America’s Historian Evokes The National Spirit, Its Lessons and Promise

Book review: The American Spirit, by David McCullough History, I like to think, is a larger way of looking at life. It is a source of strength, of inspiration. It is about who we are and what we stand for and is essential to our understanding of what our own role should be in our... Continue Reading →

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Eight Years of Power, Pain, and Ultimately Turning From Progress

Book review: We Were Eight Years in Power, by Ta-Nehisi Coates Ta-Nehisi Coates' latest, garnering buzz for being among the year's best, was a very hard book to read, but why wouldn't it be? History is ugly and current events surely aren't much better to look at. The book is structured chronologically by eight essays,... Continue Reading →

What’s Behind Each Trump Cabinet Door

Book review: Horsemen of the Trumpocalypse, by John Nichols "Presidents can often be inconsequential - or foolish, or erratic, or incomprehensible. But presidencies are never any of those things. They are powerful, overarching, definitional.  They shape more than policies; they shape our sense of what the United States can be...Donald Trump's presidency will make America something different than it... Continue Reading →

Snakes in the Church

Book review: Salvation on Sand Mountain, by Dennis Covington "Snake handling didn't originate back in the hills somewhere. It started when people came down from the hills to discover they were surrounded by a hostile and spiritually dead culture." At some point last year, I read an article, I think either about a preacher getting arrested or else bitten and... Continue Reading →

Shaking Up the Senate

Book review: Al Franken, Giant of the Senate, by Al Franken Al Franken would argue that, despite the title of his new book, he's not a giant of the Senate. That label is for the likes of Ted Kennedy and Mike Mansfield. But he certainly provides a lot of evidence in the book that argues... Continue Reading →

Breaking Down the Clinton Campaign, Mistake by Mistake

Book review: Shattered, by Jonathan Allen & Amie Parnes (Amazon / Book Depository) “The absurdities of the election - Russian cyberattacks, a rogue FBI director, and an orange-hued reality-TV star winning the Republican nomination - intensified the sense of grief for Hillary, Bill, and their inner circle.” As they did for all of us, really. Reporters Jonathan... Continue Reading →

Simpler Times: When Bill Met Monica

Book review: A Vast Conspiracy, by Jeffrey Toobin I was too young to understand much about, or grasp the gravity of what an impeachment was when it happened. What I remember most vividly of the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky saga was the edition of the newspaper where the lurid details appeared (maybe it was excerpts of the Starr... Continue Reading →

True Solace is Finding None

Book review: The Solace of Open Spaces, by Gretel Ehrlich (Amazon / Book Depository) "I came here four years ago. I had not planned to stay, but I couldn't make myself leave." Achingly beautiful, emotionally charged prose essays with a distinctly lyrical style, written by a young woman as she initially pursues a work project on... Continue Reading →

America’s Most Fragile

Book review: Glass House, by Brian Alexander Journalist Brian Alexander is a native of Lancaster, Ohio, a city highlighted by Forbes in 1947 with the shining, post-war pride declaration, "This is America." Now it's one of many towns in America's Rust Belt that's fallen victim to plagues of misfortune in recent decades - the restructuring and eventual closures of big companies,... Continue Reading →

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