This is the season for a journalism staple: Asking writers what they're reading for the summer.
The Paris Review and the Times Literary Supplement recently published such lists, and other publications have come out with variations.
So, here are a few books to take to the beach, the mountains, or the backyard patio.
The Nez Perce saved the Lewis and Clark expedition. The U.S. repaid the Indian tribe's magnanimity some 75 years later by forcing them into war and stealing their ancestral homeland in Oregon. Vanderbilt professor Sharfstein examines Western expansion, governmental and military policy after the Civil War and the nobility of Chief Joseph and other Indian leaders. Military buffs will enjoy Sharfstein's fascinating account of the war's campaigns and battles. His narrative of the destruction of the Indians' way of life will stir sorrow and outrage. The book's narrative force rises from the portraits of Chief Joseph and his adversary, U.S. general Howard, who capped his questionable Civil War career and administration of the freedman's bureau with his campaign against the Nez Perce.
The Devil's Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA and the Rise of America's Central Government. David Talbot. The Salon founder, San Francisco historian and jouster against America's "deep state" presents a disturbing circumstantial case that Dulles and his CIA engineered John F. Kennedy's assassination. While he doesn't quite clinch the verdict, his book is a readable exploration of Dulles' pro-Nazi background and leadership of the CIA's meddling in Guatemala, the Congo, Iran and elsewhere. The book persuasively details how Dulles and his brother, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, built the country's powerful shadow government. If you feel chills reading this, it's not from your cold drink.
Between Them. Richard Ford. Ford's memoir of his parents tops my list of the best book of 2017 so far. Ford sees his father, a traveling salesman, and his mother, who joined her husband on his trips before staying at home with Ford during his childhood, as ordinary people with deep reserves. In his artistry, Ford shows the nobility of common Americans, the virtues that built the country's post-World War II prosperity.