Book of the Week: Barbara Bush: A Memoir

bow barbara bushWhile perusing a local book store, nineteen years ago, I came across the softcover edition of Barbara Bush: A Memoir.  In her memoir, First Lady Barbara Bush gives the reader a glimpse into her childhood, marriage, loss of her daughter, politics, Presidential campaigns, the Vice Presidency of the United States, Desert Storm, the Presidency of the United States and life after politics. The memoir is authored in a conversational tone and is peppered with Barbara Bush’s candor and wit.

On April 17, 2018, the former First Lady passed from this life into the next surrounded by her loved ones. To sum up her legacy, I believe it is fitting to utilize her own words. “At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, or a parent.” (1)

Kathy Alphs

(1) Gajanan, Mahita. (2018, April). ‘Believe in Something Larger Than Yourself.’ Read Barbara Bush’s Remarks on Life, Family and Love in Her Wellesley Commencement Speech. Retrieved from


Book of the Week: The Duchess Of Windsor: The Uncommon Life of Wallis Simpson

The-Crown-2016-movie-posterWhile watching the Netflix series The Crown, I became intrigued with the scene which features a conversation between Queen Elizabeth II and her Uncle David, the Duke of Windsor, previously King George VIII. The premise of the conversation revolves around the Duke’s motives for abdicating the throne which resulted in the Abdication Crisis of 1936. After watching the episode, I wanted to dig deeper into this topic. All sorts of questions went around in my head: Who was Wallis Simpson? What events were put into motion to bring the country of Great Britain to a constitutional crisis? What kind of woman would cause a king to renounce the throne and his kingdom for all time?

As I perused the online library catalog, I decided to check out every book on Wallis Simpson I could locate. After perusing through a stack of biographies, I finally decided on one: The Duchess of Windsor: The Uncommon Life of Wallis Simpson by Greg King.


Greg King’s biography gives the reader a complete scope/sequence of the life of Wallis, the Duchess of Windsor: Romeo and Juliet in Baltimore, Childhood, Youth, Win, Marriage, China, Ernest, The Prince of Wales, A Fateful Weekend, Wallis in Wonderland, The Relationship Deepens, The Passing of the King, The New Reign, The King’s Mistress, The Nahlin Cruise, The Divorce, Growing Troubles, A Pretty Kettle of Fish, The Morganatic Marriage Proposal, Flight to France, The Struggle for the Throne, Abdication, Rat Week, The Whole Word is Against Us and Our Love, At War with the Royal Family, The King’s Wedding Present, The Wedding, The Visit to Germany, Exile in Paris, Two Houses, War, The Plot to Kidnap the Windsors, The Bahamas, The Visit to America, The Duchess’s War Work, Shady Friendships, Murder and Treachery, Postwar Wanderings, The Death of the King, The Last Two Houses, A Woman of Style, Life in Paris, American Adventures, The Windsors and the Royal Family, Declining Years, The Duke’s Death, Wallis Alone, Last Years and Epilogue.

By the time I finished King’s biography, all of the questions I had asked myself prior to reading had been answered. Through King’s narrative tone, I felt I had come to know Wallis,  Duchess of Windsor as a human being who faced adversity and persevered.
Her life can be summed up in her own words: For a gallant spirit there can never be defeat.

Kathy Alphs

Book of the Week

boweaster2018One of our child’s favorite Easter story books is Paul L. Maier’s The Very First Easter.

The Very First Easter is the re-telling of the final week of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection through the eyes of a ten year old boy named, Christopher. Opulent paintings by Francisco Ordaz assist in bringing the Easter Story to life.

The Very First Easter is a book your family will enjoy for years to come!

Kathy Alphs

Book of the Week: The Real Thomas Jefferson

the real thomas jeffersonRecently, our family was discussing the upcoming spring break vacation. For the past three years, our vacation has revolved around the topic of American History. A few of the historical landmarks we have visited in the past include The National Mall, The United States Capitol and Capitol Hill, Arlington House and Arlington National Cemetery, The Washington Monument, and Mount Vernon. During our discussion The White House tour, Ford’s Theater, Colonial Williamsburg, Independence Hall and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello were among the historical sites mentioned by family members. As the discussion continues, all of us are in agreement that Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello is definitely on the list this year.

Since we will be visiting Thomas Jefferson’s home, Monticello, I decided I wanted to read up on the gentleman who authored the Declaration of Independence, and was our nation’s third president. After posting the question on a homeschooling forum board, the administrator, Rachel, pointed me in the direction of Andrew M. Allison’s book, The Real Thomas Jefferson: The True Story of America’s Philosopher of Freedom. 

In The Real Thomas Jefferson: The True Story of America’s Philosopher of Freedom, the author, Andrew M. Allison paints a portrait of Thomas Jefferson’s life and ideas utilizing Jefferson’s own words. The first part, Thomas Jefferson: Champion of Liberty focuses on the story of Jefferson’s life and ideas. The second part of the biography focuses on An Intimate View of Jefferson by His Grandson and Timeless Treasures from Thomas Jefferson. The latter portion contains the most significant passages from Jefferson’s writings.

The Real Thomas Jefferson: The True Story of America’s Philosopher of Freedom by Andrew M. Allison is part of the American Classics Series available for purchase through The National Center for Constitutional Studies.

Kathy Alphs