Friday, December 15, 2000

Star-Spangled Men

by Nathan Miller

Just after Christmas I was browsing at Half Price Books in an attempt to spend a gift certificate. (I succeeded.) This was a book that caught my eye, but not my wallet, so I borrowed a copy from the library. In Star-Spangled Men, Nathan Miller writes about the ten worst presidents of the United States, based on his own reading of American history and a career in political journalism. As he says up front, the selection is purely subjective. The book is fairly light reading. Miller has a great storytelling style and uses it to tell the tales of these ten men and where he thinks they went wrong. Despite the book's premise, he never gets overly negative with his subjects, recognizing that even the worst Chief Executive is only human. While this book is not something I would want to refer to time and again, I would definitely recommend that you check it out.

LibraryThing link


Sunday, December 10, 2000

Up the Line

by Robert Silverberg

And now for something completely different... The two books reviewed immediately above are delightful tales of magic and wonder suitable for all ages. Up the Line is an earthy, rather pessimistic tale for adults. It was written in 1969, so sex and drugs are woven throughout the tale. So why am I keeping this too on my shelf? (Out of the kids' reach, of course) Well, I'm a big fan of time travel tales and Up the Line is an interesting one. Instead of focusing on Time Police, as many tales do, it has a Time Tour Guide as its protagonist. Mr. Silverberg offers a believable picture of what Time Tourism might be like. The central tale, about the rise and fall of a Time Courier, is hardly a masterpiece, (I had forgotten it from my first reading of the book) but its good enough to keep you reading.

LibraryThing link

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