Oliver Wendell Holmes: A Life in War, Law, and Ideas by Stephen Budiansky (Historical Biography, 2019). This extensive and fair-minded biography of perhaps history’s single most influential Associate Justice of the American Supreme Court is something special, indeed. It gives us a great, nuanced portrait of a true intellectual, a man of convictions and courage. Yet […]Read more "BOOK REVIEW: Oliver Wendell Holmes"
Wild Bill: The True Story of the American Frontier’s First Gunfighter by Tom Clavin (History/Biography, February 2019). Tom Clavin, a best-selling and multiple award-winning historical writer, ably follows up his history of one of the Wildest of the Wild West’s cow-towns (Dodge City) with this carefully researched and entertainingly written account of James Butler (“Wild Bill”) […]Read more "BOOK REVIEW: Wild Bill"
Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry by Imani Perry (Biography, 2018). Taken by cancer in 1965, Lorraine Hansberry crammed a great deal of living and achievement into 34 years. A Raisin in the Sun, Hansberry’s best-known creation, was the first work of an African-American author on Broadway. Decades later, it’s still […]Read more "BOOK REVIEW: Looking for Lorraine"
The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee by David Treuer (Native American History, 2019). This book is Treuer’s response to the shortsighted and ultimately dead-wrong notion that the horrific 1890 massacre (or “battle”) of Wounded Knee was somehow the last word on the subject of the Native Americans. Back then, centuries of disease, war and dispossession had indeed […]Read more "BOOK REVIEW: The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee"
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"