July/Aug 2019 ~ What non-fiction books are you touring?

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July/Aug 2019 ~ What non-fiction books are you touring?

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Redigerat: jun 30, 2019, 6:34 am

New non-fiction adventures this July and beyond!

Redigerat: jul 15, 2019, 9:20 am

Started this OverDrive eBook that Alexa can read to me ~

Enemy of the People: A Dangerous Time to Tell the Truth in America
by Jim Acosta

CNN and AXIOS are my main go-to news sources during this mind boggling Trump era.

UPDATE: *****

jun 30, 2019, 10:24 am

I've just finished the front matter to Forged: Writing in the Name of God by Bart Ehrman, a treatment of pseudepigraphy in Christian scripture. It looks like it will be a light yet informative read, written by a scholar, but in a popularizing vein.

jul 2, 2019, 2:29 pm

jul 2, 2019, 3:55 pm

>4 LynnB: book bullet!

jul 2, 2019, 11:26 pm

I'm reading this one also

jul 4, 2019, 4:30 pm

Must be something in the air!

Just finished Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World and about to start reading Mother Jones: The Most Dangerous Woman in America by Elliott J. Gorn.

jul 4, 2019, 5:40 pm

The Cuckoo's Egg by astronomer/cyber espionage warrior, Cliff Stoll. Oldie but goodie.

jul 7, 2019, 2:53 pm

I finished the excellent A Wilder Time. It is hard to sense the awe, raw beauty, and self-insignificance experienced in a wilderness while sitting in a city, but this book makes that possible. I had some difficulty following all of the geology before reading the epilogue but that didn't diminish my appreciation of the book. A poignant cry for the preservation of what little wilderness remains on earth.

jul 7, 2019, 3:28 pm

Been moderating, in my much taxed brain, a debate between Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine and Milton & Rose Friedman’s Free to Choose. Whew. Moderate isn’t the right word.

jul 8, 2019, 4:49 am

>10 dypaloh: I started The Shock Doctrine a few days ago. Even though it's around 10 years old it still gives much to think - and rage! - about.

jul 14, 2019, 6:37 pm

Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee
Casey Cep
5/5 stars
The trial of the murder of Reverend Willie Maxwell, who had taken out insurance policies on numerous family members with several ending up murdered, was the one story that Harper Lee could not resist. And so she returned to Alabama to attend the trial to take notes in an attempt to write a book about the crimes. Cep’s book flows so well that it was hard to put down and the information on Lee and the trial was fascinating.

jul 14, 2019, 7:46 pm

I recently finished Renoir's Dancer. The writing irritated me, but I enjoyed the glimpse of so many artists' lives during the so-called Impressionist period. After a brief Nero Wolfe interlude, I went on to Three Cups of Tea, which I'm reading now at bedtime. I had put that one off for a long time, and I didn't want to like it, but I do.

Redigerat: jul 15, 2019, 4:16 pm

Tuchman writes L O N G chapters! Ending Ch. 2, in which she explores the play and players in the anarchy movement of the late 19th C., mostly in Western Europe but also in the US. Much like today, the poor - wealthy gap was great and widening; industrialism confined labor to workmen's ghettos where they lived little better or worse than farm animals in pens, while the rich cavorted and strove to keep the working people in their place, supported by the government, the law, and the Church.

I've lived through many assassinations, the suppressive brutality of the wealthy's allies, and met the idealists of the anarchist movement, and attended numerous executions of terrorists. Revolution is in the air.

Talk about resonating with the time I'm reading The Proud Tower -- Tuchman's pre-WW i history could easily be a prescient history of our present.

jul 15, 2019, 4:40 pm

I finished Georgia and State Rights by by Ulrich Bonnell Phillips, originally published in 1902 as Phillips' doctoral thesis at Columbia University. Ulrich, according to New Georgia Encyclopedia, went on to become "the first major historian of the South and of southern slavery." Writing from 50 to around 80 years after the Civil War, Ulrich during his career never moved off his view of slavery as "a relation characterized by 'propriety, proportion, and cooperation.' Through years of living together, Phillips maintained, blacks and whites developed a rapport not of equals but of dependent unequals. Though masters controlled the privileges that the slaves enjoyed, Phillips considered blacks 'by no means devoid of influence.' Phillips considered slavery to be a labor system 'shaped by mutual requirements, concessions, and understandings, producing reciprocal codes of conventional morality' and responsibility."*

At any rate, the history is an interesting tour through the attitudes about Southern history from the perspective of the South circa 1900. Subjects like the "removal" of the Creeks and Cherokees from Georgia territories, the internal party politics of the state are provided through the lens of the debate between states rights proponents and those hoping to maintain a stronger Federal U.S. government. For example, Georgia states rights advocates were bitterly opposed to the Federal contention that the central government had the right to make states abide by the treaties that Washington had signed with Indian tribes. Luckily for these Georgians (and, of course, to the woe of the tribes), Andrew Jackson became president. That was that for Indian treaties.

