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Staff Reviews by Mike O'Connor

Cover: 'Steve McQueen: The Actor and His Films'

"Steve McQueen: The Actor and His Films" by Andrew Antoniades, Mike Siegel

★★★★★ A complex and enigmatic individual, Steve McQueen became a screen legend playing anti-authoritarian loners.   Authors Antoniades and Siegel combine talents to produce this weighty and wonderful account of the life and film career of McQueen. The book is an entertaining tribute to the King of Cool, featuring over 1,000 color and black and white...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, celebrities

Cover: 'Churchill Style: The Art of Being Winston Churchill'

"Churchill Style: The Art of Being Winston Churchill" by Barry Singer

★★★★★ Of all the major political figures of the 20th Century, Winston Churchill certainly lived life to the fullest. A master of the English language, prolific author and lover of cigars and fine brandy, Churchill relished the political and intellectual world as few others did. Barry Singer’s book offers an insightful and altogether charming portrait of the...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, history

Cover: 'World War II in 500 Photographs!'

"World War II in 500 Photographs!" by Time-Life Books

★★★★ This 2014 Time Life Books release is a nicely-done visual guide to the Second World War. Arranged chronologically, it offers up page after page of black and white or color photographs depicting battlefield and home front events as well as personalities such as FDR, Churchill, Hitler, Himmler, Stalin, Eisenhower, Patton, etc. The images are complimented by...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, photography, history

Cover: 'Movie Icons, 365 Day-By-Day'

"Movie Icons, 365 Day-By-Day" by Taschen

★★★★ Movie buffs will enjoy this Silver Screen daily calendar book, presenting, as it does, color photographs of hundreds of movie notables. Among the actors and actresses included are Tyrone Power, Tom Cruise, Humphrey Bogart, Greta Garbo, Joe Pesci, Claire Bloom, Kate Winslet, Jean Reno, Anita Ekberg, Peter Lorre, Nicole Kidman, Lee Marvin, Ralph Fiennes,...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, celebrities

Cover: 'Alive!'

"Alive!" by Reader's Digest Association

★★★★ Have you ever wondered what it feels like to survive a tornado, flood or shark attack? ALIVE is a compilation of first-person articles previously published in the READER'S DIGEST magazine that describe such events. Twenty-two people share their memorable experiences with airplane crashes, cougar attacks, avalanches, firestorms and so on. It makes for...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'An Illustrated Dictionary of the Third Reich'

"An Illustrated Dictionary of the Third Reich" by Jean-Denis Lepage

★★★★ Jean-Denis Lepage's book is a wide-ranging dictionary to 1,650 major and most important German terms associated with Nazism and the Second World War. The book defines/describes various laws, medals, badges, weapons, equipment, persons, organizations, slogans, songs, events, etc. The German-language term is given first followed by its English equivalent and...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, history

Cover: 'Attack of the Factoids'

"Attack of the Factoids" by Bathroom Readers' Institute

★★★★ If you're a trivia buff, you'll enjoy ATTACK OF THE FACTOIDS. Published by the Uncle John Bathroom Readers' crew, it's a marvelous, 400-page helping of trivial facts and assorted information. It includes brief facts on crime & punishment, ancient history, quotations, plants & animals, rich & famous people, etc. You can read it cover to cover or...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'John Wayne: The Life and Legend'

"John Wayne: The Life and Legend" by Scott Eyman

★★★★★ John Wayne is the most famous American movie star of all time. In a 50-year career, he created memorable characters as the the Ringo Kid, Ethan Edwards, Sean Thornton, Tom Dunston, Kirby Yorke, George Washington McClintock and Rooster Cogburn.  Author Scott Eyman offers up this 658-page biography of the Duke and it's a winner.  Eyman supplies a...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, biography

Cover: 'John Wayne: A Photographic Celebration'

"John Wayne: A Photographic Celebration" by Marc Mompoint

★★★★ John Wayne is, arguably, the most popular movie actor of all time. Marc Mompoint offers up a photo-tribute to 'The Duke' in this appealing 2012 Skyhorse Publishing release. The book features color and b&w candid snaps and production stills from Wayne's life and times. John Wayne fans will undoubtedly enjoy this latest tribute to the iconic movie star...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, celebrities, photography

Cover: '100 Places You Will Never Visit: The World's Most Secret Locations'

"100 Places You Will Never Visit: The World's Most Secret Locations" by Daniel Smith

★★★★★ This utterly fascinating travel guide describes and illustrates sites us normal people will NEVER be allowed to visit. If you do try and visit them, you will end up being warned off by gun-toting guards, carted off to jail or killed! The sites include super-secret military and intelligence bases/sites around the world such as Area 51 and Diego Garcia,...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, travel

Cover: 'D-Day: Remembering the Battle that Won the War'

"D-Day: Remembering the Battle that Won the War" by LIFE Magazine

★★★★ June 6, 2014 is the 70th anniversary of the Allied landings in Normandy, an epic battle that spelled the eventual downfall of Hitler's Third Reich. Many books have been published in honor of the anniversary, this LIFE release being one of the latest. LIFE D-DAY tops off at 144 pages and is a comprehensive D-Day overview that sets June 6 in historical...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, history

Cover: 'The Fight in the Clouds'

"The Fight in the Clouds" by James P. Busha

★★★★ The North American P-51 Mustang enabled America to defeat the Axis powers in World War II. James Busha's book FIGHT IN THE CLOUDS describes many of the exciting air battles waged by P-51 pilots in the European and Pacific Theaters. Reminiscences by air aces, who downed five or more enemy aircraft, are intermingled with accounts by 'regular Joe' P-51 pilots...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, history

