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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 …

A President’s Faith

Friday, June 6, 2014

In 1976, Jimmy Carter won the presidency on a wave of public disillusionment with government. After Watergate, Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace in 1974, and the Vietnam War ended in 1975 with the fall of Saigon. The economy …

‘Portlandia’s’ Batty Bookstore Duo B ids for Emmy Attention

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Los Angeles — Portland’s best known feminist bookstore owners are headed to Los Angeles this week, and they mean business. Funny business. Toni and Candace, the bohemian couple who run the Women and Women First bookstore in IFC’s quirky sketch comedy Portlandia, will be squaring off with a …

Duncan Hines: An Early Food Celebrity

Sunday, June 1, 2014

“Mention the name ‘Duncan Hines’ to Americans under 55 today and the image their minds will undoubtedly conjure is a cake mix package,” writes Louis Hatchett in the introduction to Duncan Hines: How a Traveling Salesman Became the …

Searching for White’s Maine

Saturday, May 24, 2014

When I pulled off I-95 near Augusta, Maine, I needed gas and caffeine. But something else was even more pressing. The cover of E.B. White’s book One Man’s Meat that I had torn off and affixed to my …

A Tongue-in-Cheek Guide for the Newly Wealthy

Friday, May 23, 2014

“It goes without saying that the foundation of social climbing is money. It is really no good without it.” So begins Chapter One of a slim but instructive volume by Lincoln Kerney titled The Art of Social Climbing. …

Tolkien’s 1926 Translation of ‘Beowulf’ Printed

Friday, May 23, 2014

“Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary” by J.R.R. Tolkien, edited by Christopher Tolkien; Houghton Mifflin, NY (448 pages, $28) One does not casually read Beowulf. It takes commitment. It also takes a good translation, and few were better at …

Legendary CIA Operative Robert Ames Gets His Due in New Biography

Friday, May 23, 2014

“The Good Spy: The Life and Death of Robert Ames” by Kai Bird; Crown (448 pages, $26) The collapse last month of America’s latest efforts to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal marked another spin in the relentless cycle of heartache, conflict and terrorism in the Middle East. Arguably …

‘Why We Stay’ in Royalton

Friday, May 23, 2014

‘Why We Stay,’ a documentary photography project of Chris Cammock and Nate Larson, releases its second book this evening at the Royalton Memorial Library in South Royalton with a reception from 5:30 to 7:30. Cammock and Larson, who …

Film, TV Productions Flock to Bay State

Friday, May 23, 2014

Devens, Mass. — Desi Van Til describes her film Tumbledown as a love letter to her home state of Maine. Van Til wrote the indie movie that stars Jason Sudeikis and Rebecca Hall and is based on her …

Ruth Reichl Returned to The Kitchen For Novel

Friday, May 23, 2014

When magazine publishing giant Condé Nast announced in 2009 that it was closing Gourmet magazine, editor-in-chief Ruth Reichl suddenly found herself unmoored. “My basic philosophy is that when you’re in trouble, do the hardest thing,” Reichl says by phone from her home in upstate New York. “Do the …