| Jun 3, 2009
Anthony Bourdain didn't invent the chef memoir, but he revolutionized it. And judging by the latest crop of books, I'd say he has a lot to answer for.
In the old days, chef stories followed a pretty staid outline: childhood in sunny France, first job,...
| Jun 8, 2008
Minders of Make-Believe
Idealists, Entrepreneurs, and the Shaping of American Children's Literature
Leonard S. Marcus
Houghton Mifflin: 402 pp., $28
It seems a long way from the 1689 (or so) publication of the first American children's book, which...
| Sep 6, 2007
If you had told me last Saturday that one of Sen. Larry Craig's Republican colleagues was covertly urging him to leave some wiggle room in his promise to resign, I like to think I instantly would have identified that colleague as Sen. Arlen Specter....
| Aug 28, 2007
Choosing a new attorney general will be easy if President Bush follows a simple rule: Look for the opposite of Alberto R. Gonzales.
Apparently Gonzales finally recognized the damage caused by his mind-boggling explanations of his role in the firings of...
| May 31, 2007
In an interview on Sunday's Meet the Press, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson was pummeled by host Tim Russert about everything from his inconsistencies on Iraq to his professions of loyalty to both the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. Perhaps the...
| Apr 22, 2009
When he died 99 years ago this week, Mark Twain was this country's most beloved writer, yet his status as both an author and protean example of the now-familiar pop cultural celebrity seems to grow with each passing decade.
"Who Is Mark Twain?" -- a...
| Jan 15, 2009
The cover art for Alex Vernon's slim cultural biography "On Tarzan" is a photo of winding green tendrils and vines, vines being the equivalent of the cross-town bus for the Lord of the Apes.
But the photo is also a warning of the thicket we are about...
| Mar 28, 2010
William Lindsay Gresham's novel "Nightmare Alley" (NYRB Classics: 288 pp., $16) tells the rise-and-fall story of Stan Carlisle, a hustling carnival wanna-be who transforms himself into the Great Stanton, a big-time stage magician, and then into a fake...
| Nov 22, 2009
When I was 12, I emerged from an intense depression by imagining the book I'd write about the things that had caused me to take to my bed.
I remember crossing the field from the library to our small apartment and starting to compose the story in my head....
| Mar 29, 2009
How Muscular Millionaire Bernarr Macfadden Transformed the Nation Through Sex, Salad, and
the Ultimate Starvation Diet
Harper: 292 pp., $25.99
Before Jack LaLanne and Jane Fonda, an odd man with an odd name reigned as America's...
| Apr 10, 2011
The Last Greatest Magician in the World
Howard Thurston Versus Houdini & the Battles of the American Wizards
Tarcher/Penguin: 377 pp., $26.95
It takes some courage to write the biography of a man the reading public has mostly forgotten....