Believer: My Forty Years in Politics (Penguin 2015; $35), tells the story not only how the powerhouse political consultant David Axelrod first came to politics (he was inspired by John F. Kennedy) but also his journey with Barack Obama starting from when the latter was an Illinois state representative with a failed try for the U.S. House of Representatives to a two term presidency of the United States.
“I hope that he likes the book,” says Axelrod, a former Chicago news reporter, noting that it’s not just his story he’s telling but Obama’s as well. “I have great affection, not just respect, but affection, for him. I’ll always feel close to him, even when we’re distant.”
It was Axelrod who recognized the timing was just perfect for Obama, then serving as a U.S. Senator for Illinois, to go for the biggest political prize of all. And during a very tumultuous six years so far (and still counting), Axelrod is focused on what the president has achieved.
“Every one of those 10 million people who have health care who didn’t have it before, or every one of those who are getting treated better today because of the health care bill, that’s real, meaningful and tangible change,” says Axelrod, now the director of the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics he founded as a way to inspire young Americans to consider participating in American politics.
Other missions accomplished include the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” which he sees as the precursor to the recent court rulings on same-sex marriage, the executive orders on immigration reform, more consumer protections and climate change.
“There were 180,000 troops in Afghanistan and Iraq when we took office,” he says. “Most of them are home now with their families.”
There would have been more change, Axelrod believes, except for what he considers a strategic decision on the part of the Republicans that it wasn’t in their interest to work together.
Axelrod was extremely impressed when he first met Obama in 1992.
Obama had been the first black editor of the Harvard Law Review and was highly sought after by big law firms, instead decided to put together a voter registration drive and practice civil rights law at a little firm in Chicago. Those initial feelings haven’t changed in the intervening years.
Fans of Jen Lancaster, bestselling author of Bitter is the New Black and Twisted Sister, surely know that when she decides to write her bucket list as a big birthday looms, it isn’t going to entail knitting an afghan or doing an extra set up of push-ups. Indeed, nothing Lancaster tackles—whether it’s emulating Martha Stewart for one disastrous year which involved a need for serious glitter removal in her book The Tao of Martha or, as she discovers in Jeneration X, that a great dinner option does not include Froot Loops—is ever dull.
And so in her latest novel, I Regret Nothing: A Memoir (New American Library 2015; $26.95), Lancaster takes on another set of self-improvement tasks which includes a juice cleanse, learning Italian and even having a tattoo removed at a cost 100 percent higher than she spent getting it and takes us along on the journey.
Lancaster, who lives in the Chicago area, rejoices in humiliating experiences because she knows that’s what makes her readers laugh. She also offers a quote for what it’s like to be a friend or family member when it comes to her writing career and what she is willing to put down on paper.
“It goes something like this–being related to a writer is like having an assassin in the family,” she says. “Where do you draw the line on what you’ll include in a memoir?”
Putting herself out there and seeing the absurdities and humiliations of life as things to be turned into humor is what makes reading her books so much fun. And it’s absolutely who she is as well.
“I love readers to come to my live events,” says Lancaster. “I’m absolutely the same person on the page as I am at an event. And I think it’s good for people to know that.”
As the old jokes goes, a millionaire on vacation in Mexico tries to convince a fisherman that he should start a business selling his fish, work 60 to 70 hours a week running it, make tons of money and then he can do anything in the world he wants. The fisherman says what would I do then and the businessman replies well, then you can be like me and sit on a beautiful beach like this and fish.
The punch line is, of course, that the fisherman is already living that life.
Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus were two young corporate types approaching 30 with six figure jobs and schedules that meant little time for anything but work and sleep. They lived in multi-bedroom houses with closets filled full of expensive stuff, much of it hardly ever used, drove expensive cars as well as an ongoing sense of ennui.
“What’s worse, we found out we didn’t have control of our time and thus didn’t control our own lives,” the two write on The Minimalists, the Website they started as part of their plan to take charge of their lives using the principles of minimalism to focus on what’s important in life and on living meaningful lives.They sum up their theory of minimalism “as a tool used to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important so you can find happiness, fulfillment and freedom.”
