Our 5 Most Popular Posts: March 2023
- April 3, 2023
We love every piece we run. There are no winners or losers. But all kidding aside, here are March’s winners.
- Larry Matthews’ review of In Search of Amrit Kaur: A Lost Princess and Her Vanished World by Livia Manera Sambuy; translated by Todd Portnowitz (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). “Yet In Search of Amrit Kaur ends up being as much about the author as it is about her subject. We’re treated to the minutiae of Sambuy’s meetings with the people she interviews, down to what they ate and drank. There are also long passages about the years being investigated, which may be enough to hold the attention of readers keenly interested in a specific period in India. Unfortunately, I am not one of them. As an author and former journalist trained to sniff out compelling stories, I asked myself what makes Kaur special enough to merit a book. Three hundred pages later, I still didn’t know the answer.”
- John R. Wennersten’s review of The Great Displacement: Climate Change and the Next American Migration by Jake Bittle (Simon & Schuster). “The author writes that climate change induces shifts of population that are often as chaotic as the weather events prompting them. People don’t want to leave their homes following a weather disaster; they want to rebuild. But as flood and fire insurance from FEMA and private companies becomes prohibitively expensive, they will have no choice but to migrate — in most cases, to more urban areas where they can find reasonable housing and employment. Refugees from the charred ruins of Santa Rosa, California, move to Boise, Idaho; those from the hurricane-devastated Florida Keys make for Orlando; and waterless irrigation farmers head northward to cooler, wetter climes.”
- Tania Heller’s review of Code Gray: Death, Life, and Uncertainty in the ER by Farzon A. Nahvi, M.D. (Simon & Schuster). “Nahvi includes several interesting and disturbing anecdotes, including that of a patient with unexpected findings on a CT scan, another with confusion resulting from alcohol-induced liver damage, and even one who arrived at the ER every Fourth of July simply for refuge. He also describes a situation in which a cancer patient came to the emergency room seeking chemotherapy after losing her health insurance. Here and elsewhere, he illustrates the frustration of trying — and sometimes failing — to do what’s best for patients given the shortcomings of America’s healthcare system.”
- Marilyn Oser’s review of Once We Were Home: A Novel by Jennifer Rosner (Flatiron Books). “The plight of children dislocated by war is the theme of Jennifer Rosner’s Once We Were Home. Set between 1940 and 1968, her narrative portrays the haunted inner lives of children who belong nowhere, who must struggle to find first themselves and then a home. Their fear, their anger, their confusion, and their sense of abandonment come alive through four characters.”
- Tom Young’s review of Brotherhood of the Flying Coffin: The Glider Pilots of World War II by Scott McGaugh (Osprey Publishing). During World War II, there were no aircraft capable of dropping heavy equipment for an airborne invasion. Nowadays, if you need a truck or an artillery piece on the ground in a hurry, you can slide it out the back of a C-130 or a C-17. Giant parachutes will open and deliver it unbroken, right where you want it. But in the 1940s, you had to put that artillery piece, along with its crew, in a glider. Simple, really. Just cut loose from the tow plane and crash-land in the middle of a firefight. If you can find pilots skilled and brave enough to do something that crazy. Author Scott McGaugh does those fliers a great service by telling their story.”