The Underground River by Martha Conway

The Underground River by Martha Conway

Since her mother died, May has lived with her actress cousin, serving as her seamstress and all-around servant. When the steamboat they are on explodes, May’s life changes and she has to find a job to support herself. May is quite literal which makes everything more difficult. When she finds a job on a theater […]


The River of Doubt : Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey by Candice Millard

The River of Doubt : Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey by Candice Millard

This reads like a gripping adventure novel but it’s actually a non-fiction account of Theodore Roosevelt’s 1914 journey down the River of Doubt, a tributary of the Amazon in Brazil. This exciting tale had me glued to my seat as Teddy, his son Kermit, and the rest of the members of the expedition fought their […]


Killers of the Flower Moon: the Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

Killers of the Flower Moon: the Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

Grann brings to life a period of American history about which I knew nothing: the 1920s oil boom in Osage County, Oklahoma and the murders of wealthy Osage Indians. The book reads almost like a suspense novel as Grann tells the story of how prejudice and greed on the part of whites led them to […]


The Hamilton Affair: a novel by Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman

The Hamilton Affair: a novel by Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman

Since all things Hamilton are trendy right now, and because I was lucky enough to score Hamilton tickets, I decided to brush up on my Hamilton history before seeing the show. Truth be told I knew nothing about the first Treasurer of the United States before I read this book (a sad state of affairs […]


The River of Kings by Taylor Brown

The River of Kings by Taylor Brown

River of Kings is a daring, violent quest  following 3 different strands of story down the Altamaha River including one from 1564 and one from today — and a mystery that mirrors and haunts the other two; this book is also written in gorgeous muscular prose that makes the river itself a powerful character in […]


The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey

The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey

While trapped in bed recovering from a broken leg, a policeman passes the time by investigating one of history’s great mysteries – did Richard III kill the Princes In The Tower? Based on impeccable historical research, and written to engross anyone as much as any modern potboiler mystery!


Jam on the Vine by LaShonda Katrice Barnett

Jam on the Vine by LaShonda Katrice Barnett

A fascinating and gripping novel of life as a female African American journalist in the early 20th century. A perfect complement to the age of “intersectionality”, Jam on the Vine features Muslim characters, gay and bi-sexual characters, and feminist characters, unafraid to speak out and to be themselves. Like role model Ida B. Wells, Ivo […]


Murder of a President

Murder of a President

Based on Candice Millard’s excellent book Destiny of the Republic, this PBS American Experience production takes us to Washington, D.C. in the summer of 1881. James Garfield has just been elected President and is turning out to be a strong leader–one determined to eliminate the horrible mess of machine politics and to continue the fight for equality for […]


The War that Saved My Life by Kimberley Brubaker Bradley

The War that Saved My Life by Kimberley Brubaker Bradley

Cruel and neglectful are the kindest things to say about these two English children’s mother. When they are evacuated to the countryside to avoid the Blitz, they are immigrants in a new, strange land. Understated, sad and triumphant, this is an important book for adults and children.


The Defender by Ethan Michaeli

The Defender by Ethan Michaeli

  I knew The Defender was highly influential in Chicago, especially on the south side, but I didn’t know about its national reach. For much of the 20th century the newspaper was near the epicenter of the nation’s social and political turbulence. It swayed the elections of Chicago mayors, of course, but also the elections […]