Of the many books in our library, the ones presented here are those we can most highly recommend as being especially interesting and enjoyable reading.   Many are older books which are very interesting and great reading, but which are out-of-print (but still available via used-book sales
, etc.) or are no longer commonly advertised or promoted.   All of the books shown here require only your interest in a particular subject.   They are written in langauge that is readable and enjoyable by anyone, with or without specialized knowledge.
New books, movies, and music are being added regularly; check back for new titles!
Last updated 20 March 2018
- see the latest addition here
****   30 April 2018 - see the revolutionary new book by author Scott Crosby!   ****
If desired, click on any of these Section titles to go directly to that part of this webpage.
- the Great Places To Find Books Section
- the Great Books - Nonfiction Section
- the Great Books - Fiction Section
- the Great Books - Poetry Section
- the Great Movies Section
- the Great Music Section
- the Great Humorous Music Section
- the Great Libraries Section
Or just scroll down to see it all.   Enjoy!
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Great Books - Nonfiction Section
Solon the Thinker, John David Lewis, 2006
the idea of freedom, about 600 BC, early in the Classical Greek era.   This book is the best historical recounting and analysis of what Solon accomplished.
The Aristotle Adventure, Burgess Laughlin, 1995
Tracks the pathways over the past 2350 years of the tenuous survival of Aristotle's writings, which ended the Dark Ages and are the foundation for the civilized life we all enjoy.
Aristotle's Children, Richard E. Rubenstein, 2003
Describes how Aristotle's ideas became the basis for the world we live in today.
The Middle Ages 395-1500, Strayer & Munro, 1924
Tells of the cultural decline into the Dark Ages, life in those times, and the rebirth.
A More Perfect Union, William Peters, 1987
Reads like a cliffhanger novel; telling the history of the Constitutional Convention, keeping you on the edge of your seat throughout the months of that unique meeting of America's Founding Fathers.
(not to be confused with other books of the same name)
James Madison and the Struggle For the Bill Of Rights, Richard Labunski, 2006
The perfect follow-on to A More Perfect Union
, this book reads like a suspense thriller; will
the Constitution be ratified???   What changes will be made to it as each state makes its own demands for modifications?   Even knowing the ultimate outcome, this book makes you feel the threats that seem to irreversibly darken the outlook.   Will the United States that we know be born?   Many famous Founding Fathers seem determined
to unravel the efforts of the Constitutional Convention.
Note while reading this book, that Patrick Henry, during Virginia's ratification convention for the new U.S. Consitution in 1789, makes the first reference to an anti-Federalist "Republican" alliance - the precursor to a true political Party.   Indeed, the rise of political parties ultimately led to the Federalist Party (pro strong central government) facing off against the Democratic-Republican Party (pro-rights), of Thomas Jefferson, in the early 1800s.   Much later, after the demise of the Federalist Party and the subsequent Whig Party, and after the Democratic-Republican Party had been transformed by Andrew Jackson into the duplicitous (promising land to settlers given to the Cherokee Indians by treaty), big-government, pro-slavery Democratic Party, opposition to it arose in the form of the upstart anti-slavery Republican Party, in the 1850s.   The Republicans' first winning Presidential candidate was Abraham Lincoln.
Ayn Rand's Normative Ethics, Tara Smith, 2006
The best and most thoroughly reasoned discussion of normative ethics.
Greeks and Romans Bearing Gifts
How the Ancients Inspired the Founding Fathers, Carl J. Richard, 2008
The greatest influence on the thinking of the Founding Fathers as they designed a wholely new and totally innovative type of government from the ground up was the history and writings of Classical Greece and the Roman Republic.   This book describes those influences in detail.
The Capitalist Manifesto, Andrew Bernstein, 2005
Makes the point that historically and economically, that Capitalism is by far the greatest - actually the only
- economic system for prosperity and freedom.
Doing What Matters, James E. Kitts, 2007
Describes the great ideas by a terrific innovator on business management
.   Kitts saved Nabisco in the 1990s, after KKR's 1989 LBO.   This book makes an exciting sequel to the book Barbarians At the Gates
, which describes that takeover.
