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 'The Book of Eating' (book cover)

BOOK REVIEW: ‘The Book of Eating’

Back in 1936, Irma S. Rombauer published the mother of all modern American cookbooks. She called it “The Joy of Cooking.” Eighty-four years later, veteran New York magazine restaurant critic Adam Platt has produced an appetizing, informed and magnificently entertaining memoir that could justifiably call itself “The Joy of Eating.”

'Fight House' (book cover)

BOOK REVIEW: ‘Fight House’

Tevi Troy, who “spent most of the first decade of the 21st century working in the executive branch of the U.S. government dealing with disasters,” is uniquely equipped to deal with subject of White House infighting.

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'The Age of Illusions' (book cover)

BOOK REVIEW: 'The Age of Illusions'

Andrew Bacevich is an observant critic of past mistakes and their consequences. This makes his latest work, a slim volume on the weighty subject of the end of the Cold War and its aftermath, worth reading whether you agree with all of his conclusions or not.

 'Call Sign Chaos' (book cover)

BOOK REVIEW: 'Call Sign Chaos'

Jim Mattis' "Call Sign Chaos" offers lessons in leadership, a heartfelt appreciation for those willing to serve in the Marines and our other armed services, and incisive reflections on policies that succeeded or failed.

'Jay-Z: Made in America' (book cover)

BOOK REVIEW: 'Jay-Z: Made in America'

"It should be clear," writes Eric Michael Dyson, "that JAY-Z is America at its scrappy, irreverent, soulful, ingenious best. He is as transcendent a cultural icon as Frank Sinatra [and] ... as gifted a poet as Walt Whitman ... When we hear JAY-Z, we listen to the incomparable tongue of American democracy expressed by a people too long held underfoot."

'The Mysterious Affair at Olivetti' (book cover)

BOOK REVIEW: 'The Mysterious Affair at Olivetti'

Meryle Secrest, National Humanities Medal laureate for her dozen celebrated biographies, has delivered the life story of the Olivetti company entwined with portraits of its three principal leaders, members of the eponymous clan: The founder. Camillo Olivetti; his multi-talented dynamo son, Adriano; and the merely brilliant grandson, Roberto.

'The Life and Afterlife of Harry Houdini' (book cover)

BOOK REVIEW: 'The Life and Afterlife of Harry Houdini'

When you think of great illusionists, Harry Houdini is at the top of the list. Few individuals in the world of magic have ever had his notoriety, built on the backs of relationships with newspapers, vaudeville acts and Hollywood studios. The mystique he exuded when he escaped from handcuffs, straitjackets and even a Chinese water torture cell created an aura of invincibility.

'Leadership in War' (book cover)

BOOK REVIEW: 'Leadership in War'

Let me begin this review with an unreserved statement of praise: Andrew Roberts is a remarkably gifted writer of vivid narrative prose, and a talented, popular historian. Even when one disagrees with some of the conclusions he reaches, reading his work is always a pleasure and often a source of fresh insights.

 'Seabee 71 in Chu Lai' (book cover)

BOOK REVIEW: 'Seabee 71 in Chu Lai'

In his book, "Seabee 71 in Chu Lai: A Navy Journalist's Memoir of His 14 Months with MCB 71, 1966-67," David H. Lyman recounts his time serving with the Seabees in Chu Lai, where the Seabees built roads, airfield runways, buildings and other projects.

'Autopsy of an Unwinnable War' (book cover)

BOOK REVIEW: 'Autopsy of an Unwinnable War'

William C. Haponski points out in his authoritative and extensively detailed "Autopsy of an Unwinnable War: Vietnam" that America never had a real chance to win the war in Vietnam, just as the earlier French Expeditionary Corps had lost its war in the 1950s.

'The Age of Entitlement' (book cover)

BOOK REVIEW: 'The Age of Entitlement'

Christopher Caldwell delivers a highly readable, and dead honest account of America since the 1960s and the terrible wrong turn we took then and continue to follow, disrupting what we used to call the American way, and leading to the increasing alienation of many of our most productive citizens, who believe they may be losing their country.

'Interior Chinatown' (book cover)

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.

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.

'Betrayal in Berlin' (book cover)

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.