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Ferreting out the fakers

Fairly or not, polygraph examiners for the Central Intelligence Agency and other institutions that require security clearances for staff are not necessarily the most popular guys in the coffee shop. And for good reason: much of their professional lives are devoted to ferreting out secrets their subjects would prefer to leave untold.

Bringing historical insights to the bar

Perhaps it’s something in the water: The National Archives has an ongoing exhibit, “Spirited Republic,” celebrating America’s love affair with drink. And last week this newspaper reported skullduggery in Kentucky where whiskey has been burgled by the barrel and one brand of local hooch fetches $2,000 a bottle. Now comes a book to champion bourbon alone. Perhaps we’re getting over the hangover of Prohibition, and it’s OK to enjoy drinking again, “responsibly,” of course.

Brave women in war

For nearly a decade, American forces fighting in Afghanistan were largely blinded by a lack of intelligence from roughly half the Pashtun population of Afghanistan; that being women. Pashtunwali (the way of the Pashtun) decrees that women be protected from the eyes and presence of men not from their immediate families.

Where all the political bodies are buried

Sophisticated cynicism is the coin of the realm for distinguished British journalists like Andrew Marr, who has a reputation as an editor, a BBC political commentator and a historian. This is a dark and shining example of his talent as a satirist.

‘And now for something completely different’

For most diehard Monty Python fans, the excitement generated at the idea of John Cleese writing an autobiography must have been enormous. After the announcement of the book’s release, the speculation must have included thoughts such as:

The brothers who taught the world how to fly

At exactly 10:35 a.m. on Dec. 17, 1903, at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, Orville Wright slipped the rope restraining the Flyer and started down the track. At the end of the track the Flyer lifted into the air.

The spying sins of the father

Of the American intelligence and military officers who spied for the Soviet Union and successor Russia, who deserves the most scorn for odious conduct? Topping any list would be Aldrich Ames of the CIA, whose treachery cost the lives of sources working for the United States, followed closely by Robert Hanssen of the FBI, who gave the KGB the bureau’s “game plan” for tracking spies.

Related Articles

How Churchill chose his ministers

How nervous was an unprepared Great Britain about a possible German invasion in 1940? The fears were made plain in a memo that Winston Churchill sent to the War Office soon after being made prime minister.

The unlikely friendship of two '60s titans

This is how Kevin Schultz, a history professor at the University of Illinois in Chicago, introduces his history of the '60s: "It was late fall, and the old man awoke in a sour mood. As he rolled out of bed, he saw the cold November winds outside . Compounding the changing weather, he was also sick and dying."

Kirsten Powers' new book explores the role of the Left in silencing those who disagree with them. (Regnery Publishing)

Kirsten Powers: 'How the left is killing free speech' and demonizing conservatives

- The Washington Times

There's much talk about free speech, and the right to it. Now comes a major book explaining who and what is eroding this most basic tenet. Out Monday, it's "The Silencing: How the Left is Killing Free Speech" by Kirsten Powers, a lifelong liberal and daughter of a feminist who converted to Christianity as an adult and is now a frequent contributor to Fox News.

BOOK REVIEW: 'Operation Nemesis: The Assassination Plot That Avenged the Armenian Genocide'

Vengeance is born when justice dies. "Operation Nemesis" is the gripping tale of how a small, ruthlessly determined group of Armenians hunted down the architects of the Ottoman Empire's World War I program of organized mass murder, specifically intended to eliminate a people, the Armenians, who had lived in Anatolia and other parts of the Ottoman Empire for thousands of years.

Following the trajectory of American song

If you love music, especially if you've been following its twists and turns and ever-changing styles all through your life, you will want to read "The B-Side: The Death of Tin Pan Alley and the Rebirth of the Great American Song."

An artist of many parts

Jackson Pollock didn't begin his meteoric career by dripping house paint on tarpaulins any more than Piet Mondrian started out painting white and colored spaces within black boundaries. They had to discover their abstract genres after years of making realistic pictures and learning from there.

Chasing a narrow ideal of beauty

"It's not my fault. So you can't blame me." No disclaimer is more suspect than this, the first line of Toni Morrison's new novel "God Help the Child." It's the mantra of Sweetness, the light-skinned black mother of a midnight-dark daughter. "She embarrassed me," she explains. She fantasized about killing her, but decided instead to be "strict, very strict."

Blaming America for the Cold War

Should I feign surprise? Decades after communism collapsed into rubble, the blame-America crowd — ah, those "intellectuals" — remains determined to blame the Cold War on President Harry S. Truman and British Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill.