A travel book recommendation: Breaking the Silence: Untold Veterans’ Stories from the Great War to Afghanistan by Ted Barris

A critic review (source Globe and Mail) can be read at: https://tgam.ca/2h9ZRsN.
The one drawback was that the wartime anecdotes are not formatted chronologically…That said, Barris is a natural storyteller. Whether he is bringing a veteran’s exploits to life or detailing his own experiences, Breaking the Silence is an entertaining and informative read.
Book description from Google Books:
“Never talked about it.” That’s what most people say when they’re asked if the veteran in the family ever shared wartime experiences. Describing combat, imprisonment or lost comrades from the World Wars, the Korea War, or even Afghanistan is reserved for Remembrance Day or the Legion lounge. Nobody was ever supposed to see them get emotional, show their vulnerability. Nobody was ever to know the hell of their war. About 25 years ago, Ted Barris began breaking through the silence. Because of his unique interviewing skills, he found that veterans would talk to him, set the record straight and put a face on the service and sacrifice of men and women in uniform. As a result of his work on 15 previous books, Barris has earned a reputation of trust among Canada’s veterans. Indeed, over the years, nearly 3,000 of them have shared their memories, all offering original material for his books. Among other revelations in Breaking the Silence, veterans of the Great War reflect on an extraordinary first Armistice in 1918; decorated Second World War fighter pilots talk about their thirst for blood in the sky; Canadian POWs explain how they survived Chinese attempts to brainwash them during the Korean War; and soldiers with the Afghanistan mission talk about the horrors of the “friendly fire” incident near Kandahar. Breaking the Silence is a ground-breaking book that goes to the heart of veterans’ war-time experiences.
The book is rated 3.85/5 at goodreads.com, from 20 ratings. See 2 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2iDuWFt.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2hccoMA.

A travel book recommendation: The Unseen by Roy Jacobsen

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2ha6VWm.
This is a profound interrogation of freedom and fate, as well as a fascinating portrait of a vanished time, written in prose as clear and washed clean as the world after a storm.
Book description from Google Books:
Shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize 2017 Nobody can leave an island. An island is a cosmos in a nutshell, where the stars slumber in the grass beneath the snow. But occasionally someone tries . . . Ingrid Barr�y is born on an island that bears her name – a holdfast for a single family, their livestock, their crops, their hopes and dreams. Her father dreams of building a quay that will connect them to the mainland, but closer ties to the wider world come at a price. Her mother has her own dreams – more children, a smaller island, a different life – and there is one question Ingrid must never ask her. Island life is hard, a living scratched from the dirt or trawled from the sea, so when Ingrid comes of age, she is sent to the mainland to work for one of the wealthy families on the coast. But Norway too is waking up to a wider world, a modern world that is capricious and can be cruel. Tragedy strikes, and Ingrid must fight to protect the home she thought she had left behind. Translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett and Don Shaw
The book is rated 4.05/5 at goodreads.com, from 1096 ratings. See 133 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2hbi5u3.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2iAmDdR.

A travel book recommendation: Ernest Hemingway: A Biography by Mary V. Dearborn

A critic review (source NY Journal of Books) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2hbs2aO.
She engages the reader with both the well-known stories and references to his writings, as well as many little known facts. This is a worthy biography.
Book description from Google Books:
The first full biography of Ernest Hemingway in more than fifteen years; the first to draw upon a wide array of never-before-used material; the first written by a woman, from the widely acclaimed biographer of Norman Mailer, Peggy Guggenheim, Henry Miller, and Louise Bryant. A revelatory look into the life and work of Ernest Hemingway, considered in his time to be the greatest living American novelist and short-story writer, winner of the 1953 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. Mary Dearborn’s new biography gives the richest and most nuanced portrait to date of this complex, enigmatically unique American artist, whose same uncontrollable demons that inspired and drove him throughout his life undid him at the end, and whose seven novels and six-short story collections informed–and are still informing–fiction writing generations after his death.
The book is rated 4.04/5 at goodreads.com, from 133 ratings. See 29 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2iEGicn.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2iEGiJp.