A History of Venice, John Julius Norwich, 1982
Chronicles the history of the longest-lived country in history.   From its start in the 400s until 1800, this remarkable country never suffered a successful invasion nor rebellion.   Venice was a republic
- bound by the Rule of Law - through centuries filled elsewhere with tyranny in all its forms; its residents had a remarkable degree of freedom.   It survived and flourished on trade, at a time when trade was denounced and reviled by the Church as sinful.   Venice traders brought new goods to all parts of Europe, from the Mid-East, India, and even China, as well as new ideas from Constantinople and Baghdad, which would help foster the European renaissance.
A History Of the Ostrogoths, Thomas Burns, 1984
Relates the story of the people who inherited the remnants of the Roman Empire, after its collapse in the 400s.
Almost Human, Shirley Strum, 1987
Describes the behavior of baboons, so similar to our own, provoking a lot of thought about the nature of the line between instinct, as in animals, and conceptual thinking, the distinctive characteristic of humans.   In an excellent example of
, both species independently solved the problem of survival in spite of lacking significant defensive capabilities such as claws, teeth, horns, etc., by living in social groups.   The complexities which arose due to such an arrangement are in many ways similar.
Rules For Radicals, Saul D. Alinsky, 1971
Read the book that propelled the thinking of Barack Obama, authored by the person who most influenced Hillary Clinton in her career and the means she continues to use to this day in pursuit of her goals.
Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond, 1999, 1997
This very interesting page-turner is a fascinating description of how human culture evolved, and why it advanced more quickly in some places than others.
The Third Chimpanzee, Jared Diamond, 1992; revised 2006
An exciting exploration of the origins of language, art, agriculture, mating habits, abuse of drugs, genocide, old age, and more.   Jared Diamond's detailed grasp of an astonishingly wide range of disciplines enables him to make some great integrations and to resolve many of the mysteries of how we became who we are.
The World America Made, Robert Kagan, 2012
Contrasts the relative peace and progress in the world due to America's dominant role since World War II, vs. the resurgence of violent conflict and the decline of freedom should America let its influence wane.   The recent threats by China in the South China Sea, and the attacks in the UN against Israel are only two examples.
The Life Of Francis Marion, William Gilmore Simms, 1844
This biography of Revolutionary War hero Francis Marion is a fascinating recounting of Marion's life.   Born in 1732, the same year as George Washington, he was just as remarkable and exceptional an individual in his character, leadership, and military achievements against the British.   Marion single-handedly kept South Carolina patriotic hopes alive, and prevented the British from using South Carolina as a base for invasion of North Carolina and Virginia.   Using the events of the War as a backdrop, the author focuses on the remarkable integrity of a great human being.
The Archimedes Codex, Netz & Noel, 2007
Reads like a mystery historical novel.   It describes the 1998-2009 recovery process of lost works by Archimedes (200s B.C.), one of the greatest minds of the Classical era.   Second perhaps only to Aristotle, he very nearly (or perhaps did) invent calculus - 1850
years before Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz finally achieved that feat in the 1600s.   Both they and Gallileo all creditted Archimedes with being the foundation for their own work.
The 4% Universe, Panek, 2011
This is a fascinating description of the search for the make-up of the universe.   Calculations show that 96% is "missing"; i.e., unknown! Written in layman's terms, this book describes the recent discoveries that are revolutionizing the study of cosmology.
Bismarck: a Life, Jonathan Steinberg, 2011
Takes you into the mind of Otto von Bismarck, the masterful Prussian politician who deftly manipulated 1800s Germany, France, Russia, Austria, and Italy.   His actions set the stage for World War I, and also laid the groundwork that would provide a general mindset in the German population which would lead to the acceptance and rise of a madman like Adolf Hitler.
A Culture Of Freedom: Ancient Greece and the Origins Of Europe, Meier & Raaflaub, 2011
This is the fascinating story of the beginnings of Civilization - the recognition and respect for the individual's rights - in Classical Greece, starting around 750 B.C.