Cover: 'Barbed Wire, Windmills and Sixguns'

"Barbed Wire, Windmills and Sixguns" by Donald K. Kirk

★★★★★ A whooper of a book at 720 pages, BARBED WIRE, WINDMILLS AND SIXGUNS is a marvelous and utterly fascinating trivia compendium on the Old West. Kirk's book is overflowing with dozens of lists, biographies, stories, chronologies and illustrations on cowboys, Indians, gunfighters and gunfights, lawmen, miners, towns, western words and phrases, six-shooters,...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, history

Cover: 'The Burning Shore'

"The Burning Shore" by Ed Offley

★★★★ In the first half of 1942, Nazi Germany sent U-boats to the shores of America to savage the merchantmen and tankers plying the coastal waterways. At this stage of war, America was ill-prepared to deal with such an incursion, having too few ships, two few airplanes and ineffective naval leadership. For many months, Germany's 'grey wolves' sank ship after...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, history

Cover: 'The $11 Billion Year'

"The $11 Billion Year" by Anne Thompson

★★★★★ In 2013, Hollywood had its best year ever, profits totaling 11 billion dollars! Hollywood expert Anne Thompson provides an insider look at how all that money was made, taking the reader through a year-long trip through film sets, movie studios, executive backrooms,  PR firms, film festivals, etc. as stars, producers and assorted talent wheel-and-deal....

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, celebrities

Cover: 'Beaches, 100 Ultimate Escapes'

"Beaches, 100 Ultimate Escapes" by Stefano Passaquindici, Sabrina Talarico

★★★★★ Armchair travelers will enjoy Sabrina Talarico's captivating, full-color guide to the most breath-taking beaches in the world. Each beach rates a one-page write-up with one or more color photographs. The beaches are divided into sections: 'Fun Beaches,' ' Protected Beaches,' 'Natural Paradises,' 'Sports Beaches' and so on. The result is a charming, gorgeous...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, photography, nature, travel

Cover: 'Child Labor in America'

"Child Labor in America" by Chaim M. Rosenberg

★★★★★ During much of America's history, children were employed as workers in factories, mines and sweatshops, on farms, etc. They worked punishing hours in horrendous conditions for scant pay. In part, America's great industrial growth in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries was built on the backs of child laborers, some as young as five years old. Rosenberg's...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, history

Cover: 'Villains, Scoundrels and Rogues'

"Villains, Scoundrels and Rogues" by Paul Martin

★★★★ Paul Martin's book introduces readers to 30 Americans of dubious character. Included in this line-up are killers, cannibals, gangsters, confidence men, traitors, spies, crooked cops, witch hunters, quack doctors, gold-diggers and the world's most inept bodyguard, John Parker; just ask President Lincoln! Martin's book is an entertaining and informative look...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

Cover: 'New York Jackie, Pictures from Her Life in the City'

"New York Jackie, Pictures from Her Life in the City" by Nan Talese, Bridget Watson Payne

★★★★ NEW YORK JACKIE is a photo-history of the years Jackie Kennedy lived and worked in the big Apple. Taken by a number of photographers, the pix capture her strolling down streets, biking, talking with friends, at work, walking with Caroline and John Jr., attending a Broadway musical, etc. The images date from the mid-1960s to the mid-1990s. Whatever the...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, photography, celebrities, history

Cover: 'Union Infantryman vs Confederate Infantryman, Eastern Theater 1861-65'

"Union Infantryman vs Confederate Infantryman, Eastern Theater 1861-65" by Ron Field

★★★★★ Civil War buffs will enjoy this well-illustrated guide to the soldiers - Billy Yank and Johnny Reb - who waged war from 1861 to 1865. The book describes the weapons, equipment and training each received and then relates how they fared in three separate battles. The text is interesting and informative. Then too the 80-page book features many full-color maps...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, history

Cover: 'Paul'

"Paul" by Tony Scherman

★★★★ In the 50th Anniversary year of the Beatles' conquest of America, LIFE Magazine offers up this breezy photo-guide to the life and times of the most famous member of the Fab Four, Sir James Paul McCartney, MBE. It traces Macca's life, the beginnings of the Beatles, their subsequent fame & fortune and McCartney's post-Beatle career. The book is...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, music, history, biography

Cover: 'The Great War'

"The Great War" by Mark Holborn, Hilary Roberts

★★★★★ 1914 marks the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I. 'The War to End All Wars" was like no conflict before, embracing many nations worldwide and resulting in horrifying casualties. THE GREAT WAR, A PHOTOGRAPHIC NARRATIVE commemorates that epic struggle, offering up almost 400 photographs depicting all aspects of the war. The pix depict a myriad of...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, history

Cover: 'Royal Britain'

"Royal Britain" by Jane Struthers

★★★★★ Jane Struthers' impressive book depicts and describes over 30 historic palaces, castles and other royal residences in England, Scotland and Wales. Gorgeous, full-color photographs accompanied by descriptive write-ups reveal Buckingham Palace, Westminster, Balmoral, the Tower of London, Edinburgh Castle and other 'royal digs' in all their glory. It's a...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, history

Cover: 'Too Cute Puppies'

"Too Cute Puppies" by Animal Planet

★★★★ Viewers of the Animal Planet TOO CUTE television show will welcome this charming collection of adorable puppy pix. Among the breeds found in the book are Labs, Shih Tzus, Terriers, Collies, Dalmatians, Spaniels and Pugs doing what puppies do best - playing, sleeping, eating and being generally adorable. Even cat lovers will enjoy this slight but pleasing...

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, animals, pets