While the book suffers from the fact that the Secret Service is understandably reluctant to reveal any explosives that have...




The latest treat for dog lovers by Goodavage (Top Dog: The Story of Marine Hero Lucca, 2014, etc.) takes readers into the world of the canines and handlers who protect the president and the White House.

The Secret Service is notoriously closed to journalists, which means that the author was prohibited from revealing much of the information she gathered in her interviews and restricted to giving first names and initials for most of her interviewees. While hardly a hard-hitting investigation of the role of canines in the sometimes controversial agency, her account will satisfy those curious about the lives of working dogs and their people. Goodavage covers a number of such comradeships, weaving them into the story of spunky Hurricane, who under the instructions of handler Marshall M. took down a “fence jumper” at the White House in 2014. Intriguing chapters explore the selection of dogs from a training facility in a small town in Indiana, where the Belgian Malinois, who make up the larger part of the guard, and bomb-sniffing dogs are brought after being raised for a couple of years in Europe, and the work life of the so-called “Friendly Dogs,” unassuming, floppy-eared canines whose handlers cover the streets near the White House seeking out the scent of explosives on individuals. The author has a tendency to go off on tangents, seemingly depending on people with whom she had more extensive interviews: one chapter, for example, delves into the life history of a handler who spent his childhood in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, and another examines the veterinary history of a dog subject to heat sickness.

While the book suffers from the fact that the Secret Service is understandably reluctant to reveal any explosives that have been discovered or subjects disarmed under the watch of its canine patrollers, Goodavage’s subjects and their companions are quirky and dedicated enough to engage readers wondering about those dogs on the White House lawn.

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-98473-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2016

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Bibliophiles will love this fact-filled, bookish journey.


An engaging, casual history of librarians and libraries and a famous one that burned down.

In her latest, New Yorker staff writer Orlean (Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend, 2011, etc.) seeks to “tell about a place I love that doesn’t belong to me but feels like it is mine.” It’s the story of the Los Angeles Public Library, poet Charles Bukowski’s “wondrous place,” and what happened to it on April 29, 1986: It burned down. The fire raged “for more than seven hours and reached temperatures of 2000 degrees…more than one million books were burned or damaged.” Though nobody was killed, 22 people were injured, and it took more than 3 million gallons of water to put it out. One of the firefighters on the scene said, “We thought we were looking at the bowels of hell….It was surreal.” Besides telling the story of the historic library and its destruction, the author recounts the intense arson investigation and provides an in-depth biography of the troubled young man who was arrested for starting it, actor Harry Peak. Orlean reminds us that library fires have been around since the Library of Alexandria; during World War II, “the Nazis alone destroyed an estimated hundred million books.” She continues, “destroying a culture’s books is sentencing it to something worse than death: It is sentencing it to seem as if it never happened.” The author also examines the library’s important role in the city since 1872 and the construction of the historic Goodhue Building in 1926. Orlean visited the current library and talked to many of the librarians, learning about their jobs and responsibilities, how libraries were a “solace in the Depression,” and the ongoing problems librarians face dealing with the homeless. The author speculates about Peak’s guilt but remains “confounded.” Maybe it was just an accident after all.

Bibliophiles will love this fact-filled, bookish journey.

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4767-4018-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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