The Worst Hard Time

“Read History.”  This was some of the best counsel a sage gave me almost a decade ago and I haven’t stopped since.  Egan is a remarkable writer and gifted historian. While the Dust Bowl has come and gone from most of the collective memory of our nation, the timeless lessons just get better with age.  We have much to learn in this brilliantly told story, particularly in the categories of man and power, nature, stewardship of creation and finding and following the narrow road as Kingdom builders and innate adventure seekers.

The following is the description from Amazon:

The dust storms that terrorized the High Plains in the darkest years of the Depression were like nothing ever seen before or since.
Timothy Egan’s critically acclaimed account rescues this iconic chapter of American history from the shadows in a tour de force of historical reportage. Following a dozen families and their communities through the rise and fall of the region, Egan tells of their desperate attempts to carry on through blinding black dust blizzards, crop failure, and the death of loved ones. Brilliantly capturing the terrifying drama of catastrophe, Egan does equal justice to the human characters who become his heroes, “the stoic, long-suffering men and women whose lives he opens up with urgency and respect” (New York Times).

In an era that promises ever-greater natural disasters, The Worst Hard Time is “arguably the best nonfiction book yet” (Austin Statesman Journal) on the greatest environmental disaster ever to be visited upon our land and a powerful cautionary tale about the dangers of trifling with nature.

Undaunted Courage

The rare and remarkable story of the first successful heroic coast to coast journey of white explorers in America.  Ambrose is a remarkable modern historian. Hidden in these pages is the wilderness of America that has been mostly destroyed. And yet with it comes a hope and a desire to enjoy and conserve the remnant that remains (sound like a familiar story?). The insight into the masculine journey is incredible. Well worth the read.

The following is the description from Amazon:

In this sweeping adventure story, Stephen E. Ambrose, the bestselling author od D-Day, presents the definitive account of one of the most momentous journeys in American history. Ambrose follows the Lewis and Clark Expedition from Thomas Jefferson’s hope of finding a waterway to the Pacific, through the heart-stopping moments of the actual trip, to Lewis’s lonely demise on the Natchez Trace. Along the way, Ambrose shows us the American West as Lewis saw it — wild, awsome, and pristinely beautiful. Undaunted Courage is a stunningly told action tale that will delight readers for generations.

Founding Brothers

America’s first band of brothers. Insights into our history, into the beauty and the mess of brotherhood and wonderings about how the hand of God was involved in writing our story in the most unexpected ways.

The following is the description from Amazon:

In this landmark work of history, the National Book Award—winning author of American Sphinxexplores how a group of greatly gifted but deeply flawed individuals–Hamilton, Burr, Jefferson, Franklin, Washington, Adams, and Madison–confronted the overwhelming challenges before them to set the course for our nation.

The United States was more a fragile hope than a reality in 1790. During the decade that followed, the Founding Fathers–re-examined here as Founding Brothers–combined the ideals of the Declaration of Independence with the content of the Constitution to create the practical workings of our government. Through an analysis of six fascinating episodes–Hamilton and Burr’s deadly duel, Washington’s precedent-setting Farewell Address, Adams’ administration and political partnership with his wife, the debate about where to place the capital, Franklin’s attempt to force Congress to confront the issue of slavery and Madison’s attempts to block him, and Jefferson and Adams’ famous correspondence–Founding Brothers brings to life the vital issues and personalities from the most important decade in our nation’s history.

Danny the Champion of the World

My all time FAVORITE book to read with my son.  Dahl said this was different than all his other books; this one wrote itself. He said he tried to keep up with his pencil as it wrote and wrote and wrote. He had no idea where the story was going until it’s masterful conclusion presented itself.  We laughed and wept and cheered as we read.  It’s a must.

The following is the description from Amazon:

Can Danny and his father outsmart the villainous Mr. Hazell?

Danny has a life any boy would love—his home is a gypsy caravan, he’s the youngest master car mechanic around, and his best friend is his dad, who never runs out of wonderful stories to tell. But one night Danny discovers a shocking secret that his father has kept hidden for years. Soon Danny finds himself the mastermind behind the most incredible plot ever attempted against nasty Victor Hazell, a wealthy landowner with a bad attitude. Can they pull it off? If so, Danny will truly be the champion of the world.


The Chronicles of Narnia

No story has better captured the essence, the truth, the Goodness and the beauty of the Gospel as a story, than Lewis in The Chronicles of Narnia.  He rescues the imagination from a modern worldview and invites us and our children to be swept up into a Story that is big enough for our hearts to rest and hope.  A must read for our own hearts and to share aloud with the kids.

The following is the description from Amazon:

C. S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia has captivated readers of all ages for over sixty years, enchanting them with a magical realm where worlds come and go at the toss of a ring, where boys and girls become kings and queens, where there are more talking creatures than people.

Til the Cows Come Home

My kids and I wore the pages out on this book. An ancient Jewish Proverb recaptured in the imagination, creativity, and wonder of the west. A must read with fantastic pictures for your little kiddos.

The following is the description from Amazon:

It was a beautiful piece of leather, smooth as silk and tough as a tornado. In fact, it was the best-looking leather you ever saw. An old cowhand gave it to a young cowboy as a gift. The cowboy cut it up and made a handsome pair of chaps for himself. He said he’d wear those chaps ’til the cows came home. But months of roping and riding wore a hole in one of the legs. That made the cowboy sad, and it set him to thinking. His chaps may be worn out, but he still had some of the beautiful leather. And as long as the cowboy had that leather, he knew he had possibilities. Jodi Icenoggle’s endearing story, with lively illustrations by Normand Chartier, is adapted from a traditional Jewish folktale. This time-honored tale finds new life on a cattle ranch in the American West. An author’s note and a glossary of Western slang adds to the enjoyment of this story about a piece of leather and a resourceful cowboy.