June 30, 2011
Thomas Jefferson was the third president of the United States. That's the most boring thing you'll read about him in this story. Consider this: For most of the people who have been president of the United States (and there have been only 43, and they've all been men), that title would be the highlight of a lifetime, the accomplishment to be most proud of, the first thing to appear on your gravestone. Not so with Jefferson. He chose three accomplishments to be recorded on his tombstone, and being president didn't even...
March 2, 2012 |
T here I was, in the middle of the Rocky Mountains, looking down at the Colorado River. Animal tracks in the snow made a dotted line beside the water. But where, I wondered, were the bighorn sheep? The black bears? I pressed my nose to the glass and followed the tracks carefully, expecting — any second now — to see wildlife. I was in my 40th hour aboard Amtrak , nearly 2,000 miles into a 3,218-mile cross-country adventure. I'd packed five books, my laptop, several movies and hours of music, figuring that...
April 25, 2013 |
Michael Beschloss has written nine books — and in the past six months, more than 1,000 tweets. For a historian accustomed to quiet pursuits and tweedy acceptance, his Twitter account, @beschlossDC , has become an unexpected source of popular and critical approbation. He has used Twitter to transmit historical-recording snippets, quotes, documents and — most successfully — era-specific photographs that dignify a newish platform of communication. Unlike many other...
April 16, 2012 |
The story Nora Roberts likes to tell of her transformation from harried homemaker to published novelist reads like something from one of her novels: Stuck at home with her two young sons during a 1979 snowstorm, the Silver Spring native started writing longhand, and the epiphany hit: " ‘ This is it . This is the thing I am meant to do.' The sun came out and the snow melted. " The moment her first book, "Irish Thoroughbred," was accepted for publication in 1980, Roberts recalls, "was better...
February 8, 2009 |
A. LINCOLN A Biography By Ronald C. White Jr. Random House. 796 pp. $35 The famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass once declared: "It is impossible for . . . anybody . . . to say anything new about Abraham Lincoln. " And that was in 1893! More than 100 years later, as we contemplate the bicentennial of Lincoln's birth on Feb. 12, an avalanche of new books about the 16th president descends upon an eager reading audience. Why? Ronald C. White Jr., an astute scholar of Lincoln's religion and language, has an apt answer:...
May 4, 2012 |
Thirty-something years ago, Martha Grimes was a single mom with a drinking problem. She bought vodka – Smirnoff, Stolichnaya — in half-gallon jugs. She taught English 101 at Montgomery College in Takoma Park, a job she couldn't stand. She argued so vehemently with post office clerks about mailing rates for her manuscripts — she wanted the cheaper book rate — that her son, embarrassed, preferred to wait in the car. She was in her late 40s. She had never published anything.