A compelling narrative full of World War II fireworks.

INTO ENEMY WATERS

A WORLD WAR II STORY OF THE DEMOLITION DIVERS WHO BECAME THE NAVY SEALS

A rare surviving World War II frogman tells his story.

Journalist Dubbins presents a text based on his interviews with George Morgan (b. 1927). During the war, his unit suffered more than 50% casualties clearing obstacles before the 1944 landing at Omaha Beach. Morgan belonged to the newly formed Underwater Demolition Team, led by the book’s other principal, Draper Kauffman. Son of an admiral and fiercely adventurous, Kauffman was denied a Navy commission due to poor vision. In 1940, he traveled to France as an ambulance driver during the German invasion. He was captured and released, whereupon he joined the Royal Navy and volunteered for its bomb disposal teams. A month before Pearl Harbor, he returned to Washington, D.C., to “launch the US Navy’s first-ever Bomb Disposal School.” In 1943, the Navy knew that Germany was constructing obstacles along the coastline. Searching for an explosives expert, Navy officials settled on Kauffman, ordering him to form an elite unit that would reconnoiter enemy beaches and demolish obstacles. Readers will enjoy the author’s descriptions of the fast-paced action that followed, as Kauffman, Morgan, and the rest of the team commandeered facilities, recruited men, and designed a brutal program featuring exhaustive conditioning and extensive training in weapons, explosives, and teamwork. That training regime was an important predecessor to what the SEALs would develop 20 years later. Dubbins fills the book with energetic accounts of the unit’s operations, including the earliest, Normandy, which was very much a learning experience. The unit found greater success in later operations in the Pacific theater, where the Japanese built few obstacles. Approaching in rubber boats and often under fire, Morgan and his comrades searched for mines, measured water depths, checked beach defenses, and labeled clear paths for landing boats to follow through reefs and shallows. As a result, America’s island landings became so efficient that the Japanese stopped defending beaches, preferring to retire inland to dig in and fight.

A compelling narrative full of World War II fireworks.

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-63576-772-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Diversion Books

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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A fond remembrance of a glamorous, bygone era.

MY TRAVELS WITH MRS. KENNEDY

A follow-up to the bestselling Mrs. Kennedy and Me.

Teaming up again with his co-author (now wife) on previous books, Hill, a distinguished former Secret Service agent, remembers his days traveling the world as Jacqueline Kennedy’s trusted bodyguard. After John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, Hill received a medal for valor in protecting the president and his wife, Jackie, from Lee Harvey Oswald’s bullets. Later, the medal vanished along with photos of the author's travels with Mrs. Kennedy as a Secret Service bodyguard. Hill recounts how his search for an old award he never wanted yielded an even greater treasure: forgotten images of his globe-trotting adventures with the first lady. The photographs—some in color, some in black and white—immediately transported the bewitched author back to the glittering heyday of Camelot. Images of Jackie in Paris brought memories of the president’s first major state excursion to France, in 1961, where the otherwise very private first lady was “the center of all attention.” Numerous other diplomatic trips followed—to England, Greece, India, Pakistan, and across South America. Everything Jackie did, from visiting ruined temples to having lunch with Queen Elizabeth, was headline news. Hill dutifully protected her from gawkers and paparazzi not only on public occasions, but also more private ones such as family retreats to the Amalfi Coast and the Kennedys’ country home in Middleburg, Virginia. In three short years, the never-romantic bond between the two deepened to a place “beyond friendship” in which “we could communicate with each other with a look or a nod….She knew that I would do whatever she asked—whether it was part of my job as a Secret Service agent or not.” Replete with unseen private photos and anecdotes of a singular relationship, the book will appeal mostly to American historians but also anyone interested in the private world inhabited by one of the most beguiling but enigmatic first ladies in American history.

A fond remembrance of a glamorous, bygone era.

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-982181-11-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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