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Tag: Allen Barra


Wrestling With His Angel

The second volume in Sidney Blumenthal’s biography of Abraham Lincoln’s political evolution follows the president during the stormy period between the Mexican War and the Civil War.

Posted on Jun 2, 2017 READ MORE


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Film About Boxer Chuck Wepner Spotlights the Coalescence of Sports, Race and Politics

The heavyweight underdog—who almost went the distance against Muhammad Ali—gets his own cinematic treatment in the film “Chuck,” after being the inspiration for Sylvester Stallone’s “Rocky” character.

Posted on May 15, 2017 READ MORE



The Islamic Jesus

Mustafa Akyol’s book tells Christians, Muslims and Jews exactly what we all have in common and how we got this way. It reaches us not a minute too soon.

Posted on May 12, 2017 READ MORE



Betting Big on the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament

March Madness and its accompanying betting-pool tradition go directly against the NCAA’s staunch anti-gambling policy, but “bracketology” accounts for billions of dollars changing hands.

Posted on Mar 17, 2017 READ MORE



Best of Truthdig’s Book Reviews 2016: Top Reads, From Economics to Politics and Even Genetics

In a year of many upheavals, it’s no surprise that books on income inequality, political protest and global warming would wind up on our top 10 literary list of the past year. But there’s also room for a little comedy and some ancient history among the picks.

Posted on Dec 26, 2016 READ MORE



America the Ingenious

Truthdig’s Allen Barra speaks with Kevin Baker, author of “America the Ingenious: How a Nation of Dreamers, Immigrants, and Tinkerers Changed the World,” which explores the incredible diversity of inventions and innovations that arose from our country.

Posted on Nov 5, 2016 READ MORE



1968 ‘Black Power Salute’ Sparked Ongoing Miscarriage of Justice by U.S. Olympic Committee

The silent gesture by medalists John Carlos and Tommie Smith was meant to raise awareness of human rights, not dishonor the flag. Both men deserve an apology for how they have been treated.

Posted on Aug 5, 2016 READ MORE



American Amnesia

If you’re looking for answers to our most baffling political problems (How can so much wealth go to the top 1 percent without a massive uprising? Why is the U.S. paralyzed in combating global warming?), then grab this book before amnesia on these issues becomes even more acute.

Posted on Jul 22, 2016 READ MORE



A Conversation With Randy Roberts

Roberts, co-author of “Blood Brothers: The Fatal Friendship Between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X,” the first book to examine the relationship between Ali and Malcolm, speaks with Allen Barra.

Posted on Apr 1, 2016 READ MORE



Trump’s Forgotten Failure: How He Helped Ruin a Football League

In the 1980s, the real estate mogul bought a team in the fledging United States Football League, promising “I’m going to build this team just like I built Trump Tower.” That didn’t happen. Instead, the league itself went into a death spiral as the man who is now a presidential contender made a series of bad decisions.

Posted on Mar 15, 2016 READ MORE



The Academy Voters Have Long Lacked Logic

Is the “best picture” always the best picture? Not if history is any guide. And some observers will argue that a similar lack of logic is apparent in the shortage of minority representation in the major Oscar nominations.

Posted on Feb 28, 2016 READ MORE



Honoring Marion Dougherty, Who Made Movie Stars but Often Got No Credit

The casting director, who died in 2011, discovered or jump-started the careers of many of today’s biggest Hollywood names, and she was known for placing African-Americans in parts intended for white actors. Yet her own name is missing from many of her most famous projects.

Posted on Feb 27, 2016 READ MORE



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Does ESPN Have Room for Free Speech and ‘Monday Night Football’?

Popular sports commentator Bill Simmons was suspended by ESPN for violating editorial standards—or was it because he criticized the NFL, which happens to have a $15 billion contract with the network?

Posted on Oct 16, 2014 READ MORE



A Conversation With Garry Wills

Truthdig talks with the writer/historian about his new book, “Making Make-Believe Real,” which considers Shakespeare and the political power of poetry.

Posted on Aug 22, 2014 READ MORE



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Waiting for ‘42’

Jackie Robinson’s story has been oddly neglected by Hollywood—until now.

Posted on Apr 12, 2013 READ MORE



A Writer for All Time

Two new volumes—a biography and an anthology—shine light on G.K. Chesterton, an inhabitant of the twilight realm of the praised but unread.

Posted on Sep 30, 2011 READ MORE



Well Said, Mr. Chesterton

Some lovers of wit rank G.K. Chesterton as one of the greatest aphorists. Here’s a GKC sampler.

Posted on Sep 29, 2011 READ MORE



Words From the Right: On Buckley and From Paul and Breitbart

As Campaign 2012 looms large, it’s not exactly clear who or what will define the moment for conservatives—has the Tea Party Express run out of steam? Who will emerge as their rightful leader? These three reads give us some idea of where they’ve been and where they might be headed.

Posted on May 27, 2011 READ MORE



Memoirs of an Odd One In

Garry Wills, the greatest political commentator of our time, belongs to no trendy circles unless the circle could extend backward in time to one of his most profound influences, G.K. Chesterton.

Posted on Dec 2, 2010 READ MORE



The Dylan in All of Us

You have every right to pick up “Bob Dylan in America” with skepticism—or at least you would if you didn’t know how deep Sean Wilentz’s background in traditional American music goes.

Posted on Sep 10, 2010 READ MORE


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Allen Barra on the Curious Case of Thomas Sowell

Is the noted scholar in residence at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution truly America’s “most original and interesting philosopher,” as Paul Johnson insists?

Posted on Mar 26, 2010 READ MORE


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Allen Barra on Winston Churchill

Is there anything left to say about Churchill’s extraordinary life and turbulent times? If so, can it be said in the brief compass of Paul Johnson’s 192-page primer?

Posted on Jan 1, 2010 READ MORE


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Allen Barra on Cornelius Vanderbilt

A new and outrageously entertaining biography of America’s first tycoon by T.J. Stiles, one of our best younger historians, sheds new light on the monumental life of what Stiles rightly calls “an instinctive predator” and his mixed and enduring legacy.

Posted on May 22, 2009 READ MORE


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