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Monsters in America: Our Historical Obsession with the Hideous and the Haunting
3.85
it was amazing
I've had a question for a long time. When social conservatives oppose something, like - say - gay marriage, it is often on the premise that expanding ...more
Feb 26, 2012
Feb 23, 2012
 
The Footloose American: Following the Hunter S. Thompson Trail Across South America
3.80
liked it
It should be noted at the outset that The Footloose American is an un-madcap, not-gonzo, anti-romp through South America. I think this should be estab ...more
Apr 14, 2014
Mar 27, 2014
 
e. e. cummings: A Life
3.73
really liked it
True to it's title, E. E. Cummings: A Life shows the life of America's first modernist in all its banality. Readers gravitate toward biography partly ...more
Jan 28, 2014
Jan 26, 2014
 
Sidewalk
4.08
it was amazing
There are a lot of ideas advanced in Sidewalk, but let me focus on the ones that added to my own observations about the homeless and race/class strati ...more
Apr 08, 2010
Apr 05, 2010
 
Rocket Men: The Epic Story of the First Men on the Moon
4.11
liked it
Rocket Men is a study in missed opportunity. The author, snared in the spell of his subject, failed to see what he really had: A good book about the C ...more
Dec 2009
Apr 13, 2010
 
From the Bodies of the Gods: Psychoactive Plants and the Cults of the Dead
3.67
did not like it
Someone get Earl Lee some mushrooms. Please!

The author's singular obsession with mushrooms probably threw up a barrier he couldn't get over to discuss
...more
Jun 22, 2015
Jun 15, 2015
 
Relation of Núñez Cabeza de Vaca
3.66
liked it


The narrative of Cabeza de Vaca is short enough to read every few years. I've read two translations (and bogged down in the original 16th century Spa
...more
Oct 20, 2012
not set
Oct 21, 2012
 
Sacco and Vanzetti: The Men, the Murders, and the Judgment of Mankind
3.84
liked it
John Dos Passos astutely wrote that Americans are two people: those capable of contextualizing what they read and hear with their republican values an ...more
May 2011
Apr 26, 2011
 
The Rise And Fall Of The Third Chimpanzee
4.04
really liked it
The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee holds up remarkably well for a work of general nonfiction firmly rooted in scientific disciplines, most nota ...more
May 29, 2015
May 29, 2015
 
Reign in Blood
3.58
it was ok
This 33 1/3 series is really a mixed bag. Some selections careen down esoteric pathways, taking readers on a spirit journey - like Jonathan Lethem's s ...more
May 04, 2015
May 03, 2015
 
The President Is a Sick Man: Wherein the Supposedly Virtuous Grover Cleveland Survives a Secret Surgery at Sea and Vilifies the Courageous Newspaperman Who Dared Expose the Truth
3.94
really liked it
The President is a Sick Man is the perfect beach read. The subject is a perfect balance of quirk, period, and philosophy (quirky because an obscure 19 ...more
Aug 28, 2011
Aug 28, 2011
 
The Last Train from Hiroshima: The Survivors Look Back
4.07
it was ok
As of this date, The Last Train from Hiroshima has been recalled by the publisher in response to questions about the author's integrity obtaining and ...more
Mar 2010
Mar 16, 2010
 
Looking for Calvin and Hobbes: The Unconventional Story of Bill Watterson and His Revolutionary Comic Strip
3.36
really liked it
A journalist trying to pen an unauthorized biography or chronicle his search for the creator of Calvin and Hobbes must, at some point, argue the posit ...more
Jan 02, 2012
Jan 01, 2012
 
Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It's So Hard to Think Straight About Animals
3.82
it was amazing
It's been nearly ten years since I took a class in ethics/morality. I probably won't ever take another. So it's important to read a book on the subjec ...more
Feb 15, 2011
Feb 13, 2011
 
Punching Out: One Year in a Closing Auto Plant
3.37
it was ok
One of Paul Clemens's subjects put it this way:

"We the willing, led by the unknowing are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much
...more
Mar 31, 2011
Mar 29, 2011
 
Napalm: An American Biography
3.78
it was amazing
"Napalm" as a word is practically as disgusting as a deforming medical abnormality or repellent skin conditon/sexually transmitted disease. Neverthele ...more
May 21, 2013
May 15, 2013
 
Voodoo Histories: The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History
3.57
it was ok
I have no idea how David Aaronovitch would describe the "role of conspiracy theory in shaping modern history." The author spends such an inordinate am ...more
Aug 08, 2010
Aug 01, 2010
 
The Bauhaus Group: Six Masters of Modernism
3.78
liked it
Nicholas Fox Weber personally spent a lot of time with the Alberses (Josef and Anni), acted as executor of Anni Albers's estate, observed the couple's ...more
May 26, 2010
May 14, 2010
 
The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power
3.79
liked it
I grew up in The Church. Rather than name a denomination (and possibly offend readers), let me just say it was an archetypal Southern institution that ...more
Feb 2010
Apr 16, 2010
 
Hit Hard: A Story of Hitting Rock Bottom at the Top
3.75
it was ok
I do not dispute the assertion made somewhere early in Hit Hard that Aerosmith is "America's number one rock and roll band." They are far from being A ...more
Oct 07, 2015
Oct 07, 2015
 
The Genesis of Ethics
4.00
liked it
I've always been conflicted over how to reconcile the God(s) of the Pentateuch, priests, and prophets with the (seemingly much different, gentler) God ...more
Jun 02, 2015
May 23, 2015
 
Lifted: A Cultural History of the Elevator
3.35
really liked it
With the unusually high ticket price and hysterically esoteric subject matter, Lifted is one of those books one picks up, not on impulse, but with an ...more
Mar 19, 2014
Mar 16, 2014
 
Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
4.00
really liked it
**spoiler alert** *Spoiler Alert*

This is not a review, per se, but the chronicle of some thoughts for future reference, if I want to revisit the topic
...more
Oct 08, 2010
Sep 26, 2010
 
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
3.97
it was ok
When someone gives you a book, you read it. That is why I read this book.
May 14, 2014
May 14, 2014
 
How to Lie with Statistics
3.87
liked it
None
Feb 25, 2015
Feb 25, 2015
 
Mornings on Horseback: The Story of an Extraordinary Family, a Vanished Way of Life, and the Unique Child Who Became Theodore Roosevelt
4.11
liked it
None
May 30, 2010
Apr 16, 2010
 
In Siberia
3.96
it was amazing
None
not set
Apr 16, 2010
 
How Lincoln Learned to Read: Twelve Great Americans and the Educations That Made Them
3.51
it was ok
None
not set
Apr 16, 2010
 
The Lost Fleet: The Discovery of a Sunken Armada from the Golden Age of Piracy
3.81
liked it
None
not set
Apr 17, 2010
 
Disaster! The Great San Francisco Earthquake and Fire of 1906
3.71
liked it
None
not set
Apr 17, 2010
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