Lost Ecstasy shows the Old West’s ugly underside

  Mary Roberts Rinehart’s Lost Ecstasy turns the romance of the Old West on its head. Handsome cowboy Tom McNeil can ride, rope, and sing baritone. Lost Ecstasy by Mary Roberts Rinehart. Doran, 1927. 372 pp. 1927 bestseller # 6. My Grade: B-. His only flaws — binge drinking, womanizing, and using paper napkins— aren’t […]

The Harbor is an excursion into lived history

The Harbor is a fictional history of the major upheavals in American life between 1865 and 1915 as experienced by a family who lived and worked on New York City’s waterfront. [The New York Public Library’s digital book New York City Harbor puts the novel in its historical and visual setting.] The Harbor by Ernest […]

Something of Value: Timely and timeless novel of Africa

Robert Ruark’s Something of Value is a gory and compassionate novel about Kenya that will fascinate readers and leave them with plenty to think about as well. Something of Value by Robert Ruark Doubleday, 1955, 566 pages. 1955 bestseller #6. My grade: A+. Peter McKenzie and Kimani, his Kikuyu pal, were raised together in Kenya. […]