Thumbs up for Up Front by Bill Mauldin. History.
Bill Mauldin was a cartoonist working for U. S. Army papers during WWII. This book collects many of his cartoons, along with his thoughts. He is, appropriately for his topic, a plainspoken man who told the horrible truths about things. He is also sometimes very funny: as the best tellers of horrible truths always seem to be.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for The Curious History of Contraception by Shirley Green. History.
And in the “Writers Read Weird Shit” category…we have a winner! I was expecting something rather more scholarly in tone, so I was a bit thrown at first by the author’s conversational prose. But she clearly knows her topic, and honestly, there’s so much ridiculous stuff in here it might as well be presented with a touch of humor.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Maus I: A Survivor’s Tale: My Father Bleeds History and Maus II: A Survivor’s Tale: And Here My Troubles Began by Art Spiegelman. Graphic novel/history.
As far as Holocaust survival stories go, I’d say this is miles better than Night (see my review). Spiegelman’s scribbly, stark illustrations – Jews as mice, Germans as cats – fit the story perfectly as he reports his father’s experiences as a young man, when the elder Spiegelman (a Polish Jew) survived WWII via cleverness and buckets of luck.… >> Read more
A somewhat tentative thumbs up for The How and Why Wonder Book of North American Indians by Felix Sutton. Children’s nonfiction.
Well, I didn’t know as much as I wanted to about the history of Native Americans, so a children’s book seemed the best way to dip into the subject. It’s an old book, but I can’t imagine there are really that many more modern interpretations of “…and then they were all dead.” Oy vey.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Everyday Life in Ancient Rome by Lionel Casson. History.
It takes real skill to write a work of nonfiction that glides by as rapidly as a good novel; Casson has accomplished that. If you want to get a sense of what it would be like to live in Roman times, this book is a good place to start – easy to read, yet detailed and evocative.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Working IX to V: Orgy Planners, Funeral Clowns, and Other Prized Professions of the Ancient World by Vickie Leon. History.
In clearing out a shelf of books-that-have-sat-too-long-with-bookmarkers-almost-to-the-end, I came across this. Why didn’t I finish this before? Perhaps so I’d have the pleasure of reading it now. This is a hilarious, informative and illuminating book, describing ancient Greece and Rome through the ins and outs of the jobs people had.… >> Read more