Dark Roots and the Myth or Reality of a European Family History

Book review: A Crime in the Family, by Sacha Batthyany Swiss journalist Sacha Batthyany heard a disturbing rumor: near the end of the Second World War, his Aunt Margit was alleged to have participated in the massacre of hundreds of Jewish prisoners in the small Austrian town of Rechnitz. The crime took place during a party at her home attended by Nazi officers. He’s haunted, … Continue reading Dark Roots and the Myth or Reality of a European Family History

Ladies of Cryptography: The Women Who Broke War’s Codes

Book review: Code Girls, by Liza Mundy I’m in some kind of hush, hush business. Somewhere in Wash. D.C. If I say anything I’ll get hung for sure. I guess I signed my life away. But I don’t mind it. Code Girls, author Liza Mundy’s history of the women who worked tirelessly cracking codes to aid the American Army and Navy in World War II, opens with … Continue reading Ladies of Cryptography: The Women Who Broke War’s Codes

A Sampler From the Best American Series 2017

Book review: The Best American Series 2017 The Best American Series is an excellent anthology collection, if it’s not already on your radar. An editor chosen for their own standout contributions to each genre curates selections from the year’s best previously published works across websites, journals, and magazines. Plenty are fiction, like Mystery, Science Fiction/Fantasy, and Short Stories, but I find their nonfiction selections to usually be … Continue reading A Sampler From the Best American Series 2017

A Reporter, A Newspaper, And A Rural Cold Case

Book review: Mary Jane’s Ghost, by Ted Gregory Histories – call them stories if you like – never really end. It’s more like they continue to unfold, but we’ve left them; they’ve ceased to resonate. Chicago Tribune general assignment reporter Ted Gregory gets roped into the investigation and conspiracies of a fifty-year-old cold case while ruminating on the state of print newspapers and the difficulty in … Continue reading A Reporter, A Newspaper, And A Rural Cold Case

A Daughter After Her Mother: Rich Storytelling of Memoir and Murder

Book review: After the Eclipse, by Sarah Perry She believed in the souls of housecats and in the melancholy of rainy days. She believed in hard work, and the energy she poured into her job — hand-sewing shoes at a factory — seemed boundless…She was terrified of birds, at close range, and moths, at any distance, their blurred wings beating the air, their flight paths unpredictable…The clicking of … Continue reading A Daughter After Her Mother: Rich Storytelling of Memoir and Murder

Many Voices Tell Stories of Inequality in America

Book review: Tales of Two Americas, edited by John Freeman Editor John Freeman of Freeman’s (a literary biannual showcasing new writing) and executive editor of LitHub edits this new collection of essays, short stories, and poetry on inequality and by extension, the divisions of races, classes, origins and backgrounds, income divides, and other divisive groupings in contemporary America. The majority of these selections are nonfiction essays, but I … Continue reading Many Voices Tell Stories of Inequality in America

Trailing Trump: Memories From Covering an Unconventional Campaign

Book review: Unbelievable, by Katy Tur Asked by Brian Williams what she’s learned after 510 days of Trump, MSNBC reporter Katy Tur thinks to herself, “I’ve learned that Trump has his own version of reality, which is a polite way of saying he can’t always be trusted. He also brings his own sense of political decorum. I’ve heard him insult a war hero, brag about grabbing women by the … Continue reading Trailing Trump: Memories From Covering an Unconventional Campaign

What Are You Going to Do With All That Anger?

Book review: The People Are Going to Rise Like the Waters Upon Your Shore, by Jared Yates Sexton Jared Yates Sexton sprang to national prominence while attending a Donald Trump rally in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 2016. He was one of the first journalists to report on the blatant racism, violence, anger and frenetic energy being activated at these events. All of which contributed to the … Continue reading What Are You Going to Do With All That Anger?

The Minutes of An American Tragedy

Image of World Trade Center fog, November 1998. By Flickr user Beija (http://www.flickr.com/photos/beija/243997357) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons   Book review: 102 Minutes, by Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn From the moment the first hijacked plane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11, 2001, 102 minutes passed before both towers ultimately collapsed. As we know all too well, … Continue reading The Minutes of An American Tragedy

An Unusual Coming of Age in L.A.

Book review: We Are All Shipwrecks, by Kelly Grey Carlisle If you read history, you could learn where the ideas you took for granted actually came from and, what I found oddly reassuring, that the world had always been a terrible mess. Kelly Grey Carlisle had an unconventional childhood, to put it mildly. In 1976, at three weeks old, while she lay in a dresser drawer … Continue reading An Unusual Coming of Age in L.A.

Ted Bundy’s Coworker: The Biggest Break of a Crime Writer’s Life

Image of Highway 101 cutting through the old growth forests of Washington State by Sam Beebe (Slow – Hwy 101 old growth Uploaded by admrboltz) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons Book review: The Stranger Beside Me, by Ann Rule If In Cold Blood is the granddaddy of true crime, and a standout of quality narrative nonfiction regardless of genre, then The Stranger Beside Me must be next … Continue reading Ted Bundy’s Coworker: The Biggest Break of a Crime Writer’s Life

Teens Under Pressure: The Dark Side of College and Competition

Book review: What Made Maddy Run, by Kate Fagan espnW columnist Kate Fagan wrote a highly-praised and publicized article, “Split Image” about the 2014 suicide of Madison Holleran, a brilliantly promising, Ivy League student athlete. The article explored how and why this talented, successful, ambitious, and vivacious teenager attending the University of Pennsylvania as a track star student-athlete would want to take her life. In January 2014, … Continue reading Teens Under Pressure: The Dark Side of College and Competition