July/Aug 2019 ~ What non-fiction books are you touring?
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Enemy of the People: A Dangerous Time to Tell the Truth in America
by Jim Acosta
CNN and AXIOS are my main go-to news sources during this mind boggling Trump era.
The trial of the murder of Reverend Willie Maxwell, who had taken out insurance policies on numerous family members with several ending up murdered, was the one story that Harper Lee could not resist. And so she returned to Alabama to attend the trial to take notes in an attempt to write a book about the crimes. Cep’s book flows so well that it was hard to put down and the information on Lee and the trial was fascinating.
I've lived through many assassinations, the suppressive brutality of the wealthy's allies, and met the idealists of the anarchist movement, and attended numerous executions of terrorists. Revolution is in the air.
Talk about resonating with the time I'm reading The Proud Tower -- Tuchman's pre-WW i history could easily be a prescient history of our present.
At any rate, the history is an interesting tour through the attitudes about Southern history from the perspective of the South circa 1900. Subjects like the "removal" of the Creeks and Cherokees from Georgia territories, the internal party politics of the state are provided through the lens of the debate between states rights proponents and those hoping to maintain a stronger Federal U.S. government. For example, Georgia states rights advocates were bitterly opposed to the Federal contention that the central government had the right to make states abide by the treaties that Washington had signed with Indian tribes. Luckily for these Georgians (and, of course, to the woe of the tribes), Andrew Jackson became president. That was that for Indian treaties.
Ulrich also makes it clear that the Civil War was fought over the issue of slavery. He shows that even the non-slaveholding, poorer Whites became convinced that the economic prosperity of the state, and so their own prosperity, depended on the continuation of slavery. While many/most of Ulrich's attitudes on these issues are unpalatable, the history provided here is interesting.
This is the autobiography of Kate Mulgrew, actress, who grew up in Iowa in a very interesting family dynamic and who eventually got into acting. She started out in the soap opera Ryan’s Hope and the book ends with her starting in her new role as Captain Janeway in the show Star Trek: Voyager. She certainly led an interesting life and this is definitely a page turner.
I picked this book because it had some more information on the film The Creature From the Black Lagoon which I read about in The Lady from the Black Lagoon: Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick by Mallory O’Meara which was really interesting. This is a pretty short book about some of the first monsters in film history but it has some great photographs from the films plus some interesting facts about the actors and the monster films they were in.
American Carnage: On the Front Lines of the Republican Civil War and the Rise of President Trump by Tim Alberta
(Covers 2008 thru 2018)
UPDATE: ***** (the GOP has been on a decade-long suicide mission)
Norco ’80 tells the story of how five heavily armed young men—led by an apocalyptic born-again Christian—attempted a bank robbery that turned into one of the most violent criminal events in U.S. history, forever changing the face of American law enforcement. Part action thriller and part courtroom drama, Norco ’80 transports the reader back to the Southern California of the 1970s, an era of predatory evangelical gurus, doomsday predictions, megachurches, and soaring crime rates, with the threat of nuclear obliteration looming over it all.
During the summer I have time to dip into one of my fav genres: travel narrativ. Patrick Leigh Fermoor is one of my fav authors; When he was 17 in 1934, he made a trip, mostly on foot, thro Europe: from London through Europe to Constantinople. His books Time of Gifts and Between Woods and Water are classics in travel writing, history and culture of that pre WWII time. He had plans to write a third, but wasn't able to put it together. It was published posthumouly as the broken road, which I read a while back and love. But I recently received a biography of him A Life in Letters, which made me realize I needed to reread his work. So I am now on the third book, and while I know that he added information that was after the fact, still love his style. Once I finish I may read walking the woods and the water The author tries to follow in his footsteps. We'll see how it goes
The book takes the bill from its inception during the John F. Kennedy administration, urged upon the president by his brother, Robert, the attorney general, as a moral imperative, through Kennedy's assassination and to the legislation's passage with even stronger support than Kennedy's by his successor in the White House, Lyndon Johnson. Committee meetings, caucuses, amendments, pressure and support from civil rights leaders, individual arm-twisting and cajoling, all are delved into here in a riveting, detailed presentation.
