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Terrific January Reads: "Africa," "Walt Disney" and others ...

Book Review


There are coffee table books and there are coffee table books. “Africa” by Olivier Follmi (Abrams, $55.00, 216 pages) with 200 full-color photographs is just breathtaking featuring as it does glimpses into all aspects and so many areas of the immense continent. From deserts to savannahs, from the most exotic of animals to the most interesting of wild life, from people at work or in contemplation – “Africa” is there for us to savor page after beautiful and moving page. Very highly recommended and the price is right for all the book has to offer.

“Walt Disney” by Neal Gabler (Alfred A. Knopf, $35.00, 849 pages) is a very long and fascinating read as the book’s sub-title proclaims about “the triumph of the American imagination.” So much time and effort was put into Gabler’s gem and we are the richer for it. Just about everything one would want to know about Walt Disney, the man, the media figure, the inventor, the business tycoon, is revealed. From the work’s first sentence “Elias Disney was a hard man” about Walt Disney’s father through all kinds of fascinating family history – this book brings to life the man behind the legend – one who was at times wounded, insecure and troubled. If you have been to Disneyland, seen a Disney movie, wondered about how these things came be – read this fabulous book.

In an entertainment vein there is also “Somewhere” by Amanda Vaill (Broadway Books/Random House, $40.00, 675 pages) – a detailed and vividly complex look at the life of Jerome Robbins, master choreographer and director par excellence. There is so much about this epic bio as we go with Vaill from the 1940s to 2000, not missing a step or a take on the complex Jerome Robbins.

NOTABLE: “The Design Hotels Yearbook 2007” belongs in every traveler’s library featuring as it does 147 hotels in 41 countries in profile and in nifty photographs. The book is one for the bookshelf, for the coffee table, for reference, for browsing for enjoying what is top drawer in the world of premier lodgings.


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About the Authors:  Myrna Katz Frommer and Harvey Frommer are a wife and husband team who successfully bridge the worlds of popular culture and traditional scholarship. Co-authors of the critically acclaimed interactive oral histories It Happened in the Catskills, It Happened in Brooklyn, Growing Up Jewish in America, It Happened on Broadway, It Happened in Manhattan, It Happened in Miami. They teach what they practice as professors at Dartmouth College.

They are also travel writers who specialize in luxury properties and fine dining as well as cultural history and Jewish history and heritage in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. More about these authors.

You can contact the Frommers at: 

Email: myrna.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU
Email: harvey.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU

This Article is Copyright © 1995 - 2012 by Harvey and Myrna Frommer.  All rights reserved worldwide.

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