Category Archives: Book Reviews

1917 WAR PEACE & REVOLUTION

Title: 1917 War Peace & Revolution

Author: David Stevenson

1917 was a year of calamitous events and on of pivotal importance in the development of the First World War. In 1917: War Peace and Revolution, leading historian David Stevenson examines this crucial year in context and illuminates the century that followed. He shows how in this one year the war was transformed but also what drove the conflict onwards and how it continued to escalate.

Two developments in particular–the Russian Revolution and American intervention–had worldwide repercussions. Offering a close examination of thee key decisions, Stevenson considers Germany’s campaign of unrestricted submarine warfare, America’s declaration of war in resp9onse, and Britain’s frustration of German strategy by adopting the convoy system, as well as why (paradoxically) the military and political stalemate in Europe persisted. Focusing on the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II, on the disastrous spring offensive that plunged the French army into mutiny, on the summer attacks that undermined the moderate Provisional Government in Russia and exposed Italy to national humiliation at Caporetto, and on the British decision for the ill-fated Third Rattle of Ypres (Passchendaele). 1917 offers a truly international understanding of events. The failed attempts to end the war by negotiation further clarify the underly8ing forces that prolonged it.

David Stevenson also analyses the global consequences of the year’s developments, showing how counties such as Brazil and China joined the belligerents, Britain offered responsible government to India and the Allies promised a Jewish national home in Palestine. Blending political and military history, and moving from capital to capital and between the cabinet chamber and the battle front, the book highlights the often tumultuous debates through which leaders entered and escalated the war, and the paradox that continued fighting could be justified as the shortest road towards regaining peace.

AN UNLIKELY TRUST

Title: An Unlikely Trust

Author: Gerard Helferich

At the dawn of the twentieth century,
Theodore Roosevelt and J. Pierpont Morgan were the two most powerful men in America and perhaps in the world. As the nation’s preeminent financier, Morgan presided over an elemental shift in American business, away from family-owned companies and toward modern corporations of unparalleled size and influence. As president, Theodore “Roosevelt vastly expanded the power of his office, seeking to rein in those corporations and rebalance their interests with those of workers, consumers, and society at large.

Overpowering figures and titanic personalities, Roosevelt and Morgan could easily have become sworn enemies. And when they have been considered together (never before at book length, they have often been portrayed as battling colossi: the great thrust builder versus the original trustbuster. But their long association was far more complex than that–and even mutually beneficial.

Despite their ,many differences in temperament and philosophy. Roosevelt and Morgan had much in common– social class. am unstinting Victorian morality a drive for power. a need for order. and a genuine (though not purely altruistic) concern for the welfare of the nation. Working this common ground, the premier progressive and the quintessential capitalist were ale to accomplish what neither could have achieved alone–including, more than once, averting national disaster. In the process they permanently changed the way that government and business worked together.

An Unlikely Trust is the story of the uneasy but momentous collaboration between Theodore Roosevelt and J. Pierpont Morgan. It is also the story of how government and business evolved from a laissez-faire relationship to the active regulation we know today. And it is an account of how, despite all that has changed in America over the past century so much remains the same, including the growing divide between rich and poor, the tangled bonds uniting politicians and business leaders, and the pervasive feeling that government is working for the special interests rather than for the people. Not least of all, it is the story of how citizens with vastly disparate outlooks and interests managed to come together for the good of their common country.

THE GREAT COWBOY STRIKE – Bullets, Ballots, & Class conflicts in the American West

Title: The Great Cowboy Strike

Author: Mark A Lause

In the pantheon of American icons, the cowboy embodies the traits of “rugged individualism,” independent, solitary, and stoical. In reality cowboys were grossly exploited and underpaid seasonal workers, who responded to the abuses of their employers in a series of militant strikes. Their resistance arose from the rise and demise of a “beef bonanza” that attracted international capital. Business interest approached the market with the expectation that it would have the same freedom to brutally impose its will as it had exercised on native peoples and the recently emancipated African Americans. These assumptions contributed to a series of bitter and violent “range wars,” which broke out from Texas to Montana and framed the appearance of labor conflicts in the region. These social tensions stirred a series of political insurgencies that become virtually endemic to the American West of the Gilded Age. Mark A. Lause explores the relationship between these neglected labor conflicts, the “range wars,” and the third-party movements.

The Great Cowboy Strike subverts American mythology to reveal the class abuses and inequalities that have blinded an nation to its true history and nature.

THE WHISPERING ROOM

Title: The Whispering Room

Author: Dean Koontz

These are the words that ring in the mind of mild mannered, beloved schoolteacher Cora Gundersun–just before she takes her own life, and many others, in a shocking act of carnage. When the disturbing contents of her secret journal are discovered, it seems certain that she must have been insane. But Jane Hawk knows better.

