America first celebrated Father’s Day on June 19, 1910, in Washington. It wasn’t until President Woodrow Wilson made Mother’s Day an official holiday, however, that Father’s Day received the same treatment. The idea that took root in a West Virginia church in 1908 spread slowly throughout the country, until President Calvin Coolidge encouraged state governments to observe the holiday in 1924. Now, the day dedicated to honoring fathers takes place on the third Sunday in June.
To celebrate fathers all over the world, we have rounded up some of our favorite books featuring war heroes, mob bosses, and celebrities– who all share the title of “father.”
Our Favorite Books for Dad
ENDURING VIETNAM: An American Generation and Its War by James E. Wright
This book takes us through the experiences of the young Americans who fought in the Vietnam War, and of the families who mourned the loss of those who did not make it back. Nearly half of the junior enlisted men who died in Vietnam were draftees, and most of them were around 21 years old. Enduring Vietnam describes the “baby boomers” growing up during the 1950’s, why they joined the military, their thoughts on the Vietnam War, what it was really like serving in “Nam,” and, what coming home was like.
Through substantial interviews with veterans, and a rich narrative for the Battle for “Hamburger Hill,” this book shows us the quiet acts of courage amidst a cruel war. James Wright’s Enduring Vietnam provides an important dimension to the profile of an American generation—and a rich account of an American War.
LAST DON STANDING: The Secret Life of Mob Boss Ralph Natale by Dan Pearson
Last Don Standing provides a never before seen perspective on the mafia, directly from the last Don of the Philadelphia Mob, Ralph Natale. Smart, savvy, and articulate, Natale came up in the mob and witnessed as it began to control Atlantic City’s casino unions. After spending 16 years in prison, Natale reclaimed his family after a bloody mob war, that concluded with bodies strewn throughout South Philly. He made connections around the country, forged more allies than the family had seen in decades, and achieved a status in the mob never seen before– until he was betrayed by his men, and decided to testify them in a whirlwind of twists and turns.
This book delivers revolutionary insights into seminal events in American mob history thanks to dozens of hours of interviews with Natale and research and interviews with FBI agents, including: the truth about Jimmy Hoffa’s disappearance, the identify of the man who created modern Las Vegas, and the murder of Bugsy Siegel, Jewish mob icon. Uncover the deadly reign of the last great mob boss of Philadelphia in this tale that covers half a century of mob lore and gore.
BACK OVER THERE: One American Time-Traveler, 100 Years Since the Great War, 500 Miles of Battle-Scarred French Countryside, and Too Many Trenches, Shells, Legends and Ghosts to Count by Richard Rubin
Years after Richard Rubin published The Last of the Doughboys, he discovered that while most Americans regard World War 1 as dead and gone, to the French, who still live among its ruins and memories, it remains very much alive. So, he decided to go back Over There to see if he could, at last, resolve the whole story of the men and women who fought and won the First World War. For months he followed the trail of the American Expeditionary Forces on the Western Front, discovering trenches, tunnels, bunkers, ubiquitous artifacts and century-old graffiti.
But Rubin also found a fondness for America and Americans, and a colorful group of local after-hours historians and archaeologists who tirelessly explore these sites and preserve their memories, while patiently waiting for Americans to return and reclaim their own history and heritage. Based on his wildly popular New York Times series, Back Over There is a timely journey, in turns reverent but always fascinating, through a place where the past and present are never really separated.
SPIRIT OF THE HORSE: A Celebration in Fact and Fable by William Shatner
From the first time he rode a horse as a child, William Shatner has felt a deep love for horses. Whether seated in the saddle, communicating with them, or simply appreciating their beauty, his bond with these animals is deep. For decades he has sought to share his joy—with children, veterans, those with disabilities, and many others—through his annual Hollywood Charity Horse Show. In Spirit of the Horse, he brings that same joy to his fans and readers.
In this book, the Star Trek and Boston Legal legend speaks from the heart about the remarkable effect horses have had on his life and on the lives of others. From his first horse to his favorite horses, this book draws from Shatner’s own experience and pairs it with a plethora of classic horse stories, including unique retellings of the Pegasus myth and the feats of the most famous war horses throughout history.
Spirit of the Horse is a celebration that captures the unique connection between humans and horses—and the power, courage, mindfulness, and healing that they can inspire in all of us.
The Devil’s Mercedes: The Bizarre and Disturbing Adventures of Hitler’s Limousine in America by Robert Klara
In 1938, Mercedes-Benz began production of the largest, most luxurious limousine in the world. A machine of frightening power and sinister beauty, its supercharged, 230-horsepower engine propelled the beast to speeds over 100 m.p.h. while its occupants reclined on glove-leather seats stuffed with goose down. Armor plated and equipped with hidden compartments for Luger pistols, the limo was a sumptuous monster with a monstrous patron: Adolph Hitler and the Nazi party.
In The Devil’s Mercedes, Robert Klara uncovers the forgotten story of how Americans responded to these rolling relics of fascism on their soil. The limousines made headlines, drew crowds, made fortunes and ruined lives.
As he recounts the remarkable drama surrounding these vehicles, Klara probes the meaning of these haunting hulks and their power to attract, excite and disgust. The limousines’ appearance collided with an American populous celebrating a victory even as it sought to stay a step ahead of the war’s ghosts. Ultimately, The Devil’s Mercedes isn’t only the story of a rare and notorious car, but what that car taught postwar America about itself.