The paean to living life bare (the two now live in a cabin in Montana) struck a chord with many. The Minimalists gets more than 100,000 monthly readers and the Millburn and Nicodemus’s approach to living with much less has lead to appearances on NBC, FOX, NPR, CBC Radio and CBS and stories in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Zen Habits. Their book Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Lifedebuted on Amazon as #1.
They also offer mentoring for those wanting to downscale as well as writing courses and also are available for speaking engagements. Their essays, available online, have ideas for going minimalist by getting rid of a variety of items including those that are “crap,” sentimental as well as getting rid of “just in case items.” Other essays address issues such as “Organizing Is Often Well-Planned Hoarding” and “Collecting is Dangerous.”
When was the last time – if ever – someone suggested driving to the airport to grab a bite to eat. If you’re like me, the answer is never. But before transcontinental flights, planes stopped at Midway Airport to refuel and luminaries such as Katherine Hepburn, John Wayne, President John F. Kennedy and his equally famous wife Jackie and Marilyn Monroe were often spotted there wiling away their time of the airport’s corridors and restaurants.Chicagoans interested in the stars might dine at Marshall Field’s upscale Cloud Room for a good meal and a chance to seeing a celebrity or two.
Mike Rotunno was there as well. Carrying his Speed Graphic, one of those cumbersome looking rectangular cameras that you see press photographers using in old time movies, Rotunno was a newspaper photographer who decided he might make more money on his own and so started Metro News at Midway Airport (there was no O’Hare at the time) and for the decades spanning the 1930s through the 1950s, he would shoot photos not only of family’s going on a trip but celebrities when they landed in Chicago.
Author Chris Lynch, whose family owned Monarch Air Service at Midway, was intrigued by pictures of vintage airplanes taken by Rotunno that his family had on their walls and after meeting with Rotunno’s family who had a treasure trove of his photos and anecdotes, wrote “When Hollywood Landed at Midway Airport: The Photos and Stories of Mike Rotunno”(History Press 2012l $19.99).
“Traveling by air was more glamorous in those years,” says Lynch, manager of customer services for the City of Chicago. “It wasn’t like boarding a flying bus, the way it is today. The people flying generally had money or it was a very special event. People dressed up. I remember that my grandfather always wore a three piece suit and a fedora.”
It was also a time when photographers used flash powder for illumination.
“Flash powder is basically gun powder,” says Lynch who in his book recounts the story of Rotunno taking a photo of Al Capone and when the flash went off, all his mob friends fell to the floor guns drawn.
But gun powder was dangerous in other ways as well.
“Photographers blew their hands off at times,” says Lynch. “You really had to know what you were doing.”
Speed Graphics with their glass negatives weren’t point and shoot type cameras (wonder what Rotunno would have thought about cell phone cameras) as they required using both hands, focusing and the shutter speed was slow. But the images they captured are compelling even now 60 to 90 years later.
There’s John Wayne, a hunk of a man, on the tarmac jauntily walking towards the camera his hands in his pocket and his long coat thrown back, Marilyn Monroe with her big toothy smile, Bob Hope pretending to give Rotunno a hot foot and Katherine Hepburn looking stylish in a white hat perched on the side of her head and a long white coat both almost blindingly light in the black and white photos.
Rotunno had found Hepburn asleep on a bench at 4am looking deciding unglamorous. In exchange for not photographing her so disheveled, she dressed up and stood in front of the plane and Rotunno took a much more movie star like photo.
In the 1830s, Chicago, though still a village had aspirations not only to become a city but one with glorious parks as well.
“They adopted the Latin phrase ‘urbs in horto’ meaning city in a garden,” says Julia Bachrach, historian and preservationist for the Chicago Park District and author of The City in a Garden: A History of Chicago’s Parks, Second Edition (Center for American Places $2012; $17.50). “Even were only a few thousand people back then.”
But the newly minted city’s ambitions, grandiose as they might have seemed regarding swamp land best known for its abundance of wild onions and the accompanied smell, were real and realized. Of course, this being Chicago, the idea of public gardens was not just a homage to nature’s beauty. Early developers in the 1840s and 50s realized that neighborhood lots sold more quickly when there was a park nearby. But no matter the reason, today, Chicago has 585 diverse parks encompassing 8200 acres which are, home to 250 historic buildings.Over 100 of Chicago’s parks are considered historically significant.
