Category: American History

  • FDR and the huddled masses

    Our references to history can be as selective as our use of current “facts.” Paul O’Connor takes a look at a recent book that tells the uncomfortable story of the Roosevelt administration’s dealings with Jews and other refugees before the U.S. entered World War II. Reviewed by Paul T. O’Connor 1944: FDR And The Year…

  • 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 WILD SAGA OF THE KIDNAPPING, CRIMES AND TRIALS OF PATTY HEARST. By Jeffrey Toobin. Doubleday.…

  • 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 Nathaniel Philbrick. Read by Scott Brick. Penguin Audio. 13 hours, 30 minutes. $45. Also available…

  • A grim reminder

    A new audio version of a 2006 book offers some important lessons about our not-so-distant past. Reviewed by Paul T. O’Connor FIRE AND BRIMSTONE: THE NORTH BUTTE MINING DISASTER OF 1917. By Michael Punke. Read by Christopher Grove. Random House Audio. 9 hours, 17 minutes. $20. Write a novel that’s made into an Academy Award winning…

  • The remarkable story of the second First Lady Adams

    Here’s an outstanding biography of an often-overlooked woman. Reviewed by Linda C. Brinson LOUISA: The Extraordinary Life of Mrs. Adams. By Louisa Thomas. Books on Tape. Read by Kirsten Potter. 15 ½ hours; 13 CDs. Also available in hardcover from Penguin Press. Louisa Thomas has applied her skills as a journalist and an author ably…

  • A man of his times

    Paul O’Connor found more than he expected in a new biography of General Custer. Reviewed by Paul T. O’Connor CUSTER’S TRIALS: A LIFE ON THE FRONTIER OF A NEW AMERICA. By T.J. Stiles. Books on Tape. Read by Arthur Morey. 23 hours, 42 minutes. $95. Also available in hardcover. Knopf. $30. Authors of historical fiction…

  • Who we were, who we are

    It’s worthwhile to learn history, and to learn from history, and especially, as Paul O’Connor observes, to see how yesterday’s mistaken attitudes persist today. Reviewed by Paul T. O’Connor THE BROTHERS: JOHN FOSTER DULLES, ALLEN DULLES AND THEIR SECRET WORLD WAR. By Stephen Kinzer. Read by David Cochrane Heath. Blackstone Audio. 13 hours, 28 minutes.…

  • The Civil War – and more

    Paul O’Connor observes that even if it shouldn’t be judged by its cover, this book is good reading nonetheless. Reviewed by Paul T. O’Connor THE WAR THAT FORGED A NATION: WHY THE CIVIL WAR STILL MATTERS. By James McPherson. Read by Grover Gardner. Audible.com. 7 hours and 29 minutes. $19.95. You have to be careful…

  • Before Castro, there was the U.S. mob

    With Cuba about to be much in the news, Paul O’Connor reviews a 2008 book that should help put the coverage and discussions into accurate perspective. Reviewed by Paul T. O’Connor HAVANA NOCTURNE: HOW THE MOB OWNED CUBA AND THEN LOST IT TO THE REVOLUTION. By T.J. English. Read by Mel Foster. Audible.com. 13 hours…

  • Lincoln, military genius

    Paul O’Connor somehow missed this excellent Civil War history when it was published a few years ago, and he’s glad he found it now as an audio book. Reviewed by Paul T. O’Connor TRIED BY WAR: ABRAHAM LINCOLN AS COMMANDER IN CHIEF. By James M. McPherson. Penguin Audio. 8 CDs. Read by George Guidall. $31.50.…