Ross's Bookshelf - Ideas for what to read (or to avoid!)

Yes, this are actual bookshelves at my house -- including my most important bookshelf as many of the books on the top shelf in the photo are signed by the authors including Jack Carr, Brad Thor, and Ayn Rand.

I receive a fair number of book "pitches" from publishers which I enjoy because I can pick and choose among what I think will be some of the best new books for my listeners to read. I also get the opportunity to interview many of the authors. In addition to these books, I sometimes read other things, whether classics, or books recommended to me by friends, etc.

I'm going to use this page to keep a record of the books I read and the authors I interview (not every book will be associated with an interview), with links to the audio of those interviews. However I will not be going back to fill in the years where I didn't maintain this page...I'll just try to keep it up to date going forward.

There are a lot of potential ways to organize a page like this, but for simplicity I will simply list the books in the order I read them (latest on top) but try to include category information and keywords so you can simply search the page for "fiction" or "Trump" or "military" or "fishing", etc. Out of necessity, most book summaries will be very short, especially since a lot of folks who come to this page will be trying to find a book they already learned about on the show..

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A Few Bad Men | Book by Fred Galvin, USMC (Ret.), Sal Manna | Official Publisher Page | Simon & Schuster (simonandschuster.com) (June 2022)

Interview link: Major Fred Galvin USMC Discusses His Book A Few Bad Men | KOA 850 AM & 94.1 FM | Ross Kaminsky (iheart.com)

Keywords: Non-fiction, military, USMC, war crimes, Marines, Afghanistan

A Few Bad Men is the shocking true story of how a platoon of brave Marines were persecuted and almost imprisoned by their own government and politicized military "leaders" for war crimes that not only did they not commit, but nobody committed. In other words, they were accused by Afghans (who had financial incentive to lie) of wantonly killing civilians when, I reiterate, not only did these Marines not kill civilians there that day, but NOBODY did. The accusations were utterly false and yet spineless American colonels and generals tried to "make an example" of innocent brave men. This book will have you furious and, if you're like me, will add to your skepticism of today's military "leaders".

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Flight of the Rondone | Book by Patrick Girondi | Official Publisher Page | Simon & Schuster (simonandschuster.com) (May 2022)

Interview link: Trader, singer, pharma bad boy Pat Girondi on "The Flight of the Rondone" | KOA 850 AM & 94.1 FM | Ross Kaminsky (iheart.com)

Keywords: thalassemia, trader, pharma, genetics, Chicago

When I was a trader at the CBOE, Pat Girondi was known as the bad boy of the trading floor. One of the famous stories about him is told in slightly sanitized terms in this remarkable book, but the whole book is just an incredible read and certainly in my top few books of 2022. Starting with Pat's incredible childhood and young adulthood on the very rough streets of the south side of Chicago, to his time of incredible success trading options, to learning that his son has a usually-fatal genetic blood disorder (similar to the better-known sickle cell anemia), to his ongoing battles against corruption and fraud as he tried to help develop and bring to market a drug to treat the disease, this book is an unbelievable roller-coaster ride. It's possible that I love it a little extra because, although Pat doesn't remember me, I distinctly remember him from my earliest days as a trader on the Chicago Board Options Exchange. Buy this book!

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Rising Tiger - Brad Thor (July 2022)

Interview link: Rising Tiger Author Brad Thor | KOA 850 AM & 94.1 FM | Ross Kaminsky (iheart.com)

Keywords: India, China, NATO, Harvath, thriller

It's hard to say anything about best-selling thriller author Brad Thor that hasn't already been said. I have to say I particularly love this novel because it's set in India, a country where you rarely find American-written books set and a country of so many sights and sounds and colors and smells that it's impossible to adequately describe in words.

As often happens with Brad's books, reality caught up a bit to his fictional plot after he wrote this book which engages in what could happen along the border between China and India and how China might react if they thought America was trying to create the Asian equivalent of NATO.

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AmazonSmile: Caesar: Life of a Colossus: 9780300126891: Goldsworthy, Adrian: Books (January 2008)

I recently read this remarkable history of one of the most remarkable figures in human history. There was so so much I didn't know about Caesar and about Roman life at the time. In fact, upon reading this masterful work I learned that there was almost nothing I actually did know. One of the best history books I've ever read though you have to be willing and able to keep track of maddening Roman naming conventions. (You wouldn't believe me if I told you how they were named; you'll just have to read for yourself.)

Keywords: Julius Caesar, Rome, Roman history

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The Russia Hoax: The Illicit Scheme to Clear Hillary Clinton and Frame Donald Trump, by Gregg Jarrett (July 2018)

Interview link: https://khow.iheart.com/featured/ross-kaminsky/content/2018-07-31-fox-news-gregg-jarrett-on-the-russia-hoax-great-interview/

Keywords: Non-fiction, politics, Donald Trump, Fox News

The Russia Hoax is simply the best book of its type, namely the best book weaving together the threads of what the FBI and DOJ did (or didn't do) regarding Hillary Clinton's actual (criminal) behavior and the investigation into Russia "collusion" by Donald Trump or people surrounding him -- an investigation which appears to have begun without probable cause that a crime had been committed. 

It will leave you shaking your head and wondering if public confidence in our federal justice system can be restored.

The book is excellent but its relevance will probably diminish fairly rapidly once the Mueller investigation is completed. 

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The History of Jihad: From Muhammad to ISIS, by Robert Spencer 

Interview link: https://khow.iheart.com/featured/ross-kaminsky/content/2018-07-26-robert-spencer-of-jihadwatchorg-joins-us-to-discuss-the-history-of-jihad/

The History of Jihad is what its title suggests: As comprehensive a history of this aspect of Islam as you'll find in a single volume. From its creation until today, "jihad" has been an essential tenet of Islam. Robert Spencer is a true scholar and, given that he's been banned from visiting the UK and poisoned in Iceland, a brave one at that. Spencer argues that "liberal" westerners risk underestimating the potential/likely harm to civilized society by downplaying what jihad really means and how many Muslims are willing to engage in it. 

It's a book sure to offend those who look to reflexively defend Islam, while not recognizing that it is, far more than any other major religion, an expansionist political system as much as a faith. 

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Echo in Ramadi, by Maj Scott Huesing (USMC ret) (May 2018)

Interview link: https://khow.iheart.com/featured/ross-kaminsky/content/2018-02-28-audio-maj-scott-huesing-usmc-ret-on-echo-in-ramadi

Keywords: Non-fiction, Iraq, military, Marines

Echo in Ramadi does a remarkable job of embedding you with Huesing's marines, not just in combat but also in the stresses of daily life in the war zone that is Iraq. How do you kill the bad guys while protecting innocent civilians? How do you dispose of human waste, and how can that be made funny (and dangerous)? What does it mean when you see a Military-Aged Male wearing running shoes? How does a leader tell the parents of a young man under his command that their son has lost his life?

A thoroughly enjoyable book...and the first war book I've ever recommended to my wife (who also loved it.)


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