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Original Essays | September 4, 2014

Edward E. Baptist: IMG The Two Bodies of The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism



My new book, The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism, is the story of two bodies. The first body was the new... Continue »
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Customer Comments

Dr. Rico has commented on (35) products.

On the Grid: A Plot of Land, an Average Neighborhood, and the Systems That Make Our World Work by Scott Huler
On the Grid: A Plot of Land, an Average Neighborhood, and the Systems That Make Our World Work

Dr. Rico, November 4, 2010

This is a terrific, clearly-written, agenda-free book about the systems that work so well that we can ignore them blithely: roads and transportation, stormwater drainage, water supply and sewage removal, electricity, garbage collection, and the cables that enable me to put this review out on powells.com – and also enable you to read it. Fans of books like David Macaulay's “The Way Things Work,” and possibly of books like Jane Jacobs's “The Death and Life of Great American Cities,” and for that matter the depictions of house construction in Richard Scarry’s “What Do People Do All Day?,” will enjoy this on its own merit (although it's not illustrated). Fans of public policy will also appreciate the way it engages questions about the relationship of taxpayers to the services they pay for. As Huler writes, “neither Ayn Rand laissez-faire true belief nor touch-nothing environmental idealism answers the questions” raised by infrastructure.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)



The Bullpen Gospels: Major League Dreams of a Minor League Veteran by Dirk Hayhurst
The Bullpen Gospels: Major League Dreams of a Minor League Veteran

Dr. Rico, June 8, 2010

One of the best books about baseball in years. Hayhurst's voice is distinctive and manages to be by turns funny, instructive, dark, and touching, and always insightful. We don't see many books about minor leaguers who aren't destined for success, and Hayhurst's marginal status allows him to give us an unusual perspective. In the end, though, he manages to find meaning in ways that any baseball fan, and perhaps anyone, will find valuable in their own lives. A terrific baseball book.
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(3 of 5 readers found this comment helpful)



Innocent by Scott Turow
Innocent

Dr. Rico, June 8, 2010

In Turow's latest novel, as in all his novels, he explores people and their relationships and the ways that the law parallels, and affects, these relationships. This gives Turow's novels a depth beyond the run-of-the-mill courtroom thriller. And yet that doesn't prevent "Innocent" from being a crackerjack page-turner. The reader is hooked on discovering which clues are red herrings and which are real -- and what is the meaning of each real clue. Did Rusty really do it, and what is he hiding? Turow handles the shift of perspective among the main characters fairly well, although I admit that one (and only one) character is presented in the third person, and that took some getting used to. But that's a small flaw in a hugely enjoyable book, Turow's best novel in years.
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(9 of 29 readers found this comment helpful)



61 Hours: A Jack Reacher Novel by Lee Child
61 Hours: A Jack Reacher Novel

Dr. Rico, June 8, 2010

Another excellent Reacher adventure. As always, the suspense is taut and the story is relentless. Reacher is resourceful as always, the puzzles are right there in the open (I was half a step ahead of Reacher in the beginning, then half a step behind), and the action is first-rate. Child does a great job of setting the "ground rules" for each Reacher story, and the ground rules are never better than here. The ending is certainly unexpected, although I think I know where it will go in his next book.

I've reviewed Child before. If you weren't convinced by me, would Stephen King's endorsement do anything for you?

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(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)



American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot by Craig Ferguson
American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot

Dr. Rico, March 31, 2010

This book is a surprise and a delight. Ferguson's life has been surprisingly varied and he writes about it with candor and charm. He is unflinching when he looks at his school days, his time in the punk and rock scenes of Scotland, his addictions to alcohol and narcotics, his personal relationships, and his work as an actor, director, and performer. His affection for America is genuine and permeates his story throughout. Yes, it's funny, but more than that it's a book that is honest and wise.
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(3 of 6 readers found this comment helpful)



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