Category Archives: Historical

THE FROZEN HOURS

Title: The Frozen Hours

Author: Jeff Shaara

The master of military historical fiction turns his discerning eye to the Korean War in this riveting new novel, which tells the dramatic story of the Americans and the Chinese who squared off in one of the deadliest campaigns in the annals of combat: the Battle of Chosin Reservoir, also known as Frozen Chosin.

June 1950. The North Korean army invades South Korea, intent on uniting the country under Communist rule. In response, the United States mobilizes a force to defend the overmatched South Korean troops, and together they drive the North Koreans back to their border with China.

But several hundred thousand
Chinese troops have entered Korea, laying massive traps for the Allies. In November 1950, the Chinese spring those traps. Allied forces, already battling stunningly cold weather, find themselves caught completely off guard as the Chinese advance around the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. A force that once stood on the precipice of victory now finds itself on the brink of annihilation. Assured by General Douglas MacArthur that they would be home by Christmas, the soldiers and Marines fight for their lives against the most brutal weather conditions imaginable–and an enemy that outnumbers them more than six to one.

The Frozen Hours tells the story of Frozen Chosin from multiple points of view: Oliver P Smith, the commanding general of the American 1st Marine Division, who famously redefined defeat as “advancing in a different direction”; Marine Private Pete Riley, a World War II veteran who now faces the greatest fight of his life; and the Chinese commander Sung Shi-Lun, charged with destroying the American he has so completely surrounded, ever aware that above him, Chairman Mao Tse-Tung watches his every move.

Written with the propulsive force Shaara brings to all his novels of combat and courage, The Frozen Hours transports us to the critical moment in the history of America’s “forgotten War,” when the fate of the Korean peninsula lay in the hinds of a brave band of brothers battling both the elements and a determined, implacable foe.

The Big Break

Title: The Big Break

Author: Stephen Dando – Collins

The story opens in 1943 in the stinking latrines of a Nazi prisoner-of-war camp at Sshubin, Poland, as an American and a Canadian lead the digging of an ingenious escape tunnel, enabling a break by thirty-six POWs. The Germans then converted the camp to Oflag 64, to exclusively hold US army officers, with more than 1,500 ultimately imprisoned there. Plucky Americans attempt[ted a variety of escapes until January 1945, only to be thwarted every time.

As the Red Army advanced closer to Schubin, Camp commandant Colonel Fritz Schneider received orders from Berlin to march his prisoners west. This was the opening the Americans needed to break free once and for all; before long, 250 US Army officers would succeed in escaping east to link up with the Russians. Within months, General Patton would launch a bloody bid to rescue the rescue the remaining Schubin Americans.

In The Big Break, this astonishing, previously untold story follows POWs, including General Eisenhower’s personal aide. General Paton’s son-in-law, and Ernest Hemingway’s eldest son, as they struggle to gain their freedom. Military historian and Paul Brickhill biographer Stephen Dando-Collins expertly chronicles this gripping tale of Americans determined to be free, brave Poles risking their lives to help them, and dogmatic Nazis determined to stop them.

How America Lost Its Secrets

Title: How America Lost Its Secrets

Author: Edward Jay Epstein

A ground breaking, compelling investigation that convincingly challenges the popular image of Edward Snowden as hacker-turned-avenging angel, while revealing how vulnerable our national security systems have become.

in the wake of the scandal that emerged after details of American government surveillance were made public by WikiLeaks in 2013, Edward Snowden, formerly an employee of an outside contractor at the NSA facility in Hawaii, became the controversial center of an international conversation about the limits of power and privacy. Had the U,S Government overstepped important boundaries in its anti-terrorism efforts? Was Snowden’s theft of information legitimized buy the nature of the secrets being kept from the American people? We learn in How America Lost Its Secrets that Snowden stole a great deal more that documents relating to domestic surveillance. He also stole secret documents from the NSA, the CIA, the Department of Defense, and the British Cipher service revealing the sources and method they employed in their monitoring of adversaries. He then transported these state secrets to an adversary country, Russia, without authorization. Which raises the question: Who is Edward Snowden–hero, traitor, whistle-blower, spy?

Edward Jay Epstein brings a lifetime of journalistic and investigative acumen to hear on this question and more. Retracing Snowden’s steps from disgruntled tech worker to international notoriety, he seeks to understand both how we lost our secrets and the man who took them. Along the way, we discovered Snowden’s sometimes troubling pseudonymous writing on the Internet, as well as aspects of his private and public life previously elided. We see that by outsourcing parts of our own security apparatus to private companies in order to save money, the government has made classified information far more vulnerable to theft and misuse. Snowden, working for one of these private companies, ultimately sought employment precisely where he could most easily gain access to the most sensitive classified information,. He claims to have acted to serve his country, but in his new home, Moscow, he is treated as a prized intelligence asset in the new Cold War.

With unerring insight, meticulous reporting, and the pacing of a thriller writer, Epstein follows the Snowden trail across the globe, unearthing revelations that shed a whole new light on one of the most controversial and fascinating events of the new Millennium.

