Like Rick Atkinson (Liberation Trilogy), Ian Toll is a practitioner of a new approach to history. Not satisfied with a one sided narrative focused onLike Rick Atkinson (Liberation Trilogy), Ian Toll is a practitioner of a new approach to history. Not satisfied with a one sided narrative focused on the major practitioners, Toll gets down in the trenches with the guys who carry out the orders and actually prosecute the war. What Atkinson did in describing WW II, the war in Europe, Toll has done for the American war at sea against Japan.
In addition, Toll attempts to tell us what we were thinking but what our Japanese enemies were thinking as well. It is axiomatic that each new war is fought, at least initially, using the strategy and tactics of the last one fought. Toll begins by outlining the big battleship doctrine, embraced by the Allied and to some extent the Japanese navy and showed how that changed to meet an entirely new strategic approach to making war at sea.
Both Toll and Atkinson are not afraid to criticize war leaders who have become American icons. Atkinson does it better, but Toll does a good job of showing us how the U. S. leadership and military doctrine was transformed and re- forged in the fiery crucible of war.
Hemingway has always fascinated me. After reading pretty much everything ever written about him I came to the conclusion that he was a great writer, Hemingway has always fascinated me. After reading pretty much everything ever written about him I came to the conclusion that he was a great writer, but pretty much personally a shit. A. E. Hotchner's new book Hemingway in Love puts an entirely new spin on Hemingway the man.
Have you read A Moveable Feast, Hemingway's memoir of his early days in Paris between the world wars? I've read it several times and loved it though always thought that he had left so much of himself out of the narrative. In this book, Hotchner fills in the "true gen".
Hotchner is w writer who seems to have made a career of being friends with celebrities, has lived a rather eventful life himself. Aside form Hemingway he was a great friend of Paul Newman's and even co- founded and ran Newman's Own.
Shortly before Hemingway died, it seems, he gave Hotchner a manuscript that filled in all the missing pieces left out of A Moveable Feast. Here is the truth about Duff Twysden, Lady Brett Ashley in the Sun Also Rises and the intimate truth about his long drawn out breakup with Hadley and his dalliance and eventual marriage to Pauline Pfeiffer. Here you find out about the 100 day breakup with Hadley and what really happened to all those Parisian characters and the breakdown of this relationship with Gertrude Stein and the friends he fictionalized in The Sun. You also learn how conflicted he was about losing Hadley, the woman who was truly the love of his life.
It's not a big book, you can read it in an afternoon and it was an most enjoyable afternoon for me....more
Despite the title, Gale Force is not just about Gale Cincotta. it is the story of the partnership between Cincotta and Shel trap, an Alinsky-style comDespite the title, Gale Force is not just about Gale Cincotta. it is the story of the partnership between Cincotta and Shel trap, an Alinsky-style community organizer with roots in the civil rights struggles of the 1960s.
It is also the story of, perhaps, the last time any true community based organizing effort beat the entrenched power of big money and passed, not one, but two pieces of national legislation against the strong and sustained opposition of the big banks.. The two pieces of legislation, The Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) 1974 and The Community Investment Act (CRA) 1977. The S&Ls opposed the former, the entire banking community opposed the latter.
Along the way, the book explores many truths and explodes not a few myths about community organizing. Both Cincotta and Trapp were forged in the crucible of the working class Chicago neighborhoods where Saul Alinsky got his own start.
I was working as a lead community organizer in the Jamaica Plain section of Boston in 1974-75 and had the privilege of working with Shel Trapp for several months leading up to a Regional Housing Conference set in 1974.
At that time the citizens of Jamaica Plain were involved in a do or die campaign to stop redlining and reverse the decline of the central neighborhood. As part of that effort we were able to win a commitment from both Governor Sargent and gubernatorial candidate Michael Dukakis to implement banking regulations that required all state chartered banks (the prime mortgage lenders in the Commonwealth) to disclose their mortgage lending patterns annually by zip code. With Trapp's advice and the inspiration of Gale's keynote speech, we were able to generate the political muscle to get disclosure implemented. Later we worked with Gale and Shel lobbying Senator Brook to secure his support in the senate banking committee. It was the beginning of the end of redlining and ironically the beginning of J. P's gentrification. Did somebody say, "two steps forward, one step back"?
As one of the interviewees in this marvelous anecdotal history of community organizing in its golden years points out, Cincotta and Trapp were two sides of the same coin. There's was a most productive working partnership lasted for 30 years. Westgate and his wife have done a marvelous job and a real service in writing this book. For those interested in the history of perhaps of the most successful organizing efforts of the last third of the 20th century, I highly recommend this book....more
A German cop in the middle of WWII. Certainly a different perspective. How many anti-Nazi Germans were sucked into that maelstrom? What was the choiceA German cop in the middle of WWII. Certainly a different perspective. How many anti-Nazi Germans were sucked into that maelstrom? What was the choice? What would you or I have done?
It is against this backdrop that protagonist, Captain Gregor Reinhardt, a decorated veteran of WW I and an ex-Berlin police inspector, does his best to reclaim his sullied soul. It is refreshing not to meet up with the stereotypical hyper-efficient, goose-stepping, Aryan antagonists. Nazism in practice was not that, government under the Nazis was a corrupt an inefficient bureaucracy mired in cronyism. It was vicious alright and you get a real sense of that in McCallin's narrative.
Reinhardt is investigating a murder. When that murder involves high ranking military men, Reinhardt is met with a series of roadblocks. How he meets and overcomes these challenges is the main theme.
