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Tomlinson Hill : the Remarkable Story of Two Families Who Share the Tomlinson Name -- One White, One Black by Chris Tomlinson

Something to Talk About for the Week of July 21, 2014

The following titles have been discussed in the news and talk shows, primarily on the radio and television, but also in print throughout the week. Find out which books the media has featured this week and discover something to read and talk about.

Fresh Air NPR

Tomlinson Hill: The Remarkable Story of Two Families Who Share the Tomlinson Name – One White, One Black, by Chris Tomlinson. Listen to author interview on Fresh Air.

The Fantastic Laboratory of Dr. Weigl: How Two Brave Scientist Battled Typhus and Sabotaged the Nazis, by Arthur Allen. Listen to author interview on Fresh Air.

The Soul of All Living Creatures: What Animals Can Teach Us About Being Human, by Vint Virga. Cat PDA Vs. Human PDA, And Other Animal Behavior Explained by veterinarian, Vint Virga on Fresh Air.

The Diane Rehm Show NPR

Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Listen to Readers' Review: "Americanah" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on The Diane Rehm Show.

Redeeming the Dream: The Case for Marriage Equality, by David Boies and Theodore Olson. Listen to interview with authors, David Boies & Theodore Olson on The Diane Rehm Show.

The Colbert Report Comedy Network

California: A Novel, by Edan Lepucki. Watch author interview on The Colbert Report.

Tavis Smiley PBS

The Harlem Hellfighters, by Max Brooks. Watch author interview on The Tavis Smiley Show.

CBS Sunday Morning

The Nixon Tapes: 1971-1972, by Douglas Brinkley and Luke Nichter. Watch interview of authors on CBS Sunday Morning.

Chicago Tribune

The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee, by Marja Mills. Read Chicago Tribune article “Marja Mills Addresses Harper Lee Controversy at Literary Event."

Book TV C-Span 2

Iran and the United States: An Insider's View on the Failed Past and the Road to Peace, by Seyed Hossein Mousavian. Watch the author, Seyed Hossein Mousavian, in this BookTV program.

The Scorpion's Sting: Antislavery and the Coming of the Civil War, by James Oakes. Watch the BookTV program featuring historian and author James Oakes.


