour, he had me transfixed.

Growing up in California in the 1920s, Louie was a hellraiser, stealing everything edible that he could carry, staging elaborate pranks, getting in fistfights, and bedeviling the local police. But as a teenager, he emerged as one of the greatest runners America had ever seen, competing at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, where he put on a sensational performance, crossed paths with Hitler, and stole a German flag right off the Reich Chancellery. He was preparing for the 1940 Olympics, and closing in on the fabled four-minute mile, when World War II began. Louie joined the Army Air Corps, becoming a bombardier. Stationed on Oahu, he survived harrowing combat, including an epic air battle that ended when his plane crash-landed, some six hundred holes in its fuselage and half the crew seriously wounded.

On a May afternoon in 1943, Louie took off on a search mission for a lost plane. Somewhere over the Pacific, the engines on his bomber failed. The plane plummeted into the sea, leaving Louie and two other men stranded on a tiny raft. Drifting for weeks and thousands of miles, they endured starvation and desperate thirst, sharks that leapt aboard the raft, trying to drag them off, a machine-gun attack from a Japanese bomber, and a typhoon with waves some forty feet high. At last, they spotted an island. As they rowed toward it, unbeknownst to them, a Japanese military boat was lurking nearby. Louie’s journey had only just begun.

That first conversation with Louie was a pivot point in my life. Fascinated by his experiences, and the mystery of how a man could overcome so much, I began a seven-year journey through his story. I found it in diaries, letters and unpublished memoirs; in the memories of his family and friends, fellow Olympians, former American airmen and Japanese veterans; in forgotten papers in archives as far-flung as Oslo and Canberra. Along the way, there were staggering surprises, and Louie’s unlikely, inspiring story came alive for me. It is a tale of daring, defiance, persistence, ingenuity, and the ferocious will of a man who refused to be broken.

The culmination of my journey is my new book, Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption. I hope you are as spellbound by Louie’s life as I am.


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Tue Jan 28, 2014 4:09 pm
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Post Re: What non-fiction book would you like to read as a group starting in March?
I made a post in the Politics, Current Events & History forum the other day and I just realized I should add it here as a suggestion for our upcoming Non-Fiction book discussion. The post was as follows...

Quote:
I've always been interested in hearing the personal stories of war survivors so the below site has proven to be quite moving for me. You'll find the stories of dozens of men and women who lived through World War II and experienced different aspects of the war from their own unique perspectives.

Check out "The Panel of Elders" and their touching stories.

One of the stories I read prompted me to dig deeper. First, read this amazing summary by Arthur Jacobs of how his family was rounded up and sent to an American prison camp during WWII under the premise that they were Germans. They were Americans.

That summary led me to read more about Jacobs. Watch the video if you have the time and inclination.

After watching the video and hearing a better description of what he went through as a young boy I just had to order his book, The Prison called Hohenasperg: An American boy betrayed by his Government during World War II by Arthur Jacobs, on Amazon.com. If you have a Kindle you can order a sample for free or you can read the first 25 pages for free as a PDF here.


So my Non-Fiction suggestion is, "The Prison called Hohenasperg: An American boy betrayed by his Government during World War II by Arthur Jacobs"



Tue Feb 04, 2014 10:00 am
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Post Re: What non-fiction book would you like to read as a group starting in March?
Even though I'm bad at keeping up with the selection, I'll repeat one of my older suggestions:


Jonathan Haidt, The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom

http://www.amazon.com/The-Happiness-Hyp ... ap_title_0

Quote:
Booklist review: Using the wisdom culled from the world's greatest civilizations as a foundation, social psychologist Haidt comes to terms with 10 Great Ideas, viewing them through a contemporary filter to learn which of their lessons may still apply to modern lives. He first discusses how the mind works and then examines the Golden Rule ("Reciprocity is the most important tool for getting along with people"). Next, he addresses the issue of happiness itself--where does it come from?--before exploring the conditions that allow growth and development. He also dares to answer the question that haunts most everyone--What is the meaning of life?--by again drawing on ancient ideas and incorporating recent research findings. He concludes with the question of meaning: Why do some find it? Balancing ancient wisdom and modern science, Haidt consults great minds of the past, from Buddha to Lao Tzu and from Plato to Freud, as well as some not-so-greats: even Dr. Phil is mentioned. Fascinating stuff, accessibly expressed.


I think the people who read the other selection by Haidt enjoyed the book, and this sounds like it could be a good discussion.



Wed Feb 05, 2014 5:20 pm
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 Re: What non-fiction book would you like to read as a group starting in March?
I was going to suggest Duty, but see that's already on the board so I'm OK with that. Should be lots of copies at the library.
Also OK with Haight's book, could use more happiness. 8)
Also have a general suggestion that we read a book we will hate, something along the lines of a theist scientist exploring the boundaries 'twixt religion and science. The idea is to challenge our lack of some beliefs as some posters do 'round here. Don't have have a specific candidate at the moment.



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 Re: What non-fiction book would you like to read as a group starting in March?
Good idea, LanDroid.

Does Ken Ham have a book that would work? We could do a live chat with him afterwards.

I looked it up and he does have some books.

Six Days: The Age of the Earth and the Decline of the Church

Pocket Guide to the Best Evidences Understandably, this is a really small book. Probably too small for a BookTalk.org discussion.

