There is nothing so compelling as history well told, whether in print or on film. And viewers who were engrossed by Ken Burns’ recent PBS series on the Roosevelts will find Jay Winik’s new book on Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1944: FDR and the Year That Changed History, especially appealing. Winik, who has written about America’s founding (The Great Upheaval) and the Civil War (April 1865), brings his considerable gifts as a storyteller and a talented historian to this new work exploring the pivotal year of Roosevelt’s presidency and of World War II.
Years before I read Eat, Pray, Love, I clipped a quote from Elizabeth Gilbert’s 2006 bestseller that I still have today. “Happiness is the result of personal effort,” she wrote. “You have to participate relentlessly.” This was not news I wanted to hear at the time, but a life spent waiting for the right bluebird to cross my path wasn’t working out too well, either. I started to put a little more shoulder into my efforts, and did, in fact, find myself enjoying life more. If you’re living a creative life (and news flash—you are), the same rules apply. In her latest book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, Gilbert contends that persistence and curiosity are the keys to pushing past your boundaries to live a bigger, happier life.
“Objective Troy” was the name the Pentagon assigned to Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born Muslim cleric whose rhetoric and politics evolved from moderate to murderous during the first decade of the 2000s and led to his being killed in Yemen in 2011 by a drone strike President Obama authorized personally.
When you look at the father-daughter photo on the cover of Kelly Carlin’s raw and reflective memoir, A Carlin Home Companion: Growing Up With George, you wonder what it would have been like to grow up in the shadow of the fast-talking, fast-thinking and fast-living comedian George Carlin. And then you begin reading, and you realize that Kelly’s reports from the trenches sound familiar to anyone who grew up amid the whirlwind social changes of the 1960s and ’70s.
“Anger has always been my adversary, crouching just outside the door.” One might not expect to hear such a confession from a figure like David Gregory, the NBC newsman who moderated “Meet the Press” and served as the White House correspondent during the second Bush administration. But in How’s Your Faith?: An Unlikely Spiritual Journey, a kind of measured honesty keeps Gregory revealing unexpected sides.
Imagine being a tall, Swedish redheaded mother of two young girls―the apparent picture of health―but for years living with constant chest pressure, severe fatigue and difficulty breathing. In Beautiful Affliction, Lene Fogelberg explains how, for much of her life, she feared she was about to die because of what she called "the monster" pounding against her ribs.
Like so many Americans, writer Rita Gabis has mixed ancestry. Her late father was Jewish and her mother is a Lithuanian Catholic, whose family emigrated to the U.S. after World War II. Gabis knew her maternal grandfather—“Senelis” in Lithuanian—as a fond elderly man who bought her treats and took her fishing. But she had one disturbing memory: the time he told her, “No be like your father . . . Jews no good.”
That they're different as day and night is unarguable, but the first two women appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court elevated one another, and the status of women in this country, immeasurably through their combined efforts. Sisters In Law: How Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World profiles O'Connor and Ginsburg, their struggles for acceptance in a field designed to exclude them and the cases they worked on that had the greatest impact.
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.
Margaret Eby explores the hometowns and stomping grounds of 10 Southern authors in her literary travelogue, South Toward Home.