Judy, a purebred English pointer born in Shanghai in 1936, was clearly one special dog: The only canine POW of World War II, she survived the grueling experience thanks to her friend and protector, Royal Air Force technician Frank Williams. When the transport ship on which the two were being moved came under attack, Frank pushed Judy through a porthole into the South China Sea to save her life. It was one of many close calls she would endure during more than three years in captivity.
Clearly it’s not just cats that have nine lives. In Robert Weintraub’s exceptionally well researched and engaging No Better Friend, we meet Judy, a purebred English pointer and hero of World War II.
In the title story of J. Robert Lennon’s new collection of short fiction—a book 15 years in the making—a man stumbles, surreally, into a kind of dream job on a tropical island, only to sense that something’s not quite right.
Global and ravenous, modern capitalism has turned American citizens into mere consumers, people who are focused principally on their own gratification and essentially indifferent to the needs of the larger society. This, in a nutshell, is Paul Roberts’ thesis in The Impulse Society.
Journalists typically don’t like to write about themselves. It comes from years of writing in the third person and striving for objectivity. And with so many critics of the press, reporters assume no one likes them. Robert Timberg grapples with this issue in his moving memoir, Blue-Eyed Boy. After nearly 40 years as a journalist and three noteworthy books, perhaps he has a story to tell. But he also has self-doubts. Then he looks in the mirror and sees his disfigured face. It is an image he has been trying to forget since 1967, when as a young soldier in Vietnam, just days away from the end of his tour, he suffered third-degree burns from a land mine explosion. He finally decides to confront this defining moment of his life. “I want to remember how I decided not to die,” he writes. “To not let my future die.”
Robert L. O’Connell’s Fierce Patriot: The Tangled Lives of William Tecumseh Sherman includes a photograph of the celebrated Civil War general with his staff. While the other men strike classic poses and gaze into the middle distance, Sherman sits slightly slumped, legs crossed, jacket unbuttoned, glittering eyes focused directly on the camera. It fits with the popular notion of Sherman, the man who invented “modern war” and whose soldiers burned a path of destruction through the American South.
Terms & Conditions, the first novel from promising author Robert Glancy, is a mystery tale unraveled through the frequent use of footnotes. While this may not seem like the pitch for an engrossing storyline, Glancy’s witty tone and keen insight into human nature help make this book not just readable but highly enjoyable.
BookPage Nonfiction Top Pick, May 2014
Robin Roberts took a leave of absence as co-host of “Good Morning America” in 2012 to face a life-threatening battle with a blood disorder, one that likely was caused by the chemotherapy she endured during a bout with breast cancer five years earlier. In Everybody’s Got Something, Roberts manages to “make her mess her message,” as her beloved mother always advised her to do.
In The Collector—the latest from powerhouse author Nora Roberts—YA writer and professional house-sitter Lila Emerson enjoys the rootless quality of her life since it allows her to explore different places and observe different people. As a matter of fact, people-watching is her hobby of sorts. One night, as Lila settles in à la Jimmy Stewart in Hitchcock's Rear Window to watch the activity in a nearby New York City high-rise, she witnesses an assault that ends with a woman falling from her apartment to her death. Lila’s emergency call brings the police, but there are no clear-cut leads, since she didn't see the perpetrator.
One of those guys seemingly born to wear a tux, Robert Wagner proves an expert tour guide in the sometimes dishy, always perceptive You Must Remember This: Life and Style in Hollywood’s Golden Age.