Monday, May 10, 2021


How the South Won the Civil War: Oligarchy, Democracy, and the Continuing Fight for the Soul of America by Heather Cox Richardson was published in April 2020. Wait a minute! I learned that the North won that war.  But read on. 

Although the North won military victories in many of the battles, the book reveals how the South succeeded in maintaining the status quo of the slaves until the Declaration of their freedom by Abraham Lincoln. The South continued to maintain the suppression of the Negroes and spread the concept of their second-class citizenship westward. Despite the equal rights amendment, white supremacy, voter suppression and inequities in access to health care and education continue.

Heather Cox Richardson is a Professor of History at Boston College and the author of five other books on the Civil War.  She is also the author of Letters from an American, a daily publication on-line providing commentary of current political events in the context of history.  After following Heather for more than a year, I was intrigued to read her latest book.

Heather has combined the knowledge of a professional historian with the skill of an author to describe a unique prospective of the Civil War and its consequences on life in America today. This brilliant exposition of the Civil War is a must-read for those interested in understanding the effects of this great conflict on politics today.



Wednesday, January 13, 2021



Magic Hour by Kristin Hannah was published in 2006. Hannah is a bestselling author with 24 novels to her credit including The Nightingale and The Great Alone. 


Rain Valley is a small community facing the north Pacific coast, partially surrounded by endless miles of dense evergreen woods.  Ellie is the police chief. When a small girl accompanied by a young wolf emerges from the woods into town seeking food, Ellie calls her sister Julia, a child psychiatrist, to help identify the child.  Julia and Ellie have had a distant relationship.


Nevertheless, Julia responds reluctantly; her reputation is in shambles because of the violent death of one of her patients.  Despite her bad reputation in the press, Julia undertakes the challenge of identifying the child who seems unable or unwilling to speak. Julia attempts to communicate with the little girl who behaves like a wild animal. 


What most impressed me was Julia’s patience.  She is able to subdue the little girl and finally gets the child to behave in a civilized manner and to speak a few words, but her identity remains a mystery. Gradually, over a period of many months, Julia comes to love her little patient, who shows evidence of having been abused and tied down for long periods of time. 


The story of Julia’s progress is a fascinating one, revealing kidnapping and murder, leading to a surprising and dramatic conclusion.