James McBride's National Book Award-winning novel tells the story of John Brown and his raid on Harpers Ferry from the perspective of a young, freed slave who is mistaken for a girl and spends much of the novel riding the circuit with John Brown. Offensive, hilarious, violent and sad, James McBride fills the Kansas Territory with characters straight out of a Mel Brooks movie and then throws in a dash of Quentin Tarantino for good measure. Told from this perspective, it is simultaneously comic and brutal.
Join us for a discussion of hell and purgatory within Dante’s Divine Comedy, led by Lynn Harris. The Clive James’s translation will be used, which was decades in the making and renders the entire epic as a coherent and compulsively readable lyric poem. Yet the translation reproduces the same wonderful momentum of the original Italian, propelling the reader along the pilgrim’s path from hell to heaven, from despair to revelation.
Monday Night Philosophy arrests your attention with John Mindermann’s insights from his book In Pursuit (co-authored with Brian Solon). Gathered from nearly a decade on the SFPD and his career as an FBI agent, the book details his riveting experiences, including June 17, 1972, when Mindermann just happened to be called in to investigate a burglary at the Watergate complex. You cannot get any closer to history than this.
Pius XI, who was pope during Mussolini’s rise to power in the 1920s, arranged to accept Il Duce’s political dominance in return for assurances of rights and privileges for the church. Over time, Pius XI became conflicted about fascism and Italy’s alliance with Nazi Germany. He prepared a statement condemning the Nazis as he was dying in 1938, but others in the Vatican prevented the original draft from being distributed. Kertzer explores ecclesiastical skullduggery and intrigue, including information revealed in recently opened Vatican archives.
Jerry Kaplan, Entrepreneur; Technical Innovator; Author; Futurist
Computers with artificial intelligence, or AI, date back to the 1950s, and since then, the technology has advanced to all sorts of new levels. It seems that the average American now depends on AI several times throughout the day. Computers aren’t just computers anymore. They are becoming much more than that, and the advancement of this technology has many people discussing the dangers of “synthetic intellects.” Read more »
Janet Napolitano, President of University of California; Former Secretary of Homeland Security; Former Governor of Arizona Charlotte Jacobs, M.D. Professor of Medicine (Emerita), Stanford University; Author, Jonas Salk: A Life
Part of the Club’s Good Lit Series, Underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation Read more »