The poem Francis Scott Key wrote on the night of September 13-14, 1814 during the ferocious and crucial Battle of Baltimore made him a celebrity. Although he opposed the War of 1812, having witnessed the British attack upon Baltimore he was moved by patriotic fervor to write the words that became America’s national anthem. No one knows how the poem wound up at a Boston printer the following morning, or who was responsible to setting it to the music of an English drinking song. Key never mentioned it in his letters at the time and only once some 20 years later did he refer to it in a political speech. Yet, except for his authorship, it is unlikely that Key would be remembered today save for his intersections with some historically memorable men. Leepson’s book is the first biography of Francis Scott Key.Read the rest of this entry »
Although billed as the rise and fall of Kate Sprague Chase, this story is inseparable from that of her father, the brilliant, ambitious and ethically challenged Salmon Chase. The author brings into focus a master of political intrigue and a beautiful, ambitious and resourceful woman who was determined to live life on her own terms. Oller’s book evokes an era and the American Queen who, for a time, ruled it. Read the rest of this entry »
At least eight biographies of Grover Cleveland have been written, most far more extensive than this one. However, for the reader whose knowledge of Cleveland is limited, as was this reviewer’s, it is sufficient. Or it could promote a desire to know more.Read the rest of this entry »
David McCullough is an exacting historian and a skilled writer. His biographies and accounts of significant structures and events are always absorbing. This reviewer had heard of the Johnstown Flood but knew little of the circumstances or the people involved. Somehow McCullough injects suspense into an event that occurred 125 years ago. Read the rest of this entry »
2 for 1 book review, with some observations on the side.Read the rest of this entry »
This is an extensively researched biography of a man who is too little remembered today. It’s become a cliché to say that a book reads like a novel, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Unger is a superb writer whose books have often been reviewed on this blog. Each one seems better than the last. We look forward to the next one. Read the rest of this entry »
The Arroyo is an absorbing depiction of porous borders, the marauders who cross it with impunity and the illegals they control and sometimes rape and kill. It is superbly acted and directed. Too bad Congress cannot be required to view it.Read the rest of this entry »
The trouble with prevaricating is that it is necessary to remember what has been said. That can be difficult enough for one individual, but when the premier federal education agency does so and all associated entities must follow suit, someone is bound to make a mistake and tell the truth. Read the rest of this entry »
It's very difficult to assess exactly what happened in any altercation fraught with violence and emotion, especially when the facts may be the last thing some parties want to discuss. There are those who would paint Michael Brown as a vicious, drug-crazed thug, and those who want everyone to believe he was poor innocent, helpless child.
Politicians, the likes of our President and Attorney General have their own agendas, as do the Reverend Al Sharpton, and the New Black Panthers.
The truth is what is important. A police officer has an obligation to preserve and protect, and like anyone else, the right to protect himself.
Justice must prevail - and justice has to mean the same thing to everyone - an honest appraisal of the facts. Read the rest of this entry »
Some months ago this blog commented on David Coleman’s announcement that the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) had been revised to align with Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Coleman, now president of the College Board, is known as the architect of CCSS.Read the rest of this entry »