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Jamie Vaught: Summer nonfiction reading include looks at Reagan, Nixon, Hillary … and the Cubs

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This is the first of a two-part series about recently-published nonfiction books that you may enjoy during your free time this summer.

​​– “Dinner with DiMaggio: Memories of An American Hero” by Dr. Rock Positano and John Positano (Simon & Schuster, $26) is the story of a complicated baseball celebrity who was very private — an intimate portrait of one of the nation’s most enduring heroes.

The author, who is a foot specialist in New York City who had developed a very close relationship with DiMaggio during the final years of the Hall of Famer’s life, also shared never-before-told stories of famous people DiMaggio knew. The former Yankees star was once married to actress Marilyn Monroe.
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— “The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency” by Chris Whipple (Crown, $28) is a behind-the-scenes look at the powerful men who defined the presidencies they served. In the 367-page hardcover, the author — who conducted in-depth interviews with all 17 living chiefs of staff and two former presidents, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush — explains how every president needs an empowered chief of staff in order to govern effectively.
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— “The President Will See You Now: My Stories and Lessons from Ronald Reagan’s Final Years” by Peggy Grande (Hachette Books, $28) is a revealing 262-page hardcover that shows a unique, private side of President Reagan. The author, who was Reagan’s executive assistant in California for 10 years after he left the White House, shares never-before-seen photos and intimate stories.

— “Richard Nixon: The Life” by John A. Farrell (Doubleday, $35) is the latest Nixon biography to hit the bookshelves. The 739-page hardcover is written by a longtime journalist who has worked for the Denver Post and the Boston Globe.

He also wrote a 2001 book, titled “Tip O’Neill and the Democratic Century.”  Said professor and author Douglas Brinkley in a blurb, “Farrell has a genius for the telling anecdote and apropos quote. His command of the sources is staggering. Richard Nixon is a true landmark achievement.”
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— “The Golden Passport: Harvard Business School, the limits of Capitalism, and the Moral Failure of the MBA Elite” by Duff McDonald (Harper Business, $35) charts the rise of one of country’s most influential universities over the course of a century, highlighting both its positive and negative contributions to society. The 659-page hardcover gives an insider’s look at the power, purpose, intellectual and moral failings of the institution, and examines what direction the school is pointing us towards in the future.

— “The Cubs Way: The Zen of Building the Best Team in Baseball and Brecking the Curse” by Tom Verducci (Crown Archetype, $28) looks at the Chicago Cubs’ transformation from perennial underachievers to the best team in baseball with exclusive interviews with all of the people integral to the 2016 World Series victory. Beginning with Cubs president Theo Epstein’s first year with the franchise in 2012, the author shows how Epstein went beyond “Moneyball” thinking when planning for the championship. It is a 376-page hardcover you don’t want to miss if you’re a baseball fan. 
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— “Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign” by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes (Crown, $28) gives the readers a unique look into the heart of Clinton’s presidential campaign that was troubled from the start. The authors, who also wrote a 2014 book on Clinton, combine over 1.5 years of extensive reporting with more than 100 interviews with Clinton’s close friends, foes and staff for the book.

Jamie H. Vaught, a longtime columnist in Kentucky, is the author of four books about UK basketball. He is the editor of KySportsStyle.com Magazine and a professor at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College in Middlesboro. You can follow him on Twitter @KySportsStyle or reach him via e-mail at KySportsStyle@gmail.com.

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