A slice of 19th Century American History brought to the attention of the current era. Nameless Indignities,.. by Susan Elmore is True Crime journalism...moreA slice of 19th Century American History brought to the attention of the current era. Nameless Indignities,.. by Susan Elmore is True Crime journalism with all the juicy bits from the era that it is all to easy to forget had its paparazzi! Muckracking journalist didn't always have a political scandal to pursue. A violent crime was just as good and sold papers.
The American Mid-West post Civil War was a well established with social order and mores, a justice system that was like any place else in the United States that was not territorial or not yet admitted to the Union. There were a few remnants of Civil War prejudices and hard feeling remaining, yet they did not drive the common society as they still did a state or two west of Illinois. Mid-Central (today almost the northern part of Southern Illinois) Illinois was an agricultural society. Money was to be made and with it came typical social stratification. So did resentments, family feuds, and darker things. Violence was not far away and the sensational crime was also close at hand.
Author Susan Elmore unearths from personal family history a dark and sordid tale of brutal rape and the aftermath including manhunts, near lynching, a criminal investigation and trial out of today's crime obsessed media. From the case's background to the final days and lingering judgements of history there is research in abundance in to the story. Clever use of cross referenced genealogical records and census records track suspects and their families across the country and in to the 20th Century. Apparent exhaustive newspaper research brings to the page the arc of the victims life from her childhood and privilege to her final sordid end.
There is detail on top of detail. Genealogy of nearly every character in this story is rich in sourcing and depth. So deep the reader begins to struggle for air. Keeping track of the various threads of this story become tedious. Not difficult or obscure, just details that are best left to notes. The book has no pace beyond meticulous. It is in fact not always an enjoyable read and is describable as laborious for many pages at a time.
Since the rise of the modern historical(not historical fiction) story written by non-historians or by journalists, books like Nameless Indignities have exploded across the racks of available reading material. Few will rise to the level of Erik Larson and most will be of regional interest at best. This one held such promise. It instead disappoints on every level. There is too much of everything much of which could have solved with editing and some reorganization. Combined with the impression that the book leaves of it being an exhaustive report of all the people who lived in the area and the relationships it is monotonous. The author could have spent a bit more time to chronicle how the area that the crime occurred in evolved in the next few decades and given a much richer background. The sources seem narrow on closer examination and perhaps that was the editing that did occur. But the book misses the mark on several levels.
This is a work to read for some perspective on how journalists in the 19th century were just as involved in driving or perverting the course of justice as the have again become in the 21st Century. This is a work that points out eclectic portions of the biographies of a number of historical figures that were associated with Lincoln and with the growth of the State of Illinois.But it misses the mark on so many topics that it becomes more of a task to read than a valuable resource or as a potential brilliant contribution brought down by the approach to writing that is employed.
Not terrible. The best parts are at the end of the work. Yet if a reader has not steeled themselves to dozens of pages of detail ad nauseum the final conclusions have little merit. (less)
"" . . . there is no Engine Co. 19 house, though that firehouse received a quarter million in renovations . . . from Detroit An American Autopsy by C...more"" . . . there is no Engine Co. 19 house, though that firehouse received a quarter million in renovations . . . from Detroit An American Autopsy by Charles LeDuff.
When journalists write books inevitably they are the most readable prose in any language. Author LeDuff spins a yarn of the truth and sadness that is Detroit, Michigan. From the corruption in 21st Century Detroit exemplified by the opening quote from the book, to the horrors and desperation it spawns in the denizens of Motor City, Detroit An American Autopsy rolls along fiercely.
The author wraps his own story as a hometown boy returning to the scene of the crime into the fabric of this very fine work. A commentary on America for the past century, this autopsy cuts out the parts and exposes not just what went wrong, but what was flawed from the start. It is not a pretty story or one full of unrealistic hope or a light at the end of the tunnel. But it is about what has to be fixed and changed if America as whole has a future that isn't similar to the Detroit of today.
The characters populating the pages of the book are out of a Hieronymus Bosch painting. Screaming, bloodied, damned, and dead or dying. But they are real.
Published before Detroit officially went bankrupt, LeDuffs work is beyond cautionary, it is a stark flashing warning with images from the Inferno. Hope was long ago abandoned and now Detroit is another Beirut. Broken and ruined from its most basic premise and reinvention has failed again and again.
There are all the high points that make this a five star book. It is one to read again, it is brilliantly constructed in both form and the choice of content, it has human and personal hooks as good as any non-fiction written. It is a war story. It is a love story. It is an elegy and a dissection.
