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Great Reads As Winter Nears

October 31, 2020

I have found a tonic for the soul in a raft of good books over the past months as the absurdity from Washington has grown, and the pandemic has only increased. As the fall days grow colder and darkness comes earlier in the late afternoons I offer some books that you might consider. I truly was absorbed in the following books.

Lincoln’s Last Trial takes a reader through a chapter of Abe’s life that has not before been revealed as Dan Abrams and David Fisher so ably do in this volume. An aspect of the book that is refreshing and insightful is court stenographer, Robert Roberts Hitt, who using a gold-nibbed ink pen, transcribed verbatim the trial proceedings. His type of work is illuminated for 21st-century readers.

At the end of the summer of 1859, twenty-two-year-old Peachy Quinn Harrison went on trial for murder in Springfield, Illinois. Lincoln, who had been involved in more than three thousand cases—including more than twenty-five murder trials—during his two-decades-long career, was hired to defend him. This was to be his last great case as a lawyer.

Harper Lee is one of those classic examples of a ‘one-hit writer’. Casey Cep allows further insight into the too-often sad inner world of this gifted person. In addition, to the deeper biography of Lee than most have read before, is a riveting real-life murder mystery set in the world of Lee’s childhood area of Alabama.

Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and The Last Trial of Harper Lee opens with that Southern style of lazy down-home writing and just enough wit and charm to pull you into the narrative. The murder wraps around and envelops Lee.

Reverend Willie Maxwell was a rural preacher accused of murdering five of his family members. But he continued to escape justice until he is assassinated—at a funeral of a person he is believed to have helped kill. Lee will spend months in an attempt to write a ‘Truman Capote type novel’ of this entire episode. The book will never be completed. But Esp does write about the ending of the friendship of Lee and Capote—they were childhood friends.

It is an exceptional book!

For fast, well-plotted, and smart writing David Ignatius takes readers on a CIA-pumped journey in The Paladin. Timely, relevant as well as darn fun to read!

CIA operations officer Michael Dunne is tasked with infiltrating an Italian news organization that smells like a front for an enemy intelligence service. Headed by an American journalist, the self-styled bandits run a cyber operation unlike anything the CIA has seen before. Fast, slick, and indiscriminate, the group steals secrets from everywhere and anyone, and exploits them in ways the CIA can neither understand nor stop.

Dunne knows it’s illegal to run a covert op on an American citizen or journalist, but he has never refused an assignment and his boss has assured his protection. Soon after Dunne infiltrates the organization, however, his cover disintegrates. When news of the operation breaks and someone leaks that Dunne had an extramarital affair while on the job, the CIA leaves him to take the fall. Now a year later, fresh out of jail, Dunne sets out to hunt down and take vengeance on the people who destroyed his life.

So many books to enjoy and with winter soon to knock on our doors there is more reason than ever to escape between the pages of your favorite authors.

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