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Rinker Buck, The Oregon Trail

Go west, old man...

Rinker Buck is no stranger to flying by the seat of his pants—literally. In the summer of 1966, at age 15, Buck and his older brother Kern, 17, flew their father’s restored Piper Cub from New Jers   More
Wednesday, July 29, 2015 MATT BUCKINGHAM

H.W. Brands, Reagan: The Life: Book Review

Another one for the Gipper.

Republicans deify him. The Tea Party tries to remake him in its own image. But as H.W. Brands reminds us in his new biography, Reagan: The Life (Doubleday, 816 pages, $35), not even Ronald Reagan    More
Wednesday, June 10, 2015 MATT BUCKINGHAM

Mark Adams, Meet Me in Atlantis

Somewhere, beneath the sea…

Every clue to the final resting place of the lost city of Atlantis comes from a single, ancient source: the Greek philosopher Plato. And even he heard the story eighth-hand, passed down from a d   More
Wednesday, March 11, 2015 MATT BUCKINGHAM

John Darnielle, Wolf in White Van

Finish or die trying.

When a guy writes a love song that ends, “I hope you die, I hope we both die,” and shoots a music video with blood dripping from a bullet wound in his temple, you know his first novel isn’   More
Wednesday, October 1, 2014 MATT BUCKINGHAM

Sharon Kay Penman, A King’s Ransom

The Lionheart in winter.

He spoke no English, sired no legitimate heir, and spent only six months of his 10-year reign on English soil, just long enough to levy taxes to pay for his military adventures in France and the   More
Wednesday, March 5, 2014 MATT BUCKINGHAM

A. Scott Berg, Wilson

Wilson: the last openly racist U.S. president.

Woodrow Wilson’s rise to president of the U.S. was as meteoric and improbable as Barack Obama’s a century later. Within a decade of becoming president of Princeton University, Wilson “left   More
Wednesday, October 2, 2013 MATT BUCKINGHAM

Judyth Vary Baker, Me & Lee

Love means never having to say you shot the president.

As the 50th anniversary of the John F. Kennedy assassination nears, in 2013, two out of three Americans still believe Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone in murdering the president. Judyth Vary    More
Wednesday, November 7, 2012 MATT BUCKINGHAM

Robin Sloan, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

Don’t be evil?

Author Robin Sloan’s paean to books—both digital and on paper—is filled with elements so plausible readers will want to Google them to see whether they’re real. And that’s fitting, bec   More
Wednesday, October 31, 2012 MATT BUCKINGHAM

Caleb Scharf, Gravity’s Engines

A Columbia astronomer blows bubbles.

From what sounds like static, astronomers can discern an image of the entire universe. Explaining how they pull off this trick is the job of writers like Caleb Scharf, director of astrobiology a   More
Wednesday, September 12, 2012 MATT BUCKINGHAM

Jess Walter, Beautiful Ruins

Love letters to Cleo.

In 1962, 20th Century Fox made a movie that almost bankrupted the studio and changed Hollywood forever. The epic Cleopatra was shot on location in Italy and Egypt at a cost of more than $40 mill   More
Wednesday, June 27, 2012 MATT BUCKINGHAM
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