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The Fame and Fiction of William F. Buckley, Jr.

By Audrey Golden. Nov 24, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, Legendary Authors, Learn About Books

When most people think about William F. Buckley, Jr., they don’t think about Cold War spy novels or interviews with Beat poets and dramatists. Instead, they often think about Buckley's prominence in conservative politics. Yet he also made a name for himself when it came to fiction. We didn’t just reference Cold War spy novels and Jack Kerouac—two seemingly incompatible topics—out of nowhere. In fact, although you might not suspect it, Buckley wrote eleven novels about espionage and even interviewed Allen Ginsberg, Norman Mailer, and Jack Kerouac on television. Are you intrigued? Let us tell you a little bit more about William F. Buckley, Jr.’s fame and fiction.

     
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Book Spotlight: Where Men Win Glory by Jon Krakauer

By Abigail Bekx. Nov 6, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History

Published in 2009, Jon Krakauer’s Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman explores the life of football player Pat Tillman. Born in 1976, Tillman became one of the best known players for the Arizona Cardinals before leaving his multimillion dollar contract to enlist in the Army. His death in the line of duty brought controversy to the Army and U.S. government when they hid and changed details of the incident from Tillman’s family and the public. Krakauer’s work brings together the facts, painting for readers a clear picture of the details and cover-up.

     
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The Life and Work of Hillary Clinton

By Shelley Kelber. Oct 26, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, History

Hillary Clinton engenders strong emotions from many people. Some love her. Some love to hate her. No matter where you fall, it's difficult to argue that she's not a very accomplished, very smart, woman of a certain age. Rather than descending into political debate, we'd like to offer an overview of Clinton's accomplishments and some of her notable written works, and leave it at that.

     
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Book Spotlight: The Golden Age by Gore Vidal

By Abigail Bekx. Oct 3, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, American Literature

American novelist Gore Vidal is widely known for his witty, irreverent writing. His Narratives of Empire series contains seven historical fictions that explore the growth of America from her birth to taking her place as one of the great empires of history.

     
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Collecting the Works of President and Peace Prize Winner, Jimmy Carter

By Leah Dobrinska. Oct 1, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, Book Collecting

“To be true to ourselves, we must be true to others.” ~Jimmy Carter, Inaugural Address, January 20, 1977

Today, we celebrate Jimmy Carter's 95th birthday. In honor of his life and efforts as president and human rights activist, we thought we'd republish our most recent post on Carter and his written works.

Do you have a collection of books by U.S. presidents? Or, are you interested in Nobel Peace Prize winners, twentieth century history, or human rights? If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, the works of Jimmy Carter should be on your radar.

     
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A Glimpse of Understanding: A Look at Post 9/11 Novels

By Nick Ostdick. Sep 11, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History

Some moments in history are so monumental, so seismic, they seem impossible for fiction to get its arms around. These are moments that defy logic, that render conventional and unconventional methods of storytelling obsolete in trying to uncover the truth of the human condition. Take, for example, the horrific events of September 11: a calculated, strategic assault on some of the country’s most iconic images — The World Trade Center, The Pentagon and The White House, though thankfully that last image was left unharmed due to the courage of those aboard the plane bound for 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. 

The inherent problem in fiction dealing directly with national tragedies like 9/11 is that the tragedy itself seems something born out of a writer’s imagination, not moments recounted for decades to come in history books. With instances like September 11, there are often more questions to begin with and even fewer answers to be found as the pages turn. 

     
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How Jesse James Became an American Myth

By Brian Hoey. Sep 5, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, Movie Tie-Ins

This blog post is not the first place it’s been pointed out that the Wild West era lasted a scant few decades—compared to the century-plus of folk songs, dime novels, movies, TV shows, and other forms of myth-making that take up (and sometimes interrogate) the inherent romance and drama of the era. Given all that, it shouldn’t really surprise us that Wikipedia’s article on “Cultural depictions of Jesse James” is almost as long as the article on James himself. And yet, the piece leaves out what is arguably the first piece of popular culture that took up the life (and death) of the one of the West’s most notorious outlaws: the touring stage show put on by Robert Ford, James’ assassin, dramatizing the moment when Ford himself put a bullet in the back of James’ head.

     
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Five of John McCain's Fascinating Books

By Abigail Bekx. Aug 29, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, American Literature

Born in 1936, John McCain dedicated his life to serving the United States. He graduated from Naval Academy in Annapolis and received a commission from the U.S. Navy. During his time serving in the Navy, McCain worked as a naval aviator and was captured during the Vietnam War, remaining a prisoner of war for five and a half years before his release in 1973. After retiring from the Navy in 1981, he entered politics, where he served in both the House and the Senate until his death in 2018. Many of his writings were done in collaboration with Mark Salter, who served for a time as McCain’s chief of staff.  

     
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A Quick Guide to Bill Clinton and His Autobiography, My Life

By Matt Reimann. Aug 19, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History

William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton received a $15 million dollar advance for his autobiography, My Life (2004)⁠—one of the largest advances ever received for a book. By all measures, the book was a great financial success, selling 2,250,000 copies and earning Clinton $30 million dollars. Yet this achievement did not come easily; it took Clinton over two years to write the book, written in longhand in sixteen notebooks, with no help from a ghost writer.

     
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The Controversy Behind Neil Armstrong's Moon Landing Speech

By Claudia Adrien. Aug 5, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, Science

On July 16, 1969, the Apollo 11 crew left Kennedy Space Center and entered the Moon's orbit. On July 19, after spending a full day in lunar orbit, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, Jr. boarded the lunar module. It was not an easy decent to the surface of the Moon, but when they landed, they made history.

     
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