Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Book News: Three Good Reads

Book Focuses On ‘Freedom By Any Means’
“Freedom by Any Means” by Betty DeRamus, 2009, Atria, $25/$32.99 Canada, 305 pages: Did you ever want something so badly that you couldn’t think of anything else until you got it?
Maybe it was a vacation you’d been saving for and planning for and couldn’t quite believe you were going to get until you boarded the plane. Perhaps it was a bike or sneakers, a car, job or house.
No matter what your yearning, it consumed you. Your daydreams were filled with your desire as you imagined what life would be like someday.
But what if that “something” was the difference between life unshackled and life under ownership? In the new book “Freedom by Any Means” by Betty DeRamus, you’ll read about the unusual, unique and uncommon ways people got what they wanted: a one-way ticket aboard the Underground Railroad. More

Family Secrets: Broyard on Broyard
Over 100 people gathered at the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library to hear author and former UVA MFA Bliss Broyard discuss her book, One Drop, which explores the decision of her father, literary critic Anatole Broyard, to conceal his African American ancestry. Philip Roth’s character, Coleman Silk, in his novel The Human Stain (played by Anthony Hopkins in the 2003 movie adaptation) is widely believed to have been modeled after Mr. Broyard. More
A Blue Blood Passes For Black
Telling an astounding true story, "Passing Strange," would beggar most novelists' imaginations. It exposes the bizarre secret life of a well-known historical figure, but that secret is its least sensational aspect. The secret was hidden in plain sight until Martha A. Sandweiss, the deductive historian who pieced together this narrative, happened to notice it. Her great accomplishment is to have explored not only how the 19th-century explorer and scientist Clarence King reinvented himself but also why that reinvention was so singularly American.
Clarence King has often been written about by historians, but mostly in academic books about the mapping and geological exploration of the American West. He also turns up in biographies and literary histories, because he moved in glittering circles and was once widely held in high regard. He was called "the best and the brightest man of his generation" by one close friend, Secretary of State John Hay. More