RaveBookreporter... an unforgettable tale of poverty, violence, cruelty and hope ... should be read and studied by anyone genuinely dedicated to real reform and wishing to be educated about the actual conditions of the world’s abandoned and often forgotten children.
RaveBookreporterWith quotations from a vast mine of sources --- including Roman mythology, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, Plato and James Baldwin, to name just a few --- Schulz keeps her readers awake and alert to each small turn in this artfully grounded story ... It would be tough to find another book that so effectively combines the panoply of emotions examined here or that leaves the reader with such a sense of quiet comfort and natural, human connectedness.
Zora Neale Hurston, Ed. by Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Genevieve West
RaveBookreporterThis new collection of writings from Black author, scholar and cultural critic Zora Neale Hurston will introduce her to a new generation and give her the honor due—honor that was sometimes sparse in her lifetime—for her brilliant observations and deeply considered opinions ... Bringing Zora Neale Hurston to life again in this vibrant aggregation, Gates and West provide a laudable service to all of us. It is impossible to read Hurston’s words without recognizing not only her true genius but also her sincere embrace of her race, along with her love for her country and its best—if not always best enacted—ideals.
Mackrell...has organized this chronology with scholarly intensity. She brings every moment to life, serving up the women’s views of world war on all fronts...with sizzling realism. The book concludes with a satisfying epilogue to give readers an enlightening look at the later lives of these six courageous correspondents.\
Allen C Guelzo
PositiveBookreporterLee’s military accomplishments and some of his failures are well known, and Guelzo describes them in deep detail. Much of this notable chronicle explores the inner character of the man who claimed to despise the institution of slavery but fought with and for those who wished to maintain it, freed some of his family’s slaves while encouraging them to repatriate to Africa, and did nothing to aid in the initiatives of Reconstruction ... In his astute epilogue, Guelzo gives fair voice to those who now would gladly see all images and reminders of Lee and his Southern comrades unceremoniously obliterated.
RaveBookreporter... lively ... Qu presents her recollections in a precise, distressing chronology that sheds light on both the strictures of her Chinese cultural heritage and the sometimes arbitrary carelessness of the American social system meant to protect youngsters from neglect and mistreatment ... Qu writes with great fluidity, giving her memoir a novelistic reach that speaks of a new career path in the realm of words and their truest meanings. Her mastery of English and her memory of several Chinese dialects will give her gritty memories a special punch for those trapped in similar circumstances, whether as immigrants, sweatshop workers, survivors of childhood abuse, or simply strong young women overcoming the odds to gain the best that life has to offer.
RaveBookreporterAn eerie mystery wrapped in Eastern mysticism is at the heart of this intriguing examination by journalist Akash Kapur ... Kapur builds his story in a rich, person-centered chronology that includes the ideals and motivations of the 1960s hippie movement and its connection to principles and practices of Eastern religion and philosophy. It’s a tangled web, and pulling apart each skein combines Kapur’s deft penmanship and sharp observational powers with a devotion to his spouse ... emotionally nourishing and intellectually provoking.
RaveBookreporter...fascinating ... profoundly touching ... Fox & I is infused with classical references, botanical, biological and geological explorations, and deep intellectual and emotional theorizing about her time in the wilderness and her remarkable contact with Fox ... Anyone who has ever wished to live in direct contact with nature and its many forces and faces will appreciate Raven’s recollections.
PositiveBookreporterWickenden has mined the annals of social, political and cultural history in composing this complex, wide-ranging tome. She shows each woman in particular situations that highlight her aspirations ... Wickenden is participating in that ongoing process, bringing their accomplishments and shared goals to light for a new generation.
RaveBookreporterBren has brought the Barbizon into focus, helping us to better understand the place itself and the people who managed it and lived within its walls, some for many years .. That and many other gems have been gleaned by Bren in constructing this cultural memoir, centered on an unusually private shelter in a very public city. The Barbizon should be required reading for thoughtful, free-thinking women of all ages.
