The “ambitious rivals” of Peter Doran’s subtitle are Marcus Samuels, an East London merchant who built his father’s seashell business into Shell Transportation and Trading Company, and in the process developed the first modern oil tanker, capable of navigating the Suez Canal, and Henri Deterding, “a take-no-prisoners oilman” who created Royal Dutch, building on holdings in Dutch colonial outposts.
“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” — Dr. Seuss
Last year, Robert Sackville-West, the current holder of the Sackville barony, wrote a book titled “The Disinherited,” where he contrasted his own fortunate inheritance with the fate of those swept aside because of gender, illegitimacy or other obstacles.
Appealing is the word that kept recurring in my mind as I read literary agent and author Betsy Lerner’s memoir of getting to know her mother’s circle of contemporaries who have gathered each Monday yea these many long decades for lunch, bridge and much, much more.
“Your dog helped him escape” is a tempting kickoff for a thriller, especially when a fox terrier called Boomer is then accused of involvement in seven stabbings. It is less credible when Boomer turns out to be one of the animals under the protection of a lawyer called Andy Carpenter who cares more about canines than people.
In his foreword, former Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar writes: “Even in a state stained by corruption at every level of government,” where three governors have gone to jail, “none had been impeached until the General Assembly, like a team of surgeons removing a cancer, urgently but methodically excised Rod Blagojevich, the state’s fortieth governor.”
Pious politicians who anoint themselves as “strict constructionists” of the U.S. Constitution are akin to Christian fundamentalists who assert that the King James Version of the Bible was literally dictated by the Lord Almighty to 47 Church of England scholars during the Creator’s spare time between 1604 and 1611. One has to squint very hard to see any truth in divine inspiration for either document.