April Review Roundup

Enjoy the highlights below from some of the reviews we received in April!

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“It isn’t honey, it isn’t molasses, and it sure isn’t sugar. Sorghum syrup is a homegrown Southern sweetener in a class of its own,” says Garden & Gun, praising Ronni Lundy’s Sorghum’s Savor as “an equally deep look at the lengthy history of this versatile Appalachian staple, which can lend bittersweet base notes to everything from biscuits and cocktails to curries and salads.” The review includes a peek at Lundy’s recipe for the “Most Southern Ice Cream Ever,” complete with grits and, of course, sorghum.

“The history of sorghum, an Old World grass, is intertwined with war, independence and poverty,” reveals the Asheville Citizen-Times. It’s that history, its strong ties to the American South and balanced, umami-rich sweetness that has chefs returning to sorghum, using it as a key ingredient in everything from cocktails to foie gras,” the review continues. “Lundy’s knowledge of sorghum carries the weight of nearly 64 years, intertwined with warm kitchen memories of eating freshly baked biscuits swiped in the amber syrup.”

Cookbook author Ashley English heralds Lundy as the “current grand dame of all things edible and southern U.S.” on her blog, Small Measure. Lundy’s “book would be ideal for anyone interested in replacing sugar in their diet with a natural sweetener, anyone that grew up on sorghum and wants more of it back in their life, or truly anyone that loves cooking and is looking for ways to expand on their ingredient offerings and culinary repertoire.”

“I was transported back in time,” says Beth of Eat. Drink. Smile after reading Lundy’s book. “Back to my childhood in Kentucky. Back to the breakfast table where I smooshed and swirled butter and sorghum together before smearing it on a hot biscuit my mom had just taken from the oven.”

“When people talk about experts on Appalachian food, most immediately mention Ronni Lundy,” Appalachian Heritage says in an interview with the author, noting that the book “not only gives us the history of sorghum but also includes a wealth of recipes.”

Lundy also spoke with Nashville Scene about the book, answering questions about why the book came to be and how she switched from writing about music to writing about food.

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Thomas Graham’s Mr. Flagler’s St. Augustine received praise from the Florida Historical Quarterly, which deemed the book “a thoroughly researched and finely detailed study of the Standard Oil magnate’s development of the city.” The review goes on to say that the book is “more than just a treatment of one of the ‘great men’ of Florida history…it is also the biography of a city that briefly became the resort destination of choice for many affluence Americans in the Gilded Age.”

The book recently won the Florida Historical Society’s Charlton Tebeau Book Award, as well as the bronze medal in Florida nonfiction in the Florida Book Awards.

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Spies and Shuttles: NASA’s Secret Relationship with the Dod and CIA by James E. David “traces a crucial yet typically underacknowledged aspect of the history of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA),” says H-Net Reviews“David’s work provides a valuable window into the workings of NASA and the impact that defense and intelligence efforts have on civilian science,” the review continues. “A must read for those interested in space history, Cold War security issues, and twentieth-century science and technology.”

“One of the best analyses to date of the long, and often difficult, history of interaction between NASA and the national security community” says the Space Review“David takes a straightforward approach telling this history,” the review notes, saying that the book “helps describe in much greater detail those links between NASA and other agencies.”

“An exciting book that gives us an informed report and documents secret interactions between the various entities that populate the civilian and military space programs of the United States,” praises De la Terre à la Lune.

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The London Times Literary Supplement reviewed H.D.’s By Avon River, edited by Lara Vetter.

“As Lara Vetter explains in her excellent introduction to this new edition, the book was one of the poet H. D.’s few popular successes,” the review notes. “Vetter’s new introduction, notes and glossary provide an invaluable guide to the writer’s historical and literary references without miring the text in the kind of pedantry and dry intellectualism its author so disliked,” the Times praises.

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In Woolf Studies Annual, Barbara Lounsberry’s Becoming Virginia Woolf: Her Early Diaries and the Diaries She Read is praised as “something extraordinary.” 

“Based in archival excavation, conversations with others who have worked with Woolf’s diaries, and methodical detective work. Filled with close and original readings. Secured by an unswerving focus that allows for depth and refreshing revelations. Enlivened by a portrayal of the young Virginia Woolf as a working professional….Bolstered with connections to Woolf’s other work….This book is foundational, one the rest of us will depend on for a long time.”

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Soon to release in paperback, Steven Noll and David Tegeder’s Ditch of Dreams: The Cross Florida Barge Canal and the Struggle for Florida’s Future is deemed “a compelling narrative of the competing visions for Florida’s future, offering subtle insights into the contemporary politics of land use, federalism, pork-barrel politics, and the evolution of environmentalism” in Enterprise and Society.

Ditch of Dreams provides great insight into the political maturation of environmentalism and citizen advocacy, as well as the relevance of public perceptions,” the review continues.

The book won the Florida Historical Society’s 2010 Rembert Patrick Book Award, as well as the Gulf South Historical Association Michael V.R. Thomason Book Award in the same year.

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Categories: Review Roundup, Reviews

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