Book Review

Book cover image
Booknotes: Stories from American History

Brian Lamb, ed.
PublicAffairs Books (Perseus), 540 pages (2001)



T his book is a collection of transcripts from 78 episodes of Booknotes, which is a talk show on C-Span in which authors discuss their recent books. Each chapter is only a few pages long, and consists of a summary of the book in the author's own vernacular. Although each author has something interesting to say, at most you will learn random tidbits of American history from this book; neither the writing style nor the depth of information is remotely comparable to what one would receive from a real book.

Many of the books described in Booknotes, moreover, are superficial in themselves; for example, Tom Brokaw's book The Greatest Generation, which is mostly self-congratulatory stuff about WWII. Booknotes might be good reading for your subway commute; in my opinion, this book should have been released as an audio tape so people could listen to this extremely light material in their car. Anything has to be better than National Public Radio.

April 6, 2002 Back