“Mao’s Great Famine,” “Outside Looking In,” “Carlo
As the weather starts getting a bit chillier for most of us, as more
time is spent indoors, the scene is set for reading some good books.
A new trio with totally different subject matters beckons.
“Mao’s Great Famine” by Frank Dikotter (Walker, $30.00, 420 pages)
is a riveting and heartbreaking and illuminating read by an expert
in the field. Its focus is on China’s most devastating catastrophe
that lasted from 1958 to 1962. As Professor Dikotter writes “China
descended into hell” as the nation was thrown into a frenzy with the
Great Leap Forward attempting to surpass Great Britain in less than
fifteen years. Utilizing previously unavailable archival materials,
Dikotter documents what happened in great detail. Mao’s madness
comes through on every page. A MUST READ.
In a completely opposite vein, there is “Outside Looking In” by Gary
Wills (Viking, $25.95, 195 pages). This new work by the acclaimed
and bestselling author is a memoir of a half century of observing,
note taking, being involved in seminal events on the journalistic
scene. Wills covering presidential campaigns, meeting and knowing
bold type celebs like Beverly Syls, Richard Nixon, Jesse Jackson,
all is part of the intriguing and informative content. Quick but
important reading. NOTABLE.
For those with an interest in football (soccer), for those with an
interest in a well told tale, “Carlo Ancelotti” by “Carlo Ancelotti”
with Alessandro Alciato (Rizzoli New York, $25.00, 264 pages, 35
photographs) fits the bill. The former star player, the famed coach
of top teams in Italy and England, the outspoken Ancelotti touches
all bases in this illuminating autobiography. There is something to
learn on each page about “the beautiful game” and the man some call
“the ordinary genius.” TOP DRAWER.