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The Longest Winter
The Longest Winter by Alex Kershaw (1940s)
Alex Kershaw is a lay peoples historian. By that I mean even if you've never taken a history class, the book is exciting and stimulating. The first half of the book tell sets the personalities of the soldiers who made up the Intelligence and Reconnaissance Platoon, 394th Infantry Regiment, 99th Infantry Division. The second half of the book follows the platoon's painful odyssey through the hell of a succession of German POW camps. Survival in this environment of scant food, primitive sanitary conditions, and harsh treatment required as much courage and discipline as combat. Dysentery, frostbite, gangrene, and hepatitis were constant companions, and platoon leader Bouck was near death with hepatitis when finally liberated on April 18 - ironically by the 99th Division. It wasn't until their story became public that the Platoon received the recognition they were due. In 1980, platoon members were awarded four Distinguished Service Crosses (the Army's second-highest decoration for valor), five Silver Stars, and nine Bronze Stars with Valor Device. The unit also received a Presidential Unit Citation. Kershaw recounts the story of the I&R Platoon in dramatic fashion. Drawing largely on interviews with surviving members of the platoon, he puts a personal face on the action: whether on the hillside at Lanzerath or mired in the abject misery of the POW hovels. These were young Americans - platoon leader Bouck turned twenty-one during his captivity - green and ill-equipped for their mission. Yet, as Kershaw ably demonstrates, it is a mistake to underestimate American soldiers. Then. Or, now. -- Added by billrye on 02/23/2014

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The Kitchen Boy
The Kitchen Boy by Robert Alexander (1910s)
In 2003 Robert Alexander wrote a very good book called "The Kitchen Boy" in which the Tsar's last days in 1918 are numbered. He should have waited for in 2008 a discovery of the bones of the tsarevich Alexei and his sister Marie were found and through the miracle of DNA analysis, the whole point of the book is rendered moot. It takes a very good book and knocks it down to a good book. -- Added by billrye on 02/10/2014

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Defensive Wounds
Defensive Wounds by Lisa Black (2000s)
In Cleveland, Lisa Black tell the story of Marie Corrigan, a defense attorney with a history of falsifying evidence and no shortage of enemies, is found dead in the presidential suite at the Ritz-Carlton. Forensic investigator Theresa MacLean is summoned to the crime scene by her daughter, Rachel, who is working the front desk. But even before Theresa enters the room, she knows that she's walking into a forensic nightmarefor crime scenes at hotels, even the most luxurious, are teeming with trace evidence that has been left behind by innumerable guests and may or may not be related to the murder. But what Theresa finds is even worse than she imagined. -- Added by billrye on 02/03/2014

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The Shanghai Moon
The Shanghai Moon by S. J. Rozan (Other)
The main characters, Lydia Chin and her "sometimes-partner-in-crime-fighting" Bill Smith have been estranged since the previous novel, and Lydia had just returned from a trip to California. The Shanghai Moon was a broach and Lydia and Bill team up, once again, to find it. It is a complicated book with many twists and turns but, in the end, the PI's get their man. -- Added by billrye on 01/22/2014

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Detroit City Is the Place to Be
Detroit City Is the Place to Be by Mark Binelli (2000s)
Binelli has written a series of magazine articles, not a book. As with most authors writing about Detroit, he fails to come up with a solution to get that city out of bankruptcy. -- Added by billrye on 01/20/2014

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Tatiana by Martin Cruz Smith (2000s)
This book is good, not great but like all Martin Cruz Smith novels, it follows a familiar path in which Arkady Renko (who doesn't carry a gun) is surprised to find Tatania is alive after he has searched for the killer. -- Added by billrye on 01/20/2014

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