Jack Beatty, perhaps best known at the moment for being the savvy news analyst on WBUR's Friday edition of On Point, is also an acclaimed non-fiction author; he will visit the South End library on April 14 at 6:30 PM to discuss his latest book, The Lost History of 1914: Reconsidering the Year the Great War Began. He will be introduced by the winner of the 2014 PEN/New England Book Award for Non-fiction, Doug Bauer, who has read at the South End library several times in the last few years. The Lost History is dedicated to Beatty's father, John J. Beatty of South Boston, a sailor, whose ship, the USS Mount Vernon, was torpedoed by the Germans in the Bay of Biscayne in 1918. Beatty says he was "raised on tales of World War I," told by a father who survived the attack, but refused to take disability compensation and, as he saw it, "cash in on an attack that killed so many of his shipmates."
Reviewers had different opinions on The Lost History's conclusions: The New Yorker described Beatty's latest as a “counterfactual history,” explaining why the war was anything but inevitable; David Shribman, in his take on it in the Boston Globe, called it “found history,” in light of what he deduced from Beatty's analysis of the vulnerability of the European continent to war in 1914. You can ask Beatty what he thinks of it all on April 14. A former senior editor at The Atlantic Monthly for many years, Beatty also also helped write (or, as some have suggested, wrote) former Boston mayor Tom Menino’s 2014 memoir, Mayor for a New America. Other titles by Beatty, who won numerous awards and prestigious fellowships, are The Rascall King (a biography of former Boston mayor James Michael Curley, 1992), The World According to Peter Drucker (1998), The Age of Betrayal: the Triumph of Money in America (2007), and Colossus: How the Corporation Changed America (2001).
The South End library is fully handicapped accessible. Seating is limited so come early to assure a chair can be yours.
AUTHORS COMING UP NEXT AT THE SOUTH END LIBRARY:
TUESDAY, MAY 12, 6:30 PM
ANJALI MITTER DUVA, an Indian-American Bostonian who grew up in France, has just published her first novel, Faint Promise of Rain. It’s a historical novel and the coming-of-age story of Adhira, a girl born into a family of temple dancers. It draws on the author’s father’s childhood in India and her personal interest in kathak dance, according to an interview with the writers’ web site Dead Darlings. Duva grew up in France with her family roots in Calcutta, India. According to a report in the Plymouth Library newsletter, she attended MIT and started a career in urban planning before finding her calling in native storytelling. Faint Promise of Rain takes place in 1554 in the desert of Rajasthan as a new Mughal emperor expands his territory. Told from the perspective of an exquisite dancer and filled with the sounds, sights and flavors of the Indian desert, the novel is the story of a family and a girl caught between art, duty and fear in a changing world.
JOHN J. ROSS, a physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, will read from his Shakespeare’s Tremor and Orwell’s Cough, a book about the medical lives of authors through the ages. Ross explores the likely maladies of twelve literary, but medically expired stars, ranging from Shakespeare’s syphilis, to Milton’s blindness, Swift’s vertigo, the Bronte sisters’ tuberculosis, Hawthorne’s anxiety disorder, Melville’s probable bi-polar disorder, Yeats’s Aspergers, Joyce’s gonorrhea, and Orwell’s damaged bronchial tubes. Their achievements do not surprise Ross as he believes ” literary genius is more likely to arise from disappointment and chagrin than comfort and complacency.”A Wall Street Journal reviewer called Ross “a penetrating literary critic and a perceptive and humane observer of the lives of writers and of those in their orbit.” The Washington Post‘s critic described the book as “a delicious gumbo of odd personalities, colorful literary history, and enlightened deduction.” The New York Times said the tales of the 'wounded storytellers' “unfold smoothly on the page, as mesmerizing as any they themselves might have told, those squinting, wheezing, arthritic, infected, demented, defective yet superlative examples of the human condition.”
ADAM ROTHMAN, associate professor at Georgetown University, whose work focuses on, among other things, the history of slavery and abolition in the Atlantic world, will talk about Beyond Freedom’s Reach: a Kidnapping in the Twilight of Slavery. Rothman, who grew up in the South End on West Brookline Street, researched the true story of Rose Herera, born into slavery in rural Louisiana, who was bought and sold several times before being purchased by the De Hart family of New Orleans. After Union forces captured New Orleans in 1862 during the American Civil War, Herera’s owners fled to Havana, taking her three small children with them. Beyond Freedom’s Reach is the result of Rothman's research into the story of her battle to rescue her children from bondage. Herera’s perseverance brought her children’s plight to the attention of members of the U.S. Senate and State Department, which turned what might have been a domestic conflict into an international scandal.
Rothman was invited to speak at the library by two South End residents: Jean Gibran –she recently talked at the library about her memoir, Love Made Visible, the story of her marriage to sculptor Kahlil Gibran– and Ann Hershfang, who last year brought you former New York Times reporter and bureau chief, Stephen Kinzer, who gave a riveting presentation of his latest book, The Brothers.