Category Archives: Reviewed by Michael

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

The Boys in the Boat

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This is a work of non-fiction that reads like a novel.

The “Nazi Olympics” of 1936 are remembered for the stunning victory of Jesse Owens.  But a group of young men from the state of Washington also made a splash.  After winning the national collegiate rowing championship — held in the Hudson at Poughkeepsie — a team of mostly rural rowers traveled to Berlin to take on the best in the world.

The book will introduce you to a host of characters you’ve probably never heard of.
Together, they would overcome incredible odds and make history.

 

White Teeth by Zadie Smith

White Teeth

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Zadie Smith is recognized as one of England’s premiere fiction writers.  Her first book, published in 2000, made an enormous splash and vaulted her to instant prominence.

White Teeth features a complex weave of fascinating characters, from multiple ethnic and racial backgrounds, reflecting modern-day England.  The story centers on two friends — Archie, a redheaded English person married to an Afro-Caribbean woman, and Samad, a Muslim immigrant from Bangladesh.  Their adventures are simultaneously funny and moving.  The storyline is entertaining, but the novel’s spice comes from the mosaic of peoples, cultures, and customs living in the same neighborhood, and the tensions and relationships that ensue.

I rarely laugh out-loud at a book, but I did with this one.  Give it a try.

 

The Wright Brothers by David McCullough

The Wright Brothers

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How did two bicycle mechanics teach the world to fly?

Prize-winning author David McCullough is just the person to answer that question.  Along the way, we learn about the private lives of the brothers.  Their skills were a perfect fit — Wilber was a genius and Orville was a mechanical wiz.  Together, they made history.

McCullough’s stories are always set in a rich, historical context.  The story takes us from their Ohio hometown, to the banks of North Carolina, to Paris and beyond.

I enjoyed the journey.  I’m sure you will, too.