Book Reviews:

Daddy King by Martin Luther King, The Atlanta-Journal Constitution, Feb. 4, 2017

“Father and son had much in common. The son was the namesake of the father. Both were graduates of Morehouse College. Both married women of musical distinction. Both answered the call to the Baptist pulpit. Both championed civil rights for African-Americans.”–literature/daddy-king-asserts-influence-his-famous-son/FVTvcx0PyyCEGqG8QUz7HO/

“Separation Anxiety: A traveling professor chronicles the church-state divide, with results that prove both comedic and unsettling,” The Boston Globe, July 5, 2009

Jay Wexler, a law professor at Boston University, lectures on church-state issues of sufficient constitutional weight to reach the US Supreme Court. During a sabbatical, he sets out to parlay his lecture notes into a book that even people who would rather drink hemlock than read Supreme Court opinions might enjoy.

If the project sounds problematic, with great yawn-inducing potential, Wexler pulls it off stunningly in “Holy Hullabaloos: A Road Trip to the Battlegrounds of the Church/State Wars.’’

Sweet Land of Liberty: The Forgotten Struggle of Civil Rights in the North by Thomas J. Sugrue, The Boston Globe, Nov. 30, 2008

“Barack Obama’s stunning rise to the White House has inspired hoorays as a mark of the phenomenal progress toward racial harmony in America. But Thomas J. Sugrue’s study of the civil rights movement in the North suggests that nothing more than a muted celebration is warranted.”

“Three Days in Dallas: The Death of a president and his assassin get different reading in two new works,” The Boston Globe, May 20, 2007

Some murder mysteries seize the public’s imagination. And then there is the murder of John F. Kennedy, which is in a class by itself.

If Vincent Bugliosi has counted right, the assassination of the nation’s 35th president has been the subject of almost 1,000 books. Bugliosi himself has penned what may be the thousandth, “Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy.” … With indignation crackling on every page of “Reclaiming History,” Bugliosi aims to redress, once and for all, what he sees as an outrageous imbalance between the books that deal with the assassination responsibly and those that do not.


“Impeachment, Vermont Style,” The American Prospect, April 25, 2006

A. Jeffry Taylor is a 62-year-old lawyer and Democratic activist in Rutland, Vermont. As a young lawyer in the Los Angeles office of the Justice Department, he prosecuted antitrust cases during the Watergate era. The corruption he witnessed firsthand within the Nixon administration (a high-ranking Justice official once told him not to pursue a case, he recalls, because the suspects were “friends of the President, and we don’t sue friends of the President. Are you dumb?”) gnaws at him still. His blood is boiling now because of what he regards as another President’s unlawful conduct — namely, what he regards as President George W. Bush’s flagrant violations of the Constitution’s due-process guarantees.

“The Unique Brutality of Texas,” The American Prospect, June 14, 2005

Gathering dust in Texas Governor Rick Perry’s inbox is a clemency petition from Joe Lee Guy, a death-row inmate. The petition declares that “the integrity of Guy’s capital trial was severely compromised.” Considering how horrendously the wheels of Texas justice turned for Guy, the petition’s claim seems, if anything, understated.

“Power Bar,” The American Prospect, February 7, 2003

The plaintiffs in John Doe v. President George W. Bush had their day in court — actually, 50 minutes — this past Monday. That’s how long oral argument lasted in U.S. District Court in Boston in a case that raised the question of whether Congress must formally declare war before Bush can lawfully attack Iraq.

“Victims in the Heartland,” The American Prospect, June 16, 2003

Shelbyville, Tenn., is an archetypal American working-class community of 16,000 people. Located 53 miles south of Nashville, it has one high school, one movie theater, six pawnbrokers and no parking meters. Its greatest claim to fame is the Tennessee Walking Horse, a smooth-gaited breed developed and tirelessly promoted locally. But far more visible are the 18-wheel tractor-trailers — each loaded with roughly 5,000 chickens in open metal crates — that rumble through town day and night. They’re headed for the cavernous Tyson Foods plant on Shelbyville’s west side, next to the Duck River. Tyson Foods Inc., based in Springdale, Ark., is the world’s largest processor of chicken, beef and pork, with sales last year of $23.4 billion. With 1,100 employees at its Shelbyville plant, Tyson is also that city’s largest employer.

In the mid-1990s, two Shelbyville police officers, Bill Logue and Don Barber, were puzzled by a series of curious incidents. An uncanny number of Hispanic motorists that they stopped for routine traffic violations were presenting obviously bogus driver’s licenses or other fake IDs.

“Why It’s Pat Croce’s World: The insanely upbeat former Philadelphia 76ers president proves that nothing succeeds like success. ” Inc. magazine, April 1 2002

Pat Croce was early for his lunchtime appointment at the Palm Restaurant in downtown Philadelphia. It was a chilly day two weeks before Christmas. Croce paused in the sunshine at the entrance to the Palm on Broad Street, the city’s central thoroughfare. A man wearing tortoiseshell glasses and a trench coat emerged from nowhere, grabbed Croce, and hugged him. Holding each other by the elbows like wrestlers ready to grapple, the two men exchanged pleasantries. “I love you, you’re the best,” said the man, heading off. Croce turned to me. “He’s a neighbor of mine,” he said. “A lawyer.”

“Midnight Express: In a 24-7 society every minute counts. But do all minutes count the same?” Inc., July 1, 2001

When people speak of Memphis as a city that never sleeps, they’re probably not referring to late-night jiving on Beale Street. Yes, you can still find a few honky-tonk clubs that rock late into the night in the downtown area that W.C. Handy and other blues notables made famous long ago. Nowadays, however, Beale Street is fairly restrained. It has been officially sanctioned as the Beale Street Historic District. It pipes down by 2 a.m. or so.

No, the real nighttime action in Memphis isn’t downtown. It’s at the airport. A human wave rolls through the Memphis International Airport in the early evening. Much of the foot traffic is due to the Northwest Airlines hub there. Thousands of Northwest passengers change planes each evening in Memphis. Far more extraordinary, though, is the controlled frenzy later on at the 55-acre colossus that’s the airport terminal building of the FedEx Corp.


“A Master’s for Science Professionals Sweeps U.S. Schools,” The New York Times,
December 26. 2010

BOSTON — A curiosity tucked away in a handful of university catalogs a decade ago, the professional science master’s degree is emerging from the shadows at a number of college campuses.

The degree, which a few universities quietly pioneered in the mid-1990s, combines graduate studies in science or mathematics and business management courses.

“Giving Business Education a Global Twist,” The New York Times, November 2, 2009

CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS — June of next year will be a big month for Nabeel Siddiqui, a 29-year-old from India studying at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. That is when Mr. Siddiqui, a former software-design project manager for Alcatel-Lucent, expects to receive two diplomas almost simultaneously.

One will be a master’s of science in management studies from M.I.T.’s Sloan School of Management, the other a master’s of business administration from the École des Hautes Études Commerciales in Paris.

Mr. Siddiqi is one of 16 international students taking part in a new dual-degree program in which Sloan collaborates with foreign business schools.

“Waco: More than Simple Blunders?” The Wall Street Journal, October 17, 1995

The sabotage of an Amtrak train in Arizona last week and the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City in April have a common element: a Waco connection. “Remember Waco” is the subtext to these flagrant crimes, either as true terrorist motive or red herring.

Mistakes that the government made at Waco are likely to be long remembered.