Amazon Says: Tomlinson Hill is the stunning story of two families—one white, one black—who trace their roots to a slave plantation that bears their name. Internationally recognized f more...
Amazon Says: Tomlinson Hill is the stunning story of two families—one white, one black—who trace their roots to a slave plantation that bears their name. Internationally recognized for his work as a fearless war correspondent, award-winning journalist Chris Tomlinson grew up hearing stories about his family’s abandoned cotton plantation in Falls County, Texas. Most of the tales lionized his white ancestors for pioneering along the Brazos River. His grandfather often said the family’s slaves loved them so much that they also took Tomlinson as their last name. LaDainian Tomlinson, football great and former running back for the San Diego Chargers, spent part of his childhood playing on the same land that his black ancestors had worked as slaves. As a child, LaDainian believed the Hill was named after his family. Not until he was old enough to read an historical plaque did he realize that the Hill was named for his ancestor’s slaveholders. A masterpiece of authentic American history, Tomlinson Hill traces the true and very revealing story of these two families. From the beginning in 1854— when the first Tomlinson, a white woman, arrived—to 2007, when the last Tomlinson, LaDainian’s father, left,  the book unflinchingly explores the history of race and bigotry in Texas. Along the way it also manages to disclose a great many untruths that are latent in the unsettling and complex story of America. Tomlinson Hill is also the basis for a film and an interactive web project. The award-winning film, which airs on PBS, concentrates on present-day Marlin, Texas and how the community struggles with poverty and the legacy of race today,  and is accompanied by an interactive web site called Voice of Marlin, which stores the oral histories collected along the way. Chris Tomlinson has used the reporting skills he honed as a highly respected reporter covering ethnic violence in Africa and the Middle East to fashion a perfect microcosm of America’s own ethnic strife. The economic inequality, political shenanigans, cruelty and racism—both subtle and overt—that informs the history of Tomlinson Hill also live on in many ways to this very day in our country as a whole. The author has used his impressive credentials and honest humanity to create a classic work of American history that will take its place alongside the timeless work of our finest historians less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: From a laboratory in wartime Poland comes a fascinating story of anti-Nazi resistance and scientific ingenuity. Few diseases are more gruesome than typhus. Transmitted by body more...
Amazon Says: From a laboratory in wartime Poland comes a fascinating story of anti-Nazi resistance and scientific ingenuity. Few diseases are more gruesome than typhus. Transmitted by body lice, it afflicts the dispossessed—refugees, soldiers, and ghettoized peoples—causing hallucinations, terrible headaches, boiling fever, and often death. The disease plagued the German army on the Eastern Front and left the Reich desperate for a vaccine. For this they turned to the brilliant and eccentric Polish zoologist Rudolf Weigl. In the 1920s, Weigl had created the first typhus vaccine using a method as bold as it was dangerous for its use of living human subjects. The astonishing success of Weigl’s techniques attracted the attention and admiration of the world—giving him cover during the Nazi’s violent occupation of Lviv. His lab soon flourished as a hotbed of resistance. Weigl hired otherwise doomed mathematicians, writers, doctors, and other thinkers, protecting them from atrocity. The team engaged in a sabotage campaign by sending illegal doses of the vaccine into the Polish ghettos while shipping gallons of the weakened serum to the Wehrmacht.Among the scientists saved by Weigl, who was a Christian, was a gifted Jewish immunologist named Ludwik Fleck. Condemned to Buchenwald and pressured to re-create the typhus vaccine under the direction of a sadistic Nazi doctor, Erwin Ding-Schuler, Fleck had to make an awful choice between his scientific ideals or the truth of his conscience. In risking his life to carry out a dramatic subterfuge to vaccinate the camp’s most endangered prisoners, Fleck performed an act of great heroism.Drawing on extensive research and interviews with survivors, Arthur Allen tells the harrowing story of two brave scientists—a Christian and a Jew— who put their expertise to the best possible use, at the highest personal danger. 35 illlustrations less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: As profiled in the New York Times Magazine… Based on the author’s twenty-five years of experience as a veterinarian and veterinary behaviorist, The Soul of All Living more...
Amazon Says: As profiled in the New York Times Magazine… Based on the author’s twenty-five years of experience as a veterinarian and veterinary behaviorist, The Soul of All Living Creatures delves into the inner lives of animals – from whales, wolves, and leopards to mice, dogs, and cats – and explores the relationships we forge with them.   As an emergency room clinician four years out of veterinary school, Dr. Vint Virga had a life-changing experience: he witnessed the power of simple human contact and compassion to affect the recovery of a dog struggling to survive after being hit by a car.  Observing firsthand the remarkably strong connection between humans and animals inspired him to explore the world from the viewpoint of animals and taught him to respect the kinship that connects us. With The Soul of All Living Creatures, Virga draws from his decades in veterinary practice to reveal how, by striving to perceive the world as animals do, we can enrich our own appreciation of life, enhance our character, nurture our relationships, improve our communication with others, reorder our values, and deepen our grasp of spirituality.  Virga discerningly illuminates basic traits shared by both humans and animals and makes animal behavior meaningful, relevant, and easy to understand.  Insightful and eloquent, The Soul of All Living Creatures offers an intimate journey into the lives of our fellow creatures and a thought-provoking promise of what we can learn from spending time with them. From the Hardcover edition. less...
Amazon