One of two waterfalls in Columbus Park
Bachrach, whose childhood love of house museums and historic architecture led her into a master’s degree in landscape architecture from the University of Wisconsin, morphed into a job as a preservation coordinator in Highland Park and then into a post with Chicago Parks Department. Hired by Edward Uhlir, now director of design, architecture and landscape for Millennium Park, who in 1987, when working as an engineer for the park district, discovered an immense cache of historic plans, photographs and maps dating to 1871 in a long forgotten sub-basement beneath Soldier’s Field.Having interviewed Bachrach but not having a job for her at the time, he now saw that her skill set would be perfect for helping organize the thousands of artifacts.
Bachrach, whoreceived a national Stewardship Excellence Award from the Cultural Landscape Foundation and for the last two years has served on the board of trustees for the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, is herself a trove of information, a historic preservationist who likes to unravel the skeins of information found in dusty archives, enjoying the myriad of directions in which they lead.
Sheep “mow” the lawn at Washington Park.
“I was doing research on the original landscape of Lincoln Park and going back through all the original contracts,” says Bachrach in a voice that makes you aware that reading 150-year-old construction contracts handwritten in ink now fading is, for her, akin to most of us enjoying an ice cream sundae. “The zoo began in 1868 and landscaper Swain Nelson and his cousin were hired to develop it.Many of the residents in the unimproved areas north of there had cows which would just wonder on the construction site. So the commissioner gave Nelson permission to round them up and put them in an enclosure and at night, when people came to get their cows, charge $15 which was a lot of money back then.”
The projects she’s been involved in include restoring the 2.5-acre Lily Pool designed by Alfred Caldwell in the 1930s which was designated a National Historic Landmarkin Lincoln Park, converting the old Stearns Quarry into a 27-acre nature park and the revitalization of Columbus Park created by landscape architect Jens Jensen between 1915 and 1920. The144-acre Prairie style, designated a National Historic Landmark in 2003, is considered Jensen’s public masterpiece.Currently she is at work on bringing to fruition such projects as the multi-use Bloomingdale Trail which follows along an abandoned railroad track and rescuing Northerly Park Island.
“It was part of Daniel Burnham’s Planof Chicago to have a series of islands,” says Bachrach about the city’s famed architect and planner. “He wanted to have a series of islands between Jackson and Grant Parks. We’re working to develop it for urban camping and as a place to have scuba diving for shipwrecks.”
Bachrach’s commitment to historic architecture includes the century old home she shares with her husband. Built in 1908 and owned by one family for over 90 years, the garden too is vintage with bearded iris and 30 peonies that she strongly believes date back tothe home’s early days.
Her interest in parks doesn’t stop either in her backyard or at the city limits.An admirer of Jensen, she notes that he had very strong ties to the Indiana dunes and Marquette Park in Miller Beach.
“He was involved in the whole movement to save the dunes, he’d give speeches on conservation and was one of the founders of the Prairie Club,” she says about the organization“Jens was a very compelling character. He dressed beautifully, he’d wear these ascots and tailored suits – it turns out when you look at the records that several of his clients were haberdashers.”
What: Julia Bachrach to discuss the highlights of the new book
When: Saturday, Dec. 8 at 1 p.m.,
Where: Garfield Park Conservatory, 300 N. Central Park Ave.,
You buy the ingredients, maybe spending a little more than you should – but the recipe looks great and you’re having friends over you want to impress. Back home in your kitchen you start cooking following the recipe step-by-step. It should be perfect but it’s not. There’s too much liquid in the cake batter, not enough flavor in the soup and despite the amount of time cited for cooking the duck, it’s done and getting dry in half the time. In other words, the meal is a mess. That’s one reason why Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa of TV and cookbook fame, has always been one of my favorites. And so I was glad when my friend Carrie Bachman, who is a cookbook publicist in New York, told me she was representing Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust (Clarkson Potter 2012; $35).
