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…

Movie Review: Prohibition (2011)


Title: Prohibition Release Date: 2 October 2011 Director: Ken Burns and Lynn Novick Production Co: Florentine Films Country: United States Language: English Genre: Documentary | History Rating: **** This Ken Burns documentary illustrates the United States’ experiment with banning alcoholic beverages. The story is told in three parts. Part I documents the adverse effect alcohol consumption had on…

Book Review: Drinking Boston by Stephanie Schorow


Author:  Stephanie Schorow Title:  Drinking Boston : a history of the city and its spirits Publication Info: Wellesley, MA : Union Park Press, c2012. Other books by same author: The Crime of the Century Summary/Review: It’s an interesting premise to study one city and it’s relationship to alcoholic beverages. Arranged roughly in chronological order, Schorow covers the following topics:…

Photopost: Colonial Virginia


Some of my favorite photos from our recent trip to Virginia are below.  See the complete photo album on my website. For Spring Break, my son Peter and I traveled to Virginia to visit my mother and play tourist at Colonial Williamsburg, Historic Jamestowne, and Go-Karts Plus.  It was  three-day trip but it felt like we…

Book Review: Walking the Bible by Bruce Feiler


Author and Narrator: Bruce Feiler Title: Walking the Bible Publication Info: HarperAudio (2005) Summary/Review: So, I read and reviewed the book Where God Was Born without realizing that it was a sequel to a previous journey until the author responded to my review on Twitter (oops!).   This journey goes to the places of the five books…

Book Review: Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools by Diane Ravitch


Author: Diane Ravitch Title: Reign of Error Publication Info: Knopf (2013) Summary/Review: This is the most important book I’ve read all year and one that I think every American should read.  Educational historian Diane Ravitch unravels the multi-pronged attack of the “school reform” movement on public education, teachers, and the core principles of democracy.  While school reformers…