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'The Way We Eat Now' (book jacket)

BOOK REVIEW: ‘The Way We Eat Now’

There’s a lot to chew on in food writer Bee Wilson’s latest book, and her writing style — informed, thoughtful, amusing and never preachy — makes it all digestible.

 'Debunking Howard Zinn' (book jacket)

BOOK REVIEW: ‘Debunking Howard Zinn’

Ever wonder why 31-year old pro-quarterback Colin Kaepernick and other young people became so alienated from the freest, most generous nation in the world? Could recent generations be “learning” things that just aren’t so? The answer is “yes.”

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'The Substitution Order'

Thrilling tale of a scam in West Virginia

In "The Substitution Order" Martin Clark -- often acclaimed as the country's best writer of legal thrillers -- tells the tale of Kevin Moore, a successful criminal attorney who trips one legal no-no switch after another.

"Layover" by David Bell

BOOK REVIEW: 'Layover'

Describing his life at the beginning of "Layover," Joshua Fields says, "I didn't connect with people I passed on my travels. We transacted things. Business. Commerce. Money."

BOOK REVIEW: 'Freedom's Detective' by Charles Lane

Hiram Coombs Whitley, the chief of the U.S. Secret Service under President Ulysses S. Grant, was brave and public-service-minded, yet he was also opportunistic and even, at times, criminal.

The rule of law, the presumption of innocence and the Kavanaugh confirmation

"Justice on Trial" is a strongly written, impeccably researched account of the appointment of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, solid in its reporting and profound in its conclusions. The authors, Mollie Hemingway, a widely published author and senior editor at The Federalist and one of the star panelists on Brett Baier's "Fox News Special Report," and Carrie Severino, chief counsel and policy director of the Judicial Crisis Network, are highly regarded political analysts.

When kidnappers ask for ransom

Kidnap for ransom, whether by criminal or terrorist organizations, is a highly lucrative illicit business for the successful kidnappers (especially when foreigners are targeted) and life-threatening for the victims. It is even a lucrative business for those in the commercial sector who command high fees for their efforts to secure the hostages' release, usually by arranging high ransom payments to the kidnappers.

What Hemingway did in Venice

Lovers of Ernest Hemingway's work will thrill to the paperback release of "Autumn in Venice: Ernest Hemingway and his Last Muse." (Its first printing was last year.)

Taking down the FBI agent turned Russian spy

I saw the film "Breach" in 2007, which was based on a true story and starred Chris Cooper as the notorious FBI special agent-turned Soviet/Russian spy Robert Hanssen, and Ryan Phillippe as Eric O'Neill, the young FBI investigative specialist assigned as Hanssen's assistant, but who was in fact spying on Hanssen.

Beyond grief and isolation, a tale of caregiving

Before writing her first novel "Say, Say, Say," Lila Savage spent nearly a decade employed as a caregiver. This work informs her novel, which is about the experiences and thoughts of a caregiver who looks after Jill, a woman in her 60s who has suffered devastating brain injuries in a car accident.

Tracing the history of a haven of privacy in Hollywood

Hollywood has never lacked for luxurious hotels or restaurants. Stars that are in town to shoot a film have a choice of opulent homes to rent. However, one hotel has the reputation of providing denizens of the film industry with privacy, as well as nonjudgment for behaviors that might be frowned upon in other establishments.

Democracy is always a work in progress

For purely personal reasons, Sheri Berman's "Democracy and Dictatorship" is one of the few books that grabbed me with its opening paragraph:

How a terrorist group contended with its more responsible rivals

This is an informative and dramatic account of the Irgun ("National Military Organization"), a leading dissident Jewish terrorist organization of the pre-1948 Israeli State. From the time of its formation in 1931 and its disbandment in September 1948 (several months after the declaration of Israeli independence in May of that year), the Irgun played an important role in the armed resistance to the British Mandatory Authority in Palestine, as well as in mounting retaliatory attacks against the hostile Palestinian Arab militias.

Setting an example of strength, integrity and fidelity

Sen. Tom Cotton, Arkansas Republican, heard his country's call to service in a law school classroom on the morning of 9/11. In that moment, "I knew the life I had anticipated in the law was over. I wanted to serve our country in uniform on the front lines."

Telling the story of an outsider and a trailblazer

Having interviewed a good number of police officers over the years and having accompanied patrol officers and detectives out on the streets, I've heard a good number of absorbing, amusing and atrocious cop stories.

The soldier-statesman who restored peace in Europe

In 1938, during one of his first meetings with President Franklin Roosevelt, Gen. George Marshall listened to plans to counter Hitler's military build-up by amassing an air force of 10,000 planes immediately, followed by 20,000 annually.

Nascent romance and coming of age in Ireland

One of the hardest things for a novelist to do is to make small things seem big, big in the sense of portentous. In this, her second highly-praised novel, Ms. Rooney does that with deceptive ease; although the author has given but a hint, the reader knows something of great importance will happen down the road -- and the reader is right.

Shadowing Frederick Law Olmsted through antebellum Dixie

Tony Horwitz could switch times slicker than a country singer handing off the melody to the girl on the dulcimer. Whether channeling Capt. Cook in the South Seas or bedding down on frozen ground with a company of Confederate re-enactors, his sublime narratives about old times illuminated our own. Part of his genius and appeal -- a binocular focus revealing the present through the lens of the past and vice versa.