Education Of a Wandering Man, Louis Lamour, 1989
This fascinating story of the life of Louis Lamour, begins when he left home at age 15 until he was finally able to establish himself as a writer.   Traveling around the country and the world, the story also recalls the innumerable books he read along the way.   That list alone would be reason enough to read this book.
One book mentioned by Lamour is:
The Ancient Explorers, by M. Cary & E. H. Warmington, 1929
This book recounts the history of the exploration of the world in ancient times, before Christopher Columbus.   It reveals many exciting and little-known travels. Surprisingly enjoyable, this book's authors are good story-tellers who know how to keep you interested in their recounting of this part of history.
Reading that book led to this book:
History Begins At Sumer, Samuel Noah Kramer, 1956, 1981
The Sumerian civilization invented
writing, about 3000 B.C.; it was literally the place where prehistoric
ended, and historic
began.   This book describes that and the many other components of that first historical culture which are still with us down to the present day.
1776, David McCullough, 2005
Recounts the details of the most audacious but also darkest hours in U.S. history - close to its doom and not yet a country.   The future of America depended on barely 2,500 soldiers, untrained and inexperienced generals, and the signers of the Declaration - self-proclaimed traitors to the most powerful King on the planet.   1776 was the year that changed the world - ultimately giving humanity its most unique and advanced government ever: one authorized and run by its own citizens, and limited by a Constitution beyond its reach.
(not to be confused with the musical of the same name)
Nothing Less Than Victory - Decisive Wars and the Lessons Of History, John David Lewis, 2010
Reviews seven historic wars, from the Greco-Persian wars starting in 547 BC, up through World War II, in terms of their decisiveness and the achievement of national safety.   Easy reading, clearly written.   Demonstrates on a simple and evident level what must be achieved in war if the effort and cost is to be justified.
The Aquatic Ape, Elaine Morgan, 1978
Based on the theory put forward by Alister Hardy, explores the intriguing evidence that human ancestors passed through one or more evolutionary periods living in a semi-aquatic environment - shorelines, hunting for shellfish, etc., for survival.   Explains why we have a number of characteristics that (1) are uniquely distinct from homo-sapiens' most closely-related species (chimpanzees, apes, and orangutans), and (2) do not support savannah nor forest survival, but rather, are similar to that of other species which have had to adapt to an aquatic habitat.   This includes body features such as webbing between fingers, down-breathing nose, sub-dermal fat layer, loss of body hair, and more.
evidence from other species corroborates the aquatic theory.
In Trump We Trust, Ann Coulter, 2016
Documents the history of the months leading up to the 2016 Presidential Election.   Less about Trump than about those around him - Leftists, Republicans, candidates, the media, etc., in this book Coulter does an excellent job of presenting the actual facts behind the news headlines, political jabs, claims, and counter-claims.
Almost Human: The Astonishing Tale of Homo naledi and the Discovery That Changed Our Human Story, Lee Berger and John Hawks, 2017
This is the exciting story of the unprecedented discovery of hundreds of fossils of a previously unknown prehistoric member of our family tree, and the events that led up to it.   Written in laymen's terms, this book takes you through the events of one of the most remarkable discoveries ever - an event that is reshaping our knowledge of our prehistoric past.
Hidden Figures, Margot Lee Shetterly, 2017
If you liked the movie, you will love the book, which covers a lot more history, in a lot more detail, and ties together the many intertwinings and interconnections of so many historical threads and events.   This is a fascinating story that begins in the 1930s, with NASA's predecessor, NACA, charged with advancing American understanding and development of aerodynamic theory and technology - something which would soon become essential to victory in World War II.   After the war that effort evolved into the Jet Age, set in the Cold War struggle with the Soviet Union.   With the launch of Sputnik in October, 1957, that focus was quickly transitioned into the Space Race, and NASA.   Through it all, the issues of gender and race affected and were affected by many major events.   The acceptance of women as intellectual equals, the abandonment of segregation, and the recognition that successes not only made necessary but proved that such progress was right and good, all coalesced in concert with that ultimate goal of human exploration, landing people on the Moon.   This story will thrill and touch your heart strings page after page.
Katherine Johnson's famous quote
on page 245.
