Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Howard Means

Howard Means is the author or coauthor of many books, including Johnny Appleseed: The Man, the Myth, the American Story, the first biography of Colin Powell and Louis Freeh’s bestselling memoir My FBI.

Means's new book is 67 Shots: Kent State and the End of American Innocence.

Recently I asked the author about what he was reading. His reply:
I’m still recovering from the last two selections for our local book club. Timothy Snyder’s Black Earth is a devastating account of the Holocaust made all the more powerful by Snyder’s astounding capacity to condense complex geopolitics into memorable single sentences. An example: “In the zone of double darkness, where Nazi creativity met Soviet precision, the black hole was found.”

Our book club followed that with Jane Mayer’s Dark Money, about which much has been written. I kept wondering why RICO statutes don’t apply to the too often organized crime of American politics.

On a somewhat lighter note, I’ve also been enjoying Julie Checkoway’s The Three-Year Swim Club. (The subtitle tells it all: “The Untold Story of Maui’s Sugar Ditch Kids and Their Quest for Olympic Glory.”) I was a competitive swimmer through college and still try to put in serious pool time. This book reminds me of how much I wanted swimming glory when I was a kid.

For lighter reading still, I’m racing my way through Ivan Doig’s novel The Bartender’s Tale. Why? Because my sister told me to read it! And because Doig always tells a compelling story.

Next up: Back to serious matters with Scott Shane’s comprehensive look at Anwar al-Awlaki — Objective Troy: A Terrorist, a President, and the Rise of the Drone. Shane is a terrific reporter (New York Times) and an elegant writer, and the subject matter couldn't be more important.
Learn more about the book and author at Howard Means's website.

The Page 99 Test: Johnny Appleseed.

My Book, The Movie: 67 Shots.

--Marshal Zeringue