Friday, November 25, 2011

Congrats Wells Warriors!

Seacoast Communities Ready for Two Weekends of Holiday Revelry


This December marks important anniversaries for two of the biggest holiday festivities on the southern Maine seacoast. In their 25th and 30th years, respectively, the Ogunquit and Kennebunkport communities are hauling out the holly and lighting the lights, readying for the Christmas season with fun and flair. During the first two weekends of December, the Ogunquit Chamber of Commerce will present their silver anniversary “Christmas by the Sea,” while the Kennebunkport Business Association’s diamond anniversary “Christmas Prelude™” will likewise provide a full schedule of seasonal splendor. Both communities have grown their festivities over the years, adding multiple craft fairs, community luncheons, children’s activities, parades and lively entertainment, set to please both visitors and locals alike. With both events kicking off in just one short week, it is clear that the holiday season is finally upon us! For more information on Ogunquit’s Christmas by the Sea, visit For more information on Kennebunkport’s Christmas Prelude™, visit And to all a good night!

Photo Caption: Kennebunkport’s Christmas Prelude™ features the iconic lobster trap Christmas tree as a centerpiece of the annual festivities. (Photo by Sheila Matthews-Bull)

Photo Caption: Santa makes an appearance at the 2010 Christmas by the Sea in Ogunquit. You can be sure to see the big guy celebrating at the 25th anniversary events. (Photo by Molly McCoy)

Spirit of Giving Helps Bring Holiday Joy to 500 Maine Children


As of Monday, November 21, the Ogunquit Spirit of Giving Committee had successfully matched 500 worthy Maine children to generous sponsors throughout the country. The Committee's campaign, which was set into motion for the 2011 season in early July, seeks to bring holiday cheer to Maine children associated with either the Adoptive and Foster Families of Maine, Inc. (AFFM), or The Frannie Peabody Center (FPC). Since 2005, the Spirit of Giving Committee has worked to connect these children with sponsors, and has to date helped make almost 2,500 Christmas dreams come true.

Despite this great success, the need is real and grows every year. In addition to the 500 children already matched through Ogunquit Spirit of Giving, both AFFM and FPC have long lists of children and families who are still in need this holiday season. With Christmas right around the corner, many would-be sponsors think it is too late to make a difference. In actuality, nothing could be further from the truth.

If you want to help bring Christmas to a deserving household in Maine, bring a gift card to the Spirit of Giving Gift Collection Party on Sunday, December 4 at 4 p.m. This annual holiday gathering at MaineStreet on Route 1 in Ogunquit gives sponsors the opportunity to drop off their pre-wrapped donations. In addition, the Committee ensures that any gift card donations made at the door will help an unsponsored child. These gift cards also help provide for any children whose sponsors are unable to deliver their gifts and who would otherwise be left behind. If you would like to sponsor a child but cannot attend the Party, please email to learn how you can help. The event may be held in Ogunquit, but the impact of this campaign is felt statewide.

For more information on Ogunquit Spirit of Giving, AFFM and FPC, visit

EES and Project Share


On Monday, October 31, students at Eliot Elementary School began collecting canned and boxed non-perishable goods for Project Share, which works in conjunction with the local Lions Club to distribute these items to help feed hungry families within the community. A truck from the highway department picked up the donations on Thursday morning, November 17. Once all the goods are collected and sorted, a task that takes hours, the Lions Club volunteers assemble the baskets and prepare them for the delivery to local families in need.

For every non-perishable good a student brought in, they glued a feather to our big turkey that remains on display, so that students and families were able to see our generous donations growth. This year, the students of Eliot Elementary School raised a generous amount of food for local families.

Photo Caption: (Courtesy photo)

Friday, November 18, 2011

So. Berwick Festival Offers A Bounty of New Events


Ice sculptures, a wandering minstrel, miniature horse-and-carriage rides, and a hand bell choir are among the new attractions at the annual Home for the Holidays downtown celebration from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec 2.

This year nearly 30 merchants will host activities for the whole family, stretching around the corner for the first time to include festivities on Lower Main Street.

“We decided the event had reached critical mass along the main drag, and it was time to broaden our scope,” said Jayne Morrell, one of the key volunteer organizers.

In addition to the traditional appearance of Santa Claus, Rock my Soul carolers, Phil the Karaoke master and cookie decorating, there will be concerts by the High School Select Choir and Quint-Essential Winds; free mini checkups at Great Works Chiropractic and Wellness; and local Boy Scouts selling wreaths. The newest restaurant on the square, Isidore on the Rocks, will offer a custom local beverage, the SoBotini.

