Mayberry – Small-Town Midwest America

I grew up in Mayberry. Not really, of course. But Yankton, South Dakota was about as close to Mayberry as you could get in the middle of last century. It may still be. None of that is to say that growing up there gave one an advantage. What life has shown me since is my…

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Powerful, Profound Novel Looks at Racism in America Today

#leonardpittsjr #grantpark #racism Malcolm Toussaint is a haunted man. He was in position to save Martin Luther King from assassination but failed to move fast enough to get the civil rights leader out of harm’s way. Only nineteen years old on that fateful balcony in Memphis in April, 1968. the tragedy lodges in his subconscious.…

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Midwestern Yankee in a Tar Heel State – Part II

I am a Midwesterner by birth. My grandfather homesteaded in South Dakota. Until my dad went off to college, he had never left his native state. My father referred to the northeastern part of the country as the Wicked East. “People out there,” he often said, “line up on one side of the room to…

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Pearl Harbor Galvinized the Nation and Brought the U. S. into the War

Seventy-three years have passed since the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor The attack took place during the early morning hours of December 7, 1941. President Roosevelt declared it “A date which will life in infamy” in his memorable speech to Congress just hours after the devastation was reported. The news of the attack galvanized…

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Paperbacks Reshape American Culture

Ah, the lowly paperback. It has had a powerful impact on American culture. Author Paul Rabinowitz delineates the role it has played since first appearing for sale on American newsstands, drugstores, and coffee shops in the 1930’s. Her book, American Pulp: How Paperbacks Brought Modernism to Main Street, examines the often overlooked influence that the…

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Viral Mythology Explores How Myths Are Created and Broadcast

The subtitle to Viral Mythology, by Marie D. Jones and Larry Flaxman, reads “How the truth of the ancients was encoded and passed down through legend, art, and architecture.” The authors present an ambitious explanation of how and why the ancient myths and those we create today continue to roll forward in time often without…

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Thomas Jefferson’s Enlightenment by James C. Thompson – A Review

    Thomas Jefferson’s Enlightenment James C. Thompson is published by Commonwealth Book Publishers of Virginia which was founded by the author in 2009. According to their press announcement Commonwealth “publishes three-dimensional stories about ideas—where history, philosophy and art meet.” The book succeeds on all on all three counts­, but the achievement is virtually negated…

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Fredric March: A Consummate Actor by Charles Tranberg — Reviewed by John J. Hohn

#fredricmarch #cinema #thebestyearsofourlives Charles Tranberg’s biography, Fredric March: A Consummate Actor, belongs in the library of every fan of theater and film in America. Tranberg’s masterful work follows March’s career from his Wisconsin boyhood through to his final triumphant appearance as Harry Hope in The Iceman Cometh released by 20th Century Fox in October, 1973.…

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