Black Hearts, Jim Frederick’s account of a horrific crime carried out by a U.S. rifle company in Iraq, is an “extra ordinary book… a testament to a misconceived war, and to the ease with which ordinary men, under certain conditions, can transform into monsters.”
Lionel Shriver’s So Much for That is a semi-comic novel about the corroding effects of money on character- although the critic found that the overly detailed plot, revolving around health care, reads at times more like a position paper than a novel.
The Surrendered by Chang-Rae Lee has been getting a lot of media attention over the past couple of weeks for his powerful novel “about the horrors of war and the horrors of survival” set in and around the Korean War.
The history of the doomed Franklin Expedition’s search for the Northwest Passage is told once more in The Man Who Ate His Boots. This is a well-done history by a respected polar historian- but to me the last literary word on this topic will always to to Dan Simmon’s chilling (literally) horror/history The Terror
Holy Warrors: a Modern History of the Crusades presents the paradox of the crusades- where warriors committed acts of almost unparalleled savagery as well as self-sacrifice and piety, often in the space of a single campaign- Jonathan Phillips’s book is the “best recent history of the Crusades; it is also an astute depiction of a frightening cast of mind.”
Finally, while we still can’t bring you any copies of The Man from Beijing (later on this week, hopefully) if you turn your eyes 2,000 miles to the South, Marti Leimbach’s Vietnam War thriller Man From Saigon is “fast paced and vividly descriptive.”