Friday, September 27, 2013

Nevermore: Whitey Bulger, Grant Wood, & Fixing the Climate

James “Whitey” Bulger is one of the best known modern crime figures, even more so after the recent trial which resulted in his conviction for racketeering, involvement in multiple murders, and several other charges. Several factors make Bulger’s case particularly compelling:  his family connections (a brother was a state senator, while another was a court clerk magistrate), his claims of being granted immunity by the FBI, and his eluding capture for over a decade.  Whitey Bulger:  America’s Most Wanted Gangster and the Manhunt that Brought Him to Justice by Kevin Cullen is an exhaustive look at Bulger’s life and crimes, with “exhaustive” being the key word, according to our reviewer.  She did find it fascinating enough to plow through to the end.

Grant Wood:  A Life by R. Tripp Evans explores the life of an artist whom most people know for “American Gothic,” the painting of the farm couple with the man holding a pitchfork.  It’s one of the most parodied American paintings, showing up as everything from a promo for a reality TV show to cat jewelry.  Yet most people know very little about the artist behind the painting, including that he worked in a variety of mediums from stained glass to metalwork.  Our reader says this book really explores who Grant Wood was, taking the reader behind the plain, all- American persona he created to look for the real person.  The book also offers some intriguing insights regarding some of Wood’s work.  The author is a professor of Art History at Wheaton College.

Roger Pielke, Jr., a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado, was tired of having scientific facts bent to serve various political agendas, so he set out to write a book to separate fact from hyperbole.  Pielke’s goal is to make an argument for climate policies that will work and that have a chance of being implemented instead of pushing for meaningless objectives.   The resulting book is The Climate Fix:  What Scientists and Politicians Won’t Tell You About Global Warming. Our reader thought there were a number of helpful explanations which made the debate clearer.

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