If Greater Baltimore never had so many bookstores, Maryland seems never to have had so many authors. All year, the publishing of general-reader books by Marylanders or about Maryland never slackened. Now begins the annual foolhardy attempt to sight them, to sort them (in more categories than ever) and, mentioning merely name and book title, to salute their authors, editors, illustrators, printers and marketers.
When fiction alone passes a dozen entries, you know it's been a busy year. Novels included Brent Wade's "Company Man," "Biting the Wall" by J. M. Johnston, Jean McGarry's "The Courage of Girls," Robert Stone's "Outerbridge Reach," "State v. Justice" by Gallatin Warfield, "His Master's Voice" by Robert Kotlowitz, Lawrence Hill's "Some Great Thing," "The Great Molinas" by Neil D. Isaacs, E. Hunter Wilson's "In My Father's House," "Vanish With the Rose" by Barbara Michaels (Barbara Mertz), J. D. Gould's "Throw the Rascals Out," William P. Mack's "Checkfire" and "Ripples" by William Elliot Hazelgrove. Science fiction included books by Thomas F. Monteleone, James Luceno and Brian Daley, and Jack McKinney; among thrillers was John Feinstein's "Running Mates." Short story collections included Elisavietta Ritchie's "Flying Time: Stories and Half Stories" and "Mindwarps," by John Maclay.
Bountiful is ever the word for romance fiction. As to Nora Roberts, No. 1 from coast to coast, her half-dozen new novels included her first in hardback. Others in the genre: Lucia St. Clair Robson, Mary Jo Putney (two titles), Ruth Glick and Eileen Buckholtz (as Rebecca York), Louise Titchener (as Anne Silverlock), Linda Shertzer (as Melinda Pryce), Carolyn Males (as Clare Richards), Rita Boucher, Chassie West (as Joyce McGill), Cynthia Bailey-Pratt, Nancy Baggett, Kathryn Jensen (as Nicole Davidson), Ellen Rawlings (two titles), Anne Knoll, Vivian Copeland (as Vivian Keith), Sonya Crown, J. C. West. And "the first African-American adult romance" nationally was by Terry Hurt.
Also dependable are biography and autobiography; for example, Lady Day: The Many Faces of Billie Holiday," by Robert O'Meally, even if it did expunge Baltimore as her birthplace; "Joseph E. Johnston: A Civil War Biography," by Craig L. Symonds; Carl Bradfield's vivid "The Blue Spaders: Vietnam"; "My Life and Times," by Verda F. Welcome as told to James M. Abraham; Susan White-Bowden's "Moonbeams Come at Dark Times: Turning 50 in the '90s"; "To Heal the Heart of a Child: Helen Taussig, M.D.," by Joyce Baldwin; "Thurgood Marshall: Warrior at the Bar, Rebel on the Bench," by Michael D. Davis and Hunter R. Clark; "In Praise of Common Things: Lizette Woodworth Reese Revisited," in which Robert J. Jones recounts her life and anthologizes her poetry; and Jeffrey Meyers' "Edgar Allan Poe: His Life and Legacy."
History was somehow martial: "First Call: The Making of the Modern U.S. Military," by Thomas D. Boettcher; Ernest R. Furgurson's widely lauded "Chancellorsville"; "Return to Bull Run: The Campaign and Battle of Second Manassas," by John J. Hennessy; "Sherman at War," letters annotated by Joseph H. Ewing; Rick Mitchell's "Airacobra Advantage, The Flying Cannon: Bell Aircraft's P-39 Pursuit Fighter; "Raid on Qaddafi: The Untold Story of History's Longest Fighter Mission," by Robert E. Venkus; "On Strategy II: A Critical Analysis of the Gulf War," by Harry G. Summers Jr.
But also, "A Time for Gathering: The Second Migration, 1820-1880," by Hasia Diner, Vol. II in "The Jewish People in America"; David Mitch's "The Rise of Popular Literacy in Victorian England: The Influence of Private Choice and Public Policy"; "Structure, Process and Party: Essays in American Political History," by Peter Argersinger; John W. Baldwin's "The Government of Philip Augustus: Foundations of Royal Power in the Middle Ages"; "Death by Migration: Europe's Encounter With the Tropical World in the 19th Century," by Philip D. Curtin; "The Commonwealth of Oceana and a System of Politics," by J. G. A. Pocock; A. J. R. Russell-Wood's "A World on the Move: The Portuguese in Africa, Asia and America, 1415-1808"; "The Estate of Social Knowledge," by JoAnne Brown (and David K. Van Keuren); "The Origins of American Social Science," by Dorothy Ross; "Music of the Highest Class: Elitism and Populism in Antebellum Boston," by Michael Broyles, and Judith Walkowitz's City of Dreadful Delight: Narratives of Sexual Danger in Late Victorian London."
