Dear American Airlines & Young Stalin

I recently wrapped up two books that didn’t have much in common. One was Dear American Airlines by Jonathan Miles. The other was Young Stalin by Simon Sebag Montefiore. I thouroghly enjoyed both books.

Dear American Airlines is in the form of a letter requesting a refund while the passenger and author, Bennie, is stuck at O’Hare Airport in Chicago on the way to his estranged daughter’s wedding in LA.  As he is writing the letter he gets into his life story: his childhood, his split from girlfriend and daughter, and his fight with alcohol. He is a Polish translator and we see snippets of a story about a WWII veteran named Walenty. His writing is some form of therapy and getting his story out seems to help him.

I cannot remember where I heard about this book but I have had it on my to-read list for awhile. It was a quick read and I really enjoyed it. It was about a real person with real problems. Although the content can get a little heavy at times I would recommend it.

Young Stalin delivers just what the title promises. The book follows the journey of a cobbler’s son from Georgia to the Russian Revolution. Did you know that he was in the seminary and that he was a published poet? It was a very interesting story. This author also has another book about Stalin that I also enjoyed. (Stalin: Court of the Red Tsar). The second book followed Stalin during his ruling years, so this book kind of fills out the picture. They both use a lot of source material including memoirs of people who knew Stalin and even interviews with survivors. (They must be pretty old). There are many books on Hitler but not so many on Stalin. This book also gives a glimpse of growing up in Georgia including some of their customs. If you like history or Russian history I would suggest you read this book.

Have you read a good book lately?