History’s Personal Costs

When she illustrates history’s personal costs, Barbara Kingsolver, in her 2007 historical novel The Lacuna, makes history come. alive. She tackles Mexico’s culture from the sixteenth century Aztecs’ battles with Montezuma to the exile of L. D. Trotsky in Mexico during the 1930s and beyond, into twentieth century North American …

Your plea deal for freedom: the social contract

Why a Plea Deal for Freedom? You’ve already got a plea deal for freedom as a citizen. It’s called the social contract. “Hey!” you say, “What did I do wrong to need a plea deal?” Simple fact: without a government, you were out for yourself alone in what they call “the …

Strong characters, classic plot by a French master

Good fiction, as well as a good motion picture, depends upon strong characters. The poignant story of a foundling eventually adopted by a miller’s wife, François le Champi , 1852 (literally François the Foundling), by the versatile and prolific author and one-time mistress of Chopin, George Sand, exhibits deep and …

“The Good War”—Fighting the Bullies

It took him until 1984 but Studs Terkel, the noted Chicago columnist and radio commentator, gathered hundreds of interviews and organized them into a single volume, entitled, “The Good War:” An Oral History of World War II. As I read page after page of heartfelt testimony by eyewitnesses from all …

A Montana town’s terrible secret

This novel, set in Bentrock, concerns this small Montana town’s terrible secret. David, an insightful 12-year-old, narrates the story of his father, Sheriff Wesley Hayden, his mother Gail, their Sioux Indian housekeeper Marie and his uncle Frank, a war hero and one of only two town doctors. He tells the …

A magical epic: engrossing, thrilling and universal

s In Amor Towles’s magical epic, The Lincoln Highway, set in the early 1950s in the Midwest, Emmett Watson becomes the epic hero. Long since abandoned by his mother and recently orphaned by the death of his father, he returns in the warden’s car to his family’s Nebraska dust bowl …

“I’m a huckster.” Is that so bad?

A huckster? Never. Architects have traditionally looked down on promoting their services like a huckster. Especially in (shudder) advertising. As a result, they have hidden their light under a bushel, failed to be discovered and suffered economically. Some continue resisting promotion to this day. I was reminded of this yesterday …

Architect’s memoir entertains, informs, instructs

Today, Thursday, Sep. 30th, my new architectural memoir, Becoming an Architect: My Voyage of Discovery, hits the stands. One early reader, a prominent St. Louis architect calls it: Enjoyable, fun and courageous! Although there are plenty of books about great architects, very few of them show how architects think and …

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