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2017-08-17

By the Book at the Bandera Library

by Michael Garr,

Book Reviews
by Michael Garr,
Bandera Library Director

I appreciate the positive feedback from readers and patrons on the new series of book reviews.
In this column, I’ll concentrate on several books of non-fiction that are on the shelves or circulating at the Bandera Library.
“Dodge City- Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson and the Wickedest Town in the American West” is written by Tom Clavin. I have not read this story but it gets rave reviews from patrons and this synopsis is provided to give you an understanding of the material. "Dodge City, Kansas, is a place of legend. The town that started as a small military site exploded with the coming of the railroad, cattle drives, eager miners, settlers, and various entrepreneurs passing through to populate the expanding West. Before long, Dodge City's streets were lined with saloons and brothels and its populace was thick with gunmen, horse thieves, and desperadoes of every sort. By the 1870s, Dodge City was known as the most violent and turbulent town in the West. Enter Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson. Young and largely self-trained men, the lawmen led the effort that established frontier justice and the rule of law in the American West, and did it in the wickedest place in the United States. When they moved on, Wyatt to Tombstone and Bat to Colorado, a tamed Dodge was left in the hands of Jim Masterson. But before long Wyatt and Bat, each having had a lawman brother killed, returned to that threatened western Kansas town to team up to restore order again in what became known as the Dodge City War before riding off into the sunset. The true story of their friendship, romances, gunfights, and adventures, along with the remarkable cast of characters they encountered along the way (including Wild Bill Hickock, Jesse James, Doc Holliday, Buffalo Bill Cody, John Wesley Hardin, Billy the Kid, and Theodore Roosevelt) has gone largely untold--lost in the haze of Hollywood films and western fiction, until now"
Currently #8 on the New York Times Bestselling non-fiction list is, “Killers of the Flower Moon-The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI” by David Grann. He is the bestselling author of the “Lost City of Z”, as well as a recent movie by the same name. It presents a true account of the early twentieth-century murders of dozens of wealthy Osage and law-enforcement officials, citing the contributions and missteps of a fledgling FBI that eventually uncovered one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history. Movie buffs might remember this being covered in the Jimmy Stewart movie from 1959, “The FBI Story”. Based on years of research and startling new evidence, the book is called a masterpiece of narrative non-fiction, as each step in the investigation reveals a series of sinister secrets and reversals. Reserve your copy if it is circulating. It is limited to a two-week check-out.
My new favorite author has two books being delivered this week at the Bandera Library. Yuval Noah Harari has written two acclaimed books. The first was written in 2015 and is called, “Sapiens-a Brief History of Humankind”. Reviewers for the New York Times write "One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only one--homo sapiens. What happened to the others? And what may happen to us? Most books about the history of humanity pursue either a historical or a biological approach, but Dr. Yuval Noah Harari breaks the mold with this book that begins about 70,000 years ago with the appearance of modern cognition. From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens integrates history and science to reconsider accepted narratives, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and examine specific events within the context of larger ideas".
He has followed up that book with his latest book, released this January entitled, “Homo Deus: a Brief History of Tomorrow”. It provides some thought provoking insight into how we will protect this fragile world from our own destructive powers. Both books were discussed on a recent Podcast of the New York Times Book Review. I get some great ideas by listening in to what other people are reading. The next column will whet your appetite for books coming just around the corner, in the Fall season. Good Reading!