My own recommendations?
I’m partial to Robert D. Kaplan’s Imperial Grunts, for reasons I have begun to develop here: it’s an excellent and vivid account of the varied and innovative activities undertaken by the U.S. military all over the world.
Rick Brookhiser is trying to be our Plutarch. I’ve read and enjoyed his little book on George Washington and wouldn’t object to seeing his books on Alexander Hamilton and Gouvernor Morris under the Christmas tree.
The same goes for Jerry Weinberger’s Benjamin Franklin Unmasked.
For kids who have read Tolkien, Lewis, and Rowling, I’d recommend this series, which features martial mice, formidable badgers, and rapacious rats, among others.
I could give you many more, but that’s what’s on my mind now.
Update: Ken Masugi makes amends for the Claremont oversight.