“People look at a recipe and think if you just follow it, it’ll come out perfectly every time,” says Garten, who interestingly, majored in economics in college. “But every time you make something, the ingredients are a little different or you have another way you want to try it. So it’s a lot like driving a car; you have to make small adjustments along the way.”
That’s why Garten often tests each of her recipes 25 times and also has an assistant try them as well. She wants those who watch her shows or buy her cookbooks to always a meal they’re proud to serve and, even better, enjoy eating. Indeed, Garten wants her recipes to be foolproof.
Foolproof is her eighth cookbook and anyone who owns one or more of her Contessa books, is used to the style – sleek pages, vivid photographs (150 in this book) and flavorful and creative recipes written in a clear easy-to-follow style. As on her TV shows, Garten doesn’t just present recipes perfect for recreating successfully at home, she also shares how to plan a menu, coordinating food times so everything is done at once as well as notes on where a recipe can go wrong and how to make a dish in advance.
“I want recipes that I know will come out perfectly every time,” says Garten who is also now blogging at http://www.barefootcontessa.com/blog.aspx. “Cooking is hard, it takes a lot of ingredients, you go shopping, you cook, you clean up. a lot of ingredients, you go shopping, you cook, you clean up. You can get free recipes anywhere, so why should anyone want to buy a cookbook? What makes it worthwhile and worth the price? It’s the level of confidence in the writer. One of the things I’ve always strived for is recipes that work every time. You feel confident that this recipe is good, but also that you trust it.”
Sticky Toffee Date Cake with Bourbon Glaze
Makes one 9 -inch cake
For the cake
¾ pound dates, pitted and chopped
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¹⁄³ cup granulated sugar
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1½ tablespoons baking powder
For the sauce
12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
½ cup heavy cream
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons good bourbon, such as Maker’s Mark
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Sweetened whipped cream, for serving (see note)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9 x 2-inch round cake pan.
Place the dates in a deep saucepan with 1: cups of water. Bring to boil, stirring a little to break up the dates. Allow to simmer for 1 minute. Off the heat, stir in the baking soda (it will bubble up!). Set aside.
Meanwhile, in an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and granulated sugar on medium speed for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, add the eggs, one at a time, and then the vanilla, scraping down the bowl. (The mixture may look curdled.) Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer still on low, slowly add it to the batter. With the mixer on low, add the hot date mixture in two batches to the batter, scraping down the bowl. The batter will be runny but don’t worry! Stir in the baking powder, which will also bubble up. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Meanwhile, combine the butter, brown sugar, heavy cream, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 minute. Off the heat, stir in the bourbon and vanilla and pour into a 2-cup heat-proof glass measuring cup. Set aside. As soon as the cake is done, poke holes all over it with a toothpick. Pour three-quarters of the sauce evenly over the cake while still warm and allow it to soak in for 30 minutes. Turn the cake out bottom side up onto a flat serving plate and pour the remaining sauce on top. Cool completely.
Serve at room temperature with sweetened whipped cream.
For those willing to make the drive, Ina Garten will be signing copies of her book this Friday, Nov 30, 12:00pm-2:00pm at Barnes & Noble, Old Orchard, 55 Old Orchard Center, Skokie, IL. For more information call 847-676-2230.
“Some years later, on a tugboat in the Gulf of Mexico, Joe Coughlin’s feet were placed in a tub of cement,” writes bestselling author Dennis Lehane, in the opening paragraph of Live by Night (William Morrow 2012, $27.99), his recently released novel. It’s a situation that makes Joe realize “almost everything of note that had ever happened in his life — good or bad — had been set in motion the morning he first crossed paths with Emma Gould.”
With this type of POW beginning, Lehane, known for his noir take in such novels such as Mystic River, Shutter Island and Gone Baby Gone, takes us into the life of Joe Coughlin, the youngest of a large brood in an Irish Catholic family whose patriarch is a hard and mean high ranking police officer with the Boston Police Force. Joe himself seems set for a life of crime, taking advantage of all that the Prohibition era offers to an up and comer willing to break all the rules to make money.
