Book #2 is Triumph: The Power and the Glory of the Catholic Church by H.W. Crocker III.
Two thumbs up on this one, especially if you're not much of a history type. This is a fast, sometimes snarky, trip through 2000 years of Catholic history. I'd say it's a good START to learning about Church history. I mean, anything that tries to cover 2000 years in 427 pages is only going to be hitting the high points. Contrasted with Warren Carroll's Christendom series, this is the Cliff Note version.
But it's good. And funny. PapaC got really tired of me elbowing him so I could read him a paragraph or 12....
How can you not like a book that describes Rousseau as follows:
Jean Jacques Rousseau was quite obviously insane. His life and works are those of a hypocritical, intellectually perfervid, and emotionally unstable actor. He is a precursor of New Age religion, and a smoother of that yellow brick road that leads from giving every man the vote to having every man's national and emotional aspirations embodied in a Fuhrer. His idea that man was born good but made bad by society was the revolutionists' charter.
And then later, writing about Humanae Vitae:
It is modern, liberal secularists who are "opposed to sex" in that they attempt to blur the distinctions between male and female, ignore the objective meaning of sexual activity, and who think that its natural result should be freely and inconsequentially aborted if it cannot otherwise be prevented. To a logician of an Aristotelian or Thomistic kind--in other words, a Catholic theologian, one of the few defenders of logical, objective reason in modern society--this is simply ludicrous. It is also, needless to say, majority opinion in the Western world.