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FW: Books Update: Bombingham Revisited [NY Times review of McWhor ter, Carry Me Home

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  • A.J. Wright
    fyi...aj wright // ajwright@uab.edu ... From: The New York Times Direct [mailto:nytdirect@nytimes.com] Sent: Friday, March 16, 2001 9:34 PM To: A.J. Wright
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 19, 2001
      fyi...aj wright // ajwright@...

      -----Original Message-----
      From: The New York Times Direct [mailto:nytdirect@...]
      Sent: Friday, March 16, 2001 9:34 PM
      To: A.J. Wright
      Subject: Books Update: Bombingham Revisited

      Books Update from NYTimes.com
      Friday, March 16, 2001

      A Hard Look at Birmingham's Civil Rights Struggles

      1. In Sunday's Book Review: Diane McWhorter's "Carry Me
      2. Also Reviewed: A. S. Byatt's "On Histories and Stories"
      3. Audio Reading: Pat Barker
      4. New in Stores: Stephen King's "Dreamcatcher"
      5. In the News: Jim Crace Wins Critics Circle Fiction Award
      6. New on the Best-Seller List
      7. In the Forums: "Democracy in America"

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      1. In Sunday's Book Review: Diane McWhorter's "Carry Me

      In "Carry Me Home. Birmingham, Alabama: The Climactic Battle
      of the Civil Rights Revolution," Diane McWhorter, a daughter
      of Birmingham's white elite, explores the causes of the
      city's civil rights violence during the summer of 1963. On
      Sept. 15, 1963, she was about the same age as the four black
      girls who were killed by the bomb that exploded at the 16th
      Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala. But in her
      childhood world of white Birmingham, the bombing's immediate
      consequence was trivial, she writes.

      Her book is "an exhaustive journey through both the
      segregationist and integrationist sides of Birmingham's
      struggle," writes reviewer David K. Shipler. McWhorter
      "expertly follows the tangled threads of culpability until
      they reveal what she calls 'the long tradition of enmeshment
      between law enforcers and Klansmen,' which included the
      Federal Bureau of Investigation as well as the state and
      city police. Her precision in filling in the particulars of
      that collaboration contributes significantly to the
      historical record," in Shipler's view.

      An Interview with Diane McWhorter

      McWhorter discusses her father's involvement with the Klan,
      which is an important part of her book. She also explains
      why it took 19 years to write what she first envisioned as a
      modest memoir.

      2. Also Reviewed: A. S. Byatt's "On Histories and Stories"

      In her new book, "On Histories and Stories: Selected
      Essays," A. S. Byatt explores the intersections of history
      and fiction, a "two-way street," writes reviewer Thomas
      Mallon, a critic and novelist, that is "on Byatt's patrol,
      busier than ever." Recent historians, including Simon
      Schama, she writes, have "made deliberate and self-conscious
      attempts to restore narration to history" in books like
      "Citizens." Conversely, "the idea that 'all history is
      fiction' has led to a new interest in fiction as history."

      Featured Author: A. S. Byatt
      This retrospective features collected reviews of Byatt's
      earlier books, including "Possession" (1990) and "The Djinn
      in the Nightingale's Eye" (1997), articles by the author and
      an audio reading from the story collection "Elementals."


      "Treason by the Book," by Jonathan D. Spence

      In his new book, Spence, a Yale historian and recent
      biographer of Mao, explores the China of the early 18th
      century, when Manchu rulers occupied the throne. Reviewer
      Ian Buruma writes that the book is "a slice of history told
      in the lively manner of a novel." The subject here is "an
      elaborate intellectual witch hunt" that grows out of an
      anonymously written letter full of anti-Manchu sentiments.


      "IBM and the Holocaust: The Strategic Alliance Between Nazi
      Germany and America's Most Powerful Corporation," by Edwin

      This controversial book -- and instant best seller --
      reports on the author's finding that I.B.M. knowingly
      provided the Third Reich with the technology to identify
      German Jews in the period 1933-39, and that I.B.M. founder
      Thomas J. Watson eagerly conspired with the Nazis as they
      carried out their murderous program. Reviewing the book is
      Gabriel Schoenfeld, senior editor of Commentary magazine,
      who writes that Black "often tells his story not in the
      subtle hues of genuine scholarship but in the Day-Glo paint
      of the potboiler."

