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'Mengele' (book cover)

BOOK REVIEW: ‘Mengele’

Josef Mengele was one of the most notorious war criminals in history. During World War II the Nazi doctor performed medical experiments in a concentration camp on unwilling children and adults, and with a jerk of his thumb he sent many unlucky men, women and children to their immediate deaths.

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 'The New Class War' (book cover)

BOOK REVIEW: 'The New Class War'

In what well may be an understatement, Professor Sean Wilentz characterizes Michael Lind as "One of those wonderfully unpredictable writers who does not allow his allegiances to overrule his ideas."

'America's Expiration Date' (book cover))

BOOK REVIEW: 'America's Expiration Date'

"If America doesn't learn from history," Cal Thomas writes, "our own and the world's -- we are likely to suffer the fate of other great nations, rotting from within before either being conquered from without by an invading army or collapsing under the weight of self-indulgence, decadence, debt, a sense of entitlement, greed and envy.

'Many Rivers to Cross' (book jacket)

BOOK REVIEW: 'Many Rivers to Cross'

Peter Robinson's fictional character Detective Superintendent Alan Banks has been the protagonist of a long series of popular crime novels, beginning with 1987's "Gallows View." Originally a detective working in London, Banks grew disillusioned with the big city and transferred to a fictional English town near Yorkshire called Eastvale.

'Screwball!' (book cover)

BOOK REVIEW: 'Screwball!'

Comics historian Paul C. Tumey examines this fascinating period of artistic creativity in "Screwball!: The Cartoonists Who Made the Funnies Funny."

'Great Society' (book cover)

BOOK REVIEW: 'Great Society'

In "Great Society: A New History," Amity Shlaes writes that the social and economic issues of the 1960s and '70s and the solutions advanced to resolve them -- always led by government -- came close to bringing us to our knees financially.

'Lord of All the Dead' (book cover)

BOOK REVIEW: 'Lord of All the Dead'

Javier Cercas is ever present in his non-fiction novel as both an autobiographer focused on Manuel Mena and his family, and as a third-person historian, investigating archives and interviewing people.

Was Hemingway a Soviet spy?

Ernest Hemingway's critics like to zero in on his time as a WWII combat correspondent and brand him as a coward, a liar and a fake journalist. But the worst accusation against him, in my view, is that Hemingway was a Soviet spy.

 'Dreams of El Dorado' (book cover)

BOOK REVIEW: 'Dreams of El Dorado'

"Dreams of El Dorado" is the story of the migrants, missionaries and mountain men, as well as the rovers, ranchers and railroad men who explored and settled the American West.

'Horn, Sahel and Rift' (book cover)

BOOK REVIEW: 'Horn, Sahel and Rift'

Stig Jarle Hansen examines how al Qaeda's presence in Sudan helped to lay the basis for the spread of jihadism in the continent, jihadi terrorist groups in Algeria, which expanded into Chad and Mali, how several jihadi groups in Mali merged to form the Islamic State in Greater Sahara (ISGS), the Nigerian Boko Haram, the Somalian al-Shabaab, and other groups.

'Topics of Conversation' (book cover)

BOOK REVIEW: 'Topics of Conversation'

Miranda Popkey's "Topics of Conversation" feels, and often reads, like a diary. For one thing, it's a small easy-to-hold book. More significantly, since its narrative spools out as a series of conversations between the unnamed chronicler and other women, reading it is rather like peeking into someone's private journal.

'Write Like a Beast' (book cover)

BOOK REVIEW: 'Write Like a Beast'

There's a lot more to the writing of stories than readers ever see. There's the research, of course, and character development, and outlining. Most people could probably understand that much if they sat down and thought about it. But there's so much more below the surface.

 'Trump and His Generals' (book cover)

BOOK REVIEW: 'Trump and His Generals'

"Trump and His Generals" purports to show how The Donald is a dangerous, addle-brained commander in chief, and a threat to civilization as we know it inside the Beltway. But great chunks of it, probably unintentionally, reveal what is wrong not with Mr. Trump, but with the entrenched Washington establishment that has tried to thwart his presidency at every turn.

 'Information Wars' (book cover)

BOOK REVIEW: 'Information Wars'

The use of disinformation to deceive one's adversary to achieve one's objectives is as old as humanity. When in the creation myth Satan told Eve nothing bad would happen if she bit the apple, that was an instance of disinformation.

 'The Compatriots' (book cover)

BOOK REVIEW: 'The Compatriots'

Demystifying Russia has been a geopolitical parlor game for more than a century. Veteran Russian journalists Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan have tried to make sense of one strand in their country's complex history, the role of Russians who were either sensible or cunning enough to leave at crucial moments, mainly for a West from which Russian mentalities have often been estranged.

Bringing the Iron Lady to life

Nearly every family has had an iron lady, a strong, determined woman -- usually a mother, grandmother or aunt -- who comes to the fore in hard times and saves the family farm, the family business or even the family itself.

'From Russia With Blood' (book cover)

BOOK REVIEW: 'From Russia With Blood'

Heidi Blake's "From Russia With Blood" (a clever take on Ian Fleming's "From Russia With Love" title), lifts the veil off a series of murders in the United Kingdom and places blame squarely on Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

'One Man's Terrorist: A Political History of the IRA' (book cover)

BOOK REVIEW: 'One Man's Terrorist: A Political History of the IRA'

This book's account of how Sinn Fein's leaders played an instrumental role in making this possible is an indispensable guide to understanding how this template can -- and cannot -- be applied to resolving other terrorist conflicts, as well.

This image released by Netflix shows, from left, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Ray Romano in a scene from "The Irishman." On Monday, Dec. 9, 2019, Pacino was nominated for a Golden Globe for best supporting actor in a motion picture for his role in the film.(Netflix via AP)

Comparing 'The Irishman' and 'I Heard You Paint Houses'

I watched "The Irishman" on the night it premiered on Netflix and although the film was slow, long and a bit too talky, I enjoyed it. But I viewed the film as fiction. I read "I Heard You Paint Houses," the book "The Irishman" was based on, some years ago.