It was on April 18, 1775 that Paul Revere, Bill Dawes and Sam Prescott, made their famous "midnight ride" to warn colonial militiamen that British troops were advancing toward Lexington and Concord. This marked the beginning of the Revolutionary War.
Clarence Seward Darrow (1857-1938) was born in Kinsman, OH on April 18, 1857. He appears in the recommended books Compulsion and Angel of Darkness.
Alexander Cartwright, who codified the rules of baseball, was born in New York City on April 17, 1820. It is widely assumed that he was divinely inspired when he established the measurement of 90 feet between bases.
Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen, Baroness Blixen-Finecke) was born on April 17, 1885, in Rungsted, Denmark. Read Orrin's review of Out of Africa (1937) (Grade: B+) or watch the excellent movie adaptation.
Thornton Wilder (1897-1975) was born in Madison, WI on April 17, 1897. (Read Orrin's review of his 1927 Pulitzer Prize Winner, The Bridge of San Luis Rey, Grade: C)
Anatole France (1844-1924) was born in Paris, France on April 16, 1844.
Jackie Robinson & the Brooklyn Dodgers broke baseball's color barrier on April 15, 1947. Read Orrin's review of Jackie Robinson: A Biography (1997)(Arnold Rampersad) (Grade: B+)
Henry James (1843-1916) was born in New York City on April 15, 1843. Read Orrin's reviews of The Turn of the Screw (Grade: B), The Ambassadors (1903) & The Wings of the Dove (1902)
Happy Birthday to Mel and Chuck (April 15)
Titanic struck an iceberg on April 14, 1912. Read Walter Lord's excellent account of the sinking in A
Night to Remember.
Frank Serpico was born in on April 14, 1934. Brothers Judd recommends Serpico
(1973) (Peter Maas)
Abraham Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth at Ford's Theater on April 14, 1865. David Herbert Donald's Lincoln
(1995) provides an outstanding one volume account of his life.
Noah Webster, a founder of Amherst College, published his American Dictionary of the English Language, the product of 35 years of work, on April 14, 1818.
Horace McCoy was born in Pegram, TN on April 14, 1897. Brothers Judd recommends They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1935) (Horace McCoy 1897-1955)
Samuel Beckett (1906-89) was born in Foxrock, County Dublin, IRE on April 13, 1906. Read Orrin's review of Waiting for Godot (1948)(Grade: F)
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) was born in Shadwell, VA on April 13, 1743. Read Orrin's review of American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson (1996)(Joseph J. Ellis) (Grade: A-)
F. Scott Fitzgerald's (1896-1940) classic novel The
Great Gatsby was published on April 11, 1925. (read Orrin's review, Grade: A)
O. Henry's great short story The Gift of the Magi was first published on April 10, 1906. Read Orrin's review.
Lew Wallace (1827-1905) was born in Brookville, IN on April 10, 1827. Read Orrin's review of Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1880)(Grade: A+)
Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) was born in Paris, FR on April 9, 1821. His masterwork is The Flowers of Evil.
Barbara Kingsolver (1955-) was born in Annapolis, MD on April 8, 1955. Read Orrin's fairly ugly review of The Poisonwood Bible (Grade: F)
Holiday [Eleanora Fagan](1915-59) was born in Baltimore, MD on April 7, 1915.
William Wordsworth (1770-1850) was born in Cockermouth, GB on April 7, 1770. One of his best known works is Tintern Abbey
Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) was born in Franklin County, VA on April
5, 1856. Read Orrin's review of Up From Slavery (1901) (Grade: A)(#3 on the Modern Library Top 100 Nonfiction Books of the 20th Century)
Colin Powell (1937-) was born in New York, NY on April 5, 1937.
Herbert von Karajan (1908-89) was born in Salzburg, Austria on April 5, 1908.
James Earl Ray assassinated the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, TN. Gerald Posner disproves all of the ridiculous conspiracy theories surrounding the killing in his excellent book Killing the Dream(Read Orrin's review, Grade: B)
Maya Angelou (1928-) was born in St. Louis, MO on April 4, 1928. Read Orrin's review of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969)(Grade: B)
Muddy Waters [McKinley Morganfield](1915-) was born in Rolling Fork, MS on April 4, 1915.
