RaveBookPage... both a social and a family history, enlivened by family letters and other personal artifacts ... Always the objective reporter, Maraniss humanizes his father’s inquisitors by probing deeply into their backgrounds to ferret out both their virtues and flaws.
PositiveBookPage... not for the suggestible ... Besides being unwaveringly honest about himself, Solomon introduces a gallery of tormented friends and acquaintances who personalize the many forms depression can take. His anatomizing of melancholy strikes a balance between the systematic, in which he compartmentalizes historic, scientific and demographic facts, and the anecdotal, through which he conveys the oppressive weight of the malady. Despite the dead-ends that victims and researchers of depression continue to encounter, Solomon ends his book with a chapter bravely called \'Hope.\' That quality, he shows, resides less in the glacially slow advances of drugs and psychiatry than in a recurring human condition that is as tenacious and mysterious as depression itself: the will to live.
PositiveBookPage... a horror story of unregulated capitalism ... Fagin, a distinguished science reporter, provides meticulously detailed accounts of the rise of the offending chemical industries, the evolution of the science of epidemiology and the struggle of the fiercely devoted parents who hounded politicians and bureaucrats to do their jobs when their natural inclination was to do nothing.
PositiveBookPageFast-paced and highly entertaining ... Perrottet spotlights the bright hopes that propelled the revolution and the herculean effort that enabled a ragtag band to defeat a dictator’s army of 40,000 in just over two years.
PositiveBookPageSo much has been written about the folk band the Weavers being blacklisted from performing in the 1950s that it obscures the far more important fact that they still became one of America’s most influential music groups ... Jarnow astutely chronicles how the Weavers lost gigs, quit working as a group, and dealt with internal dissension and government persecution.
PositiveBookPagePhilbrick manages to impart the immediacy of breaking news to his descriptions of marches, skirmishes and battles. From describing crucial shifts in the wind during naval conflicts to detailing the unimaginable horror of war wounds, he places the reader in the midst of the fray.
Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Avis Lang
PositiveBookPageThere seems to be no scientific advancement—regardless of how pure and benign its origin—that doesn’t wind up in military use. And vice versa. That’s basically the theme that ties together Neil deGrasse Tyson and Avis Lang’s Accessory to War, an engaging and well-documented survey of the instruments and organizations that have led human civilization into its current battle for supremacy in space ... Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium and ubiquitous explainer of all things cosmic, clearly wishes that war would go away and that space would become a wellspring of common benefit. But he is far too much a rationalist to confuse wishes with reality ... With a worried eye on the catastrophic consequences of space war, Tyson proposes a more pleasing alternative: \'[A]strophysics, a historical handmaiden to human conflict, now offers a way to redirect our species’ urge to kill into collaborative urges to explore\' ... And why not?
Max Allan Collins and A. Brad Schwartz
RaveBookPageIn Scarface and the Untouchable...Max Allan Collins and A. Brad Schwartz go into great detail to present the day-to-day realities that made this law-versus-lawless conflict so colorful, violent and headline-grabbing ... The scholarship displayed in Scarface and the Untouchable is extraordinary, probing deeply into the activities, interrelationships and mindsets of the many principal characters. Publicity-seeking Capone is especially well-drawn. The graft-ridden but vibrant city of Chicago achieves character status as well.
RaveBookpageThe Cold War between the U.S. and Russia was at its iciest from the early 1950s until well into the 1960s. Neither side knew a great deal about the other’s military capabilities and even less about any grand designs for world supremacy. The information the two superpowers did possess came mostly from spies, diplomats, gossip and news reports ... Into this jurisdictional minefield entered four inordinately talented civilians who took it upon themselves to build and test technology that might reveal what was actually happening in Russia: Edwin Land, a genius in the field of optics; Kelly Johnson, an engineer who zeroed in on designing lightweight, high-flying aircrafts; Richard Bissell, a Connecticut blue blood the CIA assigned to oversee and facilitate the hush-hush project; and Francis Gary Powers, one of the daredevil pilots selected to test the new spy plane, which they called the U-2 ... A story as well told as Monte Reel’s A Brotherhood of Spies is an irresistible call to binge-reading.
