10 books like Fat Dogs and French Estates, Part 4

By Beth Haslam,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Fat Dogs and French Estates, Part 4. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Failure Is Not an Option

By Gene Kranz,

Book cover of Failure Is Not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond

This New York Times bestselling memoir of a veteran NASA flight director, tells riveting stories from the early days of the Mercury program through Apollo 11 (the moon landing) and Apollo 13, for both of which Kranz was flight director. As a child of the Apollo era, I was fascinated by the inside story of the moon landing and riveted by how Kranz and his team overcame the impossible and turned a near disaster into a triumph of ingenuity and determination.

Failure Is Not an Option

By Gene Kranz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Failure Is Not an Option as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The man who headed the "tiger team" that saved the Apollo 13 astronauts gives an insider's view of NASA Mission Control, from the early years of trying to catch up with the Russians to the end of the manned spaced program.


Fly for Your Life

By Larry Forrester,

Book cover of Fly for Your Life: The Story of R. R. Stanford Tuck

A classic biography about one of the Royal Air Force’s most colorful fighter pilots during the early part of the war.  Robert Stanford Tuck was born into a wealthy family, but had an individualistic spirit that was sometimes at odds with that family.  Prior to the war, he went to sea aboard a tramp steamer where he did much growing up. Upon his return, he was drawn to the excitement of flight and joined the Royal Air Force. Not an intrinsically gifted pilot, he nearly washed out of training, but ultimately flourished. He excelled as a leader as one of the “few” during the Battle of Britain. 

Fly for Your Life

By Larry Forrester,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Fly for Your Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the story of a magnificent pilot, a reckless, steely-nerved warrior of the sky, feared by the Luftwaffe and known as a legend in the Royal Air Force Fighter Command. He was shot down four times, wounded twice, crash landed in the Channel, and survived two air collisions. Officially, he bagged 29 enemy planes. Unofficially, he destroyed 35. He won the Distinguished Service Order and was only the second man in history to gain a second bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross. He was a national hero recognized by his King, his Queen, and the people of the world.…


Two Old Fools on a Camel

By Victoria Twead,

Book cover of Two Old Fools on a Camel: From Spain to Bahrain and back again

The author and her husband are trapped in an almost untenable situation, but they pull together to see things through to a satisfactory conclusion. I thought it was a great example of that British philosophy to "Keep calm and carry on."

In this third memoir in her enjoyable Two Old Fools series, Victoria and her husband Joe find that rising costs and a shrinking bank balance are threatening their idyllic retirement. After applying online, they leave their beloved Spanish mountain village to teach for a year in Bahrain. But their timing couldn't have been worse. Just after they arrive, the Arab revolution erupts, throwing the country into violent events that would make world headlines. Suddenly they are trapped. Should they leave and risk losing their Spanish dream or stay and face a greater hazard?

Two Old Fools on a Camel

By Victoria Twead,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Two Old Fools on a Camel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

★ New York Times Bestselling author ★
"James Herriot meets Driving over Lemons"

Reluctantly, Vicky and Joe leave their Spanish mountain village to work for a year in the Middle East. How could they know that the Arab revolution was poised to erupt, throwing them into violent events that would make world headlines?

Teaching Arab kids, working with crazy teachers, forming life-long friendships and being placed under house arrest, Vicky and Joe laugh and lurch through their year in Bahrain.

Includes FREE photobook and Arabic recipes from Nadia Sawalha.


Watery Ways

By Valerie Poore,

Book cover of Watery Ways

With humor and grace, Valerie describes her trials and tribulations as she transitions from a divorce and corporate job in Johannesburg, to renting and eventually purchasing an old barge in the city of Rotterdam in the Netherlands. As she points out, “one of the first things you learn about living on a barge is that an awful lot of stuff is going to end up in the water.”

Watery Ways

By Valerie Poore,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Watery Ways as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this account of her first year of living on a barge in Rotterdam's Oude Haven, Valerie Poore’s overriding impression is that “one of the first things you learn about living on a barge is that an awful lot of stuff is going to end up in the water”.The year in question is 2001, and at forty something, the author takes the plunge to exchange her life in the corporate fast lane of Johannesburg, for life on a historic Dutch barge. Every month brings new challenges, obstacles and experiences. She meets a whole world of fascinating people, not least of…


Napoleon's Wars

By Charles J. Esdaile,

Book cover of Napoleon's Wars: An International History

This compelling history goes “beyond the legend that Napoleon himself helped create, to form a new, genuinely international context for his military career.”

History is most often written by the victors, and real life is never so one-sided. Esdaile writes as though he lived Napoleon’s life, and shows that many times his decisions were made (or changed) because of acts, or provocation, by British diplomats or agents. The quote by Napoleon’s stepdaughter Hortense says it all: “Any man who becomes the sole head of a great country by means other than heredity can only maintain himself in power if he gives the nation either liberty or military glory – if he makes himself, in short, either a Washington or a conqueror...it was impossible for him to establish...an absolute power except by bemusing reason [and] by every three months presenting the French people with some new spectacle.” Esdaile brings this unspoken…

Napoleon's Wars

By Charles J. Esdaile,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Napoleon's Wars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A glorious?and conclusive?chronicle of the wars waged by one of the most polarizing figures in military history

Acclaimed on both sides of the Atlantic as a new standard on the subject, this sweeping, boldly written history of the Napoleonic era reveals its central protagonist as a man driven by an insatiable desire for fame, and determined ?to push matters to extremes.? More than a myth-busting portrait of Napoleon, however, it offers a panoramic view of the armed conflicts that spread so quickly out of revolutionary France to countries as remote as Sweden and Egypt. As it expertly moves through conflicts…


The Ebony Tower

By John Fowles,

Book cover of The Ebony Tower

Another story that's impossible to forget – actually this is a novella in a collection of stories with this name. Again, about a lost house in a forest in France, an artist, a young man in love, and the two young women who bewitch him in turns. John Fowles is an English writer from the 1960s, whose work I loved when young and still do. He was much influenced by Alain-Fournier.

