The Other Pandemic: An AIDS Memoir

Told in a manner and from a perspective only possible by a gay man, this fascinating book manages to make several valid points. 

The first is the perspective of being in the midst of a pandemic that no one understood at the time. While society was beginning to come to grips with the gay lifestyle, the AIDS epidemic took hold and destroyed the lives of not only gay people, but also innocent family members and others infected through transfusion or poor decision making. 

Beyond that, this book touches on comparisons to the COVID-19 pandemic – the lack of appropriate governmental response; the emergence of misinformation; the lack of societal understanding.

Above and beyond, this is a very well-written memoir. It is thoroughly appropriate for mature readers as well as giving excellent background for research.


Our Ancient Faith: Lincoln, Democracy and the American Experiment

Wow! This is on my “must read list!”

I have long been a sucker for books about Lincoln and his actions as president during America’s most dangerous period. And even though I’ve always felt that he was a man of his time, holding the same prejudices and beliefs as most Americans – he was also a visionary, able to see past the normal biases of his time. Who knows what he could have accomplished in his second term? This book moves beyond Lincoln’s actions to his beliefs.

In his forward, Allen Guelzo, one of our finest historians, takes pains to note that his work is published in another time of great risk to our country – our treasured democracy. I’m fascinated by the title “Our Ancient Faith.” As with most of Guelzo’s books concerning Lincoln, the title is a mirror of a Lincoln quote. Six years before the Civil War, Lincoln’s Peoria Illinois speech in opposition to the Kansas -Nebraska Act states what must be fairly obvious – if slaves are actually people, then there are no economic or social beliefs that could possibly support slavery. “Our Ancient Faith” is democracy itself. Slavery is immoral because people are not animals – and they possess the natural rights of all men. 

Please take a look! This is an excellent addition to any library!


Harry Truman’s Excellent Adventure

So… this book has been around for a long, long time. 15 years, to be exact. Why would I even take the time to recommend this book?

One of the major reasons that I began this blog is to open minds to narrative nonfiction. This is a book that is very much central to libraries in the state of Missouri, where I live and write. But what makes this title important, beyond its location?

Can you imagine any of our recent presidents packing his old lady in the car and taking a road trip across the country? (Sorry Bees.) Harry and Bess decided to visit relatives in the east, and without the benefit of Secret Service protection, spent weeks traveling, meeting folks, eating in restaurants and surprising the locals in states between Missouri and the Atlantic Ocean. How unusual. How quaint. How absolutely American.

Just from my own perspective, this is a wonderful book to keep in a midwestern library, and an excellent choice for teachers to use to teach generational change. Do you own this book, or have it in your library? Give it a chance!