RaveBookPageMost of his reflections here are blithely inconsequential, keen observations about nature, career and relationships. They expound no end-of-life wisdom, detail no significant literary trends or feuds and offer no general assessment of the state of poetry today. But it is this very lack of utility—the knowledge that we need not underline or take notes—that makes the book such a joy to read. This is not to suggest that the book lacks weight. Whether Hall is describing the passage of the seasons or mulling over the comforts of friendship, he is always worth hearing out. He is especially moving when writing about his love affair and home life with his second wife, Jane Kenyon, a respected poet in her own right ... This collection of well-crafted bric-a-brac demonstrates that he’s still not inclined to let any of his words go to waste.
MixedBookPageDangerous is probably not the first adjective that comes to mind when perusing Susan Ronald’s minutely detailed biography of Florence Gould, A Dangerous Woman. “Determined” and “devious” would be more apt descriptors ... The one element missing here is the sound of Florence’s own voice. That’s because her estate denied the author access to its archives, including Florence’s letters. So while we’re told virtually everything she did and everyone she slept with (a long list), we know precious little of how she felt as she moved full sail through her momentous life.
Åsne Seierstad, Trans. by Seán Kinsella
PositiveBookPageTwo Sisters is a harrowing read, as it lays bare the most barbaric aspects of humanity, taking us into the ISIS camps in Syria where young children are brutalized and made to participate in beheadings, stonings and crucifixions all in the name of pleasing God ... This is a cautionary tale of what can happen when a society moves from simply tolerating antisocial religious beliefs to actually incubating and enabling them.
Pietro Bartolo and Lidia Tilotta, Trans. by Chenxin Jiang
RaveBookPagePietro Bartolo runs the sole medical clinic in his homeland of Lampedusa, a tiny Italian island 70 miles off the coast of Tunisia that has become the gateway — and graveyard — for an unending stream of refugees trying to escape the varied horrors confronting them in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Bartolo’s Tears of Salt, written with Italian journalist Lidia Tilotta, is equal parts memoir, celebration of his birthplace and report from the front. Above all, though, it is a plea for compassion ... But it’s not the massive numbers that give Bartolo’s account its emotional impact — it’s the attention he focuses on individual survivors... Bartolo tells many such stories of courage and sacrifice.
PositiveBookPageClifton Fadiman had two paramount passions: savoring the best wines and obliterating his Jewishness ... Like so many other first-generation American Jews, he saw his cultural heritage as an impediment—even a reproach—to the refined, upper-class WASP life he aspired to. Although clearly a doting daughter, Anne Fadiman is not an uncritical one as she examines her relationship with her father in The Wine Lover’s Daughter ... Anne Fadiman points out in great detail her father’s sexism and snobbery and marvels... Much of her chronicle is given over to her father’s informed obsession with wines and her attempts — ultimately unsuccessful — to become a wine enthusiast herself.
PositiveBookPageEsther Perel’s goal in The State of Affairs is to go beyond the standard victim-versus-victimizer model of adultery and explore its infinite complexities—the better to salvage something even slightly worthwhile from the experience, preferably for both partners ... Among the conclusions she reaches are that you can’t adultery-proof a marriage, that complete honesty in trying to mend the ravages of adultery can sometimes do more harm than good, and that infidelity isn’t always caused by marital dissatisfaction. Sometimes it just happens.
Daniel J. Sharfstein
RaveBookPageSharfstein paints his pictures of this beautiful and terrifying region on a canvas that stretches from daunting inland mountains to bustling seacoast towns ... Deftly woven into the story are portraits of such fascinating figures as Charles Erskine Scott Wood, who served as Howard's aide and later became a political radical, and the fierce warrior Yellow Wolf, whose remembered accounts of battle provide Sharfstein with some of his most chilling descriptions.