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Books

This book cover image released by Putnam shows "The Lost Key," by Catherine Coulter and J.T. Ellison. (AP Photo/Putnam)

Review: ‘The Lost Key’ is compelling thriller

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A sub that disappeared near the end of World War I plays a key role in a modern-day murder in Catherine Coulter and J.T. Ellison’s The Lost Key. Nicholas Drummond has left his job with British intelligence and is now an FBI agent. He’s teamed with female agent Mike Caine, and they are summoned to the scene of a murder on Wall Street. The victim is a bookstore owner who specialized in rare books, but as Drummond and Caine dig deeper, they learn he had a secret identity and was known in some circles as The Messenger. They stumble on the perpetrator, and during the …

w: The sources of our political distempers

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Why have millions of Americans turned their backs on civic affairs, trashed elected officials and come to distrust the federal government? What are the sources of our political distempers? Such questions occupy the center of Jonathan Darman’s Landslide: LBJ and Ronald Reagan at the Dawn of a New America, and his answers are …

‘Build a Girl’ a tale of survival

Sunday, October 19, 2014

In the author’s note to her rambunctious novel How to Build a Girl, Caitlin Moran insists that her teenage protagonist, Johanna Morrigan, is not herself, and that her story is fiction. But the plot mirrors Moran’s own unlikely leap onto the masthead of a storied music paper by the age of 16, as …

Mindful Reader: ‘Getting Schooled’ a behind-the-scenes look at teaching and administration

Sunday, September 14, 2014

‘ N ortheast Kingdom ” author Garret Keizer writes about his return, after 14 years, to teaching high school English in a small town in Vermont in Getting Schooled: the Reeducation of an American Teacher. Part memoir, part …

‘1954’: A glimpse of baseball’s dramatic changes

Sunday, September 14, 2014

As the pennant races head into the fall stretch, it’s worth remembering that 60 years ago the sport of baseball was changed permanently as African-American players began to establish their presence in the major leagues and would transform …

A thriller writer’s challenge: Make U.S. policy in Africa into a page-turner

Sunday, September 7, 2014

As he began writing his third book on U.S.-Africa policy and development, Todd Moss, a former State Department official, realized something. It would be boring. Just another text for the shelves of foreign-policy wonks, PhDs and think tank …

‘On the Run’ highlights the American culture of incarceration

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The dramatic rise of incarceration rates among African-Americans since the 1970s has become more visible in mainstream culture partly because of television shows such as the widely popular HBO series The Wire, which ran from 2002 to 2008, the current Netflix series Orange Is the New Black and …

‘The Shadow Hero’ exceptionally well-spun

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Before you crack the spine on this beautiful new book that helps unmask arguably the world’s first Asian American superhero, let’s reveal the true heroes in this thrilling literary escapade: Able to leap the building blocks of narrative in a single bound volume, our real adventurer is Gene …

Minecraft now a publishing sensation

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Like millions of parents, Aaron Sacharow welcomes those moments when his son – 7-year-old Tyler – takes a break from video games and picks up a book instead. He will even settle for the book being a guide …

Author’s ode to crosswords is right on the mark with ‘Crossword Century’

Sunday, August 31, 2014

If you love solving crosswords, you know how it feels to be in the fraternity. There’s the rush of matching wits with a mysterious puzzle-maker, the thrill of nailing an elusive answer and the satisfaction of filling in …

‘Harold and Jack’ a persuasive account of world leaders’ accidental friendship

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Christopher Sandford begins this account of the relationship between British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan and American President John F. Kennedy with a meeting between the two in southern England. It occurred in June 1963, at which point Kennedy …

‘Field Guide’ highlights D.C.’s beauty

Sunday, August 31, 2014

There are major cities around the world where humans seem to have excluded nature by extruding concrete. Washington isn’t one of them. With its low skyline, two languid rivers and a stream named Rock Creek that could keep …

Shedding light on true naval prowess

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Military action during the American Revolution conjures up images of colonial militia on Lexington Green or British regulars marching to surrender at Yorktown. If the war at sea is mentioned at all, one mostly remembers John Paul Jones’s …