March Review Roundup: Sorghum, Swamps, Sinkholes!

Over 130 reviews, news stories, and magazine articles featured our authors and books this month. We’re pleased to share highlights from a select few.

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One of our new titles for spring, Sorghum’s Savor by Ronni Lundy, gave one blogger reason to celebrate Pi Day. Nancie McDermott made Lundy’s sorghum pecan pie and served it for breakfast! The book “shares the story of this heirloom ingredient, which has been seasoning and sweetening Southern food for centuries,” McDermott notes. “Lundy unlocks the mysteries of this subtle and splendid cousin of the sugarcane.”

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Another spring title, Walking St. Augustine: An Illustrated Guide and Pocket History to America’s Oldest City by Elsbeth “Buff” Gordon, appeared in the St. Augustine Report. “It’s filled with stories and images to fill you with St. Augustine,” the newsletter notes. “A good read—and guide—by an author who knows very well whence she speaks.”

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A few of our literary criticism works caught reviewers’ attention as well.

The London Review of Books showcased James Dempsey’s The Tortured Life of Scofield Thayer, noting that it “makes a persuasive case for placing Thayer at the center of modernism.”

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In UniversitasBarbara Lounsberry’s Becoming Virginia Woolf: Her Early Diaries and the Diaries She Read is deemed a “readable, insightful, and beautifully-informed examination of Woolf’s early diaries.”

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Continuing to feature in various news articles as Jeb Bush ponders the presidency, Conservative Hurricane: How Jeb Bush Remade Florida by Matthew T. Corrigan is heralded in the Weekly Standard as “destined for now to be the definitive account of Bush’s eight years in Tallahassee.”

Corrigan was also quoted in a number of other periodicals for his expertise on Bush, including Time, USAToday, the New York Times, and National Journal. 

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Attention also turned toward recent dance titles.

Lindsay Guarino and Wendy Oliver, editors of Jazz Dance: A History of the Roots and Branches (now available in paperback), featured in an interview on New Books in Dance. “Oliver and Guarino bring to the field a book that culls together some of the best contemporary scholarship on the history, progenitors, and cultural forces that shape the uniquely American art form known as jazz dance,” notes New Books in Dance. “The book is unique in its accessibility, diversity of authorship, and willingness to engage the complicated racial and social history of jazz dance.”

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Lee Wilson, author of Rebel on Pointe: A Memoir of Ballet and Broadway, was interviewed in MovieGuide about her life in dance. In the interview, Wilson talks about how she landed the role of a teenager at the age of 44. “It’s a book that will make you laugh and cry,” the interviewer, Dr. Baehr, notes. “A book everybody should read if they’re interested in ballet or the entertainment industry.”

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A few other authors also participated in various interviews this past month.

Daniel O. Sayers, author of A Desolate Place for a Defiant People: The Archaeology of Maroons, Indigenous Americans, and Enslaved Laborers in the Great Dismal Swamp was interviewed by Steve Moyer of the National Endowment for the Humanities. And, if you missed it, Sayers appeared on NPR to talk about the Great Dismal Swamp back in December, as well.

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Sportody interviewed Mac Stone, author of Everglades: America’s Wetland, about the experience of documenting the largest subtropical wilderness in America in advance of his appearance at TEDxUF.

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On the matter of geography, the AAG Review of Books highlighted Robert Brinkmann’s Florida Sinkholes: Science and Policy. “Demystifying sinkholes and the landscapes in which they form is a task many scientists and writers have attempted, but few have succeeded in accomplishing,” the reviewer notes. “Here, Brinkmann provides the first fully synthesized volume on sinkholes.” The reviewer continues to praise the work, noting that it is “what seems to be the most comprehensive story of Florida sinkholes currently in print.”

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Sinking into history, Caroline Morrow Long’s biography, Madame Lalaurie: Mistress of the Haunted House, received high praise. Louisiana History states the book “should be required reading for visitors to New Orleans, especially those planning to take one of the ubiquitous ghost tours. Caroline Long’s imaginative reconstruction of the events of 1834 and her forceful argument for Madama Lalaurie’s guilt demonstrate that New Orleans history can haunt us without exaggerations or embellishments,” the review concludes.

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Continuing the praise of our Southern history titles, Choice highlighted Evan P. Bennett’s When Tobacco Was King: Families, Farm Labor, and Federal Policy in the Piedmont. “Bennett weaves agricultural, social, and political history into a thorough and compelling history of the Bright Belt tobacco region.” The review notes that the book “is a welcome addition to the history of southern American agriculture” and deems it “highly recommended.”

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On the topic of tobacco, Georgia L. Fox’s The Archaeology of Smoking and Tobaccoappeared in American ArchaeologyThe book “paint[s] an expansive picture of tobacco use in North America,” the review notes. “The Archaeology of Smoking and Tobacco is an engaging study of Americans’ perceptions of themselves.”

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Categories: Review Roundup

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