| Jan 5, 2008
The coming year will be chock full of 1968 commemorations. Deservedly so, because that was a pivotal year in which the convulsions of a decade converged and the country slouched over the edge of a precipice.
It was, after all, the year of the Tet...
| Sep 27, 2009
The Wilderness Warrior
Theodore Roosevelt and the
Crusade for America
Harper: 960 pp., $34.99
Reviewing several Roosevelt biographies in 1920, H.L. Mencken reported that he had found more "gush" than "sense." Douglas Brinkley's...
| Oct 11, 2009
As the youngest of four children and the only girl, Jona Frank spent a fair amount of her youth forced to sit and watch her older brothers at hockey games, piano recitals or at church as they served Mass as altar boys. And those observational skills would...
| Nov 8, 2009
Harper: 390 pp., $25.99
"Any way I tell this story is a lie," reads the first line of "Lit" by poet and memoirist Mary Karr. It's an ironic beginning for a writer who rose to fame on "The Liars' Club," a book recounting her...
| Nov 8, 2009
Strange things happen when a book series sells 70 million copies. Fan sites are built, only to crash with onslaughts of visitors. Movies are made, drawing unruly mobs of screaming fans. Entire towns are invaded by giggling, teenage girls.
| Nov 15, 2009
Changing My Mind
The Penguin Press: 306 pp., $26.95
Reviewing Zadie Smith's 2001 debut, "White Teeth," the critic James Wood lumped the blazing hot young British writer with no less than Salman Rushdie, David Foster...
| Dec 6, 2009
It was born of University of Chicago nerds at the end of McCarthyism, back when cutting-edge comedy meant jokes about your mother-in-law. It fed on the slow Chicago burn of 1960s counterculture, even though the demons of drugs and alcohol took down more...
| May 27, 2009
WASHINGTON -- For a teenager from a Puerto Rican family struggling upward from the public housing projects of the Bronx, Princeton University in 1972 was a foreign land. "I felt isolated from all I had ever known," she said later, and the low grade she...
| Mar 21, 2009
To Brooklynites of a certain age, Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley was a money-grubbing weasel who ripped the soul from their community when he announced he was moving the team to L.A. in 1957. Many Angelenos, however, view O'Malley as a pioneering saint for...
| Mar 25, 2009
The experience of empire seems to leave a people with at least a taste, if not a particular talent, for conspiracy. Certainly, that's true of the Russians for whom the one place at which the history of czarism and Bolshevism most clearly conjoins is in...
| Aug 14, 2004
Had Julia Child dominated only 20th century cookbook publishing, which she surely did after producing the bibles of dinner party cookery between 1961 and 1970 ("Mastering the Art of French Cooking" Volumes One and Two), we might have known her...