Saturday, May 14, 2011

Howard Means

Howard Means was Senior Writer for Washingtonian magazine from 1977-1982 and Senior Editor from 1989-2000. In between, he was Critic at Large and an editorial board member for the Orlando Sentinel and an op-ed columnist for King Features Syndicate. At the Washingtonian, he won three William Allen White Medals for feature writing.

His books include the first biography of Colin Powell, a selection of the History Book Club; Money & Power: The History of Business, companion piece to the CNBC documentary of the same name; a novel, CSA, optioned for an ABC mini-series; The Banana Sculptor, the Purple Lady, and the All-Night Swimmer, studies in eccentricity, co-authored with Susan Sheehan; and most recently, The Avenger Takes His Place: Andrew Johnson and the 45 Days That Changed the Nation.

Means's new book is Johnny Appleseed: The Man, the Myth, the American Story.

Late last month I asked him what he was reading. His reply:
Right now, I’m about 50 pages from the end of Sebastian Junger’s War. Got to say that I tackled the book without a lot of enthusiasm. I’m reading it for a book club and figured it was one more embedded-journalist, controlled-access tale. But I’ve been pretty much blown away by it – great detail, great empathy, and the added poignancy of knowing that Tim Hetherington, Junger’s colleague on this project (they were simultaneously shooting the documentary Restrepo), was recently killed while filming yet another war, this one in Libya.

Before War, John Casey’s wonderful and eloquent novel, Compass Rose, set on the Rhode Island coast, the sequel (years later) to the magnificent Spartina. And just before that, Aravind Adiga’s novel The White Tiger, winner of the 2008 Man Booker Prize, an absolutely riveting study of obsession and the dark side of the “New India.”
Visit Howard Means's website.

The Page 99 Test: Johnny Appleseed.

--Marshal Zeringue