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Tag Archive for ‘World War II’

13 good recent books about American foreign policy

In recent years I’ve read and reviewed 13 nonfiction books published in the 21st Century about aspects of American foreign policy. I’m listing them here, in alphabetical order by the authors’ last names. Each title is linked to my longer review. The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a Forgotten Genocide, by Gary J. Bass Though… Read More ›

A stirring tale of spies in wartime Vienna

Vienna Spies, by Alex Gerlis @@@@ (4 out of 5) In The Secret War, his illuminating revisionist history of secret intelligence in World War II, the British journalist Max Hastings questions the value of what has come to be called “humint,” the product of spies working undercover. In Hastings’ view, spies had little effect on… Read More ›

The astonishing story of Hedy Lamarr, Hollywood star and inventor

On “Science Friday” (June 2, 2017), which I heard on my local NPR station, KQED, host Ira Flatow interviewed author Richard Rhodes and Diane Kruger about Hedy Lamarr. Rhodes wrote the book reviewed here. Kruger will star in a film and TV mini-series based on Lamarr’s life. Because of the increased interest in that amazing woman,… Read More ›

In an alternate history, the Nazis occupy England

SS-GB, by Len Deighton @@@@ (4 out of 5) In the literature of alternate history, Nazi Germany often wins World War II. Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle, Fatherland by Robert Harris, and Jo Walton’s Farthing Trilogy (Farthing, Ha’penny, and Half a Crown, all reviewed here) are prominent examples. There are many others,… Read More ›

A Nazi medal in Sweden triggers a journey into the past

The Hidden Child (Patrik Hedström and Erica Falck #5), by Camilla Läckberg @@@@ (4 out of 5) Once upon a time French classicists derived the principles of drama from Aristotle’s Poetics, proclaiming the “three unities.” This restrictive concept required that a play depict only a single action that takes place in a single location within… Read More ›

My 10 favorite espionage novels

Over the past seven years, I’ve read and reviewed 60 espionage novels. My ten favorites are listed below. Though my preliminary list included multiple titles by three authors (Alex Berenson, Charles Cumming, and Ross Thomas), I’ve limited myself to a single title from every writer. I gave every one of these ten titles a score… Read More ›

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 ›