Target: JFK

Title: Target: JFK

Author: Robert K. Wilcox

For years conspiracy theories have swirled around the Kennedy assassination. While most are easily dismissed, and some have been debunked thanks to diligent research, serious questions have remained.

And those serious questions just got a whole lot more serious.

In this stunning new book, Target: JFK, acclaimed investigative reporter Robert Wilcox presents shocking new information that cast the Kennedy assassination in an entirely new light.

The key figure, as revealed by Wilcox, is Rene A. Dussaq–a mysterious, dashing, stuntmen-turned-spy who might have been behind Kohn F. Kennedy’s assassination. Indeed, a trained assassin, he might even have been the triggerman.

Born in Buenos Aires and educated in Geneva and Cuba, Dussaq became an American citizen, worked for the OSS (the precursor of the CIA), and parachuted behind enemy lines before D-Day. He was a handsome, charming man who briefly worked in Hollywood as a stuntman before settling down to work for an insurance company. But also, it appears, he worked for the FBI, the CIA, and was engaged in other shadowy activities.

In page after page of never-before-reported evidence, Wilcox reveals how this mysterious Argentine with a stranger-than-fiction life story is the missing link in the assassination mystery. In Target: JFK you’ll learn:
1 How a fellow veteran of the OSSS implicated Dussaq in the assassination
2 How Dussaq brings the most important suspects in the Kennedy assassination–domestic communists like Lee Harvey Oswald, Fidel Castro, and the Mafia–all together
3 Why the United States government destroyed evidence on the most likely suspect in the assassination

Thoroughly documented and researched, responsible in its conclusions, and su0perbly told, Target: JFK is a must read for anyone interested in the Kennedy assassination, modern American history, and great unsolved mysteries.

The Spanish American War, 1898

Title: The Spanish American War, 1898

Author: Albert A. Nofi

The Spanish-American War has often been viewed as a disjointed series of colorful episodes; young Americans who would later become famous, fighting a Spanish colonial army putting up a token resistance. Military commentator and historian Albert A. Nofi presents the war as a coherent military narrative, showing how the conflict developed, the strategy and tactics of both sides, and the influence of the American co0mmanders’ Civil War experience as modified by recent improvements in technology. Serious attention is also given to the Spanish forces, the army of an empire in decline, but well-equipped and tactically sophisticated.

The Spanish-American War, 1898 also features a detailed treatment of the war in Puerto Rico. This theater was under the command of Indian fighter Nelson A. Miles and included some of the best tactical maneuvering of the war, an aspect not covered in detail in modern works.

All The Gallant Men

Title: All The Gallant Men

Author: Donald Stratton

At 8:06 A.M. on December 7, 1941, Seaman First Class Donald Stratton was consumed by an inferno. A million pounds of explosives had detonated beneath his battle station aboard the USS Arizona, barely fifteen minutes into Japan’s surprise attack on American forces at Pearl Harbor. Near death and burned across tow thirds of his body, Don, a nineteen-year-old Nebraskan who had been steeled by the Great Depression and Dust Bowl, summoned the will to haul himself hand over hand across a rope tethered to a neighboring vessel. Forty-five feet below, the harbor’s flaming, oil-slick water boiled with enemy bullets; all around him the world tore itself apart.

In the extraordinary, never-before-told eyewitness account of the Pearl Harbor attack–the only memoir ever written by a survivor of the USS Arizona–ninety-four year-old Donald Stratton finally shares his unforgettable personal tale of bravery and survival on December 7, 1941, his harrowing recovery, and his inspiring determination to return to the fight.

Don and four other sailors made it safely across the same line that morning, a small miracle on a day that claimed the lives of 1,177 of their Arizona shipmates–approximately half the American fatalities at Pear Harbor. Sent to military hospitals for a year, Don refused doctors’ advice to amputate his limbs and battled to relearn how to walk. the U.S. Navy gave him a medical discharge, believing he would never again be fit for service, but Don had unfinished business. In June 1944, he sailed back into the teeth of the Pacific War on a destroyer, destined for combat in the crucial battles of Leyte Gulf, Luzon, and Okinawa, thus earning the distinction of having been present for the opening shots and the final major battle of
America’s Second World War.

As the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attacks approaches, Dom, a great-grandfather of five and one of six living survivors of the Arizona, offers an unprecedentedly intimate reflection on the tragedy that drew America into the greatest armed conflict in history. All The Gallant Men is a book for the ages, one of the most remarkable–and remarkably inspiring–memoirs of any kind to appear in recent years.

A Mater Of Honor

Title: A Matter Of Honor

Author: Anthony Summers & Robbyn Swan

We thought we knew the story well: On December 7, 1941, 2403 Americans died when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, devastating the nation and precipitating entry into World War II. In the after math, Admiral Husband Kimmel, commander in chief of the Pacific Fleet, was relieved of command, accused of dereliction of duty, and publicly disgraced.

