Powerful Examination Of Oft-Ignored Areas. Know up front that there is a LOT going on in this book, and to me it absolutely warrants the 400 page length. The book begins and ends in Galveston during the Depression, when one family had absolute control of the island. In between, we see a lot: the burlesque shows of the era – including their seedier sides engaging in open pedophilia, the dance marathons that were cheap entertainment for so many in this pre=television era and the marathoners that endured so much just to stay off the streets, the politics of the era (where your mileage is absolutely going to vary, but was true to the period at minimum), the treatment of homosexuality in the era, a new surgery meant to cure so many mental health issues – including homosexuality – that was just as barbaric as described late in the text here, and so much more. For those that care about precise historical fact in their historical fiction – I personally tend to give authors at least a touch of leeway, depending on particulars including overall story – know that this surgery was real, and the details provided about both it and the doctor that originated it – Dr Walter Freeman – are real. Bird simply moved up the timeline by about 15 years or so, and used it to great effect within the confines of her story. Truly a remarkable work, and very much recommended.
Note: For those seeking more details on the real horrors of the transorbital lobotomy described in this tale, My Lobotomy by Howard Dully – which I first encountered as a late night NPR broadcast – is truly tragically horrifying.
This review of Last Dance On The Starlight Pier by Sara Bird was originally written on April 23, 2022.
Another Fun Bonebrake Conspiracy / Action Tale. Secret societies. Texas history. Haunted graveyards. A Knight’s Tale reference. Battle inside a Duck Boat. And even some cave diving to boot. Seriously… what more do you want in 120 pages of fun action/ adventure? This one has it all, including a couple of hot/ steamy scenes… both in the naked sense and the literal one. 😉 Another wild romp, this time through a fair swath of Texas, and featuring Bones’ usual witty banter and bone-shattering physicality. Very much recommended.
This review of Alamo Gold by David Wood was originally written on August 27, 2021.
A Warning For The Entire US Eastern And Gulf Coasts. This book is fairly comprehensive in its history of coastal development, with particular emphasis on the back bays of New Jersey but also discussing development all the way South to Florida and up along the Florida Gulf Coast all the way to Galveston Bay and Houston, with detailed discussions of Mobile and New Orleans along the way. And even discounting its heavy emphasis on global warming / global cooling / climate change / whatever the alarmists are calling it these days, the book paints a very stark picture about just how much coastal redevelopment costs people all over the country, including the landlocked midwest, due to heavy Federal subsidies in the post-WWII era. Its ultimate points are solid, yet it is also extremely realistic that the best solution to the problem is extremely politically unlikely. Very much recommended reading, and certainly a discussion that should factor into election discussions going into the 2020 Presidential race.
This review of The Geography of Risk by Gilbert M. Gaul was originally published on July 19, 2019.