Happy Birthday to Sue Herzog (May 1)
Ignazio Silone [Secondo Tranquilli] (1900-78) was born in Pescina, Italy on May 1, 1900. Read Orrin's review of Fontamara (1933)
Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, (1769-1852) was born on May 1, 1769. He is best remembered for winning the Peninsular campaign & defeating Napoleonat Waterloo. We recommend Christopher Hibbert's excellent one-volume biography Wellington: A Personal History and Alan Schom's delightfully harsh Napoleon Bonaparte: A Life.
Joseph Heller (1923-2000) was born in Brooklyn, NY on May 1, 1923. Read Orrin's review of Catch-22(Grade: A)
Bing Crosby was born in Tacoma, WA on May 2, 1903. In addition to selling 300 million records, he won a Best Actor Oscar for Going My Way.
The King James Bible was published on May 2, 1611. Perhaps only Shakespeare has had a greater influence on the English language.
John Collier (1901-80) was born in London, ENG on May 3, 1901. Read Orrin's review of Fancies and Goodnights (1951).
Graham Swift (1949-) was born in London, ENG on May 4, 1949. Brothers Judd recommends his terrific novel Waterland
David Gutterson (1956-) was born in Seattle, WA on May 4, 1956. Read Orrin's review of Snow Falling on Cedars (1994) (Grade: C-)
Henryk Sienkiewicz (1846-1916) was born on May 5, 1846. Read Orrin's review of Quo Vadis? (1896)(Henryk Sienkiewicz 1846-1916)(translated by W. S. Kuniczak)(Grade: A+)
Orson Welles was born in Kenosha, WI on May 6, 1915. He was just 26 when his masterpiece Citizen Kane (1941) was released. It is widely acknowledged to be the greatest movie ever made.
Both Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) and Peter Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) were born on May 7. Brahms in Hamburg, Germany in 1833. Tchaikovsky in Votkinsk, Russia in 1840.
Happy Birthday to Jenna Walter (May 8)
Romain Gary (1914-80) was born in Vilnius, Lithuania on May 8, 1914. Read Orrin's review of The Roots of Heaven (1956) (Grade: A+)
Harry S Truman (1884-1972), our most overrated president, was born in Lamar, MO on May 8, 1884. Read Orrin's review of Truman (1992)(David McCullough 1933-) (Grade: B)
Friedrich August von Hayek (1899-1992) was born in Vienna, Austria on May 8, 1899. Read Orrin's review of The Road to Serfdom (1944)(Grade: A+)
It's the anniversary of V-E DAY, May 8, 1945, "Victory in Europe."
Thomas Pynchon (1937-) was born in Glen Cove, Long Island on May 8, 1937.
Richard McKenna (1913-64) was born in Mountain Home, ID on May 9, 1913. Read Orrin's review of The Sand Pebbles (1962)
Richard Adams was born in Newbury, GB on May 9, 1920. His excellent fantasy Watership Down (1972) made Joe Doggett's Suggested Summer Reading List for Students.
James M Barry (1860-1937), author of the children's classic Peter Pan: the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up, was born in Angus, Scotland on May 9, 1860.
Abolitionist John Brown was born in Torrington, CT on May 9, 1800. In October 1859 he led an abortive revolt to free the slaves, taking over the arsenal at Harper's Ferry, VA. Robert E. Lee was sent out to subdue him and Brown was subsequently tried and, after a passionate final speech, was hanged.
Camilo Jose Cela (1916-) was born in Spain on May 11, 1916. Read Orrin's review of The Family of Pacual Duarte (1942)(Grade: A-)
Farley Mowatt (1921-), author of the nature classic Never Cry Wolf, was born in Belleville, ONT on May 12, 1921. Here's an interesting article from Salon about his alleged embellishments of his tales.
Edward Lear , illustrator and author
of nonsense verse, was born in Halloway, England on May 12, 1812.
Lawrence Peter "Yogi" Berra (1925-) was born in St. Louis, MO on May 12, 1925. Three time MVP, he hit 358 homeruns and appeared in 14 World Series. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972.
Arlington National Cemetery opened on May 13, 1864, on land previously owned by Robert E. Lee. Stephen spent many days with The Old Guard honoring and burying America's fallen soldiers. Read Gardens of Stone by Nicholas Proffitt, or see the movie (if you listen carefully you can hear Stephen singing cadence during the Vietnam war scene montage.)
The state of Israel was born on May 14, 1948.
George Lucas (1944) was born in Modesto, CA on May 14, 1944. Visit the official Star Wars site.
L. Frank Baum (1856-1919) was born in Chittenango, NY on May 15, 1856. Read Orrin's review of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1899)
Andy Kaufman died on May 16, 1984. Jim Carrey starred as Kaufman in the Milos Forman biopic Man in the Moon.
On May 17, 1954, in Brown vs. Board of Education, the Supreme Court unanimously declared that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal" and, as such, violate the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which guarantees all citizens "equal protection of the laws."
THE NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE opened on May 17, 1792.
James "Cool Papa" Bell (1903-91) was born in Starkville, MS on May 17, 1903. Satchel Paige said of Bell that he was so fast that he could flick the light switch in their hotel room and be in bed before the light went out.
Karol Jozef (John Paul II) Wojtyla (1920-) was born in Wadowice, POL on May 18, 1920. He is one of Brothers Judd's Ten Greatest Figures of the 20th Century.
Malcolm X (1925-65) was born in Omaha, NE on May 19, 1925. He became a Black Muslim in prison and a Muslim minister upon his release in 1952. Following a hadj to Mecca in 1964, he converted to orthodox Islam and abandoned black separatist nationalism. He was gunned down by Black Muslim assassins in February, 1965. His book The Autobiography of Malcolm X (read Orrin's review) made the Modern Library Top 100 Nonfiction books and Mr. Doggett's Student's Summer Reading List.
