I get a lot of requests from PR folk to review or promote products, books, etc., and generally, unless they’re directly related to the blog, I ignore them. Plus, I’ve found that an amazing number of them want me to do so without ever having tried the product or read the book. Now and again they’ll basically castigate me for “not living somewhere convenient for us to send it to you”. Well then, why contact me in the first place? So when I get an email asking me to promote Time Inc.’s new book Inside the Red Border, in this case because apparently at some point in the book chef Mario Batali makes an appearance and that made it relevant to me and my readers, I sighed my usual sigh and sent back my usual note saying I don’t do promotions, but I’d be happy to review the book if they wanted to send me a copy. I expected not to hear from them again, but, in a surprise move, they gave me a link to an electronic version – not downloadable, but viewable online.
And that’s a shame, because having read through the book, I’d love to download it and own a copy and may end up doing so – the ebook versions are inexpensive (Kindle, Nook, and iBook). I’ll be honest, the vague relation to Mario does nothing for me – it’s a mini-graphic of a cover that never ran that’s included on a page of multiple covers that never ran, with only a short sentence describing it. But, anyone who reads my blog regularly knows I’m a bit of a history buff, and while most of my mentions of history in the blog tend to be focused on Argentina, simply because it relates to the rest of the content, I avidly read history narratives from all over the globe.
The particularly cool thing about this book is it’s a great one for both folk who really want to read some history – admittedly in small bites – but it’s equally as good for folk who just want to look at the pictures. Essentially, it’s an abbreviated look at modern history, i.e., for the period for which Time Magazine has been being published (since 1923), through a combination of selected covers and original text to accompany them. For those who are into the minutiae, they also reveal who authored the cover commentary (if you read Time, there’s always a paragraph or two inside about what the cover picture is all about, but it’s never been bylined in the magazine, and includes some quite well known authors). The book is divided into various sections, that cover topics like U.S. Presidents, World War II, Revolutionaries, Athletes, Artists, Scientists, Technology, Trends, etc., each section beginning with one iconic cover with a longer introduction to the topic, and then followed by pages of smaller cover reproductions with their original captions and an additional short blurb.
For me, leafing through the pages brought back many memories, both good and bad – having lived through 55 of Time’s 90 years of history. And hey, I even found a cover of Eva Peron, so there can be some relevance to the blog!
Although I’d recommend a hardcover copy ($21.38), simply because it’s the sort of book to put out on display, plus page through now and again, these days, some of us just settle for the electronic version ($9.99). Here are links to both, and I do, obviously, recommend the book!