REVIEWED: Black Fortunes

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 […]

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REVIEWED: Barracoon

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 […]

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REVIEWED: Stowaway: A Young Man’s Extraordinary Adventure to Antactica

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 […]

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REVIEWED: Leonardo Da Vinci

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 […]

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REVIEWED: Searching for the Amazons

Searching for the Amazons by John Man (History versus Myth, February 2018). Historian John Man specializes in topics related to Asia. In addition to being thorough and doing excellemt research, he is also a skilled writer, making the past come alive. For instance, last year’s excellent biography of Saladin, which I reviewed in an earlier blog […]

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REVIEWED: Bringing Columbia Home

Bringing Columbia Home by Michael D. Leinbach & Jonathan H. Ward, with foreword by Robert Crippen and epilogue by Eileen Collins (Nonfiction, 2018). Some 15 years ago, the space shuttle Columbia’s damaged heatshield led to a disastrous and deadly breakup after reentering Earth’s atmosphere. All seven astronauts were killed and a grim debris field spread along a 250-mile […]

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REVIEWED: Killers of the Flower Moon

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann (History/Investigative Journalism, April 2017). An award-winning journalist and author of the great best-seller The Lost City of Z, Grann delivers another painstakingly researched and fascinating piece of historical investigation with this book. Among the many terrible betrayals greedy whites inflicted […]

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