LeDuff has been a Pulitzer winner before. Detroit An American Autopsy is a prize winner in a just universe too. But LeDuff lives on the edge of hell. Somebody with a parachute, a microphone and and escape pod may swoop in and take his prize. But they won't deserve or have earned it the way LeDuff has with this powerful book(less)
[***** A longer review and commentary forthcoming *****]
Elesha Coffman has written an important work about the annals of American Religious Publishing...more [***** A longer review and commentary forthcoming *****]
Elesha Coffman has written an important work about the annals of American Religious Publishing. The facet of the first half of the 20th Century covered in this work is vital to understanding much of the religious and politically linked behavior that was to come and persists in influence in to the first decades of the 21st Century.
A longer and more detailed review is needed that addresses the nuances of the work from the conflict between liberal thought (mainstream Protestants) and fundamentalist/orthodox (emerging present day evangelicals) and the historical role of religious/theological dialogue. Or the lack thereof.
The Atomic Women were a blast. One can't resist such an obvious tag line to start a review of this work.
Multiple shelving of this fine book should in...moreThe Atomic Women were a blast. One can't resist such an obvious tag line to start a review of this work.
Multiple shelving of this fine book should inform the potential/future reader that author Denise Kernan has covered many topics in her research of the Clinton Engineering Works. CEW as it was known during the height of the secrecy in the WWII era produced a part of the nuclear material used to make the first atomic weapons. Today this area is known to the world as Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
Author Kiernan has written of the women who were vital to the development of Nuclear Energy in all its forms. Their stories are the root of this work. From the factory workers who were offered jobs because the men were at war and personnel was at a premium, to the women with special skills from nursing to chemistry to administration they are included. Kiernan also writes about women in scientific roles that should have received more credit in the basic physics and perhaps should have been included in Nobel prize citations.
The post atomic bomb propaganda and philosophic concerns are covered if minimally and in a standard fashion. A few telling anecdotal events that add to the humanity of the book are included that are definitely about the women's view of their work and now, world.
Overall a chapter of history that other than Richard Rhodes, has not been widely written about, particularly about the common workers, let alone women.
Highly recommended and well written book with sourcing and photographs that are first rate and unusual.
I may have skipped a column or three while laughing so hard and jumping back and forth in the book!
Author Carl Hiaasen captures much of the craziness...moreI may have skipped a column or three while laughing so hard and jumping back and forth in the book!
Author Carl Hiaasen captures much of the craziness that is the South Florida reality. From politics to sports to the dreaded Florida land developers he writes about the unbelievable that give full credence to the old saying, "truth is stranger than fiction."
Snakes, guns, money, fast cars, and the those moronic individuals that seem to get into trouble with some part or all of those inhabit much of this book of Miami Herald newspaper columns from the 80's, 90's, and into the 21st century.
A reader who has any interest in the world around them as a source of entertainment or has not ceased to be amazed by the lunacy that is on the front doorstep will have a great time with this goodread.(less)
Tom Brokaw draws upon his personal and professional experiences to define a path towards a better and rejuvenated America.
The problem I have with this...moreTom Brokaw draws upon his personal and professional experiences to define a path towards a better and rejuvenated America.
The problem I have with this well written and informative book is that his concepts are still rooted in the American Dream and the 'American Century'. We did that and though many of his suggestions and information regarding education, as an example, are excellent, again, we've worked on all this with little real overall success.
This book is a bit simplistic in solution while being quite good on journalism and folksy memoir.
African-Americans have returned from meritorious service and victory in World War I in Europe. They have been celebrated and feted in the early...more1919.
African-Americans have returned from meritorious service and victory in World War I in Europe. They have been celebrated and feted in the early months of the year for their service with parades and speeches. Hope for a better earned life is in the future for African-Americans as a share in the American Dream.
Post war domestic tranquility is not to be had for any or all. Economic slumps, social change and unrest, and old beliefs are all part of a dangerous fuel that will lead to the Red Summer.
The President of the United States is ignoring domestic policy and is a racist.
RED SUMMER. The Summer of 1919 and the Awakening of Black Americaby Cameron McWhirter is not a pleasant or enjoyable book to read. In fact if you don't find a lot disturbing in this book, you missed a lot along the way. As a Warning this journalistic work contains disturbing images and descriptions that should be approached with eyes wide open. Racial driven rioting started almost entirely by whites resulting in death, financial ruin, and tremendous social change for mostly blacks is the primary story that author McWhirter tells.
The backdrop of the return of soldiers from WWI who had experienced a different and arguably much better lifestyle and social environment, combined with a postwar slump, and an emerging anxiety and fear about 'them Commies' all led to a volatile mix. The victims and scapegoats of all of this were African-Americans.
