Grouchy Historian's Favorite Books of 2014

 We come to the end of another year of books, therefore, it's time for another edition of my favorite books, both fiction and non-fiction. 

Sadly my lofty goal of reading 36 books for the year was missed AGAIN, kinda like the Obamacare enrollment numbers. Oh, me something to shoot for again next year. Which hopefully will be a LITTLE more conducive to reading than this year was...oyyyyy.....

And NO, Hard Choices by Hillary "What Difference Does it Make?" Clinton did not make my fiction best-seller list.

Overall, I have to say this was not a particularly inspiring year for non-fiction. Although there was a continuing push of new material covering World War I, most of it covered the origins of the war, and perhaps the first six months of fighting. I know there was a bit more strictly military history at the end of the year, and I expect 2015 to produce many more volumes on the major battles of the war. 

Of note, I am heartened to see a new influx of materials on the American contribution to the final two years of the year, particularly the early combat actions of American troops in the spring of 1918.

And, it could also be that I just didn't get to many of the non-fiction books on my shelf as I spent the first quarter of the year studying for my PMP, and delved into some very technical reading (for Dummies, of course) on Big Data and Predictive Analytics. Ouch..
Anyway, without further ado, I think the best award for non-fiction should go to......drum roll please......

 Neptune-by my old professor Craig Symonds. Yup, although I gushed profusely about Rick Atkinson's magnificent Liberation Trilogy in another terms of covering with narrative excellence and depth of research of a fairly neglected topic, Neptune was hard to beat. I have not read anything previously on the Navy's contribution to the Normandy invasion and this book not only did that well, but covered the whole issue of the role of amphibious shipping to the success of the Allied war effort and the key fact that the shortage or availability of "some damn thing called LSTs" was critical to the successful invasion of Europe. A good book for anyone looking for the whole story of the Normandy invasion.

Non-Fiction was equally challenging. I don't usually read a lot of non-fiction...I have my favored little band of authors and I don't deviate much. I have to say that JD Robb was particularly good this year with two excellent volumes...and of course I always enjoy the Heat-series of book tied to my favorite TV show. However, in terms of well-written plot and attention span keeping, I have to say my favorite book this year was.................Liberty 1784 by Robert Conroy. 

Well written and plausible alternate history is my favorite genre and Robert Conroy has really come into his own with his last two hard-backs. This particular book was scary realistic in its point-of-departure where the British win the Battle of Yorktown and nearly snuff the Revolution. Well written, with a cast of very interesting characters, it just beat out my other absolute literary addiction...the Monster Hunter series of books by Larry Correia. This year's Monster Hunter with Agent Franks was truly hard to put down, but was edged out...a little...hopefully Agent Franks won't be mad.

I am finishing up another couple of excellent books that may sneak onto my 2014 completed list...and of course, there is a bit of holiday down time to jump start my 2015 reading...I hope.