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Amazon Says: One of The New York Times's Ten Best Books of the Year Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction An NPR "Great Reads" Book, a Chi more...
Amazon Says: One of The New York Times's Ten Best Books of the Year Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction An NPR "Great Reads" Book, a Chicago Tribune Best Book, a Washington Post Notable Book, a Seattle Times Best Book, an Entertainment Weekly Top Fiction Book, a Newsday Top 10 Book, and a Goodreads Best of the Year pick.A powerful, tender story of race and identity by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the award-winning author of Half of a Yellow Sun. Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria, and reignite their passion—for each other and for their homeland.  less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: The riveting inside story of the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on Proposition 8—by the two lawyers who argued the case   On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Cou more...
Amazon Says: The riveting inside story of the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on Proposition 8—by the two lawyers who argued the case   On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a pair of landmark decisions, striking down the Defense of Marriage Act and eliminating California’s discriminatory Proposition 8, reinstating the freedom to marry for gays and lesbians in California.   Redeeming the Dream is the story of how David Boies and Theodore B. Olson—who argued against each other all the way to the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore—joined forces after that titanic battle to forge the unique legal argument that would carry the day. As allies and not foes, they tell the fascinating story of the five-year struggle to win the right for gays to marry, from Proposition 8’s adoption by voters in 2008, to its defeat before the highest court in the land in Hollingsworth v. Perry in 2013.   Boies and Olson guide readers through the legal framing of the case, making crystal clear the constitutional principles of due process and equal protection in support of marriage equality while explaining, with intricacy, the basic human truths they set out to prove when the duo put state-sanctioned discrimination on trial.   Redeeming the Dream offers readers an authoritative, dramatic, and up-close account of the most important civil rights issue—fought and won—since Brown v. Board of Education and Loving v. Virginia. less...
Amazon

California: A Novel by Edan Lepucki
Amazon Says: "In her arresting debut novel, Edan Lepucki conjures a lush, intricate, deeply disturbing vision of the future, then masterfully exploits its dramatic possibilities." ---Jenni more...
Amazon Says: "In her arresting debut novel, Edan Lepucki conjures a lush, intricate, deeply disturbing vision of the future, then masterfully exploits its dramatic possibilities." ---Jennifer Egan, author of A Visit from the Goon Squad The world Cal and Frida have always known is gone, and they've left the crumbling city of Los Angeles far behind them. They now live in a shack in the wilderness, working side-by-side to make their days tolerable in the face of hardship and isolation. Mourning a past they can't reclaim, they seek solace in each other. But the tentative existence they've built for themselves is thrown into doubt when Frida finds out she's pregnant. Terrified of the unknown and unsure of their ability to raise a child alone, Cal and Frida set out for the nearest settlement, a guarded and paranoid community with dark secrets. These people can offer them security, but Cal and Frida soon realize this community poses dangers of its own. In this unfamiliar world, where everything and everyone can be perceived as a threat, the couple must quickly decide whom to trust. A gripping and provocative debut novel by a stunning new talent, California imagines a frighteningly realistic near future, in which clashes between mankind's dark nature and deep-seated resilience force us to question how far we will go to protect the ones we love. less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: From bestselling author Max Brooks, the riveting story of the highly decorated, barrier-breaking, historic black regiment—the Harlem Hellfighters In 1919, the 369th more...
Amazon Says: From bestselling author Max Brooks, the riveting story of the highly decorated, barrier-breaking, historic black regiment—the Harlem Hellfighters In 1919, the 369th infantry regiment marched home triumphantly from World War I. They had spent more time in combat than any other American unit, never losing a foot of ground to the enemy, or a man to capture, and winning countless decorations. Though they returned as heroes, this African American unit faced tremendous discrimination, even from their own government. The Harlem Hellfighters, as the Germans called them, fought courageously on—and off—the battlefield to make Europe, and America, safe for democracy.   In THE HARLEM HELLFIGHTERS, bestselling author Max Brooks and acclaimed illustrator Caanan White bring this history to life. From the enlistment lines in Harlem to the training camp at Spartanburg, South Carolina, to the trenches in France, they tell the heroic story of the 369th in an action-packed and powerful tale of honor and heart. less...
Amazon

