Black Fortunes by Shomari Wills (Socio-Economic History, 2018). This book tells of the only 6 black folks (4 women, 2 men) who were among the 4,047 millionaires in the United States in the first years after Emancipation. In the end, most of them lost much (sometimes all) of what their hard work, sheer nerve and intelligence […]Read more "REVIEWED: Black Fortunes"
Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo” by Zora Neale Hurston (Historical Folk Memoir, 2018). Zora Neale Hurston was one of the bright lights in the flowering of African-American culture centered in Harlem in the 1920s. An acclaimed novelist, antropologist and folklorist, she published numerous short stories, nonfiction articles, essays and seven books in her […]Read more "REVIEWED: Barracoon"
Stowaway: A Young Man’s Extraordinary Adventure to Antacrtica by Laurie Gwen Shapiro (Biography/History, January 2018). Already an award-winning documentary filmmaker and journalist, Laurie Gwen Shapiro’s first nonfiction book tells the story of Billy Gawronski, a New York teen who became briefly famous by repeatedly sneaking aboard one of the ships taking part in Admiral Byrd’s Antarctic […]Read more "REVIEWED: Stowaway: A Young Man’s Extraordinary Adventure to Antactica"
Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson (Biography, October 2017). One of the most accomplished and successful of biographers, Walter Issacson shows a particular interest in the lives of world-changing innovators. His mammoth account of the life, works and times of the man who produced art the likes of the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, not to mention his […]Read more "REVIEWED: Leonardo Da Vinci"
Hank & Jim by Scott Eyman (Film History/Bio, 2017). Henry Fonda and Jimmy Stewart were, without question, two of the most gifted and popular actors of their era. While they had wildly different politics, in other ways they had a lot in common and they were close friends to the end. In this capably written and […]Read more "REVIEWED: Hank & Jim"
Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser (Literary Biography, 2017). This thick, detailed, well-written and insightful biography of one of American’s most beloved authors is already a Number One Best Seller, so my saying it’s deserving of a wide readership may be considered gilding the proverbial lilly. But what the heck? […]Read more "REVIEWED: Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder"
Dare Not Linger by Nelson Mandela, Mandla Langa and Graca Machel (Memoir/Biography/Recent History, 2017). While thoroughly readable and interesting, this book is a somewhat odd blend of personal memoir and political biography. It was originally conceived as the former, a direct sequel to the former South African President’s best-selling account of his life and his famous […]Read more "REVIEWED: Dare Not Linger"