Page by Page: Book Reviews

Battering Down Sentence

Winner of this year’s Pulitzer Prize in history, Heather Ann Thompson’s account of the 1971 Attica Prison revolt and its aftermath makes for a readable, interesting, and at times gripping book. Almost every page contains some revelation that the State of New York tried mightily to suppress.

Reflections on the Fever Season

How the Hell Did This Happen? is a quick and diverting read that offers a bit to think about whether, and how much, our most recent presidential election reveals the country going completely off the rails.

The House of Pain

Sam Quinones’s Dreamland is a complex, fascinating and ultimately haunting book about a society betrayed by its fundamental trust in science and capitalism.

Meat Packing Blues

Slaughterhouse demonstrates how the stockyards district is once more at the forefront of innovation in food production and the use of urban space, again making Chicago a showplace for the future.

Classical Music and the Cold War

For readers interested in concert pianists, Van Cliburn and his story enrich our understanding of how classical musicians developed their careers against the backdrop of the Cold War. For those drawn to this book more out of interest in political history, Nigel Cliff shows that musicians’ stories can give us perspective on the private and public faces of this conflict.

A Tough Cop’s Patriotic Gore

Cop Under Fire is a rambling monologue, aggressively expressed if not always cogently persuasive as a set of arguments. It would serve Clarke adequately as a campaign book as it expounds his policy views in a number of areas, some only tangentially related, at best, to law enforcement.

Xanadu Redux

While Orson Welles’s Citizen Kane is one of the most beloved and frequently taught and dissected works in American film history, Lebo is careful to remind readers that the film’s success was anything but a foregone conclusion.

You Ought To Be In Pictures

Although Ellis Cashmore at times overstates Taylor’s influence his book Elizabeth Taylor is, at its best, as much about the public lives of the many people surrounding Taylor as it is about Taylor herself.

Gay Liberation as the Quest For Community

While Downs adds to the historical record detailed information about community and religious groups working with gay men in prison, his main objective in Stand By Me is to show how all of these sites of community formation, even those outside of urban areas, were part of gay liberation. This is his book’s greatest argumentative strength.

Opening and Entering the World of Tap Dancing

The author is at his best when piecing together anecdotes about a particular dancer’s life experiences or performance/creation process. Countless examples of this are in his book, which is why the text is still worth reading and valuable to dance.