Killing Lincoln

From Elaine Pasquali
Title: Killing Lincoln
Author:  Bill O’Reilly
Unquestionably one of the best books I’ve ever read.  I thought I knew the details of Lincoln’s death, but there was so much more to it.  O’Reilly’s writing style made this a page turner.  The parallels and connections between Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth were fascinating.  If you haven’t yet read this book, put it on your “must read” list.

Unbroken, a WW 11 Airman’s Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

From Sandi Rosenthal 
Title:  Unbroken, a WW 11 Airman’s Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
Author:  Laura Hillenbrand
This book is about an Olympian track star, Louis Zamperini, who was a pilot in the military during World War 11.  His plane was shot down in the Pacific and he drifted on a small raft for a few weeks enduring starvation, dehydration, extreme exposure to the elements and sharks. It was heart wrenching reading each page, but the devastation was just beginning. He landed on an island occupied by the Japanese and then endured a couple of years in a POW camp where he was treated sub-humanly, starved, savagely beaten, kicked, clubbed and broken physically and mentally. His post war years were damaged because of the treatment in the POW camp and at the hands of one particular sadistic guard. In the end he finds salvation and forgiveness. I found this book very difficult to read, the brutality kept on, page after page, and I couldn’t believe that he was alive after each torturous beating.

Cleopatra

From Grace Segers
Title:  Cleopatra
Author:  Stacy Schiff
Before reading Cleopatra, a biography written expertly by Stacy Schiff, I knew very little about Cleopatra’s life except for her reputation as a seductress. Schiff quickly discards this man-made myth, exploring the woman behind the legend with in-depth research and captivating writing. Anyone who wishes to know a correct portrayal of one of history’s most misunderstood women should read this book.

Midnight in Peking : How the Murder of a Young Englishwoman Haunted the Last Days of Old China

From  Eileen Effrat
Author:  Paul French
Midnight in Peking : How the Murder of a Young Englishwoman Haunted the Last Days of Old China 
This is historical non-fiction at its very best. I couldn’t put this book down. It is 1937 and Peking is in turmoil as the Japanese army surrounds the city. The body of a 19 year old   Englishwoman is found bludgeoned and repeatedly stabbed, her heart and other organs removed. The suspect list is long and the clues very sparse. Two detectives, one Chinese and one British, unsuccessfully attempt to uncover the killer. Obstructed by   powerful British authorities, the crime remained unsolved. The father, Edward Werner, persisted in the investigation hiring private investigators. He uncovered substantial evidence that could have brought justice, but the World War II intervened. French‘s research is extensive and his style of writing very compelling.  If you enjoyed Devil in the White City,  Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, or Death in the City of Light,  this book  is for you.

When the Dancing Stopped: The Real Story of the Morro Castle Disaster and Its Deadly Wake

From  Sandi Rosenthal
Title:  When the Dancing Stopped: The Real Story of the Morro Castle Disaster and Its Deadly Wake
Author:  Brian Hicks 
This book grabbed my attention in the opening pages and kept me interested until the end. It is the incredible tale of the cruise ship Morro Castle and the horrific events that led to its destruction September 1934 off the New Jersey Coast. It reads like a fictional novel and was amazing that it was a true story.  This book is very well researched and the author includes some interesting pictures.

The ships captain was found dead in his quarters and a deadly fire broke out. What makes this so disturbing is that there is evidence to suggest that the captain might have been murdered and that the fire was not an accident.

After this disaster, the story goes on with the life of the individual suspected of the murder and arson, and how he continued his criminal behavior for the next 20 years.

 

Jacqueline Kennedy

From  Elaine Pasquali
Title:  Jacqueline Kennedy
Author:  Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.
Mr. Schlesinger had 7 conversations with Jacqueline Kennedy in 1964, four months after the President’s assasination. The book is simply the transcribed tapes with footnoted  annotations. Family and political events are discussed. Caroline Kennedy’s forward and Michael Beschiloss’ introduction were interesting and very informative.  The book comes with audio tapes of the interview, but the tapes are poor quality.  I would read an interview and then listen to a tape so I could get the gestalt of the conversation. Overall, an interesting book but a dry read.

When The Dancing Stopped-The Real Story of the Morro Castle Disaster and It’s Deadly Wake

From Michele Szydlo 
Title:  When The Dancing Stopped-The Real Story of the Morro Castle Disaster and It’s Deadly Wake
Author:  Brian Hicks
I had to keep reminding myself that this was non-fiction, because it really read like fiction.  I was engrossed in a crime story that took place not only at sea, but on land.  If you’ve ever been on a cruise ship it’s even more fascinating.