Books by Susan Butler

ROOSEVELT AND STALIN by Susan Butler
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 3, 2015

"A thorough account of the alliance between two very different leaders, although written with an extreme pro-Soviet tilt."
A comprehensive study of the wartime cooperation between the United States and the Soviet Union, as directed by Franklin Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin. Read full book review >
THE HERMIT THRUSH SINGS by Susan Butler
Released: March 1, 1999

Butler's first novel has plausibility problems, but readers may be drawn to the characters inhabiting this post-holocaust fantasy. Over a century after the destruction of civilization by a giant meteor's impact, the former state of Maine has become the country of Maynor, governed by a vaguely-defined Rulership that stays in power through a corps of red-coated, musket-bearing Guards. Born with a webbed left hand and the ability to see the future, young Leora breaks away from her village and cruel stepfamily, taking a captured baby "birmba" (a mutant bear-ape) back to its mother, finding temporary shelter in a settlement of serape-wearing descendants of migrant workers, then going on to help a band of women foment a rebellion. The plot hinges on contrivances, from conveniently overheard conversations to a company of guards that fails to post sentries and sleeps while a munitions storehouse next door is emptied; in contrast, Leora's painful self-consciousness is realistically drawn, and the fearsome, gentle, intelligent birmbas make engaging companions for her. Devoted fans of the post-disaster genre may take to this, but for depth of character and detail, there are far more precisely imagined outsider tales, from Eloise McGraw's Moorchild (1996) to Anne Mazer's Oxboy (1993). (Fiction. 11-13) Read full book review >
EAST TO THE DAWN by Susan Butler
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 1, 1997

This exhaustive new biography, coming on the centennial of Earhart's birth, throws new light on many of the more controversial elements of the aviator's life and death. Earhart was a self-possessed and downright adventurous young woman. Her two enduring passions were flying and social work, endeavors that both seem to have captivated the feminine imagination in her time. By the time she was 25, Earhart ``had become one of those early mythical heroes of the sky whom people came to see at air meets and dreamed of emulating.'' She ``vagabonded'' across the country solo in a plane and, with the help of her husband, publishing giant George Putnam, had the book documenting her tale out on the stands less than two weeks after completion of the feat. The list of her flight achievements is lengthy and impressive. But it is the cool yet inspired marriage between Putnam and Earhart, two inveterate adventurers, that lies at the core of Butler's biography. Putnam was a brilliant media spin-doctor who relentlessly promoted his wife's image. Butler's study raises some provocative questions (Was Earhart a feminist or just a singular human being? Were her feats victories for women everywhere or victories for pure heroism?) without convincingly answering them. But if the study isn't always persuasive in its answers, it is filled with wonderful details about Earhart's glamorous lifestyle and the wild, dangerous world of early aviators. Earhart disappeared at sea in 1938, trying to be the first pilot to circumnavigate the earth at its widest point, before turning 40. Even the manner of her death contrived to sustain America's fascination with her. Butler's flat writing style somewhat undermines her portrait of Earhart's singular emotional and physical courage. Nonetheless, the still enthralling figure of the aviator—wearing her signature trousers and jacket, blond hair and silk scarf blowing, beckoning to the free spirit in all of us—does powerfully come through. (b&w photos, not seen) Read full book review >