Fogarty’s Restaurant and the Academy Street Inn are sponsoring a minstrel, Dave Peloquin, an internationally known folk musician who will serenade strollers on Lower Main in his trademark top hat. Founder of the group Christmas in New England and lead singer for New England Christmastide Musicians, Peloquin has appeared on “Good Morning America.”

SoBo Central, the non-profit group that provides an umbrella for Home for the Holidays and six other local programs, will run a scavenger hunt beginning at Bob’s Trophies. The hunt will challenge families to find hidden objects at retail outlets around town, and those who succeed will win a prize at the new SoBotique second-hand shop on Lower Main.

The Women’s Holiday Art Sale, the original cornerstone of the annual celebration, this year will have three locations: Film Barn Studio, Lassel Architects and the Jewett House. Thirteen juried artists will be offering fine jewelry, handcrafted cards, felted animals, fused glass, metalwork, art quilts, children’s books and more.

The Art Sale also will be open Saturday, Dec. 3, as will a new artisan show at Curves, craft sales at the First Parish Federated Church and First Baptist Church, and the holiday bazaar at Marshwood High School. The weekend will conclude with a Community Chorus at South Berwick concert, “Laud to the Nativity,” at 3 p.m. Sunday at Marshwood High School.

In the last seven years, Home for the Holidays has become a centerpiece of community life in the holiday season as downtown business owners keep their doors open into the evening on Friday and hundreds of residents fill the streets with cheer.

In addition to Santa Claus welcoming children for a photo op at P. Gagnon & Son, Mrs. Claus will read stories at the Public Library, People’s United Bank will help children write letters to Santa, and York Hospital is inviting children for face painting and snacks.

For a complete listing of activities, the Home for the Holidays brochure is online at

Photo Caption: This horse-drawn carriage, owned by Central School teacher Leigh Robinson, is one of many new attractions at this year’s Home for the Holidays downtown celebration Dec. 2 in South Berwick. Here, children drive the carriage at Eliot Farm Camp. (Courtesy photo)

Warriors Prepare for Battle

The undefeated Wells football team heads to Portland on Saturday with hopes of a championship title.

By Larry Favinger

Staff Columnist


Two undefeated football teams will battle Saturday in Portland for the 2011 Class B state championship.

Unbeaten Wells and Leavitt will square off at 6 p.m. at Fitzpatrick Stadium for the state crown.

“We’re excited to be playing in the game,” Wells Coach Tom Roche said in a telephone interview early this week.

The Warriors (11-0), the Western Maine Class B champion, are seeking their first state football title since 1997 when they beat Belfast 32-30 for the crown.

Leavitt (11-0), the Eastern Maine champion, last won the state title in 2009 when it beat Cape Elizabeth 35-21.

Roche’s team defeated neighboring rival York 32-7, Westbrook 22-6, and defending champion Mountain Valley 10-0 to reach the state championship game.

In the East, Coach Mike Hathaway’s Hornets were beating Morse High of Bath, 61-12; Hamden Academy, 47-22; and Mt. Blue 22-21 in double overtime.

Playing in the state championship game “was the goal” from the start of pre-season, Roche said in a telephone interview. The Warriors were in the regional championship game in 2010.

He said it was the sixth game of the season where Wells began to understand it was a good football team. In that game Wells defeated Mountain Valley 28-12. Mountain Valley has been in the regional title game in 13 of the last 19 years.

The Warriors feature 17 seniors on this year’s team, backed up by a good crop of underclassmen. Roche said it’s “hard for me to single out key players. We have a lot of good players.”

Looking forward to the game, Roche had praise for Leavitt.

“I think they do a great job up there,” he said. “They’re a tough football team.”

“I think we match up well,” he continued. “We’ll see what happens. I think we can move the ball. If we can just shut them down we’ll be fine.”

Leavitt has shown a powerful offense, scoring more than 50 points five times during the season and more than 60 twice.

On the other side of the ball, Wells shut out four opponents, including the defending state champion Mountain Valley.

This is Roche’s 13th year as head coach of the Warriors, his 19th on the football staff.