Riot after riot, and lynching after lynching, swept across the country in a paroxysm unlike anything seen in decades. There had been large deadly riots before and others would follow in years to come but the week after week and month after month of violence in 1919 was a watershed of hate. The year culminated in what was more than 'just another riot' it was a massacre that can nearly 100 years later not be fully analyzed nor the dead counted .
What really was behind this year has little been discussed outside of specialized topics and research. The causes are the general driving force behind the authors research. Few at the time cared. Quoting Carl Sandburg who wrote about the Chicago race riot at the time, " as usual nearly everybody was more interested in the war than how it got loose."
Walter White of the NAACP wrote in his analysis of the Chicago Riot eight reasons for deadly upheaval:
1. Race Prejudice 2. Economic competition. 3. Political Corruption and Exploitation of Negro Voters. 4. Police Inefficiency. 5. Newspaper Lies about Negro Crime. 6. Unpunished Crimes Against Negroes. 7. Housing. 8. Reaction of Whites and Negroes from War. (page 156-Ch14. Red Summer. see also footnote 41/Ch14)
These were eye openers to the public. White's work conducted over several weeks interviewing witnesses and participants in post-riot Chicago and then publishing the results is seminal in understanding a balanced view of the occurrences.
Author Cameron WcWhirter has produced a book that is an overdue modern contribution to historic journalism of civil rights and American racial issues. While the work, as any, cannot cover all the topics involved, there are areas in the book that referencing the sources and footnotes is necessary for viewing the larger picture. His inclusion of the reportage of racial attitudes and race baiting/scapegoating/etc., of political and law enforcement leaders is vital to understanding how the Red Summer exploded. If there is another major flaw in the work it is not going into enough depth about the hit and miss judicial system.
Recommended but with cautions for intense and disturbing content.
An average or slightly above WWII history. Using the 'oral history' techniques of interviews and journals, letters, and even a screenplay or two, the...moreAn average or slightly above WWII history. Using the 'oral history' techniques of interviews and journals, letters, and even a screenplay or two, the authors create a living memoir of those who were there and fought the war.
The summary or encapsulations of the events of WWII in this book are 'common knowledge' type for the most part and don't by themselves shed any new light or add unusual anecdotes. There are poignant personal stories and a few incidents brought to light again in this work that make it worth some time reading and reviewing.
The photographic and journalistic record the work adds is above average but not overwhelming.
Many readers will be familiar with the Television presentation associated with this book and most likely find it far more compelling.
Cynically it edges on being another profit center item for the Ken Burn, Inc. history machine.
Far too much history and hallowed ground is covered in far too few pages and photographs to consider this book definitive or outstanding.(less)
Erik Larson's latest is exemplary historic journalism. Written from journals and contemporaneous first person accounts Larson adds richness to otherwi...moreErik Larson's latest is exemplary historic journalism. Written from journals and contemporaneous first person accounts Larson adds richness to otherwise historic footnotes of the most written about period in human history. He adds significant detail that else might have been skipped to the pre-story of the great explosive horror that was Hitler's Germany.
Larson takes the reader on a slow languid journey into the heart of the Beast's Garden that was at the center of Berlin, Germany circa 1933-1937. Through the eyes of the new United States Ambassador to Germany William E. Dodd and his family, the transport begins in to the darkness. As the first American Ambassador to Hitler's Germany, Dodd may have been seriously over matched. The diplomatic corps of every nation joined him in that failing. Many knew at the time of Dodd's arrival that bad things loomed on the near horizon, but few were listening.
Can history be salacious? Yes. This was the era of the cafe' society in decline and transformation. Ambassador Dodd's daughter and son embarked on a joyous romp through an idealized landscape of well dressed entertaining figures and shadowy players. The shadows grow quickly around the denizens of the street of beasts. Dodd's daughter Martha and her romantic and sexually charged lifestyle are the focal point that the author draws his tangents around in guiding the reader down the path to the revelation of the true nature of each character. It, the books prose, like the growth of the Nazi's, is a seduction. Brutal and direct with a veneer of nicety that when finally revealed is not what it seemed except to a few wise observers. Finally the true nature of the seducers as sadists and psychopaths is revealed and all that have succumbed can even now only be guessed at as to the final number.
Larson has read most of the standard literature about the era plus mined the diaries, journals, and a few unpublished writings of the Dodd's for his sources. No great new revelation is in this work about the rise of the National Socialists in Germany, but this work adds a new chapter and one more view about those years of horror that changed and formed the modern world.(less)
In a day and age of polarized and politicized journalism a work of this quality that covers the award winning images that have helped define print cov...moreIn a day and age of polarized and politicized journalism a work of this quality that covers the award winning images that have helped define print coverage of the world is most welcomed.
Hal Buell well known at least partially for his compilations of great photographic images of twentieth century events has delivered another 'keeper' for the libraries of photographers, journalists, and historians. A consistent format divided into historic period sections in chronological order gives this book more value than merely a catalog of the award winners. From the first black and white photographs taken on medium format classic press cameras to the digital age each photo is reproduced and reprinted in a high quality fashion.
The story of the photos is as often compelling as the story they render or illustrate. From war coverage to tragic urban mishap, each photo sparks a memory for those alive at that time or fills in the details of some else wise dry historic moment.
Not every great moment in the time covered by these awards won a prize. Many of these photos were part of stories that otherwise wouldn't have had the meaning or impact they did as a result of the effect of 'another thousand words' instantly added by their existence.
The photos in this work deserve a different rating than three stars. The compilation details 100 great and important events, yet the photos that illus...moreThe photos in this work deserve a different rating than three stars. The compilation details 100 great and important events, yet the photos that illustrate them are not necessarily the best or even very good in some instances for the subject detailed.
Examples of the mismatch between the story and the image include the Hungarian revolution entry that shows an otherwise pedestrian photograph of a crowd burning a poster of a hated leader. Yet, the thousands of images that came from this event covering a gamut from bodies in the streets, to public executions, and finally tanks rolling in the middle of Buda & Pest are not used. Various other entries have similar problems with photos that have a certain greatness, but don't illustrate well the event that helped to change the 19th and twentieth centuries.
An example of the quality lies with the Partition of India where sheet after sheet and roll after roll of film were exposed where each and every one was stunning. The photos selected for this entry in the "100 Days in Photographs" are at best only average in their impact and don't illustrate well the story told of the throngs of people fleeing one new country or the other depending upon their religion.
Mentioned many times in regards to this work is the problem of rights and clearances. A question arises if the photographs were chosen that were publishable and if that drove the selection of events. Or, were events chosen and photographs previously unseen searched for and the list pared down to the magic 100? Various critical assassinations were neglected, events that were arguably only a small part of the larger story were told and illustrated, and other disjointed editorial choices abound.
There are great and important photographs to be found in this book. Historical early work from the Crimean and Boer conflicts, for example, illustrate early photography well. The sequence photographs documenting the building of the Eiffel Tower are important for a spectrum of reasons. How photography was used and developed is apparent from beginning to end in this book, just not consistently explained.
Finally a note on the photographs from certain photographers. The pivotal events of World War II seem to be skewed in favor of a historical misrepresentation regarding what were the important events and favoring certain Time Life photographers who were not the greatest in photographing certain events. There has to be a rights problem as Time-Life published much better and far more critically acclaimed London Blitz photos, but they were by different photographers than the ones noted. National Geographic surely has better unpublished or not widely seen images of Vietnam and more pivotal events than these of the fall of Saigon.
If this were to just be never before or rarely seen images of pivotal events, it only goes part of the way. If this book is a select 100 events it is only partially successful in the relative value of the 100 selected. Inconsistency in the editorial compilation, erratic commentary on the photographs and events, and in many cases a safe selection of photographers drags this book down from a pinnacle to only stand on the lower slopes of the heights that photographs of 100 great events could bring to a reader.
One of many pop-culture, current events books from the near to distant past that I will admit reading.
A dark sordid catty tale soaked in drugs and as...moreOne of many pop-culture, current events books from the near to distant past that I will admit reading.
A dark sordid catty tale soaked in drugs and as nearly pure evil as can be found on the bookshelf. And it's true stuff. Having been a denizen, if for a short time and mostly as an avid voyeur,of the Limelight crowd, one knew something really bad was going to happen. Nobody gets to live at the pace that so many on display at the clubs of the period did and get out unscathed.
JStJ writes amazingly well for one who spent time so numb at the bottom of the K-hole. Dialog is always suspect and at places JStJ doesn't quite make you believe that the habitue's of this world really talked quite that well. Creative license to keep the story on track, but people at this stage of damage are often beyond this level of cohesive discourse. Then again, perhaps all they had left was the ability to tell stories. And what a story they told to keep their life over the edge going for a moment or two more.
Then Angel's body floated up in the river and the party started to thin out and crashingly end.
One or two sections aside, this is a gripping read that will keep your attention to the end. You will want to know more at the end, or maybe it is that you're glad that it finally over and done.