Category: Book Review Monday

For those of you who like history mysteries and who have yet to have Sir Robert gallop up to your door, you’re in for a real treat.

A wrong-side-of-the-blanket cousin of Queen Elizabeth I, perspicaciously able, perennially broke, persistently in love with the married Lady Elizabeth Widdrington, Sir Robert is fresh off saving James the VI/I’s life from a double assassination attempt. With the whole-hearted if covert backing of Sir Robert Cecil he is now tasked by James to catch and kill…

Read more For those of you who like history mysteries and who have yet to have Sir Robert gallop up to your door, you’re in for a real treat.

An eye-witness account from a front-row seat to recent history, and very much worth reading.

My view of the intelligence services was formed during the Church hearings in 1975, and all the bad opinions I acquired then were only affirmed when the news about the CIA’s extreme rendition (kidnapping) and extreme interrogation (torture) protocols broke following 9/11. But then I heard James Clapper talking about his work in the IC (Intelligence…

Read more An eye-witness account from a front-row seat to recent history, and very much worth reading.

Some characters take up residence in your imagination and just won’t leave.

Walter Lord wrote the definitive Titanic book, A Night to Remember, and wrote another heart-in-your-mouth thriller here. It’s not like I don’t know how either of those stories ended but Lord has a real gift for seeking out people you’d like to have a beer with in ordinary circumstances who are then thrown into extraordinary…

Read more Some characters take up residence in your imagination and just won’t leave.

That prime mover is, essentially, a reaction against first the 20th and now the 21st century.

A liberal Berkeley sociologist, alarmed by the yawning fissure in American society between left and right, spends five years in Louisiana talking to Tea Partiers to try to understand their viewpoint. The result is a thoughtful, insightful look at what is, let’s face it, a prime mover of political events today, and not just in…

Read more That prime mover is, essentially, a reaction against first the 20th and now the 21st century.

“To the BOTTOM!”

An adventure novel, a history lesson, a love story, a cook book, and a whole lot of fun. Really well written, with no sentimentality mucking up the narrative. These are not pirates with hearts of gold (“TO THE BOTTOM!”), and Owen Wedgewood is such a whiner and so determinedly blind to what is going on…

Read more “To the BOTTOM!”

‘Not noticing’ may not be the first thing you’d look for in a police chief, but in the Bruce administration it’s an essential skill.

McKibben calls this a fable, but I don’t know. What if people like Vern in states like Vermont all over the nation became accidental, nonviolent secessionists? What if they inspired their states’ equivalents of town halls to talk about and even vote on leaving the nation to be their own independent countries? If enough of…

Read more ‘Not noticing’ may not be the first thing you’d look for in a police chief, but in the Bruce administration it’s an essential skill.

Another day, your countenance should say, another little old lady sprouting giant flesh balls.

Thomas Wolfe was wrong; you can go home again. Michael Perry comes home to New Auburn, Wisconsin, population 485, and reintegrates himself back into society by joining the local volunteer fire department. This is my third read by Perry and as always the armchair philosopher takes precedence in the narration. On his brothers, also volunteer…

Read more Another day, your countenance should say, another little old lady sprouting giant flesh balls.

James Comey is a Boy Scout and a true believer, and I don’t mean either of those judgements in a pejorative way.

James Comey is a Boy Scout and a true believer, and I don’t mean either of those judgements in a pejorative way. Let me repeat: He’s a Boy Scout in that Scout oath ‘duty-to-God-and-country’ way and a true believer in that Superman ‘truth-justice-and-the-American-way’ way. His explanation of the Martha Stewart case rings authentic in every…

Read more James Comey is a Boy Scout and a true believer, and I don’t mean either of those judgements in a pejorative way.

“Civilians balk at recognizing that one of the most traumatic things about combat is having to give it up.”

I hope this is as close as I ever get to being shot at. Sebastian Junger’s War is that real, that immediate. Junger follows the 173rd Airborne’s Battle Company into the Korengal Valley in Afghanistan. Next to the definition of Hell on Earth in the dictionary? That’s the Korengal Valley. The weather (“Summer grinds on:…

Read more “Civilians balk at recognizing that one of the most traumatic things about combat is having to give it up.”