Books USA

Books USA

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Dream City Is Connecting City Students to DC History

Two decades ago, after then-D.C. Mayor Marion Barry’s infamous arrest for smoking crack cocaine at the Vista Hotel, local journalists Tom Sherwood and Harry Jaffe published a book that chronicled Barry’s life and the history of the District of Columbia.

Long out of print, “Dream City” has remained a defining account of the District’s struggles for civil rights and self-governance and against crack and violence. Now it’s available as an e-book, and there is a push to get it into the hands of high school students to help them understand the roots of the fast-changing city they call home.

To continue reading this post, which 1st appeared in The Washington Post, click here.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Embassies in DC Showing Off with Coffee Table Books

Are diplomatic missions in Washington trying to out-book each other, raising their countries’ profiles and drawing attention to the depth of their ties to the United States in beautifully illustrated coffee-table tomes that also make great gifts for visiting dignitaries?

If so, “The Architecture of Diplomacy: The British Ambassador’s Residence in Washington” is upping the ante. The latest of several books about embassies’ architectural and diplomatic histories, this new volume about the English country house designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens in the 1920s to house the British Embassy is published by Paris-based Flammarion and distributed in the United States by the high-end arts-and-design house, Rizzoli.

To continue reading this post, which 1st appeared in The Washington Post, click here.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Teddy Roosevelt; A 'Force of Nature' in the White House

AMERICANS, a wag once observed, like thin women and fat books. They don’t come much fatter than Doris Kearns Goodwin’s The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt and the Golden Age of Journalism.
At 901 pages (750 pages of text and 150 pages of references), it puts the stamina of non-American readers to the test.
That said, for anyone with an interest in US presidential politics, Kearns Goodwin’s account of how, little more than a century ago, Teddy Roosevelt made use of the skills of investigative journalists to rein in the excesses of archcapitalists such as John D Rockefeller, JP Morgan and Edward Harriman, and how he then subsequently promoted and fell out with his chosen successor, William Howard Taft, makes for a wholly absorbing read.
To continue reading this post, which 1st appeared in Business Day Live, click here.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Changing Lives One Page at a Time: Book Carts Coming to DC Jail

Last November, when Council member Tommy Wells chaired a hearing on the high rate of suicides and suicide attempts at the D.C. jail, various solutions were proposed. Many focused on removing objects from cells, but Sam Jewler testified that some should be added: books.
“One effect of incarceration is that you’re kind of hidden away from society,” he said recently. “If you’re better able to read and write, I think you’re better able to communicate with the outside world, and better able to stay out of trouble inside.”
Jewler’s day job is at Congress Watch, a Capitol Hill-based division of Public Citizen, a group founded by Ralph Nader. He also volunteers with the Free Minds Book Club and Writing Workshop, which works with juveniles, mostly 16- and 17-year-olds, who have been incarcerated as adults at the D.C. jail.
“We have seen firsthand how books change lives,” said Free Minds Executive Director Tara Libert. “Books are a complement to a mental health strategy.”
To continue reading this post, which 1st appeared in The Washington Post, click here.

Monday, September 29, 2014

A Secret History of Washington, DC

Make no mistake. “Empire of Mud,” J.D. Dickey’s history of early Washington, is a bracing and graceful read, but upon finishing its ­calamity-laden pages, you may conclude that a lot of people had a lot of years to get a job done and failed to do it — and that their failure haunts us in ways too numerous to count.

So if you can stomach learning how our beautiful, vexed city became a cat toy for national politicians and an ongoing rebuke of democracy, this is as good a place as any to start.

To continue reading this review, which 1st appeared in The Washington Post, click here.