The Ebony Tower

By John Fowles,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Ebony Tower as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Ebony Tower, comprising a novella, three stories, and a translation of a medieval French tale, echoes themes from John Fowles's internationally celebrated novels as it probes the fitful relations between love and hate, pleasure and pain, fantasy and reality.


Becoming a Queen in Early Modern Europe

By Kataryzna Kosior,

Book cover of Becoming a Queen in Early Modern Europe: East and West

Early modern Europe is a ‘hot spot’ for queenship studies and there are countless individual biographies, works on groups of royal women and collections on key themes which I could have recommended. I’ve chosen this work as, like Earenfight, it is a great place to begin exploring what it meant to be a queen in this period. Unlike Earenfight, this book is divided up by key themes instead of working chronologically, exploring various facets such as royal weddings and ceremonial, motherhood and political agency. Kosior also brings together plenty of European examples to illustrate these themes and a distinctive feature is that she includes Polish royal women who are often missing in studies of queenship, which gives this book a unique and interesting angle.

Becoming a Queen in Early Modern Europe

By Kataryzna Kosior,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Becoming a Queen in Early Modern Europe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Queens of Poland are conspicuously absent from the study of European queenship-an absence which, together with early modern Poland's marginal place in the historiography, results in a picture of European royal culture that can only be lopsided and incomplete. Katarzyna Kosior cuts through persistent stereotypes of an East-West dichotomy and a culturally isolated early modern Poland to offer a groundbreaking comparative study of royal ceremony in Poland and France. The ceremonies of becoming a Jagiellonian or Valois queen, analysed in their larger European context, illuminate the connections that bound together monarchical Europe. These ceremonies are a gateway to a fuller…


Damson Skies and Dragonflies

By Lindy Viandier,

Book cover of Damson Skies and Dragonflies: A Journey through the Seasons in the French Countryside

A touch of French magic.

In this memoir, the reader is invited into the author’s enchanting world. She and her husband view a gracious old cottage. It’s tired, though possesses that special je ne sais quoi. Inexplicably drawn to its soul, they embark on a project to restore life and love into its walls and garden.

During this captivating journey, Lindy learns about her surroundings, the colourful characters who become their friends, the creatures that share their home, but mostly she learns about nature and the joys of living in harmony with the seasons. 

The author’s style is delightful. Her new experiences, feelings, and encounters are expressed with a gentle, poetic intimacy. She also delights with her culinary skills and shares heavenly recipes. For me, this was an intoxicating read.

Damson Skies and Dragonflies

By Lindy Viandier,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Damson Skies and Dragonflies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

No. 1 Best Seller in French Travel and New Release in French Cooking.

“Is it too much?” I mouth to my husband when the estate agent’s back is turned. I’m talking about the amount of work, not the asking price, as we survey the dilapidated state of the 300-year-old house. He gives me a knowing look, purses his mouth in a French way and shakes his head. He’s going to do a deal. The truth is, too much work or not, it’s too late. The fairy-tale cottage has spun her magic web around us, and we are her willing captives.…


Perilous Glory

By John France,

Book cover of Perilous Glory: The Rise of Western Military Power

John France has a knack for making the history of war interesting and readable, without taking away its gore and horror, without making you think it in any way romantic or desirable. The title already captures it: the book is largely about the rise of Europe (or later: the West) on the back of military prowess, but at what perilous price! The book aptly traces military traditions and continuity of ideas and concepts, but also profound changes, from Antiquity to the present, giving us a grasp of the essence of warfare during different periods. This book can be said to replace Sir Charles Oman’s old classic.

Perilous Glory

By John France,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Perilous Glory as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A major new history of war that challenges our understanding of military dominance and how it is achieved

This expansive book surveys the history of warfare from ancient Mesopotamia to the Gulf War in search of a deeper understanding of the origins of Western warfare and the reasons for its eminence today. Historian John France explores the experience of war around the globe, in Europe, Asia, Africa, and America. His bold conclusions cast doubt on well-entrenched attitudes about the development of military strength, the impact of culture on warfare, the future of Western dominance, and much more.

Taking into account…


Célestine

By Gillian Tindall,

Book cover of Célestine: Voices from a French Village

A dusty bundle of 150-year-old letters found in a deserted house in rural France forms the premise of this intriguing literary hybrid. Author Gillian Tindall beckons us to follow her on an enthralling, real-life detective story, as she uncovers the life and loves of the letters’ addressee, an obscure provincial innkeeper’s daughter named Célestine Chaumettte. As she pieces Célestine’s story together, Tindall breathes life back into a whole slice of history and a community now vanished. A rich cast of forgotten characters springs from the pages as we see, taste, and smell the many textures of rural society in 19th-century France, along with the seasons and cycles that governed it. This evocative, haunting account of a country girl’s experience and place within this world really is social history at its best.

Célestine

By Gillian Tindall,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Célestine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Seven marriage proposals written to Celestine in the early 1860s, and carefully preserved by her, offer a glimpse of rural nineteenth century French life


5 book lists we think you will like!

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