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Following the terrorist money trail

Terrorist groups like ISIS raise hundreds of millions of dollars to finance their activities and attacks through illicit means. The Islamic Republic of Iran bankrolls its Palestinian Hamas and Lebanese Hezbollah proxies with large flows of cash. Hezbollah raises additional funds by engaging in criminal enterprises such as narco-trafficking across several continents.

A Chinese danger that must not be taken lightly

Intelligence analysts and media pundits alike are puzzling whether Xi Jinping, president of China, deserves the recent Economist cover calling him the world’s most powerful man.

Honoring St. Francis as the boisterous man he was

Dario Fo, who died in 2016 at the age of 90, was an Italian playwright, actor, director, designer, painter, singer, songwriter and political campaigner for the Italian left. In awarding him the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1997, the Swedish Academy praised Mr. Fo as a writer “who emulates the jesters of the Middle Ages in scourging authority and upholding the dignity of the downtrodden.”

A savvy guide to investing, geared toward the young

This is a book about investing, aimed primarily at potential young investors — although investors of all ages can benefit from it — written by a longtime and notably successful investor.

A former James Bond says goodbye

Although I much prefer Sean Connery’s dark and dangerous portrayal of Ian Fleming’s iconic character James Bond to Sir Roger Moore’s light and comedic approach, I was a huge fan of Mr. Moore’s portrayal of Leslie Charteris’ Simon Templar in the 1960s TV series “The Saint.”

A statesman in life, forgotten in death

History is unkind to compromisers. If they succeed, disaster is averted and the compromiser is soon forgotten. If they fail, they’re often scapegoated for subsequent events. Neville Chamberlain, the British prime minister whose negotiations averted war with Hitler over Czechoslovakia comes to mind. Chamberlain thought his concessions had brought “peace in our time.”

Deconstructing the myths of the Arab-Israeli conflict

There are few countries in the world that produce an emotional response quite like Israel. From its birth as a modern nation in 1948, this country has faced everything from preserving ancient history to threats of annihilation by its worst enemies.

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Giving 'a man of prudence, character and compassion' his due

As men and politicians, Presidents Polk (1845-1849) and McKinley (1897-1901) would seem to have had little in common -- Polk, a small, plain, secretive and introspective man; and McKinley, an energetic, outgoing veteran of the Civil War who worked his way up through the ranks, from private to brevet major; then a law degree, and systematically up through the political system -- Congress, governor of Ohio, and president.

Tracing Ukraine's travails

In a European continent torn by incessant warfare over the centuries, Ukraine deserves sympathy for its most-abused-state status. As the real estate adage holds, "Location is everything." And Ukraine has the misfortune to be snuggled against the southeast corner of Russia, historically its prime tormentor.

Mystery and a divided world during the Korean War

The Korean conflict came in the wake of the global bloodshed of World War II, and it is commemorated by a surreal platoon in a rice paddy portraying the men who fought in a conflict that has become known as the "forgotten war."

Strapping Sigmund Freud to his own couch

If there is anything to the theory of reincarnation, Sigmund Freud must have been Moby Dick in a past life and his most recent biographer, Frederick Crews, was probably Captain Ahab.

The future of nature may not be all that bad

Inheritors of the Earth" is a thoroughgoing study of the vast variety of species and their evolution. The book thoughtfully challenges traditional negative views of nature and humans interaction with nature. The interaction isn't necessarily all bad, and may likely be mostly good. The book provides ample examples of how original habitats are "not so much destroyed as replaced by a new environment that still contains quite a lot of species."

Charting the course of the presidency over time

Jeremi Suri, a professor of history at the University of Texas, is author/editor of eight previous books, numerous newspaper and magazine pieces, and a popular guest on television talk shows.

Political murders and a persistent accusation

The allegation is contained "Orders to Kill," Amy Knight's book, which is a richly detailed account of the murders of multiple Putin foes over the years, including one brazen assassination of a would-be "reformer" literally in the shadow of the Kremlin. Although evidence strongly points to President Putin as responsible for many of the killings, "Putin is never seen holding a smoking gun," as Ms. Knight writes.

Mysteries among books and their rare abodes

"Bibliomysteries," a bibliomystery collection edited by Otto Penzler is a rare prize, and if you can wrench yourself away from the Caxton library, you can find the strangest story of all in the account of how pronghorn antelope were taken from Wyoming to Berlin

Assessing predatory behavior before it happen

Angela Rose, a survivor activist and the founder and executive director of Promoting Awareness/Victim Empowerment (PAVE), goes on to state that this event that happened 20 years ago had profoundly changed her life. She notes that when Steve Kardian heard her story, he told her that she was lucky to be alive. She learned that statistically, the chances of surviving such an ordeal was less than 5 percent.

Securing Taiwan, saving America

Forget Graham Allison's oversold volume on the so-called Thucydides Trap. If you want to read one essential China policy book this year that offers some hope that your children need not be condemned to a century of wars with China, then read "The Chinese Invasion Threat" by Ian Easton, a research fellow with the Project 2049 Institute.

Conservatism betrayed

"How the Right Lost Its Mind" is an important work. Any serious-minded citizen, no matter of what political persuasion, will benefit from reading it and carefully contemplating the powerful message of its thoughtful, solidly conservative author.

How Reagan was heir to the New Deal

It's true that Ronald Reagan began his political career in Hollywood as a Democrat, albeit a Democrat who fought the pervasive Communist influence in the screen unions of the day. And he would also campaign enthusiastically for Harry Truman, who was opposed by Henry Wallace, FDR's former vice president, and his Communist-tainted Progressive Party.

'The only numinous thing in a dark and profane world'

Critics and booksellers who read advance copies of "My Absolute Darling" rave about it. "Few coming-of-age stories deliver [its] sheer lyrical power," writes the Library Journal in a starred review. "Cancel-your-plans good call-out-of-work," advises a bookseller from Mystic, Connecticut. "Ugly, beautiful, horrifying and uplifting," notes Stephen King, who says he will remember it forever.

Remembering a 1970s childhood

For many years, nostalgia in books and movies has been reserved for the 1950s and 1960s. Nostalgia for the 1970s has been limited to depictions of teenagers and young adults. Those who lived their childhoods in the 1970s have found their chronicler in Sports Illustrated writer Steve Rushin. His memoir, "Sting-Ray Afternoons," humorously and poignantly describes his youth and family life in Bloomington, Minn., a suburb of Minneapolis.

How nations define flags, and how flags define them

The most powerful passage in veteran journalist Tim Marshall's breezy if somewhat superficial book on flags comes not from him, but from a man usually associated with universalist nonviolence rather than nationalism.

Uncovering and defeating 'cyber jihad'

Terrorists and their extremist adherents are adept at utilizing the internet, particularly social media platforms, which have become widely accessible globally, and in multiple languages.

Fascists to the right, fascists to the left

If you look at a political spectrum, the far right is normally associated with the Italian Fascists and German Nazi Party. Yet, the former's leader, Benito Mussolini, started off as a socialist -- and the full name of Adolf Hitler's outfit, the National Socialist German Worker's Party, contained left-wing themes.

Ordinary lives and hope in Amgash, Illinois

Everything is not possible in life, but anything might be possible for the citizens leading apparently ordinary lives in Elizabeth Strout's new novel, "Anything Is Possible." But not everything is as it seems, and lives turn out to be far from ordinary.

Venture capitalism four centuries early, in Jamestown

"What's past is practice," a young woman's tattoo read at a Bethesda market last weekend -- a send-up of the National Archives' motto. William M. Kelso might argue as much if he ventured a single droll thought within the perfect solemnity of "Jamestown, the Truth Revealed."