Category: American History

  • Franklin Roosevelt, meeting the challenges

    Reviewed by Linda C. Brinson FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT: A Political Life. By Robert Dallek. Penguin Audio. Read by Rick Adamson. 30 hours; 24 CDs. $79. Also available in print from Viking. 704 pages, $40. Robert Dallek’s new book about Franklin Roosevelt, published in November, has earned well-deserved spots on more than one “best book of…

  • A prudent president at a dangerous time

    Tom Dillon says Jeffrey Engel’s new book on the first President Bush takes a worthwhile look at a time most of us lived  through without fully understanding. WHEN THE WORLD SEEMED NEW: George H.W. Bush and the End of the Cold War.” By Jeffrey A. Engel. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 596 pages. $35. Reviewed by Tom Dillon…

  • War, independence and family ties

    Reviewed by Linda C. Brinson THE LOYAL SON: The War in Ben Franklin’s House. By Daniel Mark Epstein. Random House Audio. Read by Scott Brick. 16 ½ hours; 13 CDs. $60. Also available in hardback from Ballantine Books. Most of us probably think we know the story of Benjamin Franklin, and certainly the story of…

  • 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 only American president to resign from office. From what I’ve read, this new one by…

  • 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 across a National Park Service surprise in West Branch, Iowa: The Herbert Hoover National Historic…

  • 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 minutes. Read by Gerard Doyle. $11.95 Audible Download. Also available in paperback. Mariner Books. 384…

  • Pirates, beware

    Reviewed by Linda C. Brinson THE SHORES OF TRIPOLI: Lieutenant Putnam and the Barbary Pirates. By James L. Haley. Books on Tape. Read by Paul Boehmer. 15 ½ hours; 13 CDs. Also available in hardcover from G.P. Putnam’s Sons. 464 pages. Wow, what a book – a naval adventure tale full of action, interesting characters…

  • A haunting novel

    Reviewed by Linda C. Brinson LINCOLN IN THE BARDO. By George Saunders. Read by Nick Offerman, David Sedaris and George Saunders, with a full cast of others. Random House Audio. 7 ½ hours, 6 CDs. $35. Also available in print from Random House. George Saunders has earned his literary laurels through writing short fiction, as…

  • 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 of North Carolina Press, 290 pages, $35. Mention Grandfather Mountain near Linville, and the face…

  • An uncommon friendship

    The Roosevelts, the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War – these are fascinating topics of fairly recent history that have been dealt with extensively in books, movies and TV documentaries. Susan Quinn, coming at them from a different angle, has written a fascinating book that sheds new light even on stories we’ve heard…