Category Archives: Non-Fiction

Erik Larson’s Thunderstruck

Erik Larson truly is a master storyteller, I was completely captivated by Devil in the White City which I listened to on audiobook and if I had any complaint with it, it would be that Devil couldn’t last the entire 20 hour drive to Maine. With that in mind I finally picked up another one of his other books Thunderstruck.

Thunderstruck is an amazing book that intertwines what seems like two very distinct stories that tie together so perfectly with each one greatly enriching the other. I rarely encounter a nonfiction that truly sucks me and replaces the rest of the world. I only had to put the book down once to walk my dogs, other than that today has just been me and Thunderstruck.

One focus is Dr. Crippen and his wife. They bring us into the sultry world of phony medicine, real poisons and amateur dramatics. Over the years I have heard quite a few references to the Crippen case and never knew the particulars, I don’t want to spoil anything if you don’t know the case yourself. I will say that it involves the birth of forensic sciences and a veteran investigator from the Ripper investigations.

Larson also follows Guglielmo Marconi and his quest to bring about wireless communication. Marconi is a man with next to no formal education but does have strong ties to the Jameson whiskey empire, which is apparently all you need to outfox the leading scientists of the Victorian age.

Ultimately I’ve concluded that I can’t wait to get my hands on Larson’s newest book In the Garden of Beasts. Hopefully I won’t have to wait too long, I know there is a copy under the tree for my fiance and she is a quicker reader than I.
I also need to learn how to walk two dogs while continuing to read.

by Erik Larson


Posted by on December 24, 2011 in Non-Fiction


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Operation Mincement a review

The last book I reviewed was Winston’s War, a delightful novel of political corruption prior to WWII, once I finished the book I couldn’t wait to get my teeth into a historical account of the war. This lead me to Operation Mincement.

This book tells the story of a brilliant plan devised by British Intelligence to fool the Nazi war machine. I can safely tell you that the plan centers around a dead vagrant in commandeered military uniform carrying fake military plans and a few fraudulent love notes. This body is set in the ocean where the tides will bring the corpse to occupied enemy shores, and point the Nazis in the wrong direction.

The plan may seem a little far-fetched and perhaps it is, after all Operation Mincement was originally the brain child of one Ian Fleming an officer in Navy Intelligence but whose fame comes from authoring the James Bond Novels. I would say more, but I wouldn’t want to spoil how such a genius plot can come together and then miraculously stay together.

This is a fabulous tale the true and outrageous implementation of proper spycraft, and how a deadman easily makes the best of double agents.

Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory        by Ben Macintyre
published by Broadway

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Posted by on December 21, 2011 in Non-Fiction


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