And three conflicting Kennedy-Dallas books: "Mortal Error: The Shot That Killed JFK," by Bonar Menninger, relating Howard Donahue's reconstruction of an accidental, non-Oswald shot; Harrison E. Livingstone's follow-up to a best-seller, "High Treason 2"; and "JFK and Vietnam: Deception, Intrigue and the Struggle for Power," by John M. Newman.
Local history was more peaceful: Robert L. Gunnarsson's "The Story of the Northern Central Railway"; "Trackside Maryland: From Railyard to Main Line," by James P. Gallagher and Jacques Kelly; "Unlocking the Secrets of History: Maryland's Hidden Heritage," edited by Jean B. Russo; "Maryland's Eastern Shore: A Journey in Time and Place," by John R. Wennersten, to an audience half-smiling, half-sputtering; "The Maryland National Guard: A History of Maryland's Military Forces, 1634-1991," by Joseph M. Balkoski; "McDowell Hall at St. John's College in Annapolis," by John Christensen with Charles Bohl; Martin Schmidt's "Maryland's Geology"; "The Montgomery Focus: A Late Woodland Potomac River Culture," by Richard G. Slattery and Douglas R. Woodward; "Minute by Minute," Friends (Quakers) in Baltimore history, by Barbara Mallonee, Nicholas B. Fessenden and Jana Karkalitz Bonney; "St. Thomas' Parish," by Marie Forbes; "Maryland and the D.C. Volunteers in the Mexican War," by Charles Wells; "Marylanders Who Served the Nation: A Biographical Dictionary of Federal Officials," by Gerson G. Eisenberg.
Chesapeake Bay leads some to sail or fish, others to write, paint, photograph and publish: "Swanfall: Journey of the Tundra Swans," with Tom Horton text, David Harp photos (the two also combined on "Water's Way: Life Along the Chesapeake"); "Birds of the Chesapeake Bay," paintings and words by John W. Taylor; "The Chesapeake Bay: A Complete Guide," by Allison Blake with Eric Mills and Jean Harper; "Exploring the Chesapeake in Small Boats," by John Page Williams Jr.; "Chesapeake Bay Schooners," by Quentin Snediker and Ann Jensen; "The Last Generation: A History of a Chesapeake Shipbuilding Family -- H. M. Davis and Son," by Geoffrey M. Footner; "A Heritage in Wood: The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum's Small Craft Collection," by Richard J. S. Dodds and Pete Lesher; and "Chesapeake Reflections: A Journey on a Boat and a Bike," by Ken Carter.
In public affairs, the big book was "What It Takes: The Way to the White House," by Richard Ben Cramer. In "Lenny, Lefty and the Chancellor," C. Fraser Smith investigated the drug-overdose death of Len Bias. The famous pitcher of warm expletive was Jules Witcover's subject in "Crapshoot: Rolling the Dice on the Vice Presidency." Laurie Salitan wrote on "Politics and Nationality in Contemporary Soviet Jewish Emigration"; Norma Kriger, on "Zimbabwe's Guerrilla War: Peasant Voices"; Richard
Flathman, on "Willful Liberalism: Volunteerism and Individuality in Political Theory and Practice"; David Campbell, on "Writing Security: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Politics of Identity."
With "Our Common Goal That Unites the World," Libby Rouse pointed to a piece missing from "the jigsaw puzzle of life." Leonora Foerstel (and others) rectified errors with "Confronting the Margaret Mead Legacy: Scholarship, Empire and the South Pacific." Sidney Mintz (and Richard Price) wrote "The Birth of African-American Culture: An Anthropological Perspective." Mark Antlitz's topic was "Inventing Bergson: Cultural Politics and the Parisian Avant-Garde." "Official Lies: How Washington Misleads Us" was by Thomas DiLorenzo; "Reagan's Terrible Swift Sword" was Donald Devine's story of "abuse and reform within the federal bureaucracy." Lawrence W. Sherman shed new light in "Policing Domestic Violence: Experiments and Dilemmas." A. Stephen Boylan Jr. (and William Ophuls) were the authors of "Ecology and the Politics of Scarcity Revisited." "Nightmare Overhanging Darkly" was essays by Acklyn Lynch on African-American culture and resistance. Ivan V. Damaso explained "Immigration Laws in America: What You Need to Know." For entertainment, nothing matched "KALtoons," from the editorial page drawing board of Sun cartoonist Kevin Kallaugher.
