Starting this evening with Scott Turow's Opening Address, Savannah will become a literary hub once more as the 7th
Annual Savannah Book Festival kicks off Presidents Day Weekend. Bestselling authors Mitch Albom and Dr. Eben Alexander will join Turow as headliners. Jane Thimme
takes roll of the nearly 35 additional authors who will grace podiums all day Saturday, Feb. 15 for free presentations open to the public—where among them will be some of the biggest names in nonfiction.
A. Scott Berg
Pulitzer Prize winner and bestselling writer, A. Scott Berg’s
recently published Wilson,
is an authoritative biography on America’s 28th
president. One hundred years after Woodrow Wilson took office for the first of two terms, he still stands as one of the most influential figures of the 20th
Century. Berg sheds new insight with benefit of being the first scholar to access two sets of Wilson-related papers and hundreds of the president’s personal letters.
Shortly after taking the oath for his second term, Wilson declared war against Germany because of its unrestricted submarine warfare and efforts to get Mexico to attack the U.S. “The world must be made safe for democracy,” the president said. With congressional approval, America entered WWI. Essentially all American foreign policy to this day goes back to that one sentence, Berg said. America's isolationism ended and a new era of American military and foreign policy began.
From the idealist determined to make the world “safe for democracy” to the man who suffered a massive stroke in 1919, Berg has written an intimate and revealing portrait of Woodrow Wilson.
John Rizzo’s Company Man: Thirty Years of Controversy and Crisis in the CIA
spans more than three decades during which he served under eleven CIA directors and seven presidents. Rizzo never anticipated that he would become “a symbol and a victim of the toxic winds swirling in post-9/11 Washington.” From serving as the point person answering for the Iran-contra scandal to approving the rules that govern waterboarding and other “enhanced interrogation techniques,” Rizzo witnessed and participated in all of the significant operations of the CIA’s modern history. Company Man
is an authoritative insider account of the CIA—a timely and candid history of American intelligence.
New York Times
writer Lily Koppel
draws readers back to the fifties with The Astronaut Wives Club.
As America's Mercury Seven astronauts were launched on perilous missions, television cameras focused on their young wives. Overnight, these women were transformed from military spouses into American royalty. They had tea with Jackie Kennedy, appeared on the cover of Life
magazine and quickly grew into fashion icons as the country raced to land a man on the moon.
Annie Glenn, Rene Carpenter and Trudy Cooper were among the women who formed the Astronaut Wives Club, meeting regularly to provide support and friendship to each other.
As their stars rose, and as divorce and tragic death began to touch their lives, they continued to rally together. They have been friends for more than fifty years. Lily
Koppel tells the story of the very human, vulnerable and disillusioned women who stood beside some of the biggest heroes in American history.
Deborah Solomon’s American Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell
justifies a fresh look at the artist’s life. Art critic and frequent contributor to the New York Times
, Solomon offers new and disturbing biographical material. She has illuminated a life utterly different from Rockwell’s humorous and optimistic paintings. As the star illustrator for the Saturday Evening Post
for nearly 50 years, Norman Rockwell “…mingled fact and fiction in paintings that reflected the we-the-people, communitarian ideals of American democracy.” (Amazon
) Many Savannahians viewed Rockwell’s captivating Four Freedoms series (inspired by Franklin D. Roosevelt) at the Telfair Museum in 2002—Freedom from Want, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship and Freedom from Fear.
Solomon opens a door to Rockwell’s darker side revealing his anxiety, depression, loneliness and feelings of inadequacy. Although disparaged by critics in his lifetime as a mere illustrator, Rockwell has since attracted a passionate following in the art world. American Mirror
intensely explains why he deserves to be remembered as an American master of the first rank.
Daniel James Brown
Daniel James Brown’s
compelling book, The Boys in the Boat,
tells the story of the University of Washington’s 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for Olympic gold. Publisher’s Weekly
lends high praise,
“For this nautical version of Chariots of Fire
, Brown crafts an evocative, cinematic prose…he makes his heroes’ struggles as fascinating as the best Olympic sagas.”
John McMillian’s Beatles vs. Stones
explores the multifaceted relationship between the two greatest bands of our time, each launching in the 1960’s. “The Beatles want to hold your hand,” wrote Tom Wolfe, “but the Stones want to burn down your town.” Both groups maintained that they weren’t really rivals, but they plainly competed for commercial success and artistic credibility. In Beatles vs. Stones, the author goes after the truth behind the ultimate rock ’n’ roll debate.
McMillan, a history professor at Georgia State University, reveals how music managers helped to promote the Beatles-Stones rivalry and engineered moneymaking empires. The author explores how the Beatles were marketed as cute and amiable, when in fact they came from hardscrabble backgrounds in Liverpool. Ironically, the Stones who were cast as an edgy, dangerous group, mostly came from the London suburbs. Beatles vs. Stones
tells the dynamic story of this classic rock culture battle with sophistication, keen storytelling skills and passion for the subject.
Claudia Roth Pierpont
Claudia Roth Pierpont’s Roth, Unbound
is not a biography of Philip Roth, one of the most renowned writers of our time, but a critical evaluation of Philip Roth—the first of its kind—that takes on the man, the myth, and the work.
Philip Roth is one of the most renowned writers of our time. From his debut, Goodbye, Columbus
, which won the National Book Award in 1960, and the explosion of Portnoy’s Complaint
in 1969 to his haunting reimagining of Anne Frank’s story in The Ghost Writer
ten years later and the series of masterworks starting in the mid-eighties—The Counterlife
, Operation Shylock
, Sabbath’s Theater
, American Pastoral
, The Human Stain
—Roth has produced some of the great American literature of the modern era. And yet there has been no major critical work about him until now.
Here, at last, is the story of Roth’s creative life. Roth Unbound
is not a biography—though it contains a wealth of previously undisclosed biographical details and unpublished material—but something ultimately more rewarding: the exploration of a great writer through his art.
Claudia Roth Pierpont, a staff writer for The New Yorker
, has known Roth for nearly a decade.Her carefully researched and gracefully written accountis filled with remarks from Roth himself,drawn from their ongoing conversations. Here areinsights and anecdotes that will change the waymany readers perceive this most controversial andgalvanizing writer: a young and unhappily marriedRoth struggling to write; a wildly successful Roth,after the uproar over Portnoy
, working to help critical evaluation that takes on the man, the myth and the work. From his debut, Goodbye, Columbus
, which won the National Book Award in 1960, and the explosion of Portnoy’s Complaint
in 1969, to his poignant reimagining of Anne Frank’s story in The Ghost Writer,
and then the series of masterworks starting in the mid-eighties including The Counterlife
and American Pastoral,
Roth is considered to have produced some of the greatest American literature of the modern era.
Pierpont, a staff writer for the New Yorker
who has known Roth for nearly a decade, has captured the story of Roth’s creative life by studying the writer through his art. Her carefully researched account
is filled with remarks from Roth himself,
drawn from their ongoing conversations. Readers will learn more about his family, his inspirations and friendships with such figures as Saul Bellow and John Updike.
Other quick glimpses include Mike Ritland
, a former Navy SEAL who trains select dogs for SEAL missions. His memoir, Trident K9 Warriors
is an insightful account of these highly trained work dogs, their extraordinary loyalty, courage and the lifesaving role they play in military missions.
We each read through our individual lenses to conjure up personal interpretations, but seeing and hearing the authors up close can garner new meaning and understanding—and provide grist for great discussion.