      "The key question, in any case, is not whether I.B.M. sold
      Germany its equipment but whether, as alleged, it made the
      Final Solution part of its 'mission' and whether its
      relationship with Germany in any way 'energized' or
      significantly 'enhanced' Hitler's efforts to destroy world
      Jewry. On the first point," Schoenfeld continues, "Black
      never even attempts to substantiate his accusation -- a
      scandalous omission considering the gravity of the charge.
      As for the second, his shaky evidence leads him to oscillate
      between two completely irreconcilable positions."

      3. Audio Reading: Pat Barker

      Pat Barker is perhaps best known for her "Regeneration"
      trilogy. Her latest novel, "Border Crossing," writes
      reviewer Richard Eder, "is an angry work, though narrower in
      its desolation, more explicitly didactic and, to that
      extent, less alive. It does provide some of the same
      exhilarating moral exploration, and prose as naked and
      jolting as an unwrapped live wire."

      In an exclusive audio recording, Pat Barker reads from the
      first chapter of "Border Crossing," in which the protagonist
      braves the icy waters of the River Tyne to save a drowning

      Featured Author: Pat Barker

      This retrospective includes reviews of Barker's
      "Regeneration" trilogy and other New York Times coverage of
      her career, including an interview.

      4. New in Stores: Stephen King's "Dreamcatcher"

      "Dreamcatcher," by Stephen King -- March 20

      The yearly reunion of four old friends in the woods of Maine
      is interrupted by a strange man, whose body may have been
      taken over by space aliens. In her review for The Times,
      Janet Maslin wrote "there is a new urgency" in King's novel,
      his first since he was grievously injured in 1999.

      5. In the News: Jim Crace Wins Critics Circle Fiction Award

      Jim Crace of Britain was awarded the National Book Critics
      Circle Award for best fiction for "Being Dead," a novel
      about the murder of a middle-aged couple on the beach dunes
      where they met 30 years earlier. The article includes links
      to reviews of "Being Dead" and news about the winners in
      other categories.

      For a digest of this week's book news, visit:

      6. New on the Best-Seller List

      Hardcover Fiction
      #1) "First to Die," by James Patterson

      Four women -- a homicide inspector, a medical examiner, an
      assistant district attorney and a journalist -- search for a
      killer who is stalking newlyweds.

      A note on our best-seller policy: The Times on the Web
      publishes the New York Times best-seller lists a week in
      advance of the printed Sunday Book Review. The best-seller
      lists published this week on the Web will appear in the
      print edition dated March 25 and are based on sales through
      last weekend.

      7. In the Forums: "Democracy in America"

      Members of the Reading Group can rarely be accused of undue
      deference to a classic. One reader, expressing
      disappointment with Alexis de Tocqueville's analysis of
      America, wrote "I fail to see this as the work of a scholar,
      but of a popular scientist playing into most of the
      previously held conceptions and misconceptions of American
      democracy." And several Americans in the Reading Group have
      reacted with instinctive cultural pride to de Tocqueville's
      comment that, as of the 1830's, "America has hitherto
      produced few writers of distinction."

      There has been particular criticism of de Tocqueville's
      overview of racial issues in America. "I felt that
      Tocqueville wasn't particularly interested in the subject,"
      wrote one participant, "and just slopped something
      together." But the book has its defenders, such as one
      reader, who writes, "To criticize this work in the modern
      context would miss the point."

      As usual, I will make my weekly appearance this weekend on
      WNBC's "Saturday Today in New York" (Channel 4, 9-10:30
      a.m.). In this Saturday's segment I'll talk about Maureen
      Dezell's new book, "Irish America: Coming into Clover," as
      well as new novels, available in stores next week, by
      Stephen King and Robert B. Parker. Please let me know your
      reactions if you have a chance to tune in. The videos of my
      last few television appearances are now available on a Web
      site jointly created by The Times and WNBC:

      Feel free to forward this e-mail to a friend and to drop me
      a note with your feedback about this newsletter or the site.
      I enjoy hearing your opinions, ideas and suggestions and
      will do my best to respond individually to each e-mail.

      Bill Goldstein
      Books Editor
      The New York Times on the Web

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