Summer is a great time for reading, but then again, so is the rest of the year. One of my recent favorite recent books was Karl Rove's Triumph of William McKinley, which closes with a compelling analysis of how the 19th-century president's experience in politics is relevant even today. Also relevant for recent events is Operation Thunderbolt, by Saul David, which tells the story of Israel's 1976 raid on the hijackers holed up at Uganda's Entebbe airport. The book includes all sorts of good information that I did not get from late 1970s TV movies such as Raid on Entebbe: Yoni Netanyahu, the raid's leader and only Israeli soldier to die on the raid, was a fan of the Mission Impossible TV show; U.N. Secretary General — and former Wermacht solder — Kurt Waldheim condemned the raid as "a serious violation of the national sovereignty of a United Nations member state"; and the hijacked Air France plane lingered on the tarmac at Entebbe, deteriorating, for decades after the raid.
Another good read was Herman Wouk's Sailor and Fiddler, about his eventful writing career. It is a short book — 160 pages — but packs in many fascinating stories. Daniel Oppenheimer's Exit Right looks at five lefties who migrated right-ward, all of whom will be familiar to regular readers of these pages: Whittaker Chambers, James Burnham, Ronald Reagan, Norman Podhoretz, and Christopher Hitchens. Oppenheimer only looks at their careers while they were on the left, and has little to say about their lives as conservatives. This somewhat odd biographical choice illuminates the oft neglected pre-conservative parts of their lives, and ends up highlighting the weaknesses of the left that drove each of them away.
Kristen Soltis Anderson's The Selfie Vote has these nice words about NR contributor Yuval Levin: "editor of the thoughtful, must-read center-right journal National Affairs." One book that I have not yet read but intend to is Yuval's The Fractured Republic. Watch for my thoughts on it in my annual NRO end-of-year-reading roundup.
This being summer, I do like to read some fiction. On this front I recommend Noah Hawley's Before the Fall, about the crash of a private jet transporting a Roger Ailes–like figure. Finally, I am looking forward to the publication of my new book, Shall We Wake the President: Two Centuries of Disaster Management from the Oval Office, coming from Lyons in September, just under the wire to be included as a summer read.