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agnesjames has commented on (3) products.

American Radical: The Life and Times of I. F. Stone by D D Guttenplan
American Radical: The Life and Times of I. F. Stone

agnesjames, February 16, 2010

D.D. Guttenplan's book made me play hooky. From page one I wanted to do nothing but read this book. I had already enjoyed Myra MacPherson's biography of I.F. Stone ("All Governments Lie") so I expected to be skimming this rather large volume. Not the case. I read every word, keeping close my pen for underlining and writing in the margins, post-it notes for pages to return to. Izzy's life is remarkable, and true to his title, Guttenplan really does flesh out the "Times" in which the radical journalist lived. "American Radical, The Life And Times of I.F. Stone" is a brilliant course on 20th century American history, and a solid base for trying to understand current political disappointments. I almost find comfort in knowing we've "been there, done that," except that we can't afford to be "doing it" again. Izzy Stone would be apoplectic over the latest Supreme Court decision to give a free pass to corporate money in our election process. Rather than bow to pressures of the marketplace or demands to soften his tone, he ran his own press and became a one-man band, unafraid to tread on toes, determined to show the scoundrels for what they were. We are in dire need of I.F. Stone today, but thanks to Guttenplan, the template is laid bare and ready for enterprising reporters.
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The Widow Clicquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It by Tilar J. Mazzeo
The Widow Clicquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It

agnesjames, January 25, 2010

Forgive me, for I am an unabashed fan of champagne, French or otherwise, but reading The Widow Clicquot has me convinced it's hight time to cash in the bonds and go back to France to tour this incredible region. What a woman she was to persist against all odds - against commercial failure and financial ruin, always teetering on a perilous political tightrope - but what a story to lure us to the roots of this beautiful beverage that makes any party a fiesta, any celebration a fete internationale!
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The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession by Alison Bartlett
The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession

agnesjames, December 21, 2009

Allison Hoover Bartlett's probe into the mysteries of collecting took her into the confidence of a man named John Gilkey, who has served many times in prison for book theft. In her research she discovered a world of crazed people willing to risk all just for the next best first edition. She explores collecting as a phenomenon, collectors as a genre of the human species, rare book sellers interested in protecting their own pocketbooks as well as the integrity of the trade, and the moral and ethical questions that plagued her as Gilkey began to confess increasingly recent crimes. Fascinating. I returned my library copy and am buying one for my shelf to read again.
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