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The refreshing book, which meticulously reveals the can-do, patriotic spirit of the American home front, plus oft-overlooked cultural influences during World War II, was a New York Times best-seller and received wide praise from Mr. Shirley’s fellow historians.

“I’m thrilled,” the author says.

THE SCREEN DOOR

Weary of Hollywood fare? California-based independent filmmaker Charlie Minn has succeeded in placing two documentary films exposing Mexican drug crime in significant national venues. “8 Murders a Day” — covering the travails of Juarez, city of 10,000 murders in the past four years — opens Friday at Regal and AMC theaters in the Virginia suburbs of the District. Detail here: 8murdersaday.com.

“I feel it is the greatest human-rights disaster,” Mr. Minn says. “The total is 40 percent greater than both of our wars in the Middle East put together.”

He has also directed “Murder Capital of the World,” documenting more recent tolls in Juarez, which opens at theaters in New York City, Los Angeles and other cities later this month. Details here: murdercapitalfilm.com.

POLARIZING INFLUENCE

Well, so much for the polar bear crisis. We should keep this news from Al Gore, fans of his film “An Inconvenient Truth,” and other global-warming alarmist fare that has often featured pathetic images of polar bears languishing on dwindling ice flows. Now comes a new aerial survey of the polar bear population conducted by the Canadian provincial government of Nunavut over the western shore of Hudson Bay — considered one of the most threatened habitats — which reveals there are at least 1,013 bears.

That number is 66 percent higher than previous estimates.

“The bear population is not in crisis as people believed. There is no doom and gloom,” says Drikus Gissing, director of wildlife management in the Nunavut region, who wants to base bear-management practices on current information and “not predictions about what might happen.”

POLL DU JOUR

• 82 percent of Americans celebrate Easter.

• $16.8 billion: the total amount Americans will spend on Easter food, decorations and apparel in 2012.

• 11 percent: the increase in total Easter spending from 2011.

• $5.1 million: the amount Americans will spend on their Easter meal.

Story Continues →