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'Nights in White Castle' (book jacket)

BOOK REVIEW: ‘Nights in White Castle’

While coming of age in the 1980s, young people witnessed numerous changes in technology, politics and many other fields. Yet the timeless task of facing one’s future was as daunting as ever. It was also quite funny.

'Time Song' (book jacket)

BOOK REVIEW: ‘Time Song’

It’s hard to categorize Julia Blackburn’s “Time Song.” It’s definitely non-fiction rather than fiction, though that judgment denies that the shaping hand of an author fictionalizes everything. But let’s go with the broad classification of non-fiction and fit “Time Song” into it.

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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.

A victory lap from a journalist who earned his bragging rights

Over the years, I've known a lot of combat correspondents. Their nationalities differed widely, but they shared certain things in common, tending to be skeptical, adventurous, wryly humorous and gutsy. They'd seen a lot and suffered a lot. But, for the most part, they still loved life and lived it to the hilt; they could recount their adventures with zest, but were never braggarts.

Recalling the compelling life of a true champion

Thousands of tourists flock to Philadelphia for the historic sites and other attractions, and many of them venture to the Philadelphia Art Museum's steps, where actor Sylvester Stone ran up them famously as the fictional boxer in the 1976 film "Rocky."

Brad Thor keeps getting better and better

Long past the point by which most authors have produced all the best works they're capable of and are coasting or waning, Brad Thor keeps on getting better and better.

Homeowner expectations on a street called Lowland Way

A year ago Louise Candlish's first novel "Our House" kept home-owning readers on the edge of their seats with a twisty tale of a wife who came home to find another couple moving into her lovely London house. She discovers her husband had sold it -- despite the fact that she was the co-owner.

How the forgotten working class faces hardship with dignity

In a book full of striking images, sometimes the words are most memorable. My mind keeps returning to one poignant self-summary from the first chapter of "Dignity: Seeking Respect in Back Row America" : "I'm an addict, a prostitute, and a child of God."

Recalling the lesser known pioneers who settled the Northwest Territory

Early Americans had a true pioneering spirit. This was certainly the case with those brave individuals who travelled along the Ohio River and settled in the Northwest Territory several years after the American Revolution ended. In search of adventure, prosperity, social standing and a new way of life, they left their indelible mark on a young country -- and a legacy for others to emulate.

Challenging the 'unfettered power' of prosecutors

Although I'm not sure it delivers on the promise of its subtitle, this is nonetheless a most important book, because it takes a critical look at several important problems that have been swept under the national rug for far too long. Chief among these problems is the overarching, and over-reaching, power of American prosecutors, especially on the statewide level, which has led -- directly, says the author -- to the problem of mass incarceration.

Faith in American society and its protection under the law

Looking for the perfect Father's Day gift? A welcome addition to your summer reading list? A timely inspiration to dig deeper in your faith? "On Faith: Lessons from an American Believer" fits all three bills.

Revealing the foundations of the Republic

"This book's primary purpose is not to tell readers what to think about this or that particular problem or policy," writes George F. Will, Pulitzer-Prize winning commentator, Washington Post columnist, author of 15 books and Chicago Cubs fan. "Rather, the purpose is to suggest how to think about the enduring questions concerning the proper scope and actual competence of government.

Love's labors are lost in a funny, poignant Washington novel

Washington is not a town that lends itself to love stories. Scandals and divorces, yes. But romances? Forget about it, particularly in the case of driven young singles pursuing careers in politics, lobbying and public policy. There's no shortage of lust in the nation's capital, as even a cursory glance at the daily papers reveals; there just isn't a whole lot of love out there. This is especially true of love affairs across party lines. In the over-the-top era of zealous Trumpophiles and paranoid Trumpophobes, left is left, right is right, and ne'er the twain shall meet. But it didn't all start in 2016 with The Donald and Hillary Dearest.

Preventing war by preparing for war

The anti-military left spent much loud energy during the mid-1900s denouncing Air Force Gen. Curtis LeMay as a bomb-happy terror who was itching for a first-strike war against the Soviet Union.

Bringing the early days of America to life

Paul Revere probably never yelled "The British are coming." He is quoted by a participant in the first day of the American Revolution as warning that "the regulars are coming" on his famous ride.

Three cheers for a two-eyed economist

Harry Truman famously remarked that he wished he could find a one-armed economist since all the ones he had to deal with were constantly weasel-wording their advice with "on the one hand" and "on the other hand."