Page by Page: Book Reviews

Why The Fiddler Sticks

It may be mere schmaltz from the shtetl, but the story and songs of Tevye, his daughters, and life in Anatevka has shaped Jewish identity to a surprising degree.

Cities of War

David Kilcullen’s new book predicts the future of armed conflict through terrorism’s recent past, and with the city as its stage, but Out of The Mountains is best when it’s analyzing, not prophesying.

Bird On a Wire

Stanley Crouch gives us the best biography yet of Charlie Parker, the first jazz musician to let the saxophone lead the way, and the seminal musician who could make his horn sound “sweet,” yet “devoid of pity.”

Life Played By Ear

A new biography of Louis Armstrong refuses to draw a firm distinction between art and commercial entertainment, and argues that Armstrong himself made no such distinction, indeed would hardly have understood it.

Finding Faults

The Earth moves in mysterious ways, and even once altered the flow of the Mississippi River. Conevery Bolton Valencius’ new book on Missouri’s New Madrid fault shows how those tremors spread through culture and history. Read it, and be prepared when “The Big One” next hits.”

Magical Autobiography Tour

Alan Dershowitz’s autobiography may have you searching for an exit, but not before submitting to the gargantuan pull of his self-regard, and hard-earned status as a lawyer of legend.

The Show of Shows

Kevin Cook writes an informative, insightful biography of Comedian Flip Wilson, the first black entertainer to successfully host a TV variety show. Gerald Early reviews Flip: The Inside Story of TV’s First Black Superstar.

Food Fights

The short, but dense, Something to Chew On serves up no-nonsense, stimulating fare over a range of food controversies, from GMOs to weight-loss and world hunger. Digest it if you dare.

District Restoration

Working against sometimes clunky prose, but with an eye on posterity, Washington D.C.’s most (in)famous mayor tells his story of power, the temptations of power, and his legacy forgotten amidst scandal.