“I’ve always absolutely loved the time period,” says Lehane about the Roaring 20s. “The clothes, and the cars, and Tommy guns, and maybe too much exposure to 1920s and 1930s gangster movies when I was a kid.”
Exceptionally well researched, the book takes us back into that time and gives us a grudging respect for Joe as he makes decisions that will undo his success in racketeering. And the biggest bad choice is Emma, a waitress at a speakeasy who comes from a tough Charlestown neighborhood and has an even tougher boyfriend who doesn’t like competition.
“Charlestown,” Joe says to himself in the great hard guy voice that Lehane so easily makes believable. “No wonder she hadn’t gotten rattled with a gun pointed at her. In Charlestown, they brought .38s to the dinner table, used the barrels to stir their coffee.” ifyougo: What: Dennis Lehane reads from and signs his newest novel, Live by Night Where: Harold Washington Library, 400 South State Street Chicago, IL When: Wednesday, 6:00 pm, October 10 Cost: Free
Lee Woodruff knows all the sudden twists of fate that can send our lives careening in what seems like nanoseconds. Her husband, ABC’s Bob Woodruff, suffered a devastating head injury after an IED exploded nearby while he was embedded with the U.S. military during the Iraqi War. The couple explored the aftermath of the explosion which included a portion of Bob’s skull being replaced with plastic in their book In an Instant and Lee followed up with a collection of her essays in Perfectly Imperfect.
Now Woodruff has taken these theme of loss, grief and resiliency in her latest work, a novel titled Those We Love the Most(Hperion/Voice, $26.99).
“Writing a novel is what I always wanted to do so,” says Woodruff, the mother of four and a part-time on-air contributor toCBS This Morningas well as a blogger. “But it’s earlier than I thought I’d do it.”
The impetus for the novel occurred when Woodruff received a phone call from a friend about a 17-year old driver who had accidentally hit and killed a kid riding a bike..
“That was my son’s age at the time,” says Woodruff who was immediately struck by how the tragedy encompassed everyone – the young driver and his family as well as the family of the teenager who died. “It was a nightmare for everyone and I thought I could do a 360 about everyone and their fear, their uncertainty and their sorrow.”
Now of the characters in her book are straight from real life though she does use a pastiche of events in her own life including her 80-year-old father’s struggle with Alzheimer’s.
“There’s bits of me all over the book in the different characters,” says Woodruff. “I found that I could write those moments authentically.”
Though the subject is sad (Woodruff says there’s no greater loss she can imagine than losing a child) she also wanted to show readers the necessity for resiliency, the need to come together and the importance of family.
“There’s a quote I love though I’m not sure where it came from – loss is not the end, I’s merely an invitation to change,” says Woodruff. “That’s how I look at it.”
What: The American Cancer Society and the Women’s Board of North Shore present Lee Woodruff at a benefit luncheon
When: Friday, September 28; 11:45 am
Where: The Glen Club, 2901 West Lake Ave., Glenview, IL
Cost: Tickets ($75 individual; $100 patron) include lunch and a book
FYI: Reserved at nsauthorevent.org or 312 960-2331.
Profiling 25 Midwestern farms in her book Locally Grown: Portraits of Artisanal Farms from America’s Heartland (Agate Midway 2012; $22.95), Anna Blessing tells us the story of each including its history, roots in the community,scale, production and inner workingsas well as the premiere Chicago chefs such as Rick Bayless, Stephanie Izard, Sarah Stegner and Paul Kahan who rely upon these food producers for what they cook in their restaurants.
“I wanted to share the stories of these amazing farmers,” says Blessing, a writer and photographer who lives in Chicago. “It’s so easy to forget where our food comes from and to take for granted the miracle of growing food. I want to celebrate the care that these farmers put into their craft, the respect they have for this work and the ways in which the intentional effort has had and continues to have both a dramatic and positive impact on the way our food tastes and the health of the environment in which it’s grown.”
