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A Founding hero who treated the sick

Of the heroic men who signed the Declaration of Independence, Dr. Benjamin Rush surely deserves high rank for all-around versatility.

Suggesting a gripping tale, but not delivering

The first page of “Red, White, Blue” notes that Anna had inherited grace. “She was, some might say, born for public life. She was also born temperamentally disposed against it, against even the occasional party.”

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How Russia uses lies to shape public opinion

As the son of civil rights activists in uber-racist Alabama in the 1960s, CBS reporter Jeff Pegues is justly appalled at racial slurs, whatever the source.

When an unreliable husband sells the house

Apart from not being able to pay the mortgage, a homeowner's worst nightmare has to be to come home and find someone else is moving into the house.

When a madman with super-human powers stalks Oklahoma

If you want complex characters drawn with the insight of a psychiatrist, you go to John Updike or Saul Bellow. If you want intricately detailed plots you go to Scott Turow, Philip Roth or back to Updike. And if you want spot-on, totally authentic dialogue, Elmore Leonard is your man. But you go straight to Stephen King if you want your pants scared off.

Bertie Wooster meets Peter Stuyvesant

With 16 books and one play to his credit, Christopher Buckley no longer needs to be identified as "the son of William F. Buckley Jr.," although he has every reason to be proud of the connection.

Tracing organized crime in Russia

With Russia in the forefront of the news these days, one might be interested in reading a bit of Russian history. Mark Galeotti's "The Vory: Russia's Super Mafia" offers a comprehensive history of organized crime in Russia.

Where ingenuity and innovation thrive

Israel is known as one of the world's pre-eminent start-up nations in high-tech, with famous innovations such as Waze, a widely used app for navigating in traffic, anti-breaching cyber security software and the Iron Dome anti-rocket defensive system. What are less known, but as significant, the author of this important book points out, are a series of highly clever Israeli high-tech innovations that are "repairing the world" in areas such as agriculture, water conservation, medicine and energy.

Examining a Founder's vision of a working economy

Some people will remember reading about Alexander Hamilton in their history books due to his fatal July 11, 1804, duel with Vice President Aaron Burr. Others will instantly recall the award-winning Broadway musical "Hamilton," which dealt with aspects of his life and career through song and dance.

How the Cuban-American underworld took hold

While much is known about Italian, Russian and other ethnic organized crime groups, not much is known about Cuban-American organized crime. That lack of knowledge can be corrected easily by reading T.J. English's book "The Corporation: An Epic Story of the Cuban American Underworld."

The splash of Pope Francis

You have to wonder about an incoming pope whose personal motto is "Make a mess!" For those of you who didn't know, "Hagan lo!" -- which means exactly that in Spanish -- is a favorite expression of the current occupant of the Throne of Saint Peter. If he hasn't made a mess yet, Pope Francis, born Jorge Bergoglio to Argentine parents of Italian immigrant stock in 1936, has certainly made a splash.