Literary criticism and commentary is an old reliable, as in Leonard Wilcox's much-praised "V. F. Calverton: Radical in the American Grain"; "Writing in the New Nation," Larzer Ziff's analysis of "prose, print and politics in the early U.S."; "The Aesthetics of Loss and Lessness," in which Angela Moorjani traced grief's damage to writers and artists; Charles Martin on "Catullus"; "Commentary as Cultural Artifact," by Stephen Nichols (and Lee Patterson); and, edited by Martin H. Greenberg, "The Tom Clancy Companion." There could be a subdivision for film: John L. Flynn's "Cinematic Vampires: The Living Dead on Film and Television, From 'The Devil's Castle' (1896) to 'Bram Stoker's Dracula,' " and "The New Cinema: Eight Portraits of German Women Directors," by Renate Fischetti.
Under science and technology came David H. Wise's "Spiders in Ecological Webs"; Joann Ellison Rodgers' arresting tTC Psychosurgery: Damaging the Brain to Save the Mind"; Russell R. Monroe's inquiry into unusual intelligence, "Creative Brainstorms"; "Learning Micro Soft QuickBasic Through VGA Graphics," by Mark Smiley.
That loose grouping, religion and human relations and attitudes, covered Ralph Harper's "On Presence: Variations and Reflections"; "Touching the Holy," by Robert J. Wicks; Nancy S. Struever's "Theory as Practice: Ethical Inquiry in the Renaissance"; the close look by Gregory L. Greif and Rebecca L. Hegar at the abduction of some 350,000 children yearly by family members, in "When Parents Kidnap: The Families Behind the Headlines"; Ruthellen Josselson's "The Space Between Us: Exploring the Dimensions of Human Relationships"; and "Things Just Haven't Been the Same: Making the Transition From Marriage to Parenthood," by Brad E. Sachs. A birthday drove William M. Klingaman to compile "Turning 40: Wit, Wisdom & Whining."
Photographic books, ever helpful for the gift list, included Middleton Evans' paean to "Baltimore"; Janis Rettaliata's construction coverage, "The Baltimore Ballpark Project: The Creation of a Baseball Stadium"; Daniel D. Hartzler's album of Confederate soldiers, "A Band of Brothers."
How many books about sports? Well, Jim Russo's "Superscout," Ron Menchine's "A Picture Postcard History of Baseball," Roger A. Godin's "The 1922 St. Louis Browns: Best of the American League's Worst," and "Professional Boxing in Maryland, 1930-1940," by Buddy Ey.
Poetry ought not to be this far down, in the year of Mary Azrael's "Riddles for a Naked Sailor"; Josephine Jacobsen's latest collection, "Distances"; Vincent R. Blake's "Tinkling Cymbals: Selection Poems"; "Solo Drive," by Elaine Erickson; Margaret Fowler's "Songs of Experience"; "Sonnets From a Maryland Suburb," by Edwina Sherudi; "Look Inside," by Cathy London; and "Closed for Business," by Steve Ward.
Surely John Shields' "Chesapeake Bay Crab Cookbook" wasn't 1992's only all-new cookbook.
Younger reader titles squirm around and vanish; visible are two by Colby Rodowsky, "Jenny and the Grand Old Great-Aunts" and "Lucy Peale"; "Who's the Kid Around Here, Anyway?" by Carol McAfee; "The Gingerbread Inn," by Betty Stewart Behringer; Mick Blackistone's "Broken Wings Will Fly"; Margaret Meacham's latest, "The Boy on the Beach"; "Once a Pony Time at Chincoteague," by the Lockharts, Lynne N. and Barbara M.; the new Philip Macht book, "Wonderpup"; "Sid and Sal's Famous Channel Marker Diner," by Priscilla Cummings.
The residue is, naturally, miscellany: Michael Brown imparted a professional's touch to "Nurses: The Human Touch." From Kathy Kavanagh and Patricia Kennedy, "Promoting Cultural Diversity: Strategies for Health Care Professionals." Craig L. Symonds' other book was the text for "Gettysburg: A Battlefield Atlas." Elise Hartman Ford listed "Unique Meeting Places in Greater Baltimore." "Trips and Treats: Kid-Tested Fun in and Around Baltimore" was by Kathleen M. Shull. Blair Barton offered "Best ,, Bike Routes in Maryland." From Albert and Shirley Menendez, "Maryland Trivia." From Jerome Cohen, "Baltimore's Grand Inquisition: 1,000 Fascinating Trivia About Charm City." Just out, and a comer: "Country Life Diary," three years on a third-generation Harford horse farm, by Josh Pons. Rene J. Muller's reflective essays were collected in "Alembics: Baltimore Sketches, Etc." Herbert H. Locklear's title was, "A Funny Thing ,, Happened on the Way to the Welfare Department." For those still in doubt, "Nostradamus: The Voice That Echoes Through Time," by Maurice A. LaCasse. I reach for Michael L. Spaur's "Beverage Journal Guide to Maryland Taverns, Clubs and Bars."