Opening Scenes: ‘J. Edgar’

By Chip Schrader

Staff Movie Critic

“J. Edgar” begins with an exterior shot of the FBI headquarters in downtown Washington, D.C. A man’s voice laments the “disease” of communism that plagues this country. After the shot of the building pans up showing its looming presence, the scene changes to a shot of Dillinger’s death mask and a confiscated machine gun. The voice continues to rant about radicals and their danger to society in an almost Nixon-esque manner. We finally see J. Edgar Hoover pacing in his office while narrating his life story just beyond the machine gun and death mask on display.

At first, it is difficult to match Leonardo DiCaprio’s nearly child-like voice with the elderly Hoover he is made up to portray. For the first scene or two, he isn’t believable. Once the film settles into Hoover’s recollections, and DiCaprio plays the younger Hoover, the seeds of believability are planted and begin to flourish. Scenes after this, DiCaprio fits the elderly Hoover as well as he does the young one.

Eventually, we are introduced to a young Helen Gandy, played by Naomi Watts, whom Hoover unsuccessfully courts as a mate, but successfully finds her to be a lifelong secretary and confidant. Watts transforms herself in this role to the point she is unrecognizable, but the most interesting, and possibly most important introduction in Hoover’s life was when he met Clyde Tolson. Skillfully portrayed by Armie Hammer, the depth of Tolson’s connection to Hoover was subtly portrayed, and as they grow together, there is a tenderness between these men that has never been seen before in cinema.

“J. Edgar” is among many of director Clint Eastwood’s fine films: “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” “Mystic River,” “Unforgiven” and “Bird” to name a few. The cinematography is haunting and hypnotic, two qualities that have been Clint Eastwood’s signature.

Drawing from a bright gray color scheme and heavy use of shadows, “J. Edgar” might have an evenly paced story line, but the intensity of the imagery is where some of the greatest drama is created. Hoover’s career spans Al Capone’s St. Valentine’s Massacre, the kidnapping of the Lindberg baby, and takes America through the turbulent Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon administrations.

With “J. Edgar” being one of the earlier Oscar contenders, it is hard to speculate how it will be recognized. The acting is excellent, particularly with the performance of Armie Hammer. The screenplay and cinematography deserve a nod, as does the direction. Watts and DiCaprio turn out excellent performances, but Watts’ performance represents a fuller transformation. The film’s slow pace and lack of edginess may cause it to be overlooked.

Bottom line, “J. Edgar” is a rock solid film by a director whose career is as distinguished as a director as Eastwood is an actor. Like with many biopics, the action is slow but the intrigue and unraveling of world history outside of the walls is gripping. While the quietness of the film might come off boring to casual filmgoers, those who love classic film noir and American history need to see this movie. It is finely crafted and deserves savoring. 4 out of 5.

Photo Caption: (Courtesy movie poster image)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Scenic Landscaping Project to Begin on Mount A


A scenic landscaping project at the summit of Mount Agamenticus is on target to begin this month.

The project will restore and enhance views of the eastern seacoast, inland ponds and distant mountain ranges for the over 30,000 people that visit the area each year.

The cutting is scheduled to begin November 14 and is expected to take approximately three weeks to complete. Mount A’s summit, road, and trails will be closed to public use Monday through Friday during this time. The area will be re-opened for public access on weekends throughout the operational period with the exception of temporary trail closures in sections as needed.

The Town of York and the York Water District have partnered with five other landowners in the Mount Agamenticus Conservation Region to protect the scenic and natural resources of the area including wildlife habitat and water quality while continuing to provide for safe and enjoyable access and sustainable recreation. These partners make up the Mount Agamenticus Steering Committee and include the Towns of York and South Berwick, the York Water District, the Nature Conservancy, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the York Land Trust, and the Great Works Regional Land Trust.

In 2009, the “Mt. Agamenticus Summit Guidelines for Usage” was developed by the Mt. Agamenticus Steering Committee with assistance from the Southern Maine Regional Planning Commission and the Piscataqua Garden Club to create a vision and help guide the management of the summit area. The summit views were a major focus of this plan and approved recommendations included seeking the assistance of certified foresters for developing and/or maintaining the viewshed.

Wadsworth Woodlots, Inc., a consulting forestry firm and Murdough Logging N’ Excavation have been hired to conduct the work and will ensure good forest practices while improving the aesthetic scenic values at the summit of Mount Agamenticus.

Funding for this project comes in part from the Nathaniel Wheeler Trust.

Sprite® and Wells Community Break Ground on New Basketball Courts


Sprite and Coca-Cola representatives, Wells residents, local leaders and players from the Wells Recreation basketball programs came out Friday to break ground on the construction of the renovated courts at the Walter Marsh Recreation Area. Local youth will soon have a safer, cleaner place to play thanks to the $20,000 grant it earned through the support it got from Wells in the national Sprite Spark Parks Project.

