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THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


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READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


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THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


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TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


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PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


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ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


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IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


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I've decided to stop accepting review copies. The downside of getting buried in free books is that reading increasingly becomes an obligatory act. After some seven years of blogging books, it's time for me to return to the simple pleasure of reading only the books I want to read, when I want to read them.



  
From a random review:

  

« Sholes, Lynn; Moore, Joe: The Grail Conspiracy | Main | James, Dean: Baked to Death »

Mewshaw, Michael: If You Could See Me Now

  

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Unbridled Books © 2006, 240 pages [amazon]
4 stars

One afternoon in the mid-1990's author Michael Mewshaw got a call he'd been half expecting for some thirty years: a woman in America--Mewshaw was living in London--had reason to believe that he was her biological father. The woman, Amy, was almost right: Mewshaw's name was in fact on Amy's birth certificate, and he'd been involved with her mother at the time of Amy's birth, while he was in college at the University of Maryland. But Mewshaw hadn't fathered the baby whose adoption he wound up being instrumental in arranging. Mewshaw's role in Amy's early life nevertheless left him feeling almost paternal toward her, and he wanted to help Amy reconnect with her birth mother.

But he does provide a great many details about Adrienne that will send readers running to Google, most tantalizing among them that Amy's mother served as Undersecretary of State during the Reagan and Bush administrations.In his memoir If You Could See Me Now Mewshaw chronicles his involvement in Amy's search for her biological parents, but his story is far from a straightforward account of his attempts to track down an old girlfriend. Amy's quest is rather the peg on which Mewshaw hangs an account of his life, or that part of it that bears on his relationship with Amy's mother. While detailing his efforts on Amy's behalf, Mewshaw writes about his fractured identity as a child, the result of his parents' divorce and his strained relationship with both father and father figure, and about his complicated history with the woman he calls "Adrienne Daly," his college sweetheart. Mewshaw's unpacking of that relationship, his attempts to uncover the truth behind Adrienne's pregnancy and behavior decades after the fact, make for a surprisingly compelling story that at times reads like a mystery.

Mewshaw does not identify Amy's mother by her real name in the book: as a public figure she would not welcome exposure as a former unwed mother. But he does provide a great many details about Adrienne that will send readers running to Google, most tantalizing among them that Amy's mother served as Undersecretary of State during the Reagan and Bush administrations. One wonders whether these same revelations won't send Adrienne running to her lawyers, as she will surely not be pleased with her presentation in the book. Adrienne is the clear villain of the piece, painted by Mewshaw as a calculating and disingenuous user of men, a woman lacking in maternal warmth, who valued--who continues to value--her own convenience over the life of her daughter. One can't help disliking her, even while bearing in mind that Mewshaw's account is necessarily a one-sided affair, and while wondering why he chose to reveal as much about Adrienne's real identity as he did. Is the book a form of retribution? If so, does that alter our response to it?

Though slow in its final chapter, If You Could See Me Now is an otherwise quick read. Tantalizing because of its near exposure of the misdeeds of the nearly famous, Mewshaw's book is interesting also as an example of how the small dramas of one's life, considered in hindsight, can make for good reading.

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Book-blog.com reviews by Debra Hamel are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).

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About the blogger: Debra is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece, including Trying Neaira: The True Story of a Courtesan's Scandalous Life in Ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.

  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  






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Book-blog.com by Debra Hamel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License.