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Tag Archive for ‘World War II’

My 15 favorite detective novels

The 15 detective novels listed below may not be the 15 “best” detective novels, even by my uniquely idiosyncratic criteria. I’d read a lot of work in the genre even before I began writing these reviews in January 2010—and there are tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of detective novels I’ve never read. This list consists… Read More ›

American foreign policy in a “nonpolar” world

A World in Disarray: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Old Order, by Richard A. Haass @@@@ (4 out of 5) It would be difficult to identify anyone other than Henry Kissinger who represents the tradition of America’s bipartisan foreign policy more fully than Richard A. Haass. Haass is the longtime president of… Read More ›

An exciting chapter in the Bernie Gunther saga

The Other Side of Silence (Bernie Gunther #11), by Philip Kerr @@@@ (4 out of 5) The Other Side of Silence is the 11th novel in Philip Kerr‘s bestselling series of detective stories featuring Bernie Gunther. (A 12th is forthcoming as I write.) However, unlike the books that precede it in the series, this suspenseful… Read More ›

The human cost of World War II

Everyone Brave Is Forgiven, by Chris Cleave @@@@@ (5 out of 5) Here is Britain’s World War II as viewed through the perspective of five young people. Their varied and often cruel experiences stand in for the evil and disruption of the war that comes to upend all their lives. The action unfolds month by… Read More ›

Solving a cold case in post-war England

The Death of Kings (John Madden #5), by Rennie Airth @@@@ (4 out of 5) South African author Rennie Airth has written seven novels, five of which feature Detective Inspector John Madden. The Death of Kings is the fifth. Set largely in southern England in 1949, The Death of Kings brings John Madden’s story well… Read More ›

Everybody’s favorite African-American detective

Charcoal  Joe (Easy Rawlins #14), by Walter Mosley @@@ (3 out of 5) Walter Mosley’s hard-boiled detective Easy Rawlins roamed the streets of Watts from the 1940s through the 1960s. If there was someone of note in the region unknown to Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins, he could turn to a wide range of friends and acquaintances,… Read More ›

Cynicism and romanticism in Nazi Germany

The Lady from Zagreb (Bernie Gunther #10), by Philip Kerr @@@@@ (5 out of 5) Philip Kerr has written a series of eleven novels featuring homicide detective Bernie Gunther in Nazi Germany. I hope there will be more. It’s hard to resist characters who would think such things as this: “Being a Berlin cop in… Read More ›

The 5 best books of 2016

I’d already written up my list of the 10 best books of the year when the editors of Berkeleyside asked me to supply them with a list of my five top picks. (I’ll post the longer list next week.) Picking just five is a tough assignment, to put it mildly. But here goes, gritting my… Read More ›

65 good new books I’ve read in 2016

I suppose sixty-five seems like a lot of books to most people, but it’s far from all the books I’ve read in 2016. Listed here are only those that I rated @@@@ or @@@@@ (4 or 5 out of 5). Keep in mind that I’m very selective in choosing books (emphasis on very), and I… Read More ›

Mass murder in the Katyn Forest

A Man Without Breath (Bernie Gunther #9), by Philip Kerr @@@@ (5 out of 5) In the spring of 1940, Josef Stalin’s secret police, the NKVD, systematically murdered some 22,000 Poles. Among the victims were half the members of the Polish officer corps, police officers, government representatives, royalty, and leading members of Poland’s civilian population…. Read More ›