Rivals! Frenemies Who Changed the World by Scott McCormick
(4 humorous history stories with sound effects ~ dinosaur hunters Edward Cope & Othniel Marsh/sport shoe manufacturers Adidas & Puma/royals Queen Elizabeth I & Mary Queen of Scots/politicians Aaron Burr & Alexander Hamilton/young readers lit)
They Called Us Enemy by George Takei
(America's Japanese relocation camp era/GT played the Hikaru Sulus role in the Star Trek series)
by Candice Millard
Millard is one of my favorite authors and she doesn’t disappoint in this tale of Churchill’s escape after being captured during the Boer War in 1899 in South Africa while he was there as a news reporter. Highly recommended!
This is a discussion of relatively mainstream ideas, however. I recall little, if any, discussion, for example, of the religions that Christianity supplanted as is spread through Europe, or of the repression of those religions practiced at the time, so often including the repression (to put it mildly) of women.
This book is written by Cathy Guisewite who wrote and drew the comic strip Cathy. It has essays about her life after she ended the comic strip. In this funny book she deals with some of the same issues that were in her comic strip (dating, weight gain, etc.) but also about her marriage that ended, her daughter whom she adopted and dealing with her elderly parents. Very enjoyable and relatable!
Possibly from me. I reviewed Bad Stories a month or so ago, but, be that as it may, I agree with your assessment entirely.
Jackson successfully puts lots of color and movement into his history. He revels in offering characteristic incidents, gleaned often from those newspapers and journals mentioned above. He also enjoys describing the miners' superstitions, and narrating the prevailing legends and tall tales, some of which were still being offered to visitors when Jackson was doing his research. (The book was published in 1941.) Jackson, however, is not shy about immediately debunking those legends when appropriate, and rightly (in my view) saying he had providing each legend as a way of filling in the color and atmosphere of the times and of how those times have come to be viewed by subsequent generations.
There is a dark side to all of this, which Jackson mentions fairly often but doesn't delve into much or even seem particularly troubled by. That dark side, of course, is the era's racism. Mexican miners were routinely run off their land and their claims. Indians had no rights at all. Chinese people were allowed to work only those claims that whites had already worked over and abandoned and were tolerated in some areas only because they were willing to pay an additional tax for the privilege. For a modern-day reader, these facts will not be dismissed during the reading, and they do take the luster off of Jackson's overall glee in describing the times.
This was a really interesting CNN documentary on the rise and fall of Halston, the fashion designer. https://www.cnn.com/style/article/halston-american-fashion/index.html I did not know much about him but I remember when he signed up with JC Penney's to sell his creations which led to his downfall.
Not a book but it is non-fiction and very interesting!
Echo that. She's on my profile page as such! I'll never forget the impact she made on me when I got my first taste of her work. It was A Distant Mirror. Unforgettable!
I wish Doris Kearns Goodwin were consistently as good at bringing a person or age to "life." IMO, she's a more interesting speaker than writer. I put down Team of Rivals because the players, as she presented them, bored me stiff. Maybe I should try different history by her. Suggestion?
I'll bet her memoir is excellent. I heard her speak at the Miami Book Fair some years ago when Team of Rivals was published. The part of her presentation I remember most is when she talked about loving baseball and her dad. Maybe because I love baseball, too. I was a season ticket holder to the (then) Florida Marlins at that time and my dad watched games on TV every weekend when I was growing up.
She also has an interesting and inviting voice, the kind made for telling stories.
Wait Till Next Year: A Memoir
by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Goodwin relates her life around the major events of the 1950’s including her love of the Brooklyn Dodgers and the hope that they will win the World Series, the changes in her neighborhood and her life in the Catholic Church. I thought this was wonderfully written and enjoyed learning about that time period through her eyes.