Shirlee Taylor Haizlip’s article “Passing” reports on the outpouring of letters and calls she has received from readers of her book The Sweeter the Juice: A Family Memoir in Black and White (Simon & Schuster, 271 pages). That response testifies to the volume’s fascination and power. It is a gripping exploration of the phenomenon of “passing” as illustrated by her discovery of its devastating effects within her own family.
The work of the Herter Brothers—those master craftsmen, decorators, and cabinetmakers to the latenineteenth-century elite—is the subject of a handsome picture history from Harry N. Abrams Publishers and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston: Herter Brothers: Furniture and Interiors for a Gilded Age , by Katherine S. Howe, Alice Cooney Frelinghuysen, and Catherine Hoover Voorsanger (Abrams, 272 pages).
In this month’s “The Life and Times,” Geoffrey C. Ward recommends two recent books about Abraham Lincoln: Lincoln in American Memory , by Merrill D. Peterson (Oxford University Press, 496 pages), an engaging history of Lincoln’s changing treatment by his successive biographers, and The Last Best Hope of Earth: Abraham Lincoln and the Promise of America , by Mark Neely, Jr. (Harvard University Press, 207 pages), a model of scholarship and concision that takes Lincoln from humble birth to tragic death in just 207 pages.