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Maybe Earth’s future isn’t so bad after all

“Predictions are useless,” declares Gregg Easterbrook in his latest book, “It’s Better Than It Looks: Reasons for Optimism In an Age of Fear.” Mr. Easterbrook also observes that “Experts can’t see what is directly in front of their noses.”

‘The past must be understood in its own context’

Thomas Sowell, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution who has taught economics at Cornell, UCLA and Amherst, is the author of numerous books on subjects as diverse as philosophy, history and decision-making theory. His book, “Basic Economics,” has been translated into six languages. He is a contributor to numerous publications, a syndicated columnist and one of those very rare economists who can communicate with laymen in clear, direct and vigorous prose.

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'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times'

Anyone who undertakes a general history of 19th-century Britain must marshal enormous amounts of information. In "Victorious Century," author David Cannadine certainly succeeds in this task.

Explaining one of history's greatest blunders

To those classic categories of spy/thriller/mystery literature, the "What If ?" and the "Who Done ?" let us now add a new genre, the "How Did ?" Mitch Silver's "The Bookworm" explains one of history's greatest blunders -- and I use the superlative advisedly. It is a masterpiece of speculative revisionism and in this aspect a captivating read, a romp.

Finding and flipping witnesses

The point made by Mike Lawson, an excellent writer who knows his political chops, is that the key aspect of a case may be potential interference with what the witness remembers, or what he or she thinks they remember.

Of masters and monsters

Upon seeing the title "I'm From The Government and I'm Here To Kill You" one might be forgiven for assuming the book is a self-published screed from an anti-government misanthrope. David T. Hardy's background as a Washington, D.C., insider, an attorney working to aid federal law enforcement, and a noted First and Second Amendment scholar whose work has been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court and 11 of the 13 U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals dissolves that concern. Once reassured, one wants to know if it is indeed true, even possible, that the government really is "here to kill you."

A tangled tale, more entertaining than enlightening

Historian Bethany Hughes definitely believes in beginning at the beginning. Her informed, energetic account of one of the world's great metropolises, "Istanbul: A Tale of Three Cities," begins on a literally cryptic note with the unearthing of a prehistoric corpse.

A mix of societies where violence prevailed

Foreign policy observers have long decried the decisions colonial powers made following World War I that shuffled the Middle East into unwise mixtures of racial and religious groups.

The battle of the superheroes

One of my favorite childhood memories was going to Comics Unlimited, a now-defunct comic book store close to my high school. My friends and I would enthusiastically snatch up just about every new title before it was placed on the racks.

The Reagans and the world of movies

For Ronald and Nancy Reagan the movies were the real world where they learned the trade of acting that took them far along the path to power.