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The precipitous fall of a member of an elite New York City detective unit is chronicled in this gritty - and occasionally brutal - crime novel. The easy money and the temptations provided by the drug trade finally submerge Sgt. Denny Malone in a swamp of corruption and murder, first compromising and then destroying everything he stood for when he became a cop. A thrilling journey into an urban heart of darkness. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves
The long, productive, and extremely complex relationship between an iconic movie star and a legendary director. John Ford carefully molded the image of John Wayne. It was a transformation willingly embraced by the actor, but Wayne, like many of the people who worked for Ford, endured the director's scorn and deliberate cruelty. This is a meticulous examination of a tortured soul and his adoring acolyte who, through the course of 14 films, both defined and celebrated the role of masculinity in American film. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves
Most people conjure up images of fog when they think of London. Jack the Ripper haunted its foggy, gas-lit streets in 1888. In 1952, while another serial murderer was loose in the city, the fog itself became a killer. Thousands of vulnerable people succumbed to the thick, yellowish smog that lingered for days, trapping people in their homes, providing cover for criminal activities, and instigating a public outcry over the government's promotion of toxic, cheap coal. This is a fascinating look at a little known -- and little reported catastrophe. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves
Ella May has never had much of anything. She labors long hours in a textile mill in North Carolina trying to feed her four young children on $9 a week. Ella finds herself something of a local celebrity when she sings one of her songs at a meeting of workers hoping to form a union. Written in a beautifully evocative prose, this novel about bigotry and labor unrest in the 1930s exerts a powerful impact that pulls the reader into the vortex of the struggle for social justice. It deserves to assume a place of honor in the canon of great Southern literature. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves
The first account by an historian of the tragic Donner Party saga. In April of 1846, encouraged by their belief in Manifest Destiny, a group of pioneers led by George Donner and James Reed left Springfield, Illinois bound for a better life in California. It was late in the year to begin the arduous trek, but the prospect of being hampered by blizzards in the Sierra Nevada mountains didn't deter them. The ensuing horror when the group found itself trapped by snow that reached a depth of 22 feet has entered into the realm of American legend. Mr. Wallis separates the facts from the sensational stories. His book is as much a tribute to human endurance as it is a cautionary tale about careless folly. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves