6 Short Book Reviews: October 2017 | Books & Authors | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine

The Call
Laurie Boris
Laurie Boris, 2017, $14.99

Baseball fans and feminists will enjoy Laurie Boris’s latest novel. Protagonist Margie is a pioneer—one of the first female umpires in the minors, which brings an array of challenges. The rude comments are one thing, but when Margie suspects a player of cheating, she must decide whether to risk her career by calling him out or keeping quiet. 

Underground Dream
Russell Paul LaValle
W & B Publishers, 2017, $17.99

This modern-day love story by New Paltz writer LaValle follows the lives of unsavory characters. Cosmo “Five Hands” Cinquemami is an oil and gas crew chief married to Irene Cinquemami, who hides her chlamydia and distaste for her marriage from her husband. Cosmo’s girlfriend, Dara Lynn Cooper, is a teenage farm girl who is the object of her brother Clyde’s affection. Despite all the obstacles these and other characters pose, Cosmo tries to find happiness and confront his hidden desires. 

The Indestructible Man: The True Story of World War II Hero “Captain Dixie” 
Don Keith with David Rocco
Erin Press, 2017, $15

Following the life of Dixie Keifer, World War II hero and recipient of a medal of valor, this book explains why Keifer was proclaimed to be “the Indestructible Man.” As skipper of the USS Ticonderoga, he survived a typhoon and an attack by Japanese kamikaze planes. Even with 60 serious wounds, Keifer continued to fight. Combining historical records with prose, this book profiles Keifer’s full life and its surprising end at a local landmark.

The Improbable Community: Camp Woodland and the American Democratic Ideal Bill Horne
Bill Horne, 2016, $19.50

This historical read tells the story of Camp Woodland, which existed from 1939 to 1962. Located 125 miles northwest of New York City in Woodland Valley, Camp Woodland was a racially and ethnically diverse summer camp. The Improbable Community tells the story of the people whose dreams created Camp Woodland and whose talents enabled it to succeed. It tells the story of the Catskill neighbors, whom Woodlanders came to know, and of the music, history, homespun skills, and folklore that they shared with their newfound friends.

The World of Tomorrow
Brendan Mathews
Little, Brown and Company, 2017, $28

Lenox, Massachusetts-based author Brendan Mathews’s debut novel follows the lives of Francis Dempsey and his brother Michael as they journey from Ireland to prewar-era New York City, where their other brother Martin lives. Set over the course of one week in June 1939, when the trio meets all sorts of characters at the New York World’s Fair: jazz musicians, a Jewish street photographer, a mobster, and a lovesick artist. 

Reckoning with Race: America’s Failure
Gene Dattel
Encounter Books, 2017, $27.99

The latest book from Lakeville, Connecticut-based Dattel examines the racial dilemma in the US. Beginning with the racial attitudes in the North at the turn of the century, the subsequent chapters examine blacks in the South, the Great Migration of blacks to the Northern cities, and the Civil Rights Movement, as well as experiences pertaining to identity, assimilation, and separation. The final section of the book highlights the racial struggles the black community faces in present-day America and offers insight into solutions and ways to move forward. 

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