John Wesley (1703-91), founder of the Methodist Church, was born in Epworth, England on June 17, 1703. He and his band of friends were derided at Oxford for their "methodism", methodical study of the Bible. After a conversion experience in 1738, he preached a message of salvation through faith in Christ alone.
John Hersey (1914-93) was born in China on June 17, 1914. Read Orrin's reviews of A Bell for Adano (1944)(Grade: B+) and Hiroshima (1946) (Grade: B)
James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938), who wrote the Black National Anthem--Lift Every Voice and Sing, was born in Jacksonville, FL on June 17, 1871. Read Orrin's review of The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man (1912) (Grade: B+)
At 2:30am on the morning of June 17, 1972, five men were caught breaking in to Democratic National Committee Headquarters in the Watergate Building. Read Orrin's reviews of Silent Coup: The Removal of a President (1991)(Len Colodny, Robert Gettlin) (Grade: C+) and Leon Jaworski's
The Right and the Power (Grade: C), but also try G. Gordon Liddy's Will and All the President's Men
June 16th is Bloomsday. Joyce fans all over the world commemorate the mindnumbing meanderings of Leopold Bloom through the streets of Dublin in 1904 (read Orrin's review of Ulysses, Grade: F x Googleplex) But save yourself the trouble & read Ulysses for Dummies.
Katharine Graham (1917-2001) was born in New York, NY on June 16, 1917. Read Orrin's review of Personal History (1997) (Katharine Graham 1917-2001)
The Magna Carta was signed on June 15, 1215 by King John of England the agreement between John and several dozen English Barons that took away the King's total authority, and granted basic rights and liberties such as freedom of the church, no imprisonment without a jury trial, and the proper execution of the laws of the land.
Jerzy Kosinski (1933-91) was born in Lodz, POL on June 14, 1933. Read Orrin's review of The Painted Bird (1965)
William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) was born in Dublin, IR on June 13, 1865. His poem The Second Coming seemingly predicted the course of the pre-Reagan 20th Century.
President George Herbert Walker Bush (1924-) was born on June 12, 1924 in Milton, MA. In one of the Republics low points, he lost his reelection bid in 1992, but current polls give his presidency a 70+% approval rating. The Brothers Judd recommend What It Takes, Richard Ben Cramer's extraordinary account of the 1988 presidential contenders.
Yasunari Kawabata (1899-1972) was born in Osaka, JPN on June 11, 1899. Read Orrin's review of Thousand Cranes (1949)(Grade: D)
James Salter (1925-) was born in New York, NY on June 10, 1925. Read Orrin's review of The Hunters (1956) (Grade: A)
Saul Bellow (1915-) was born in Chicago, IL on June 10, 1915. Read Orrin's reviews of Henderson the Rain King (1959)
and The Adventures of Augie March (1953) Saul Bellow (1915-)
Peter the Great (1682-1725) was born on June 9, 1682. Read Robert Massie's excellent Pulitzer Prize winning biography.
Cole Porter (1891-1964) was born in Peru, IN on June 9, 1891.
Frank Lloyd Wright(1867-1959) was born in Richland, WI on June 8, 1867. Read Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead for a fictional account of a Wrightlike genius.
Mohammed (circa 570 to 632), the Prophet of Islam, was born on June 8, 570.
Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) was born in Paris, FR on June 7, 1848. Read Orrin's review of The Moon and Sixpence (1919)(William Somerset Maugham 1874-1965) (Grade: C+)
Prince was born on June 7, 1958. His Hits package confirms his position as one of the only really significant pop music talents of the past two decades.
Happy Birthday to Zachary Barnett (June 7)
Thomas Mann (1875-1955) was born in Lübeck, GER on June 6, 1875. Read Orrin's review of Death in Venice (1913) (Grade: C)
June 6, 1944 was D-Day, as over one million Allied soldiers established a beachhead at Normandy and began the invasion of Europe.
Adam Smith (1723-1790) was baptized in Kikcaldy, Scotland on June 5, 1723. His Wealth of Nations (1776) is one of the pivotal texts in the history of the species and should be read by every thinking being.
Margaret Drabble (1939-) was born in Sheffield, England on June 5, 1939. She is the younger half-sister of A.S. Byatt. Brothers Judd recommends her fine novel The Ice Age.
Ken Follett (1949-) was born in Cardiff, Wales on June 5, 1949. The best of his many thrillers is The Eye of the Needle.
It's the Anniversary of Tiananmen Square and the Beinjing Massacre, very few moments leave one ashamed to be an American, but standing by while these students were slaughtered sat poorly with all of us--we should have juked it out then before Bill Clinton, Ron Brown, Sandy Berger & Al Gore handed them every secret in our nuclear arsenal in exchange for campaign dollars. Read Orrin's review of Betrayal: How the Clinton Administration Undermined American Security (1999)(Bill Gertz) (Grade: C)
Larry McMurtry (1936-) was born in Wichita Falls, TX on June 3, 1936. Brothers Judd recommends Lonesome
Dove (1986), Streets of Laredo (1993) & Dead
Man's Walk (1995).
Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) was born near Dorchester, ENG on June 2, 1840. Read Orrin's review of The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886)(Thomas Hardy 1840-1928) (Grade: B)
Cornel West (1953-) was born in Tulsa, OK on June 2, 1953. Read Orrin's review of Race Matters (1993).
Brigham Young (1801-1877), was born in Whitingham, VT on June 1, 1801. He took over leadership of the Mormon Church upon the murder of Joseph Smith and was largely responsible for the successful settlement of Salt Lake City, UT. He also lead the successful defense of the Mormon Settlements when President James Buchanan sent US Troops against them. Read about this low point in American history in the excellent novel Powderkeg
by Leo V. Gordon & Richard Vetterli
Marilyn Monroe (Norma Jeane Mortenson) (1926-62) was born in Los Angeles, CA on June 1, 1926. Her greatest role was as Sugar Kane in Billy Wilder's Some Like it Hot (1959).
Walt Whitman (1819-92) was born in West Hills, NY on May 31, 1819. His masterpiece is Leaves of Grass (1855).
Clinton Eastwood Jr. (1930-) was born in San Francisco, CA on May 31, 1930. Brothers Judd reccomends Hang 'em High (1967) (directed by Ted Post 1918-)
Happy Birthday to Glenn Dryfoos (May 30)
On May 5, 1866, the people of Waterloo, NY decorated the graves of Civil War dead. Commander in Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, John A. Logan, proclaimed May 30th Decoration Day in 1868. In 1882 the name was changed to Memorial Day & President Nixon moved the holiday to the last Monday in May in 1971. We honor the memory of those who died to make and keep us free.
GK Chesterton (1874-1936) was born in London, ENG on May 29, 1874. Read Orrin's review of The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare (1908) (Grade: A)
John F. Kennedy (1914-63) was born in Brookline, MA on May 29, 1914.
Ian Fleming (1908-1964) was born in London, England on May 28, 1908. Read Orrin's review of Dr. No (1958) (Grade: B+)
Walker Percy (1916-1990) was born in Birmingham, AL on May 28, 1916. We especially recommend The Last Gentleman, and Orrin reviewed The Moviegoer one of the Modern Library Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century.