Pittsburgh City Councilman Patrick Dowd started out as a historian, and while he's no longer in academia his reading still reflects that background. These days Dowd reads historical nonfiction mixed with fiction "with a serious historical bent."
Edwin Coddington, The Gettysburg Campaign: A Study in Command
The Battle of Gettyburg remains one of the most controversial military actions in America's history, and one of the most studied. Professor Coddington's is an analysis not only of the battle proper, but of the actions of both Union and Confederate armies for the six months prior to the battle and the factors affecting General Meade's decision not to pursue the retreating Confederate forces. This book contends that Gettyburg was a crucial Union victory, primarily because of the effective leadership of Union forces - not, as has often been said, only because the North was the beneficiary of Lee's mistakes.
George R.R. Martin, A Clash of Kings
As the Seven Kingdoms face a generation-long winter, the royal Stark family confronts the poisonous plots of the rival Lannisters, the emergence of the Neverborn demons, the arrival of barbarian hordes, and other threats.
Paula McClain, The Paris Wife: A Novel
We know Ernest Hemingway was a brilliant writer with a larger-than-life personality. He was a hard-drinking, macho guy who loved bullfighting and big-game hunting.
He is less familiar as a young man in love. The object of the 20-year-old Hemingway's affections was Hadley Richardson, a pretty but unglamorous Midwesterner who was eight years his senior. It was Richardson who shared Hemingway's years as a poor, still-unknown writer in Paris. The story of their romance and marriage has been fictionalized in Paula McLain's new novel, The Paris Wife.