Blogroll

Book Review: One Nation Under Baseball by John Florio and Ouisie Shapiro

I grew up about 200 miles due west of Minneapolis. When I was young, a weekend family trip to watch the Minnesota Twins was almost a ritual. Like any elementary school boy, the players were among my first idols. Pitcher Jim “Mudcat” Grant was one my my favorites.

Given my age, I assumed his nickname […]

Book Review: Fireball: Carole Lombard and the Mystery of Flight 3 by Robert Matzen

The December 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor changed America and Hollywood was no exception. Less than three months earlier, A U.S. Senate subcommittee held hearings on whether Hollywood was intentionally producing “propaganda” to encourage the country to enter the war in Europe. Pearl Harbor brought that investigation to a halt and within 10 days […]

Best of February 2015

Books

Hubert Wolf’s The Nuns of Sant’Ambrogio: The True Story of a Convent in Scandal epitomizes how history should be written for the general public. Although the PR around the book promises a look at “sex, poison, and lesbian initiation rites in a nineteenth-century convent,” this is in no way a lurid read. Sure, […]

Book Review: Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America by Jill Leovy

Plague. Even today, the word retains fearsome connotations. But according to Jill Leovy, there’s been a plague in America for several decades: the murder of black males, mostly by other black males. In Los Angeles County, for example, even though black men were just six percent of the population, they accounted for 40 percent of […]

Book Review: Secret Lives of the Tsars by Michael Farquhar

As the recent July 4 holiday reminded, America isn’t fond of royalty — unless they’re showing up in the celebrity gossip. In fact, the Declaration of Independence lays out a laundry list of what King George III did to establish an “absolute tyranny” in the colonies. But he never went so far as to kick […]

Book Review: No Good Men Among the Living by Anand Gopal

Black and white thinking just doesn’t work in a gray labyrinth. That’s why America — and the Soviet Union earlier — struggled in seeking to fashion Afghanistan’s government and politics. Perhaps there should be a rule requiring Afghanistan be colored gray on any map as a warning about how gray and tangled it is. At […]