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…

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…