Category Archives: Book Reviews

CHICAGO

Title: Chicago

Author: David Mamet

From His perch at the Chicago Tribune, Mike Hodge–scarred veteran of the Great War–had gotten to know the underbelly of the metropolis like few others, Politicians, gangsters, prostitutes, bootleggers, opium addicts, jazz musicians, and con artists–he’d observed them all. So perhaps he should have known better when he fell for Annie Walsh, whose family was on preferred terms with those who preferred the back alley.

Then again, maybe the man who killed Annie Walsh should have known better than to trifle with Mike Hodge.

A big-shouldered, big-trouble thriller set in a mobbed-up 1920s Windy City, Chicago is the first novel in more than two decades from David Mamet, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of the Untouchables and Wag the Dog and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of Glengarry Glen Ross. Across the canvas of a city peopled by the corrupt, the cynical, and the deceived, Mamet crafts a wicked and tough saga of retribution and double=cross. Mixing some of hid most brilliant fictional creations with actual figures of the era (among them Al Capone), he explores–as no other writer can–questions of honor, deceit, devotion, and revenge.

Set in his hometown, Chicago is the book that David Mamet has been building up to for his whole career. From its opening fusillade to its astonishing conclusion, Chicago is that rarest of literary creations: a book that combines spectacular elegance of craft with a kinetic wallop as fierce as the February wind gusting off Lake Michigan.

CHICAGO

Title: Chicago

Author: David Mamet

From his perch at the Chicago Tribune, Mike Hodge–scarred veteran of the Great War–had gotten to know the underbelly of the metropolis like few others. Politicians, Gangsters, prostitutes, bootleggers, opium addicts, jazz musicians, and con artists–he’d observed them all. So perhaps he should have known better when he fell for Annie Walsh, whose family was on preferred terms with those who preferred the back alley.

The again, maybe the man who killed Annie Walsh should have known better that to trifle with Mike Hodge.

A big-shouldered, big-trouble thriller set in a mobbed-up 1920’s Windy City, Chicago is the first novel in more than two decades from David Mamet, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of The untouchables and Wag the Dog and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of Glengarry Glen Ross. Across the canvas of a city peopled by the corrupt, the cynical, and the deceived, Mamet crafts a wicked and tough saga of retribution and double-cross. Mixing some of his most brilliant fictional creations with actual figures of the era (among them Al Capone), he explores–as no other writer can–questions of honor, deceit, devotion, and revenge.

Set in his hometown, Chicago is the book that David Mamet has been building up to for his whole career. From its opening fusillade to its astonishing conclusion, Chicago is the rarest of literary creations: a book that combines spectacular elegance of craft with a kinetic wallop as fierce as the February wind gusting off lake Michigan.

THE ARMAGEDDON FILE

Title: The Armageddon File

Author: Stephen Coonts

Was the last election stolen?

And if so–who did the stealing–and why?

The answer lies in the Cryptic “Armageddon File.”

But that file is deadly.

National bestselling author Stephen Coonts is a master thriller writer–The flight of the Intruder, Liberty’s Last Stand–at the top of his game in The Armageddon File, a story ripped from the nation’s headlines, CIA Director Jake Grafton and CIA Agent Tommy Carmellin race to discover who might have attempted–or succeeded– to steal the last presidential election.

A string of dead bodies, rigged voting machines, and a conspiracy that seems to lead in divergent directions–from the uppermost reaches of the FBI to foreign powers, from high finance to organized crime–are only part of this gripping story of cross and double-cross that leads to a shattering climax.

PIRATE HUNTERS

Title: Pirate Hunters

Author: Robert Kurson

Early one January morning in 20012, I received an international call from an unknown number. It was coming from the Dominican Republic, But I didn’t know anyone in that country. I had never been there in my life. The voice on the line, however, was unmistakable. “if you like pirates, meet me in New Jersey.” The caller was John Chatterton, one of the heroes of my book Shadow Divers. I hadn’t spoken to Chatterton in more than a year, but knew his New York-tinged baritone right away. “What kind of Pirates?” I asked. “seventeenth century. Caribbean. The real deal.”

So begins Pirate Hunters, a thrilling new adventure of danger and deep-sea diving, historic mystery and suspense, by the author of the New York Times bestseller Shadow Divers.

Finding and identifying a pirate ship is the hardest thing to do under the sea. But two men–John Chatterton and John Mattera–and willing to risk everything to find the Golden Fleece, The ship of the infamous pirate Joseph Bannister. At large during the Golden Age of Piracy in the seventeenth century, Bannister should have been immortalized in the lore of the sea–his exploits were more notorious than Blackbeard’s, more daring than Kidd’s. But the story, and his ship, have been lost to time. If Chatterton and Mattera succeed, they will make history–it will be just the second time ever that a pirate ship has been discovered and positively identified. Soon, however, they realize that cutting-edge technology and a willingness to lose everything aren’t enough to track down Bannister’s ship. They must travel the glove in search of historic documents and accounts of the great pirate’s exploits, face down dangerous rivals, battle the tides of nations and governments and experts. But it’s only when they learn to think and act like pirates–like Bannister–that they become able to go where no pirate hunters have gone before.

Fast paced and filled with suspense, fascinating characters, history, and adventure, Pirate Hunters is an unputdownable story that goes deep to discover truths and souls long believed lost.

PEARL HARBOR FROM INFAMY TO GREATNESS

Title: Pearl Harbor From Infamy to Greatness

Author: Craig Nelson

The America we live in today was born not on July 4, 1776, but on December 7, 1941, when an armada of hundreds of Japanese warplanes supported by aircraft carriers, destroyers, and midget submarines suddenly and savagely attacked the United States, killing 2,403 men–and forcing America’s entry into World War II. Pearl Harbor: From Infamy to Greatness follows moment by moment,
the sailors, soldiers, pilots, diplomats, admirals, generals, emperor, and president as they engineer, fight, and react to this stunningly dramatic event in world history.

Bestselling author Craig Nelson maps the road to war, beginning in 1914, with Franklin D. Roosevelt, then the assistant secretary of the navy (and not yet afflicted with polio), attending the laying of the keel of the USS Arizona at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Writing with vivid intimacy, Nelson traces Japan’s leaders as they lurch into ultranationalist fascism, which culminates in their insanely daring yet militarily brilliant scheme to terrify America with one of the boldest attacks ever waged. Within seconds, the country would never be the same.

In addition to learning the little–understood history of how and why Japan attacked Hawaii, we hear an abandoned record player endlessly repeating “Sunrise Serenade” as bombs shatter the decks of the Pennsylvania; we feel cold terror as lanky young American sailors must anxiously choose between staying aboard their sinking ships or diving overboard into harbor waters aflame with burning fuel; we watch as navy wives tearfully hide with their children in caves from a rumored invasion; and we understand the frustration and triumph of a lone American yeenager as he shoots down a Japanese bomber, even as the attack destroys hundreds of US airplanes and dozens of ships.

Backed by a research team’s five years of work, which produced nearly a million pages of documents, as well as Nelson’s through reexamination of the original evidence assembled gby federal investigators, this page-turning and definitive work provides a trhirlling blow-by-blow account from both the Japanese and American perspectives and is historical drama on the grandest scale. Nelson delivers all the terror, chaos, violence, tragedy, and heroism of the attack in stunning detail and offers surprising conclusions about the tragedy’s unforeseen and resonant consequences that linger even today.

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.