Archive for the ‘Non-Fiction’ Category

Ansel Adams’ Foray into Photojournalism at Manzanar

August 29th, 2011 No comments

Ansel Adams’ little known book Born Free and Equal: The Story of Loyal Japanese-Americans at Manzanar Relocation Center, Inyo County, California, is now the focus of an exhibit at the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum in Washington. A copy of the original book has been printed out for display at the Ansel Adams: A Portrait of Manzanar exhibit. A selection of the Manzanar photographs, some never shown publicly, are also on display through Dec. 7. Adams, who captured iconic black and white images of Yosemite National Park and the American West, took a more photojournalistic approach for the book, interviewing internees as well as documenting moments of their daily lives with pictures. Originally published in 1944, the American public received Born Free and Equal with mixed reactions. According to the Library of Congress website, the book garnered positive reviews and a spot on the Francisco Chronicle‘s bestseller list. In contrast a recent Seattle Times article reports that the book also incited protests, was publicly burned and condemned as “disloyal”. Read more…


The Advantages of Growing Up in the Middle

August 25th, 2011 No comments

Authors Catherine Salmon and Katrin Schuman take a new stance on middle children, those who often get lost in the family mix, in their new book The Secret Power of Middle Children: How Middleborns Can Harness Their Unexpected and Remarkable Abilities. Though older and younger siblings are sometimes perceived as outshining middle-borns, there are quite a few advantages to being stuck in the middle. The lack of the intense parental scrutiny that other children in the family may receive frees middle children to explore their own path. Read more…


New Release: Skyjack

August 15th, 2011 No comments

By Geoffrey Gray
Crown | 320pgs
Release Date: August 9, 2011

An innocuous man, who boarded a Northwest Orient flight from Portland to Seattle under the name Dan Cooper on November 24, 1971, perpetrated the most daring and mysterious hijacking in American history. Twenty-eight short minutes into the flight Cooper passed a note to a flight attendant demanding $200,000 and threatening to blow up the plane with a bomb he carried in his briefcase. On landing in Seattle, the passengers were released in exchange for the cash and parachutes and the plane once again took off. At an altitude of 10,000 feet, Cooper, later reported erroneously in the media as D.B. Cooper, parachuted out over a dark forest in the Pacific Northwest, and disappeared without a trace. Reporter Geoffrey Gray attempts to shed new light on the infamous crime and explore new leads in Skyjack: The Hunt for D.B. Cooper. With thorough research, firsthand interviews and unprecedented access to Cooper’s FBI file, Gray launches his own investigation and considers an array of suspects, some credible, others outlandish. Read more…


A Tribute to Children’s Author Robert McCloskey

July 29th, 2011 No comments

Jane McCloskey writes a loving tribute to her father in Robert McCloskey: A Private Life in Words and Pictures (Smith/Kerr Assoc, 256pgs). The children’s book author is best known for his classic picture books Make Way For Ducklings, One Morning in Maine and Blueberries for Sal. Though these award-winning books were written decades ago, the stories are timeless and remain popular with children today. In her own book, Jane, the writer’s youngest daughter and sister of Sal, presents a lively depiction of their family life in Maine, a place that inspired many of McCloskey’s stories. Jane also touches on the family’s time in New York and Mexico. Though they all shared a very loving bond, she admits that, like any family, there were a few bumps in the road. “Sal’s childhood was less happy than mine, while her adulthood has been happier and more successful,” she writes. Read more…


Spinning the Tale of Charlotte’s Web

July 14th, 2011 No comments

July 11th marked what would have been writer E.B. White’s 112th birthday. Born Elwyn Brooks White in Mt. Vernon, NY in 1899, the celebrated children’s author passed away in 1985 leaving behind a legacy of beloved stories. Stuart Little, The Trumpet of the Swan and the adored Charlotte’s Web have captivated children of all ages for decades. Publisher’s Weekly recently polled authors, publishers, teachers and librarians on the best children’s books ever published in the U.S., and Charlotte’s Web topped the list. Distinguished nonfiction writer Michael Sims pays tribute to White and delves into the creation of the iconic story of a spider and a pig in the new book The Story of Charlotte’s Web: E. B. White’s Eccentric Life in Nature and the Birth of an American Classic. Read more…