The Art of the Deal, Donald Trump, 1987
This is a story worth reading, of a great man of high moral caliber.   See my review of the book on Amazon
Trump has been making America great his whole life.
"The Art of the Deal" is the story of a hard-working, dynamic, and wonderfully innovative man who also has the highest of integrity.   Donald Trump is as American to the core as you can get.   You will finish this book knowing that he is a man you can respect in every way, and trust implicitly in any dealings you have with him.   As President Trump, if this man ever asked me to work in his White House, it would disrupt my life all over the place, but I would instantly reply, "Yes, sir, I would be proud to do it, and thank-you for the opportunity.   How soon do you want me there, and what should I expect to be working on?"   This is a great man, destined to be one of the greatest Presidents, and most of all, the kind of person you wish more Americans would be like.
Weekend Pilot, Frank Kingston Smith, 1957
A great story of one person's discovery of flying, and his experiences in owning his own airplane.
A Sky Of Her Own, by Molly Bernheim, 1959
In the years after World War II, a woman in her 40s learns to fly
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Great Books - Fiction Section
The Epic Of Gilgamesh, introduction by N. K. Sandars, 1972
This epic from 2000 B.C. and its predecessor individual Sumerian stories mark the introduction of the written story, more than 1,200 years before Homer's Illiad
.   Compiled during the time of the Old Babylonian Empire and later the Akkadian Empire, the stories chronicle the adventures of a Sumerian king of the city of Uruk, from 2100 B.C. or earlier.   Elements from the Epic can be found in the Bible, Homer's Illiad and Odyssey, and in other works since.
Lamour's books are historical novels, with settings that are diligently researched and accurate in their descriptions of the background and way of life in the Old West.   They are also great morals stories.   With all that, they are still easy reading, and all are good books for anyone from age ten on up.   A child who absorbs the kind of virtues portrayed in Lamour's stories would make any parent proud.
Bendigo Shafter, Louis Lamour, 1979
As the main part of a wagon train continues their journey westward, one group decides to stop at the edge of the mountains in Wyoming, to settle and form a new community.   Threats to the settlers' new life and town include winter snows, Indians, outlaws, and the arrival of another wagon train full of settlers.   This is a story repeated many times in the Old West, of a group of people whose existence and well-being depended on the growth of their resolve and integrity.
Jubal Sackett, Louis Lamour, 1985
Set in the early days of the Old West, prior to the Civil War, it chronicles an adventurous journey of exploration.
The Empty Land, Louis Lamour, 1969
A study of the birth of a town in the Old West as it threads its way between forces that threaten to destroy it.
Last Of the Breed, Louis Lamour, 1986
An exciting, modern-day novel exmplifying perseverance and determination.
The two novels
Pillars Of the Earth, Ken Follett, 1989
The Walking Drums, Louis Lamour, 1984
are both stories set in the 1200s, in the depths of Europe's Dark Ages.   But there is a stark contrast between the main character in each with regard to attitude, outlook, and personal efficacy.   That contrast illustrates the impact upon your life of the choices you make regarding personal beliefs, philosophies, and world-view.   Note for yourself how you feel after reading one book, vs. how you feel after reading the other.
State Of Fear, Michael Crichton, 2004
A current-day historical novel focusing on the falsehoods and corruption which have been endemic to the environmentalist movement since its inception.   Crichton provides lots of well-documented facts as part of his story.
For related information, see our weather webpage about
Grass Roots, Stuart Woods, 1989
Provides a very realistic depiction of political campaigning as I have experienced it, plus a murder mystery very nicely woven into the plot.
Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand, 1957
In a time of cultural decline, a railroad's chief of operations and the owner of a steel company fight for America's survival against increasingly oppressive government regulation and control.   An epic and visionary novel, packed with a bounty of ideas worthy of consideration.
On Basilisk Station, David Weber, 1993
This is the lead-off book for an enthralling series of more than fifteen books with space-faring stories that begin as rough parallels to the Horatio Hornblower books by C. S. Forester.   The expansion of human colonization of Space as envisioned by Weber bears many similarities to the world of the early 1800s.
