It is late in the game to suggest you pick up a fine print 1050 page book on American presidential politics. If you do you will read what is likely the best ever written on the subject and you will get a good look into  Joe Biden’s thought process. Richard Ben Cramer’s book What it Takes was published in 1992  and is considered by many the most insightful look at presidential politics ever written.  Cramer recounts the frenzied course of the 1988 Presidential race. His insight into the psyche of Joe Biden is remarkable and his research into Biden’s ascent into the political world is beyond comparison.

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” He was a Biden, he  could do anything….He learned to game it out…..to see himself in the situation to come….to think what he would say…how he would sound…. ( Chapter 19, What It Takes).

If  Richard Ben Cramer were alive today he would be the best  equipped to answer the question, will Biden Run? You see,  Cramer was a journalist not a pundit.  It took 1050 pages to do justice to the subject. He was willing to do the work, not express an opinion. Richard Ben Cramer died in January 2013.  Search gordonsgoodreads for my initial overview of the book.






The Wright Brothers narrative is so brilliantly written by historian David McCullough that the reader can imagine sitting in his library listening to his melodious voice tell a wonderful American story. McCullough never disappoints as he brings to life Wilbur and Orville, their sister Katherine and their father Bishop Wright and their early endeavor as builders of bicycles in Dayton, Ohio.  The book is much more than the story of the invention of the airplane, although McCullough misses no detail in that pursuit.

imgres-2 I am an ardent fan of McCullough but must admit I thought, why bother with this book, I know the story of the Wright brothers.  Never doubt McCullough’s ability to tell the whole story, including the U.S. Army Department’s ” flat turn down ” of a request by the Wright Brothers for government support for further testing of their heavier than air Flyer.  They supplied documentation of 105 successful flights made in 1904, but to no avail in moving the American Military bureaucracy. Ironically, the Secretary of War at the time was Ohioan William Howard Taft. The British and the French were excited to consider the Wright’s requests.   So the Wright Brothers and sister Katherine were off to Paris and LeMans astonishing Kings, Queens and cheering throngs with their accomplishment. Their reception was comparable to that afforded conquering heroes with private funding made immediately available.

In 1909, William Howard Taft, now President of the United States presented the Wright brothers gold medals. “I esteem it a great honor and opportunity to present these medals to you as evidence to what you have done. I am so glad-perhaps at a delayed hour-to show that in America it is not true that “a prophet is not without honor save in his own country.”  A touch of irony indeed.





Honor Among Thieves/ Step Back In Time/ Revisit Jeffrey Archer

Saddam seeks revenge after the first Gulf War.  He plots to steal the original Declaration  of Independence, bring it to Baghdad and burn it for the world to see on the Fourth of  July.  Jeffrey Archer’s Hon0r Among Thieves  weaves the story which is filled with familiar historical characters.



Archer expands the plot in a wonderful read that turns the pages through a labyrinth like a maze in a cornfield.  Published in 1993, this is one of Archer’s novels that I missed. It cried out to me from the library shelf.  Archer’sKane and Able should also beckon you if you have not read this other great work of fiction.  It is always worthwhile to double-check what you may have missed from authors you have enjoyed.