Our 5 Most Popular Posts: July 2023
- August 1, 2023
We love every piece we run. There are no winners or losers. But all kidding aside, here are July’s winners.
- Paul D. Pearlstein’s review of The Winning Ticket: Uncovering America’s Biggest Lottery Scam by Rob Sand with Reid Forgrave (Potomac Books). “Tipton was soon charged for buying the ticket and for lying to investigators. Despite his legal jeopardy, he refused to explain how — or if — he was able to predict the winning numbers. Without a smoking gun, and arguing only circumstantial evidence, Sand went forward with his prosecution of Tipton and squeaked out a conviction from a jury. It was only after the trial that the prosecutor learned the Iowa Hot Lotto rigging was not a one-off. Computer geek Tipton had been orchestrating substantial lottery payouts, mostly for his brother and friends, across multiple states for years.”
- Allison Thurman’s review of Anne Boleyn & Elizabeth I: The Mother and Daughter Who Forever Changed British History by Tracy Borman (Atlantic Monthly Press). “Much has been written about Anne Boleyn and her daughter, Elizabeth I. Often, the story of the near-legendary queen of England eclipses that of her deposed and beheaded mother, a woman often painted as “only” one of Henry VIII’s six unfortunate wives at best, an ambitious overreacher at worst. Even less is written of the women’s relationship with each other. The prevailing view is that Elizabeth seldom mentioned her disgraced mother in favor of emphasizing her status as her father’s heir. Yet in Anne Boleyn & Elizabeth I, Tracy Borman masterfully corrects the historical record and highlights both women’s roles in the English Reformation.”
- Patricia Schultheis’ review of Horse: A Novel by Geraldine Brooks (Viking). “By far, the most compelling narrative is that of Jarret, an enslaved boy in Kentucky, whom Brooks describes as being ‘slow to master human speech, but he could interpret the horses: their moods, their alliances, their simple wants, their many fears. He came to believe that horses lived with a world of fear, and when you grasped that you had a clear idea how to be with them.’ Jarret understands the fear horses have because he, too, is wholly dependent on the whims of others for food and shelter. And like horses, he can be beaten or sold at any moment. In the antebellum South, horses and their enslaved attendants are commodities. Nothing more.”
- Jennifer Bort Yacovissi’s review of The House of Eve: A Novel by Sadeqa Johnson (Simon & Schuster). “The House of Eve spotlights many thorny issues, including the countless layers of absorbed racism embedded in Rose’s proud declaration, ‘We held ourselves apart from the common sharecroppers who were uneducated, black and dirt poor. And why shouldn’t we? We had nothing in common with them.’ One wonders whether she has ever contemplated what her ancestors were forced to endure in order to bequeath her her lighter skin tone.”
- Ananya Bhattacharyya’s review of The Dog of Tithwal by Saadat Hasan Manto; translated by Khalid Hasan and Aatish Taseer (Archipelago). “When India was partitioned into two countries in 1947, and millions of people had to leave their homes in search of safety on the other side of the newly created border, 2 million people died. That figure is comparable to the number of casualties in the Vietnam War. How was this possible? The answer is both simple and horrific. Ordinary people are capable of turning into monsters who pillage, rape, and murder. This combustibility that’s intrinsic to our nature is a focus of several of Saadat Hasan Manto’s stories collected in The Dog of Tithwal.”