Category Archives: Non-Fiction

Welcome to the Machine: ‘Boss Tweed’

In Chicago, there’s a little joke that sums up our system of public corruption nicely. It goes something like this: A government official needed to construct a new public facility, so he started looking into contractors around the country to … Continue reading

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Space Case: ‘Have Glove, Will Travel’

Back when I wrote about Doug Hornig’s book on the ’75 World Series between Boston and Cincinnati, I touched on the fact that Red Sox ace Bill “Spaceman” Lee was my all-time favorite baseball player. I admire the guy because … Continue reading

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Jamming Econo: ‘Our Band Could Be Your Life’

How to create a successful indie rock band in 10 simple steps: 1. Consume music and other art omnivorously, absorbing influences anywhere and everywhere. 2. Buy an instrument, secondhand if need be. Learn to play it competently (or not — … Continue reading

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‘The Great Derangement’: Laugh ‘Til You Cry

Loony lefty conspiracy movements. Christian megachurches. The Florida GOP. Capitol Hill. In the middle of the last decade, Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi waded neck-deep through all of these fever swamps and came out of the other side with The … Continue reading

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Great Gonzo: ‘Let It Blurt’

If you saw the semi-autobiographical film “Almost Famous,” chances are you recall Philip Seymour Hoffman playing music critic Lester Bangs. There are a few reasons why you would remember it. For one, Hoffman is a recognizable actor in a movie … Continue reading

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‘The Boys of October’: The Best of Times in the Worst of Times

The mid-1970s was not a great time for America. The country, which had just gone through Watergate, Vietnam, and the dissolution of the original Bretton-Woods system, faced widespread gas shortages, high inflation, rising unemployment, and geopolitical turbulence. There was a … Continue reading

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Original Banksters: ‘The Money Men’

The first thing you need to know about Prof. H.W. Brands’ The Money Men is that the author failed. In the prologue of this book, Brands connects the individual exploits of five great American financiers (Alexander Hamilton, Nicholas Biddle, Jay … Continue reading

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