Genghis Khan and the Mongols are generally portrayed as ruthless butchers who slaughtered entire cities and left behind great piles of human bones as memorials to their conquests.
April 2015 marks the sesquicentennial of the end of the U.S. Civil War. As we look back on that momentous event in U.S. history, we should take time to reconsider one of the war’s most important figures, Ulysses S. Grant. Most famous as a general, Grant’s life spans an important part of U.S. history. Moreover, Grant’s prose is clear and evocative, proving him to be a great writer,and the author of one of the finest examples of the military memoir.
At 58 Grafton Way, a blue plaque celebrates the “precursor of Latin American Independence” Francisco de Miranda (1750-1816), resident at this address between 1802 and 1810, and the subject of Karin Racine’s book, Francisco de Miranda, a Transatlantic Life in the Age of Revolution.
Peter Davison’s careful selection and annotation of George Orwell’s personal correspondence in provides an engrossing autobiography of a man whose work continues to resonate globally in significant ways.
Contrasting visions of Reagan have been especially stark in the realm of foreign affairs. Advocates often argue that he launched a new arms race that undermined the Soviet Union. Critics remember a detached leader presiding over the shameful Iran-Contra scandal. Both depictions are problematic, as they accentuate different aspects of a complex, often inscrutable man.
Reflecting on his motives for joining the Royal Welch Fusiliers at the outbreak of the First World War, Robert Graves wrote: “I thought that it might last just long enough to delay my going to Oxford in October, which I dreaded.” So began a five year pause in Graves’ life, in which the main action of his autobiography unfolds.
Perhaps one day some whimsical people with money will get together and honor books for their subtitles. Lawrence Friedman’s new biography of Erich Fromm, subtitled “Love’s Prophet,” wins for getting the total picture; for, in just two words, capturing a imagewhole life. But it couldn’t have been a difficult choice.
The autobiography follows Katsu’s whirlwind of adventures, which involved a great deal of fighting, name-calling, and extortion. What Katsu lacks in ambition is more than made up for by his knack for getting into trouble.
The Memory Chalet stands apart from most memoirs. Written by Tony Judt, renowned imageBritish historian, best known for his work “Postwar” (2005), after becoming quadriplegic as a result of Lou Gehrig’s disease, the memoir began as a simple memory exercise meant to distract himself from the discomforts of insomnia.
In the past ten years, Americans have shown a sustained interest in cultural depictions of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), or the Mormon Church. South Park’s 2003 episode “All about Mormons” and the 2011 musical The Book of Mormon satirized the founding of the LDS church.