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BOOK REVIEW: ‘The Main That Got Away: The Life and Songs of Harold Arlen’

Perhaps it is because songs are called by the name their lyricist has given them that their composers sometimes seem to be less-known than the wordsmiths. Unless, of course, when they have been part of an indelible duo that has somehow entered the lexicon of musicals, like Rodgers and Hart, or Kern and Hammerstein, or after Kern and Hart dropped off, that rare successful remarriage Rodgers and Hammerstein.

BOOK REVIEW: ‘American Dreams: Restoring Economic Opportunity for Everyone’

Political polls, although increasingly iffy and unreliable, have become a growth industry, with the national media, caught up in a relentless wave of cutbacks and downsizing, routinely using them as primary sources for stories — a practice no editor would have countenanced not too many years ago.

BOOK REVIEW: ‘The Blue Guitar’

Quirky is the word that captures this author. Who else would write with such drollery about the collapse of a love affair.

BOOK REVIEW: ‘My Kitchen Year’

When Conde Nast unexpectedly closed Gourmet magazine, a popular favorite with home cooks for 69 years, its 10-year editor, Ruth Reichl, like the rest of the staff, was stunned. She was devastated, feeling responsible for the closure as it happened under her tenure, and unsure as to where she could turn next. The future looked bleak: A new job for a sixty-something food writer, editor and cook is not easy to find.

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BOOK REVIEW: 'Eyes: Novellas and Stories'

A book called "Eyes: Novellas and Stories" inevitably focuses attention on vision. Here it's on the vision of author William H. Gass, who scrutinizes his materials so long that they shift their shapes -- a process he renders in language of balletic precision.

BOOK REVIEW: 'The Christmas Truce: Myth, Memory and the First World War'

"History has a double role: to destroy the illusions of the past and to create out of the debris a more extended, a more rational, a more detached sense of human destiny," the British historian Lady Elizabeth Longford wrote in her biography of the Duke of Wellington.

BOOK REVIEW: 'Hitler at Home'

How did Adolf Hitler go from a figure of fun often likened to Charlie Chaplin's tramp to the leader so beloved by the bulk of Germany's population, no matter what they claimed in this regard after he had brought unheard-of mayhem, destruction and shame on them and their nation?

BOOK REVIEW: 'People!: A Memoir'

Readers who remember Mel Brooks' hilarious routines as the Two Thousand Year Old Man -- the quintessential old Jewish codger who has seen it all, knows it all, and is going to tell you all about it -- will have no trouble enjoying "People!," veteran journalist Sol Sanders' rambling, far-reaching and often moving memoir.

BOOK REVIEW: 'Trigger Mortis'

It is most difficult to resist a book called "Trigger Mortis" and you shouldn't. Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, surely would have been delighted by this confection that recreates the hilariously bizarre and bloody times of the immortal Agent OO7, not to mention Pussy Galore.

BOOK REVIEW: 'The Charlie Chaplin Archives'

Many of Charlie Chaplin's films, including "The Kid" (1921), "The Gold Rush" (1925), "Modern Times" (1936), "The Great Dictator" (1940) and "Limelight" (1952), are regarded as masterpieces. He co-founded the distribution company United Artists with D.W. Griffith, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks.

BOOK REVIEW: 'Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter'

Rosemary Kennedy was more than the secret of the nation's most glamorous political family. She was a tragedy and in many respects the shame of those who should have cared for her most.

BOOK REVIEW: 'The Outsider: My life in Intrigue"

Let us hope that certain passages in this memoir by British thriller writer Frederick Forsyth do not cause trouble -- perhaps fatal trouble -- for authors who follow his example and use their profession as a cover for work for intelligence agencies.

BOOK REVIEW: 'Flood of Fire'

Back in the 1980s, Shankur Bajpai, then India's ambassador in Washington, asked me why, given my interest in his country's history and literature, I had never visited it.