Grant by Ron Chernow (Historical Biography, 2017). Chernow, an award-winning biographer, tackles another key figure in American history in this, his latest book. He produces a richly detailed and forthright account of the man known to us as US Grant. With obvious sympathy and appreciation of his subject’s often underrated abilities, Chernow nonetheless doesn’t shy away […]Read more "REVIEWED: Grant"
The Mysterious Private Thompson by Laura Leedy Gansler (Civil War History, 2017). This true story is a carefully researched and capably written book from the author of an earlier book acclaimed by the LA Times as a Best book of 2002. It’s the latest (and the most even-handed) effort to tell the life of Sarah Emma Edmonds, the […]Read more "REVIEWED: The Mysterious Private Thompson"
Manderley Forever: A Biography of Daphne Du Maurier by Tatiana De Rosnay (Biography, 2017). The title here is, of course, a reference to the fictional mansion in Du Maurier’s best known novel, Rebecca. As the author makes clear, real life homes fascinated and repeatedly inspired Du Maurier. In particular, ones she lived in (as well as […]Read more "REVIEWED: Manderley Forever"
Be Free Or Die by Cate Lineberry (Nonfiction/Civil War History, 2017). About a year into America’s Civil War, a enslaved man named Robert Smalls made an epic break for freedom from that hotbed of succession, Charleston, South Carolina. A skilled boatman and born leader, he was by this time the de facto pilot of a steamer […]Read more "REVIEWED: Be Free Or Die"
Three Days in January: Dwight Eisenhower’s Final Mission by Bret Baier, with Catherine Whitney. (Historical Biography, 2017). The title of this fascinating and generally insightful book refers to the last 3 days of Mr. Eisenhower’s Presidency and the dual-purposed personal mission he set for himself over that time. On the one hand, he was intent on […]Read more "REVIEWED: Three Days in January"
Chasing Space by Leland Melvin. (Memoir, 2017). Leland Melvin has led an interesting and high-achieving life. How many people have played pro football (no matter how briefly), become a top-flight engineer, then joined NASA, eventually becoming an astronaut (with two space flights to his credit) and later moving on to a career as a tireless education […]Read more "REVIEWED: Chasing Space"
Over the Hills and Far Away: The Life of Beatrix Potter by Matthew Dennison (Biography, 2017). In this book, Matthew Dennison, a prize-winning author (his Vita Sackville-West bio was named a “Book of the Year” by the London Times), has produced a winning and moving portrait of another revered literary figure. Assisted by telling photographs, quoting […]Read more "REVIEWED: Over the Hills and Far Away: The Life of Beatrix Potter"