By All Means, Please Buy My New Book, “The Feud”!

Here are some of the many wonderful reviews:

Publishers Weekly:

In this intriguing and melancholy chronicle, Boston Globe columnist Beam (Gracefully Insane) traces the rise and fall of the friendship between Edmund Wilson and Vladimir Nabokov. The two men met in 1940, when Nabokov’s cousin pleaded with Wilson, an eminent critic and writer, to help Nabokov, a recent émigré from Russia to the U.S. Among other things, Wilson commissioned reviews from Nabokov, helped him secure a Guggenheim Fellowship, and introduced him to prominent editors. Over the years, the two spent holidays together with their families, exchanged affectionate correspondence, and even collaborated on a translation of Alexander Pushkin’s Mozart and Salieri. By the time Wilson died in 1972, it had all fallen apart. The main cause was Wilson’s scathing review of Nabokov’s 1,895-page, hyperquirky translation of Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin (one of his many criticisms was Nabokov’s choosing the obscure term “sapajous” over the logical translation choice, “monkeys”), which began a protracted war of words between the two. Beam’s book evokes the strangely satisfying sensation of witnessing smart people bickering over seemingly small matters. It also provides a fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpse, full of anecdotal ephemera, of how Wilson and Nabokov interacted and why. But the more lasting sensation is the bittersweetness of this portrait of a fallen friendship—at its height, Nabokov wrote to Wilson, “You are one of the few people in the world whom I keenly miss when I do not see them.”

New York Times

WSJournal (may be paywalled)

Jay Parini in the Daily Beast

and a lovely appreciation from Laura Miller in Slate





I write occasionally for “AB” magazine

… the “organ” of the Boston Society of Architects. Of late, I’ve been sitting in on classes, looking at beautiful slides. Second in a series. A couple more of those ….

I’m on WGBH’s “Boston Public Radio,” Most Thursdays …

Updated weekly, pretty much ... Going chrono w these now, adding at the bottom.

We added a summer book club …. it’s been a lot of fun

“I don’t want to hear from callers” = great line. Questionable Judgement seems to be the unifying theme here. I’ll order these links from most recent, well, you can figure this out.

Here I am on the air with Jim Braude, Margery Eagan and Boston Herald columnist Peter Gelzenis, who tells a lovely story about me ... alas at the very end of the show. I also speak Russian, dazzling the non-Russian speakers. Listen on the WGBH website.

Each one of these has odd indiscretions, if you listen … here I say  something I probably shouldn’t about Trinity Church rector Sal Lloyd, tho you have to wait ’til the end. Also “reveal” that I’ve quit drinking … #wonderhowlongthatwilllast.

Update … still not drinking, and, even more ridiculously, gone gluten-free because Mat Gleason told me to … this was a fun ‘GBH session.

Still more “opinions” on subjects I know little about.

Trashing Errol Morris … too avidly, alas.

They Are Shooting  at Our Regiment 

Hell, and Obituary Baseball

 Dr. John Mack & other subjects

“American Crucifixion” updated with reviews, etc

Here is the Amazon write-up for the book, where you can seen the lovely cover … or see it here


American Cruci


A review, quite a coherent one, has appeared on the social media site (May require login.) Early days. A second one also appeared. These are citizen reviewers who download electronic galleys from the publisher. Interesting.

In recent days, I’ve had a wonderful review from Publishers Weekly, a magazine that I respect, and also starred reviews from Booklist, Library Journal, and Kirkus Riviews. (I respect them too!) These assessments are both important, and heartening, as these publications speak to the “trade,” and the “trade” sells books.

The book’s publication date was April 22, and three reviews appeared very quickly. They were all VERY flattering, and provided some buoyancy both for me and for my publisher. Chicago Tribune; Los Angeles Times, and Wall Street Journal (possible paywall here.)

I’ve given several interviews about the book. Here is one with Scott Porch of Kirkus, and here is another with my friends at WGBH radio in Boston.

And here I’m linking to the video of a book talk I gave at the Politics & Prose bookstore in late Aril.

Here are two hour long public radio shows on “AC;” not an obvious task, by the way. But both hosts were well-prepared, and in New Hampshire, some very historically engaged listeners phoned or e-mailed the show. My friend Colin McEnroe in Hartford, and The Exchange on NHPR in Concord, N.H.

Maybe the best interrogation, so far, by the well-known and dare I say forensic Doug Fabrizio of KUER in Salt Lake City.

This is a long and very emotional encounter with John Dehlin, at his cousins’ home in the hills overlooking Salt Lake City. “Mormon Stories” is a deservedly famous podcast. The very next day, John received notice of his possible excommunication from the LDS church.

A muddy review from the New York Times, and an interesting, long talk with Robert Birnbaum. Also posting this podcast, in which I discuss my hope — possibly to be unrealized — of writing another Mormon book.

Curious …. the LDS has been releasing statements about its own historya whole bunch of them actually. Unsure where the pressure is coming from, but there’s a rockslide coming down on Temple Square … I think this book was perhaps one of the small boulders cascading down. As others have pointed out, this is a huge victory for “real” historians, e.g., Fawn Brodie, Mike Quinn, Dan Vogel, George D. Smith,  Todd Compton, Richard Van Wagoner and many others.

Lots of hype for the church’s big polygamy reveal, completely ridiculous for anyone who knows even Fact One about Mormon history.

I might as well link to these idiots, as real-life examples of vivid moral and intellectual corruption.

This is a pretty serious review … that being said, I have some serious problems with it. It’s in the Christian Century, so the Mormons were happy for the attention.






Here Are Three of My Pro-Amazon Puff Pieces

Anything to go against the flow. Now that their business model is failing, maybe they will try to be a better corporate citizen. or not. Almost forgot this one.

Summer Camps to “Little Willie” — Drop Dead!

My youngest son is a head counselor at a camp which stopped discussing “The Cruncher” around the campfire this year, alas. The “trend” …