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5 Biography Book Reviews

Updated on March 31, 2017
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Ms. Venegas believes reading is essential for understanding the rapidly changing world. She enjoys sharing books with others.

People of Interest Biographies

Of late, I have read biographies about people of the U.S. that others may not have heard of. HubPages is the perfect place for me to satisfy my urge to tell others of what I have learned.

My enthusiasm is real for these people but I am also shouting out for the authors too. I have put aside many books, fiction and nonfiction, if the first few chapters do not meet my criteria of flow. The every word, choice of sentence structure needs to flow through some arcane pattern in my head. Just the right group of synopses need to fire.

The first two short reviews are of people who once were truly POI: Persons of Interest.

My list of 5 Interesting books and people, I hope, will be of help for your choices at the bookstore.

1. Belle Starr

Want to live a bit of the woman rebel? Skilled with guns and horses and getting what you want by making the deal?

Belle Starr was news and a legend while she was living, but not like Annie Oakley, more like the neighbor you do not want to have next to you. She did spend time in jail, for stealing a horse, but there is no proof that she used her guns in a criminal manner.

The author used official government, county and state documents to get the facts and displace the rumors. She died in 1889 by shotgun.

2. John Wilkes Booth

The book American Brutus:John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln Conspiracies is very intriguing. The author's presentation has a well rounded outline with intro to all the principals.The following chapters carrying you through the actions those individuals played in an event that changed the progression of American history.

Each of the persons playing a role, I actually became to know, as if the writing was about them alone. The author's skill in rounding out the individual's personalities and personal backgrounds made the actual events easier to understand.

It became my conclusion that one man's obsession drove the plan, and was his alone. I feel I understand the Lincoln assassination better but questions remain for me. Where is the line between the conspirator and the hapless? Another line is civil court and military court, and last how can history be so sad?

Read more....

American Brutus: John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln Conspiracies
American Brutus: John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln Conspiracies

I give this book a 5.

Amazon has a good review. Much better than mine.


3. John Adams

This book is based on Mr. McCullough's research of John Adams letters and papers. The 2nd President left a whole library of information behind. His mind and 18th century attitudes are an open book. I came away from this book knowing what transparency means.

No secrets from this politician, though, I think he thought of himself as a worker for the task at hand.

I would say Adams was a nonconformist, a voice for the paradox as it may relate to truth. He very much thought for the principles of law and in common decency without ambition. His writings are filled with analysis of groups and people, but never with in attitude of final judgement. As far a his material world, he was very proud of being a farmer, and he and his descendants never being in bankruptcy.

I was experiencing gut level excitement while I read this book. McCullough is a very skillful writer, nonetheless, I did not finish his Theodore Roosevelt, but I would read John Adams again. Mr. McCullough shows high skills in this book.

John Adams
John Adams

I give this book a 5.


4. Quanah Parker

An entire flight from Hawaii to Los Angeles was spent reading about the Comanches and their last great Chief Quanah Parker. The book is "Empire of the Summer Moon" by S.C Gwynne.

If you grew up in Texas you already know about this man. His mother is a subject of study in Texas elementary schools.

Details are rich and mesmerizing. After reading this book my husband bought two more books about Parker.

5. James M Cain

James Cain is the author of books I like to read. I found a compilation of his editorials, and since, I am a fan of the witty editorial, I bought it.

The author of Mildred Pierce spent over 7 years writing editorials to the count of over 1300 before he even got the nerve to write a novel.

This from Dec. 28,1930 The World daily newspaper.

"...this stuff about New Year's resolutions may be all hooey, but one thing is certain, and that is he's (the writer) not saving enough money. God knows he's making plenty. Not as much as last year, but still plenty. Fact of the matter, if anybody had told him ten years ago that he'd be making as much as he's making now, he'd have thought they were kidding him. And where is it? It isn't anywhere. It isn't anywhere. Well, cut out the fancy talk and say what you mean. It ain't nowhere. That's where it is, it ain't nowhere."

Quote from Hoopes, Roy. Sixty Years of Journalism by James M. Cain. Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1985.

Besides all the witty editorials Mr. Hoopes gives enduring facts about my favorite author.

In my estimation Mr. Cain could hardly do wrong and I was very much intrigued with this biography, One fact stands out at this moment, He invited other persons of interest in Los Angeles to his home on Saturday night for singing and spaghetti.

Sixty Years of Journalism: By James M. Cain
Sixty Years of Journalism: By James M. Cain

If you are fan of Cain, you would give this book a 5. I did.


Are These All New Titles For You?

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Which of these books have you read most recently? About...?

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Any of These Books for You?

Has any of these musings perked any interest in you? Which of these people would you consider reading about now. Give us your thoughts in the comments section.

© 2014 Sherry Venegas

Have you enjoyed any one of these books?

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    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 2 years ago from La Verne, CA

      Thanks for this little comment. I think the Lonesome Dove series will be a good group of books to read for the mini vacation coming up. Any reference to history or culture in a novel makes the reading that more satisfying. After reading "...Summer Moon" we got a few more books about the Comanches. Native American history is so fascinating.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

      All of these books seem to be great reads. As a matter of fact, I just finished reading Empire of the Summer Moon myself, and I loved it. Having graduated High School in Arizona we learned mostly about the fearsome Apaches, but the thing I never learned until reading that great book, well actually until reading Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove series, is that the Apaches were afraid of the Comanches and fled from them. I bought that book at our local Target, which sometimes has some surprisingly good reads for sale. Great hub!

    • RonElFran profile image

      Ronald E Franklin 3 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

      I haven't yet read McCullough's book on John Adams, but I've seen him talking about it on TV book review programs. Sounds like it's a fascinating read.

    • esmonaco profile image

      Eugene Samuel Monaco 3 years ago from Lakewood New York

      All of these seem to be very interesting, as I know I don't read enough you have certainly given me some good choices. Thanks :)

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 3 years ago

      I've read the Belle Starr bio, but none of the others (yet) - the Quanah Parker story sounds quite intriguing.