Taking photos and talking to the chefs who buy from the farmers as well as getting the recipes they create from the farms, Blessing devotes a chapter to each farm but further organizes them into categories. In Part 1: Refashioning the Family Farm, Blessing takes us to seven farms including the fourth generation Gunthorp Farm in LaGrange, Indiana where Craig Gunthorp determined to keep raising pigs even though in 1988 he was selling them for less than the price his grandfather had gotten during the Depression. But then, after speaking about sustainable agriculture at a conference, Gunthorp was given the number of a restaurant looking for a pig farmer. The number turned out to be Charlie Trotter’s.
Part 2: Moving from the City to the Farm takes us to such farmers as Jess Piskor and Abra Berens who own Bare Knuckle Farm in Northport, Michigan by way of Ann Arbor and, for Abra who attended Ballymaloe Cookery School in southern Ireland. Part 4 takes us in the opposite direction, farming that moves to the city. Here she profiles, among others, Rick Bayless, owner and chef at Frontera Grill, Topolobampo and XOCO restaurants and also host of the TV show One Plate at a Time, who has a 1000-square-foot production farm in his backyard.
“The chefs are so essential to promoting locally based eating because they are the ones with the voice and the ones who we as eaters look up to and want to learn from,” says Blessing, who in her book also tells the best places to find, buy and eat sustainably grown food and details on visiting the farms in her book. “When they say this is the best way to grow food and these are the farmers to support, it’s very strong endorsement.”
What: Anna Blessing will be joined by farmer Abra Berens from Michigan’s Bare Knuckle Farm to talk about her book and artisanal farmers
When: Wednesday, September 19 at 7:30pm
Where: Women and Children First, 5233 N. Clark St.,Chicago, IL
When he first came to Chicago almost 55 years ago, legendary bluesmen like Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, and Little Walter were part of the city’s music scene.
“I arrived here in from Louisiana and the greatest blues players in the world were all alive and playing here,” says Buddy Guy, considered one of the greatest blues guitarists of all time. “You go to sleep, wake up and 55 years have passed. After me and B.B. King, everyone else is gone. Every time I get interviewed, I say, ‘They’re no longer here. I’m looking up at that band in heaven and think there’s the best blues band.’ It seems like yesterday that I was called a little young punk, when we were all living. I went to sleep, woke up and now I’m the senior citizen.”
Not wanting to lose the information and the street sense he learned from those years, Guy recently co-authored, with David Ritz, his autobiography, When I Left Home: My Story (DeCapo Press 2012; $26). Ritz previously co-authored autobiographies about Ray Charles and Etta James. Gaye
“I guess I’m the only one left that can tell you about it,” says Guy who arrived here on September 25, 1957 and still calls Chicago his home. “That’s what made David say, ‘let me get it while you’re still in your right mind and can remember a lot of that stuff’.”
Guy was driven to play music from a very young age. Growing up poor in an isolated area of Louisiana, he first made a guitar out of window screen wires strung over tin cans and rubber bands stretched out and tacked to the wall before his father bought him a $4.35 guitar, a gift that changed his life. At 21, he moved to Chicago with hopes of playing with the greats but after six months and no luck and no job, he was about to ask his father for bus fare back home.
Jammin’ with Eric Clapton
That same night, he was asked by a stranger to come to the 708 Club and there Guy was invited to play blues alongside Otis Rush. His magnificent performance had club goers demanding more and by the end of the evening Guy was sitting in Muddy Waters’ red Chevy. His life was about to change forever.
“I followed the blues ever since I was a young child,” writes Guy in the preface to his book. “Followed the blues from a plantation way out in the middle of nowhere to the knife-and-gun concrete jungle of Chicago. The blues took my life and turned it upside down. Had me going places and doing things that, when I look back, seem crazy. The blues turned me wild. They brought out something in me I didn’t even know was there. So here I am—a seventy-five-year-old man sitting on a bar stool in a blues club, trying to figure out exactly how I got here. Any way you look at it, it’s a helluva story.”
What: Legendary blues musician Buddy Guy discusses his autobiography
When: Tue. August 28, 6pm
Where: Harold Washington Library Center, Cindy Pritzker Auditorium, 400 S. State Street, Chicago
FYI: 312-747-4850; please note that Mr. Guy will not be signing any memorabilia besides copies of his book