Thursday, December 10, 2015

Infamy by Richard Reeves

Posted by Rebecca Brendel


Reviewed by: Jim Patrick

What I Read: Infamy: The Shocking Story of the Japanese American Internment in World War II by Richard Reeves

Find It @YCLD: Here!

What It's About: Richard Reeves recounts the post-Pearl Harbor reaction of the U.S. government toward the thousands of Japanese Americans living on the west coast as the U.S. entered World War II.  President Franklin Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066 of February 19, 1942 led to the “relocation” of nearly 120,000 Japanese Americans, first into Assembly Centers—most of which were originally livestock stables at fairgrounds sites—and later into ten  Relocation Camps, including two in Arizona.  At under 300 pages, Reeves’ book is more an anecdotal account of the Japanese relocation story than an in-depth analysis, and the book’s title leaves no doubt about the author’s personal feelings about this controversial World War II program.  In providing the overall details of the internment program, Reeves is most critical of President Roosevelt, California attorney general Earl Warren, and program administrator General John DeWitt.  He describes the anti-Japanese fear and hysteria that gripped the west coast, and how these men and others exploited that climate, while others courageously spoke out against internment and the prevailing racism toward the overwhelmingly loyal Japanese Americans.  Reeves uses personal and family stories to show the heavy emotional, social, and economic burdens borne by the internees.  He also includes accounts of military heroism by enlisted Japanese American soldiers—many of whom were recruited from the camps beginning in 1944.


What I Thought: Richard Reeves states in his introduction that he was prompted to write his latest book by the current anti-immigration sentiments aimed at Hispanics and Muslims.  He obviously sees a parallel—and a cautionary tale—in the case of Japanese Americans seventy years ago.  Whatever one’s political views, Reeves' book is likely to cause the reader to take a longer view of the consequences of taking government actions which target specific ethnic or religious groups.  I was somewhat familiar with the Japanese American internment saga, but the personal examples in Infamy made this painful chapter of our history seem much more real and tragic.


Readalikes: Inside an American Concentration Camp: Japanese American Resistance at Poston, Arizona by Richard Nishimoto

Or look this book up on NoveList!

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Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Girl in the Spider's Web by David Lagercrantz

Posted by Rebecca Brendel


Reviewed by: Andrew Zollman

What I Read: The Girl in the Spider's Web by David Lagercrantz

Find It @YCLD: Here!

What It's About: This is the first book in a new continuation of Stieg Larsson's original Millennium series. It is an adrenaline-charged thriller, playing homage to genius-hacker Lisbeth Salander and journalist Mikael Blomkvist as they face an all-new dangerous threat and must once again join forces.

Late one night, Blomkvist receives a phone call from a trusted source claiming to have information vital to the United States. The source has been in contact with a young female super hacker—a hacker resembling someone Blomkvist knows all too well. The implications are staggering and build to a climax as events unfold. Blomkvist, in desperate need of a scoop for Millennium, and turns to Lisbeth for help. She, as usual, has her own agenda.


What I Thought: This is not Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The story was written well and it flowed from the start to finish; however, you need to have a good understanding of current technology and social events to follow the story. Much of the information presented is not explained to the reader or even expanded on as it moves.

As I said, this was a good read but it differs on many points from the original series. Because it is a continuation, there is no new worldbuilding or change in setting. You do get introduced to a few new buildings but only as scenery as events unfold. The introduction to the story's new characters was to me the only shining point of the story. August is an interesting character and is designed to connect many points in the story. The bad guys do somewhat the same, connecting many characters to charge this thriller.

Personally, if you would like a good story, I would add this to the list. But I will say it again, this is not Stieg Larsson’s work and does not read the same. It is neither as dark nor vivid as the original, but has its own strong points. If you are getting started with thrillers or like Scandinavian mystery-thrillers give Jussi Adler-Olsen or Jo Nesbo a try. Both authors write dark and disturbing intricate stories like the original series, and mysteries with compelling detectives.

Readalikes: Read and support the original author of the series: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Or look this book up on NoveList!

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