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Books

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 …

A perpetual prince

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Had Prince Charles’ household ignored Catherine Mayer’s biography, the headlines generated by the book’s serialization – thanks to its suggestions that the prince intends to be an “activist” king and that even the queen worries about how he …

New but timeworn faces

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Kevin Gillooly, the 14-year-old narrator of Christopher Scotton’s debut novel, The Secret Wisdom of the Earth, falls into the timeworn tradition of orphans, latchkey kids and boy adventurers who by circumstance or necessity are left to their own …

‘Dead Wake’ author, historian will present book at Concord High

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Historian Erik Larson will discuss his latest book, Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, at Concord High School on Friday at 7 p.m. Dead Wake is the story of the British oceanliner the Lusitania, which was …

Sex, drugs and mystification

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Stevie Nicks wrote the only No. 1 Billboard hit Fleetwood Mac ever had (“Dreams”), but Zoe Howe’s fawning new biography, Stevie Nicks: Visions, Dreams and Rumours, offers ample evidence that talent and stage charisma aren’t the only reasons …

A straight-forward look at the war in Afghanistan

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Post-9/11 CIA memoirs keep coming with a frequency that must elevate the blood pressure of those Langley traditionalists who believe that the agency’s past should be forever entombed. Former CIA directors, division chiefs, station chiefs, lawyers, case officers …

Monopoly inventor isn’t who you think

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Nations, politicians, athletes, icons – they all need their foundation myths. But George Washington did not chop down the cherry tree. Michael Jordan was not cut from his high school basketball team. And Charles Darrow did not invent …

Nick Hornby’s ‘Funny Girl’ takes readers to 1960s London

Saturday, February 28, 2015

The author of High Fidelity has a new novel out, and it’s a sweet sojourn to 1960s London, where a cast of writers and actors embark on a groundbreaking television show that changes the course of their lives. …

Kim Gordon is more than just a ‘Girl in a Band’

Saturday, February 28, 2015

As the front woman for influential indie band Sonic Youth for three decades, Kim Gordon had a ringside seat as experimental music left the grimy clubs of New York and went mainstream with the help of MTV and …

Toni Morrison and Rita Dove to attend National Book Critics Circle Awards

Saturday, February 28, 2015

This month’s National Book Critics Circle Awards ceremony will offer a rare chance to see some of the country’s most celebrated authors. Nobel laureate Toni Morrison has confirmed that she will attend the March 12 ceremony to receive this year’s Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award. The NBCC announced …

Lippman deals with parenthood in ‘Hush Hush’

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Laura Lippman’s novels about Baltimore private investigator Tess Monaghan have never followed the predictable mode. Instead, the series about this sometimes cranky, perceptive young woman has afforded Lippman a way of looking at what motivates people and how …