D.G. Martin

One on One: “Cold Mountain” 20 years later

“It was not a book that required following from front to back, and Inman simply opened it at random, as he had done night after night in the hospital to read until he was calm enough for sleep.” That book was “Bartram’s Travels,” as described in Charles Frazier’s classic novel, “Cold Mountain.” Bartram’s book is a treasured possession of Inman, the wounded Confederate soldier who has deserted. As he makes his way from a Raleigh hospital to his home on Cold Mountain west of Asheville for a hoped-for reunion with his beloved Ada, he opens Bartram regularly to read...

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One on One: End-of-Summer Reads Challenge Our View of History

Two recent books have pushed North Carolinians to deal with unpleasant episodes in our state’s history. In “The Wilmington Ten: Violence, Injustice, and the Rise of Black Politics in the 1970s,” author Kenneth Janken asserts that “The case of the Wilmington Ten amounts to one of the most egregious instances of injustice and political repression from the post–World War II black freedom struggle. It took legions of people working over the course of the 1970s to right the wrong.” Journalist Cash Michaels writes that Janken’s book describes what is “arguably North Carolina’s most notorious case of criminal frame-up,” and he says it...

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One on One: The Eateries of Madison County

Some people fall in love with bridges, as in the late Robert James Waller’s “The Bridges of Madison County,” the best-selling romance novel from 1992. Others, like me, fall in love with eateries. So here goes with “The Eateries of Madison County, North Carolina” and some information about three restaurants that could be included in a follow up volume to my book, “North Carolina’s Roadside Eateries: A Traveler’s Guide to Local Restaurants, Diners, and Barbecue Joints.” I found these Madison County eateries while attending the Laughing Heart Literary Festival at the iconic Laughing Heart Lodge in Hot Springs. Smoky...

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One on One: 76 Trombones and Loyalties to Con Men

“Seventy-six trombones led the big parade, with a hundred and ten coronets close at hand. They were followed by rows and rows of the finest virtuosos, the dream of ev’ry famous band.” Can you guess where I am going with this? “Seventy-six trombones caught the morning sun. With a hundred and ten cornets right behind. There were more than a thousand reeds, springing up like weeds. There were horns of every shape and kind.” Remember those words from “The Music Man” and how the lead character, Harold Hill, came to town and gave people hope promising to train town...

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One on One: Which Political Party is More Anti-Science?

If Jim Martin could make peace between religion and science, could he do something similar about his Republican Party’s war with science? A few weeks ago I wrote about our former governor’s new book, “Revelation Through Science: Evolution in the Harmony of Science and Religion.” In it, he explains how the discoveries of science do not conflict with his Christian faith. In fact, he asserts scientific “truths” like the Big Bang and evolution theories are evidence of the wise hand of a creator God. Before I interviewed Martin last week for an upcoming episode of UNC-TV’s North Carolina Bookwatch,...

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One on One: Tracking Down the Eateries We Missed

Can you believe it has been almost a year since I last wrote a column about local country-cooking eateries, my favorite stopping places when I am on the road? My editors have been kind enough to let me write about eateries every few months or so in place of my usual topics such as books and politics. It turns out that the food-related columns are almost always the most popular of all. I confess that I have exploited my editors and readers by getting them to tell me about their favorite stopping places when they are traveling North Carolina...

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One on One: Jim Martin on Science & Religion

Can a former North Carolina governor bridge the gap between science and religion? Jim Martin gives it a try in a new book, “Revelation Through Science: Evolution in the Harmony of Science and Religion.” Why would he want to take on the task of showing that the discoveries of science pose no threat to Christianity or any other religion? Martin is a Davidson and Princeton trained chemist. He is a champion of the scientific method and, without apology, endorses the discoveries his fellow scientists have made, including the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe and basics...

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One on One: Four Books to Entertain and Disturb

If you are willing to be both entertained and disturbed by your summer vacation books, I have four new volumes for your consideration: two books by important photographers and two literary mysteries that raise important public policy issues. First the photographs. If you grew up in the rural South of yesteryear and remember the landscapes, the crops, the tractors, the people, the country stores and churches, you will identify with UNC-Chapel Hill Professor William Ferris’s book, “The South in Color: A Visual Journal.” In the introduction, Ferris writes, “As a photographer of the American South, I sought the Holy...

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One on One: Riptide

Don’t let the riptide of angry politics pull you under What is the biggest challenge that we, as individuals, face in this time of angry, petty and deceptive politics that has infected our public life and seems to be pulling each of us under, sucking out of us every ounce of our humanity? It is as if we are in an angry and turbulent ocean.  The riptide is carrying us away from shore, and even as we fight with all our strength, it is still pulling us under. So it is with the riptide of politics of anger and...

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One on One: Treasurer Dale Folwell’s Quick Response

“I have just spent a couple of hours trying to negotiate the State Health Plan eligibility exercise and am still steaming about the difficulty I had following its directions. Others may have a better experience, but I kept thinking about others less well equipped and the time and frustration incurred by them,” I wrote to North Carolina Treasurer Dale Folwell. Among his other duties, Folwell is in charge of the North Carolina State Health Plan, which provides insurance to state employees and retirees like me, and to our dependents, for an additional premium. Last month he sent a letter...

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