Bumper year for Maryland writers Books of the Region -- 1998

December 20, 1998|By James H. Bready | James H. Bready,sun staff

A memorable time for authors, 1998. The National Book Award for Fiction, presented to Alice McDermott of Johns Hopkins University's Writing Seminars, of itself makes the year stand out. In addition, the outpouring of general-reader books by Marylanders (or regarding some facet of Greater Maryland) has brought about the longest annual list yet.

What follows is a beginning. Next Sunday, a second parade marches by, with books categorized as fiction, food, local history, miscellany, romance fiction, travel, thriller and young readers. (O) means oversize; (P) means paperbound.

Art

"The Lives, Loves and Art of Arthur B. Davies" by Bennard Perlman (State University of New York, 469 pages, $35.50). The prime mover behind 1913's famous Armory Exhibition in New York, one of the Eight, and a bigamist.

"Henry Clay Frick, an Intimate Portrait" by Martha Frick Symington Sanger (Abbeville, 544 pages, $50) (O). What led the imperious capitalist into art-collecting? An obsession, his great-granddaughter maintains, with his dead daughter Martha.

Biography, Autobiography

"Agent of Destiny: The Life and Times of Gen. Winfield Scott" by John S. D. Eisenhower (Free Press, 464 pages, $27.50). Scott was a three-war soldier (1812, Mexican, Civil), huge in frame and ambition. A Virginian, in 1861 he stood by the Union.

"Snapshots: The Thoughts and Experiences of an African-American Woman" by Rebecca Carroll (Fairfax, 397 pages, $20). A top-level administrator reflects on her career in the public school system.

"For Teaching Is Living: It's Liking What You're Doing That Matters" by E. S. DelRosario (American Literary Press, 117 pages, $10.95) (P). The author taught in the Philippines, then in Baltimore County.

"Leap Into Darkness: Seven Years on the Run in Wartime Europe" by Leo Bretholz and Michael Olesker (Woodholme, 273 pages, $23.95). A series of hairsbreadth escapes during Holocaust spared Bretholz, a young Austrian, from the fate of his relatives.

"Thurgood Marshall, American Revolutionary" by Juan Williams (Times Books, 404 pages, $27.50). A look at the man who may be singled out as this century's most important native Baltimorean.

"Jim Allen, His Memoirs," by Ollie J. Allen (American Literary Press, 86 pages, $9.95) (P). In the Army and then with Westinghouse Electric, Allen was an electronics inventor.

"Flying School: Combat Hell," by Ellis M. Woodward (American Literary Press, 191 pages, $14.95) (P). An 8th Air Force lead-crew pilot, he survived 30 B-17 missions over Germany.

"Korea, Frozen Hell on Earth: A Platoon Sergeant's Diary, 1950-51" by Boris R. Spiroff (American Literary Press, 84 pages, $12.95) (P). Grim times for an enlisted man.

"Songs of Myself: Episodes From the Edge of Adulthood," edited by Diane Scharper (Woodholme, 277 pages, $18.95)(P). Freshmen writing students narrate "the best" or "the worst" thing that ever happened to them.

"Giuseppe Garibaldi, the Father of Modern Italy" by Benedict LiPira (Noble House, 124 pages, $15.25). A popular account of that invincibly colorful combatant and ladies man.

Food

"Guess Who Died? Memories of Baltimore, With Recipes" by Mindell Dubansky (Women's Studio Workshop, 46 pages, $21). Bernie died. In Egypt. Fell down a pyramid. Rugelach. Lockshen Kugel. Toby's Cabbage Soup.

"A Taste of Catholicism" (Cathedral Foundation, 152 pages, $12) (P). Several hundred family-tradition recipes.

History

"The Osage Indian Murders" by Lawrence J. Hogan (Amlex, 285 pages, $16.95) (P). In the 1920s - perhaps the FBI's first great case. Oklahoma Indians, rich from selling oil lands, were being poisoned, bombed and shot.

"American Mobbing, 1828-1861: Toward Civil War" by David Grimsted (Oxford, 372 pages, $65). The roots of the civilian violence that led up to the firing on Fort Sumter.

"The Great Silent Army of Abolitionism: Ordinary Women in the Anti-Slavery Movement" by Julie Roy Jeffrey (University of North Carolina, 311 pages, $10.95) (P) Their fairs, bazaars and sewing circles funded the long, slow print battle.

"Into the Fight: Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg" by John Michael Priest (White Mane, 278 pages, $34.95). Something was lacking - artillery support, infantry unanimity.

"Angels of Mercy: An Eyewitness Account of Civil War and Yellow Fever" by Sister Ignatius Sumner (Cathedral Foundation, 112 pages, $16) (P). By a Baltimore nun stationed in Vicksburg, Miss.

"Lincoln: The Road to War" by Frank van der Linden (Fulcrum, 410 pages, $29.95) (O). The Civil War needn't have happened, slavery would've gone away - this writer belittles Lincoln.

Literature

"A Broken Heart Still Beats: After Your Child Dies" by Anne McCracken and Mary Semel (Hazelden, 420 pages, $24.95). An anthology of the words in which literary figures, bereft of a son or daughter, have poured out that fiercest of griefs.

"Vintage Reading, From Plato to Bradbury: A Tour Guide to 80 of the World's Most Unforgettable Authors" by Robert Kanigel (Bancroft, 245 pages, $16.95) (P) A collection of "re-reading" columns, a book at a time.

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