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Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent
I read this book out of curiosity—and interest in Latin America. I was advised that it was just rant or left-wing rant, but decided to see for myself....more
Mar 28, 2010
Mar 31, 2010
A Distant Mirror:  The Calamitous 14th Century
I read a little more than half of this a couple of years ago and stopped. This time I read it all, for the discussion of my local book group. I really...more
Nov 16, 2010
Nov 18, 2010
The Storm Of War: A New History Of The Second World War
This is the first one-volume history of World War II that I’d really place in a category of reevaluation by an author who views the war from a comfort...more
May 30, 2010
May 09, 2010
Bring Up the Bodies (Thomas Cromwell, #2)
Even better than Wolf Hall. Mantel continues to use the pronoun "he" to get the reader into Cromwell's head. Either I'm used to it or she does it more...more
Oct 2012
Oct 18, 2012
The Shadow of the Sun
Kapuściński was a Polish journalist who died in 2007, and who spent time in Africa between the late 1950ies and the 1990ies. Africa was not his only b...more
Dec 29, 2008
Dec 22, 2008
Intruder in the Dust
Rereading this one I realized why I’ve never liked To Kill a Mockingbird (which I read after this one) as much as most people. Not that I don’t like H...more
Oct 25, 2008
Oct 24, 2008
With the Old Breed
This is a great memoir if you want to understand what it was like to fight in the Pacific in WWII. It affected me very much as my reading of Norman Ma...more
Oct 2008
Jan 08, 2009
I was surprised to find this book on a list of the "best" spy novels, but not when I read it. It's not only a good one but it's different.

A woman tuto...more
Feb 26, 2012
Mar 01, 2012
The Bitter Road to Freedom: A New History of the Liberation of Europe
Although I had a number of gripes about this book, I ended up deciding that it was a pretty important book. First the gripes:

1. In the preface he sugg...more
Apr 29, 2009
Apr 20, 2009
The Riders
: I’ve liked what I’ve read of Winton (Cloudstreet and Dirt Music) and this one is no exception. The main character, Scully, is from Freemantle in Wes...more
Jan 07, 2009
Dec 26, 2008
The Defining Moment: FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope
I admit to reading this one because Obama was reading it and because so many pundits have been citing similarities between the Depression in the 30ies...more
Jan 23, 2009
Jan 18, 2009
Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power
Excellent book. Meacham sees Jefferson not only as the idealist and philosopher who wrote the Declaration of Independence, but as a man who learned fr...more
Feb 28, 2013
Mar 04, 2013
Freedom Summer: The Savage Season That Made Mississippi Burn and Made America a Democracy
I remember the summer of 1964 very well--I watched most of it on the TV evening news where I gathered with fellow Peace Corps trainees in the evenings...more
Dec 05, 2010
Dec 10, 2010
The Tenderness of Wolves
My interest in this novel was heighted by two outside pieces of information: that the author was a screenwriter and that she had never been to the are...more
Mar 2008
Apr 24, 2009
The Dream of Reason: A History of Philosophy from the Greeks to the Renaissance
For some reason I’ve always felt essentially uneducated because I didn’t have a “classical education”. I didn’t learn Latin or Greek (though I worked...more
Feb 2006
Aug 21, 2009
The Virgin in the Garden
If the test of a great novel is that you want to read it again, or pick up the next one (this is the first of a quartet) then this is a good novel. If...more
Apr 22, 2009
Apr 14, 2009
Excellent biography for the general reader. There have been many books on Roosevelt recently, several about his relationship with Churchill specifical...more
Feb 2008
Jan 18, 2009
The Mistress of Spices
I nominated this for my f2f book group because I was curious. The author lives in Houston and is a friend of a friend. I was expecting a relatively si...more
Feb 2006
Aug 21, 2009
Natasha's Dance: A Cultural History of Russia
I'm tempted to say that this is a great book because like Russian art it has a soul, but that sounds presumptuous since I've not an expert on any Russ...more
Mar 2004
Oct 25, 2008
The Painted Drum
Initially I was enchanted with The Painted Drum. I found the first character’s musing interesting and the language in places was stunning. She describ...more
Feb 2006
Aug 21, 2009
Hitch-22: A Memoir
I loved this autobiographical book. I listened to a full length copy read by the author who not only has a lovely reading voice but soft and intimate...more
Apr 10, 2011
Apr 17, 2011
The Civil War: A Narrative
I couldn't find a listing for just Volume 3: Red River to Appomattox which I finished this year. Last year I read the first two volumes.

This is the l...more
Mar 2009
Apr 20, 2009
The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle Over a Forbidden Book
Pasternak was the first citizen of the USSR to publish abroad. Doctor Zhivago was considered "anti-Soviet" and Pasternak, though a well known and well...more
Aug 27, 2014
Aug 26, 2014
The Sportswriter
I bought Independence Day some time ago and was considering The Lay of the Land when a friend said I should read the whole trilogy in order so I start...more
Jan 2008
Jan 18, 2009
liked this novel. I always enjoy a Penelope Lively novel. This one is superbly written. The tone of the novel is soft and thoughtful, with little that...more
Feb 2008
Jan 18, 2009
Black Dogs
**spoiler alert** : I have always been somewhat suspicious of Ian McEwan. I first read Amsterdam which I disliked intensely since it was obvious to me...more
Aug 2008
Oct 24, 2008
Consider the Fork: How Technology Transforms the Way We Cook and Eat
This was a joy to read. The author has a light-hearted voice and an arbitrary but unfailingly appropriate sense of organization. She surveys, not what...more
May 04, 2013
Apr 29, 2013
A Cruel and Shocking Act: The Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination
I'm not sure chronology was the wisest organizing principle for this one. It was hard to remember the details and sort out the people this way. That,...more
Dec 30, 2013
Dec 09, 2013
The Nuremberg Trial
(Actually by Ann Tusa and John Tusa)
Published in the 80ies, with access to huge archives which included films of the proceedings, this may be the best...more
Jul 10, 2013
Jul 17, 2013
AD 381: Heretics, Pagans and the Dawn of the Monotheistic State
When I was reading The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (which I admit I haven't finished), I was struck by the fact that before Christianity, the...more
Jul 28, 2013
Jul 17, 2013
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