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Books: News & Reviews

  • 'The Maid's Version' wins 2014 Heartland Prize for Fiction
    'The Maid's Version' wins 2014 Heartland Prize for Fiction

    It was the summer of 1965, but Alma still did not have a television, just a radio to announce livestock prices and yield estimates. Born a farm girl, she worked as a maid for half a century. When her grandson Alek arrives for the summer, sent by his father from their river town near St....

  • Reflecting on Patti Smith, winner of the 2014 Tribune Literary Prize
    Reflecting on Patti Smith, winner of the 2014 Tribune Literary Prize

    It was 1975 and I was a college freshman when Patti Smith's first album, "Horses," arrived in a Milwaukee record store. I didn't know anything about her music, hadn't heard a note. But that album cover was enough to stop traffic. It intrigued, haunted and, yes, scared...

  • 'Men We Reaped' wins 2014 Heartland Prize for Nonfiction
    'Men We Reaped' wins 2014 Heartland Prize for Nonfiction

    When the Union Army's famous 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, one of the first African-American units in the Civil War, unsuccessfully assaulted Fort Wagner in South Carolina, escaped slave Harriet Tubman bore witness to the bloodshed from the front lines.

  • Review: 'Bad Paper' by Jake Halpern
    Review: 'Bad Paper' by Jake Halpern

    When a person stops paying his credit card bill, the lending bank has 180 days to collect on what is owed before it is required, by law, to "charge off" the account and file it as a loss. Soon afterward, the bank will sell the rights to collect on the debt to one of the 9,599 debt...

  • Jonathan Eig on 'The Birth of the Pill'
    Jonathan Eig on 'The Birth of the Pill'

    Of all the inventions of the 20th century, the birth control pill arguably had the most profound effect on the everyday lives of human beings. By making widely available a convenient and effective form of contraception, the pill gave women control over their reproductive lives and, in the...

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