Posts tagged with "Boston"

Posted by Ultra Violet on 08/17/11
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Art Breen and his mother were abandoned by Art's father when he was just an infant. Mary Breen raised Art on her own until he was about 12 years old and she remarried to Ted McGann. Ted is a tough, manly drinker who is intimidating to delicate, young Art. Mary and Ted have two more children and lead a fairly happy life, even though Ted drinks heavily and is prone to violent outbursts. Art never quite fits in to the McGann family and is taken to a Seminary boarding school for high school. In the priesthood, Art comes into his own. He finds a way to relate to people that he never could access before. He still had a hard time dealing with men, but he found the women and children to be delightful and he delighted them. After a long, successful career at several different parishes, Art is in his fifties when he meets and befriends a young woman with a drug addiction. Kath Conlon has some serious problems and a neglected little boy. Art fears for the boys safety and for Kath's and offers free schooling for the child at the parish school. Kath is happy for the help, and Art arranges for a parishioner to get her a decent, cheap apartment. It comes as a great shock to Art and his family when Kath accuses him of molesting her son. As the story plays out, the accusation tests the faith of each member of Art's family, both in their religion, and each other.
 
Faith is written from multiple perspectives and spans several decades in the telling. Jennifer Haigh does an excellent job of capturing the feeling of the Irish Catholic experience in Boston. The honest analysis of the crisis of the pedophile priest controversy and how it has impacted the faith and futures of individuals and families is well-worth writing about. Definitely a thought-provoking story.

Posted by Ultra Violet on 01/19/11
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You may know Chris Kimball as the host of America's Test Kitchen on PBS. This book is a very entertaining account of Kimball's journey through the Fannie Farmer cookbook to stage an authentic twelve-course 19th century supper for twelve in his Victorian brownstone. Kimball's anecdotes about his rather sketchy Boston neighborhood were interesting. But of course, the trials and tribulations he and his staff faced in recreating Victorian cookery were the most amusing parts of the book. Apparently, mock turtle soup is made by boiling a whole calf's head. Kimball tried actual turtle as well, but they are a protected species now, so that complicated matters. There were more adventures with the calves' foot jellies for dessert. 
 
This is a must-read for foodies interested in the history of American cuisine, but it is also of interest to history buffs, in general. Kimball includes quite a bit of information on life in Boston in the late 19th century. 

Posted by mingh on 03/26/12
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The newest book from the acclaimed writer of The Dante Club. Boston, 1868. The Civil War may be over but a new war has begun, one between the past and the present, tradition and technology.
 
On a former marshy wasteland, the daring Massachusetts Institute of Technology is rising, its mission to harness science for the benefit of all and to open the doors of opportunity to everyone of merit. But in Boston Harbor a fiery cataclysm throws commerce into chaos, as ships’ instruments spin inexplicably out of control. Soon after, another mysterious catastrophe devastates the heart of the city. Is it sabotage by scientific means or Nature revolting against man’s attempt to control it?

The shocking disasters cast a pall over M.I.T. and provoke assaults from all sides—rival Harvard, labor unions, and a sensationalistic press. With their first graduation and the very survival of their groundbreaking college now in doubt, a band of the Institute’s best and brightest students secretly come together to save innocent lives and track down the truth, armed with ingenuity and their unique scientific training.

Studded with suspense and soaked in the rich historical atmosphere for which its author is renowned, The Technologists is a dazzling journey into a dangerous world not so very far from our own, as the America we know today begins to shimmer into being.