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Writer in pursuit of civil rights

Saturday, April 18, 2015

“If not for the triumph of the civil rights movement, I don’t know where I would be, but there is no way on God’s Earth I would be writing a column for the Washington Post,” Eugene Robinson wrote recently in the pages of the newspaper. James McGrath Morris’ new biography of pioneering journalist Ethel Payne illustrates how African-American reporters shaped and were shaped by the freedom struggle. Payne’s storied career took her from Chicago to Washington, to the Deep South and across the globe. In that career’s every phase, Payne was animated by the principle that journalists, and the black press in particular, must be …

’American Warlord’ follows Chucky Taylor from US to Liberia

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Chucky Taylor’s 2008 trial in Miami federal court was a sort of homecoming for a young man whose adolescence in Florida had been like so many others bored with the suburbs and longing for absent fathers. The surreal journey Taylor took from Florida to Liberia and then back to stand trial for torture …

Coal and its future are fueling conflicts around the globe

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Fierce conflicts over coal are taking place around the globe, but author Richard Martin says the decline and ultimate demise of the fuel that powered the Industrial Revolution is inevitable and cannot be reversed. What he cannot predict, he says, is whether the transition to energy sources that are less damaging to the …

Rowling’s graduation speech gains little as illustrated

Saturday, April 18, 2015

In 2008, J.K. Rowling delivered the Harvard graduation speech, which quickly became the most-viewed commencement address on the university’s Web site. On Tuesday, just as strains of Pomp and Circumstance begin to swell once more, Rowling’s speech is …

Ghosts from the past

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Many years ago, my cousin and his wife rented a house outside Philadelphia that they swore was haunted. Footsteps echoed in an empty bedroom, a cold spot could be detected at the top of the stairs and cosmetics …

A story that is about more than football

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Blind Side, a novel by Michael Lewis, is listed under “sports non-fiction” but it is much more than a book about football, even though there is at least one chapter devoted to various football maneuvers. Made into …

Cotton Malone is on the case in Berry’s ‘Patriot Threat’

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Cotton Malone tackles a case that could cause an uprising over taxes in Steve Berry’s new thriller, The Patriot Threat. A deposed North Korean leader believes he can regain his honor and return to power by bringing down …

Former banker focuses on financial crisis in new book

Saturday, April 11, 2015

A banker by trade, Forrest Russell Cook never intended to be an author. Now retired and living in Dublin, Cook ultimately decided to dabble in writing after reading a number of books and articles on the financial crisis …

After decades of silence, White House domestic staff share stories in new book

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Many of the men and women who have worked in the White House residence – serving presidents and their families in their private quarters – are breaking with a long-held tradition of silence: They are dishing about life …

Not your typical femme fatale

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The first-person narrator of The Bullet, Mary Louise Kelly’s thriller about long-buried family secrets and the limits of self-knowledge, could not be further removed from either the pistol-toting pulp-fiction dames who gave rise to the femme fatale, or …

A close-up look at the one-child policy

Saturday, April 11, 2015

When Mo Yan won the Nobel Prize for literature in 2012, the judges must have known about Frog, the socially conscious novel he published in China in 2009. While his other recent books, such as Life and Death …

Former poet laureate Charles Simic to stop by Gibson’s Bookstore

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Whether he is revealing the influence of literature on his childhood development, pondering the relationship between food and comfort or elegizing the pull to return to a homeland that no longer exists, Charles Simic shares his distinctive take …

A dazzling, funny series of memories

Saturday, April 4, 2015

‘Events! If you want those, you’d best stop reading now.” So proclaims Tom McCarthy’s Satin Island, a rather dazzling array of sentences and paragraphs and snippets of memory and thought that aren’t quite sure where they are. The …