Page by Page: Book Reviews

Root, Root, Root for the Home Team

Eric Nusbaum’s Stealing Home: Los Angeles, the Dodgers, and the Lives Caught in Between weaves together the historical narratives, biographies, and accounts of various stakeholders whose lives were impacted by the planning and construction of a modern day American sports cathedral: Dodger Stadium.

The Last Great White Hope

Pop culture will forever remember Tommy Morrison for two things: his unanimous-decision win over George Foreman in 1993 for the WBO Heavyweight Championship, and for his co-starring role with Sylvester Stallone in Rocky V. What writer Acevedo makes certain in this book is that Morrison will also be remembered for his fantastic lies and crazed behavior.

A Star is Born . . . And Self-Made 

In the end, what is clear is that all autobiographers are, alas and inevitably, the heroes or heroines of their own text. As every reader should know, every autobiography, in its own way, subtle or blatant, settles the scores it needs to settle while disguising its subject’s insecurities.

The Mystery of Christmas Revealed!

Michael P. Foley’s Why We Kiss Under the Mistletoe is not a history of Christmas but rather a series of chapters broken into vignettes, anecdotes, and historical tidbits about the holiday, ranging from food and drink associated with Christmas to St. Nicholas’s partners, and other saints who also were gift-givers. All of this is written in a highly accessible way that will surely charm or at least entertain a reader in the same way that a book like One Hundred Amazing Facts About, well, whatever might be a pleasant diversion, even as the book tries to remind the faithful that Christmas is no mere diversion, but about God’s engagement with the world or God’s willingness to engage human creation, which is worth taking seriously even for those who do not take this particular story seriously or do not take belief in God seriously.

The Roots and Persistence of the Idea of Decline

This book is as much a manifesto as a work of history. The manifesto is timely, important, and utterly persuasive. The history is a bit more complicated, but nevertheless offers an eloquent explanation of much that happened in the long history of Rome and its empire. Watts follows a long series of modern thinkers in […]

Remembering “The Poor Indian”

With his new biography of Jim Thorpe, David Maraniss has once more written a book about a seemingly transcendent sports figure. Thorpe is widely recognized as one of, if not the, greatest athlete of the twentieth century.

Memory, Politics, and the Fight Over History

The volume makes it hard not to sympathize with Tibetans, but to her credit, Tsering Woeser makes it clear at several points that Tibetans were not simply victims of Chinese authorities; they were also guilty of transgressions in the Cultural Revolution. Her larger point may be that humans in any group are capable of acting in ways that can shock others, and even themselves.