Category Archives: Contemporary Nonfiction

At the intersection of nature and imagination

It’s always a pleasure to have a review from Tom Dillon, who draws attention to books I might otherwise miss. Reviewed by Tom Dillon THE INVENTION OF NATURE: ALEXANDER VON HUMBOLDT’S NEW WORLD. By Andrea Wulf. Alfred A. Knopf. 473 pages. … Continue reading

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What did the president know …

Reviewed by Linda C. Brinson RICHARD NIXON: The Life. By John A. Farrell. Random House Audio. Read by Dan Woren. 29 hours; 23 CDs. $60. Also available in hardcover from Doubleday. There have been other biographies of Richard Nixon, the … Continue reading

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A most misunderstood president

Reviewed by Paul T. O’Connor HERBERT HOOVER: A LIFE. By Glen Jeansonne. Berkley. 464 pages. $28. Also available from Penguin Audio, read by Mark Deakins. 16 hours, 28 minutes. $29.95. Head west across Interstate 80 from Chicago, and you’ll come … Continue reading

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Fighting Irish – a tale for our times

Paul O’Connor reviews a new biography of a 19th-century immigrant who battled discrimination against himself even as he fought for freedom for those who were enslaved. Reviewed by Paul T. O’Connor THE IMMORTAL IRISHMAN. By Timothy Egan. Brilliance Audio. 14 hours, 9 … Continue reading

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Poverty, material and spiritual

This memoir/sociological analysis came out last summer, but Bob Moyer finds that it’s just as relevant now as it was during the thick of the presidential campaign. Reviewed by Robert P. Moyer HILLBILLY ELEGY. By J.D. Vance. Harper. 261 pages. $27.99. … Continue reading

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The enduring mountain

Tom Dillon, journalist and outdoorsman, reviews a new book that’s full of information about North Carolina’s beloved tourist attraction and state park. Reviewed by Tom Dillon GRANDFATHER MOUNTAIN: THE HISTORY AND GUIDE TO AN APPALACHIAN ICON. By Randy Johnson. University … Continue reading

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Why we do what we do

Reviewed by Paul T. O’Connor INVISIBLE INFLUENCE: THE HIDDEN FORCES THAT SHAPE BEHAVIOR. By Jonah Berger. Simon & Schuster. 232 pages. $26.99. As much as we’d all like to think that we run our own lives, there’s no denying that … Continue reading

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A wild tale, well told

The 1970s were crazy times, but enough time has elapsed to allow a good researcher and writer to make sense of the senseless. Paul O’Connor says Jeffrey Toobin has done just that. Reviewed by Paul T. O’Connor AMERICAN HEIRESS: THE … Continue reading

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Benedict Arnold: The rest of the story

Paul O’Connor, student of history, takes a look at a new book about one of the most reviled characters in America’s past. Reviewed by Paul T. O’Connor VALIANT AMBITION: GEORGE WASHINGTON, BENEDICT ARNOLD AND THE FATE OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. By … Continue reading

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Dean, Mike and Jimmy

Yes, I went to Wake Forest College/University (it changed names midway through my student days). But Wake Forest had moved from Wake County to Winston-Salem in the 1950s, and although as a student I quickly learned that beating Carolina, especially … Continue reading

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