Not Afraid to Go Against Diverse Tide

In his latest book Jews, Confucians and Protestants: Cultural Capital and the End of Multiculturalism, Lawrence E. Harrison, a senior research fellow and adjunct lecturer at Tufts University, presents an unorthodox investigation into what constitutes a universal progress culture. He does this by examining cultures through the lens of a set of values that include a focus on education, achievement, merit, frugality and ethical behavior.

It is his belief that these goals are facilitated mostly through the beliefs and attitudes inherent in Jewish, Confucian and Protestant cultures.

'Tis the Season to Embrace Differences

The Christmas holiday season can be a challenging time for American Jews and yet according to Rabbi Joshua Eli Plaut, PhD, former rabbi of the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center, this has not always been the case.

Siblings Embrace River of Words and Each Other

Fact and fiction sat across from each other over coffee one morning this week. They also happened to be brother and sister.

“I write history and was jealous of the freedom that you had,” Paul Schneider said to his sister, Bethany (Bee) Ridgway.

“With fiction, you can do whatever you want,” she agreed. “As an academic, I’m so pencil-licky about things. I just busted free.

Author Discusses Past, Present and Future of Dunbar High School

It was standing room only Wednesday night at the Bunch of Grapes Bookstore in Vineyard Haven when broadcast and TV journalist Alison Stewart of New York and Oak Bluffs told the story of writing her new book, First Class: The Legacy of Dunbar, America’s First Black Public High School. Although she has had a 20-year career anchoring and reporting for MTV, PBS, NBC News, ABC News and CBS News, First Class is her first book.

No Easy Fix for Broken Political Machine

Mark Leibovich’s new book This Town, a critical expose of the Washington power structure and New York Times best seller this summer, is as popular with the right as it is with the left. Or with anyone who believes that government is broken.

Putting Words to Hard Truths, Author Digs Into Human Psyche

Fred Waitzkin, whose memoir Searching for Bobby Fischer inspired the movie by the same name, has been waiting his whole life to write a novel. A seasoned journalist and seasonal resident of the Vineyard, Mr. Waitzkin said that his nonfiction books had progressively begun to resemble novels. He finally decided it was now or never.

Benton and Pollock

Two trailblazing artists and their relationship is the theme of historian Henry Adams’s book Tom and Jack: The Intertwined Lives of Thomas Hart Benton and Jackson Pollock. Abstract impressionist Mr. Pollock let the paint fall where it may, while Mr. Benton’s style was the polar opposite. Mr. Pollock was a student of Benton’s.

Michael Pollan Dishes Up Cooking Lessons to Sold Out Crowd

Michael Pollan left an overflow crowd at the Farm Institute with a clear message last week: start cooking.

“You can take a deep dive into the soul with cooking,” he said a during a sold-out a reading of his new book Thursday night.

After 30 Years With Whitey Bulger, They're Ready for New Chapter

As a jury deliberates in a Boston federal court over the fate of notorious mobster James (Whitey) Bulger, families of victims, law enforcement and a fascinated public await the outcome of the long saga of Whitey and the corrupt FBI. In the United States v. James J. Bulger, the famous South Boston resident is charged with 32 counts, including extortion, money laundering and 19 counts of murder.

From Bagels to Big Time Food Writing, Island Feeds His Passion

In the summer of 1971 Michael Pollan’s pig Kosher won first prize at the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Fair. But her glory was short-lived.

Folksinger James Taylor had also entered his pig, Mona, at the fair. She, too, won a blue ribbon. Mona, a very large pig, was made famous by a celebrated photograph of Mr. Taylor and the pig walking on his property in West Tisbury.