As baseball season thunders down upon us — Go Nats! — let us pause to give loud huzzahs to the Library of America and the Washington writer Marion Elizabeth Rodgers, first for defying self-appointed literary censors, and also for revealing the hidden love of the national pastime by none other than Baltimore’s famed scourge of bunkum, H.L. Mencken.
William Bennett, who served as secretary of education under Ronald Reagan and director of national drug control policy (or drug czar) under George H.W. Bush, has long been known for his strong and clear articulation of conservative principles in a number of best-selling books, among them “The Book of Virtues.”
Like family traits, national characteristics may evolve or dilute over the generations, but they never really go away. As with family DNA, national DNA is reinforced by attitudes, traditions and surroundings — nature working hand in hand with nurture. This is especially true in countries with long-standing national and linguistic unity and a strong sense of cultural identity.
The investigating team of Alex Delaware and Milo Sturgis is coping with unsolved “cold cases” and an ice-cold killer in this crafty and cleverly plotted mystery.
For those of us who thrilled to the movie made of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s last Broadway collaboration, “The Sound of Music,” it is hard to believe that a half-century has passed since it claimed its unique place in American film.
A lawyer friend of mine routinely asks a question when preparing the defense of white-collar clients accused of high-dollar crimes: “What were you thinking?” The question comes to mind often when reading Erik Larson’s harrowing and intriguing resurrection of the infamous but misremembered sinking of the British liner Lusitania by a German submarine, the 1915 catastrophe that did not trigger America’s entry into World War I.
Life and professional partners, the Andersons completed this, their last book together, not long before Martin passed away. It is a model of careful research and clear writing and a tribute to a man, Ronald Reagan, whose vision of a world without nuclear weapons and his determination to bring it about led to the end of the Cold War.