Book Reviews: A People’s History of the New Boston by Jim Vrabel


Author: Jim Vrabel Title: A People’s History of the New Boston Publication Info: Amherst : University of Massachusetts Press, [2014] Summary/Review: This book is a short social history of activism in Boston in the 60s, 70s, & 80s as people coalesced around causes to make the city better, although sometimes the populist ideals could lead to conflict…

Book Review: Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow


Author: Ron Chernow Title: Alexander Hamilton Narrator: Grover Gardner Publication Info: New York, N.Y. : Penguin Audio, p2004. Summary/Review: A straight-forward biography of General Washington’s right-hand man, Constitutional crusader, and founder of American finance as first secretary of treasury. It does not shy away from Hamilton’s failings such as an ill-tempered tongue and poor decisions, but mostly…

Book Review: Lives in Ruins by Marilyn Johnson


Author: Marilyn Johnson Title: Lives in Ruins: Archaeologists and the Seductive Lure of Human Rubble Narrator: Hilary Huber Publication Info: Tantor Audio, 2014 Summary/Review: Johnson’s book is a peek into the lives of archaeologists ranging from the expected academics working on notable sites to the more every day contract archaeologists working for little pay and a lot…

Book Review: Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson


Author: Erik Larson Title: Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania Narrator: Scott Brick Publication Info: New York, New York : Random House Audio, 2015. Other Books Read by the Same Author: The Devil in the White City In The Garden of Beasts Isaac’s storm Summary/Review: In typical Larson fashion, he crafts the story of…

Book Review: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote


Author :Truman Capote Title: In Cold Blood Narrator: Scott Brick Publication Info: New York, NY : Random House Audio, p2006. Previously Read by the Same Author: Breakfast at Tiffany’s Other Voices, Other Rooms Summary/Review: This is one of those books that’s long been on the list of “Why haven’t I read this yet?”  In Cold Blood is…

Sunday, 9/27 @ 2 PM: Cambridge Common walking tour


    This Sunday I will be leading a Boston By Foot Tour of the Month of Cambridge Common, both the park and the neighborhood surrounding it which includes churches, collegiate campuses, and family homes.  It’s fun and chock full of history!  Buy tickets online at Boston By Foot, and meet us at the Harvard…

Book Review: Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates


Author: Ta-Nehisi Coates Title: Between the World and Me Publication Info: New York : Spiegel & Grau, [2015] Summary/Review: Written as a letter to Coates’ teenage son Samori, Between the World and Me is an extended essay on the control of black bodies which have been subject to slavery, segregation, incarceration, and murder throughout United States history.  Coates…

Photopost: The Freedom Trail


The Freedom Trail may be the most hackneyed of  Boston tourist destinations, but it’s still worth it for a resident to take a walk on it every so often.  And taking my children on the walk for the first time, I got to see it through their eyes.  Plus, there are always some surprises, like…

Photopost: Boston by Land, Sea, & Sky


On the second day of taking my kids to see extremely touristy things in our hometown, we took a Boston Duck Tour and then viewed Boston from the Prudential Skywalk Observatory.  In-between we enjoyed a picnic lunch by the fountain in the Christian Science Center plaza.

Roxbury Highlands Tour – August 30 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, August 30 at Roxbury Crossing station on the MBTA Orange Line. We start in the Stony Brook valley and work our way uphill…

Book Review: First Family by Joseph Ellis


Author: Joseph J. Ellis Title:  First Family Narrator: Kimberly Farr Publication Info: Random House Audio (2010), Edition: Unabridged Previously Read by Same Author: American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson, Passionate Sage: The Character and Legacy of John Adams, and Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation Summary/Review: Historian Joseph Ellis explores the relationship of Abigail and John…

Book Reviews: In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson


Author: Erik Larson Title: In the Garden of the Beast Narrator: Stephen Hoye Publication Info: New York : Random House Audio : Books on Tape, p2011. Books Read by Same Author: The Devil in the White City and Isaac’s Storm Summary/Review: This history and biography book explores the rise of the Third Reich from the perspective of one American…

Retropost: Let it Snow x 3


With another foot of snow falling on Boston today, I thought I’d dig up this old post from 2008 about winter songs.  Sometimes you need to sing to keep from crying.   You may not believe it, but I spend inordinate amounts of time surfing the web. One day idly paging through Wikipedia’s list of Number-one…

Book Review: Bunker Hill : a city, a siege, a revolution by Nathaniel Philbrick


Author:  Nathaniel Philbrick Title: Bunker Hill : a city, a siege, a revolution Publication Info:  Penguin Books; Reprint edition (April 30, 2013) Other Books by Same Author: Mayflower Summary/Review: Another brilliant work of Massachusetts and American history by Philbrick.  Like Mayflower, which was about the first three generations of the Plymouth colony through King Phillip’s War, Bunker…

Movie Review: Selma (2014)


Title: Selma Release Date: 2014 Director: Ava DuVernay Production Co: Cloud Eight Films, Celador Films, Harpo Films, Pathé, Plan B Entertainment Country: United States Language: English Genre: Biography | Drama | History Rating: **** The story of the march from Selma to Montgomery to fight for voting rights for black Americans is dramatized in this excellent biographical film.  The film focuses on Martin…

Book Review: Dirigible Dreams: The Age of the Airship by C. Michael Hiam


Author: C. Michael Hiam Title: Dirigible Dreams: The Age of the Airship Publication Info: Lebanon, NH : ForeEdge, 2014. Summary/Review: I received this book free through the Library Thing Early Reviewers program.  Hiam details the history of rigid airships – or dirigibles – from their earliest innovation in that turn of the 20th century through World War II….

Book Review: Pity the Billionaire by Thomas Frank


Author:Thomas Frank Narrator: Thomas Frank Title: Pity the Billionaire  Publication Info: Macmillan Audio, 2012 ISBN: 9781427223128 Previous books read by the same author: What’s the Matter With Kansas? Summary/Review: Thomas Frank explores the ways in which the crash of 2008 and ensuing great recession failed to lead to a populist revolt against capitalists nor for greater government…

Three Boston By Foot Walking Tours in October


If you love Boston, and wish to learn more about it’s history and architecture, check out the following three Boston By Foot walking tours lead by yours truly in October. 2 October 2014, 6 pm at Atlantic Wharf (290 Congress St at Fort Point Channel) – The Tipsy Tour – This tour is not a pub…

Book Review: One Summer: America 1927


Author and Narrator: Bill Bryson Title: One Summer: America 1927 Publication Info: Random House Audio, 2013 Other books read by the same author: A Short History of Nearly Everything A Walk in the Woods Notes from a Small Island In a Sunburned Country I’m A Stranger Here Myself: Notes on Returning to America After 20 Years… The…

Book Review: The Race Underground by Doug Most


Author: Doug Most Narrator: John H. Mayer Title: The Race Underground Publication Info: Books on Tape, 2014 ISBN: 9780553398069 Summary/Review: This fascinating study documents the race between Boston and New York to be the first city to have underground rapid transit.  Spoiler:  Boston wins the race, but the modest Tremont Street subway would soon be overshadowed by New…