Patriotic Picks: December 2019

Whether it’s via their tone, topic, or tenor, certain works just say “America.” Here are three such titles, suggested by David Bruce Smith, founder of the Grateful American™ Foundation, in partnership with the Washington Independent Review of Books.

  • “Scoundrel Time” by Lillian Hellman. In gripping detail, the activist/playwright recounts her surreal — and fraught — experience of being hauled in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee during the McCarthy era.
  • “The Financier” by Theodore Dreiser. Greed, backstabbing, and the relentless pursuit of power take center stage in this caustic, cautionary tale of the American Dream gone horribly wrong.
  • “Death Be Not Proud” by John J. Gunther. Stricken with a fatal brain tumor, 17-year-old Johnny nonetheless perseveres with tremendous maturity and goodwill in this heartbreaking memoir written by his grieving father.

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Patriotic Picks: November 2019

Whether it’s via their tone, topic, or tenor, certain works just say “America.” Here are three such titles, suggested by David Bruce Smith, founder of the Grateful American™ Foundation, in partnership with the Washington Independent Review of Books.

  • “The Winds of War: A Novel” by Herman Wouk. This sweeping narrative — along with its sequel, War and Remembrance — chronicles the trauma, glory, and sacrifice experienced by one American family during and after WWII.
  • “The Joy Luck Club: A Novel” by Amy Tan. The author’s warm, witty debut tells the story of four Chinese immigrant women and their complex, sometimes fraught relationships with their American-born daughters.
  • “Watergate: A Novel” by Thomas Mallon. Although set in the 1970s, this darkly comic, fictionalized account of the Nixon debacle — and some of the major and minor players caught up in it — feels positively timely.

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Patriotic Picks: October 2019

Whether it’s via their tone, topic, or tenor, certain works just say “America.” Here are three such titles, suggested by David Bruce Smith, founder of the Grateful American™ Foundation, in partnership with the Washington Independent Review of Books.

 

  • “Maggie-Now” by Betty Smith. From the author of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn comes this story of a young woman struggling to navigate men, a career, and an unquenchable desire to make her own way in the world.
  • “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck. Quick-witted George and simple-minded Lennie companionably eke out a living on hardscrabble California farms. But a tragedy soon unfolds that forces one man to commit an unthinkable act.
  • “Mama’s Bank Account” by Kathryn Forbes. This inspiration for the classic TV show “I Remember Mama” chronicles the triumphs and trials of a Norwegian-American family in early-20th-century San Francisco.

 

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Patriotic Picks: September 2019

Whether it’s via their tone, topic, or tenor, certain works just say “America.” Here are three such titles, suggested by David Bruce Smith, founder of the Grateful American™ Foundation, in partnership with the Washington Independent Review of Books.

 

  • “1984” by George Orwell. Though written and set in Great Britain, this chilling, dystopian tale of Big Brother feels eerily relevant in the 21st-century United States.
  • “The Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Even in Puritan Massachusetts, the shameful “A” emblazoned on her chest can’t make Hester Prynne reveal the name of her lover. (Spoiler alert: It’s Dimmesdale.)
  • “3 by Flannery O’ Connor” by Flannery O’Connor. “Wise Blood,” “A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” and “The Violent Bear It Away” comprise this matchless trio from the country’s foremost short-story writer.

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Patriotic Picks: August 2019

Whether it’s via their tone, topic, or tenor, certain works just say “America.” Here are three such titles, suggested by David Bruce Smith, founder of the Grateful American™ Foundation, in partnership with the Washington Independent Review of Books.

 

  • “My Antonia” by Willa Cather. This final installment in the author’s prairie trilogy chronicles the lives of hardy 19th-century immigrants attempting to tame the wilds of Nebraska.
  • ‘Marjorie Morningstar’ by Herman Wouk. In this classic love story, a young Jewish woman in 1950s New York City seeks fame and fortune on the stage.
  • “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. How quintessentially “of the U.S.” is this tale of racism and hope set in the Deep South? In 2018, it was named the country’s “#1 Best-Loved Novel” by PBS’ Great American Read.