“The renovations will make a huge difference in the court’s safety and appearance, but it was the excitement and happiness the youth expressed that made me most thankful for Sprite’s donation,” said Tina LeBlanc, Recreation Director, town of Wells. “It is so important for our community’s youth to have a place where they can have fun and get active with their friends.”

Joining Tina LeBlanc was Senator Ron Collins, Chairman of Selectmen Karl Ekstedt, and Wells Town Manager Jonathan Carter. The group accepted the $20,000 check on behalf of the Wells Parks & Recreation Department. They were joined by eager residents who had voted for the court to receive the improvement grant through the Sprite Spark Parks Project. The funding is going towards a complete overhaul of the courts, including a new playing surface, basketball backboards and nets, and a hand-painted mural by artist Steve Lavigne.

“Thanks to the effort by Tina LeBlanc and the residents of Wells, this recreation area will become a better, safer place for our youth to enjoy,” said Sen Collins.

Coca-Cola’s Maine State Manager David Dumont echoed the praise. “This community deserves this improvement and we at Southern Maine Coca-Cola are proud to play such a vital role in the communities that we are a part of.”

The Walter Marsh courts are just one of 21 basketball courts across the country that will receive a makeover through the Sprite Spark Parks Project, a multi-year commitment to build and restore play environments where community members can get outside and be active. Sprite will invest approximately $2 million into building or revamping more than 150 basketball courts, community spaces, playgrounds and athletic fields in cities across America throughout 2011. As a result, an estimated one million young people will have greater access to clean, safe and fun places to play for years to come.

Photo Caption: Karl Ekstedt (Chairman of Selectmen), David Dumont (Coca-Cola), Christine Boettcher (Coca-Cola), Tina LeBlanc (Wells Recreation Director), Al Haart (Coca-Cola) and Jonathan Carter (Wells Town Manager), breaking ground. (Courtesy photo)

Chip’s Picks for Kids: Three Picture Books for the Family

By Chip Schrader
Staff Book Critic


The first book is “Mirror,” by Jeannie Baker. “Mirror” begins with a paragraph about two boys, one from a city in Australia, and the other who lives in Morocco. The book is actually constructed like a mirror as the pages to the Australian boy’s story are bound on the left, and the Moroccan boy’s life is depicted on the pages bound on the right.

As the reader flips through these pages simultaneously, they can compare each story. There are no words, but illustrations show how each boy’s life has the same situations, and they have different ways to fulfill similar needs. In Australia, the family works in the day, driving through the heavy traffic and the young boy goes through the bedtime ritual of being tucked in by his mother. On those same pages on the right side, the Moroccan child kneels upon his prayer rug and rides a camel through dirt pathways that weave between mountains that might resemble Australian skyscrapers. The agricultural and bartering culture of Morocco intersects with the Australian family as they go to a store to find “Magic Carpets.”

“Mirror” shows that what we might consider primitive culture runs parallel to Western civilization, and there is room for adult observers to even pick up on the inequities of modern commerce. Meanwhile, the point would not be lost on children. Being wordless, it invites conversation rather than straight ahead teaching, and opens up the age range of readers.

The illustrations are imaginative and innovative, constructed mostly of cloth and woodcarvings. The last page explains this process. “Mirror” is a deep, conscientious story presented in an amazing book that collectors will want to buy.

Reading level: Ages 5 and up. Hardcover: 48 pages. Publisher: Candlewick; Bilingual edition. (Courtesy book cover image)

“Blue Chameleon”

On the lighter side, “Blue Chameleon” by Emily Gravett will entice young readers with its simple illustrations and single word per page structure to encourage beginning readers. Words like “yellow,” “swirl” and “gray” correspond with creatures that wear these colors or shapes. The simple setup builds not only reading skills, but helps develop the logical skills children will need for comprehension.

As children learn to read the word on the page, there is an interactive step left for children to point out the yellow color on the banana, or the swirl on the snail’s shell. Patterns and snippets of dialog in balloons are also scattered throughout to add a little fun and friendliness to readers.

“Blue Chameleon” is beautifully sparse in illustration, at least until the end. But, its deceptive simplicity invites and engages readers into the puzzle of pattern recognition and builds cognitive skills for children in a playful, non-instructive way.