The fact was, however — that–through sheer inefficiency — the top brass in Washington had failed to provide Kimmel with vital intelligence. Then, in the name of protecting the biggest U.S. intelligence secret of the day, they and top officials allowed the Admiral and the Army commander in Hawaii to be made scapegoats for the catastrophe.

The Admiral fought to clear his name for the rest of his long life. After Kimmel’s death his sons–both Navy veterans–continued the fight. Both houses of Congress approved the posthumous restoration of the Admiral’s four-star rank, only to be blocked by the Navy bureaucracy. Today Kimmel’s grandchildren maintain the struggle–for them, it is a matter of honor.

In this conversation-changing book, Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan go far beyond the fall and fight-back of one man. They unravel the many apparent mysteries of Pearl Harbor, clear President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the charge that he knew the attack was coming, and uncover duplicity and betrayal in high places in Washington.

The authors, Pulitzer Prize finalists for their revelatory book on 9/11, The Eleventh Day, have conducted extraordinary research, with unrivaled access to documents, diaries, and letters.

Battle of Wills

Title: Battle of Wills

Author: David Allen Johnson

Historians have long analyzed the battles and the military strategies that brought the American Civil War to an end. Going beyond tactics and troop maneuvers, this book concentrates on the characters of the two opposing generals–Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant–showing how their different temperaments ultimately determined the course of the war. As author David Alan Johnson explains, Grant’s dogged and fearless determination eventually gained the upper hand over Lee’s arguably superior military brilliance.

Delving into their separate upbringings, the book depicts Grant as a working-class man from Ohio and Lee as a Virginia aristocrat. Both men were strongly influenced by their fathers. Grant learned a lesson in determination as he watched his father overcome economic hardships to make a successful living as a tanner and leather goods dealer. By contrast, Lee did his best to become he polar opposite of his father, a man whose bankruptcy and imprisonment for unpaid debts brought disgrace upon the family. Lee cultivated a manner of unimpeachable respectability and patrician courtesy, which in the field of battle did not always translate into decisive orders. Underscoring the tragedy of this fratricidal conflict, the author recounts episodes from the earlier Mexican War (1846-1848), when Grant and Lee and many other officers who would later oppose each other were comrades in arms.
This vivid narrative brings to life a crucial turning point in American history, showing how character and circumstances combined to have a decisive influence on the course of events.

A Land Remembered

Title: A Land Remembered

Author: Patrick D. Smith

In 1858 Tobias Maclvey abandoned his Georgia farm, loaded his meager possessions and his wife and infant son in a wagon, and headed south into the Florida wilderness to search for a new life. What follows in A Land Remembered is a big, rougy-to7ugh, folksy Florida saga — three generations of the MacIvey family (1858-s1968) from a dirt poor cattle-droving cracker (cattle rancher who cracks a whip) to a Miami real estate tycoon.

But it is also an epic portrayal of the American pioneer will to survive against all odds. And finally it is the story of the land, how at first bare survival is scratched from it and then how it is exploited far beyond human need.

The sweeping story that emerges is a rich, rugged Florida history featuring a memorable cast to crusty, indomitable crackers battling wild animals, rustlers, Confederate deserters, mosquitoes, starvation and hurricanes and freezes to carve a kingdom out of the swamp. But their most formidable adversary turns out to be greed, including finally their own.

Love and tenderness are here too: the hopes and passions of each new generation, friendships with the persecuted blacks and Indians, respect for the land and its wildlife.

American Heiress

Title: American Heiress

Author: Jeffrey Toobin

On February 4, 1974, Patty Hearst, a sophomore in college and heiress to the Hearst family fortune, was kidnapped by a ragtag group of self-styled revolutionaries calling itself the Symbionese Liberation Army. the already sensational story took the first of many incredible twists of April 3, when the group released a tape of Patty saying she had joined the SLA and had adopted the nom de guerre “Tania.”

The weird turns of the tale are truly astonishing–the Hearst family trying to secure Patty’s release by feeding all the people of Oakland and San Francisco for free; the bank security cameras capturing “Tania” wielding a machine gun during a robbery; a cast of characters including everyone from Bill Walton to the Black Panthers to Ronald Regan to F. Lee Bailey; the largest police shoot-out in American history; the first breaking news event to be broadcast live on television stations across the country; Patty’s year on the lam, running from authorities; and her circuslike trial, filled with theatrical courtroom confrontations and a dramatic last-minute reversal, after which the term “Stockholm Syndrome” entered the lexicon.

The saga of Patty Hearst highlighted a decade in which America seemed to be suffering a collective nervous breakdown. Based on more then a hundred interviews and thousands of previously secret documents, American Heiress thrillingly recounts the craziness of the times (there were an average of 1,500 bombings a year the early 1970s). Tobbin portrays the lunacy of the half-baked radicals of the SLA and the toxic mix of sex, politics and violence that swept up Patty Hearst and re-creates her melodramatic rtial. American Heritage examines the life of a young woman who suffered an unimaginable trauma and then made the stunning decision to join her captors’ crusade. Or did she?