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Books

Finding ‘Heart of Darkness’ on Ice

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The great achievement of Hampton Sides’ unforgettable new book about a group of American Arctic explorers only becomes apparent halfway into its 400-plus pages. In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette tells the story of an almost entirely forgotten episode that unfolded at the very end of the Age of Exploration. Three centuries after Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci lent his name to …

Still Sharing Nixon’s Secrets

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Washington — Forty years after Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace over the Watergate scandal, his former White House counsel, John Dean, who famously turned against the president, is back in Washington promoting his latest tome, The Nixon Defense. It is Dean’s third Watergate-related book since 1976. What could possibly be new? “I’ll show …

Ethan Allen: A Man Too Complex to Fit Into History’s Portrayals

Friday, August 15, 2014

Inventing Ethan Allen By John J. Duffy and H. Nicholas Muller III University Press of New England 304 pages, paperback, $29.95 Say what you want about Ethan Allen. Call him a hero for capturing Fort Ticonderoga. Call him a terrorist for leading mobs that torched homes and farms and horsewhipped civilians. Call him …

‘Second Amendment’ History on Target

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Second Amendment is just 27 words long: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” But in that single, awkwardly constructed sentence, Michael Waldman suggests in The Second …

Kellie Martin: Actor to Writer

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Pasadena, Calif. — Actress Kellie Martin was celebrating the best role she’d ever had. Even though she’d starred on shows like Christy and Life Goes On, she was co-starring on ER, a cosmic hit on television. But Martin’s …

Authors and Alcoholism

Friday, June 20, 2014

Our culture has a way of romanticizing the booze-addled scribe, the rakish writer quick with a quip: Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Cheever, Tennessee Williams, Raymond Carver. These were masters of American letters. These were also incorrigible …

Poet Laureate Charles Wright Can Be Hard To Reach

Friday, June 20, 2014

Charles Wright once said, “I want to be the anonymous author.” But for 44 years this modest Southerner has been publishing poetry, and the accolades have kept arriving: a National Book Award, a Pulitzer Prize, a National Book …

‘My Struggle’ Traces a Long Quest for Meaning in Daily Life

Friday, June 20, 2014

My Struggle: Book Three: Boyhood by Karl Ove Knausgaard, translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett; Archipelago (428 pages, $27) Norwegian writer Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle is the buzz book of the moment — or more accurately a certain kind of buzz book, for a certain kind …

Young Adult Novels Are Not for Old Adults

Friday, June 20, 2014

Since The Fault in Our Stars barreled into theaters this month virtually guaranteed to become a blockbuster, it can be hard to remember that once upon a time, an adult might have felt embarrassed to be caught reading the novel that inspired it. Not because it is bad …

‘Hard Choices’ an Easy Read

Sunday, June 15, 2014

She hasn’t decided yet. Or if she has, she’s not telling. But if Hillary Rodham Clinton does run for president in 2016, her new book Hard Choices, a chronicle of her four years as secretary of State, leaves …

Ghosts of the Great War

Sunday, June 8, 2014

What Americans know about World War I is probably nothing to brag about. How it started may be a mystery to many. Why the United States got involved, just as befuddling. Baby boomers may know something about the …

Celebrating a Curious Character

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Most small towns can be counted upon to have their own scribe, the person who records and commemorates its history, and West Windsor is no exception. For a time in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Daniel …

Warm Summer Air Carries Writers’ Voices to the Upper Valley

Friday, June 6, 2014

The way some of us who still enjoy driving will from time to time sit back and trust the wheel to another pilot, devoted bookworms in the Upper Valley this summer will find many opportunities to leave the …