Hardcover: 32 pages. Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers. (Courtesy book cover image)

“Interrupting Chicken”

Finally, on the silly side is David Ezra Stein’s “Interrupting Chicken.” This story depicts the timeless ritual of bedtime stories, but this time it is a father and daughter chicken. Promising not to interrupt, the father goes through three fairytales, and as we can expect, Little Chicken does not keep her promise. Just as each fairy tale is about to take a dangerous turn, Little Chicken interrupts and warns the characters of the impending danger.

When it comes to these fairy tales – Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood and Chicken Little – every reader, big and small, was a little chicken at one time or another, and thus is the brilliance of this book. Being a perfect bedtime story, the littlest readers will learn about the fairy tales, but get a shortened version that will bring a laugh instead of a fright. For the bigger readers, the humor and layers of cleverness are engaging, and will not make them lose sleep either.

The illustrations are a lush pastel like old oil paintings, the characters are cute, at least as cute as chickens can be, and Stein’s use of framing for the images to fit the story are well thought. “Interrupting Chicken” is a classic read-aloud story ideal for bedtime, and doesn’t require any interactive participation from the little chickens.

Reading level: Ages 4 and up. Hardcover: 40 pages. Publisher: Candlewick. (Courtesy book cover image)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Winter Gateway Farmers’ Market Opening Saturday, Nov. 5


The Greater York Region Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce our 2011 - 2012 Winter Farmers’ Market season beginning on November 5th at the American Legion!

Steph Oeser, the market manager, says, “We’re looking forward to kicking off this winter season! Last year was a great first year. It usually takes a few years to really establish and develop an event, but the market took off in a way we didn’t fully expect. It was a fantastic learning experience and I’m so excited to see how this season takes shape. Based on vendor surveys and customer feedback from last winter, we changed the hours to 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The new location at the American Legion also provides easy access from Route One and tons of parking (including designated handicap spaces).”

The market is again sponsored by The Bank of Maine.

The 2011 - 2012 Winter Gateway Farmers’ Market will take place on 11 Saturdays between November and March indoors at The American Legion (next to Hannaford), in York, Maine. The dates are as follows: Nov. 5 and 26, Dec. 10 and 17, Jan. 7 and 21, Feb. 4 and 18 and March 3, 17 and 31. The market will run from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and there will be 25-30 vendors each Saturday. Many of our vendors are back from last winter’s market and several of our regular summer food and craft vendors are also attending. Just like our summer market, this event is always free to attend.

The goal of this market is to support local farmers, food-producers, artists and artisans, while offering a one-stop shopping experience for customers looking to buy all of their produce, breads, sweets, meats and specialty foods for the week. The select crafters at this market offer locally made, unique gifts for you or someone special (especially during the holiday season)!

Check out for a complete list of participants and when they’ll be attending the market. Vendors interested in participating should download an application at or contact Steph Oeser at the Greater York Region Chamber of Commerce at 207.363.4422 or Space is limited and filling up quickly.

Photo Caption: Greens from Riverside Farm at last year's winter market. (Courtesy photo)

Updates from the Bridge

By Larry Favinger

Staff Columnist


The replacement of the Memorial Bridge that connects Portsmouth, N.H., and Kittery continues to move forward on several fronts.

The New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) has named a Chicago firm as the apparent team for the design/build contract for the bridge and the Maine Legislative Council has unanimously approved the submission of a bill by State Sen. Dawn Hill, (D-York) to allow signage on Interstate 95 to aid downtown Kittery businesses by directing travelers to them.

Other legislation submitted by Sen. Hill to provide immunity from tort claim lawsuits for a New Hampshire based transportation company looking to expand its one Maine route through Berwick to include Kittery and Eliot since the closing of the Memorial Bridge failed to receive support from the Legislative Council. It was voted down in a 5-5 vote.

Sen. Hill said Monday she will appeal that decision.

A team headed by Archer Western Contractors had been selected for replacement of the bridge that carries Route 1 across the Piscataqua River.

Archer Western submitted a bid price of $81,420,000 to replace the 88-year old lift bridge that is closed to motor vehicle traffic. The projected date for opening the new span is July 2013.

The bid opening is “another important milestone in our aggressive approach in partnership with the Maine Department of Transportation towards building a new Memorial Bridge," Christopher Clement, NHDOT commissioner, said.

"We will get the successful bidder on the job to restore this vital transportation link between New Hampshire and Maine as soon as possible."

