Tag Archives: Daniel Ellsberg

YALSA’s 2016 Nonfiction Reading Challenge Check-in #2

27 Dec

yalsa-morris-nonfiction-seals

The rereading of the Morris Award finalists continues. I can’t believe it is only 12 days until I go to Boston.

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I finished Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War  by Steve Sheinkin. It is interesting that it all took place during my childhood. I remember bits of it in the news, but never really put it all together.

Most Dangerous

I also read This Strange Wilderness: The Life and Art of John James Audubon by Nancy Plain.

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I never really gave Mr. Audubon much thought. Although I’ve read a few novels in which he is featured, I just sort of imagined him in a studio, painting. This Strange Wilderness really sheds light on the struggles he had to simply make the paintings and what it took to get the book published. This book feels much more like a  traditional biography than Most Dangerous, but it is very well-written and researched and, reading it, I got a real feel for the times in which Mr Audubon lived.

I have two of the other three books checked out from the library.I’ve already read these, but will reread them with a more critical eye. The third is on hold ad, of course, it is the one I haven’t read. I’m hoping to get it this week.

YALSA’s 2016 Nonfiction Reading Challenge Check-in

20 Dec

yalsa-morris-nonfiction-seals

School ended Friday and now I have two fantastic weeks stretching out before me. I have some plans to knit myself a pair of gloves, read a stack of books and generally lounge about.

Yesterday, I started reading Steve Sheinkin’s Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War.

Most Dangerous

Like the other books Sheinkin has written, this is extremely readable nonfiction, which I suppose is why it is a YALSA nonfiction finalist, a National Book Award for Young People’s Literature finalist and on several end of the year “best” lists.

Publisher’s Summary: From Steve Sheinkin, the award-winning author of The Port Chicago 50 and Bomb comes a tense, exciting exploration of what the Times deemed “the greatest story of the century”: how Daniel Ellsberg transformed from obscure government analyst into “the most dangerous man in America,” and risked everything to expose the government’s deceit. On June 13, 1971, the front page of the New York Times announced the existence of a 7,000-page collection of documents containing a secret history of the Vietnam War. Known as The Pentagon Papers, these documents had been commissioned by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. Chronicling every action the government had taken in the Vietnam War, they revealed a pattern of deception spanning over twenty years and four presidencies, and forever changed the relationship between American citizens and the politicans claiming to represent their interests. A provocative book that interrogates the meanings of patriotism, freedom, and integrity, Most Dangerous further establishes Steve Sheinkin as a leader in children’s nonfiction.

I think what makes this even more compelling is the fact that  Sheinkin wraps it up by bringing the issues central to the Vietnam War crisis up to the present day story of Edward Snowden. Yeah, I peeked at the ending. But, to justify my peeking, the back of the arc I have says

“Forty years before Edward Snowden and Julain Assange were household names, Daniel Ellsberg became the first large-scale government whistleblower. He would be called a hero, a traitor, and, by some, “the most dangerous man in America”.

If you, or someone you know, enjoys nonfiction, this is an excellent choice.

Randy Ribay

YA author, teacher, nerd

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