Brigham Young (1801-1877), was born in Whitingham, VT on June 1, 1801. He took over leadership of the Mormon Church upon the murder of Joseph Smith and was largely responsible for the successful settlement of Salt Lake City, UT. He also lead the successful defense of the Mormon Settlements when President James Buchanan sent US Troops against them. Read about this low point in American history in the excellent novel Powderkeg
by Leo V. Gordon & Richard Vetterli
Marilyn Monroe (Norma Jeane Mortenson) (1926-62) was born in Los Angeles, CA on June 1, 1926. Her greatest role was as Sugar Kane in Billy Wilder's Some Like it Hot (1959).
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-)
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.
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.
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.
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-)
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+)
Happy Birthday to Bill McCarthy (May 24)
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+)
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)
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Andy Kaufman died on May 16, 1984. Jim Carrey starred as Kaufman in the Milos Forman biopic Man in the Moon.
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)
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.
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.)
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.
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-)