Profile of Sam Stowe
Articles written for the California Literary Review:
- Book Review: The New York Times Complete Civil War 1861-1865
Posted on 07 Feb 2011 in History, Non-Fiction Reviews
This collection of the Times‘ news coverage during the war is a must-have for Civil War enthusiasts and other American history buffs. It contains the power to astonish modern readers with its lofty rhetoric, constant editorializing in news stories and decisions on what was important to its audience. Those decisions are, in many cases, not what a modern newspaper would choose.
- Book Review: The Big Policeman by J. North Conway
Posted on 11 Jan 2011 in History, Non-Fiction Reviews
J. North Conway’s new account of the law enforcement career of Thomas Byrnes, The Big Policeman, shows us what it took to bring some degree of order and safety to New York City’s streets in the Gilded Age. And he’s scrupulously fair to Byrnes, whose bare-knuckled approach to his job would never be acceptable to most modern Americans. He was a man of his age and, somewhat ironically, a cop who would introduce many of the basic techniques that almost all current law enforcement agencies still use.
- Book Review: Nemesis by Philip Roth
Posted on 18 Nov 2010 in Fiction Reviews
Weequahic has been particularly hard-hit by the summer’s polio epidemic. Bucky, stuck supervising his school playground’s summer programs for kids, is forced to watch in horror as his students randomly sicken and die.
- Book Review: The Fort by Bernard Cornwell
Posted on 05 Oct 2010 in Fiction Reviews, Historical Fiction
Bernard Cornwell, who has written a masterful novel about Agincourt, tackles the American Revolution and its realities in his new work, The Fort. You won’t find any shellacked heroes here. His patriots range from the committed few to the mercenary many and include a host of men who have been shanghaied (“Impressed” was the term of the day) into serving their country involuntarily.
- Book Review: The Elephant’s Journey by Jose Saramago
Posted on 15 Sep 2010 in Fiction Reviews
Saramago’s ability to wring delightful dialogue out of his characters will charm just about anybody. The compassion and love for a flawed humanity he brings to his work is much too rare in a literary world and broader society that seem to devalue these qualities at a time when they are desperately needed.
- In the Rose Garden of the Martyrs: A Memoir of Iran – by Christopher de Bellaigue
Posted on 24 Apr 2007 in History, Iran, Non-Fiction Reviews
Americans would be well advised to learn about Iran’s culture and tragic recent history before our nations resort to a regional war. If you read one book about Iran to fill in your lack of knowledge, make sure it is this one.
- Rising Up and Rising Down: Some Thoughts on Violence, Freedom and Urgent Means – by William T. Vollmann
Posted on 24 Apr 2007 in History, Non-Fiction Reviews
With the exceptions of several of his earlier works, every time I take on a book by William T. Vollmann the same thought always wanders through my head about 100 to 150 pages into the narrative, “Why in the hell am I reading this.
- Paddy Whacked: The Untold Story of the Irish American Gangster by T.J. English
Posted on 24 Apr 2007 in Biography, History, Non-Fiction Reviews, True Crime
The genius of the Irish who emigrated to the United States in the 19th and early 20th centuries was to fuse both political clout and criminal enterprise into vast, urban political machines that helped uplift the Irish and create a place for them at the table of American bounty.
- Meet You in Hell: Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick and the Bitter Partnership That Transformed America
Posted on 22 Apr 2007 in Biography, Business, History, Non-Fiction Reviews
Since our society began its retreat into Social Darwinism tricked out in the guise of laissez-faire economics, those of us who enjoy our economic history red in tooth and claw have the guilty pleasure of reading about business scandals.
- The Lobotomist: A Maverick Medical Genius and His Tragic Quest to Rid the World of Mental Illness – by Jack El-Hai
Posted on 22 Apr 2007 in Biography, Medicine, Non-Fiction Reviews, Science
Walter Jackson Freeman was a man gifted with energy, optimism and an ice pick.
- The Italian Secretary: A Further Adventure Of Sherlock Holmes by Caleb Carr
Posted on 22 Apr 2007 in Fiction Reviews, Mystery
Those writers whom the gods would destroy, they first tempt into trying to imitate another writer who has influenced them.
- Battle for Europe: How the Duke of Marlborough Masterminded the Defeat of France at Blenheim by Charles Spencer
Posted on 10 Apr 2007 in Great Britain, History, Military, Non-Fiction Reviews
Even the greatest deeds of brave men can be forgotten in the mists of time – even when those deeds have a direct impact on how our world is organized today.
- Alibi by Joseph Kanon
Posted on 10 Apr 2007 in Fiction Reviews, Mystery, Thrillers
Joseph Kanon’s summer potboiler is a weak whodunnit set in the seedy splendor of post-war Venice.
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