The Nixon Tapes: 1971-1972 by Douglas Brinkley
Amazon Says: The famous -- and infamous -- Nixon White House tapes that reveal for the first time President Richard Nixon uncensored, unfiltered, and in his own words President Nixon's vo more...
Amazon Says: The famous -- and infamous -- Nixon White House tapes that reveal for the first time President Richard Nixon uncensored, unfiltered, and in his own words President Nixon's voice-activated taping system captured every word spoken in the Oval Office, Cabinet Room, and other key locations in the White House, and at Camp David -- 3,700 hours of recordings between 1971 and 1973. Yet less than 5 percent of those conversations have ever been transcribed and published. Now, thanks to professor Luke Nichter's massive effort to digitize and transcribe the tapes, the world can finally read an unprecedented account of one of the most important and controversial presidencies in U.S. history. The Nixon Tapes offers a selection of fascinating scenes from the year Nixon opened relations with China, negotiated the SALT I arms agreement with the Soviet Union, and won a landslide reelection victory. All the while, the growing shadow of Watergate and Nixon's political downfall crept ever closer. The Nixon Tapes provides a never-before-seen glimpse into a flawed president's hubris, paranoia, and political genius. less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is one of the best loved novels of the twentieth century. But for the last fifty years, the novel’s celebrated author, Harper Lee, has more...
Amazon Says: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is one of the best loved novels of the twentieth century. But for the last fifty years, the novel’s celebrated author, Harper Lee, has said almost nothing on the record. Journalists have trekked to her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, where Harper Lee, known to her friends as Nelle, has lived with her sister, Alice, for decades, trying and failing to get an interview with the author. But in 2001, the Lee sisters opened their door to Chicago Tribune journalist Marja Mills. It was the beginning of a long conversation—and a great friendship.   In 2004, with the Lees’ blessing, Mills moved into the house next door to the sisters. She spent the next eighteen months there, sharing coffee at McDonalds and trips to the Laundromat with Nelle, feeding the ducks and going out for catfish supper with the sisters, and exploring all over lower Alabama with the Lees’ inner circle of friends.   Nelle shared her love of history, literature, and the Southern way of life with Mills, as well as her keen sense of how journalism should be practiced. As the sisters decided to let Mills tell their story, Nelle helped make sure she was getting the story—and the South—right. Alice, the keeper of the Lee family history, shared the stories of their family.   The Mockingbird Next Door is the story of Mills’s friendship with the Lee sisters. It is a testament to the great intelligence, sharp wit, and tremendous storytelling power of these two women, especially that of Nelle.   Mills was given a rare opportunity to know Nelle Harper Lee, to be part of the Lees’ life in Alabama, and to hear them reflect on their upbringing, their corner of the Deep South, how To Kill a Mockingbird affected their lives, and why Nelle Harper Lee chose to never write another novel.  less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: Scores of books have been written by Western experts, mainly American, looking at the root causes of the conflict between Iran and the US. However, none of them have presented more...
Amazon Says: Scores of books have been written by Western experts, mainly American, looking at the root causes of the conflict between Iran and the US. However, none of them have presented an inside look at this complex relationship from within the Iranian culture, society, and most importantly, the Iranian policy-making system. This gap has been the cause of misperceptions, misanalyses, and conflict, followed by the adoption of US policies that have failed to achieve their objectives. Seyed Hossein Mousavian worked for over 30 years on diplomatic efforts between Iran and the West, serving in numerous official posts, and as a confidante, colleague, and peer to many former and current high ranking Iranian officials, including now-President Hassan Rouhani and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. Here the former diplomat gives an insider’s history of the troubled relationship between Iran and the US. His unique firsthand perspective blends memoir, analysis, and never before seen details of the many near misses in the quest for rapprochement. With so much at stake, the book concludes with a roadmap for peace that both nations so desperately need. less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: An award-winning historian illuminates the strategy for ending slavery that precipitated the crisis of civil war. Surrounded by a ring of fire, the scorpion stings itself to d more...
Amazon Says: An award-winning historian illuminates the strategy for ending slavery that precipitated the crisis of civil war. Surrounded by a ring of fire, the scorpion stings itself to death. The image, widespread among antislavery leaders before the Civil War, captures their long-standing strategy for peaceful abolition: they would surround the slave states with a cordon of freedom. They planned to use federal power wherever they could to establish freedom: the western territories, the District of Columbia, the high seas. By constricting slavery they would induce a crisis: slaves would escape in ever-greater numbers, the southern economy would falter, and finally the southern states would abolish the institution themselves. For their part the southern states fully understood this antislavery strategy. They cited it repeatedly as they adopted secession ordinances in response to Lincoln's election. The scorpion's sting is the centerpiece of this fresh, incisive exploration of slavery and the Civil War: Was there a peaceful route to abolition? Was Lincoln late to emancipation? What role did race play in the politics of slavery? With stunning insight James Oakes moves us ever closer to a new understanding of the most momentous events in our history. less...
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