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The first account by an historian of the tragic Donner Party saga. In April of 1846, encouraged by their belief in Manifest Destiny, a group of pioneers led by George Donner and James Reed left Springfield, Illinois bound for a better life in California. It was late in the year to begin the arduous trek, but the prospect of being hampered by blizzards in the Sierra Nevada mountains didn't deter them. The ensuing horror when the group found itself trapped by snow that reached a depth of 22 feet has entered into the realm of American legend. Mr. Wallis separates the facts from the sensational stories. His book is as much a tribute to human endurance as it is a cautionary tale about careless folly. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves
A Yale professor and self-proclaimed "enigmologist" on a writer's retreat in the Adirondacks begins to suspect that a series of savage killings deep in the wilderness may be the work of something beyond the realm of natural science, especially given the full moon factor. A genuinely creepy excursion into the supernatural that expertly resurrects one of its most fierce and formidable denizens. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves
After a rocky try-out period in Detroit and Washington, no one was prepared for the rave reviews and the lines-around-the-block business that “Hello, Dolly!” received when it opened at the St. James Theatre in New York in January of 1964. The show won a record 10 Tony Awards and became the longest running musical in Broadway history until it was surpassed by “Fiddler on the Roof.” Carol Channing’s performance even eclipsed her memorable turn as Lorelei Lee in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.” She would play Dolly Levi more than 5,000 times, winning a Tony over a formidable new star on Broadway -- Barbra Streisand, who would exact a sort of unintentional revenge five years later when she was cast over Channing as Dolly in an expensive and ill-fated movie adaptation. (Read more...)
The residents of a small town in the Berkshires manage to deal with life's little earthquakes until a wealthy hedge fund manager, who recently joined the select board, causes some seismic challenges. The struggle of middle-class Americans to stay afloat in a world increasingly driven by the relentless and oftentimes pitiless pursuit of money is at the heart of this powerful, unsettling, and involving novel. You will recognize people you know on its pages. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves
An ex-detective turned insurance investigator discovers the charred body of a universally disliked businesswoman in the remains of her home on a remote island off the coast of Maine. A routine house-fire inquiry suddenly looks a lot like a grisly case of murder. This entertaining mystery is as rich in atmosphere as it is in suspects. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves