Living With Autism

Feb 23, 2017

While Temple Grandin has become a well-known exemplar of a person with autism, attaining that status required overcoming a daunting series of challenges. It was a journey begun and largely shared with her mother, Eustacia Cutler, who has become an ardent advocate for families that include children on the autism spectrum. She has her own story to tell.

Life Inside the Beach Boys

Oct 22, 2016

It’s been half a century since the Beach Boys were at their peak in the 1960s, yet their music endures and surviving members of the band maintain a busy concert schedule. One of them is founding singer Mike Love, whose new autobiography charts the often rocky history inside the band.

With dozens of books about the Beach Boys already published, why another one? Love says he wanted to offer his own unique perspective.

A Dark Musical Biography of Jack London

Jul 31, 2016
Sonoma City Opera

  All this week, the North Bay report is revisiting archival stories about lesser known aspects of Jack London’s life and work. We begin today with a look back at the 2006 biographical opera, “Every Man Jack,” composed by Libby Larsen.

Mezzo Soprano Jennifer as Charmian London is featured in this scene from the 2006 Sonoma State production of Every Man Jack below. Jack is played by Rod Gilfrey.

The History of Women’s History Month

Mar 1, 2015

 It is Women’s History Month again, as it has been every March since 1988. But the roots of that national observation reach back even further, to 1977, when they first sprouted here in Sonoma County.

Shady Characters from Western History

Jan 20, 2014

  History is dotted with notorious characters, and often know their names and not much more about them. A six week extension class beginning tomorrow night at Santa Rosa Junior College aims to fill that gap, and we get a short preview from the instructor.

You can register online for Bruce Elliott's "Shady Characters in Western History" class  here.

A Founding Father of California

Jan 12, 2014

 Father Junipero Serra was a man of curious contradictions, in the view of biographer Greg Orfala , a Spanish priest who saw, and served the Crown by shaping the indigenous culture into the missions that dot California, and even found merit in Native American spirituality.

Though most Californians who recognize the name of Father Serra hold a rosily favorable impression of the priest, there are some who see him as a exemplar of Spanish imperialism in the New World. Serra biographer Gregory Orfalea says neither extreme is an accurate perception of the real man.

"A Man and His Mountain"

Nov 25, 2013

Kendall-Jackson wines are far better known than the man behind them. A new biography of Jess Jackson tells the story of the vintner and his accomplishments.

A Man and His Mountain marks the first time that author Edward Humes turned his attention to a biography.  He reflects that it was a project quite different from his long-form journalistic books.


Robert Ripley: A Curious Man

Aug 1, 2013

The brand of Ripley’s Believe It Or Not has long outlived its creator, and largely eclipsed the one-time celebrity of the man himself. A new biography revives the details of his improbable life.

  It’s somewhat surprising that the personal history of Robert Ripley has faded from public awareness, agrees biographer Neal Thompson. But without heirs or family to perpetuate his name, it’s also understandable.