Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Nevermore: Finding Me, Hidden White House, Legends & Lies, Make Me, Blackout

Reported by Ambrea

This week, our readers first looked at Finding Me:  A Decade in Darkness, A Life Reclaimed by Michelle Knight.  Knight, after being kidnapped by Ariel Castro, spent over a decade in captivity.  She was subjected to unimaginable abuse, enduring years of violent physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her captor.  Michelle, who had become estranged from her family and lost her son in a custody battle, was believed to have simply run away and, after her disappearance, she was eventually scratched from missing persons lists.  On May 6, 2013, she—along with Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus—escaped from Castro’s home.  Her story was heart-wrenching, according to our Nevermore reader, and absolutely incredible.  She highly recommended it, saying it was amazing to see what one individual can ensure—that someone can come out on the other side.

Next, our Nevermore readers looked at The Hidden White House:  Harry Truman and the Reconstruction of America’s Most Famous Residence by Robert Klara.  In 1948, after Truman reported nearly plunging through the ceiling of the Blue Room from the second floor, a group of architects discovered that the White House was in imminent danger of collapsing.  Built on a marshy foundation and damaged by a fire during the War of 1812, the White House was literally falling apart with the First Family in it—and, as the cover attests, “[what] followed would be the most historically significant and politically complex home-improvement job in American history.”  According to our reader, Klara’s investigation into the reconstruction of America’s most iconic home was fantastic and especially vivid with its pictures.  “It was a lively description of what happened and what was done [to repair the White House],” he said.

Legends and Lies:  The Real West by Bill O’Reilly and David Fisher followed, providing an even deeper look into the history of America.  Focusing on the American frontier and some of its most iconic gunslingers, cowboys, robbers and lawmen, Legends and Lies provided a lot of interesting information.  Although our readers questioned how accurate certain facts were within the book, our readers seemed to like it pretty well.  One reader found the chapter on “Black Bart” fascinating—because, although Bart was a criminal, he never fired a gun and he only ever robbed Wells Fargo stagecoaches (he had a thirst for vengeance, our Nevermore reader admitted).

Additionally, our readers looked at Make Me by Lee Child.  Continuing the adventures (or, more accurately, misadventures) of Jack Reacher, Make Me begins in a little town called “Mother’s Rest.”  In Mother’s Rest, Reacher meets Michelle Chang, who accidentally mistakes him for her missing partner.  With nowhere to go and no one to meet, Reacher becomes embroiled in Michelle’s investigation—and discovers that things are more nightmarish than he ever imagined.  Our reader liked Child’s novel quite a bit, but she found there was a lot of “back and forth,” which left her feeling more than a little confused.  She said she could never really decide what they were after.

Last but not least, our readers explored Blackout by Connie Willis.  Set in the distant future of 2060, Blackout follows Michael Davies, Merope Ward, and Polly Churchill, time-traveling historians who are sent back to 1940.  But when time assignments are changed and, in some cases, cancelled altogether, Michael, Merope, and Polly are faced with the very will possibility that time travel isn’t an infallible science—and they may be stuck in a past that has been forever altered by the interference of the future.  Our reader said Blackout was an enjoyable science-fiction novel, full of adventure and intrigue; however, after completing Willis’ novel, our reader said she had the dispiriting realization that Blackout was only the first half of the book.   (All Clear finishes the story.)

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