Former Washington Post reporter Peter Carlson’s terrific book Junius and Albert’s Adventures in the Confederacy: A Civil War Odyssey follows two colorful pals as they try to escape the South. That may sound like the plot of a certain classic American novel, but this isn’t fiction. Junius Browne and Albert Richardson were covering the Civil War for the New York Tribune when they hitched a ride aboard a tugboat ferrying supplies to Grant’s army at Vicksburg. Confederates bombarded the tug, and the two were captured and imprisoned. They escaped and walked more than 300 miles to safety. Here’s a conversation with Carlson.
The world said goodbye to Nigerian author Chinua Achebe in March, but the towering man of letters survives through works such as his classic novel Things Fall Apart and the many writers he inspired. One of those, Achebe’s 35-year-old compatriot Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, reminds us just how worthy an heir she is, with her big, masterful new book, Americanah.