In the words of her husband’s inexplicable suicide–and the equally mysterious deaths of scores of other exemplary individuals–Jane picks up the trail of a secret cabal of powerful players who think themselves above the law and beyond punishment. But the ruthless people bent on hijacking America’s future for their own monstrous ends never banked on a highly trained FBI agent willing to go rogue–and become the nation’s most wanted fugitive–in order to derail their insidious plans to gain absolute power with a terrifying technological breakthrough.

Driven by love for her lost husband and by fear for the five-year-old son she has sent into hiding, Jane Hawk has become an unstoppable predator. Those she is hunting will have n9owhee to run when her shadow falls across them.

FIRST TO FIGHT THE U.S. MARINES IN WORLD WAR I

Title: First to Fight The U.S Marines in World War I

Author: Oscar E. Gilbert and Romain Cansiere

“Retreat, hell! We just got here!” The words of Captain Lloyd Williams at Belleau Wood in June 1918 entered United States Corps legend, and the Marine Brigade’s actions there–along with the censor’s failure to take out the name of the Brigade in the battle reports–made the Corps famous.

The Marines went to war as part of the American Expeditionary Force, bitterly resented by the Army and General Pershing. The Army tried to use them solely as labor troops and replacements, but the German spring offensive of 1918 forced the issue. The French begged Pershing to commit his partially trained men, and two untested American divisions, supported by British and French units, were thrown into the path of five German divisions. Three horrific weeks later, the Marines held the entirety of Belleau Wood. The Marines then fought in the almost forgotten Blanc Mont Ridge Offensive in October, as well as in every well-known AEF action until the end of the war.

First to Fight looks at all the operations of the Marine Corp[s in World War I, covers the activities of both ground and air units, and considers the units that supported the Marine Brigade. This is the full and dramatic story of how, during the war years, the Marine Corps changed from a small organization of naval security detachments to an elite land combat force.

A CASUALTY OF WAR

Title: A Casualty of War

Author: Charles Todd

Though the Great War is nearing its end–Armentieres is back in Allied hands, Cambrai has fallen to the Canadians, Turkey is collapsing, and the Germans are on the retreat–the fighting rages on. Like the battered and weary soldiers she tends, Bess Crawford yearns for an end to the bloodshed taking a devastating toll on everyone, including her fellow doctors and nurses.

Waiting for her transport north, Bess meets Captain Alan Travis, and Englishman whose branch of the family made its fortune on the Caribbean island of Barbados. Their brief, pleasant conversation is a respite from the carnage ahead as they return to duty.

Then, at the beginning of November, Bess unexpectedly encounters Captain Travis again. Brought into her forward aid station bloodied and disoriented from a head wound, the Captain insists that the man who shot him was an English officer–a distant cousin named James Travis–and asks for Bess’s help finding him. Bess’s inquires about Lieutenant Travis turn up nothing, forcing her to believe that a concussion must have clouded the wounded man’s mind.

Days later, fate brings her and the Captain together a third time when he is severely wounded. Again Captain Travis accuses James of shooting him, denouncing him as a killer. But Bess learns that James couldn’t possibly have shot his cousin–which brings Alan Travis’s sanity into question. Bess has seen the impact of war on too many exhausted men whose grasp of reality slipped into nightmare. The hospital is dealing with an angry, tormented patient. Yet Bess remembers an able, clearheaded officer.

As the war comes to a bloody end, Bess is given leave, and in an English clinic for brain injuries, she discovers a suicidal Captain Travis strapped to his bed. Horrified by his condition, she and Sergeant Major Simon Brandon travel to James Travis’s home in Suffolk to learn more about the baffling relationship between these two cousins. Her search for the truth about Alan Travis will lead this smart, capable, and compassionate young women into unexpected danger, and bring her face-to-face with the visible and invisible wounds of war that not even the much-longed-for peace can heal.

TELL TALES

Title: Tell Tale

Author: Jeffrey Archer

Nearly a decade after his last volume of short stories was published, Jeffrey Archer returns with his eagerly awaited brand new collection, Tell Tale, giving us a fascinating, exciting, and sometimes poignant insight into the people he has met, the stories he has come across, and th countries he has visited during the past ten years.

Find out what happens to the hapless young detective from Naples who travels to an Italian hillside town to find out “Who killed the Mayor?, and the pretentious schoolboy in “The Road to Damascus,” whose discovery of the origins of his father’s wealth changes his life in the most profound way.

Revel in the stories of the 1930’s woman who dares to challenge the m3en at her Ivy League University in “A Gentleman and a Scholar” while another young woman who thumbs a lift gets more than she bargained for in “A Wasted Hour.”

These wonderfully engaging and always refreshingly original tales prove not only why Archer has been compared by the critics to Dahl and Mangham, but also why he was described by The Times as probably the greatest storyteller of our age.

