A Man In Full

With 1998’s A Man in Full, Tom Wolfe set out to do for (or possibly to) Atlanta and the south what he did for (or possibly to) New York City with his 1987 epic novel The Bonfire of the Vanities.  Bonfire is, for me, the most important novel of the late 20th century, with American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis closing in right on its heels for that honor. Wolfe was one of the pioneers of the New Journalism of the 1960’s.  His writings from that era are essential to understanding the late 60’s and early 70’s of American culture … Continue reading A Man In Full

The Master and Margarita

“Your interlocutor was at Pilate’s, and had breakfast with Kant, and now he’s visiting Moscow.” The devil comes to Soviet Moscow. Written during Stalin’s 1930’s and first published in 1967, The Master and Margarita is Russian author and playwright Mikhail Bulgakov’s story about the Devil and his “retinue” showing up in Moscow.  What follows is both hilarious and bizarre.  Bizarre, actually, would be a euphemism. A Professor W. (which stands for Woland we are to later find out) forces his way into a conversation between two Muscovites:  Berlioz, a literary critic, and Ivan Homeless, a poet.  Woland is amused and … Continue reading The Master and Margarita

God and the Astronomers

“When an astronomer writes about God, his colleagues assume he is either over the hill or going bonkers.” Written by agnostic astronomer Robert Jastrow and published in 1978 by Reader’s Library Incorporated, God and the Astronomers is a short book detailing the origins of the Big Bang theory and its implications for scientists (many of whom were reluctant to embrace a theory that could posit a creator) as well as believers. It seems appropriate to begin with a condensed timeline of events–provided throughout the book by Jastrow–surrounding the idea and evidence of an expanding universe. 1913 – Vesto Slipher, an … Continue reading God and the Astronomers