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Nearly half a century before prostitutes began encountering an infamous serial killer in the Whitechapel district of the city, another murder galvanized the city of London. The victim was Lord William Russell, a prominent member of a social class that regarded murder among their ranks as more of a personal affront than a brutal crime. Pundits were quick to point out that Lord Russell's gruesome demise was probably inspired by the proliferation of popular novels that, at least in the minds of a titillated public, glorified such depravity. Much to his displeasure, Charles Dickens was included among the inflammatory cadre of authors. This book is both a compelling murder mystery and an insightful look at the impact of popular culture on public behavior.
A meticulously researched history of the western film that is now ranked with "Shane" and "The Searchers." Much of the book's focus is on Sam Peckinpah, the movie's visionary, eccentric director. It was a labor of love that had been incubating in Peckinpah's mind for many years and, after the disaster of "Major Dundee,"his professional future rested upon its success. Much to the displeasure of Warner Brothers, he insisted upon assembling his own crew and hiring a cast of actors who, with the exception of William Holden, were not box-office draws. A fascinating look at the evolution of a landmark film and its brilliant creator. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves
The story of four extraordinary presidents during extraordinary times. Goodwin recounts events that indelibly shaped the characters of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson, examining how personal trials of each man profoundly affected their response during some of the nation's darkest hours. Eminently readable, this book will instill in the reader a new appreciation for men whose determination and courage still resonate in America today. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves
A select group of POWs gave their German captors a great deal of trouble during World War I. The word "escape-proof" simply didn't apply. The author of The Winter Fortress chronicles the ingenious methods these determined men used to escape to freedom and rejoin the war effort. Many of them were eventually recaptured, punished, and sent to camps where the rugged terrain and the heightened security made the prospect of escape even more daunting. An exciting look at a little known facet of The Great War. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves
This is the kind of book you can imagine yourself savoring curled up next to a warm fire while the wind whistles outside. A woman living alone in a land ravaged by war and disease strikes a bargain with a handsome stranger to write and deliver a letter that he hopes will partially atone for his lawless, dissolute past. Scribe is a compact, hypnotically readable novel, seemingly culled from folklore and mysticism, that could serve as a model for how vital the element of story is to any work of fiction. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves