Richard Ben Cramer will always be known as the great political writer of What It Takes. It is, after all, the best piece of presidential political writing in America. Here he writes a brilliant biography of Joe DiMaggio which is both tender and enthralling. The true heroine here is Marilyn Monroe and makes one pine for Mailer's book/photo essay on her. One will miss the short, erudite oeuvre of Mr. Cramer.
OK, I'm a guy. I don't watch 30 Rock or Saturday Night Live. This is a book about a very nice woman with a nice life. It has little imagination or perspective. It is not very funny. I really could care less about her child's fingernails or her decision to have a second child. I am sure the themes resonate with a lot of people, I'm guessing mostly women. However, to me it was pretty empty. Sorry.
Unfortunately, Mr. Silverman does not have much of a story to tell. While sold as a narration of his run for public office, this is a rather mundane biography of a Jewish boy from Philadelphia teaching in Charleston. A nice story to be sure, but not anything worth the effort. His reading style is rather poor.
Michael Pollan joins Christopher Hitchens, Gore Vidal and Dick Cavett as an author who can read his own work well. This makes his insightful book well worth the listen. Mr. Pollan shifts well between the philosophy and history of cooking with his own explorations and anecdotes. It is a nice idea well executed.
In my opinion, the final chapter on the death of Richard Nixon is the finest piece of political writing in American history. At once hilarious, sarcastic and poignant, it is the prefect topping to this look at the election of William Jefferson Clinton in 1992. Scott Sowers does a fine job of capturing the anger and vision of Thompson's bizarre view of politics in the late 20th Century.
An excellent polemic on many levels of a woman who is to the outside world a humble savior of the poor, but in reality is a woman who shills for the Catholic prohibitions against contraception and takes millions from the worst and richest elements of society and delivers unrelenting pain in the name of Jesus Christ.
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