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Posts by Liz C

Different leadership

Cover of The Splendid and the Vile:
A review of The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz by Erik Larson

A behind the scenes look at the private life and idiosyncrasies of Winston Churchill and his circle during his first year as Prime Minister balanced with a behind the scenes look at Hitler’s circle especially Hess, Goring, and Himmler. At one point Larson references a letter from a man lamenting how the press of his position and duties limit him from not doing what he would prefer to do—which is spend time in the country with his wife and children. The writer was Heinrich Himmler.

Jun 8, 2020

Backstage at the Palace

Cover of Lady in Waiting: My Extrao
A review of Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown by Anne Glenconner

As the daughter of the Earl of Leicester the author has lived a life in a culture of social elites, in many ways a culture that has mostly vanished except for that of the British royal family. A great deal of the book looks at the author’s family, how things are done and not done in their tradition. Following a family tradition of directly working with the royal family, Anne Glenconner served as a Lady in Waiting for Princess Margaret from 1971-2002 and a good portion of the book details that period.

May 26, 2020

Murder done light

A review of Mr. and Mrs. North Series by Frances and Richard Lockridge

How about some light-hearted fun and mayhem? This mystery series dates from the mid 20th century, and begins with The Norths Meet Murder. The Norths are a couple living in New York City who inadvertently get involved in homicide. Of the two, Pam North is easily the more interesting character in that her thought process appears to jump from A to G and back to B but somehow she is almost always correct in her assessments and since she also leaps before she looks this is a concern for her publisher husband Jerry.

Mar 13, 2020

Gritty (and not just the sand)

Cover of Hearts of the Missing
A review of Hearts of the Missing by Carol Potenza

Winner of the 2017 Tony Hillerman Prize, this debut mystery lives up to the buzz. Potenza's gritty police procedural is set in the American Southwest and gives the reader an interesting detective and a multi-threaded story involving drugs, gambling, missing people, undercover FBI agents, and more. It's readable and also deeply imbedded in Native American culture. Looking forward to more by this author.

Dec 5, 2019

Challenging beauty

Cover of Horizon
A review of Horizon by Barry Lopez

A dense but often lyrical book of many levels. In one sense it is one man’s retracing his life’s journeys to remote and far flung points on earth. In another, it is a contemplation of human kinds' significance and insignificance in the history of our planet, and the concern that our hubris dooms not only our species but earth itself. Does our ability to create sublime beauty such as the music of Beethoven or the art of Manet supplant our equally ugly creations such as the many prisons built over the ages and the despicable ways we treat our own kind?

Nov 25, 2019

All is not what it seems

Cover of The Lemon Sisters
A review of The Lemon Sisters by Jill Shalvis
Brooke Lemon has led an adventurous life as a photojournalist and editor traveling around the world, and would appear to have a life anyone would envy….except….appearances are not always what they seem. So too with Brooke's older sister Mindy. She also seems to have the perfect life.
Nov 7, 2019

A deep dive

Cover of Fire and fortitude: The US
A review of Fire and fortitude: The US Army in the Pacific War, 1941-1943 by John McManus
It's an ambitious undertaking to give a deep look at the Pacific theatre of World War II. McManus is giving himself room to complete the task. Here he has written an intense and thorough book covering the first two years of the Pacific War, but he's not done. He'll complete the endeavor in a second volume. Even so, it is a long book and almost too detailed to be absorbed. Caveats aside, it actually reads fairly easily.
Oct 23, 2019

The last taboo

Cover of The Good Death: An Explora
A review of The Good Death: An Exploration of Dying in America by Ann Neumann

I don’t imagine that there are many among us who have not had an experience with death: whether the screaming pain of cancer, the slow decline of a body long after the mind has left, the silent passing during sleep. But we don’t talk about it, we rarely face the fact that despite the ads and scientific research regarding longevity, it is still something we will all need to face however reluctantly. Neumann’s book is a good place to start.

Oct 16, 2019

Vive la France

Cover of Bruno, Chief of Police
A review of Bruno, Chief of Police by Martin Walker

This is really a plug for this whole wonderful series set in the south of France. Bruno is the first mystery and you do really need to start there for the full flavor and to get to know the recurring characters who surround Bruno Courreges, Chief of police in St. Denis. Set in the late twentieth century, it emphasizes that the French have long memories. That what happened during the war and after has long aftereffects that sometimes show up in surprising ways.

Oct 2, 2019

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