A travel book recommendation: Island Home: A landscape memoir by Tim Winton

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2h7iWfp.
Island Home is a delight to read and a reminder that Australia and the UK are separated by distance and seasons – not to mention our common language…
Book description from Google Books:
“‘I grew up on the world’s largest island.’ This apparently simple fact is the starting point for Tim Winton’s beautiful, evocative, and sometimes provocative, memoir of how this unique landscape has shaped him and his writing. For over thirty years, Winton has written novels in which the natural world is as much a living presence as any character. What is true of his work is also true of his life: from boyhood, his relationship with the world around him – rockpools, seacaves, scrub and swamp – was as vital as any other connection. Camping in hidden inlets of the south-east, walking in the high rocky desert fringe, diving at Ningaloo Reef, bobbing in the sea between sets, Winton has felt the place seep into him, with its rhythms, its dangers, its strange sustenance, and learned to see landscape as a living process. ‘Island Home’ is the story of how that relationship with the Australian landscape came to be, and how it has determined his ideas, his writing and his life. It is also a passionate exhortation for all of us to feel the ground beneath our feet” — Provided by publisher’s website.
The book is rated 4.00/5 at goodreads.com, from 862 ratings. See 144 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2h5Egln.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2h7iQV5.

A travel book recommendation: Dolce Vita Confidential: Fellini, Loren, Pucci, Paparazzi, and the Swinging High Life of 1950s Rome by Shawn Levy

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2iIK8RU.
Levy captures much of the excitement of that time and place in a prose style that is teeming with satisfying gossipy details…
Book description from Google Books:
From the ashes of World War II, Rome was reborn as the epicenter of film, fashion, creative energy, tabloid media, and bold-faced libertinism that made “Italian” a global synonym for taste, style, and flair. A confluence of cultural contributions created a bright, burning moment in history: it was the heyday of fashion icons such as Pucci, whose use of color, line, and superb craftsmanship set the standard for women’s clothing for decades, and Brioni, whose confident and classy creations for men inspired the contemporary American suit. Rome’s huge movie studio, Cinecitta, also known as “Hollywood-on-the Tiber,” attracted a dizzying array of stars from Charleton Heston, Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn, Ava Gardner, and Frank Sinatra to that stunning and combustible couple, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, who began their extramarital affair during the making of Cleopatra. And behind these stars trailed street photographers–Tazio Secchiarioli, Pierluigi Praturlon, and Marcello Gepetti–who searched, waited, and pounced on their subjects in pursuit of the most unflattering and dramatic portraits of fame.Fashionistas, exiles, moguls, and martyrs flocked to Rome hoping for a chance to experience and indulge in the glow of old money, new stars, fast cars, wanton libidos, and brazen news photographers. The scene was captured nowhere better than in Federico Fellini’s masterpiece, La Dolce Vita, starring Marcello Mastroianni and the Swedish bombshell Anita Ekberg. It was condemned for its licentiousness, when in fact Fellini was condemning the very excess, narcissism, and debauchery of Rome’s bohemian scene.Gossipy, colorful, and richly informed, Dolce Vita Confidential re-creates Rome’s stunning ascent with vivid and compelling tales of its glitterati and artists, down to every last outrageous detail of the city’s magnificent transformation.
The book is rated 3.89/5 at goodreads.com, from 62 ratings. See 17 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2zwtLQf.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2zyNsHs.

A travel book recommendation: Passchendaele: A New History by Nick Lloyd

A critic review (source NY Journal of Books) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2izZb0j.
This story, told from both sides but with more emphasis on the British perspective, is as emblematic of the futility of World War I as any other. Yet there is an object lesson to be learned here…
Book description from Google Books:
The Third Battle of Ypres was a ‘lost victory’ for the British Army in 1917. Between July and November 1917, in a small corner of Belgium, more than 500,000 men were killed or maimed, gassed or drowned – and many of the bodies were never found. The Ypres offensive represents the modern impression of the First World War: splintered trees, water-filled craters, muddy shell-holes. The climax was one of the worst battles of both world wars: Passchendaele. The village fell eventually, only for the whole offensive to be called off. But, as Nick Lloyd shows, notably through previously overlooked German archive material, it is striking how close the British came to forcing the German Army to make a major retreat in Belgium in October 1917. Far from being a pointless and futile waste of men, the battle was a startling illustration of how effective British tactics and operations had become by 1917 and put the Allies nearer to a major turning point in the war than we have ever imagined. Published for the 100th anniversary of this major conflict, Passchendaele is the most compelling and comprehensive account ever written of the climax of trench warfare on the Western Front.
The book is rated 4.32/5 at goodreads.com, from 60 ratings. See 11 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2h9hSr9.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2h9hWqT.

