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The Biography Shelf.

American To The Backbone

Christopher L. Webber

Pegasus Books

80 Broad Street

5th Floor, NY, NY 10004

9781605981758, $29.95,

James William Charles Pennington (1809 - 1870) was an African American orator, minister, and abolitionist. James Pembroke was born a slave on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. When his owner died, he became the property of his son, Frisby Tilghman who moved to Rockland, Washington County, Maryland. There James learned the trades of brickmaker and blacksmith. On October 28, 1827, at the age of 19, he ran from a job in Hagerstown, towards Petersburg (now called York Springs), Pennsylvania. He changed his name to James W.C. Pennington and moved to New York in 1828. He settled in New Haven, Connecticut, and audited classes at Yale Divinity School from 1834 to 1839 - becoming the first black man to attend classes at Yale. He was subsequently ordained and became a teacher, abolitionist, and author. He wrote "The Origin and History of the Colored People" in 1841, which has been called the first history of African Americans, and a slave narrative in 1849, "The Fugitive Blacksmith". In 1849 the University of Heidelberg awarded him an honorary doctorate of divinity. "American to the Backbone: The Life of James W. C. Pennington, the Fugitive Slave Who Became One of the First Black Abolitionists" by Christopher L. Webber is a 432 page biography of a most remarkable man whose legacy continues to be one of inspiration and example. A deftly crafted work of impressive detail that is enhanced with the inclusion of an appendix, notes, bibliography, and an index, "American To The Backbone" is highly recommended reading and an indispensable addition to community and academic library Black Studies and 19th Century American Biography collections.

Martin Amis: The Biography

Richard Bradford

Pegasus Books

80 Broad Street

5th Floor, NY, NY 10004

9781605983851, $29.95,

Martin Louis Amis (25 August 1949) is a British novelist. His best-known novels are Money (1984) and London Fields (1989). He has received the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for his memoir Experience and has been listed for the Booker Prize twice to date (short listed in 1991 for Time's Arrow and long listed in 2003 for Yellow Dog)). Amis served as the Professor of Creative Writing at the Centre for New Writing at the University of Manchester until 2011. The Times named him in 2008 as one of the 50 greatest British writers since 1945. "Martin Amis: The Biography" by Richard Bradford (Research Professor in English, University of Ulster, Ireland) is a 336 page compendium showcasing the personal life and literary accomplishments of an accomplished (and occasionally controversial) author. Enhanced with extensive notes, a bibliography, and an comprehensive index, "Martin Amis: The Biography" is a superbly crafted and detailed account which should be considered mandatory reading for his legions of fans and a seminal contribution to academic library Contemporary Literary Biography reference collections.

The Reindeer Botanist

Wendy Dathan

University of Calgary Press

2500 University Drive, N.W.

Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2N 1N4

9781552385869, $46.95,

Alf Erling Porsild (1901 - 1977) was a Danish-Canadian botanist. Between 1936-1945, he was curator at the National Museum of Canada, Ottawa, and from 1945 to 1967 he was head of the department of botany there. He authored over 100 scientific articles on the flora of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago and of the Rocky Mountains, as well as numerous popular papers and books, including important floras of Canada's Arctic and northern regions. He made over 25,000 plant collections (numbers), resulting in over 100,000 specimens which are deposited in the National Herbarium of Canada (CAN) at the Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa, and in other herbaria around the world. The Canadian Botanical Association awards annually the 'Alf Erling Porsild Award', in recognition of the best paper published in the field of systematics and phytogeography that year by a graduate student in a Canadian university or a Canadian student in a foreign university. "The Reindeer Botanist: Alf Erling Porsild, 1901-1977" by Wendy Dathan (Curator of the Grand Manan Museum) is a massive 600 page compendium (that had its origins in her Master's Thesis on Porsild's Canadian Reindeer Project years) detailing the life and accomplishments of a scientist who experienced both professional triumph and personal tragedy. Of special note is biographer Wendy Dathan's 'Epilogue: Closing the Circle'. Enhanced with copious notations, selected references, and a comprehensive index, "The Reindeer Botanist: Alf Erling Porsild, 1901-1977" is an academic masterwork of seminal scholarship and highly recommended for academic library 20th Century Canadian Biography collections and Canadian Botanical Studies supplemental reading lists.

A Noble Treason

Richard Hanser

Ignatius Press

PO Box 1339, Fort Collins, CO 80522

9781586175573, $17.95,

Sophia Magdalena Scholl (9 May 1921 - 22 February 1943) was a German student, active within the White Rose non-violent resistance group in Nazi Germany. She was convicted of high treason after having been found distributing anti-war leaflets at the University of Munich with her brother Hans. As a result, they were both executed by guillotine. Since the 1970s, Scholl has been celebrated as one of the great German heroes who actively opposed the Third Reich during the Second World War. Now Richard Hanser (who served as a psychological warfare specialist in Europe during World War II) has written "A Noble Treason: The Story of Sophie Scholl and the White Rose Revolt Against Hitler", a 312 page, superbly researched and deftly. written compendium giving the detailed and documented story of this remarkable woman and her small band of friends who sought to resist one of the greatest evils of modern history. With the inclusion of a comprehensive Index, "A Noble Treason" is very highly recommended for personal reading lists of inspiring true life stories, as well as both community and academic library collections.

Total Recall

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Simon and Schuster

1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl.

New York, NY 10020

9781451662436, $35.00,

TOTAL RECALL: MY UNBELIEVABLY TRUE LIFE STORY is a top pick for any general lending library and documents Arnold's story of how he grew up in a small Austrian town, moved to America, and within five years had learned English and become the greatest bodybuilders in the world. In twenty years he was a huge movie star, and nearly forty years after journeying to this country he would become governor of California. TOTAL RECALL follows this years, and while it leaves a few more controversial moments out (... we'll leave you to wonder ...), it's still a riveting read for any fan of Arnold

Marmee & Louisa

Eve LaPlante

Free Press

c/o Simon & Schuster

1230 Avenue of the Americas

New York, NY 10020

9781451620665, $26.00,

MARMEE & LOUISA: THE UNTOLD STORY OF LOUISA MAY ALCOTT AND HER MOTHER provides an outstanding biography of Alcott's relationship with her mother and comes from the great-niece and cousin of Abigail and Louisa May Alcott. New documents, including those discovered in a family attic and others thought long destroyed, offer insights that dispel myths and offer a more in-depth portrait of the Alcott family and their world. This is a pick for any collection seeing popularity with Alcott's writings, and provides a fine survey suitable for any general-interest literary biography holding as well.

Still Lolo

Lauren Scruggs and the Scruggs Family

Tyndale Momentum

c/o Tyndale House Publishers

351 Executive Drive

Carol Stream, IL 60188

9781414376691, $24.99,

STILL LOLO provides a true story of a deadly airplane crash and its aftermath - an event that changed author Lauren Scruggs' life and lead to a struggle to survive, self-examination, and ultimately a vastly changed life. It's a religious, inspirational story - and it's also the story of how one woman not only survived the impossible, but changed her life in the process. While normally this would be a pick for religious collections, it's also recommended for any general-interest holding, as it offers gripping action paired with searing self-assessment.
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Publication:Internet Bookwatch
Article Type:Book review
Date:Jan 1, 2013
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