A well written mystery/thriller from an unusual perspective. ...more
Wonderfully well written. Blow follows the exciting adventures of a young man, a child of the 60s, who becomes a drug dealer and all that follows. FolWonderfully well written. Blow follows the exciting adventures of a young man, a child of the 60s, who becomes a drug dealer and all that follows. Follow him from California to the Mexican hinterland. From Cape Cod to the over the top ranchos of the Medelin Cartel. Broke one minute, swimming in millions the next. Meticulously researched, Bruce Porter has written us a case study of professional investigative journalism.
Written in 2001. A bit dated? Perhaps!, but some things never change. ...more
I followed Michael Gizzi's poetry for many years. Of his twenty published books, I liked "Just Like A Real Italian Kid." best. According to William CoI followed Michael Gizzi's poetry for many years. Of his twenty published books, I liked "Just Like A Real Italian Kid." best. According to William Corbett in his introduction to "Michael Gizzi, Collected Poems" this book was the beginning of his mature work.
I find myself now drawn to his later work is less Kerouacian. The work is spare, pared down, incisive, with razor sharp imagery....more
It is a short book. I enjoyed the Introduction by Tennessee Williams. According to Williams there are two kinds of people who live outside the commonIt is a short book. I enjoyed the Introduction by Tennessee Williams. According to Williams there are two kinds of people who live outside the common world, the artist and the insane. T
McCuller's work is referred to as Southern Gothic. It is almost completely narration. Very little dialogue. It does have a touch of the horror associated with the Gothic, but it's an everyday horror of a group of people living lives of active desperation. Each of the characters has embraced his/her own version of insanity. Their lives are truly so mundane and so uninteresting that they boor even those living them and therein lies the kernel of desperation which swells and grows within each of them.
An Epic Novel of East Providence, Rhode Island. Only kidding! Epics require more elbow room. Jono Riley is from my hometown. He is one of many semi-suAn Epic Novel of East Providence, Rhode Island. Only kidding! Epics require more elbow room. Jono Riley is from my hometown. He is one of many semi-successful actors eking out a living tending bar in the Big Apple. He has been waiting for a break for twenty years. Sounds a lot like the author, Ron McLarty himself. Except that Ron is also a writer and though you may not have heard of him, he has done a masterful job of conveying quotidian life as it was and probably still is in working class East Providence, Rhode Island. Probably a lot like your hometown.
Jono Riley writes in the first person. He is slow, he is plodding, he is self-depricating and very amusing. He is also talking a language of wrong turns, decisions regretted and lost friends that many will understand. One of his boyhood gang has died. Jono returns to his old haunts and that's when the action and the pathos begins. Jono Riley finishes growing up..
Wise and thought provoking. Highly recommended....more
A beautifully crafted piece of biographical fiction. Braver himself eschews the term biography though the book deals with the last few months of the lA beautifully crafted piece of biographical fiction. Braver himself eschews the term biography though the book deals with the last few months of the life of Marilyn Monroe. Too intimate in tone to have possible been the way it was, but authentic enough so that it could have been.
Braver did a tremendous amount of research and it shows. He draws us vivid pictures. Scenes such as the set of The Misfits, the screenplay meant by Marilyn's then husband Arthur Miller as a vehicle for his wife.
He knows the temperature, it was hot! He knows the names of the cast, the extras, the security guards. In the guise of telling Marilyn's story, the book explores what it means to be an icon. Often it is difficult for us to understand the inner workings of those we believe have it all. Braver helps us toward that. Highly recommended.
I had the privilege of taking a three day seminar with Adam Braver at URI's Ocean State Writer's Conference in May. I was impressed and I like to read work by my teachers, gives me a perspective on their point of view. ...more
Marvelous! Williams art followed his life. Lahr shows us just how and which influences played important roles in his plays. He has a way of pointing oMarvelous! Williams art followed his life. Lahr shows us just how and which influences played important roles in his plays. He has a way of pointing out just what was gong on and how and which aspects of his life were written into his plays. Of course, that means that you must immediately go out and see each play as the chapters of the book unfold.
Though I attended the last two Tennessee Williams festivals in New Orleans, I had not seen either The Glass Menagerie or Summer and Smoke. The first is available free on YouTube starring Katherine Hepburn and two very young former Assistant DA's on Law and Order, Michael Moriarty and Sam Waterston. The second cost 3.9 to rent. Hollywood version unfortunately. You can also find Twenty seven Wagons of Hay on the web free. This play morphed into Baby Doll and the free web version fairly sizzles.
On to Streetcar!
Finished! Well worth reading. My suggestion: Unless you are very familiar with Williams's plays, be prepared to watch each as Lahr moves on to the discussion of the time frame in which it was written. ...more
Excellent job! Cornwell proves that he can write history that is as interesting as his historical fiction. In fact, it was his Waterloo from the SharpExcellent job! Cornwell proves that he can write history that is as interesting as his historical fiction. In fact, it was his Waterloo from the Sharpe series that I found so rich in description of the battle that I decided to get this one.
Cornell was, I think, getting a bit tired of Sharpe as he neared the end of the series. But, the battle itself caught his interest.
If you are a fan of battles and appreciate a good anatomy lesson, then you must read Waterloo.
If you are a fan of historical fiction, the Sharpe book is better! ...more
A very well written account of a very early journey through 16t Century Florida and the Southwest. I particularly liked Lalami's largely successful atA very well written account of a very early journey through 16t Century Florida and the Southwest. I particularly liked Lalami's largely successful attempt to transport the reader to a time an place about which very little is known, particularly about the native population.
Written by a woman from a man's perspective. A bit tame from the point of view of sex and violence. Can't help it I'm a guy! ...more
The best of Nesbo and that is saying a great deal. Complex plotting and character development together with amazingly inventive twists and turns. TranThe best of Nesbo and that is saying a great deal. Complex plotting and character development together with amazingly inventive twists and turns. Transcends the genre....more