Off Armageddon Reef, David Weber, 2007
This is the first book of a series of nine that portrays a future humankind's efforts to rebuild itself after virtually total annihilation and near-extinction under a withering and relentless alien attack, followed by a massive betrayal.   These exciting stories are fascinating studies in the breadths of human character and behavior.
by Suzanne Collins
Hunger Games, 2008
Catching Fire, 2009
If you saw the movies, these books add so many important details.   Collins does an excellent job of underscoring the destructive evils of oppression, and the unavoidable tragedies and dangers of rebellion.
Once an Eagle, Anton Myrer, 1968, 1997
This is the story of two soldiers, as they work their way up through the ranks.   Their lives parallel and intertwine, demonstrating good moral character, leadership, and respect, vs. its lack.   This exemplary book is on the required-reading list for West Point cadets.
Misty of Chincoteague, Marguerite Henry, 1947
Have you ever heard of Chincoteague and Assateague?   Learn the real-life story of horses that swam ashore to these islands from a foundering Spanish ship off the coast of Virginia almost 500 years ago, and of a filly named Misty
and the people who live there now.   This is a story for children - of all ages; it is a good bedtime story to be read to youngsters, but also one you can enjoy for yourself.
The Log Of a Cowboy, Andy Adams, 1903
This is the story of a cattle drive, from the Mexican border at Brownsville, Texas, to deep into Montana, in 1883, written by an author who had actually been a cowboy on many such drives.   Written in language that anyone from pre-teens to adult can understand and enjoy, this master story-teller bases his tale on his own experiences, and will keep your interest throughout the book.
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Great Books - Poetry Section
Sappho, translated by Mary Barnard, 1958
The Classical Greek era of 600 B.C. was a dynamic world, overflowing with the advances of civilization.   The most reknowned and important include Solon in politics, Thales in science, and Sappho, the Poetess
, creating her magnificanet poetry.   The island she lived on was at that time within the richest region of Greece - the center of development of the sciences and the arts, and according to the book's notes, it "considered itself the very fountainhead of Greek song."   Numerous invasions throughout the subsequent centuries have resulted in malignment, villianization, suppression, and virtually-total destruction of all record of their achievements, except where recorded and preserved elsewhere.   For Sappho, that has allowed only fragments of her work to survive and to reach us in the present day.   But those fragments (and two entire poems) are exemplary poetry - vivid, beautiful, and alive, and are not to be missed.   This book provides an excellent translation and background to help give her poems a more powerful context.
The Airman's World, by Gill Robb Wilson, 1957
This wonderful book of poetry about flying does a great job of providing a sense of the spirit of being a pilot.
to see three beautiful poems, two of which are not in this book.
from the poem Green Hills
, as recorded in The Green Hills of Earth, by Robert Heinlein, 1951
We pray for one last landing
On the globe that gave us birth;
Let us rest our eyes on the fleecy skies
And the cool, green hills of Earth.
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Our Library Is a Fun Place To Be.
"Job Lot Cheap", by William Harnett
- on display at the
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Great Movies Section
Recounts the last days of Hypatia, the last Classical-era scientist of note.   An astronomer, mathemetician, and philosopher, she taught at the great Library of Alexandria, in Egypt, until her death in 415 AD. The existence of the library and this exceptional woman's own life are threatened by an increasingly rancourous illiterate Christian mob, in an era when a woman's expected role was only to be a subservient wife, home-bound, bearing and raising children.
The Name Of the Rose, 2004,1986
In the late 1200s, a Franciscan friar uses logic - still considered by most Church authorities to be heretical - to solve the mystery of a murder in an Abbey in northern Italy.   Amidst the vicious torture and tyranny of the Inquisition and the deadly conflict between the Franciscan and Dominican Orders, his refusal to simply ascribe the death to be the work of Satan threatens his own life.
A sheltered, wheelchair-bound teenage girl - and those around her - discover the value of truth, perseverance, and the meaning of integrity ... and the joy of flying.
Hidden Figures, 2017
See the fascinating true story of three great women who came to work for NASA - a mathematician, an engineer, and a computer programmer, who became essential to the success of America's journey into space - and who also overcame the barriers of race and gender in what was definitely a man's world in the early 1960s.
