Page by Page: Book Reviews

The Glory of the American Road

Jeff Guinn’s light-hearted prose takes the reader back to the early twentieth century. The book reads like a musical fugue: Its continuous theme is the annual trip; the variations, the uniqueness of each outing.

The Tie That Binds

Author Yunte Huang underscores throughout Inseparable the extent to which Chang and Eng Bunker valued their privacy, not to mention their struggles to live their adult years far from the stage.

The Mix and Mash-up of Being Human

What exactly does it mean to say that a book will tell us Who We Are and How We Got Here?  The immediate tendency is to conclude that the author really thinks, in the most reductive sense, that the “open sesame” code that will release the answers to human questions of identity is buried in our DNA.

Some of the President’s Men

The Fixers is a solid piece of investigative journalism, an anti-Trump book, to be sure, but objective and fair enough to be read by Trump partisans with interest, and even a limited level of enjoyment.

Sparky’s Opus

As I made my way through the book, I resisted the urge to cherry-pick essays by my favored cartoonists and writers, plowing straight through, which is probably the wrong way to read this book.

Touchstone Texts: It Can’t Happen Here

The novel’s attraction is solely its dystopian vision of a fascist America. None of its characters or situations are memorable. That is not to say that some of the characters are not interesting or diverting.

How Bitterness Nearly Destroyed a Great Athlete

Joe Frazier deserves more than a lurking presence in Ali’s shadow, and he knew it. As Mark Kram Jr. puts it in his new biography, Smokin’ Joe: The Life of Joe Frazier, “the antipathy he harbored for Ali simmered just below a boil” even to the end of his life.

Smallpox: The Rise and Decline of a Deadly Plague

The program to eradicate smallpox was always underfunded, encountered numerous obstacles from obstructionist, incompetent governments to floods, civil wars, famines, and droughts. It is a story that makes one believe that human beings are worth believing in.

What Sports Patrons Buy and Why They Buy It

As Cohan perceptively notes, fans tend to consider their sporting loyalties as matters of “nonfiction,” rooted in actual people and real action. In fact, our fandom consists of interpretative storytelling. We consume the tales generated by sports competition, and we refashion them to suit our personal needs.