Charles Lindbergh flew solo from New York to Paris on May 20-21, 1927. Read Orrin's review of Scott Berg's tremendous new biography Lindbergh (Grade: A+) The excellent movie version of the flight, The Spirit of St. Louis (1957)(read Orrin's review of the Pulitzer Prize winning book), stars Jimmy Stewart (1908-97), who was born in Indiana, PA on May 20, 1908 and charted Lindbergh's progress with a wooden plane and a wall map.
Amelia Earhart (1897-1937) became known as Lady
Lindy when she crossed the Atlantic on May 20, 1932
John Stuart Mill (1806-73) was born in London, ENG on May 20, 1806. He was one of the founders of the philosophy of Utilitarianism. Brothers Judd recommends On
Jimmy Stewart (1908-97) was born in Indiana, PA on May 20, 1908. Perhaps the greatest American actor of all time, he made dozens of great movies, particular favorites of Brothers Judd include: You Can't Take It With You (1938); Destry Rides Again (1939); Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (1939); The Philadelphia Story (1940); It's a Wonderful Life (1946); Harvey (1950); Winchester '73 (1950); Rear Window (1954); The Spirit of St. Louis (1957); Vertigo (1958); Anatomy of a Murder (1959); The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962); and, Flight of the Phoenix (1966).
Pope (1688-1744) was born in London on May 21, 1688. You'll recognize the first two lines of Riddle of the World
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) was born in Florence, Italy on May 21, 1265. Read Orrin's review of The Inferno (1314)(translation 1994)(translated by Robert Pinsky 1940-) (Grade: A+)
(Thomas Wright) "Fats" Waller (1904-43) was born in Harlem, New York City, NY on May 21, 1904.
Garry Wills (1934-) was born in Atlanta, GA on May 22, 1934. Read Orrin's review of Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words that Remade America (1992).
Happy Birthday to Betsy Booth (May 22)
Richard Wagner (1813-83) was born in Leipzig on May 22, 1813. His greatest achievement was Der
Ring des Nibelungen, available in a 14 disc set for a mere $144.
Vance Oakley Packard (1914-96) was born in Granville Summit, PA on May 22, 1914. Read Orrin's review of A Nation of Strangers (1972)
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on May 23, 1859. Read Orrin's review of The Hound of the Baskervilles (1901) (Grade: A+)
Par Lagerkvist (1891-1974) was born in Växjö, SWE on May 23, 1891. Read Orrin's review of Barabbas (1951) (Grade: A+)
Happy Birthday to Bill McCarthy (May 24)
John Wayne (1907-1979) was born in Winterset, IA on May 26, 1907. He & John Ford collaborated on two of the greatest movies ever made: The Quiet Man (1952) & The Searchers (1956) and together made the Brothers Judd Ten Greatest Cultural Figures of the 20th Century
Washington Roebling (1837-1926) , who succeeeded his Dad as chief engineeer on the Brooklyn Bridge, was born in Saxonburg, PA on May 26, 1837. Read Orrin's review of The Great Bridge : The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge (1972)(David McCullough 1933-) (Grade: A+)
John Cheever (1912-82) was born in Quincy, MA on May 27, 1912. Read Orrin's reviews of The Stories of John Cheever (1975) & The Wapshot Chronicles (1957)
Edmund Morris (1940-) was born in Nairobi, Kenya on May 27, 1940. Read Orrin's review of Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan (1999)(Grade: A/F)
Tony Hillerman (1925-) was born in
Sacred Heart, OK on May 27, 1925. Try any of his terrific series of Navajo Tribal Police procedurals, like The Dark Wind (1982) (Tony Hillerman 1925-)
Dashiell Hammett (1894-1961), was born in St. Mary's County., MD on May 27, 1999. An alcoholic, VD ridden, philandering, Stalinist, he went to prison for refusing to testify before HUAC, but he also wrote one of the great novels of all time, The Maltese Falcon (1930)(read Orrin's review, Grade: A+) & virtually created the hard-boiled private eye genre.
Herman Wouk (1915-) was born in New York, NY on May 27, 1915. Read Orrin's review of The Caine Mutiny (1951)(Herman Wouk 1915-)
Ian Fleming (1908-1964) was born in London, England on May 28, 1908. Read Orrin's review of Dr. No (1958) (Grade: B+)
Walker Percy (1916-1990) was born in Birmingham, AL on May 28, 1916. We especially recommend The Last Gentleman, and Orrin reviewed The Moviegoer one of the Modern Library Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century.
GK Chesterton (1874-1936) was born in London, ENG on May 29, 1874. Read Orrin's review of The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare (1908) (Grade: A)
John F. Kennedy (1914-63) was born in Brookline, MA on May 29, 1914.
Happy Birthday to Glenn Dryfoos (May 30)
On May 5, 1866, the people of Waterloo, NY decorated the graves of Civil War dead. Commander in Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, John A. Logan, proclaimed May 30th Decoration Day in 1868. In 1882 the name was changed to Memorial Day & President Nixon moved the holiday to the last Monday in May in 1971. We honor the memory of those who died to make and keep us free.
Walt Whitman (1819-92) was born in West Hills, NY on May 31, 1819. His masterpiece is Leaves of Grass (1855).
Clinton Eastwood Jr. (1930-) was born in San Francisco, CA on May 31, 1930. Brothers Judd reccomends Hang 'em High (1967) (directed by Ted Post 1918-)