Return to Content

Book Reviews: Yankee authors

Book Reviews: Yankee authors
0 votes, 0.00 avg. rating (0% score)
Print Friendly

These two books have three things in common: Both are by former Yankee writers from Massachusetts, both are compulsively readable, and both are about quests.

Suzanne Strempek Shea’s Sundays in America (Beacon Press, $24.95) begins with the flood of grief that accompanied the death of Pope John Paul II. “As a Catholic who in recent years had experienced a spiritual disconnect,” she writes, “I felt a true homesickness for that level of passion.” So she goes on a yearlong odyssey to 52 Protestant churches of all sizes and descriptions, from a Shaker meetinghouse at Sabbathday Lake in Maine to a Houston megachurch that seats 16,000.

Todd Balf’s Major (Crown, $24) is about another pilgrim: Marshall “Major” Taylor, a black bicycle racer who set seven world records and won both the world championship in 1899 and the U.S. championship in 1900, despite the pervasive racism of that time. He was the world’s fastest human — no machine of that era could match the speed of a racing bike, and Major’s time for the 200-meter sprint is only half a second off the current world record.

Major’s forte was “the jump,” the last two seconds of the race. “Those two seconds were his cathedral,” Balf writes, forced into religious metaphor. “His search for those two seconds, for a perfect jump, was a holy grail, a mantra repeated, a pilgrim’s pattern in the sand.”

Please Note: This information was accurate at the time of publication. When planning a trip, please confirm details by directly contacting any company or establishment you intend to visit.

Tags: ,
Tim Clark


Tim Clark


Tim Clark has been writing for Yankee Magazine and The Old Farmer's Almanac since 1975. Subjects of his many Yankee profiles have included filmmaker Ken Burns, historian Barbara Tuchman, pediatrician and political activist Dr. Benjamin Spock, and World War II General James Gavin. Tim left his job as Managing Editor in 1999 to teach English at ConVal High School in Peterborough, N.H. for 13 years, but since retiring from that demanding and rewarding profession in 2012, he has continued to contribute articles and book reviews. Tim lives in Dublin, N.H., two miles from the offices of Yankee Publishing, and serves as Town Moderator, a post previously occupied by Rob Sagendorph, the founder of Yankee Magazine.

Give the Gift of Yankee Magazine and get a Gift in Return!

Send a one-year gift subscription of Yankee Magazine for only $17.99 a 50% savings. In return we will send you a free 2016 Scenes of New England Calendar (a $9.95 value)!


No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

We reserve the right to remove or edit comments that are offensive or disrespectful to our readers and/or writers, cannot be verified, lack clarity, or contain profanity. Your comments may be republished by Yankee Magazine across multiple platforms.

Register Sign In

©2015, Yankee Publishing Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Yankee Publishing Inc., | P.O. Box 520, Dublin, NH 03444 | (603) 563-8111

< Prev
Next >

The Winterpills | Music Review

WinterpillsThe Winterpills blew onto the national music scene like a bitter wind with their hit ...

Related Articles