Janice P. Nimura
PositiveBookreporterJanice P. Nimura shines new light on the life and accomplishments of Elizabeth Blackwell, America’s first female physician, and equally on the achievements of her dynamic younger sister and fellow doctor, Emily ... Nimura previously demonstrated her facility with historical research and her ability to bring the past to life in Daughters of the Samurai. In writing about the Blackwells, two dynamic but very different women, she has delved into their era’s medical practices ... Nimura brings their aspirations to life in a zestful chronicle that should be read and shared in discussion by modern women, lest we forget.
RaveBookreporterCary Grant emerges as a modest egotist, a bold introvert and a handsome man who seemed unaware of his dashing good looks in this sweeping biography by bestselling author Scott Eyman. Drawing from an encyclopedic storehouse of sources, Eyman pictures Grant first as the frustrated teenager determined to escape his dark, troubled family in Bristol, England ... The portrait painted in grand strokes and juicy tidbits is of a working-class kid who took a chance and won a prize, using his charisma and smarts as much as his acting ability to gain and sustain admiration and attention. As Eyman says, \'Cary Grant was not born with style, but he caught it, the way other people catch measles or religion, then developed it and exemplified it.\'
PositiveBookreporterTo fully portray someone whose circumstances and courageous attitude put her on the world stage with some of the best-known figures in the politics and government of her times cannot be an easy task, but in this lengthy exploration, Michaelis allows us to see Eleanor’s public face and her private moments outside the box of her fame. From her own writings and a mountain of other important sources, he paints her as human, female and, at times, vulnerable and sad. As Michaelis notes, even towards the end, \'Her happiest days now involved winning fights.\' It is Eleanor’s fighting spirit that may reemerge to inspire a new generation.
RaveBookreporter... wrenchingly bleak truth ... [a] stirring, minute-by-minute saga ... Jones has sifted through these events with great care, looking at all players, every side issue, and later results and fallout ... His well-considered book has the power to open and change minds, and it ought to be widely read.
Eric Jay Dolin
PositiveBookreporterDolin, who has a doctorate in environmental sciences, has created a highly readable and densely fact-filled study. Most Americans remember at least one particular hurricane --- from childhood, direct experience or the memories of an earlier generation --- whether because of dreadful loss, unsettling fears or a near-miss. And through this literate survey, they can recall, re-examine and understand it in finer detail.
Natasha Gregson Wagner
PositiveBookreporter... vibrant ... opens and closes with the scene and the speculations surrounding the death of Natalie Wood, and naturally readers will appreciate those details. But what Natasha most wishes to convey is that her mother was a strong-minded, beautiful woman who embraced life head-on and should be remembered for her achievements in life.
RaveBookreporterGopnik has constructed a portrait of the late Andy Warhol that has left no fact unturned. This lengthy, lively tale is designed to enchant both Warhol fans and those new to his unusual take on visual artistry and life in general ... [a] rich, highly detailed tapestry ... whether it be Warhol’s sexual escapades or his charms with the society ladies, art collectors and a large admiring band of misfits and dreamers, there is very little in this extensive examination about which the author has not provided on-the-scene, almost minute-by-minute, quotations and recollections from Warhol’s observers, detractors and lovers. The artist’s devotees will enjoy the revelations Gopnik has teased out regarding a man who, like Picasso and Dalí before him, enjoyed shocking his public almost as much as he relished displaying and purveying his undeniable, genius-level graphic gifts.
PositiveBookreporter... intensive ... Bascomb combines a wide-ranging history of racing --- the tracks and the tricks, the storied rivalries and daredevil tactics that permeated a sport that killed many a driver --- with the rise of the man responsible for the deaths of millions ... memorable on numerous levels.
PositiveBookreporterMeltzer’s extensive and very personal homage to Nidetch, as well as her wise and often witty analysis of weight and its inner meaning, can serve as direction for those seeking an ideal of external self-image.
