Outsiders Bearing Witness to Revolution

Caught in the Revolution: Petrograd, Russia, 1917 – A World on the Edge by Helen Rappaport (Amazon / Book Depository) Helen Rappaport, author of 2014’s popular history The Romanov Sisters, among other titles on history and royals both Russian and otherwise, explains in her acknowledgments for Caught in the Revolution that while working as a historian she was struck by “…how much seemed to have been written about … Continue reading Outsiders Bearing Witness to Revolution

Secrets of Small Town Germany

Book review: The Scholl Case by Anja Reich-Osang, translated by Imogen Taylor (Amazon / Book Depository) In the last days of 2011, Brigitte Scholl, the wife of a former mayor of the small town of Ludwigsfelde to the south of Berlin, is found murdered in the forest. Shortly after, suspicion falls on her husband Heinrich Scholl, and he’s eventually convicted of the crime. I lived … Continue reading Secrets of Small Town Germany

Tales of a Red Storm Coming

Book review: 1917: Stories and Poems from the Russian Revolution selected by Boris Dralyuk (Amazon / Book Depository) In college I took a class in Russian Literature of the Silver Age. This is the period of the late 19th/early 20th century when Russian literature reached impressive creative heights. It was such an enlightening course, and introduced me to many of the names that come up in … Continue reading Tales of a Red Storm Coming

Sampling the Year’s Best American Short Writings

Book review: The Best American Series: 16 Short Stories and Essays This is a literary series definitely worth knowing. I’m a big anthology fan – blame it on my Creative Writing degree, our professors were always assigning anthologies and I loved discovering new stuff I’d never have come across on my own. But even if you’re not, this series is great for getting more exposure into … Continue reading Sampling the Year’s Best American Short Writings

A Serial Killer and the Sickness of the Soviet Union

Bridge across the River Don in Rostov-on-Don, Russia; one of many cities that were the scenes of the grisly crimes of Soviet serial killer Andrei Chikatilo, also known as the Rostov Ripper or the Red Ripper. Photo credit: Zhanett.b, Wikimedia Commons. Book review: The Red Ripper: Inside the Mind of Russia’s Most Brutal Serial Killer, by Peter Conradi (Amazon / Book Depository) A few years ago I … Continue reading A Serial Killer and the Sickness of the Soviet Union

Lessons from Borough Park and the Payne Whitney

Photo: New York Hospital, Payne Whitney Clinic. From the Historic American Buildings Survey, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Washington D.C. Credit: Wikimedia Commons Book review: One of These Things First: A Memoir, by Steven Gaines (Amazon ($1.99 ebook alert!) / Book Depository) It sounds strange, but I’ve read a couple of Holocaust memoirs lately and I needed to read something light and funny, stat. … Continue reading Lessons from Borough Park and the Payne Whitney

When the Upper West Side Was Seedy

Book review: Closing Time, by Lacey Fosburgh (Amazon / Book Depository) Page turner about the 1973 murder of a schoolteacher on New York City’s Upper West Side by a troubled drifter. I haven’t read the book or seen the film Looking for Mr. Goodbar, which immortalized the case, and didn’t know much about the case itself. One detail had always stuck with me from whatever … Continue reading When the Upper West Side Was Seedy

The Classic Account of the Boston Strangler

  Book review: The Boston Strangler, by Gerold Frank (Amazon / Book Depository) (P.S. – $1.99 ebook alert for that one on Amazon) I know I have to take a break from true crime sooner or later, but this kept getting recommended as a good example of the genre, and then I noticed a newly released ebook version from Open Road Integrated Media on Netgalley. … Continue reading The Classic Account of the Boston Strangler