Books and Films of Interest by clroberts

Katy Tur’s Unbelievable follows Trump from Day 1 to 500 of his crazy journey to the White House. Along the way, we see Tur’s transformation into a political reporter and gain insight into all things Trump, including his supporters.   At 286 pages, it is still a “quick read” with a lot of jaw-dropping moments.The book opens on the morning of Election Day and then moves back and forth from the beginning of the campaign to various times on that November day, with some autobiographical stops along the way.

Dan Rather & Elliot Kirschner’s What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism is organized by chapters entitled, “Freedom”,”Community”, “Exploration”, “Responsibility” and “Character.”  If you missed Rather’s appearance at the Fox Theater, this is the next best thing.  For those old enough to remember the dignity and gravitas of nightly news’ anchors, it is also a sad reminder of how the reputation and importance of the press, to some, have declined.  Rather said, while he is convinced that Trump is a very dangerous man, he remains hopeful that America can return to civility and unity, as well as regain the world’s respect.

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI  is by David Grann, author of The Lost City of Z.   He has done intensive research on this forgotten tragedy in American, particularly Oklahoman, history. It is a horrifying story of yet another atrocity against Native Americans, but this one took place in the 1920’s, happened over many years, and involved multiple perpetrators and co-conspirators.  Hard to put down and even hard to credit this injustice.


The Post reminds us, as if we needed it, the importance of a free and independent press as it traces the behind-the-scenes decision making and legal maneuverings that led to the publication of the Pentagon Papers.  While it isn’t as fast-paced as All the President’s Men, it has obvious parallels to current political and journalistic tensions, as well as tracing  Katherine Graham’s transformation from D.C. socialite to the powerful and respected publisher of what became an equally powerful and respected newspaper, The Washington Post.  A-.

If you think actor Gary Oldman is just Batman’s police commissioner and the guy whom Harrison Ford throws off Airforce One, you must see  Darkest Hour.  Oldman completely inhabits British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. The film explores Churchill’s  unpopular appointment as PM, his struggles with Parliament, the King and his own Cabinet ministers, and the difficult decisions he makes as England is threatened by Hitler’s Blitzkrieg through Europe. At slightly over 2 hours, it is compelling and a nice companion piece to Dunkirk,  a look at what many consider Britain’s “finest hour”, which has been largely unknown to many Americans.   A’s to both films

Although some critics are calling Hostiles the best Western in years, I found it riddled with plot holes and encounters with every “travel across the wilderness and meet bad guys” cliche.  All they missed was a bear, a cougar, and a run-away river.  Even Wes Studi’s magnificent profile can’t save this film from a very generous C.

Next month’s reviews:

The Radium Girls:The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women by Kate Moore.

Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House by Michael Wolff( if Amazon ever delivers my copy!!)