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Finding ‘Heart of Darkness’ on Ice

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The great achievement of Hampton Sides’ unforgettable new book about a group of American Arctic explorers only becomes apparent halfway into its 400-plus pages. In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette tells the story of an almost entirely forgotten episode that unfolded at the very end of the Age of Exploration. Three centuries after Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci lent his name to …

Still Sharing Nixon’s Secrets

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Washington — Forty years after Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace over the Watergate scandal, his former White House counsel, John Dean, who famously turned against the president, is back in Washington promoting his latest tome, The Nixon Defense. It is Dean’s third Watergate-related book since 1976. What could possibly be new? “I’ll show …

Ethan Allen: A Man Too Complex to Fit Into History’s Portrayals

Friday, August 15, 2014

Inventing Ethan Allen By John J. Duffy and H. Nicholas Muller III University Press of New England 304 pages, paperback, $29.95 Say what you want about Ethan Allen. Call him a hero for capturing Fort Ticonderoga. Call him a terrorist for leading mobs that torched homes and farms and horsewhipped civilians. Call him …

Book Tackles Duke Lacrosse Scandal

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The details you may recall of the March 2006 Duke lacrosse scandal are likely scant. If the constant spin of the 24-hour news cycle hasn’t erased all of them from your memory, you may remember that three members of a lacrosse team were erroneously charged with the rape …

Cheney Examines Madison

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Washington — He was sure in his views, exercised power behind the scenes, helped lead the nation after it was attacked and suffered from a serious health condition. His accomplishments are also under-appreciated. At least, that is how …

White House Awaits Aides’ Memoirs

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Washington — Over the next month, two of President Obama’s closest first-term advisers will spill insider details on the administration’s handling of the early days of the recession, the White House’s cautious response to Syria and the genesis …

‘Claremont Boy’: The Boyhood (and Town) That Made the Man

Friday, May 9, 2014

Joe Steinfield left Claremont at age 18 to go to college and then law school, and has not lived there since. But in his mind he’s still a kid from Claremont, the place that was for him growing …

Inner Life of Bees: (It’s Not All About Us)

Friday, May 9, 2014

“The Bees” by Laline Paull; Ecco (340 pages, $25.99) Rational animals are a staple of children’s literature — and, in some cases, adult literature as well. I think of Richard Adams’ 1974 novel Watership Down, in which a …

Spy Stories From the Dawn Of a Revolution

Friday, May 9, 2014

“Russian Roulette: How British Spies Thwarted Lenin’s Plot for Global Revolution” by Giles Milton; Bloomsbury Press, N.Y. (400 pages, $28) If you want some wonderful spy stories, and a lesson in 20th century revolution, try Russian Roulette by …

Racism and Forgiveness

Friday, May 9, 2014

“The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas” by Anand Giridharadas; Norton (336 pages, $27.95) In the chaos following 9/11, with America trying to unravel the devastating attacks while wondering what might be coming next, Mark Stroman walked into three Dallas gas stations and shot three men he …

Susan Orlean, Yes, That Susan Orlean, Co-Wrote a Diet Book

Friday, May 9, 2014

On the “Books, Books and More Books” section of Susan Orlean’s website, you can find information about her acclaimed nonfiction works, her children’s book, and the cookbook she co-wrote with Cooper Gillespie, who is her dog. What you …

‘Thunderstruck’ Is Unforgettable

Friday, May 2, 2014

“Thunderstruck” by Elizabeth McCracken; Dial ($26) The stories in Elizabeth McCracken’s latest collection land as swift and true as a prizefighter’s blows, and often they feel just as powerful, emotionally speaking. Thunderstruck — how apt the title is. So many moments in these stories leave you stunned and …

Tempers Flare at ‘Flash Boys’

Sunday, April 27, 2014

New York — Somewhere in New Jersey near the now famous 1 1/2-inch black plastic tube running in a stressfully straight line to a data center outside Chicago, a broke Sergey Aleynikov wonders if he’s going back to jail for supposedly stealing a bit of mysterious high-frequency-trading computer …