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Describe your latest book. The Getaway God is the sixth book in the Sandman Slim series. In it, the very unholy nephilim, James Stark, aka Sandman... Continue »
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Nancy L has commented on (13) products.

The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy by David Nasaw
The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy

Nancy L, November 22, 2013

I only thought I knew who Joe Kennedy was. Nasaw's biography is a very well-written account of a remarkably talented and shrewd, yet incredibly naive man. It's a fascinating story: He made his millions in the pre-depression stock market, then became the first chairman of the SEC, where the laws were written that criminalized his money-making schemes! As ambassador to the UK he was such a loose cannon that FDR kept him in the dark. He believed Hitler could be negotiated with long after all evidence pointed to the contrary.

I really enjoyed the insights into his family life. Despite all the stories of harsh competitiveness and philandering, he was clearly a devoted father. His determined influence on his sons' decisions to enter politics is poignant.

As always, a good biography teaches history. The run-up to WWII, and Kennedy's activities and their relationship with the Catholic church during JFK's political rise were especially interesting. For people my age, the sons have overshadowed the father, making Joe Kennedy's story all the more compelling.

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Enemies: A History of the FBI by Tim Weiner
Enemies: A History of the FBI

Nancy L, January 22, 2013

As he did in Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA, Tim Weiner takes us through history, this time as the FBI is created and evolves. The focus is on intelligence and national security; I was surprised there wasn't more content on famous criminal cases. Of course, the story of J. Edgar Hoover is a large part of the FBI's story, and I think Weiner did a good job of describing the offensive and eccentric side of Hoover, while also attempting to give the reader Hoover's perspective. It is interesting to learn how the presidents have worked (or not) with the FBI, and how the modern-day FBI continues to struggle to define itself and its mission.
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The Barbarian Nurseries by Hector Tobar
The Barbarian Nurseries

Nancy L, January 22, 2013

Contemporary fiction at its finest. The Barbarian Nurseries depicts one family's marital struggles as they live the American dream and cope with their relationship, parenting, and present-day financial insecurity in L.A. The story has a strong sense of place, but it's not set in the L.A. of movie stars and Disneyland. It's the L.A. where families really live.

Both parents separately decide to take a temporary break, and leave without telling each other, or their maid Araceli, an illegal immigrant from Mexico. As a bewildered Araceli makes one uninformed, but thoughtful decision after another during the parent's absence; the story becomes a real page-turner. I could not put it down until I found out what happened to the kids, and to the parents when they realized what they'd done, and to Araceli once her ordeal was over.
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Cancer Clinical Trials: A Commonsense Guide to Experimental Cancer Therapies and Clinical Trials by Tomasz M. Beer and Larry W. Axmaker
Cancer Clinical Trials: A Commonsense Guide to Experimental Cancer Therapies and Clinical Trials

Nancy L, August 28, 2012

Drs. Beer and Axmaker have written a helpful resource for people who need more information than a brochure, but less than a textbook, about clinical trials. It's concise in its delivery while providing a comprehensive overview of the clinical trials process. It is well-organized with clear explanations.

It's only shortcoming is that the information on potential financial concerns speaks only to issues that affect the insured. The uninsured are not acknowledged.
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When the Mississippi Ran Backwards: Empire, Intrigue, Murder, and the New Madrid Earthquakes of 1811-12 by Jay Feldman
When the Mississippi Ran Backwards: Empire, Intrigue, Murder, and the New Madrid Earthquakes of 1811-12

Nancy L, August 5, 2012

Where did the largest earthquakes in North America occur? California? Wrong! It was a series along the New Madrid (prounounced Mad-rid) Fault in the Missouri Bootheel, along the Mississippi River in 1811-1812. Feldman chronicles the history of the area leading up to the quake. The people and politics are quite interesting and were largely unfamiliar to me. Anyone who has an interest in earthquakes, American history (specifically pre-civil war history), Mississippi River history, Native American history, or even the history of Pittsburgh or New Orleans would enjoy this book.
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