Books & Fiction

International Political Intrigue Spans Continents in ‘Treasure Seekers’

Roberta Seret

She wondered who could have helped Rafsanjani with his gold from Ceausescu’s corrupt deals and terrorist partnerships with Gaddafi, Arafat, Ali Bhutto, and North Korea’s Kim Jung Il. A billion dollars of gold from Romania, such a poor country, while the people lived for twenty-four years under a ruthless dictatorship with little food, little heat, little light, no rights, no freedom, no life. Marina wished she knew what had happened to that gold, deposited in Tehran.

Land and the Sweep of History in Simon Winchester’s New Book

Lee Polevoi

His ownership serves as a springboard for what emerges as a thorough examination of how land ownership has influenced the sweep of history. In the course of his far-reaching study, Winchester looks at demarcation of property lines in the Bronze Age, the cruel land grab from Native Americans in the 18th and 19th centuries, mass starvation in Stalinist Russia, and the age-old conflict over territory between Israel and Palestine.

New Novel Recounts Families Facing Crises During the Cuban Missile Crisis

Brenda Sparks Prescott

A picture painted by Lucy Saunders, another NCO’s wife, hung above the hi-fi set Ray had bought secondhand. Betty Ann flicked the duster over the frame of the oil painting, which captured the romanticism of a real Parisian atelier. Warm light refracted across half-sewn dresses and played in a spill of royal blue velvet. Betty Ann liked to think that her studio was as genteel as this imaginary room, but she might have a real cat fight in it if the general’s wife turned nasty. Mrs. H. could call her out in front of everyone and threaten Ray’s livelihood, or even force her to do the dress for free!

 

Celebrating the Theater of the Streets in Ben Wilson’s ‘Metropolis’

Lee Polevoi

Inevitably, perhaps, readers may wonder what other cities and timeframes Wilson might have chosen for exploration. Why not Berlin in the 1920s? Or New York City in the 1970s? It’s a measure of the author’s success that we want to learn more about how other cities functioned, particularly when under the stress of, say, the tumultuous Weimar Republic, or the reaction among New Yorkers when then-President Gerald Ford famously told the city to (as summarized by popular media), “Drop dead.”

New Book Highlights Personal Struggles Against Backdrop of 1960s Britain

John Cammidge

To take our minds away from the tragedy, we visited Windsor Castle and detoured past the Langley truck plant to have a look at the factory that was unwilling to place me.  Jean-Louise told me that her mother’s condition remained serious, and how thankful she was to have decided to teach.  She was still worried about my job security because of the latest developments in Britain’s motor industry. 

A Brutal Crime and the Unraveling of Truth From Fiction

Sandra Bertrand

In this case, Betty was found face down in the garage with garbage cans filled with an unlikely collection of the so-called burglar’s loot and a couple of TVs nearby. Sendle, the lead cop in the original investigation, told Kane that he knew the killer was no burglar from the beginning.  Frye’s coverup was sloppy.  Such items as an open bottle of shampoo, a pair of clip-on RayBans, an electric shaver and three electric clocks were found in the cans. 

Before Fire, There Was Wood in Roland Ennos’s ‘Age of Wood’

Lee Polevoi

At the same time, wood—in its “original” state as trees—has been adversely affected by global climate change and other environmental factors. This has led to wildfires of unprecedented fury and reach, including the megagires in Australia in 2009 that generated an inferno of hellish proportions, eventually covering more than 100 million acres. What comes across most vividly in this panoramic study of wood is Roland Ennos’s love of the subject.

A Manuscript Containing Disturbing Content Is the Focus of New Sci-Fi Thriller

Christopher Laine

It’s better this way. Put the manuscript down, walk away. You’ll stay happy and stupid, a well-fed moron who doesn’t want to know. The only way you’re going to get to stay safe is if you just don’t know. Don’t dawdle. Go on. Walk away. Go back. Get back on the grid. There’s a good little Chumley. Trust me. You don’t want to know. The batshit accountant told me that, that I didn’t want to know, and you know he was right. I didn’t want to know. I wish I’d listened to him when I had the chance. But no, I had to know for myself, to find out, and that didn’t work out so swell for me. So, learn from my mistake. Take it on the lam.

A Fresh Look at Pre-Camelot Kennedy in Fredrik Logevall’s ‘JFK’

Lee Polevoi

Much of JFK centers on the tumultuous 1930s and the worldwide conflagration following Germany’s invasion of Poland in 1939. Two years earlier, Jack and his friend Lem Billings spent several months on an undergraduate tour of Europe, including a visit to Munich and Nuremburg, where “Nazi fever” was running strong. The trip turned out to represent a pivotal point in the young Kennedy’s views on world affairs. Just as importantly, he began the journey away from his father’s isolationist approach to understanding the need to grapple with the fast-approaching global conflict.

Cold War Blunders Abound in ‘Quiet Americans’

Lee Polevoi

Anderson frames his story with in-depth biographies of four CIA operatives largely unheralded in the annals of American espionage. These men include Edward Lansdale, a larger-than-life advertising executive turned secret agent; Peter Sichel, a German Jew who escaped Nazi Germany and later led key operations in postwar Europe; Michael Burke, an ex-naval officer who guided operations in Albania and Eastern Europe; and Frank Wisner, a crusading spymaster who oversaw many covert missions.

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