books

Portraits of Purpose Ken Cooper
Courtesy of Ken Cooper

Former Post-Dispatch and St. Louis American reporter Ken Cooper just published his first book, "Portraits of Purpose: A Tribute to Leadership."  The book is a collaboration with the photographer Don West and chronicles the lives of influential Bostonian African Americans. Yet, nestled within the book’s 116 profiles are the stories of five St. Louisans.

Race is a social concept, not a scientific one.

“Biology shows us there are no real races in the world,” Washington University physical anthropology professor Robert Wald Sussman told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Monday. “Humans are just humans, basically.”

Sussman explores how religion, pseudo-science and prejudice have been used since the Spanish Inquisition to promote racism, eugenics and anti-immigration policies in his book “The Myth of Race: The Troubling Persistence of an Unscientific Idea.”

Jennifer Senior is the author of 'All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood.'
Laura Rose / Harper Collins

Since the 1950s, social scientists have been asking who’s happier: parents or nonparents. In the U.S., the nonparents seem to win.

“To me, it’s just kind of baffling and inadequate,” author Jennifer Senior told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Tuesday. “It’s demoralizing. It’s insufficient. It doesn’t tell you very much. But it was that body of literature that got me interested in the question generally: How do kids affect their moms and dads?”

Psychologist Wes Crenshaw
Courtesy of Wes Crenshaw

Sex. That little three-letter word strikes fear in many parents’ hearts.

Psychologist Wes Crenshaw told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Monday that the biggest mistake parents make when trying to talk to their kids about sex is “freaking out.”

“Parents just cannot afford to think their kids are the least bit naïve. Kids are tied into the internet and to each other. They know way too much nowadays to take simple answers,” Crenshaw said. Rather than a one-time conversation, talking about sex and sex education is an almost endless conversation, he said.

Daniel Handler
Meredith Heuer

Go ahead; call David Handler’s work weird and bizarre. He’ll thank you.

Handler has written novels for adults as well as two series for children written under the pen name Lemony Snicket. His latest novel, “We Are Pirates,” is for adults, but it’s still quirky.

Tavis Smiley 2014
Provided

There’s a disconnect between Martin Luther King Jr. celebrations today, and attitudes toward the man before he was killed in 1968, author Tavis Smiley says.

When King was assassinated, many had abandoned him, Smiley said in his latest book, “Death of a King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Final Year.” The book examines assaults on King’s character, ideology and political tactics, and his lasting legacy.

The last year of his life was King’s most dynamic, Smiley told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh earlier this week.

Bill Greenblatt / UPI

A few years ago, Mike Matheny was coaching a youth baseball team. He wrote what has become known as the Matheny Manifesto, a letter to his team’s parents. “I always said that the only team I would coach would be a team of orphans,” the letter began before asking parents to butt out of coaching.

If walls could talk, then those of the U.S. District Court of Eastern Missouri would have a lot to say.

Historian Burton Boxerman worked with a group of prominent attorneys and district court judges to capture some of the court’s tales in “And Justice for All: A History of the Federal District Court of Eastern Missouri.”

The court got its start in 1822, less than a year after Missouri became a state. Many of the court’s early cases were related to the Missouri and Mississippi rivers.

Wes Moore
Amun Ankhra

After a troubled childhood, Wes Moore graduated from Johns Hopkins University, served in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan, earned a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford, served as a special assistant to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, worked on Wall Street and wrote a book about a man with the same first and last name, but without Moore’s successes.

After writing that book, Moore set out to find purpose in “The Work: My Search for a Life that Matters.”

Gayle Harper

When author and photographer Gayle Harper learned that it takes 90 days for a raindrop to travel from the Mississippi River’s headwaters to the Gulf of Mexico, she knew she had a new project: Follow the path of that raindrop.

That path became a book, “Roadtrip with a Raindrop: 90 Days Along the Mississippi,” full of photos and a series of vignettes. Along the way, Harper said she found that there’s something special about life on the river.

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