The Consequences of Tasteless Tomatoes

July 11th, 2011 No comments

Former Gourmet magazine writer Barry Estabrook provides answers to anyone wondering why today’s supermarket tomatoes taste so bland in his new book Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 240pgs). The author explores tomato farming in South Florida, where the majority of U.S. tomatoes are grown in the winter months. On the surface Florida’s sandy, nutrient poor soil seems an odd choice to grow the red fruit, but the state’s warm winter weather allows the plants to grow in the off season, and farmers compensate by saturating the earth with dozens of pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers. Growers strive to create a uniformly shaped tomato that is hardy enough to survive transport across the country. The actual taste of the produce is no longer a factor, and even the color is not naturally achieved. Green tomatoes are gassed with ethylene to achieve their dull orange-red color. Read more…


Steve Martin Musically Inspired by Paul Revere

July 1st, 2011 No comments

Steve Martin, the multi-talented, multi-hyphenate performer and Grammy winning banjo musician is set to perform his new song Me and Paul Revere with bluegrass band Steep Canyon Rangers on PBS’ A Capitol Fourth television special, airing Monday, July 4th at 8pm E.T. According to an interview with USA Today, the comedian based the song on the 1994 book Paul Revere’s Ride, which gives an historical account of the Revolutionary’s midnight ride. The critically acclaimed book, written by Brandeis University history professor David Hackett Fischer, outlines the American patriot’s biography and lays out the historical facts of the battles of Lexington and Concord. Read more…


True Stories from an Undercover Art Crime Agent

June 29th, 2011 No comments

If the fictional exploits of government spies like Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan and John Le Carré’s George Smiley don’t have the gritty realism some readers crave, they might try picking up a copy of Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures, written by former FBI agent Robert Wittman. Now in paperback, the bestseller reveals details of several cases that Wittman worked while heading up the FBI’s Art Crime Team. His real-life experiences have all the ingredients of a high-octane spy thriller: mob connected thugs, police informants, millions of dollars worth of stolen art and FBI sting operations. The common thread being Wittman, whose chameleon-like ability to slip into different personas helped bring hardened criminals to justice and recover millions of dollars in fine art. Read more…


New Release: We First

June 7th, 2011 No comments

By Simon Mainwaring
Palgrave Macmillan | 256pgs
Release Date: June 7, 2011


Simon Mainwaring, a branding and social media expert who has worked with the world’s most influential corporations, proposes a new business paradigm in We First: How Brands and Consumers Use Social Media to Build a Better World. He envisions a world where companies leverage social media not only for profit, but for the improvement of the community as well. Mainwaring contends the “Me First” corporate greed mentality is unsustainable and harmful to society. Instead, the book offers an alternative to corporations and consumers, where decisions in the production and purchase of goods are made for the benefit of greater good. The idea of “contributory consumption” is introduced, where each commercial interaction contributes to the betterment of the environment, and the world at large. Case studies from global giants such as Pepsi, Toyota and Nike are used to show how new strategies can achieve success. Read more…


Lee Confirms Cooperation with “Mockingbird” Memoir

May 26th, 2011 No comments

Harper Lee

Controversy erupted in April surrounding Marja Mills’ book The Mockingbird Next Door: Life With Harper Lee, when Lee’s law firm released a statement denying any cooperation with the writer. In response to the denial, Mills sent an e-mail through her publisher Penguin Press to the New York Times, stating that “Harper Lee, known as Nelle to many of her friends, and her sister, Alice Lee, were wonderfully generous with their time and insights over the years as I researched my book.” She also produced a signed statement from Alice Lee “affirming she and her sister, Nelle Harper Lee, cooperated with the project.” Read more…