33 good books I read in 2019


Are you looking for something to read? Here’s the “good” books I read this year.  In 2019 I was most heavily interested in 4 main topics: urban America, WW2, Delaware and business/economy.

Maybe The Best Book I’ve  Ever Read: 

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(1) The Caine Mutiny 

An astonishingly creative and interesting book.  Written by a WW2 naval officer (he was actually there) in 1951, it’s a novel about a minesweeper in the Pacific where some of the crew mutiny against a supposedly incompetent captain. The movie is in my opinion not very good.  Doesn’t come close to conveying the nuance of the book.

2 Authors I’ve been Lucky to Get to Know Personally in 2019

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World War Two has always a favorite topic tbut until this year I’d never actively attempted to interview WW2 veterans except for informal conversations with relatives who died before I could really engage in depth. As part of a  book I am attempting to write in 2019 I interviewed at least 20 from my hometown. Two of them have written their own very good books:

(2) A Sailor’s Diary: In War and Peace

The author was drafted in 1942 and was all over the Pacific on a Destroyer, including at Okinawa. Most WW2 memoirs I’ve seen tend to come from either naval officers or from the infantry, rarely enlisted naval but his book as insightful and reflective as any I’ve read. 

(3) Against All Odds: The Ray Firmani Story

The memoir of a B17 pilot who flew 25 missions over Nazi-occupied Europe.


Local Delaware History 

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Book review: The way of strangers, Encounters with the Islamic State

With the growing appeal of ISISism in the Middle East, the importance of an effective US diplomatic focus on religious freedom, with new paradigms that take into account the gravity of the situation, is only growing. Last week I attended an important conference hosted by the University of Notre Dame that did a great job at helping take that discussion to a new level.

And on a related note, over the weekend, I finished this new book on ISIS:

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In a nutshell, should you read this book and why? 

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The Countering Jihadism Reading List – 19 recommended books

To be continuously updated


Below are 19 books that I consider essential reading* for understanding the nature of the Jihadism** problem and formulating the toughest and most strategic CT approach (as opposed to only tactical) during the Trump administration.

As a doctor will say, correctly diagnosing the cause of a problem is the key to figuring out how to stop it from happening.

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“Taxi:” a highly underrated resource for spoken Arabic students


This is a book I strongly recommend for Arabic students, especially those trying to develop their speaking skills. From the original book cover:

حواديت المشاوير الذي لاقى نجاحا نقديا وجماهيريا كبيرا وغير متوقع، فأثنى عليه الكثير من الكتاب والنقاد واستضافت مؤلفه عدد من البرامج التلفزيونية مثل العاشرة مساء والبيت بيتك والقاهرة اليوم، ووصفه د. عبد الوهاب المسيري بأنه “عمل إبداعي أصيل ومتعة فكرية حقيقية”، وقال عنه د. جلال أمين أنه من أجمل ما قرأ من كتب في وصف المجتمع المصري كما كتب عنه صفحة كاملة بجريدة المصري اليوم. والكتاب عبارة عن حوارات بين الراوي وسائقي التاكسي بالقاهرة يتناولون فيها بصراحة بالغة أوضاع البلاد والسياسة والاقتصاد والتطرف والمظاهرات والجنس وحياتهم وهمومهم الشخصية. كتاب ممتع ومرآة صادقة لفئة لماحة تتعامل مع المجتمع كله. المؤلف خالد الخميسي حاصل على ماجستير في العلوم السياسية من جامعة السوربون، إعلامي ومنتج ومخرج وكاتب سيناريو، له العديد من الدراسات الاجتماعية والسياسية، ويكتب في عدة صحف

The Good News for Arabic students: 

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