A surfeit of reading…..II

I was writing about the books I received in the last couple of days. The fourth one I got Saturday (May 28,2011) happened to be one of those I had mentioned in: https://vahshatedil.wordpress.com/2011/05/26/a-sudden-craving/ – an account of the Pacific world, leading up to Dec 8, 1941 (Well, if you still don’t know what the date signifies, you’ll learn now)

Pearl Harbor: A Novel of December 8th by Newt Gingrich & William R. Forstchen

Fresh from their series on the American Civil War, bestselling authors Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen apply theur imaginations, knowledge, and acclaimed “active history” approach to launch a bold new epic adventure about the “Day of Infamy”.

PEARL HARBOR

This powerful saga covers the heroic highs and horrifying lows of America’s darkest day – from the White House to the Wheeler Army Air Field, from top-brass military officers, national leaders, and admirals to the ordinary citizens caught in the chaos of war. Compelling and meticulously researched, the novel of valor stretches from the chambers of the Emperor of Japan all the way back to the lonely office of Commander James Watson, an American cryptographer who suspects the impending catastrophic attack. A story of intrigue, double-dealing, the brutality of war, and the desperate efforts by men of reason on both sides to prevent a titanic struggle that becomes inevitable, Pearl Harbor inaugurates the dramatic new Pacific War series – one that entertains as well as informs – from two masters of the genre.

Well, that is the blurb.

The next is a different subject altogether….

Do You Think You’re Clever?: The Oxford and Cambridge Questions by John Farndon

A wonderful collection of oddly brilliant questions and answers taken from the infamously challenging Oxbridge interviews.’What happens if I drop an ant?’ ‘What books are bad for you?’ ‘What percentage of the world’s water icontained in a cow?’The Oxbridge undergraduate interviews are infamous for their unique ways of assessing candidates,and from these peculiar enquiries, professors can tell just how smart you really are. Cambridge-educated John Farndon has collected together 75 of the most intriguing questions taken from actual admission interviews and gives full answers to each, taking the reader through the fascinating histories, philosophies, sciences and arts that underlie each problem. Oxford graduate Libby Purves lends her own thoughts and reflections on what it’s like to have your mind stretched in unusual ways in a thorough introduction. This is a book for everyone who likes to think they’re clever, or who thinks they’d like to be clever. And cleverness is not just knowing stuff, it’s how laterally,deeply and interestingly you can bend your brain. Guesstimating the population of Croydon, for example, opens a chain of thought from which you can predict the strength of a nuclear bomb … and that’s just the start of it.

And finally……

Field Grey by Philip Kerr

‘A man doesn’t work for his enemies unless he has little choice in the matter.’

So says Bernie Gunther. It is 1954 and Bernie is in Cuba. Tiring of his increasingly dangerous work spying on Meyer Lansky, Bernie acquires a boat and a beautiful companion and quits the island. But the US Navy has other ideas, and soon he finds himself in a place with which he is all too familiar – a prison cell. After exhaustive questioning, he is flown back to Berlin and yet another prison cell with a proposition: work for French intelligence or hang for murder.

The job is simple: he is to meet and greet POWs returning to Germany and to look out for one in particular, a French war criminal and member of the French SS who has been posing as a German Wehrmacht officer. The French are anxious to catch up with this man and deal with him in their own ruthless way. But Bernie’s past as a German POW in Russia is about to catch up with him – in a way he could never have foreseen.

Bernie Gunther’s seventh outing delivers more of the fast-paced and quick-witted action that we have come to expect from Philip Kerr. Set in Cuba, a Soviet POW camp, Paris and Berlin, and ranging over a period of twenty years from the Thirties to the Fifties, Field Grey is an outstanding thriller by a writer at the top of his game.

I had the chance to read Kerr’s If The Dead Rise Not, which is set just before the Berlin prior to the 1936 Olympics and then in Cuba where Gunther is coerced into spying on Lansky, which was where the novel ended. I did crave the chance to know what happens next….. and it seems the gods have heard….

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