On Saturday, I got the chance to spend some time stalking the shelves at River Market Books in Little Rock. This is my second favorite used bookstore in Arkansas. Sad to report, but the history books (usually priced at $4 each) were on sale for half price.
From the back row, left to right, I picked up a copy of Andy Stanley’s It Came from Within. This is the older hardback edition of what is now titled Enemies of the Heart (in paperback). The newer edition is currently being used in the Wednesday night studies at my church.
Also, I got A Company of Readers: Uncollected Writings of W. H. Auden, Jacques Barzun, and Lionel Trilling from the Readers’ Subscription and Mid-Century Book Clubs. What a long sub-title! The inclusion of Barzun made the sale. But all three men were top notch literary fellows and scholars. Books of essays are easily dipped into and read in short stretches, here and there, then saved for a later occasion.
On the front row, we have The Final Act: The Roads to Waterloo by Gregor Dallas. Some years back I 1945: The War that Never Ended and thought it was an excellent history. I think I also have 1918: War and Peace by Dallas. I find him very much in the tradition of great British historians, such as Max Hastings, Piers Brendon, and John Keegan. The British produce some great scholars in the field of history. (Some editions of this book are titled 1815: The Roads to Waterloo.) It looks rather comprehensive in covering the major countries and players in the final defeat of Napoleon.
Then we have The End of Order: Versailles 1919 by Charles Mee, Jr. Both World War I and 20th Century history are specialties of mine (in my own mind, at least). Of course, the Versailles Conference included some influential leaders and resulted in a disastrous peace. The title brings out a curious thought. Versailles was an attempt to bring a new order on Europe. In a very real sense, it created the seeds of World War II.
The last book is titled Profiles in Folly: History’s Worst Decisions and Why They Went Wrong by Alan Axelrod. From the Trojan Horse to George Bush’s response to Hurricane Katrina, mistakes and bad judgments abound. Looks fun and instructive. This is a book of less than 350 pages, so it is obviously only a small glimpse of the bad decisions that fill the ages of the past. (I am glad we have learned all the lessons from past mistakes and will never make any more.)
Total damage done: $15 for 5 nice hardback books.