A Travelogue In Search Of What’s Making Russia Great Again

Book review: In Putin’s Footsteps, by Nina Khrushcheva and Jeffrey Tayler (Amazon / Book Depository) The new stories were no longer those of Yeltsin’s Russia, which was perceived, both at home and abroad, as a weak, insignificant, and corrupt bogeyman reeling from its Cold War defeat. These were stories of an enigmatic young technocrat tirelessly crisscrossing the country and meeting with workers, farmers, and cultural … Continue reading A Travelogue In Search Of What’s Making Russia Great Again

The Kids Who Said “Never Again”

Book review: Parkland, by Dave Cullen (Amazon / Book Depository) Heart first, then head. Reignite the imperative to act, and then map out how we get there. Dave Cullen cemented his role as the go-to journalist for commentary on school shootings with Columbine, his ten-years-in-the-making book that brilliantly, painfully chronicles the narratives around the shooting that would unfortunately herald a rash of them. As a result of … Continue reading The Kids Who Said “Never Again”

Disaster and After: A Chernobyl Deep Dive

Book review: Midnight in Chernobyl, by Adam Higginbotham (Amazon / Book Depository) Senior Lieutenant Alexander Logachev loved radiation the way other men loved their wives. So begins Adam Higginbotham’s exhaustive account of the April 1986 Chernobyl disaster, recounting a blow-by-blow of the unfolding incident and the monumental effects of the aftermath, amidst the context of Soviet politics and the USSR’s place on the world stage. … Continue reading Disaster and After: A Chernobyl Deep Dive

Divided By a Common Language, More So Than We Think

Book review: If Only They Didn’t Speak English, by Jon Sopel (Amazon / Book Depository) BBC journalist Jon Sopel, the network’s North America editor, writes about US history, politics, culture and personal impressions through a UK-US comparative lens while working in both Obama’s and Trump’s America. Sopel got called out by Trump at a press conference in early 2017 while asking a question about the … Continue reading Divided By a Common Language, More So Than We Think

Witty, Sharply Smart Essays on All Kinds of Thickness

Book review: Thick, by Tressie McMillan Cottom (Amazon / Book Depository) Being too much of one thing and not enough of another had been a recurring theme in my life … Thick where I should have been thin, more when I should have been less, a high school teacher nicknamed me “Ms. Personality,” and it did not feel like a superlative. I had tried in … Continue reading Witty, Sharply Smart Essays on All Kinds of Thickness

Myth-busting Rasputin’s Life and Legend

Book review: Rasputin: Faith, Power, and the Twilight of the Romanovs by Douglas Smith (Amazon / Book Depository) The life of Rasputin is one of the most remarkable in modern history. It reads like a dark fairy tale. An obscure, uneducated peasant from the wilds of Siberia receives a calling from God and sets out in search of the true faith, a journey that leads him across … Continue reading Myth-busting Rasputin’s Life and Legend

The Human Toll of the Opioid Crisis is Painfully Felt in ‘Dopesick’

Book review: Dopesick, by Beth Macy (Amazon / Book Depository) The first time Ed Bisch heard the word “OxyContin,” his son was dead from it. Journalist Beth Macy is a longtime reporter with the Roanoke Times. Beginning in 2012, from her vantage point within the Roanoke community, she observed the swiftly worsening opioid crisis as it engulfed her region of the western half of Virginia. … Continue reading The Human Toll of the Opioid Crisis is Painfully Felt in ‘Dopesick’

12 New Nonfiction Titles to Look Forward to in 2019

I’m still working on compiling my favorites of 2018 booklist, but it’s hard to focus on the past when 2019 has so much exciting new nonfiction on the way! Let’s experience some Vorfreude (that wonderful German word describing the excitement of thinking about happiness to come) looking at some of 2019’s upcoming releases in nonfiction. In Putin’s Footsteps: Searching for the Soul of an Empire Across … Continue reading 12 New Nonfiction Titles to Look Forward to in 2019

A Former Evangelical on American Christianity, the Midwest, and Mike Pence

Book review: Interior States, by Meghan O’Gieblyn (Amazon / Book Depository) … It’s difficult to avoid sensing something perverse in the fact that I have returned so obsessively to the religion I spent my early adulthood trying to escape. And while I have written so much about the Midwest, the truth is that I’ve often felt that I would prefer to live almost anywhere else. … Continue reading A Former Evangelical on American Christianity, the Midwest, and Mike Pence

The Many Phases of Michelle

Book review: Becoming, by Michelle Obama (Amazon / Book Depository) When you’re First Lady, America shows itself to you in its extremes. Michelle Obama’s life has had so many facets already: two Ivy League degrees, a successful career in corporate law, vice president of a hospital, nonprofit director, not to mention a mother, a role she cherishes. And then she became the First Lady of … Continue reading The Many Phases of Michelle

The Opioid Crisis Through the Lens of Government, Medicine, and the Personal

Book review: American Overdose, by Chris McGreal Book Depository A former head of the Food and Drug Adminsitration has called America’s opioid epidemic, “one of the greatest mistakes of modern medicine.” It is neither a mistake nor the kind of catastrophe born of some ghastly accident. It is a tragedy forged by the capture of medical policy by corporations and the failure of institutions in … Continue reading The Opioid Crisis Through the Lens of Government, Medicine, and the Personal

Be Very Afraid

Fear: Trump in the White House, by Bob Woodward (Amazon Book Depository) (I keep promising myself I’m not going to read any more of these Trump/White House books but I’m unable to resist, apparently.) Real power is fear.  That’s the mantra seeded throughout veteran political reporter and one-half of Woodward and Bernstein Bob Woodward’s diligently reported behind-the-scenes look at the Trump White House. What does … Continue reading Be Very Afraid