David Maraniss didn’t set out to write a ghost story, but Once in a Great City, his glimmering portrait of Detroit, has a lingering, melancholy quality that will leave the reader thoroughly haunted.
Never heard of Jacob Fugger? That’s probably because he was born in Augsburg in 1459, the grandson of a Swabian peasant. But by the time he died in 1525, Fugger had become, according to author Greg Steinmetz (who compared the net worth of wealthy people with the size of the economy in which they operated), the richest man who ever lived.
August 29 marks the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the most expensive natural disaster in U.S. history and the storm that delivered a near-mortal blow to the city of New Orleans. An estimated 250 billion gallons of water inundated the Big Easy when its levee system failed, damaging four out of every five homes in the city.
When Barton Swaim read a column by his state’s governor, he promptly sat down and wrote him, “I know how to write, and you need a writer.” He got the job, but his writing skills went to waste as the governor insisted on a “voice” that bore only a slight resemblance to proper English.
Don’t miss these superbly written books that combine intriguing history with memorable real-life escapades.
Any population is fair game for anthropological research, so why not the super-rich, super-thin and oh-so-well-dressed mothers of New York’s Upper East Side? That’s the reasoning of author Wednesday Martin, and she puts it to the test in Primates of Park Avenue, her account of six years as a wife and mother in Manhattan’s toniest neighborhood.
Nowadays, the title of a nonfiction book is almost invariably followed by a phrase hyping the contents, including words like incredible, survival or secret. No such subtitle is needed for two-time Pulitzer Prize winner David McCullough’s latest book, The Wright Brothers, even though it contains all three elements.
The appeal of A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life ultimately has as much to with who Brian Grazer isn’t as with who he is.
Open Candice Bergen’s A Fine Romance and be prepared to settle in for an evening filled with a few drinks, casual grazing, laughter, tears and rollicking tales from one of America’s finest actresses.
J.C. Hallman had only a passing awareness of writer Nicholson Baker when he quite impulsively became obsessed with the man and his work. He not only had erroneously thought that Baker was British, but considered him a “nonessential” writer. That indifference changed into fixation nearly overnight. Hallman plunged into all of Baker’s fiction and nonfiction, a project that morphed into the deeper contemplation of literature and life that he chronicles with candor, humor and insight in B & Me: A True Story of Literary Arousal.