Ulrich also makes it clear that the Civil War was fought over the issue of slavery. He shows that even the non-slaveholding, poorer Whites became convinced that the economic prosperity of the state, and so their own prosperity, depended on the continuation of slavery. While many/most of Ulrich's attitudes on these issues are unpalatable, the history provided here is interesting.

* https://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/history-archaeology/ulrich-bonnell-...

jul 17, 2019, 11:47 am

Born with Teeth
Kate Mulgrew
4/5 stars
This is the autobiography of Kate Mulgrew, actress, who grew up in Iowa in a very interesting family dynamic and who eventually got into acting. She started out in the soap opera Ryan’s Hope and the book ends with her starting in her new role as Captain Janeway in the show Star Trek: Voyager. She certainly led an interesting life and this is definitely a page turner.

jul 17, 2019, 1:45 pm

Having wrapped up Ehrman's Forged, I think I'm going to continue in the same vein with Does the New Testament Imitate Homer?

Redigerat: jul 18, 2019, 4:26 pm

Monsters: A Celebration of the Classics from Universal Studios
Roy Milano
3/5 stars
I picked this book because it had some more information on the film The Creature From the Black Lagoon which I read about in The Lady from the Black Lagoon: Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick by Mallory O’Meara which was really interesting. This is a pretty short book about some of the first monsters in film history but it has some great photographs from the films plus some interesting facts about the actors and the monster films they were in.

Redigerat: jul 21, 2019, 10:30 am

Just finished Chris Rose’s 1 Dead in Attic: After Katrina. All I can say is WOW. It’s a collection of his columns from The Times Picayune over The year following the disaster.

Redigerat: jul 21, 2019, 12:41 pm

I finished The Baby Bombers: The Inside Story of the Next Yankees Dynasty by Bryan Hoch. For baseball fans (and perhaps I should say "For Yankees fans") only. This very recent book provides some background into the development of the current Yankees team with a core of very young and talented players like Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge and Luis Severino. The book tells about the work Yankees scouts and general manager Brian Cashman did finding these players and others, and the trades that have been made along the way, as some top prospects have been kept and some dealt away in order to bolster the team's recent playoff runs. Hoch also goes into the life stories of a few of these players, particularly those mentioned above. There's lots of interesting information about the ins and outs of the development of a major league baseball team in the current era. Unfortunately, perhaps because Hoch is a Yankees beat writer and so reluctant to damage his relationship with the team and the players, the whole thing is pretty bland.

jul 22, 2019, 7:42 am

I finished What the Butler Saw , a history and description of servants in England (with a couple of chapters about American servants) from 1700 to 1900+. As such it provides quite a description of everyday life both upstairs and down in the homes of the slightly rich to very rich. I found it very entertaining.

Redigerat: jul 31, 2019, 11:41 am

Started this OverDrive Kindle eBook Alexa can read to me ~

American Carnage: On the Front Lines of the Republican Civil War and the Rise of President Trump by Tim Alberta

(Covers 2008 thru 2018)

UPDATE: ***** (the GOP has been on a decade-long suicide mission)

jul 23, 2019, 3:22 pm

I'm about halfway through Norco '80 by Peter Houlahan. So far, it's pretty interesting and quite detailed. This is a blurb from the product page:

Norco ’80 tells the story of how five heavily armed young men—led by an apocalyptic born-again Christian—attempted a bank robbery that turned into one of the most violent criminal events in U.S. history, forever changing the face of American law enforcement. Part action thriller and part courtroom drama, Norco ’80 transports the reader back to the Southern California of the 1970s, an era of predatory evangelical gurus, doomsday predictions, megachurches, and soaring crime rates, with the threat of nuclear obliteration looming over it all.

