MPDEMS RESOURCE CENTER
Recommendations from Jim Rogers, Resource Center Coordinator
I Never Thought of It That Way by Monica Guzman written by the very liberal daughter of very conservative Mexican parents. From online review: Journalist Mónica Guzmán is the loving liberal daughter of Mexican immigrants who voted - twice - for Donald Trump. When the country could no longer see straight across the political divide, Mónica set out to find what was blinding us and discovered the most eye-opening tool we’re not using: our own built-in curiosity.
American Buffalo, a two part Ken Burns documentary about the impact of the buffalo on American history, told primarily from the point of view of native American. It’s a wonderful film with beautiful scenery and insights about the buffalo many of which were new and surprising to me. The film was produced and directed by a close friend for whom this was her final project with Burns after 20 years.
Democracy Awakening: Notes on the State of America, Heather Cox Richardson’s most recent book. In Democracy Awakening, Richardson crafts a compelling and original narrative, explaining how, over the decades, a small group of wealthy people have made war on American ideals. By weaponizing language and promoting false history they have led us into authoritarianism — creating a disaffected population and then promising to recreate an imagined past where those people could feel important again. She argues that taking our country back starts by remembering the elements of the nation’s true history that marginalized Americans have always upheld. Their dedication to the principles on which this nation was founded has enabled us to renew and expand our commitment to democracy in the past. Richardson sees this history as a roadmap for the nation’s future. (online review)
The Woman with the Cure, written by Lynn Cullen, is an historical novel based on the true story of Dorothy Horstmann and her successful search for a polio vaccine. In 1940s and ’50s America, polio is as dreaded as the atomic bomb. No one’s life is untouched by this disease that kills or paralyzes its victims, particularly children. Outbreaks of the virus across the country regularly put American cities in lockdown. Some of the world’s best minds are engaged in the race to find a vaccine. The man who succeeds will be a god. But Dorothy Horstmann is not focused on beating her colleagues to the vaccine. She just wants the world to have a cure. Applying the same determination that lifted her from a humble background as the daughter of immigrants, to becoming a doctor, often the only woman in the room. She hunts down the monster where it lurks: in the blood. This discovery of hers, and an error by a competitor, catapults her closest colleague to a lead in the race. When his chance to win comes on a worldwide scale, she is asked to sink or validate his vaccine — and to decide what is forgivable, and how much should be sacrificed, in pursuit of the cure. (online review)
Miss Americana is a documentary about Taylor Swift, a popular country music star, whose life and career were controlled by advisors around her. At the age of 26, she defied them all and decided to sing her own music, sending a message of political opinion and activism, and as we all know she became Time Magazine’s 2023 “Person of the Year." She’s now 35.
"The Prince of Netanyahu's Ambition" by David Remnick in The New Yorker, Jan. 14. A lengthy and very in-depth profile of Bibi Netanyahu and his family whom David Remnick has known for years. He paints a very critical picture of Netanyahu’s motivations. As long as Israel is fighting for its hostages, Netanyahu, despite being widely unpopular, is protected from removal from office and prosecution for his many apparent criminal activities. This article is important reading for those interested not only in the unfolding horrors in Israel and neighboring countries, but also a deep understanding of the many forces which led to this situation.