Zora Neale Hurston
RaveBookreporterTo encapsulate the places, issues and psychological outcroppings of Hurston’s work is nearly impossible. She deftly, often hilariously, used and parodied Biblical structures and language ... Seen in the light of the current era, Hurston’s work might seem to some a bit dated and possibly \'incorrect,\' yet it was her culture, home folks and city acquaintances --- and her brilliant writing bringing it all unashamedly to the minds of readers from a variety of different backgrounds. She obstinately refused to paint blacks as consistently pitiful or downtrodden, even as she recognized their deprivations ... Hurston adapted to the flow of the Harlem Renaissance but was capable of going against the tide as and when it suited her literary purpose ... Those who have read Hurston’s stories before will find rereading them, along with some new gems, to be time well spent ... a chance to learn, laugh and long for more.
Emma Copley Eisenberg
PositiveBookreporterDigging into a cold case, author Emma Copley Eisenberg uncovers more than the facts. She uncovers and shares the shadows and light places in a rural culture that largely goes unnoticed in the American mainstream ... a credit to Eisenberg’s tenacity and organizational skills. She delves diligently into the old stories of the Rainbow killings, and applies her store of cultural sensitivity and non-judgmental observation to the process. Expressing a sense of bonding and obligation to everyone involved, to Appalachian folk ethos and West Virginia history, she reaches the conclusion that things are rarely what they seem, and there are no absolutes when dealing with the human heart and impulse.
PositiveBookreporterDespite the many barriers he faced, Mitchell, who writes with the verve and immediacy befitting his newsman’s craft, was determined and remarkably patient. He toiled away over years and left no tiny clue unexamined in his zeal to accomplish his goal: the trials and convictions of four evildoers, and the relief and gratitude of families and friends who had given up hope of ever seeing these men get the punishment they deserved. He is diligent in reminding us that all of these despicable acts were motivated by the wish of a small, embattled group of white men to rid their world of people of color.
Peggy Wallace Kennedy
PositiveBookreporterPeggy makes the case in Wallace’s defense that his being a segregationist did not make him a racist ... Among efforts at presenting a balanced view, Peggy draws a brief, unflattering parallel between her father’s strategies and those of Donald Trump. She was prompted to gather this personal history by her sons’ questions about their grandfather, who she recalls as a fun-loving and generous parent, though frequently absent ... Doubtless it was painful for Peggy to delve deeply into her own past, as someone whose moral views from early adolescence contrasted with the public policies of her famous father. She still suffers trauma from those conflicted years. Readers will find out more about George Wallace than they ever could have learned otherwise, and will be transported back to the heat, hatred, fear and some notable heroics of the early civil rights era. The judgment on Alabama’s fiery leader cannot rest solely on one source, but by creating her perspective, Peggy Wallace Kennedy offers a reasonable opening for re-examination.
PositiveBookreporterInvoking heroic, creative, courageous images through the large panorama and the small vignette, Lebrecht teases out more than 100 years of Jewish lore in this dense, entertaining work. He shows that those extolled were not all alike --- many were irreligious, some were intermarried, and all had strong personal opinions and may or may not have agreed with the majority of their peers ... What is clear, though, from Lebrecht’s many examples is that Jews have exerted themselves through a compulsion to succeed, never to leave well enough alone. Our world would be a poorer place without their perseverance --- and their humor.
PositiveBookreporterFrenkel sets an example of undaunted courage and resolve, especially considering that she was a female, and alone. Her chronicle is a reminder of the evils of Nazism, which perhaps should be studied again by each new generation lest such a hate-filled philosophy should ever reemerge, in whatever form, in whatever place.
Dovey Johnson Roundtree and Kate McCabe
PositiveBookreporterAward-winning author Katie McCabe worked for 10 years in collaboration with African American activist Dovey Johnson Roundtree to create this remarkable chronicle of one of the 20th century’s outstanding military, legal and civil rights luminaries ... McCabe was fortunate to work in close communication with this amazing woman and record her memories in what she describes as a transformative relationship. For McCabe’s part, she brought Roundtree’s extraordinary autobiography into the spotlight.
H. W. Brands
PositiveBookreporter... a panoramic view of the settlement of the American West, expounding intelligently on its better-known aspects and expanding many little-known vignettes that bring it to human scale ... Fighters at the Alamo and subsequent battles for Texan independence are given their full due.