There are probably better choices than Ken Ham but I personally have no interest in reading a book that arrives at Creationism via philosophical argument. Ken Ham is easy to refute because you don't have to be a philosopher to spot his errors. He attempts to use science and that gives us the ability to analyze his arguments.

I just found this list on Amazon.com...

My favourite books on creationism



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Post Re: What non-fiction book would you like to read as a group starting in March?
I'll watch a debate, but I wouldn't waste my time reading a creationist book.

Maybe one of those sophistimicated theism books, like this one that I mentioned from a recent review:

www.amazon.com/Experience-God-Being-Con ... 099&sr=1-1



Sat Feb 08, 2014 6:19 pm
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 Re: What non-fiction book would you like to read as a group starting in March?
No I agree, we will not read a YEC book. I intended a book that challenges. The one Dexter links looks good, here are some others.

Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies by David Bentley Hart Phd Eastern Orthodox theologian, philosopher, and cultural commentator.

The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief by Francis S. Collins

The Language of Science and Faith: Straight Answers to Genuine Questions by by Karl W. Giberson and Francis S. Collins. Giberson has a Phd in physics, Collins has MD and Phd and headed the Human Genome Project.

Sam Harris rips into Francis Collins. (Sorry, had to do it.)

Finding Darwin's God: A Scientist's Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution by Kenneth Miller professor of biology at Brown University.

The Tao of Physics: An Exploration of the Parallels between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism by Fritjof Capra, Ph.D., physicist and systems theorist, is a founding director of the Center for Ecoliteracy in Berkeley. Heh, I read this in college in the '70's. (Say no more.) Would be interesting to re-read now... :chatsmilies_com_92:

The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions by David Berlinski who holds a PhD from Princeton University and has taught mathematics and philosophy at universities in the United States and in France.

Science and Religion in Quest of Truth by John Polkinghorne theoretical physicist, theologian, writer, and Anglican priest.

Perhaps some of the theists 'round here have better suggestions...



Last edited by LanDroid on Sat Feb 08, 2014 9:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Post Re: What non-fiction book would you like to read as a group starting in March?
There's no shortage of interesting non-fiction books to read. But choosing one that will hold people's attention and pull them into a discussion takes a little more thought. I think that Dexter's earlier suggestion of the Happiness Hypothesis would generate much discussion. The sub-title, Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom, say more about the book than the title.

From the back cover: " This is a book about ten Great Ideas. Each chapter is an attempt to savor one idea that has been discovered by several of the world's civilizations - to question it in light of what we now know from scientific research, and to extract from it the lessons that still apply to our modern lives."

Although chapter 1 should be read first, the other chapters are fairly self-contained and could be read in any order. It also means that people who don't usually join in the non-fiction discussions could choose to enter a discussion of any chapter without having to read the whole book.

Each chapter is filled with ideas guaranteed to generate discussion, Here are a couple of quotes from chapter 9 Divinity With or Without God:

".....the emotion of awe happens when two conditions are met: a person perceives something vast (usually physically vast, but sometimes conceptually vast, such as a grand theory, or socially vast, such as great fame or power) ; and the vast thing cannot be accomodated by the persons existing mental structures. Something enormous cannot be processed, and when people are stumped, stopped in their cognitive tracks while in the presence of something vast, they feel small powerless, passive and receptive. .... By stopping people and making them receptive, awe creates an opening for change, and this is why awe plays a role in most stories of religious conversion."

"(Maslow) founded humanistic psychology in part to feed the widespread hunger for knowledge about values and to investigate the sort of truth people glimpse in peak experiences. Maslow did not believe religions were literaly true, but he thought they were based on the most important truths of life, and he wanted to unite those truths with the truths of science."

The site below has anything else you may want to learn about the book:
http://happinesshypothesis.com/



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Post Re: What non-fiction book would you like to read as a group starting in March?
LanDroid wrote:


Brutal smackdown of Collins. I wonder who is the best defender of the science/religion compatibility argument.



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Post Re: What non-fiction book would you like to read as a group starting in March?
Have to say, the Haidt book does look very good.


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Post Re: What non-fiction book would you like to read as a group starting in March?
I will be publishing the paperback edition of this book in the next week. Stacy may be willing to participate in the discussion if this book is chosen for discussion.


Science was born of Christianity


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Sat Feb 15, 2014 9:01 pm
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Post Re: What non-fiction book would you like to read as a group starting in March?
What does that title "Science was born of Christianity" actually mean? Just about everyone was a Christian at one point in history so of course our early scientists were also Christians. This doesn't lend any support to Christian doctrines. It merely shows that Christian theology appeared to be the best thing going back when we didn't have a more complete understanding of how the natural world worked. Once science started closing the gaps God receded and continues to recede in all but the most scientifically illiterate of peoples.



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Post Re: What non-fiction book would you like to read as a group starting in March?
My non-fiction suggestion is "Born in Sarajevo" by Snjezana Marinkovic

Amazon Link is: http://www.amazon.com/Born-Sarajevo-Snj ... 983402744/

Description: When first barricades and first gun shots occurred in the capitol of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo, I was seventeen years old. It was the year 1992, and one of the worst mass killings in the history of mankind began. At that time, my family, my friends, my neighbors, and I were still unaware that we will lose all privileges related to peace. People of this country, which was called Yugoslavia, proudly holding the title of the biggest and the wealthiest Balkan country, started losing their freedom, their homes and their lives. I, as any other teen, knew about war only from movies and video games until my first encounter with those whose intention was not to act or play but to overpower, destroy and kill.



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