Book luvvers, the One-Man Book Club has some friends and they have been — I believe the term busy as shit applies here, writing some very good books. I’ve got my own copies and if you’re lucky I’m going to give you yours. But really what I want you to do is go out an’ buy one. Hardcover is nice; e-book works too.
I’ve not read all of these yet, but you can bet I intend to. If I wait until I do, then I’ll miss the wave of woot-woot that has accompanied each of these. Let’s get to it. Here are the rules:
Do you want a copy of one of these books? Write me at this web site (click on “contact” from the Home page of hankstuever dot com) and tell me why. First-come, first-serve, but it’s also subject to my mighty whim. Don’t be greedy and ask for all four. I’ll mail you the book for totally free.
Why will I do that? Because not much makes me happier than to buy multiple copies of a friend’s new book and spread the hosannahs. It’s just a thing I have.
If I can swing it, these will be signed copies. (These are some busy fellers.) You are urged to enjoy the book and then pay it forward somehow — give it to a friend or donate it to a library or, at the very least, give the book a review on Amazon or Goodreads.
Here are the books:
1861: The Civil War Awakening by Adam Goodheart. The praise for this one just keeps coming. I remember when this book was just a gleam (and a partial advance) in its daddy’s eye, nine years ago. From the critical buzz, this is the Civil War book to beat, and it’s for people who might not fancy themselves Civil War buffs. Open to any page and have your mind blown by its elegance, intelligence and surprising illumination of everyday life 150 years ago.
I’ve got four 3 (hurry!) copies. If you don’t want it today, you’re going to be kicking yourself after the Sunday NYT Book Review comes out. (Wink, wink.) Oh, lookie — it is out.
* * *
Next, The School of Night, by Louis Bayard.
A novel, bridging the present (divorced-guy writer on Capitol Hill) with the past (mysterious smartypants writers club from the Globe theater era) — the new book from the master of historical novels that aren’t cheesy.
Got three copies here — someone’s already beat you to the first one, so don’t delay. Signed, if I can entice the author to lunch. (Oh, it’s not that hard.)
One of these copies is yours?
* * *
That’s not just me saying so. That’s the Los Angeles Times‘s environmental editor:
All but one of the nine works examined here has in common a cinematic recounting of the rig explosion, largely cobbled in a “Rashomon” fashion from public testimony and published accounts. It’s hard to fail at that part of the narrative, and none does. From there, however, nearly all veer toward the polemical, political and ideological.
Standing above them are “Fire on the Horizon: the Untold Story of the Gulf Oil Disaster” (Harper, March 2011), a book that deftly navigates around the good-guy versus bad-guy leitmotif; “A Hole at the Bottom of the Sea: The Race to Kill the BP Oil Gusher” (Simon & Schuster, April 2011) by Joel Achenbach of the Washington Post, which adds a candid view of the media’s coverage; and “Drowning in Oil: BP and the Reckless Pursuit of Profit,” by Loren C. Steffy (McGraw-Hill, November 2010), business columnist for the Houston Chronicle, who demonstrates what a veteran journalist in oil country can bring to bear on a story that was unfamiliar to the majority of the country.
“Fire on the Horizon,” by longtime oil-rig mariner John Konrad and former Washington Post reporter Tom Shroder [ahem! Editor. As in Tom the Butcher. -- Ed.] is the most cinematic of the lot. Artfully and compellingly told, the book marries a John McPhee feel for the technology to a Jon Krakauer sense of an adventure turned tragic. …
About Achenbach’s book, the LAT guy says:
“Achenbach appears to be the only author among the bunch who bothered to obtain emails and other documents that were not revealed in testimony, which allows him to focus on Washington’s response to the disaster, an institutional strong point of the Washington Post. That work pays off in such gems as this:
‘A White House aide asked the Interior Department to put together a list of things the government had done to help plug the well, saying that even a partial list ‘would be tremendously helpful in pushing back against the current press narrative’” about the spill response. But a later email counseled: “Also understand we may not wish to claim credit for top kill approach until we see what happens.’
Still, Achenbach’s unique contribution to the BP anniversary redux is the mirror he flashes regularly on himself and the media horde that descended once again on the Gulf of Mexico.
‘The essential nature of the event eluded most of us in the national media,’ when the blast erupted April 20, he writes. ‘We did not realize that the fire was not the cause of the catastrophe but a symptom of it… We had no cultural memory of a deep-sea blowout. We were like island people who had felt an earthquake for the first time in generations, and did not understand that the receding of the sea was the harbinger of a terrible wave approaching from beyond the horizon.’ ….”
So. Feelin’ lucky?
Don’t delay, e-mail today.