May 21, 2011 |
We're living in an age of prize proliferation. It might not feel like it — especially with so many families hit hard by economic turmoil in the last few years — but it still exists, according to Joel Best's "Everyone's a Winner," a book that looks at the ways and the reasons why our society puts so much emphasis on a pat on the back. Everyone knows that the gentleman's C of years ago has become the B-plus or A-minus of today. Averages higher than 4.0 are commonplace in high schools and, at graduation time, many schools crown not one but multiple valedictorians.
September 27, 2010 |
The essential outline of the story journalist and political historian Bob Woodward sets out to tell in "Obama's Wars" actually is fairly well known. President Obama's agonized march to a decision on how to move forward in what he has called "a war of necessity" in Afghanistan has been widely reported and analyzed. It's well known, for example, that the lack of good options bitterly divided the president's advisors and that the chief executive immersed himself in the details of the decision that ultimately produced a modified version of the "surge" strategy that the Bush administration used to stabilize — temporarily, at least — Iraq.
May 30, 2011 |
It's ironic that a book that looks to pull back the curtain on decades of conspiracy theories about UFOs and Nevada's infamous Area 51 may, in the end, become best remembered for launching yet another conspiracy theory. The book is "Area 51: An Uncensored History of America's Top Secret Military Base" by journalist Annie Jacobsen (a book that began as a two-part series in the Los Angeles Times Magazine in spring 2009). Jacobsen does as advertised. She had unprecedented access to former workers at the site, who filled her notebooks with details about secret doings (some now unclassified)
January 30, 2011 |
Vietnamerica A Family's Journey GB Tran Villard: 179 pp., $30 Where does memory end and myth begin? GB Tran's graphic novel "Vietnamerica: A Family's Journey" occupies the messy middle ground of that question. Born in 1976 in South Carolina, Tran was separated by time and geography from his family's Vietnamese roots His parents left Vietnam with their two older children three days before the fall of Saigon in 1975: Their American-born son is literally a man between cultures, with no experience of what his parents and siblings left behind.
September 13, 2011 |
Film producer Simon Lewis was driving down Beverly Boulevard with his wife in 1994 when their car was broadsided by a van traveling at about 75 mph. Lewis, then 35, had seen his biggest success with "Look Who's Talking," a comedy about a chatty baby starring John Travolta, Kirstie Alley and the voice of Bruce Willis. But after this accident his life would never be the same. An hour after emergency workers reached the scene of the accident - the car had spun through the air and smashed into a tree - they found the bloodied Lewis and were surprised to discover he had a pulse.