Nov/Dec 2018 ~ What non-fiction books are we exploring?
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Looking forward to hearing
Lincoln's Last Trial: The Murder Case That Propelled Him to the Presidency by Dan Abrams
Ferguson shows a graph showing how connected a person like Henry Kissinger was. He is extending the work of Albert-Laszlo Barabasi who wrote Linked: How Everything is Connected to Everything Else, which I read about 3 years ago.
My public library lists this book as biography, and it is, but there is much else to it. Geronimo Pratt was a decorated Vietnam vet who became a prominent member of the Black Panther party in L.A. He was arrested and convicted of a murder the FBI knew he could not have committed. Jack Olsen’s book recounts Pratt’s life, explores how he came to be behind bars, and details the long legal battle that Pratt’s attorneys voluntarily carried on. Certainly has my recommendation for readers interested in issues of race, law enforcement, and fair trials
Conant discusses the life and times of Roald Dahl who served as a pilot in WWII for England. After his plane is shot down in Africa during a battle, Dahl is injured but is later is sent to Washington D.C. to work for the BSC (British Security Coordination). This was quite an interesting look at D.C. during wartime and all the machinations that were going on. Recommended!
It's All Greek to Me: A Tale of a Mad Dog and an Englishman, Ruins, Retsina--and Real Greeks by John Mole
Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices by Mosab Hassan Yousef
A Woman's Place: Memoirs of a Gibraltarian Woman - A "Llanita" by Mariola Summerfield, and
Talking to my Daughter about the Economy: A Brief History of Capitalism by Yanis Varoufakis
by Scotty Bowers
Bowers relates his role and how it came about in the procuring of partners for the rich and famous in Hollywood and politics from the 1940’s to the 1980’s. This book was okay but I was more interested in Bowers. His life was very interesting. He does name a lot of names, but most of these actors and politicians had already been outed so there were no real surprises in the book.
Fantle and Johnson have interviewed stars, producers and directors for the last 40 years. This book recalls the interviews of the famous including Charlton Heston, Fred Astaire, Robert Wagner, Esther Williams, Ernest Borgnine and Tippi Hendren to name a few. This was an interesting look back on Hollywood at its peak and its descent through the eyes of the major players themselves.
"Class Struggle in Egypt: 1945-1970" by an Egyptian Marxist Mahmoud Hussein. The author attempts to provide an analysis of the class struggle before, during, and after Nasser in Egypt. A very interesting read, although I disagree strongly with the author's analysis of the Soviet Union.
"The Battle of Beirut: Why Israel Invaded Lebanon" by Michael Jansen. The author explains the causes and consequences of Israel's brutal invasion of Lebanon in 1982.
"The Conditions of the Working-Class in England" by Frederich Engels. A landmark study in working-class conditions during the Industrial Revolution in England, which observations still very much relevant today!
Right now I am reading...
"Darfur: An Ambiguous Genocide" by Gerard Prunier.
"The Origins of the Civil War in Tajikistan" by Tim Epkenhans
by Charles Lachman
Fascinating true life tale about Maria Ridulph, a 7 year old girl from Sycamore, Illinois who went missing and was later found murdered in 1957 and the trial of John Tessier (aka John McCullough) who was the last to have seen her. The trial took place 55 years after her death. Lachman does a wonderful job relating the case and the trial.
(ETA) Given the limited factual information, this would have made a very interesting historic fiction novel. The fact of the story is fascinating - now develop the character and fill in missing parts. In the hands of a good writer such as Barbara Hambly with tight editing, I could see it as a best seller.
Michael Lewis's premise in this book is that one of the biggest risks faced by the USA is program mismanagement. As it turns out, the federal government is not very good at promoting itself, and most citizens don't have any idea of what the government does to keep them safe. This short book will give the reader an idea of this important, below the radar work and the dangers posed by an incompetent administration.