What I knew was the surface. But Eleanor, David Michaelis’s recent biography, let me step into her heart. Now I could imagine how she ached for her father’s company, how her relatives’ comments must have stung, how her school days charged her mind and set it in perpetual motion. How awkward it was for her to show tenderness, how desperately she craved it. How fully she became herself and what power that gave her.
Page by Page: Book Reviews
Washington Post columnist Karen Tumulty does a great service in her new book by taking us behind the public façade. The Triumph of Nancy Reagan is a detailed, insightful, and gossipy look at the wife of Ronald Reagan, one of our most consequential, yet controversial presidents.
Entanglement, an anthropological and journalistic account of the business, art, and meaning of hair across the globe, among other things, tells two contrasting stories.
The Source of Self-Regard highlights over four decades of poignant commentary and analysis delivered in the form of graduation and conference keynotes, essays, invited lectures, and Nobel Prize duties. The result is a lens through which to view not only the esteemed author’s perspective and comprehension, but also the unchanging nature of American and global values concerning life, peace, transformation, history, truth, and human connection.
The Modern Christmas in America is an account of the evolution of Christmas in the United States between 1880 and 1940; these were the years of the formation of Christmas as we celebrate it today.
James Monroe is no fawning celebration of its subject, but it comes from a tradition in which authors went through all sorts of intellectual gymnastics to prove that their subjects were responding to the needs of the public rather than their own desires.
This biography does not address the low opinion many had of Gropius in that era, and it probably will not change some widespread perceptions of Gropius and modern architecture that have taken hold since his death in 1969. It does offer a readable and largely sympathetic account of the complicated personal history of this centrally important modern design educator and mentor.
In the end, Paul Hendrickson’s quest does succeed—just not in the way he leads us to expect. Throughout the book, he refers to “the back of” Wright’s life, as though it is an edifice. But it is the edifices Wright designed that reveal his humanity. We hear it when he articulates his vision; we hear it in Hendrickson’s descriptions of the structures.
In over thirty years of prodigious journalistic activity captured in The Scandal of the Century and Other Writings there is not much Gabriel García Márquez has not witnessed, read about, investigated, or invented. His style evolved and matured, but even his early writings never really feel like those of a young apprentice, crafted as they are with flair and a great deal of self-confidence.
Angela Stent’s book is a good and solid general review for those of us who have been monitoring Soviet and Russian affairs over the years, perhaps somewhat inconsistently and sporadically.