Hitting the Books with Gary Thorne: “The Bully Pulpit”

As a presidential historian, Doris Kearns Goodwin is at the top of the list. Her works have that magical quality of readability and substance. “The Bully Pulpit” is of a different age, but much of the substance is of today. The book looks at Teddy Roosevelt and his leadership of the progressive movement and party. Until a rancorous split, there was William Howard Taft at ... read more

Hitting the Books with Gary Thorne: “The Road Not Taken”

For years, there is a book that has come and gone from the nightstand, but is never very far gone. It is a collection of Robert Frost’s lectures at colleges. They fascinate me to no end and I never tire of rereading them. Nor do I ever tire of reading this masterpiece of verse. “The Road Not Taken, A Selection of Robert Frost Poems” is ... read more

Hitting the Books with Gary Thorne: “Crime Novels: American Noir of the 1930s and 40s”

“Crime Novels: American Noir of the 1930s and 40s,” a collection of six classic, hard-to-pigeonhole masterpieces, is writing that again brings to “Hitting the Books” the noir works of this time period. The collection is part of the Library of American series from Literary Classics of the U.S., a publisher out of New York City. This volume’s editor, Robert Polito, describes the six selections: “Evolving ... read more

Hitting the Books with Gary Thorne: “The Battle Cry of Freedom”

I took “Battle Cry of Freedom” by James McPherson on a recent road trip to again browse chapters that most intrigue me in this highly regarded history of the Civil War. I read the full book years ago and may never undertake that reading again, but it is a book always ripe for chapter reads. This is not a book detailing the specific battles, movement ... read more

Hitting the Books with Gary Thorne: “Baseball’s No-Hit Wonders”

“Baseball’s No-Hit Wonders” by Dick Lammers has been a book of summer. I have picked it up and put it down dozens of times, every time marveling at the research and history to be found therein. Lammers is an Associated Press journalist and has taken on no-hitters as a personal partner for life. Former Major League Baseball commissioner Faye Vincent Jr. hit it on the ... read more

Hitting the Books with Gary Thorne: “A Just and Generous Nation”

Harold Holzer and Norton Garfinkle’s “A Just and Generous Nation” is yet another look at President Abraham Lincoln’s times and the man who would become one of this nation’s heroes for all time. Yet it is a book with new insights on what directed Lincoln to act as he did prior to and during the Civil War. The book is directed to bring history to ... read more

Hitting the Books with Gary Thorne: “The Age of Innocence”

“It was the old New York way of taking a life ‘without effusion of blood’: the way of people who dreaded scandal more than disease, who placed decency above courage, and who considered that nothing was more ill-bred than ‘scenes,’ except the behavior of those who gave rise to them.” This pretty well sums up the underpinning of all that transpires in one of the ... read more

Hitting the Books with Gary Thorne: “A Drop of the Hard Stuff”

The Grand Master recognition for mystery writing is a major achievement in the profession. Lawrence Block has been so recognized - and has about every other award a mystery writer could accumulate. He has been laying down the hard tracks of the wounded souls who weave in and out of light to the dark underworld of crime and troubled human beings. “A Drop of the ... read more