By D.G. Martin D.G. Martin hosts “North Carolina Bookwatch,” which airs Sundays at noon and Thursdays at 5 p.m. on UNC-TV. For more information or to view prior programs visit
  • A Word to Make Trump Immortal

    August 9, 2016 at 1:00 am

    He has put his mark on buildings and businesses that might last a lifetime. But could he more effectively gain immortality by adding his name to the language? That is the way, for instance, that Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry did it 200 years ago. He signed a partisan redistricting plan in which one district looked […]

  • Chang and Eng: Chapter Two

    August 2, 2016 at 1:00 am

    Sometimes a simple newspaper column can take its writer to surprising places. For instance, after my column on the Siamese Twins was published last month, I got a call from Henry Bunker who lives in Mebane. His brother, Fred, read the column and passed it to Henry. “We’re descendants of the twins,” Henry said, “and […]

  • Take a Break From Politics; Read Books

    July 26, 2016 at 1:00 am

    Do you need relief from two weeks of over-the-top contentious politics? Here are four books that could give both Trump and Clinton supporters a break from worrying about our political future. One is the paperback edition of a poignant memoir by one of North Carolina’s most important novelists. It hit bookstore shelves this week. Another […]

  • Our two great Robert Morgans

    July 19, 2016 at 1:00 am

    North Carolinians of my generation have been blessed with two important Robert Morgans. One is the mountain-born-and-raised and acclaimed writer who is featured this week on North Carolina Bookwatch for his latest novel, “Chasing the North Star.” The other, the former U.S. senator, died on Saturday. My dream had been that author Morgan would write […]

  • Clinton needs Biden: So Do We

    July 12, 2016 at 1:00 am

    For her sake, and for ours, I hope Hillary Clinton asks Joe Biden to run for a third vice presidential term this fall. There are several important reasons; the most important one is at the end of this column. She needs help in dampening the appeal of Donald Trump to white workingmen in key battleground […]

  • Our two most famous citizens

    July 6, 2016 at 1:00 am

    If I asked you to name our state’s best-known citizen, living or dead, whom would you suggest? Hint: What if I said to think of people of who lived in Mount Airy? I bet you would then say Andy Griffith. After all, his still popular TV show was set in Mayberry, which was based on […]

  • Sealing family ties with dripping red wax

    June 28, 2016 at 1:00 am

    On the second weekend of June, people in Louisville, Kentucky, laid to rest two leading citizens. One of them, of course, was Muhammad Ali, buried on June 10. The other, my cousin Boyce F. Martin Jr., was buried the next day. Recently retired, he was for many years chief judge of the U.S. Court of […]

  • Books for summer: Mountains and Military

    June 21, 2016 at 1:00 am

    If you want some more tips for good summer reading from recent books by North Carolina authors, I have four suggestions, two set in the mountains, two about our military. An obvious choice if you are planning a trip to the mountains is Randy Johnson’s book, “Grandfather Mountain: The History and Guide to an Appalachian […]

  • Voting for the devil?

    June 14, 2016 at 1:00 am

    “You would vote for the devil if he were a Democrat, wouldn’t you?” Thus begins an old story that makes fun of an old-time party-loyal, “yellow-dog” Democrat. His friend was teasing him about his unwillingness ever to stray from his party’s candidates even if they were obviously unsuited to hold public office. “Well,” the yellow-dog […]

  • Putting Trump aside; remembering Ali and Patt Derian

    June 7, 2016 at 1:00 am

    The death of Muhammad Ali last week took away Donald Trump’s monopoly of television news coverage, at least for a time. There was some irony, of course, as the “I am the greatest” clips from Ali replaced similar campaign assertions by Trump. Ali and Trump are certainly the two most unapologetic and unabashed public proclaimers […]