Walter Duranty and Gareth Jones: one told the truth, the other did not

May 21, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: history, journalism, reporters, reporting, writers, writing.

The contrast between Walter Duranty and Gareth Jones is stark and ultimately tragic. Duranty was the correspondent for the New York Times and covered the Soviet Union and the rise of Joseph Stalin for more than a dozen years in the 1920s and 1930s. He interviewed Stalin a number of times and always wrote favorable • Read More »

The tale of journalists Duranty and Jones, the obvious alternative to eugenics, group giveaways, and decapitating the British government: newsletter, May 20, 2022

May 20, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, history, newsletter, reporters, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,404) on Friday, May 20, 2022. About a century ago, eugenics was all the rage. The basic idea of eugenics was that you could identify the “better” parts of society by race, geographic origin, or social class. If we could do that, then we could • Read More »

Walking, seeing, learning

May 14, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: journalism.

If you are like me—a person who loves to walk—you won’t want to miss Chris Arnade’s website,Walking the World. The author brilliantly describes his love for walking just about anywhere in the world he happens to be. He talks about how much he sees, how much he experiences, and how much he learns by simply • Read More »

Ray Bradbury’s zest for writing, the story of the grand marshal, and May’s ebook giveaways: newsletter, May 13, 2022

May 13, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, fiction, libraries, newsletter, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,234) on Friday, May 13, 2022. Like millions of others in the 1990s and beyond, I was caught up in the television depictions of “crime scene investigation” and the way in which “forensic science” is used to convict people accused of crimes. Calling something a • Read More »

The troubled, talented Raymond Chandler, 3 new group giveaways, the value of the long walk: newsletter, May 6, 2022

May 6, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, newsletter, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,234) on Friday, May 6, 2022. While I am no expert on government secrecy, particularly the laws that govern countries other than the United States, that in no way stops me from having opinions. My considered, possibly uninformed, opinion is that one of the worst • Read More »

The myths and realities of free speech on campus

May 1, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: freedom of speech, journalism.

A professor at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth has taken on the notion, depicted in article after article in major media outlets, that there is a “free speech” crisis and ensuing turmoil roiling American college campuses. In a recent article on Slate.com, Lucas Mann, a professor of English and journalism, points out that most of • Read More »

George Butler, the latest in a long line of combat artists

April 30, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: Battlelines, Battlelines: Road to Gettysburg, journalists, reporters.

One of my areas of continuing interest is the artwork produced in and around the theaters of war. This art has not only special characteristics but also special meaning. The people who produce it are journalists just as much as the reporters, photographers, and television camera carriers, and producers who report on battles that they • Read More »

The strange disappearance of the man who took the first motion picture, Louis Le Prince

April 30, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: history, journalism.

The identity of the person who “invented” motion pictures, in the sense that we know them today, has always been a matter of dispute—even though Thomas Edison has made the claim and owned the patent. Like many modern inventions (the airplane, the radio, etc.), cinema has many founders. In reality, Edison may be the least • Read More »

The disappearance of an inventor, the Supreme Court doesn’t decide, free speech on campus, and continuing giveaways: newsletter, April 29, 2022

April 29, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, First Amendment, freedom of speech, newsletter, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,234) on Friday, April 29, 2022. A popular myth that animates much of our political life is that the U.S. Supreme Court decides an issue. The justices, in their collective wisdom or ignorance, may make a ruling, but they rarely if ever decide an issue. • Read More »

The education of August Wilson, a current combat artist, and continuing giveaways: newsletter, April 22, 2022

April 22, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, history, newsletter, reporters, reporting, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,324) on Friday, April 22, 2022. “I like someone who speaks his mind—you know, someone who says what he thinks.” Undoubtedly, you have heard this sentiment expressed in some form or another. Speaking one’s mind is thought to be an admirable quality. I’m not so • Read More »

Manly Wade Wellman, the author with many occupations and many genres

April 16, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, fiction, journalism, writers, writing.

Many authors, if not most, have a second or third job that produces income and helps support themselves and their families while they are writing. Few authors, however, can claim as many different jobs and professions over as long a period of time as Manly Wade Wellman. During his 83-year life, Wellman was a harvest • Read More »

The rites of April, Manly Wade Wellman, and some nifty giveaways: newsletter, April 15, 2022

April 15, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, fiction, newsletter, reporters, reporting, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,234) on Friday, April 15, 2022. One of my personal rites of April—in addition to observing Opening Day and National Poetry Month (see below)—is having to restart my beehives, which for the past several years have died out during the fall. Fortunately, this task is • Read More »

Handel’s comeback, ebook giveaways, bee swarms, and a preview of William Roughead: newsletter, April 8, 2022

April 8, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, history, newsletter, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,234) on Friday, April 8, 2022. Part of the power of the English language lies in its ability to reform, revise, and regenerate itself on almost a daily basis. English is not a static entity, as some people might wish. It is vibrant and dynamic. • Read More »

Edna St. Vincent Millay and the voice of feminism, more about William Roughead, and lots of reader reaction: newsletter, April 1, 2022

April 1, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, history, newsletter, Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,234) on Friday, April 1, 2022. You newsletter readers are carrying much of the load for this week’s newsletter. I have received several substantial and interesting comments on articles I have included during the past couple of weeks, and I want to share them with • Read More »

Mozart’s transcription genius: did he really do it?

March 27, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: history, journalism.

Gregorio Allegri’s (1582-1652) setting of Psalm 51, Miserere Mei, is a choral work of unsurpassed beauty and delicacy that the Catholic Church commissioned in the 1630s for exclusive use in the Sistine Chapel. It was played only once a year sometime during the Easter season. Writing it down or performing it without authorization could get • Read More »

Black Hawk and the first published Native American autobiography

March 26, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, history, journalism, writing.

We naturally associate the name of Black Hawk with war and fighting (think: Black Hawk helicopter), but the real history of Chief Black Hawk, a leader of the Sauk Nation of Native Americans, encompasses not only war but a literary tradition: Black Hawk was the first Native American to have an autobiography published in the • Read More »

Murder Most Criminous (Volume 1): The Parson of Spott (intro)

March 26, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books.

The following is the editors’ introduction and the first few paragraphs to the case “The Parson of Spott” in volume 1 of Murder Most Criminous. Editors’ introduction Clerics, we expect, should be the prime examples of rectitude. When they are not, we are surprised. When they become criminals, we are shocked. Sometimes, they are murderers. • Read More »

Murder Most Criminous (Volume 1): The Ghost of Sergeant Davies (intro)

March 26, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: journalism.

The following is the editors’ introduction and the first few paragraphs to the case “The Ghost of Sergeant Davies” in volume 1 of Murder Most Criminous. Editors’ introduction Witnesses at criminal trials provide a most powerful presence. But what if the witness doesn’t really exist, and yet the court accepts that witness’s testimony? It is • Read More »