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ARC Review: The Divorce Colony

The Divorce Colony: How Women Revolutionized Marriage and Found Freedom on the American Frontier by April White April White’s The Divorce Colony is set during the Gilded Age, in the America of the late 1800s. It revolves around the lax divorce rules then to be found in South Dakota.  Today, getting divorced is almost easier than getting married. But in the Gilded Age, divorces were not so easy to obtain. Divorce was viewed as a moral concern for the state, and was denounced from the pulpit for threatening the sanctity of marriage. Even President Theodore Roosevelt spoke out against it.  Laws around divorce tended to be most lax on the frontiers of the United States. By the 1880s the territory of Dakota gained the dubious honor of posting the largest rise in divorces in the country. At the turn of the century one city - Sioux Falls, South Dakota - gained a reputation for having the laxest divorce laws of all, and required only a three month residency in order to take advantage of them

Review: The Greatest Beer Run Ever: A Memoir of Friendship, Loyalty, and War

The Greatest Beer Run Ever: A Memoir of Friendship, Loyalty, and War by John "Chick" Donohue

It's November, 1967 and 26 year old John "Chickie" Donohue, former Marine, now Merchant Marine, is in a neighborhood bar in Inwood, in upper Manhattan, when talk turns to the neighbor boys who are fighting in Vietnam. Concerns are rising among the patrons about the war protests at home and their impact on the boys' morale. "Someone should go over there and buy them a beer", suggests the bartender, nicknamed the Colonel. Before you know it, Chickie, who has half jokingly volunteered to take that challenge, is on the crew of a ship bound for Vietnam, with a couple of cases of beer in tow.

Chickie is a people person, who loves to talk and wins friends easily. These traits help him to actually pull this challenge off, and they also help him tell us the crazy, funny story of how he did it.

I saw a few interviews with Chickie Donohue when the book came out, and I was a little worried that it would tell a tale that made light of the war, and if that had been the case I would have been pretty disappointed. But there is serious war history along with respect for those who served in Chickie's humorous tale. He and co-author J.T. Molloy get the tone just right - the book reads as if you were sitting at the bar nursing beers with Chickie while he shared this story with you about him and his friends from the neighborhood.

I've had this book on hold on Libby since it came out last November. Just in time for Memorial Day weekend it popped up as available - great timing, and well worth the wait! I don't know when was the last time I read a book as funny and heart warming as this one. I rate The Greatest Beer Run Ever 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ - this book is fantastic - I think anyone with any interest in the Vietnam War or late 20th Century US history, or really just in friendship and humorous, well told tales, should read this book.

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Borrow or Purchase The Greatest Beer Run Ever here:

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Title: The Greatest Beer Run Ever: A Memoir of Friendship, Loyalty, and War
Author: John "Chick" Donahue
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publish Date: November 10, 2020
ISBN-13: 9780062995469
List Price: $22.39 (Hard Cover as of 12/22/2021)

Revised Dec 2021