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Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties by Tom O’Neill

9 Oct

Chaos
Mad scientists experimenting with hallucinogenic drugs, undercover CIA agents pretending to be hippies, and sleazy Hollywood lawyers who make Saul Goodman and Lionel Hutz seem honest all populate the pages of Chaos, Tom O’Neill’s magnum opus that often seems too bizarre to be labeled non-fiction. What all of these figures have in common is that they have been connected to the murders of the Manson Family and O’Neill believes that their stories poke some major holes in the official narrative that has been retold so many times in pop culture. As O’Neill delves deeper into the stories of these characters living on the margins of Hollywood and the Haight-Ashbury, he comes to the chilling conclusion that almost everything that has been sold to the public about the Manson Family was based on lies.

The story of the Manson Family and their horrific killing spree known as the Tate-LaBianca Murders has been retold so frequently that when O’Neill began researching the story in 1999 for an article for the 30th anniversary of the killings in the now defunct Premiere magazine, he didn’t think there was anything to say that hadn’t been said hundreds of times before. Manson’s connection to the Beach Boys and the Beatles has become a part of the lore of the dark side of the 1960s counter-culture and the motive for his crimes, a white-supremacist race war he called “Helter Skelter,” was considered settled by lead prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi’s true-crime classic of the same name.

Although his editors initially expected a short piece about how Hollywood has changed since the killings, O’Neill’s obsessive research continued for twenty years as he uncovered documents about the Los Angeles Police Department, Manson’s probation officer, the CIA, and even the Warren Commission that left glaring inaccuracies in how Bugliosi sold the Helter Skelter motive to the public. Chaos is compulsively footnoted with these documents for any readers who may be skeptical about O’Neill’s sources.

I don’t want to reveal much more than what I have already said about Chaos. The book is mind-blowing in scope and it’s best that readers start Chaos not knowing much about the shocking discoveries O’Neill uncovers. While readers may feel frustrated that O’Neill is hesitant to draw any definitive conclusions from his research, the joy of reading Chaos is less in figuring out exactly what happened to Charles Manson and more in being alongside O’Neill as he explores the mysterious figures who populate the underbelly of California’s counterculture in 60s and 70s.  Chaos may be one of the most entertaining books of the true crime genre in years.  As well as being available from the Hoboken Public Libary in print, you can borrow it as a digital audiobook from eBCCLS.

Written by
Karl Schwartz
Young Adult Librarian

eBCCLS is so Cheesy!: Check out these ebooks and learn all about enjoying and making cheese!

21 Aug

My family and I are all huge cheese fans. Whether you are already enjoy eating or making cheese or are just curious about trying out new cheeses beyond the plastic wrapped day-glow orange “American” then check out some of these cheesy ebooks.

A Year in Cheese: A Seasonal Cheese Cookbook 
by Alex Guarneri and Leo Guarneri
Year in Cheese
Recently my husband and I were shopping for cheese and noticed his favorite cheese: Red Hawk by Cow Girl Creamery was listed as a seasonal cheese. I often think of fruits and veggies as seasonal, but hadn’t till that moment thought of cheeses as a seasonal food. In A Year in Cheese, Guarneri looks at the optimal times to eat different types of cheeses. Things like the seasonal diet of the animal being milked and optimal maturing times both are components on determining the best times for cheeses. Summer is all about fresh cheeses like ricotta and mozzarella. Soon we will be coming on the peak time for autumn cheeses when they recommended medium-hard cheeses. Included are a variety of delicious seasonal dishes including fig and ricotta tart, cheddar rarebit with cauliflower, and baked camembert with rosemary.

Say Cheese: A Kid’s Guide to Cheese Making
by Ricki Carroll and Sarah Carroll
Say Cheese
My son loves cheeses; his favorites are Midnight Moon and mozzarella. Recently we bought a kit to make our own mozzarella, but felt a bit intimidated since we’ve enjoyed eating cheese, but never tried making it ourselves. Say Cheese makes cheese making look fun and easy. Though cheese making is something best done with some adult assistants for younger children, all ages will enjoy the fun fact the book contains such as that eating cheese helps to neutralize acids that cause cavities and helps create a protective film on teeth. Besides recipes for cheeses like feta and ricotta it also contains kid friendly recipes like quesadillas and mac and cheese.

Homemade Cheese: Recipes for 50 Cheeses from Artisan Cheesmakers
by Janet Hurst
Homemade Cheese
For those ready to move on to more complicated cheese, Janet Hurst’s Homemade Cheese has recipes for everything from Cheddar to Brie and Blue Cheese. She discusses a variety of topics including molds, aging cheeses and rennet- an ingredient used in the cheesemaking process. I also found interesting her descriptions of the cheesmakers she encountered some of whom provided recipes for the book.

Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge
by Gordon Edgar
Cheesemonger
Hurst’s book gives insight into those making cheese, but if you are curious about the life of the cheesemonger who sells you cheese then check out Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge. Gordon Edgar, the cheese buyer for Rainbow Grocery Cooperative in San Francisco, was not a typically trained culinary expert, but started out as a punk rock activist. The memoir details his quirky experience working in San Francisco as well as his passion for fromage. Although the book is not intended to be a guide book, it does give overviews at the end of chapters of some of the cheeses that Edgar’s discusses.

Composing the Cheese Plate: Recipes, Pairings, & Platings for the Inventive Cheese Course
by Brian Keyser and Leigh Friend
Cheese Plate
One of my favorite things to share for entertaining are cheese plates. We like to bring cheese with us when we go to conventions and we know we might have friends hanging out in our room after panels (a step up from chips and dip). Whether homemade or bought from a store, cheese plates provide a variety of taste to choose from, are elegant without seeming too fussy and allow your guests the fun of trying something new. Brian Keyser and Leigh Friend step readers through the process in Composing the Cheese Plate with information on topics including the different categories of cheeses, recommendations about lactose intolerance and eating cheese during pregnancy, and suggestions for accompaniments, presentation, how to wrap cheeses, and more. Included are all sorts of accompaniments for your cheese plate such as herbes de provence caramel corn, brown sugar fudge, and rosemary pine nuts that can also be used in a variety of dishes.

Other ebooks available from eBCCLS include Vegan Cheese: Simple, Delicious Plant-Based Recipes by Jules Aron, The Book of Cheese: The Essential Guide to Discovering Cheeses You’ll Love by Liz Thorpe, Sheridan’s Guide to Cheese: A Guide to High-Quality Artisan Farmhouse Cheeses by Kevin Sheridan and For the Love of Cheese: Recipes and Wisdom from the Cheese Boutique by Afrim Pristine. You can even read The Cheese Trap: How Breaking a Surprising Addiction Will Help You Lose Weight, Gain Energy, and Get Healthy by Neal D Barnard which won’t stop me from enjoying cheese, but is a reminder that all things are best in moderation.

Besides eBCCLS, Hoboken residents can also check out ebooks from eLibraryNJ and Hoopla!  Plus you can borrow magazines from RBdigital including foodie favorites like Bon Appetite, Cook’s Illustrated and Food Network Magazine.

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Head of Reference

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