With little of Effa’s own words and personal details, the book is less a biography than an overview of how systemic racism played out in her childhood, in her young adulthood living in Harlem during the Renaissance and in the arc of the Negro Leagues. Despite the lack of Effa’s voice, however, this is a story worth telling and even more worth reading for a young audience.
Make no mistake. Our Team is a wonderful book in this sense. It is easy to read. It tells an interesting story built on thorough research in newspapers and secondary sources, skillful organization, pleasant writing, and narrative drive. Epplin gives each of his four main characters equal attention in an account carefully woven out of the cloth of several seasons. For the baseball fan, either serious or casual, even if one’s favorite team is not the Indians, this book can provide several hours of pleasure.
Much of The Lincoln Brigade involves actual warfare, action scenes that have little to do with the heroism of Boy Commandos but a lot to do with the grimness of EC war comics. Blood flows. Victories are followed by defeats, and by the end of the comic, we approach the present with old men’s memories.
Neither The Lyrics nor The Beatles Illustrated explains the mystery of the Beatles—how did these four guys from Liverpool create so many remarkable songs in such a short period of time?—but both books, but especially The Lyrics, allow us to once again marvel at the work itself and gain a bit of insight into the imagination that helped create it.
The essence of this well-crafted, highly engaging, and readable text is that African women are the persons that should be centered as foundational to where societies form knowledge. This is especially true if societies aspire to be just and humane.
What makes Little Brother important and a must-read certainly for St. Louisans is its powerful account of a slice of Black life in our region, a vivid picture of the good and the beautiful and the bad and the ugly of North County, a life cordoned off from the rest of St. Louis as if it were a leper colony. Westhoff’s account of the families, the male bravado, the petty crime, the violence, the art and aesthetic of its rap culture, all of this is worth the price of the book. For what Westhoff reveals is the vast profundity buried in the absurdity of Black urban life that also reveals the inadequacy, hypocrisy, and flawed nature of White bourgeois life.
In Bailey’s version of the trial—as the subtitle of his book declares—he was the master strategist and courtroom impresario while Robert Shapiro was the bumbling and increasingly envious knucklehead who blew the preliminary hearing, believed O.J.’s best option was to seek a plea deal to manslaughter, and, when he learned that the jury had reached a verdict, made a panicked call to Alan Dershowitz to prepare the appeal.
The poet is the kind of trail guide to whom you ask, “How did we get here?” You may retrace your steps to find an answer, although you are more likely to find other questions, or step onto other trails you had not observed before.
Here is the story of how the development of nuclear power that had peacetime possibilities and Hyman Rickover’s personality merged at an essential moment to create a reactor that worked by 1953. Someone else could have developed the nuclear sub, but no one could have done it as quickly and as well as Rickover did.
Shot at a Brothel tells, crisply and succinctly, the story of the rise and fall of Oscar Bonavena, a significant, though not great, boxer of the 1960s and 1970s. Like the other books in the Hamilcar Noir series, it shows the underbelly of the world of boxing through short biographies of fighters who sustained tragic ends.