Category: Non-fiction

Review: The Barbary Plague: The Black Death in Victorian San Francisco – Marilyn Chase

The bubonic plague outbreaks of 1900-1908 are a forgotten footnote in San Franciscan history, lost amidst the drama of the city’s early Gold Rush years and the trauma of the great earthquake of 1906. Yet for those eight years, the city was in the grip of the United States’ first outbreak of plague, which affected almost all life in San… Read more →

Review: The Loyal Son: The War in Ben Franklin’s House – Daniel Mark Epstein

Although you don’t often hear it amidst all the enduring myths surrounding the American Revolution, more than anything else it was a civil war. The ‘rebellion against tyranny’ was far from universal, and historians estimate as many as one third of the population of the colonies remained loyal to the Crown. It was a war of colony against mother country,… Read more →

Review: The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir – Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

There is a term in tort law known as ‘proximate cause’, which effectively means an event closely enough related to an outcome resulting in an injury that it can be deemed the cause of said injury. Not necessarily directly, or even immediately obviously, but in law a narrative must start somewhere and end somewhere, and both of those somewheres must… Read more →

Review: ‘So High a Blood: The Story of Margaret Douglas, the Tudor That Time Forgot’ – Morgan Ring

Margaret Douglas is buried in Henry VII’s Lady Chapel in Westminster Abbey, close to the tomb of her great-grandmother Margaret Beaufort, with whom she has much in common. History remembers both, if they are remembered at all, as dominant, forceful women, scheming and plotting to see their children crowned. How true a portrait that is can only ever be a… Read more →