Redigerat: jul 24, 2019, 12:01 am

somehow I lost track of this group! Good to see its still up and running with lots of recs (and as usual lynn, you know just the book I'd probably love; Wonderland is on my list!

During the summer I have time to dip into one of my fav genres: travel narrativ. Patrick Leigh Fermoor is one of my fav authors; When he was 17 in 1934, he made a trip, mostly on foot, thro Europe: from London through Europe to Constantinople. His books Time of Gifts and Between Woods and Water are classics in travel writing, history and culture of that pre WWII time. He had plans to write a third, but wasn't able to put it together. It was published posthumouly as the broken road, which I read a while back and love. But I recently received a biography of him A Life in Letters, which made me realize I needed to reread his work. So I am now on the third book, and while I know that he added information that was after the fact, still love his style. Once I finish I may read walking the woods and the water The author tries to follow in his footsteps. We'll see how it goes

jul 24, 2019, 6:55 am

I'm reading Rough Magic which is a memoir by a young Brit who was the first woman and youngest person ever to win the Mongolian Derby. She's a brilliant and clever writer and thinker, and there is a reason that this book is on the bestsellers list--appealing to far more readers than just equestrians. I suspect that it will be over too soon.

jul 26, 2019, 7:59 am

I finished White Fragility. I found this an enlightening book, not only for pointing out the various ways that racism manifests and perpetuates itself, but also how quickly most whites insist they're personally not involved in racism. That response of innocence just maintains and fuels the problem. It has made me reflect on my own roll.

jul 26, 2019, 5:09 pm

jul 28, 2019, 12:19 pm

I've got that one to read and can't wait to get to it!

jul 28, 2019, 1:06 pm

I finished The Longest Debate: a Legislative History of the 1964 Civil Rights Act by Charles W. Whalen and Barbara Whalen. This is a fascinating, in-depth, day-by-day account of the creation, debate and passage of one of the most important pieces of legislation to ever come out of the United States Congress. Charles Whalen served in the U.S. Congress from 1967 to 1979, so although he wasn't part of the proceedings described in his book, he knew a lot of the participants and was intimately familiar with the workings of the two chambers. Barbara Whalen, Charles' wife, was, among other things, a newspaper columnist in their native Ohio.

The book takes the bill from its inception during the John F. Kennedy administration, urged upon the president by his brother, Robert, the attorney general, as a moral imperative, through Kennedy's assassination and to the legislation's passage with even stronger support than Kennedy's by his successor in the White House, Lyndon Johnson. Committee meetings, caucuses, amendments, pressure and support from civil rights leaders, individual arm-twisting and cajoling, all are delved into here in a riveting, detailed presentation.

Redigerat: aug 6, 2019, 9:15 pm

Finishing up on Blitzed. As Burroughs (who makes Hunter Thompson look like Mother Teresa) once said, "Trust the Nazis to concoct some really awful shit". Emphasis was on Hitler's addictions. I'd have liked to read a bit more about ill effects of the average soldier, cranked up on crank. Blitzkrieg drug successes is an interesting thesis, but you know what they say: what goes up, must come down. A good, gritty, gross little book. Maybe I'll go for something tamer, next, like Wine and War.

aug 8, 2019, 10:52 am

Audible book ~

Rivals! Frenemies Who Changed the World by Scott McCormick

(4 humorous history stories with sound effects ~ dinosaur hunters Edward Cope & Othniel Marsh/sport shoe manufacturers Adidas & Puma/royals Queen Elizabeth I & Mary Queen of Scots/politicians Aaron Burr & Alexander Hamilton/young readers lit)

Redigerat: aug 13, 2019, 8:39 am

Graphic memoir ~

They Called Us Enemy by George Takei
(America's Japanese relocation camp era/GT played the Hikaru Sulus role in the Star Trek series)

UPDATE: *****

aug 8, 2019, 4:03 pm

>34 Molly3028: I added this to my list.

aug 11, 2019, 5:06 am

Reading The Blood Never Dried by John Newsinger - a history of the British Empire from the points-of-view of those who suffered it and revolted against it.

aug 12, 2019, 11:29 am

Hero of the Empire: The Boer War, a Daring Escape, and the Making of Winston Churchill
by Candice Millard
4.5/5 stars
Millard is one of my favorite authors and she doesn’t disappoint in this tale of Churchill’s escape after being captured during the Boer War in 1899 in South Africa while he was there as a news reporter. Highly recommended!

