Espionage work is associated with darkness and danger, according to those who make their living writing about it. These, of course, include experts in the genre like John le Carre and Olen Steinhauer, whose new and memorably titled book is tailored to the kind of terror that spies live with.
There’s a popular narrative in U.S. politics these days. The Democrats dislike the Republicans. The Republicans dislike the Democrats. The American voter dislikes the Democrats and Republicans for what they’ve done, and still do, to politics and elections.
At a time when once again, for the umpteenth time in postwar America, the imposition of economic sanctions and just how they should be applied is a hot-button topic in Washington’s corridors of power, here comes this provocative book which seems to be telling us that using them is at best almost useless and at worst actually counterproductive.
Some people deserve to be remembered not because of any towering achievement, but simply because they did their best, sometimes rather clumsily, to make a positive contribution. Sophia Duleep Singh, daughter of the last maharajah of the Punjab, was such a person and Anita Anand’s groundbreaking biography, thoroughly researched and written with considerable verve, does her subject full justice — and then some.
Mariel Hemingway was only 6 years old when she learned how to mix cocktails and pour wine as a survival mechanism to keep her parents from arguing. In two new autobiographies, the California native and granddaughter of novelist Ernest Hemingway says she spent her childhood carefully navigating through a “minefield” of alcoholism, arguing, drug addiction, mental illness and suicide.
In the wake of the turbulent French Revolution at the turn of the 18th century, crowns rattled atop nervous royal heads throughout Europe. Was beheading monarchs going to become a new continental pastime? Would democratic forces sweep aside regimes whose only claim to “legitimacy” was heritage?
Unless you are now 80 or more years old, you could hardly be expected to have memories of those dark days after the attacks by Japanese forces on Pearl Harbor, the Philippines and the British, French and Dutch colonies in the Western Pacific.