Our Book of the Month is usually a novel; we're not sure why. Maybe we assume that most non-fiction readers are only interested in certain topics. Either way, June's Book of the Month transcends normal boundaries, though. It's history and it's funny.
Try K Blows Top by Peter Carlson and thank me later.
Here's my pitch:
I am not usually a reader of history, but the promise of laughs in this book piqued my interest, and Carlson delivered in spades. Night after night I told my wife, "schmoopy, listen to this!" (She has refused to comment on this habit here, citing the continued need for marital harmony. Suffice it to say that she's glad I'm done with that book. Also, I was kidding about "schmoopy." Really.)
At the height of the Cold War, Soviet Premier Khrushchev was invited on a two-week tour of the US by an ambassador (who misunderstood instructions from President Eisenhower--oops). The resulting trip was a frenzy of fear, absurdity, grandstanding, vodka, and comedy.
Watch Nixon debate Khrushchev in a demo kitchen at the World's Fair in Moscow (they were lured therein by a young PR man named William Safire!). See Hollywood turn out greet the Premier. Watch "K" try to sneak off to Disneyland. Witness Khrushchev fall in love with San Francisco (while starting a riot in a grocery store). Watch the press evolve from observers into part of the story. Enjoy the infamous shoe-banging rant at the United Nations.
As fun to read as a page-turning novel, this slice of American history is served up with energy, insight, and humor. Highly recommended even to those who don't usually read history (or non-fiction at all, for that matter).
Click here to buy a copy or stop by the store soon.