PositiveBookreporterFoner examines in minute detail the differences between rights and equality as perceived in the Reconstruction era and beyond ... Foner clearly illustrates in case after case how the tangled skeins of misinterpretation, obfuscation and outright disobedience of the three Reconstruction amendments still plague us ... It is to be hoped that Foner’s conscientious presentation of the facts will lead to greater understanding of our history and new, creative approaches.
PositiveBookreporter...fascinating ... [Benfey] has brought to light and deftly connected many lesser-known facts about Kipling ... And there is much to be discerned about the radical upheavals in current American culture from Kipling’s complex American engagement.
J. Randy Taraborrelli
PositiveBookReporter... Taraborrelli has created yet another solid offering focusing on the famous Kennedy family ... Taraborrelli’s somber examination of a cursed clan was the product of some years of interviewing and ceaseless study into the family that has become the journalistic quarry of his writer’s aspirations.
RaveBookreporter... a vibrant history of the construction, décor, egos, glamour, deals and dirty secrets that comprise the many-storied Plaza Hotel ... With a thirst for detail, a historian’s balanced viewpoint, deft descriptions of the Plaza’s Trump era, and a retrospective personal exploration of its enchantments, Satow’s debut book should please even the most avid fan of this remarkable environment.
PositiveBook ReporterCast[s] light on a dark era in American sociopolitical history... a thorough, fair-minded examination of a distasteful phenomenon that came and thankfully went from the national stage. Okrent’s work can serve as a sober, salient warning of the apparent ease with which such notions as eugenics can arise, take hold and spread even among people of ostensible good will.
Brian Jay Jones
PositiveBook Reporter... [a] thorough, thoughtful look at one of America’s best-loved children’s authors ... Jones creates an honest look at this complicated man ... a book that has been waiting to be written. It will provide a fascinating journey for adults of a certain generation who grew up and raised their children on the ever-evolving poems and pictures that sprang out of the fertile mind of Theodor \'Dr. Seuss\' Geisel.
RaveBook ReporterIt’s clear that Clavin was taken with his subject ... Since much of Hickok’s life is layered in unsubstantiated lore, Clavin has done a masterful job of organizing the bits and pieces into a comprehensible, credible biography, as charming in its way as the man himself.
PositiveBookreporter\"And it’s hard to live through one of the worst fires in Colorado’s history, a saga Houston dramatically reels out as she experiences it ... [Houston\'s] beautifully composed paean to wilderness living combines tales from her conflicted childhood with homestead journaling, descriptions of favorite animals, travels out to exotic places, and simple, homey happenings.\
PositiveBook ReporterThe shared recollections of these two courageous parents are all the more admirable because, with the twins, there was no sudden miracle cure, no leaping of developmental milestones owing to some new treatment. It was an inch-by-inch, hour-by-hour struggle with many discouragements ... The two have become speakers and advocates for parents and others concerned with the harsh realities of autism.
PositiveBookReporterTurner still manages to surprise us with her insight ...Tina’s memoir is written with a remarkable memory for details that will delight her fans and engage even those new to her image ... My Love Story is a pungent shack-to-chateau saga that shares new revelations and refreshing wisdom, entwined with a romance that was a long time in the making, and well deserved.
RaveBookreporterRaymond Arsenault has created a posthumous paean to Arthur Ashe ... Arsenault has worked through interviews with those who knew Ashe, and also with Ashe’s own extensive personal writings, so that the man’s voice is heard again. This thorough account naturally will be of particular interest to sports fans ... Arsenault\'s book has the power to invade the hearts of those who did not experience the American Civil Rights movement directly.
Rave20 Something ReadsBoth conversational and fact-laden, Orenstein’s prose surprises, informs and at times jars with its frankness. She does not shrink from even the thorniest of subjects, her closing essays entitled 'When Did Porn Become Sex Ed?' and 'How to Be a Man in the Age of Trump.' One laudable aspect of her writing is the secure sense that she won't flinch from re-examining her own stated positions, learning from the times as they change.