Books by Tom Lewis

HELL by Tom Lewis
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 9, 2018

"A creepy horror yarn that triumphantly focuses on the protagonist over the exorcism."
A 16-year-old girl is relentlessly tormented by a demon that has latched onto her in this supernatural novel. Read full book review >
WASHINGTON by Tom Lewis
HISTORY
Released: Oct. 13, 2015

"Lewis amply shows how close D.C. came to being an ugly patchwork town, and he cites the congressmen who fought to keep it Southern and the Gilded Age men who used their money for its good. Those who enjoy the city will enjoy this book."
Lewis (English/Skidmore Coll.; The Hudson: A History, 2005, etc.) follows the evolution of the symbolic place of Washington, D.C., in the consciousness of Americans.Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Oct. 1, 1997

Similar to his Empire of the Air: The Men Who Made Radio (not reviewed), Lewis (English/Skidmore Coll.) has written a tie-in to a PBS documentary (set to air in October) that traces a ubiquitous institution and how it altered everything in its path. Covering more than 42,000 miles, the Interstate Highway System is the longest engineered structure in the world. Dwight Eisenhower discovered once that the cause of the city traffic in which he found himself was the 1956 Federal-Aid Highway Act, which he had signed as a Cold War military necessity and employment driver. In his inability to foresee the bill's consequences, Eisenhower typified the pioneers of the road system. In their technocratic expertise and lack of human relations skills, they took their cues from influential predecessors, such as the incorruptible and intimidating Thomas Harris MacDonald, who as chief of the Federal Bureau of Public Roads from 1919 to 1953 ``did as much as Henry Ford or Alfred Sloan to put America on wheels,'' according to Lewis. While Lewis is not always careful with his facts (e.g., the first enclosed shopping mall was built in 1956, not in 1947 as he claims) and sometimes employs clichÇs about suburban sterility, he usefully notes that the system did not result merely from a conspiracy of unions, auto associations, and builders, but also expressed Americans' deepest yearnings for ``speed, and space, and privacy.'' The interstates promoted the fortunes of African- Americans (who previously had to ride southern back roads where they were at the mercy of bigots) and women (who used the interstates to break free of social restraints), and boosted entrepreneurs like McDonald's Ray Kroc. Yet the interstates also fostered enough noise pollution, urban decline, and railroad deterioration to spark opposition. While not aspiring to be definitive, Lewis offers a bright, lively account of the greatest public works project in US history. (16 pages b&w photos, not seen) Read full book review >