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Patriotic Picks: July 2019

Whether it’s via their tone, topic, or tenor, certain works just say “America.” Here are three such titles, suggested by David Bruce Smith, founder of the Grateful American™ Foundation, in partnership with the Washington Independent Review of Books.

 

  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. This story of the ragamuffin Huck’s journey down the Mississippi River offers an often coarse, scathing commentary on racism and 19th-century societal norms.
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. Childhood in circa-1912, working-class Williamsburg is captured through the eyes of Francie Nolan, a young girl whose eccentric New York family is, by turns, scandalous, loving, erratic, and jubilant.
  • The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway. An elderly Cuban fisherman battles a massive marlin — and, ultimately, himself — in this classic man-versus-nature tale spun in a spare, beautiful style.

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Patriotic Picks: June 2019

Whether it’s via their tone, topic, or tenor, certain works just say “America.” Here are three such titles, suggested by David Bruce Smith, founder of the Grateful American™ Foundation, in partnership with the Washington Independent Review of Books.

 

  • Obscure Destinies by Willa Cather. The Great Plains serve as the harshly beautiful backdrop for this trio of novellas about sacrifice, pride, love, and the endurance of the human spirit.
  • Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes. A 14-year-old boy ends up with a front-row seat to the Boston Tea Party, the first shots of the Revolutionary War, and other pivotal events from our nation’s birth.
  • The Good Times by Russell Baker. In this entertaining memoir, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author recalls his often absurd (and absurdly funny) days working his way up the rungs of the newspaper ladder.

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Patriotic Picks: May 2019

Whether it’s via their tone, topic, or tenor, certain works just say “America.” Here are three such titles, suggested by David Bruce Smith, founder of the Grateful American™ Foundation, in partnership with the Washington Independent Review of Books.

 

Jennie Gerhardt by Theodore Dreiser. Class inequality, lost love, and personal sacrifice collide in this early-20th-century tale of a young lady’s struggle to make — and remake — her life in the face of tragedy.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. The famed poet’s first memoir is as much an account of her own fraught childhood as it is a story of the country’s ongoing problems with racism and casual bigotry.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The glitzy excess of Jazz Age New York forms a lavish backdrop for a brash millionaire’s pursuit of both the woman he desires and the (often elusive) American dream.

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Patriotic Picks: April 2019

Whether it’s via their tone, topic, or tenor, certain works just say “America.” Here are three such titles, suggested by David Bruce Smith, founder of the Grateful American™ Foundation, in partnership with the Washington Independent Review of Books.

  • The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane. After being driven by fear from a Civil War battlefield, a young Union private regains his nerve and seeks an honor-bestowing combat wound.
  • Iacocca: An Autobiography by Lee Iacocca. In larger-than-life style, the son of Italian immigrants recounts his role in salvaging the American auto industry, and the slings and arrows he endured along the way.
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. New England sisters Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March grow into womanhood in this classic coming-of-age tale from the mid-19th century.

Patriotic Picks: March 2019

Whether it’s via their tone, topic, or tenor, certain works just say “America.” Here are three such titles, suggested by David Bruce Smith, founder of the Grateful American™ Foundation, in partnership with the Washington Independent Review of Books.

My Name Is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok. In postwar Brooklyn, a young Hasidic Jew grapples with honoring his faith while somehow still feeding his insatiable desire to create art.

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers. Race, politics, and the irrepressibility of the human spirit are all on display in this semi-autobiographical masterpiece of a novel set in 1930s Georgia.

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. The Pulitzer Prize-winning saga of the Joad family’s journey from Dust Bowl-devastated Oklahoma to an indifferent, hardscrabble California paints a searing picture of poverty and class in the U.S.

Contact

Inquiries from authors, publishers and the media should be directed to:

John Grimaldi      917.846.8485