last week

John F. Kennedy’s lover kept a diary, and it was explosive

On October 12, 1964, a prominent Washington socialite named Mary Pinchot Meyer was shot to death on the towpath along the C&O Canal in storied Georgetown. An African-American man spotted there was arrested for her murder, but no compelling evidence ever surfaced to support his conviction, and he was acquitted at trial. The case attracted […]

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3 weeks ago

Nothing noble about the nobility in 15th century England

She was the second daughter of the richest and most powerful man in England, more mighty than the king himself. He was Richard Neville, my namesake, known throughout the land as “Warwick the Kingmaker.” And during her childhood, he deposed one king and placed another on the throne. It was all part of his life-long […]

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last month

A biography of Joseph Stalin as told by the man himself

Across the Moscow River from the Kremlin lies the House on the Embankment. Built from 1928 to 1931, as Joseph Stalin was cementing his power at the helm of the Soviet Union, the building housed the nation’s elite. Top Party aparatchiks. Leading scientists. Artists. Writers. Journalists. Sports stars. Generals. Spies. Thus, during the purges of […]

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last month

A gripping tale about the early American labor movement

For several decades in the mid-twentieth century, America’s middle class prospered and grew. A vigorous labor movement gained livable wages and steadily expanding benefits for millions. To some extent, labor owed its central role in the economy to the reforms of the New Deal and the social change wrought by World War II. From an […]

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a couple of months ago

A brilliant novel dramatizes life under Jim Crow

In 2020 American society lurched a little closer toward a reckoning with the deeply entrenched racism that has poisoned our history ever since 1619. But with our attention rightfully drawn toward police murders of young Black men, many of us have lost perspective on how much worse conditions were for people of color a mere […]

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a few months ago

Russian history through indirection in “A Gentleman in Moscow”

When historians look back at the twentieth century, they invariably designate the Russian Revolution of 1917-20 as one of the seminal events of the period. And it’s hard to dispute that judgment. Arguably, the Bolshevik takeover in Russia set in motion other world-shaking episodes, including the Nazi defeat in World War II, the arms race […]

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a few months ago

Ken Follett sets up the Kingsbridge Trilogy in a prequel

For decades Welsh novelist Ken Follett was best known for his bestselling thrillers, beginning with Eye of the Needle (1978), which established his reputation as a master of the craft. A decade later he indulged his longstanding passion for the architecture of classic European cathedrals when he published Pillars of the Earth (1989), the inaugural […]

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7 months ago

Unforgettable characters in this delightful new novel

Why did Sportcoat, a deacon in the Five Ends Baptist Church, shoot Deems Clemens in broad daylight, right in front of his crew and the church ladies? Where does all that white-people’s cheese come from like clockwork every year for Hot Sausage to deal it out to all the folks of the Causeway Housing Projects? […]

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8 months ago

The classic African novel about colonization

It’s difficult to understand the world’s colonial past without reading this classic African novel. In barely more than 200 pages, this moving tale dramatizes the disruption Europeans inflicted on the people of the Global South during the five-century era of colonization (the 16th through the 20th centuries). Chinua Achebe‘s (1930-2013) masterpiece, Things Fall Apart, is […]

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