CRAZY LIKE A FOX

Title: Crazy Like A Fox

Author: Rita Mae Brown\

In this thrilling new fox-hunting mystery from New York Times best selling author Rita Mae Brown, an investigation into a missing and valuable object flushes out murder, ghosts, and family rivalries. Now “Sister” Jane Arnold and a pack of four legged friends must catch the scent of a killer and unearth a long-buried truth.

As the calendar turns, the crisp October wind bode well for this year’s hunting season. But before the bugle sounds, Sister Jane takes a scenic drive up the Blue Ridge Mountains for a board meeting at the Museum of Hounds and Hunting. Brimming with colorful stories and mementos from hunts of yore, the mansion is plunged into mystery when a venerable hunting horn is stolen right out of its case. The only clue, on a left-behind cell phone, is what seems to be a “selfie” video of the hour’s original owner, Wesley Carruthers–deceased since 1954.

Odder still, Wesley’s body was never found. When Sister makes a discovery that may explain his unsolved disappearance, it leads her back to the Jefferson Hunt at midcentury, with her faithful hounds at her side. But as the clues quickly mount, Sister is no longer sure if she’s pursuing a priceless artifact, a thief, Wesley’s killer….or a ghost. The only certainty is that someone wants to put Sister off the chase–perhaps permanently.

Teeming with familiar and beloved characters, intrigue, and the rich local history of Virginia’s horse country, Crazy Like a Fox races toward its stunning conclusion in full cry and packed with plenty of surprises. Once again, Rita Mae Brown dazzles and delight in her irresistible style with a novel readers are certain to be crazy about.

ANDREW JACKSON AND THE MIRACLE OF NEW ORLEANS

Title: Andrew Jackson and the Battle of New Orleans

Author: Brian Kilmeade and Don Yeger

The War of 1812 saw America threatened on every side. Encouraged by the British, Indian tribes attacked settlers in the West, while the Royal Navy terrorized the coasts. By mid-1814, President James Madison’s generals had lost control of he war in the North,, losing battles in Canada. Then British troops set the White House ablaze, and a feeling of hopelessness spread across the country.

Into this dire situation stepped Major General Andrew Jackson. A native of Tennessee who had witnessed the horrors of the Revolutionary War and Indian attacks, he was glad America had finally decided to confront repeated British aggression. But he feared that President Madison’s men were overlooking the most important target of all: New Orleans.

If the British conquered New Orleans, they would control the mouth of the Mississippi River, cutting Americans off from that essential trade route and threatening the previous decade’s Louisiana Purchase. The new Nation’s dreams of western expansion would be crushed before they really got off the ground.

So Jackson faced three enormous challenges. He had to convince President Madison and his War Department to take him seriously, even though he wasn’t one of the well-educated Virginians and New Englanders who dominated the government. He had to assemble a coalition of frontier militiamen, French-speaking Louisianans, Cherokee and Choctaw Indians, freed slaves, and even some pirates. And he had to defeat the most powerful military force in the world–in the confusing terrain of the Louisiana bayous.

in short, then Jackson needed a miracle. The local Ursuline nuns set to work praying for his outnumbered troops. And so the Americans, driven by patriotism and protected by prayer, began he battle that would shape our young nation’s destiny.

As they did in their two previous bestsellers, kilmeade and Yaeger make history come alive with a riveting true story that will keep you turning the pages. You’ll finish with a new understanding of one of America’s greatest generals–who later became one of you most controversial presidents. And you’ll have a renewed appreciation for the brave men who fought so that America could one day stretch “from sea to shining sea.”

SCALIA SPEAKS – REFLECTIONS ON LAW, FAITH, AND LIRE WELL LIVED

Title: Scalia Speaks – Reflections on Law, Faith, and Life Well Lived

Author: Antonin Scalia

By any measure, Antonia Scalia lived an extraordinary life. A Supreme Court Justice for three decades, he transformed the way that judges and lawyers think about the law. Married to his beloved wife, Maureen, for more than fifty-years, a father to nine children, and a grandfather to dozens, he was devoted to his family and his faith. He was gregarious, energetic, and a friend to people of all political stripes.

Over his career, Justice Scalia delivered hundreds of speeches across the country and throughout the world. Scalia Speaks collects for the first time his best speeches, covering topics as varied as the law, faith, virtue, pastimes, and his heroes and friends. Featuring a foreword by longtime friend Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and an intimate introduction by his youngest son, this volume includes dozens of speeches, some deeply personal, and nearly all of which have never been published before.

Americans have long been inspired by Justice Scalia’s ideas, delighted by his wit, and instructed by his intelligence. Scalia Speaks enables readers to encounter the man in full–to understand the legal insights that made him one of the most important justices in the Court’s history and to learn from his broader insights into a life well lived.

This timeless book is perfect for any reader interested in a man and mind that helped shape our nation.