A travel book recommendation: Dolce Vita Confidential: Fellini, Loren, Pucci, Paparazzi, and the Swinging High Life of 1950s Rome by Shawn Levy

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2iIK8RU.
Levy captures much of the excitement of that time and place in a prose style that is teeming with satisfying gossipy details…
Book description from Google Books:
From the ashes of World War II, Rome was reborn as the epicenter of film, fashion, creative energy, tabloid media, and bold-faced libertinism that made “Italian” a global synonym for taste, style, and flair. A confluence of cultural contributions created a bright, burning moment in history: it was the heyday of fashion icons such as Pucci, whose use of color, line, and superb craftsmanship set the standard for women’s clothing for decades, and Brioni, whose confident and classy creations for men inspired the contemporary American suit. Rome’s huge movie studio, Cinecitta, also known as “Hollywood-on-the Tiber,” attracted a dizzying array of stars from Charleton Heston, Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn, Ava Gardner, and Frank Sinatra to that stunning and combustible couple, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, who began their extramarital affair during the making of Cleopatra. And behind these stars trailed street photographers–Tazio Secchiarioli, Pierluigi Praturlon, and Marcello Gepetti–who searched, waited, and pounced on their subjects in pursuit of the most unflattering and dramatic portraits of fame.Fashionistas, exiles, moguls, and martyrs flocked to Rome hoping for a chance to experience and indulge in the glow of old money, new stars, fast cars, wanton libidos, and brazen news photographers. The scene was captured nowhere better than in Federico Fellini’s masterpiece, La Dolce Vita, starring Marcello Mastroianni and the Swedish bombshell Anita Ekberg. It was condemned for its licentiousness, when in fact Fellini was condemning the very excess, narcissism, and debauchery of Rome’s bohemian scene.Gossipy, colorful, and richly informed, Dolce Vita Confidential re-creates Rome’s stunning ascent with vivid and compelling tales of its glitterati and artists, down to every last outrageous detail of the city’s magnificent transformation.
The book is rated 3.89/5 at goodreads.com, from 62 ratings. See 17 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2zwtLQf.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2zyNsHs.

A travel book recommendation: He Calls Me By Lightning: The Life of Caliph Washington and the forgotten Saga of Jim Crow, Southern Justice, and the Death Penalty by S Jonathan Bass

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2h64vIk.
Bass unearths the heretofore undocumented story of Caliph Washington and his trek through the depths of Jim Crow justice. The complex lives that populate his jailhouse journey from segregation through civil rights braid the movement’s gains and limitations into a red thread tracing the current crisis of race and criminal justice.
Book description from Google Books:
Caliph Washington didn’t pull the trigger but, as Officer James “Cowboy” Clark lay dying, he had no choice but to turn on his heel and run. The year was 1957; Cowboy Clark was white, Caliph Washington was black, and this was the Jim Crow South.As He Calls Me by Lightning painstakingly chronicles, Washington, then a seventeen-year-old simply returning home after a double date, was swiftly arrested, put on trial, and sentenced to death by an all-white jury. The young man endured the horrors of a hellish prison system for thirteen years, a term that included various stints on death row fearing the “lightning” of the electric chair. Twentieth-century legal history is tragically littered with thousands of stories of such judicial cruelty, but S. Jonathan Bass’s account is remarkable in that he has been able to meticulously re-create Washington’s saga, animating a life that was not supposed to matter.Given the familiar paradigm of an African American man being falsely accused of killing a white policeman, it would be all too easy to apply a reductionist view to the story. What makes He Calls Me by Lightning so unusual are a spate of unknown variables–most prominently the fact that Governor George Wallace, nationally infamous for his active advocacy of segregation, did, in fact, save this death row inmate’s life. As we discover, Wallace stayed Washington’s execution not once but more than a dozen times, reflecting a philosophy about the death penalty that has not been perpetuated by his successors.Other details make Washington’s story significant to legal history, not the least of which is that the defendant endured three separate trials and then was held in a county jail for five more years before being convicted of second-degree murder in 1970; this decision was overturned as well, although the charges were never dismissed. Bass’s account is also particularly noteworthy for his evocation of Washington’s native Bessemer, a gritty, industrial city lying only thirteen miles to the east of Birmingham, Alabama, whose singularly fascinating story is frequently overlooked by historians.By rescuing Washington’s unknown life trajectory–along with the stories of his intrepid lawyers, David Hood Jr. and Orzell Billingsley, and Christine Luna, an Italian-American teacher and activist who would become Washington’s bride upon his release–Bass brings to multidimensional life many different strands of the civil rights movement. Devastating and essential, He Calls Me by Lightning demands that we take into account the thousands of lives cast away by systemic racism, and powerfully demonstrates just how much we still do not know.
The book is rated 4.00/5 at goodreads.com, from 47 ratings. See 18 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2h9dWqh.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2ixeF53.

