From The American Spectator’s December 2007-January 2008 issue: Part I of our annual list of holiday gift suggestions from distinguished readers and writers. To subscribe to our monthly print edition, click here.p> Tina Brown br> Troublesome Young Men by Lynne Olson (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). An unexpected page-turner about the group of young Tory MPs whose tenacious rebellion against the despotic hand of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and the appeasers leaves you longing for such political courage today. /p>
Nureyev: The Life by Julie Kavanagh (Pantheon). The definitive biography of ballet’s greatest star whose ego was as supersized as his talent. Derived from a cache of new letters, interviews, and unseen videos, it’s a luxurious winter read, full of Russian theatrics.
Ike: An American Hero by Michael Korda (HarperCollins). America and its allies would likely have lost World War II if any one of a number of generals other than Dwight Eisenhower had been in charge of the combined forces. Korda makes a highly readable case that Ike’s particular brand of charm, concealing his secret ambitions, kept prima donnas like Monty, Patton, and Bradley — and Winston Churchill and Charles de Gaulle — on the same team.
The Blair Years: The Alastair Campbell Diaries by Alastair Campbell (Knopf). Invaluable and juicy diary of day-to-day life at Number 10 Downing Street under the British Prime Minister who won an unprecedented three-time Labour victory but finally left office in June 2007 despised by his own people for his stand on the war in Iraq.
John Osborne: The Many Lives of the Angry Young Man by John Heilpern (Knopf). Revealing, funny biography of the playwright whose Look Back in Anger exploded on the British stage at a time when middle-class torpor and censorship were killing the theater. John Heilpern absorbed Osborne’s DNA — literally. When he visited the widow — whose cooperation he received — she lent him Osborne’s boots for a ruminative walk on the moors.
Tina Brown is an editor and author (most recently of The Diana Chronicles).p> M. Stanton Evans br> Not having done much current reading for a while, I’m pretty well disqualified from making recommendations of that nature. I’m happy, however, to suggest a list of hardy perennials that ought to be in any well-stocked conservative library, or any other, and would make excellent gifts for people who don’t already have them. The ultra-short version of my list, in alphabetical order by author, is as follows: