No burning bushes need apply, nor any partings of the sea, and definitely not any tablets of the Law given to Moses at Mount Sinai, written (as the Torah reports) by the finger of God Himself. For historian Simon Schama, The Story of the Jews belongs only and literally—splendidly and literately—to what can be found written down in Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic or any other of the languages spoken and written by Jews over millennia of wandering.
Michael Rockefeller, the 23-year-old son of then New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, disappeared in 1961 while on an art-collecting trip in the Asmat region along the coast of southwest New Guinea. His boat capsized in rough waters, and, after he and a companion had waited overnight for rescue, Rockefeller decided to swim to shore, buoyed by two empty gasoline cans. He was never seen again—at least not by any witnesses who’ve been willing to come forward.
With the same musical emotion that her father spun into the songs he played, Allman’s daughter Galadrielle spins a poignant and illuminating portrait of a father she never knew in Please Be with Me: A Song for My Father, Duane Allman. The book is part memoir and part biography, as she chronicles not only Duane’s life, but also her own search to discover and appreciate her late father.
When Carol Wall hired a neighbor’s gardener to improve her long-neglected yard, she never imagined that the Kenyan immigrant would transform her outlook on life as well. In Mister Owita’s Guide to Gardening, Wall reflects on what she learned from their special friendship.
Madhulika Sikka's new book, A Breast Cancer Alphabet, is here "for anyone who has been diagnosed with breast cancer and needs a companion."
Ape, chicken, cow, dog, pig, rat, sheep, snake, beast. Each of these words has a distinct connotation, none of them positive. The fact is, though, that no animal behavior can compete with the aggressive and destructive violence exhibited by humans on a regular basis. Animal advocate Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson has published numerous bestsellers about the rich emotional lives of animals. In his latest thought-provoking book, Beasts, Masson turns his attention to humans, posing the questions: who are the real beasts, why, and what can we do about it?
This month's Audio column has something for everyone: mystery lovers, readers of inspiring memoirs and seekers of exciting new voices in fiction.
BookPage Nonfiction Top Pick, March 2014
Walter Kirn has penned a number of imaginative novels, including Up in the Air and Thumbsucker, which were both made into movies. But nothing in the pages of those books could match the bizarre, real-life experiences Kirn relates in his new memoir, Blood Will Out.
The damp practically floats off the pages in Astoria, the sweeping tale of John Jacob Astor’s attempt to settle the remote Pacific Northwest coast in 1810. Astor’s vast wealth enabled him to send two expeditions: one over land and one by ship. His plan was to set up a fur trade, the first on this particularly harsh stretch of the West Coast. Whoever could settle the area would lay claim to a vast area rich with sea otter and beaver fur, salmon and other seafood.
It’s hard to know whether to call Boyd Varty’s Cathedral of the Wild a memoir, a true adventure story or a self-help book. All I know is that it made me cry with its hard-won truths about human and animal nature, distilled by Varty from his experiences living on Londolozi, the game reserve his family runs in South Africa.