Saturday, February 28, 2015

In Memory - Mr. Spock

Best known for his role on the short-lived (three seasons) 1960's  television series Star Trek, Boston born Leonard Nimoy was an accomplished artist in such diverse fields as poetry, photography, music and directing.

As a director, he began with “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock” in 1984. He went on to direct five more feature films, including “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” (1986) and the 1987 blockbuster comedy “Three Men and a Baby.” Mr. Nimoy also directed television projects.

Mr. Nimoy  recorded several albums, beginning with “Mr. Spock’s Music From Outer Space” in 1968. “I had a great time doing it,” he said of the record. “I never looked for a recording career.”
Along the way he lent his distinct baritone to a variety of covers of pop hits, including “I Walk the Line,” “Proud Mary,” “If I Had a Hammer,” “Put a Little Love in Your Heart” and “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town.”

In the visual arts, Mr. Nimoy had a longtime interest in photography that he channeled later in life into several books and exhibitions at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art and elsewhere. His specialty was portraiture, often involving the kind of subjects that don’t frequently adorn gallery walls. 

Leonard Nimoy died yesterday morning at his home in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles. He was 83.


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Recent History Books

Snowed in?  Read one of these recent history books.

The Last Escaper
by Peter Tunstall
Peter Tunstall's unforgettable memoir of his days in the British Royal Air Force. As one of the most celebrated British POWs of World War II, he was Dubbed the "cooler king" on account of his long spells in solitary.  While in captivity he devised an ingenious method for smuggling coded messages back to London.  Tunstall recounts the hijinks of training to be a pilot, terrifying bombing raids, and elaborate escape attempts at once hilarious and also deadly serious.

The Summit: Bretton Woods, 1944: J. M. Keynes and the Reshaping of the Global Economy
by Ed Conway
What everyone has always assumed to be a dry economic conference was in fact replete with drama. The delegates spent half the time at each others throats and the other half drinking in the hotel bar. Drawing on a wealth of unpublished accounts, diaries and oral histories, this brilliant book describes the conference in stunning color and clarity. Bringing to life the characters, events and economics and written with exceptional verve and narrative pace.

Crucible of Command: Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee -
The War They Fought, the Peace They Forged
by William C. Davis 
They met in person only four times, yet these two men-Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee determined the outcome of America's most divisive war and cast larger-than-life shadows over their reunited nation. William C. Davis, one of America's preeminent historians, uses substantial, newly discovered evidence on both men to find surprising similarities between them, as well as new insights and unique interpretations on how their lives prepared them for the war they fought and influenced how they fought it. Crucible of Command is both a gripping narrative of the final year of the war and a fresh, revealing portrait of these two great commanders.

American Reckoning: The Vietnam War and Our National Identity
by Christian G. Appy 
How did the Vietnam War change the way we think of ourselves as a people and a nation?  Christian G. Appy now examines the relationship between the war's realities and myths and its impact on our national identity, conscience, pride, shame, popular culture, and postwar foreign policy. Authoritative, insightful, sometimes surprising, and controversial, American Reckoning is a fascinating mix of political and cultural reporting that offers a completely fresh account of the meaning of the Vietnam War.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

What's New in Mystery and Fiction for March?

Wondering what titles are coming out in March?  Here are a few:

The Fifth Gospel by Ian Caldwell

Two brothers, both Catholic priests, investigate a lost gospel and a mysterious relic in Vatican

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

A novel set in Arthurian England where an elderly couple sets out to find their long-lost son.

World Gone By by Dennis Lehan

A novel of crime and vengeance set in Cuba and Florida during World War II.