Upon reading the first couple pages of American Lightning, one comes across a list of characters that immediately signals that Howard Blum's work will read more like a mystery novel, than historical monograph. Blum states, "I had no ambitions to be a historian .It's a reporter's story." Really, Blum tries to play both roles. But the challenge with narrative history is to walk the fine line between entertainment and education, and it is easy to sense from his identification of American Lightning as a "sort of nonacademic history" that he is aiming towards the former. While categorized as a "narrative history," the need to make the book absorbing and compelling, should not supersede the fact that this story has a concrete setting in the American historical record. Blum should have noted in the preface, not in the epilogue, that the quotations are documented...
Top: William J. Burns. 2nd: Clarence Darrow. 3rd: D.W. Griffith. Bottom: Harrison Gray Otis.
Right: The remains of the Los Angeles Times Building (1910)
BookBrowse's reviews and backstories are a members-only benefit. Full information is available on books for a limited time when they are featured as "Editor's Choices" - but that time has now elapsed for this book.Find Out More
Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!
Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only
The Angel of Losses
"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist
Solve this clue:
and be entered to win..
Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.