Book Review: Who Was Louis Armstrong by Yona Zeldis McDonough


Author: Yona Zeldis McDonough Title: Who Was Louis Armstrong Publication Info: New York : Grosset & Dunlap, c2004. Summary/Review: The life of musician and icon Louis Armstrong is explored at a kids level, focusing mostly on his early life up to the 1930s.  Armstrong grew up in poverty in New Orleans and spent time in a reform…

Book Review: Who Was Jesse Owens by James Buckley, Jr.


Author: James Buckley, Jr. Title: Who Was Jesse Owens Publication Info: New York, NY : Grosset & Dunlap, 2015. Summary/Review: Jesse Owens is well-known as a legendary track and field star who was a pioneer for black athletes, attending Ohio State University, going to the Olympics, and winning four gold medals.  Much is made of Owens being…

Book Review: Who Was Annie Oakley by Stephanie Spinner


Author: Stephanie Spinner Title: Who Was Annie Oakley Publication Info: New York : Grosset & Dunlap, c2002. Summary/Review: I keep learning things I never knew from my son’s biographies of notable people.  Annie Oakley was a sharpshooter and that was all I knew about her.  Turns out she made an interesting life out of her skill traveling around…

Book Review: 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann


Author: Charles C. Mann Title: 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus Narrator: Peter Johnson Publication Info: Minneapolis, Minn. : Highbridge Audio, p2005. Summary/Review: This book attempts to reconstruct what the world of the Native peoples of the Western Hemisphere was like before contact with the Europeans.  Often what the first conquerors and colonists saw was…

Book Review: The Great Bridge by David McCullough


Author:  David McCullough Title: The Great Bridge  Narrator: Nelson Runger Publication Info: Recorded Books (2006) Previously Read by the Same Author: John Adams, 1776, and The Wright Brothers Summary/Review: What’s the longest period that a book has been on your “to read” list before you actually read it?  For me, it may be 33 years as I got a copy…

Book Review: Who was Johnny Appleseed? by Joan Holub


Author:  Joan Holub Title: Who was Johnny Appleseed? Publication Info: New York : Grosset & Dunlap, c2005. Summary/Review: Another children’s biography that I read to my son that ended up teaching me about someone I knew little about.  John Chapman, Massachusetts born, moved to the frontier to raise apple orchards and sell seeds and seedlings to the…

Boston By Foot Jamaica Plain Walking Tour 7/21 @ 6 PM


Next week, Thursday July 21 at 6 pm, I will be one of the guides leading the Boston By Foot walking tour of Jamaica Plain. Yes, two of my favorite things – historic walking tours of Boston and my home neighborhood – will come together for ONE NIGHT ONLY! Regular readers of this blog will…

Book Review: Amsterdam : a history of the world’s most liberal city by Russell Shorto


Author: Russell Shorto Title: Amsterdam : a history of the world’s most liberal city Narrator: Russell Shorto Publication Info: Random House Audio, 2013 Summary/Review: Shorto’s history of the Dutch city of Amsterdam is built on a principle that the city defines liberalism in both senses of the word.  There’s economic Liberalism – the principle of laissez-faire in free…

Book Review: A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn


Author: Howard Zinn Title: A People’s History of the United States Narrator: Jeff Zinn Publication Info: HarperAudio (2009) Other Books Read By Same Author: A People’s History of American Empire and Marx in Soho Summary/Review: This is a powerful “alternate” history of the United States that I’ve long intended to read but only just got around to…

Boston By Foot Roxbury Highlands Tour – June 26 at 2 pm


Join me and several other talented Boston By Foot walking tour guides as we lead a special Tour of the Month of Roxbury Highlands.  The tour begins at 2 pm on Sunday, June 26 at Roxbury Crossing station on the MBTA Orange Line. We start in the Stony Brook valley and work our way uphill and…

Book Review: A History of Boston in 50 Artifacts by Joseph M. Bagley


Author: Joseph M. Bagley Title: A History of Boston in 50 Artifacts Publication Info:  Hanover ; London : University Press of New England, [2016] Summary/Review: A few years ago I listened to the brilliant podcast series A History of the World in 100 Objects presented by the BBC and the British Museum.  Joseph Bagley also listened…

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…