Book Review: New Look at Robert Frost Poem

The Road Not Taken: Finding America in the Poem Everyone Loves and Almost Everyone Gets Wrong. By David Orr. Penguin Press (2015). 184 pp.   In his 1998 biography of Andrew Wyeth, Richard Meryman tells of a time when Robert Frost contacted the eminent painter. Frost wanted Wyeth to paint his portrait, because Frost thought … Continue reading Book Review: New Look at Robert Frost Poem

Lizzie Borden on Trial Book Review

Lizzie Borden on Trial: Murder, Ethnicity and Gender. Joseph A. Conforti. Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 2015.   Joseph A. Conforti’s Lizzie Borden on Trial examines the infamous case of Lizzie Borden, who was accused of murdering her stepmother and father with an axe in 1892. Conforti offers a new perspective on the case by … Continue reading Lizzie Borden on Trial Book Review

Baseball & American Society: Ground-Rule Double

Baseball & American Society: How a Game Reflects the American Experience. By Charles DeMotte. Cognella, 199 pages, 2014.   SUNY Cortland professor Charles DeMotte set a daunting task for himself: present an overview of American history, juxtapose it with the development and evolution of baseball from the late 18th century to the present, and wrap … Continue reading Baseball & American Society: Ground-Rule Double

Music and Multicultural America: Book Review

The Music of Multicultural America: Performance, Identity, and Community in the United States, Kip Lornell and Anne K. Rasmussen, eds. Jackson: University of Mississippi Press, 2016.  Ponder this: Folk performances were born in isolation, but fiber optics, Wi-Fi signals, cable, and satellite dishes connect us, even though the United States remains the world's most diverse … Continue reading Music and Multicultural America: Book Review

Book Review: Bigger than Ben-Hur

Bigger Than Ben-Hur: The Book, Its Adaptations, and Their Audiences. Edited by Barbara Ryan and Milette Shamir. New York: Syracuse University Press, 2016. . For many fans, the best-known film version of Ben-Hur is the 1959 film version, with its memorable chariot race between Charlton Heston as Ben-Hur and Stephen Boyd as Messala. For fans … Continue reading Book Review: Bigger than Ben-Hur

Spain in Our Hearts: Adam Hochschild’s Call to Remember

Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 Adam Hochschild Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 464 pages, 2016  Humankind is often blind to irony, but history is not. I was just pages from finishing Adam Hochschild's searing look at the Spanish Civil War when I came upon his comment that there was but a … Continue reading Spain in Our Hearts: Adam Hochschild’s Call to Remember

New Book Chronicles North American Soccer League

Rock ‘N’ Roll Soccer: The Short Times and Fast Life of the North American Soccer League. By Ian Plenderleith, London: Icon Books Ltd., 2014.   In his new book, Ian Plenderleith, a veteran soccer journalist, chronicles the North American Soccer League’s (NASL) history. Plenderleith's monograph begins with the NASL’s origins. During the 1966 World Cup, … Continue reading New Book Chronicles North American Soccer League

Gene Basset’s Vietnam Sketchbook

Gene Basset’s Vietnam Sketchbook: A Cartoonist’s Wartime Perspective. By Thom Rooke. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2015.  Among the regrets of the passing of the newspaper age is the decline of news illustration. There are some places where digital cameras and video recorders can’t go—inside courtrooms, for instance. Although major metropolitan newspapers still employ sketch artists, … Continue reading Gene Basset’s Vietnam Sketchbook

Daisy Turner’s Kin Merges Oral History, Griot Traditions, and Professional History

Daisy Turner’s Kin: An African American Family Saga. By Jane Beck. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2015. According the U.S. census, 96% of all Vermonters are Caucasian and just .05% are African American. Officially it's the second whitest state in the Union (after Maine). Jane Beck’s superb new book, Daisy Turner’s Kin, suggests a … Continue reading Daisy Turner’s Kin Merges Oral History, Griot Traditions, and Professional History