Everett Hale (1822-1909) was born in Boston, MA on April 3, 1822. Read Orrin's review of The Man Without a Country (1863) (Edward Everett Hale 1822-1909) (Grade: A+)
Ma Rainey [Gertrude Pridgett](1886-1939), "The Mother of the Blues", was born in Columbus, GA on April 3, 1888.
Washington Irving (1783-1859) was born in New York, NY on April 3, 1783. Read Orrin's review of Tales of the Alhambra (Grade: A)
The great folklorist Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) was born in Odense, Denmark on April 2, 1805
Emile Zola (1840-) was born in Paris, FR on April 2, 1840. Brothers Judd recommends his novel Germinal (1885)
Whittaker Chambers (1901-61) was born Jay Vivian Chambers in Philadelphia, PA
on April 1, 1901. His long strange journey [brilliantly told in Sam Tanenhaus' prize winning Whittaker Chambers: A Biography (Read Orrin's review, Grade: A)] stands as an allegory of 20th Century man and his own memoir, Witness (1952) (read Orrin's review, Grade : A+), is one of the great books of this or any century. See also Orrin's review of Ghosts on the Roof: Selected Journalism of Whittaker Chambers 1931-1959 (1989) (Whittaker Chambers 1901-61)(edited by Terry Teachout) (Grade: A)
Edmond Rostand (1868-1918) was born in Marseille, FR on April 1, 1868. Read Orrin's review of Cyrano de Bergerac (1897)(Edmond Rostand 1868-1918) (Grade: A+)
Milan Kundera (1929-) was born in Brno, CZ on April 1, 1929. Brothers Judd recommends The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1984).
Toshiro Mifune (1920-97) was born in Tsingtao, China on April 1, 1920. As John Wayne was to John Ford, so was Mifune to Akira Kurosawa. Brothers Judd recommends their collaborations: Rashomon (1950), The Seven Samurai (1954), Throne of Blood (1957), The Hidden Fortress (1958) and Yojimbo (1961). Mifune also starred in an excellent series of films based on the life of Musashi Miyamoto [see Orrin's review of A Book of Five Rings (1645)(Miyamoto Musashi 1584-1645) (Grade: C+)]
Ted Post (1918-) was born in Brooklyn, NY on March 31, 1918. Brothers Judd recommends Hang 'em High (1967) (directed by Ted Post 1918-)
Edward FitzGerald (1809-83) was born on March 31, 1809. Read Orrin's review of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (1859)(Grade: C)
Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol (1809-52) was born on March 31, 1809. Read Orrin's review of Taras Bulba (1839)(Grade: A+)
John Fowles (1926-) was born on March 31, 1926. Read Orrin's review of The Magus (1965)(Grade: C)(#93 on the Modern Library Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century)
Al Gore (1948-) was born on March 31, 1948. Read Orrin's review of Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit (1992)(Grade: F)
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was forced, by popular demand, to bring Sherlock Holmes back to life on March 31, 1905. Read Orrin's review of The Hound of the Baskervilles (1901)(Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 1859-1930) (Grade: A+) Holmes has been revived again in Laurie R. King's acclaimed series of novels; read Orrin's review of The Beekeeper's Apprentice (1994) (Grade: C)
Vincent Van Gogh was born in the Netherlands on March 30, 1853.
Anna Sewell (1820-78) was born in Yarmouth, ENG on March 30, 1820. Read Orrin's review of Black Beauty: The Autobiography of a Horse (1877)(Grade: B-)
Denton True "Cy" Young (1867-1955) was born on March 29, 1867 in Gilmore, Ohio. For all the "unbreakable" records we've seen go down, let's see someone get to 511 victories.
John Tyler (1790-1862) was born in Charles City County, Va., on March 29, 1790.
Albert von Tilzer was born in Indianapolis, IN on March 29, 1872 . He composed the tune for the song, "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," in 1908.
Exley (1929-92) was born on March 28, 1929. Brothers Judd recommends A Fan's Notes (1968)
Nelson Algren (1909-81) was born in Detroit, MI on March 28, 1909. Read Orrin's review of The
Man with the Golden Arm (1949) (Grade: C)