John Kelin does a remarkable job of chronicling the often contentious relationships between the early critics of the Warren Commission, and the crucia...moreJohn Kelin does a remarkable job of chronicling the often contentious relationships between the early critics of the Warren Commission, and the crucial work they performed in spite of it all. Having met a few of these "first generation" critics myself, I can testify personally to the animosity that existed between most all of them. Large egos, combative personalities, and professional jealousies combined to prevent any effective coalition from ever forming, which might have provided a more powerful opposition to the establishment media and politicians that so fiercely clung to the impossible official story.
Those reading this wonderful book should always remember that the reason why a chicken farmer, a lawyer and local politician, a small Texas publisher, a housewife, and a World Health Organization employee produced the essential research in this case, was because no professional journalist ever had the slightest desire to investigate the assassination of the President of the United States. The fact they achieved what they did, and exposed the lone assassin myth for what it was, is all the more remarkable because they were just individual citizens, working against powerful forces, with no subpoena powers and limited budgets.
"Praise From A Future Generation" is compelling history, and an obvious labor of love. Those of us who continue to research this case must never forget the debt we all owe to Mark Lane, Harold Weisberg, Sylvia Meagher, Shirley Martin, Maggie Field, Penn Jones, Jr., Thomas Buchanan, Sylvan Fox, Ray Marcus and Vincent Salandria. They, and the others that came immediately after them, are American heroes and true profiles in courage. (less)
In "Laura Warholic," Alexander Theroux has created a modern classic. He develops his characters so thoroughly, so magnificently, that the barebones pl...moreIn "Laura Warholic," Alexander Theroux has created a modern classic. He develops his characters so thoroughly, so magnificently, that the barebones plot is hardly noticeable. Theroux challenges the reader at every turn, with his deep, complex language, intensely detailed character analysis, philosophical discussions, and whirling array of cultural references. Protagonist Eugene Eyestones' columns on the history of sex are especially memorable and scintillating. Each sentence of Theroux's is meticulously crafted; "Laura Warholic" can be appreciated on the most fundamental level, for the sheer excellence of the writing.
In the title character, Laura Warholic, we have a woman without a single redeeming value; physically unattractive, lazy, irresponsible, selfish, uncaring, incompetent, annoying and devoid of monetary worth or any skills. And yet, like Eugene Eyestones, we find ourselves somehow drawn to her; fascinated by her very repulsiveness. Few characters in the history of literature have been so finely drawn, so detailed down to the smallest nuance and quirk, as Laura Warholic.
The other characters in the book, which rival any from sources as disparate as "David Copperfield" to television's "Green Acres," also amuse, enlighten and astound the reader. Minot Warholic; Laura's obstinate, ugly, vulgar, impotent, excessively proud, Jewish ex-husband, with his Yiddish asides and cynical impressions of the world. Discknickers, my second favorite, whom Theroux, in a daring bit of political incorrectness, portrays as a brilliant, basically positive fellow, in spite of his arrogant anti-semitism. Harriet Trombone, the sharp-tongued, Caucasian-hating Island girl; the only female that playboy Discknickers couldn't seduce. All of the characters are outspoken and unique in various ways, and none of them are the predictable, cardboard variety seen in typical best-sellers or on movie screens.
The highest praise one can give Laura Warholic is that it doesn't even need a plot to keep the reader engaged. Alexander Theroux is a literary craftsman unlike any other writing today; he obviously relishes constructing long, provocative sentences, sprinkling in words that rarely make it out of the dictionary. Every page provides food for the intellect. It is not an easy book, or one that can be taken to the beach for light reading. It is dark, it is depressing, it is illuminating. It is thoughtful, it is profound, and it is a mammoth achievement. The reader feels more intelligent just for having read it. I recommend it very highly to everyone.(less)
Edgar Allan Poe was probably the first writer to truly fascinate me. I remember reading "The Black Cat" and "The Tell Tale Heart" as a youngster and f...moreEdgar Allan Poe was probably the first writer to truly fascinate me. I remember reading "The Black Cat" and "The Tell Tale Heart" as a youngster and feeling as excited as I felt when watching a classic horror movie like "Dracula" or "King Kong." I'd never read anything like Poe, and I couldn't stop until I'd read all his stories. As an adult, I still enjoy Poe's stories, but understand that he had weaknesses as a writer (little characterization, sense of morbidity and foreboding that demands a finish that often isn't delivered). I think Poe's poetry holds up a little better; the best of his work is as memorable as anything from Keats or Byron. Poe lived the "starving writer" life like no other writer ever did. He was a walking tragedy, haunted by all the dead women in his past, which he pined for so pitifully in his poetry. Living with his mother-in-law after his very, very young wife (a cousin he married when she was 13) died prematurely, Poe barely made enough money to survive, mostly as a critic (he was one of the first celebrated literary critics). Edgar Allan Poe is one of the greatest literary figures of all time, popularizing morbid tales of horror and inventing the detective story. His strange, unexplained death just adds to his fascinating legacy. His works should be read by everyone. (less)
"Instant Replay" is a fascinating look, in journal form, at an NFL season, through the eyes of veteran Green Bay Packer guard Jerry Kramer. Kramer had...more"Instant Replay" is a fascinating look, in journal form, at an NFL season, through the eyes of veteran Green Bay Packer guard Jerry Kramer. Kramer had been an integral part of the great Packer championship teams of the 1960s, and as he relates the story of a disappointing season without legendary Coach Vince Lombardi (who had stepped down after the previous Super Bowl to move into the front office), it's hard not to get a bit misty- eyed at times. "Instant Replay" is a great book for a limited audience; there will be some difficulty understanding the story without at least some knowledge of the people involved. Jerry Kramer, btw, was one of the greatest offensive linemen in NFL history. It's a travesty that he isn't in the Hall of Fame. (less)
Fans of motown and 1960s rock music will enjoy this memoir from Mary Wilson, one of the original Supremes. "Dreamgirl" recounts Mary's rise from the p...moreFans of motown and 1960s rock music will enjoy this memoir from Mary Wilson, one of the original Supremes. "Dreamgirl" recounts Mary's rise from the projects to the biggest stages in the world, but it was considered controversial for the scathing portrait she painted of fellow Supreme Dianna Ross. Ross comes across as being nasty and sleeping her way to lead singer status, courtesy of an affair with Motown chief Barry Gordy. For those who grew up listening to this great music, "Dreamgirl" is a fascinating read. (less)
"Very Special People," like Tod Browning's classic film "Freaks," is a tragic but irresistible look at some of life's most unfortunate people. Bearded...more"Very Special People," like Tod Browning's classic film "Freaks," is a tragic but irresistible look at some of life's most unfortunate people. Bearded ladies and siamese twins were all the rage once in America, and almost every circus boasted a side show full of these human oddities. This book details the stories of some of the most famous and sad figures in the history of side shows. I think the one that effected me most was Robert Wadlow, the world's tallest recorded human being, at 8 ft. 11 inches. Wadlow was the victim of an extremely rare pituitary disorder, and was still growing when he died at age 22. He looked at least 50, and was in terrible pain for most of his life. Basically, his organs (heart, lungs, etc.) weren't growing along with the rest of him. One can only imagine how miserable his existance must have been, but by all accounts he was a gentle, kind soul who certainly deserved a better fate. Whenever any of us are tempted to feel sorry for ourselves, this book provides a great tonic. (less)