Books by James Sutherland

HISTORY
Released: Oct. 1, 2010

There was great anticipation for the arrival of the 21st century, but few could have predicted the rapid change the first ten years would bring. Stories of a contested election decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, the 9/11 attacks, two wars, natural disasters, the near collapse of the financial system and the election of the nation's first African-American president are woven with those of the dot.com bust, the rise of social networking, the explosion of new communication tools and the splintering of information media. Following an introduction and prologue that nicely set the stage, each year gets its own chapter, and events with the greatest impact are discussed in a lively manner. Sutherland tries to be evenhanded, although some might take issue with his positioning PBS's News Hour as liberal opposite conservative Fox News. The author provides the often-missing context for dramatic headlines. However, the unexciting format will do little to attract readers to these stories. There are a few familiar photographs but little else to grab readers who could be enriched by this perspective. Source notes and bibliography are included, as is an index (not seen). (Nonfiction. 12 & up)Read full book review >
UP CLOSE: RONALD REAGAN by James Sutherland
NONFICTION
Released: Sept. 1, 2008

Like all good biographers, Sutherland starts this study of Ronald Reagan not with his birth but with a scene that grabs readers' attentions: the shooting of the president on March 30, 1981. Readers may be surprised to learn how close to death the president had been, and the traits demonstrated in facing death—humor, optimism, courage and determination—are exactly the ones that defined his life. This straightforward and fast-paced account sticks closely to Reagan's life, with only occasional excursions into the social issues of his early years, slowing down and expanding to cover the themes that dominated his presidency: communism in Central America, nuclear-arms discussions with Soviet leaders, the Strategic Defense Initiative and the Iran-Contra Affair. The volume ends with Reagan's death from pneumonia in 2004 with little reflection on his place in history. As with all of the volumes in this fine series, the writing is clear, the bibliography is solid and the historical content is accessible for the intended audience, if somewhat lacking in analysis. (foreword, source notes, bibliography, index) (Biography. 11 & up)Read full book review >