Category Archives: shawverv

Golden Holocaust: Origins of the Cigarette Catastrophe and the Case for Abolition by Robert Proctor

Proctor pulls no punches in his 600 page depiction of the cigarette industry. He paints cigarette manufacturing as an industry that addicts over 80 percent of its users, kills half the people who use the product as directed, kills 400,000 … Continue reading

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Ava Gardner: The Secret Conversations by Peter Evans

Biographer Peter Evans might have published the definitive biography of Ava Gardner around the time of her death in 1990, but Gardner backed out after learning that former husband, Frank Sinatra, sued Evans about an earlier manuscript suggesting that Sinatra … Continue reading

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The Language of Fiction: a writer’s stylebook by Brian Shawver

I confess a bias. Brian, the author, is my nephew. This is his third publication following two novels, a baseball story entitled The Cuban Prospect and the introspective Aftermath. This latest offering is a book about grammar, but it doesn’t read … Continue reading

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The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain (1934)

The Postman Always Rings Twice is the first of Cain’s pulp detective novels. A drifter, Frank, pulls into a diner/gas station along the highway and meets Cora, the young, beautiful wife of the Greek immigrant owner. They fall for one … Continue reading

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Rise to Greatness: Abraham Lincoln and America’s Most Perilous Year by David Von Drehle

According to a recent review in The Kansas City Star, reading Rise to Greatness is a great way to prepare for watching Steven Spielberg’s movie, Lincoln, so I read it.  The movie concentrates on the President’s efforts to pass the … Continue reading

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Destiny of the Republic: a Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard

Destiny of the Republic is a fascinating study of the life and presidency of James A. Garfield, his assassination, and the controversial medical efforts to save his life from a gunshot wound. The pages seem to turn themselves, and one … Continue reading

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How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough

The author, a journalist, reviews psychological, sociological, educational, and medical literature and makes conclusions about what is needed to close the gap in educational gains between poor and rich children. His most compelling assertion is that a nurturing relationship between … Continue reading

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Hollywood Enigma: Dana Andrews by Carl Rollyson

Hollywood Enigma is a readable biography of one of Hollywood’s better, yet underappreciated male screen stars of the 1940s and 1950s. Dana Andrews was not a famous or flashy screen star in the mold of Gable, Tracy, or James Stewart, … Continue reading

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Carlisle vs. Army: Jim Thorpe, Dwight Eisenhower, Pop Warner, and the Forgotten Story of Football’s Greatest Battle by Lars Anderson

Carlisle vs. Army is more than the story of the legendary football game between two football powers in 1912. It’s the story of its 3 principal characters – Jim Thorpe, Pop Warner, and Dwight Eisenhower. Carlisle didn’t look at this as … Continue reading

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The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Passage of Power by Robert Caro

The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Passage of Power is the fourth in Caro’s series on LBJ and covers the years from 1958, when Johnson began his candidacy for the presidency, to his first weeks in the White House in … Continue reading

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