aug 13, 2019, 1:04 pm

I finished The Passion of the Western Mind: Understanding the Ideas That Have Shaped Our World View by Richard Tarnas. This is a relatively comprehensive survey of Western thought from the early Greeks through modern times. Tarnas takes us through the several stages of Greek thought, through the rise of Christianity and and the evolution of Westerners' view of themselves and their place in the universe over the centuries. Tarnas also does a good job of taking us through our various changes as science, on the one hand, and spirituality (outside of organized religion), on the other, become sort of dually transcendent in modern humanity. The writing is clear, meant for "laypersons" rather than academics, although things do get kind of dense, in a way that seemed mostly unavoidable to me, when the concepts become particularly complex.

This is a discussion of relatively mainstream ideas, however. I recall little, if any, discussion, for example, of the religions that Christianity supplanted as is spread through Europe, or of the repression of those religions practiced at the time, so often including the repression (to put it mildly) of women.

aug 14, 2019, 1:56 pm

aug 14, 2019, 3:35 pm

Getting into Bad Blood, the story of Elizabeth Homes and what happened with Theranos, which so far is sort of like a dark parody of Walter Isaacson's bio of Steve Jobs.

aug 15, 2019, 12:40 pm

I finished The Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America which was an excellent and fascinating look at the Mississippi River, attempts to control it, politics, race relations, and the persons wielding power. Yet another story illustrating the self-serving underhanded use of power to the detriment of the ordinary person.

aug 17, 2019, 9:36 pm

Currently reading Dunkirk, although, I haven't seen the movie.

aug 18, 2019, 7:58 am

I just finished reading Good and Mad. I highly recommend it as a summary and guide to the momentous changes that have been occurring in society and politics in the United States over the past several years, in the context of similar historical movements.

aug 19, 2019, 12:14 pm

>42 Sandydog1: We saw Dunkirk and loved the movie. But if you watch it you need to realize it is more of a film immersion. You are following one of the soldiers in each scene moving along with the others thorough land, sea and air. Very interesting!

aug 20, 2019, 2:01 pm

I finished Bad Stories by Steve Almond which i think I first heard of somewhere on LibraryThing. It was excellent, accessible, intelligent look and how our society allowed Trump to become president. He presents numerous stories that we told ourselves that we're incorrect.

aug 20, 2019, 2:38 pm

Fifty Things That Aren't My Fault: Essays from the Grown-up Years
Cathy Guisewite
3.5/5 stars
This book is written by Cathy Guisewite who wrote and drew the comic strip Cathy. It has essays about her life after she ended the comic strip. In this funny book she deals with some of the same issues that were in her comic strip (dating, weight gain, etc.) but also about her marriage that ended, her daughter whom she adopted and dealing with her elderly parents. Very enjoyable and relatable!

aug 21, 2019, 1:16 am

>45 snash: . . . which i think I first heard of somewhere on LibraryThing. . . . "

Possibly from me. I reviewed Bad Stories a month or so ago, but, be that as it may, I agree with your assessment entirely.

aug 21, 2019, 2:38 pm

>47 rocketjk: Now that you mention that you reviewed the book recently, I think you're right; that you were the one. In that case I owe you a thank you. Some of Alford's points were reminiscent of another book I read, Fantasyland by Kurt Andersen

aug 23, 2019, 7:00 pm

This morning finished Nora McInerny's most recent memoir No Happy Endings. I recently read her earlier memoir It's Okay to Laugh (Crying's Cool Too). I discovered her podcast "Terrible, Thanks for Asking" recently and learned of her tragic last few years. In the space of 6 wks, she had a miscarriage, and lost her father and her husband. These memoirs consist of essays of her loss, love and remaking her new life while mourning her losses.

Redigerat: aug 23, 2019, 7:01 pm

This morning finished Nora McInerny's most recent memoir No Happy Endings: A Memoir. I recently read her earlier memoir It's Okay to Laugh (Crying is Cool Too). I discovered her podcast "Terrible, Thanks for Asking" recently and learned of her tragic last few years. In the space of 6 wks, she had a miscarriage, and lost her father and her husband. These memoirs consist of essays of her loss, love and remaking her new life while mourning her losses.

