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'Interior Chinatown' (book cover)
OPINION

BOOK REVIEW: ‘Interior Chinatown’

“Interior Chinatown” is well worth reading for its sardonic humor, its varied modes, its inventive structure and, most of all, Charles Yu’s sharp prose and deft handling of his material.

'Betrayal in Berlin' (book cover)
OPINION

BOOK REVIEW: ‘Betrayal in Berlin’

Steve Vogel’s “Betrayal in Berlin: The True Story of the Cold War’s Most Audacious Espionage Operation” took me back to Berlin, although the historical events of this story take place in 1955-56.

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Otto Penzler (Mysterious Press)

Otto Penzler, the champion of crime stories

Otto Penzler has for decades been the champion of crime stories. The Mystery Writers of America presented him with two Edgar Awards, one for his "Encyclopedia of Mystery and Detection" in 1977 and another for "The Lineup" in 2010.

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.

'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.