September 20, 2010 |
Studded with vivid character sketches and evocative descriptions of the American landscape, journalist Judy Pasternak's scarifying account of uranium mining's disastrous consequences often reads like a novel — though you will wish that the bad guys got punished as effectively as they do in commercial fiction. Real life is complicated, and Pasternak, a veteran of 24 years with the Los Angeles Times, does justice to the historical and ethical ambiguities of her tale while crafting a narrative of exemplary clarity.
April 10, 2011 |
Panorama A Novel H.G. Adler, translated from the German by Peter Filkins Random House: 454 pp., $26 Life is short and art is long, as the saying goes, but the sad fact is that a work of literature may not outlive its human author. Such was the apparent fate of the work of H.G. Adler. He was forced to wait decades before several of his novels saw print, and two of them remain unpublished long after his death in 1988. But, remarkably, Adler has been rediscovered by American publishers and readers, and his 1948 novel "Panorama" is now available in an English translation.
July 24, 2011 |
Absolute Monarchs A History of the Papacy John Julius Norwich Random House: 513 pp., $30 When preeminent British historian John Julius Norwich tells us in the introduction to his sweeping history of the Catholic papacy that his job is to give us "a straightforward single-volume history" of the world's "most astonishing social, political, and spiritual institution ever created," he's hit the nail on the proverbial head. The centuries-old Roman papacy truly is a universally unrivaled institution, and in dense detail, Norwich's book shows us the historic playbook.
May 27, 2011 |
Minus the self-congratulation and TV industry dialectics — the vividly recalled meetings, the anecdotes in which the on-air talent receives recognition/reaches pinnacle of career/wins a Sports Emmy — there's some pretty good stuff in the new book on the history of ESPN, called, "Those Guys Have All the Fun. " The title is meant to convey the party school atmosphere at the all-sports network, if not serve as some ironic comment on life in...
January 27, 2011 |
It's the way that we talk that fascinates Ralph Keyes. The words we choose to express the hurtful, the bawdy and what we perceive as shameful are of particular interest ? because those are the subjects society feels the need to cover up. We switch from "sex" to "sleeping together;" from "dead" to "pushing up daisies;" even "chicken breast" became "white meat" after Winston Churchill was once scolded for using it at a dinner party. The follow-up to Keyes' first effort on linguistics ?
June 29, 2011 |
Henry Bright endures. His mother raised him in a tiny cabin in West Virginia, eking out a marginal survival; when she died, he was left to bury her. He must do the same for his wife, who dies in childbirth, even as he's mourning her and trying to care for their newborn son. These are just a few of the hardships the 20-year-old Bright has faced: He's not long back from the Great War, as he would call World War I, where he was a foot soldier engaged in...
October 31, 2010 |
Storyteller The Authorized Biography of Roald Dahl Donald Sturrock Simon & Schuster: 658 pp., $30 I was sitting on an airplane with a copy of "Storyteller: The Authorized Biography of Roald Dahl" when an elegant woman in the seat next to me murmured, almost to herself, "I live just down the lane from his old cottage in Oxfordshire. " Turning to her with excitement I asked if she'd ever run into him. "Oh, no, no," she said with obvious amusement, as if the very suggestion was completely absurd.