aug 23, 2019, 7:02 pm

This morning finished Nora McInerny's most recent memoir No Happy Endings: A Memoir. I recently read her earlier memoir It's Okay to Laugh (Crying is Cool Too). I discovered her podcast "Terrible, Thanks for Asking" recently and learned of her tragic last few years. In the space of 6 weeks, she had a miscarriage, and lost her father and her husband. These memoirs consist of essays of her loss, love and remaking her new life while mourning her losses.

aug 25, 2019, 8:51 am

aug 27, 2019, 5:11 pm

I finished Anybody's Gold: The Story of California's Mining Towns by Joseph Henry Jackson. This is a brightly written, very well researched and extremely readable history of the California Gold Rush. Jackson was a well-respected California historian and editor, serving as the literary editor for both the San Francisco Argonaut and then the SF Chronicle. (Here's a short biography.) He did an impressive amount of research for this book, delving into the historical archives of several libraries and museums. He was thereby able to find primary resources, including newspapers of the mining towns and the personal journals of the miners.

Jackson successfully puts lots of color and movement into his history. He revels in offering characteristic incidents, gleaned often from those newspapers and journals mentioned above. He also enjoys describing the miners' superstitions, and narrating the prevailing legends and tall tales, some of which were still being offered to visitors when Jackson was doing his research. (The book was published in 1941.) Jackson, however, is not shy about immediately debunking those legends when appropriate, and rightly (in my view) saying he had providing each legend as a way of filling in the color and atmosphere of the times and of how those times have come to be viewed by subsequent generations.

There is a dark side to all of this, which Jackson mentions fairly often but doesn't delve into much or even seem particularly troubled by. That dark side, of course, is the era's racism. Mexican miners were routinely run off their land and their claims. Indians had no rights at all. Chinese people were allowed to work only those claims that whites had already worked over and abandoned and were tolerated in some areas only because they were willing to pay an additional tax for the privilege. For a modern-day reader, these facts will not be dismissed during the reading, and they do take the luster off of Jackson's overall glee in describing the times.

aug 28, 2019, 12:12 pm

This was a really interesting CNN documentary on the rise and fall of Halston, the fashion designer. https://www.cnn.com/style/article/halston-american-fashion/index.html I did not know much about him but I remember when he signed up with JC Penney's to sell his creations which led to his downfall.

Not a book but it is non-fiction and very interesting!

aug 28, 2019, 10:13 pm

Time to plunge back into (ch. 4) Barbara Tuchman's pre-WW I history book about the Gilded Age, The Proud Tower. Really like how she organizes her book to present an integrated overview of the politicians, the social upheavals, and the assassinations that contributed to pushing Western Europe into the abyss in 1914.

aug 29, 2019, 8:41 am

Barbara Tuchman is one of my favourite writers.

aug 29, 2019, 4:53 pm

>56 LynnB:

Echo that. She's on my profile page as such! I'll never forget the impact she made on me when I got my first taste of her work. It was A Distant Mirror. Unforgettable!

I wish Doris Kearns Goodwin were consistently as good at bringing a person or age to "life." IMO, she's a more interesting speaker than writer. I put down Team of Rivals because the players, as she presented them, bored me stiff. Maybe I should try different history by her. Suggestion?

aug 30, 2019, 7:28 am

I haven't read anything my Doris Kearns Goodwin, so I don't have a suggestion.

Redigerat: aug 30, 2019, 11:38 am

>57 Limelite: I am currently read Goodwin's book -Wait Until Next Year:A Memoir and am enjoying it. It is a memoir about growing up Catholic in the 50's, loving baseball and following her favorite baseball team - the Brooklyn Dodgers. Kinda of a time capsule of the period.

aug 30, 2019, 5:33 pm

>58 LynnB:, >59 JulieLill:

I'll bet her memoir is excellent. I heard her speak at the Miami Book Fair some years ago when Team of Rivals was published. The part of her presentation I remember most is when she talked about loving baseball and her dad. Maybe because I love baseball, too. I was a season ticket holder to the (then) Florida Marlins at that time and my dad watched games on TV every weekend when I was growing up.

She also has an interesting and inviting voice, the kind made for telling stories.

Redigerat: aug 31, 2019, 3:04 pm


Wait Till Next Year: A Memoir
by Doris Kearns Goodwin
4/5 stars
Goodwin relates her life around the major events of the 1950’s including her love of the Brooklyn Dodgers and the hope that they will win the World Series, the changes in her neighborhood and her life in the Catholic Church. I thought this was wonderfully written and enjoyed learning about that time period through her eyes.