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Great Music Section
Violinist Nadja Solerno-Sonnenberg, with the Greenville Symphony Orchestra, 15 March 1984
- playing Symphonie Espagnole, Opus 21
, by Edouard Lalo
The exuberant dynamicism and passion of this genius violinist is nowhere better expressed than in this great performance.   Nadja's skills are unmatched, and this performance is from her earliest years, just full of youthful expression.
I will never forget how she walked out onto the stage that evening, followed by Conductor Peter Rickett.   She was dressed in a striking spaghetti-strap black dress, with red sash.   Even the way she walked told you that here was someone who unquestionably would get a singularly enthusiastic standing ovation.   As the performance began and she waited for her solo, she fidgeted with her straps, held her violin impatiently under her chin with her arms hanging limp at her sides, and was clearly more than ready to play; her movements in every way were stark, angular, and violent.   Her playing was magnificent and unforgettable, and the sounds from her violin were a joyful musical dance of sounds beyond any violin sound ever heard anywhere else.   Members of the audience would later compare subsequent violin soloists to their memory of Nadja from that evening - and the others would invariably fall short of those memorable too-few minutes.
Organist Virgil Fox, Heavy Organ at Carnegie Hall, vol.1 and vol.2
Virgi Fox had a dynamic vitality and exuberant aliveness
that thrilled his audience.   An older man at the time of the Carnegie Hall performance, he attracted teenagers as if he were a heavy-metal rock band.   The loud cheers and cries of his audience are something hard to imagine, for someone playing J. S. Bach on a pipe organ, solo.   But Bach has never been played so well; Virgil Fox brings him to life - even for teenagers, and never is that more evident than when, in an early pause in the Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, one young man cannot restrain himself, but yells out a perfectly-timed and unbearably ecstatic "Yeah!" with a release of emotion that matches that of the music.   It is fun to listen to the young audience chant: "G Minor! G Minor! G Minor! ...", followed by the resounding cheer of approval during the first notes when he answers their call, and begins playing that piece in a way which is yet again unique.   Virgil Fox playing Bach to a live audience is an aural and musical experience not to be missed.
Be sure to purchase the vinyl LPs.   The CD of the same name lacks several of the best selections from the vinyl.
What a Wonderful World, sung by the unforgettable Satchmo - Louis Armstrong.
A beautiful, happy, and haunting song of the best of all of us.
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Great Humorous Music Section
- They don't seem to make as much humorous music as they used to; here is some you will not want to miss!
A Boy Named Sue
- sung by Johnny Cash
The Legend of Lizzie Borden
- sung by the Chad Mitchell Trio
- sung by Leapy Lee
Did you ever have to make up your mind?
by the Lovin' Spoonful - a funny quandary and a bit of a morals story ...
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Great Libraries Section
Library in Ninevah
built by the Assyrian King
about 640 BC - the oldest library
The Great Library of Alexandria
, Egypt, built by
, 283 BC
, from the movie, Agora
The Roman Library of Celsus in Ephesus, Anatolia, now part of Selšuk, Turkey, 117-262 AD.
The House of Wisdom, built in Baghdad during the Islamic Golden Age, by the Abbasid dynasty, circa 800 to 1258
The Imperial Library of Constantinople, of the Byzantine Empire, circa 350 to 1453
The Library of St. Catherine's Monastery
The oldest library still in operation, built between 548 and 565 A.D.
Home of the world's largest collection of palimpsests
The Library is in the third story, in the left end of the building
St. Catherine's Monastery, Mt. Sinai
The Peabody Library
, Baltimore, Maryland, constructed 1866
The Trinity College Library, Dublin, Ireland, founded in 1592
The Library of Congress, Washington, DC - the largest library in the world
Scott in his library; model railroading section begun 1959, politics section begun 1962, fiction section begun 1965, sciences section begun 1969; other sections followed.   Resides at its current location since November of 2000.
A revolutionary new book by author Scott Crosby
Buy the book here
Buy the Kindle version here
"When it comes to thinking, I wrote the book."
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