Reviews > Books

16 Oct 2007 // 10:59 PM

The Buried Book by David Damrosch

For a thousand years, "The Epic of Gilgamesh" pervaded the world's ancient civilized culture, a poetic narrative serving as a literary and political touchstone in the same way Homer, Shakespeare or the Bible has done for more recent Western cultures.

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15 Oct 2007 // 11:00 PM

Cape Wind by Wendy Williams, Robert Whitcomb

US Senator Ted Kennedy sums up his opposition to the massive wind farm project proposed three miles out from Nantucket Sound, a wealthy coastal area of Massachusetts: “Don’t you realize, that’s where I sail.”

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15 Oct 2007 // 10:59 PM

The Day of Battle by Rick Atkinson

Relying on military histories and documents, the private letters and diaries of generals and front-line soldiers, news accounts and interviews, Atkinson creates a seamless, stunning narrative that is the equal of An Army at Dawn.

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14 Oct 2007 // 11:00 PM

Ultra-Talk by David Kirby

Ultra-Talk succeeds primarily when it allows Kirby the literature professor to do his thing most directly: explaining Shakespeare, Whitman, Dante, or Dickinson. But when he attempts to explore more mundane topics, Kirby reaches conclusions about the ordinary that may be revelations only to him.

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14 Oct 2007 // 10:59 PM

The Coldest Winter by David Halberstam

In the inimitable manner that the famously ambitious author constructed his first sort, The Coldest Winter comes at you not like one but two of the actual tanks that rumble across its pages.

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11 Oct 2007 // 11:00 PM

Manifest Destinies by Laura E. Gómez

Despite a somewhat flat, repetitive narrative style, Gómez’s insights into the struggles at play in the 19th century Southwest are extremely relevant for today.

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11 Oct 2007 // 10:59 PM

Garibaldi: Citizen of the World by Alfonso Scirocco

These two major new studies assess the most famous Italian of the 19th century, who once was, according to Englishman Philip Gilbert Hamerton in 1870, "the most famous man on the planet."

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James Dean Transfigured: The Many Faces of Rebel Iconography by Claudia Springer

A flawed but fascinating study that blends intellectual insight with pop-culture savvy.

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10 Oct 2007 // 10:59 PM

Nureyev: The Life by Julie Kavanagh

Kavanagh's Nureyev: The Life, though meticulously researched and often gracefully written, never quite finds the man behind that mystique.

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The Faith Healer of Olive Avenue by Manuel Muñoz

Muñoz paints wonderful pictures of his characters' lives. A little thoughtful reflection can work wonders in small doses.

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9 Oct 2007 // 10:59 PM

The Theory of Clouds by Stephane Audeguy

French film historian intricately spins dreamy prose into a compelling debut novel.

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8 Oct 2007 // 11:00 PM

Song for Night by Chris Abani

A boy soldier, wounded, mute and alone searches for his missing comrades. Amidst the horror of war the possibility arises of a redemption born not of mercy, but of understanding. This is the heart of the beautiful and moving Song for Night, a young man’s search for self-comprehension in the midst of war.

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8 Oct 2007 // 10:59 PM

The House That George Built by Wilfrid Sheed

By the 1950s, the golden age of popular music was just about over. America "wasn't a listening nation anymore," writes Wilfrid Sheed, but a televisual "shaking, rattling and rolling one."

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7 Oct 2007 // 11:00 PM

Exit Ghost by Philip Roth

No one can complain that Philip Roth, of all authors, is politically correct, or that he pretends to be something other than his highly sexualized, readily outraged, and coruscatingly intelligent self.

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7 Oct 2007 // 10:59 PM

The Truth about Patriotism by Steven Johnston

What could have been an incisive and relevant tour through the self-destructive quality of modern patriotism turns into one of the worst slogs of a read released in a long time.

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The Great Arab Conquests by Hugh Kennedy

Kennedy’s achievement is quite impressive; the summarizing of numerous dubious and contradictory accounts about the first century of the Muslim religion’s spread into a single volume.

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Woman on the Other Shore by Mitsuyo Kakuta

Kakuta demonstrates the role circumstance plays in creating friendships, and just how tenuous and resilient the bonds are that hold friends together.

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Obit: Inspiring Stories of Ordinary People who Led Extraordinary Lives by Jim Sheeler

This is almost an anthology of wonderful short stories in which each character, coincidentally, dies at the end.

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3 Oct 2007 // 10:59 PM

Single State of the Union

This collection of essays explores many of the issues with which single women find themselves struggling: disapproving relatives, indifferent non-boyfriends, indecision about whether to have the fling or the baby or both.

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Judgment and Grace in Dixie: Southern Faiths from Faulkner to Elvis by Charles Reagan Wilson

Wilson engagingly details a mass expression of spirituality in key Southern popular culture artifacts and practices.

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