2016 Boston By Foot Tours UPDATED


Spring is here, and it’s time to get out and explore the great city of Boston! One of the best ways to see Boston is on a Boston By Foot walking tour.  The non-profit, educational organization is celebrating 40 years of sharing the history, architecture, and stories of Boston with tourists and locals alike.  This…

Book Review: The Fever of 1721 by Stephen Coss


Author: Stephen Coss Title: The Fever of 1721: The Epidemic That Revolutionized Medicine and American Politics Narrator: Bob Souer Publication Info: Simon & Schuster (2016 Summary/Review: I received a free advanced readers copy of this audiobook through the Library Thing Early Reviewers program in exchange for an honest review. 1721 is a pivotal year in Boston history….

Photopost: Jane Jacobs in Boston Tour


In honor of Jane Jacobs’ 100th birthday yesterday, I took a tour of the North End lead by Max Grinnell, the Urbanologist, an urban studies expert who divides his time between Boston and Chicago.  While I’ve been leading tours in the North End for more than 15 years, I learned some new things and visited…

Book Review: Wild lives by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld


Author: Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld Title: Wild lives : a history of the people & animals of the Bronx Zoo Publication Info: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, c2006. Summary/Review: This is a children’s book history of the Bronx Zoo, a place I visited since childhood and have always been fascinated about it’s background.  The book focuses mostly on…

Book Review: The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein


Author: Naomi Klein Title: The Shock Doctrine Narrator: Jennifer Wiltsie Publication Info:  Macmillan Audio (2007) Summary/Review: This book exposes the ideology of neoliberalism, the idea that government should be limited to the bare bones and that corporations should be completely unregulated, a school of thought promoted by Milton Friedman at the University of Chicago.  The book begins with…

Book Review: Listen, Liberal by Thomas Frank


Author: Thomas Frank Title: Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People? Publication Info: Metropolitan Books (2016) Previously Read By Same Author:  What’s the Matter With Kansas and Pity the Billionaire Summary/Review: I received a free advanced reading copy of this book through the Library Thing Early Reviewers program. Thomas Frank asks…

JP A to Z: N is for Nobel Peace Prize #AtoZChallenge #JamaicaPlain


N is for Nobel Peace Prize Jamaica Plain is home to a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, although you have to know where to look for any evidence of the fact.  Emily Greene Balch (1867-1961) taught economics at Wellesley College for many years but when she became an outspoken opponent of the United States involvement in…

2016 Boston By Foot Tours


Spring is here, and it’s time to get out and explore the great city of Boston! One of the best ways to see Boston is on a Boston By Foot walking tour.  The non-profit, educational organization is celebrating 40 years of sharing the history, architecture, and stories of Boston with tourists and locals alike.  This…

Book Review: My American Revolution: Crossing the Delaware and I-78 by Robert Sullivan


Author: Robert Sullivan Title: My American Revolution: Crossing the Delaware and I-78 Narrator: Mike Chamberlain Publication Info: Dreamscape Media (2012) Other Books by Same Author:  The Meadowlands and The Thoreau You Don’t Know Summary/Review: Robert Sullivan and I share a surname and a lot of common interests.  In this case, local history and travelogue.  The American…

Book Review: Step Aside, Pops : A Hark! A Vagrant Collection by Kate Beaton


Author: Kate Beaton Title: Step Aside, Pops : A Hark! A Vagrant Collection Publication Info: [Montreal, Quebec] : Drawn & Quarterly, 2015. Summary/Review: The brilliant webcomic Hark! A Vagrant is collected in glorious print.  Beaton’s comics tend to focus on historical and literary references with various levels of absurdity, so as a History/English major with fondness for absurd…

Book Review: The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore


Author: Jill Lepore Title: The Secret History of Wonder Woman Narrator: Jill Lepore Publication Info: Random House Audio (2014) Previously Read by Same Author: Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin Blindspot The Whites of Their Eyes Summary/Review: The story of Wonder Women begins as a creation of William Moulton Marston, a something of a…

Book Review: The new Jim Crow : mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness by Michelle Alexander


Author: Michelle Alexander Title:The new Jim Crow : mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness Publication Info: New York : [Jackson, Tenn.] : New Press ; Distributed by Perseus Distribution, 2010. Summary/Review: Alexander’s book demonstrates how mass incarceration  in the United States has succeeded slavery and Jim Crow segregation in creating inequality and an undercaste…

Book Review: Wild Women of Boston by Dina Vargo


Author: Dina Vargo Title: Wild Women of Boston Publication Info: Charleston, SC : History Press, 2015 Summary/Review: This slender volume is chock full of stories of about two dozen women of Boston who bucked the societal norms of their sex and made an impact of history.  These women include leaders, innovators, and activists, but they also include…

Book Review: Tinkering toward utopia : a century of public school reform by David B. Tyack and Larry Cuban


Author: David B. Tyack and Larry Cuban Title: Tinkering toward utopia : a century of public school reform Publication Info: Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 1995. Summary/Review: This slender but illustrative book traces this history of public education reforms across the 20th century.  Two themes run through the book.  The first is that public schools are set…

Book Reviews: Lafayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell


Author:  Sarah Vowell Title: Lafayette in the Somewhat United States Narrator:  Sarah Vowell, with  John Slattery, Nick Offerman, Fred Armisen, Bobby Cannavale, John Hodgman, Stephanie March, and Alexis Denisof Other Books Read By Same Author: The Partly Cloudy Patriot  The Wordy Shipmates  Publication Info: Simon & Schuster Audio (2015) Summary/Review: This audiobook includes numerous well-known actors performing…

Boston By Foot Walking Tour: Benjamin Franklin’s 310th Birthday


Sunday is the birthday of early American leader Benjamin Franklin,  born in Boston on January 17, 1706 [O.S. January 6, 1705].  Come learn more about this Son of Boston on a Boston By Foot tour lead by knowledgeable Boston By Foot guides (including yours truly).  The tour visits sites associated with Ben Franklin’s life in Boston from…