Design-build is a process in which the design and construction phases of a project are combined into one contract, with the goal of expediting project completion.

On the legislative front Sen. Hill said she appreciates “the support of legislative leaders to recognize the importance of signage on Interstate 95 “to the people and businesses of this area. I look forward to discussing this issue in the upcoming session.”

“The bridge may be closed, but the community is still open for business,” she continued. “This bill will help the people and businesses of Kittery during this period.”

Sen. Hill said the signage will not be billboard-type that is prohibited by State Law but will help direct traffic to popular local destinations, similar to detour signage.

As to the tort immunity proposal, Sen. Hill said she would like to reinforce the importance of it with help from the business community. She is seeking individuals and businesses to write in support of this legislation.

“I think once I am given the chance to explain the situation, there will be a clear understanding that this bill is of emergency status,” she said. “Input from local businesses and residents will be very helpful in garnering the support needed to move forward.”

At present the New Hampshire company does not fall under Maine’s immunity from tort claim lawsuits because it is located in New Hampshire.

Sen. Hill noted that without protection in Maine Law, the transit business faces insurance issues and is thus reluctant to expand its services. Maine transit organizations are protected from tort claim lawsuits.

A date for appeals has been scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 8.

Maine legislators filed over 290 bills for the upcoming session but none is allowed to be processed before the full Legislature unless approved by the council.

The State Constitution limits legislative business during the Second Regular Session to budgetary matters and legislation of an emergency nature.

The legislative session is scheduled to begin Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012.

Young, Loud and Snotty: A Review of Steve Jobs’ Biography

By Chip Schrader

Staff Book Critic

Biographer Walter Isaacson has covered the lives of innovative thinkers Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, and Henry Kissinger. Being his latest subject, Steve Jobs approached Isaacson about being his biographer while still working on the Einstein biography nearly ten years ago. This was shortly after Jobs was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The book was released only weeks after Jobs’ death, but was not necessarily intended for a posthumous release.

The first chapters focus on Jobs’ childhood. His adoption, his biological parents’ more privileged background, and his adoptive parents’ blue collar background lead all the way up to the day his adoptive parents realize this emotional and manipulative child was more intelligent than they were.

The next several chapters borrow and quote heavily from Apple Co-founder Steve Wozniak’s autobiography “iWoz.” In fact, the chapters in this section mimic “Woz’s” autobiography by naming and organizing chapters after the Apple products that were being introduced at this stage in their lives: “Apple I, Apple II, Lisa, Macintosh,” etc.

Those who had read “iWoz” can almost skip a good portion of the first one hundred pages without missing too much vital information, but this fact also reinforces that Isaacson’s research seldom, if ever, conflicts in perspective. This consistency of facts about the relationship between Wozniak, Jobs, and the foundation of Apple validates Isaacson’s research. Moreover, Isaacson freely elaborates on many of Jobs’ associates’ backgrounds throughout the book, providing a small biography of each important personality that comes into his life.

Isaacson has interviewed ex-girlfriends, friends, foes, current and former colleagues. There are no pulled punches, and the cheap shots are free game, as they were in Jobs’ life. In later chapters, Isaacson reminds us of how Jobs had worked with the likes of Ross Perot, founded Pixar, and played a major role in Disney picking up a contract with Pixar to supply the 3-D animation technology. We even are given a glimpse at his part in the creation of the “Toy Story” Franchise.

Isaacson’s detailed account of these business endeavors and friendships brings the reader back to the eighties when Atari video games were king, and his description of American culture’s continual evolution. The cast of characters surrounding Jobs’ life paint a vivid reminiscence of a bygone era. Moreover, the biography shows how long and how short the span of thirty years really is, and how quickly the world changed.

Thoroughly researched, and written with a balanced perspective and detail, the book reads like an intelligent conversation. It never lags or gets dull, even the explanation of the technology and business negotiations keep the reader engaged. Isaacson keeps the details pertinent without driving the descriptions over reader’s heads, a tall order when trying to aptly explain such a rapid technological evolution.

With all of the headlines coming out showing how unpleasant Jobs’ disposition, hygiene, and ethics are, the story provides something deeper than just headline gossip. In fact, the last chapter consists mostly of Jobs’ own words and statements on his own life. This biography is a time machine that brings every reader back to recent eras we can easily access. It is epic in scope as it covers a revolutionary personality who forged a revolution.

Hardcover: 656 pages. Publisher: Simon & Schuster (October 24, 2011).

Photo Caption: (Courtesy book cover image)