Archive for The Book Bum - page 4

Before, During, After by Richard Bausch

Bausch, Richard. Before, During, After. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2014 (345pp.$26.95) A roaring tedium clogs nearly every page of Richard Bausch’s new novel, Before, During, After, so-named because the principal events of the narrative are sandwiched around the World Trade Center terror attack of…

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Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candace Millard

Millard, Candice. Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President, Doubleday, New York, 2011 (339pp.$28.95)   In 1829 Abram and Eliza Garfield bought a hundred acres of heavily forested wilderness (at $2/acre) 16 miles from the tiny Ohio…

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On The Death of Jim Harrison: Saturday, March 26, 2015

Jim Harrison died last Saturday at his cabin outside Patagonia, Arizona.  He’d been at a cowboy saloon earlier, drank some vodka, talked to some pals, and went home.  He was found later at home, dead of a heart attack.  He was one of my constant heroes.  I’ve…

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George Orwell: Diaries, ed. by Peter Davidson

Davidson, Peter (ed.), George Orwell: Diaries, Liveright Publishing/W.W.Norton, New York, 2012 (597pp.$39.95) One hundred million people died during the various ideological and political catastrophes of the 20th century—wars, famines and holocausts brought on by the tripartite clashing of imperial capitalist colonialism, nationalism, fascism and totalitarian…

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Master of the Mountain: Jefferson and His Slaves by Henry Wiencek

Wiencek, Henry. Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 2012 (336pp.$28). Having informed the world that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, Thomas Jefferson proceeded to conduct a forty-year…

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Red Fortress: History and Illusion in the Kremlin by Catherine Merridale

Merridale, Catherine. Red Fortress: History and Illusion in the Kremlin, Henry Holt and Company, New York, 2013 (506pp. $35) Once the Slavic Rus tribe emerged as a force in Europe’s northeastern forest, they build a citadel for their warlord, one that would protect the tribe…

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Renegade: Henry Miller and the Making of ‘Tropic of Cancer’ by Frederick Turner

Turner, Frederick. Renegade: Henry Miller and the Making of ‘Tropic of Cancer’, Yale University Press, New Haven, 2012 (244pp.$24.95) Franz Kafka’s maxim that a book should be an ax to the soul applies in spades to Henry Miller’s masterpiece, “Tropic of Cancer,” published fifty years…

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The Return of a King: Shah Shuja and the First Battle for Afghanistan by William Dalrymple

Dalrymple, William. Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan 1839-42, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2013 (515pp.$30) The elephantine, racist and slightly bizarre Western imperial enterprise had some surprising impulses, none more than the one that impelled British troops into Afghanistan (then as now,…

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The Impossible Exile: Stefan Zweig at the End of the World by George Prochnik

Prochnik, George. The Impossible Exile: Stefan Zweig at the End of the World, Other Press, New York, 2014 (390pp.$27.95) Relentlessly middlebrow pop-intellectual Stefan Zweig, in the 1920s and 1930s, was the world’s most widely read and broadly translated writer of biographies, novellas and short-stories.   For…

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The Elizabethans by A.N. Wilson

Wilson, A.N. The Elizabethans, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 2012 (448pp.$30) The queen died unhappy, ravaged by time and illness, her realm disquieted by civil and religious factions that were equally adumbrated by frequent outbreaks of plague. The magistrates and sheriffs were hanging thieves,…

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