Tuesday, January 7, 2003

Local Lit

New titles from area writers

By Rob Stout
Enquirer Contributor

The American Diaspora

By Murray Weiner (WCI Publications and Hillel Jewish Student Center; $17.50). Individual perception, cultural identity and the American immigrant experience form the intellectual starting gate from which Mr. Weiner, a Cincinnati medical researcher, contemplates the origins of the modern American mind-set. Mr. Weiner's own diaspora mirrored that of many Russian Jews during the 20th century and, in outlining his own family "theme," he touches upon larger concepts that continue to influence the thinking and behavior of European descendants.

Amusement Parks of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky

By Robert J. Wimberg (Ohio Book Store; $27.95). When thinking of area amusement parks, Coney and Kings Island seem to have taken up exclusive residence in our collective memory, but Mr. Wimberg, a Cincinnati native, informs readers of a richer tradition with histories of some 30 parks. Of particular interest are chapters devoted to forgotten neighborhood parks such as the Ludlow Lagoon, Highland Grove and Latonia Springs, which come illustrated with period engravings and rare black-and-white photographs.

Ohio Off the Beaten Path

By George and Carol Zimmerman (Globe Pequot Press; $12.95). The ninth edition to this beloved series casts its gaze on Ohio from well beyond the interstate in an offering of smaller and sometimes quirkier attractions. Bed and breakfasts, state parks and museums devoted to local or special interests seem to win favor with the authors. The guide's compact size emphasizes the series' intent of providing a carry-along supplement to a road map or larger, more conventional travel guide.

The Other Side of a Sailor

By George Anderson (Vantage; $24.95). There's lots of drinking and plenty of run-ins with the Shore Patrol, but not much else in this uneven tale of naval life by Mr. Anderson, a retired chief petty officer and Goshen resident. Through all the misadventure, Daljan, whom the narrative follows from boy's home to foreign service, attempts to find a kinship missing from his life. This, the "other side" of the title, fails to materialize, leaving readers with little more than salty anecdotes strung together by flat prose.

Walloon Tales

By John Roberts (Micropress; $23.95). This curious flip-book chronicles the evolution of a small lake through 14 short chapters with corresponding images. The forces of time and nature transform the body of water from a glacial mass into a vibrant presence that eventually supports a tribe of early native Americans. The author, an area surgeon, uses an omnipresent voice and clipped, resolute sentences in what reads as an extended bedtime story for New Age adults.

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