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BOOK REVIEW: ‘The Notorious John Morrissey’

It is not uncommon even in these more evolved times for those commenting on and even engaging in what passes for the rough and tumble of today’s political arena to talk about “taking the gloves off.” But this all but forgotten figure in American history, Rep. John Morrissey, New York Democrat, actually was a bare-knuckle boxer of considerable renown — the American champion no less.

BOOK REVIEW: ‘Junkyards, Gearheads, and Rust: Salvaging the Automotive Past’

This unexpectedly interesting book is all about cars — after they die and go to automotive purgatory to await the crusher. The author, an assistant professor of History at Auburn, who confesses to a lifelong passion for both cars and junkyards, is a man who never met a junkyard he didn’t like.

BOOK REVIEW: ‘The Little Red Chairs’

Someone once said whether history remembers you as a rebel or a freedom fighter depends on whether you lose or win. Whether the same applies to a dictator is open to question. Edna O’Brien seems to be playing with these ideas in her new, complex novel, “The Little Red Chairs.”

BOOK REVIEW: ‘The Castaway’s War: One Man’s Battle Against Imperial Japan’

Of all the combat veterans I have encountered in almost half a century of writing, not a single person has claimed the accolade “hero,” regardless of the number of ribbons he wears. I recall vividly the reaction of a much-decorated veteran of the Korean War when I suggested his actions earned him such a designation.

Related Articles

BOOK REVIEW: 'Washington's Immortals: The Untold Story of an Elite Regiment'

As a military historian, Patrick O'Donnell has a passion for walking through battlefields. In 2010, he found himself in a scruffy area of Brooklyn -- auto repair shops, warehouses and the like -- that was the site of one of the first engagements of the Revolutionary summer of 1776.

BOOK REVIEW: 'In Gratitude'

The British writer Jenny Diski, who died at age 68 in April, was somewhat of an expert at writing a book about two very different subjects.

Book Review: 'True Reagan'

As someone who considers it one of the great blessings of his life to have been a friend and political ally of Ronald Reagan's, I, too, am grateful to author James Rosebush for giving us what is without a doubt the most insightful work yet about this truly great president.

BOOK REVIEW: 'A Hero of France'

Often, while reading a book, we look to see how many pages are left. We do this for two reasons. The first is because we don't like the book and wonder if we can stay the course. The second reason is because the book is so good we don't want it to end, and we're hoping the book has somehow, miraculously, increased in length. "A Hero of France" is one of those good books we don't want to end.

BOOK REVIEW: 'Love that Boy: What Two Presidents, Eight Road Trips and My Son Taught Me'

Today parents are bombarded with expert advice and theories on the right way to parent and what parents should expect from their children. There are countless news stories about overly permissive parents, "free-range parents" who let their children explore their surroundings with modest supervision, and so-called "helicopter parents" who do not allow their children to do the most basic things.

BOOK REVIEW: 'Eisenhower & Camboida'

Did the Eisenhower administration, acting through the CIA, join Thailand and South Vietnam in an attempt to overthrow Norodom Sihanouk, the mercurial king of Cambodia, as the Indochina War approached a boiling point in 1958 and 1959?

BOOK REVIEW: 'Eamon de Valera: A Will to Power'

Had Eamon de Valera, one of the key players in the Irish Easter Rising almost exactly a century ago in the spring of 1916, not been born in New York, he would have been executed along with the other ringleaders.

BOOK REVIEW: 'Five Presidents: My Extraordinary Journey'

The "extraordinary journey" of Secret Service agent Clint Hill began on a note of unlikely melodrama when he had to help smuggle out the dead body of a nurse in attendance on President Eisenhower's mother-in-law.

BOOK REVIEW: 'Dear Fang, With Love'

Novelists and playwrights love putting the girl behind the eight ball. To cite only work in English, think of Shakespeare's Viola and Rosalind and Juliet; of Jane Austen's Elizabeth Bennett; of Hawthorne's Hester Prynne and Rapaccini's daughter; of Bronte's Jane Eyre and Dickens' Little Dorrit.

BOOK REVIEW: 'Spain in our Hearts: American in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939'

Lost causes have a way of transforming themselves into victorious myths. In the 18th century Bonnie Prince Charlie (actually a spoiled brat who degenerated into a cranky old drunk) and the doomed Scots Jacobite uprising of 1745 achieved fictional immortality even as the Stuart cause went down the drain.

Existentialism from the cafe until now

According to Sarah Bakewell, author of "How to Live: A Life of Montaigne," winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography, existentialism was born in a Paris cafe in 1933 when Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, his lifelong companion, and Raymond Aron met to talk and drink the specialty of house.