A travel book recommendation: Breaking the Silence: Untold Veterans’ Stories from the Great War to Afghanistan by Ted Barris

A critic review (source Globe and Mail) can be read at: https://tgam.ca/2h9ZRsN.
The one drawback was that the wartime anecdotes are not formatted chronologically…That said, Barris is a natural storyteller. Whether he is bringing a veteran’s exploits to life or detailing his own experiences, Breaking the Silence is an entertaining and informative read.
Book description from Google Books:
“Never talked about it.” That’s what most people say when they’re asked if the veteran in the family ever shared wartime experiences. Describing combat, imprisonment or lost comrades from the World Wars, the Korea War, or even Afghanistan is reserved for Remembrance Day or the Legion lounge. Nobody was ever supposed to see them get emotional, show their vulnerability. Nobody was ever to know the hell of their war. About 25 years ago, Ted Barris began breaking through the silence. Because of his unique interviewing skills, he found that veterans would talk to him, set the record straight and put a face on the service and sacrifice of men and women in uniform. As a result of his work on 15 previous books, Barris has earned a reputation of trust among Canada’s veterans. Indeed, over the years, nearly 3,000 of them have shared their memories, all offering original material for his books. Among other revelations in Breaking the Silence, veterans of the Great War reflect on an extraordinary first Armistice in 1918; decorated Second World War fighter pilots talk about their thirst for blood in the sky; Canadian POWs explain how they survived Chinese attempts to brainwash them during the Korean War; and soldiers with the Afghanistan mission talk about the horrors of the “friendly fire” incident near Kandahar. Breaking the Silence is a ground-breaking book that goes to the heart of veterans’ war-time experiences.
The book is rated 3.85/5 at goodreads.com, from 20 ratings. See 2 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2iDuWFt.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2hccoMA.

A travel book recommendation: Ernest Hemingway: A Biography by Mary V. Dearborn

A critic review (source NY Journal of Books) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2hbs2aO.
She engages the reader with both the well-known stories and references to his writings, as well as many little known facts. This is a worthy biography.
Book description from Google Books:
The first full biography of Ernest Hemingway in more than fifteen years; the first to draw upon a wide array of never-before-used material; the first written by a woman, from the widely acclaimed biographer of Norman Mailer, Peggy Guggenheim, Henry Miller, and Louise Bryant. A revelatory look into the life and work of Ernest Hemingway, considered in his time to be the greatest living American novelist and short-story writer, winner of the 1953 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. Mary Dearborn’s new biography gives the richest and most nuanced portrait to date of this complex, enigmatically unique American artist, whose same uncontrollable demons that inspired and drove him throughout his life undid him at the end, and whose seven novels and six-short story collections informed–and are still informing–fiction writing generations after his death.
The book is rated 4.02/5 at goodreads.com, from 131 ratings. See 29 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2iEGicn.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2iEGiJp.