Race at the 1936 Berlin Olympics
Movies Based On Books / February 18, 2016

The story of Jesse Owens winning not one, not two, but four gold medals at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin is well known. Finally, the story receives a full film treatment in the aptly titled Race, which opens Friday. The film does appear exciting, and as its double entendre title suggests, has a great element of tension not only for its depiction of discrimination, but also for its backdrop of Nazi Germany.    

Read about the real-life events behind the ‘Bridge of Spies’ movie
Cold War , Movies Based On Books / February 17, 2016

Those who grew up in the Cold War era remember it as a scary time when nuclear missiles threatened to fill the skies, and slogans such as “Better Dead Than Red” were popular. The recent film Bridge of Spies calls attention to this time period, with Tom Hanks playing a reluctant go-between for the United States and the Soviet Union. What’s really interesting is that the film is loosely based on a book by Giles Whittell, a journalist who has delved into several Cold War topics. After you have seen the fantastic film, which somewhat fictionalizes real-life events, you can read about the history behind this Big Screen thriller in Whittell’s excellent account. Title: Bridge of Spies Author: Giles Whittell Genre: History Release Date: November 9, 2010 Pages: 274 Documents the stories of three men at the center of a legendary first prisoner exchange between the Soviet Union and America, describing the chance events that contributed to their captures and rescues and their indirect contributions to triggering the arms race.

A Civil War classic about Gettysburg
Civil War , Movies Based On Books / February 13, 2016

If you are planning a trip to Gettysburg, this is the novel to get you into the minds of the soldiers who fought there. Michael Shaara’s THE KILLER ANGELS is a literary classic set on the Pennsylvania battlefield. Of course, you will want to pay a visit to the flank on Little Round Top where the 20th Maine held fast. Title: The Killer Angels Author: Michael Shaara Genre: Fiction Publisher: Turtleback Books Release Date: 1987-08 Pages: 355 Portraits of Lee, Longstreet, and other Civil War leaders are interwoven with historical detail to provide a fictional recreation of the bloody battle at Gettysburg.

Rebellion within rebellion during the Civil War

  The film Free State of Jones is based on a true story of a rebellion within a rebellion, telling the tale of a former Confederate soldier who leads a small faction against the Confederate government to declare independence in his corner of Mississippi. In the trailer, it appears that Jones leads a force made up in large part by former enslaved Americans and disenchanted Confederate veterans. While the film itself seems to be based on a screenplay rather than a novel, the story of the rebellious Newton Knight is told in Tap Roots, a 525-page doorstopper written in the 1940s by James H. Street, a Mississippi native and journalist for the Associated Press and the author of several popular novels about the Civil War era set in the South. Street died all too young at the age of 50, but he had an impressive literary output. All of his books, fortunately, are now available as ebooks. The upcoming movie also puts us in mind of the classic William Styron novel, The Confessions of Nat Turner. Again based on a true story, Styron imagined the life of Nat Turner and the real-life rebellion that he led in the 1840s. The…

Read The Revenant before you see the movie

There’s something about The Revenant that sticks with you. This novel by Michael Punke is one in which images stay with you—such as Hugh Glass fighting a pack of wolves for a scrap of meat. What’s interesting about this rather thin (in length) novel is that it harkens back to stories that were more popular in the 1950s and early 1960s. There used to be a notion that the frontier was something to be conquered and exploited, and this novel echoes that tradition. As a society we have come to the realization that this thinking is what brought us to decimating both the natural resources and the Native Americans of 19th century America. However, Hugh Glass is more concerned about his own survival than self reflection. Facing an angry grizzly bear tends to give life a certain amount of focus, particularly in those seconds before the jaws come clamping down. The novel is based on the real-life adventures of Hugh Glass, a genuine mountain man. Mauled by a bear during a trapping expedition in the early 1800s, he is left for dead by his companions. (This is where the title of The Revenant comes into play; the word is defined…