Author News and Book Reports

Helen Thomas and Myra MacPherson wonder if the watchdogs of democracy will ever bark again
Known for her fearless questioning of presidential power from President John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush, White House Press Corps reporter-turned-columnist Helen Thomas introduced her latest book, Watchdogs of Democracy?: The Waning Washington Press Corps and How It Has Failed the Public (Scribner; June, 20, 2006) at the Miami Book Fair International 2006. Thomas began her brief remarks with a recitation of the failings of the Bush Administration and how the media turned from watchdog to lapdog in the process. She closed with a couple of humorous anecdotes from her sixty years in journalism to lighten the mood and reminded the audience that diplomacy, not the barrel of a gun, is the engine of peace. Former Washington Post reporter Myra MacPherson followd Thomas with an introduction to her new biography, All Governments Lie: The Life and Times of Rebel Journalist I. F. Stone (Scribner; August 29, 2006). After describing the powerful FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover's (1895-1972) efforts to hound and discredit the iconoclastic journalist and self-proclaimed communist I.F. ('Izzy') Stone (1907-1989), MacPherson illustrated the rebel nature of Stone with several anecdotes of how he uncovered some of the major news stories of the day, including most notably President Lyndon Johnson's fraudulent Gulf of Tonkin Resolution which ultimately drove Johnson from the White House. MacPherson rounded out her presentation with an anecdote about Stone'sstudy of ancient Greek language and Socrates illustrating Stone's arrogance. Helen Thomas then took a question from the audience on what she would most like to ask George W. Bush. Thomas and MacPherson then held a 25-minute question and answer period with the audience in which they discussed maintaining objectivity in journalism; the question of presidential honesty going back to John and Robert Kennedy compared to today; the issue of media fact-checking and political lies; the issue of truth vs. fairness in media; the role of the media in a democracy; the issue of White House press secretaries in manipulating truth; the question of who sets editorial agendas in the newsrooms of America; and the irony of Jon Stewart's The Daily Show as an alternative source of the day's news.

Book and Author Headlines

Azar Nafisi cites books of humanities and science as bedrock of democracy and freedom: Bestselling author, Iranian born Azar Nafisi tells why she became an American citizen and what it means to her in her new book 'The Republic of Imagination.'

Mary Gordon, Stuart Dybek, and Russell Banks take a short cut: Mary Gordon, Stuart Dybek, and Russell Banks read their stuff and take a few questions from the audience.

Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana have one at The Last Kind Words Saloon in Miami: Award-winning novelist and co-author Diana Ossana reflect on cowboys, women characters, and over twenty years of writing partnership.

Joyce Carol Oates reads from Lovely, Dark, Deep at the 2014 Miami Book Fair International: Prolific, award-winning author Joyce Carol Oates reads from her Pulitzer Prize nominated collection of short stories, Lovely, Dark, Deep at the Miami Book Fair.

Martin Short stirs his humor with poignancy and empowerment: Canadian-born actor, comedian, singer, producer and now author Martin Short reveals trade secrets and more in his appearance at BookExpo America.

Alan Cumming searches for answers and finds more questions: Alan Cumming tells his family story at BookExpo America 2014 about abuse, identity, and Russian roulette.

Colm Toibin introduces Nora Webster and what it is be an Irish author: Award-winning, bestelling Irish novelist Colm Toibin introduces his heroine, Norah Webster at BookExpo America 2014.

Mona Simpson, Ann Patchett, and Lucinda Franks compare notes on life, lit, and love: Bestselling, award-winning authors Mona Simpson, Ann Patchett, and Lucinda Franks take the stage at the 2014 Miami Book Fair International to talk about their most recent books and compare notes on life, literature, and love.

Maureen McLane reveals her free-ranging poetic vision in her National Book Award Finalist, This Blue: 2014 National Book Award Finalist in Poetry and 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist in Autobiography Maureen McClane reads and talks about six poems from her NBA Finalist, This Blue.

Fanny Howe makes poetry out of paradox in her 2014 National Book Award Finalist, Second Childhood: Prize-winning American poet, novelist, and short story writer Fanny Howe reads from her 2014 National Book Award Finalist in Poetry, Second Childhood.

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