Spies, World War II; Continent: Europe

Agent Zigzag: The True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal by Ben MacIntyre Action-packed and clever, but this bit of history has just enough “Hogan’s Heroes” to make you shake your head 364 pages (305 pages without Appendix and Notes) Who doesn’t love a spy story? Some of the best ones come from information […]

Four Books about the U.S. Presidency and Troubling Times

Well, the United States’ presidential election has made us all scrutinize our expectations from the presidency a little more closely. However you voted, you have to admit that we’re in for a wild ride in the coming months and years. These four books have been on my mind as I watch the news lately, each […]

Nationalism, Culture, Germany; Continent: Europe

Author Stephen Winder’s personal, meandering discussion of topics in pre-WWII history will make you laugh and think, often in the same chapter 480 pages (Bibliography begins page 379) I confess, I read Winder’s 2015 book, Danubia, before I got back to read Germania, his 2011 offering. Germania is the slightly shorter book (Danubia is a […]

Cold War, Politics; Continents: Asia, North America

The Cold War; A New History by John Lewis Gaddis A densely packed book spanning the end of World War II through Bush and Gorbachev meeting at Malta 333 pages (266 pages to complete the epilogue) The night I stayed over at my grandma’s house so Mom and Dad could see Red Dawn (1984) in […]

North Korea, Culture; Continent: Asia

Without You, There Is No Us: My Time with the Sons of North Korea’s Elite, A Memoir by Suki Kim A Korean-born New Yorker goes down the rabbit hole to teach at a prestigious North Korean university 285 pages (291 pages including Acknowledgements and Author’s Note) Here in the West, we’ve all seen the video […]

Exploration,Colonization; Region: Pacific Rim

Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before by Tony Horwitz A thoughtful consideration of the impact Cook’s travels had on each of the cultures he visited as well as the one from which he hailed…along with a good chuckle in parts 500 pages (440 pages to Selected Bibliography) Back when I needed […]

Middle East Peace; Continents: Various

Thirteen Days in September; The Dramatic Story of the Struggle for Peace by Lawrence Wright I finished this complex book a week ago and am still processing what I read 466 pages I was born in the early 1970s, and the first president I can remember knowing anything about was Jimmy Carter. Back then, most […]

Marketing, Business; Continent: Europe

Shopping, Seduction & Mr. Selfridge by Lindy Woodhead Same period as “Downton Abbey,” more name-dropping 336 pages (91% content before Acknowledgments, etc. begin) PBS’s “Mr. Selfridge” (a “Masterpiece” production) loosely bases its story on the life of Harry Gordon Selfridge. Selfridge was the American retailer whose London department store turned traditional shopping on its ear […]

The Reject Pile, July 2016 Edition

Over the past six months, I’ve only really had two books I couldn’t bother to finish. They share a couple of common traits (although not topics), chief among them that they are recounted in a narrative style – often a draw for me. Unfortunately, the first becomes repetitive while the second takes on an overly […]