My Favorite Reads of 2019

A round-up of the books I’ve read during 2019. I had a target of 15 books this year, and am currently reading number 13, so not a bad outcome.

Not in Your Lifetime: The Defining Book on the J.F.K. Assassination by Anthony Summers

I had wanted to read something else on the J.F.K assassination since I read Bill O’Reilly’s ‘Killing Kennedy’ a few years ago on holiday. This didn’t disappoint. This book is full of information I had previously not read, and provokes a lot of thought.

Gestapo: The Story Behind the Nazis Machine of Terror by Lucas Saul

A short read on the Gestapo. Easy to read, but a bit simplistic for my liking. Might serve as a general introduction to those unfamiliar, but I didn’t really learn anything I didn’t already know.

Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi Germany by Norman Ohler

I enjoyed this account of narcotic usage in German political circles during WW2 by German writer Ohler. The account of Hitler’s personal doctor and Hitler’s addictions was very interesting.

Stalingrad by Antony Beevor

The first book I’ve read by Beevor, and definitely not my last. I loved his style of writing and his ability to present the facts. This is the account of the Battle of Stalingrad during WW2, ultimately leading to the loss of the entire German 6th Army and the repercussions and impact on the war.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

A re-read of this John Green tragedy while on holiday in Germany in June.

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson

An account of the Lusitania’s last Atlantic crossing, weaving in stories of real people while portraying the political turmoil of WW1. I thought this was excellently written and it was one of the books of this year I couldn’t put down.

Forensics: The Anatomy of Crime by Val McDermid

An interesting read giving some background and a light introduction to the forensic sciences from a few different perspectives from crime writer McDermid. She interviews lots of experts in the different forensic fields which adds credibility to her points, and overall I enjoyed this one.

Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy by Serhii Plokhy

I wanted to read something on Chernobyl after watching the miniseries on HBO, and this is an excellently written account of the lead-up to the tragedy, and the after-effects which are still felt today.

The Fall of Berlin 1945 by Antony Beevor

I was a fan of Beevor’s after reading ‘Stalingrad’ earlier in the year. This is his account of the fall of Berlin and the last days of WW2 in Germany. It’s a bit slow to get to the actual point of the Battle of Berlin, but I guess all the lead-in information is necessary to set the scene and introduce the commanders on both sides. When it does get going it is very enjoyable, written in Beevor’s style which I really like.

The 5 AM Revolution: Why High Achievers Wake Up Early and How You Can Do It, Too by Dan Luca

This was a short read (about 150 pages) that I purchased at an airport in India while on a business trip in November. It is not that original in the ideas that it presents in my opinion but still an interesting read.

Apollo 11: The Inside Story by David Whitehouse

Not so much the story of Apollo 11, but the story of the entire Apollo Program and the race to beat the Russians. I really enjoyed this one, another one I found hard to put down.

The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff

Repetitive, tedious, boring, confusing, would be just some of the words I would used to describe Shiff’s writing style in this account of the 1692 Salem Witch Trials. For a subject that I find very interesting, boy, did I struggle with this one. I wish I could say it was worth it, but unfortunately not.

Almost the Perfect Murder: The Killing of Elaine O’Hara, the Extraordinary Garda Investigation and the Trial That Stunned the Nation by Paul Williams

I am currently reading this account of the Elaine O’Hara murder.