| Oct 12, 2010
| 4:56 PM
"The Eyes of Willie McGee: A Tragedy of Race, Sex, and Secrets in the Jim Crow South"
By Alex Heard
Harper, 416 pages, $26.99
What begets a work like 'The Eyes of Willie McGee,' a book that should be must reading for serious students of 20th century U....
| Oct 8, 2010
| 5:17 PM
I recently saw the film "Howl," which is about Allen Ginsberg's poem of the same name, and I was once again blown away by my lack of knowledge on famous authors whom I really thought I knew - in this case it was Ginsberg.
The movie has four separate, yet...
| Sep 8, 2010
| 3:52 PM
By Barbara KingsolverHarper Perennia, 544 pages, $16.99
In Barbara Kingsolver’s rich new novel "The Lacuna," the artist Frida Kahlo remarks that she would like to think she is being “pulled through history by something more...
| May 7, 2012
| 3:12 PM
Wen Huang suggested we go to Chinatown. Initially, the idea seemed gauche, kitschy, stereotypical — the last place in Chicago you would want to meet a local writer whose thoughtful new memoir recounts his childhood in China.
Indeed, to anyone...
| Apr 2, 2012
MEXICO CITY —Former Mexican President Miguel de la Madrid, who led the country amid economic meltdown and natural disaster in the 1980s but laid the groundwork for freer markets and political opening, has died. He was 77.
De la Madrid died Sunday...
| Apr 12, 2012
| 9:52 AM
After a superheated rise, China’s economy is starting to slow. Luckily, according to the World Bank, the Asian superpower is headed for a “soft landing” instead of a crash that could overwhelm the multitude of countries with which...
| Apr 3, 2011
Ever since the 1920s, Chinese film history has been grouped into large, monolithic blocks, as imposing as the Great Wall. There's the First Generation of silent-movie pioneers, the Fifth Generation of "post-Maoist humanists," the Sixth Generation that...
| Jan 30, 2011
The Art of Not Sitting Pretty
St. Martin's Press: 479 pp., $35
Here comes that old question, the one that pops up when a new biography of a prominent artist or writer is published: Do we judge an artist by the life or the work?...
| Nov 21, 2010
The Dangerous Otto Katz
The Many Lives of a Soviet Spy
Bloomsbury: 366 pp., $26
He had at least 21 aliases. He insisted that he was briefly Marlene Dietrich's husband in 1920s Berlin, which was probably not so, though he was possibly...
| Jun 24, 2011
— Political films can be a tough sell in many countries, to say the least. But director Huang Jianxin is confident that he's sitting on a blockbuster with "Beginning of the Great Revival," a historical epic detailing the founding of China's...
| Jun 24, 2011
An opening title card announces that the new film "Beginning of the Great Revival" was made "in commemoration of the 90th anniversary of the birth of the Communist Party of China." Unfortunately, the movie never overcomes the dutiful weight that implies....