On the Nightstand

Like most authors, Jack loves books.

After appreciating the many reviews that ran for his first release, French Letters: Virginia’s War, Jack decided to pay it forward and keep his readers informed of the best new military and historical books hitting the market.

Jack gives priority consideration to books that address military and historical topics and if you want to submit a book for review, please contact us.

On the Nightstand: Summer 2017, and the living is easy.

Nothing says summer like a fish camp on the river, or an American flag on the 4th of July, or curling up with a good book. Welcome to On the Nightstand, where I mention a few of the books on … Continue reading

 
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Spring Bookstand Cleaning

It’s Spring again. My roses are growing up into the oak branches and the irises have blossomed for the season.  Our lawn is (temporarily) green and … the sounds of hammers and saws and boomboxes pound in my ears, the … Continue reading

 
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A Year for Travel……

December, 2016: 2016 was a year of travel. It took me to Maine and Colorado and Montana but most of my best travels were on my nightstand. If this is your first On the Nightstand, I review and rate my reads on … Continue reading

 
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On the Nightstand: A Verdugo Winter

The word verdugo is, of course, from the Spanish office of torturer for the Inquisition. That group’s work was much admired in England by the Tudors (Henry VIII, Queen Mary, Elizabeth…), who set about to stretch the limits of the … Continue reading

 
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On the Nightstand: Autumn (book) leaves….

              Autumn.  It’s a wonderful autumn, with cooler days (from the hundreds down to the nineties), changing leaves (brown, from lack of water), and wildly confused garden flowers that are uncertain whether to bloom or die, so do a bit of … Continue reading

 
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Hammock Days

Hammock days.   The roses of spring have become the scorched blossoms of July.  The view from my writing desk captures little heat waves shimmering across the lawn where deer are so languid that they sleep in broad daylight, not fifty … Continue reading

 
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On the Nightstand: This Might be a Good Story…

  It’s spring.  Roses are blooming, the irises and Copper Canyon daisies are filling out and sending musky little scents through the study window.  Junebug is crawling around the garden stalking some pitiful creature.   My nightstand runneth over.   In … Continue reading

 
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On the Nightstand: Of Winter Days and Longer Nights

  The New Year has arrived with all its baggage.  Chill winds.  Clouds low on the horizon. Garden flowers pleading to be pruned.   Junebug demanding to be let out, then back in, then back out.  But winter is not all grim … Continue reading

 
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On the Nightstand: The Autumn Equinox….

It is the autumnal equinox, midway between high summer and dark winter, the longest and shortest days or our calendar. Entonces? Well, it means that during a long summer I have moved a bunch of books on and off my … Continue reading

 
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On the Nightstand: Life’s a Beach (Read)

It is June.  The days are long, the sun is high, and my nightstand is groaning.   What on earth should get out from under the bed lamp and head for the beach?   Books, of course, and you.  As for the … Continue reading

 
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On the Nightstand: A Cold Wind do Blow…

It has been a cold bitter winter, to say the least.   Except in the polar north, where glaciers are melting and icebergs are falling into the Atlantic at a record pace, the rest of North America is cold cold cold. … Continue reading

 
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On the Nightstand: December, short days and long nights with a good book….

Where has the year gone?   It’s December already and here we are rushing about looking for something to read.      Well, here’s another On the Nightstand for suggestions.     I have read some superb books this year and, this last episode for … Continue reading

 
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On the Nightstand: Rivets, and a few Winks….

  Ah, October, and the smell of burned pumpkins and crunchy leaves is in the air, a time when the sun comes up late and goes down early and the government is shut down because the 2012 Presidential Election didn’t count, … Continue reading

 
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On the Nightstand — End ‘o Summer Reads

Well, Summertime, and the Livin’ is Easy But, Daddy’s not so rich.  Momma’s not good lookin’ (she passed away in 2003), and if I’m cryin’ Pretty Baby it’s because the nightstand is groaning from too many books.  And, to be perfectly … Continue reading

 
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On the Nightstand — An Embarrassment of Riches

Before you accuse me of being lazy let me say that from the last installment to this has been a literary feast of 78 % dark chocolate. On the personal side, I was honored to be on a panel with Alana White, … Continue reading

 
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On the Nightstand: Of halogen bulbs and candles burnt both ends down….

Welcome back to On the Nightstand.   Instead of proverbial May flowers brought on by April showers, this month has been ‘April deeds gave time for May reads,’ and I have had some time to dig into the book stack. … Continue reading

 
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On the Nightstand

Sometimes I wake in the middle of the night, covered in a cold sweat, fearful that you have not read a single book since my last installment of On the Nightstand, a clever, thoughtful, highly-regarded source of opinion in the … Continue reading

 
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On the Nightstand

Good Morning! I slept in a bit, for the first time in months. If you’ve missed On the Nightstand, I apologize. Sometimes work gets in the way of the leisure class, and that’s my story. A coconut always falls somewhere … Continue reading

 
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Windshift, by Joyce Faulkner

Windshift by Joyce Faulkner, Red Engine Press, 2012, $17.95, is a rare look into a hidden window, the women who flew for the Army Air Force during World War II. For three years, WASPS competed with African-Americans, Japanese-Americans, and conscientious objectors for … Continue reading

 
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On the Nightstand…

When last we looked, I had finished Homage to Catalonia and was sorting my way through Lawrence and the Arabs. My bedside lamp was being propped up by The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet. Let’s see how they turned … Continue reading

 
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Bloom,

In yet another twist to my highly acclaimed series of book reviews, I give you not a book but Bloom, a funny, one-act, two character play. And, in a slight variation of the accepted practice of reviewers not actually reading … Continue reading

 
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On the Nightstand…

Let’s do something new. Instead of more exhuastive book reviews, let’s post what’s on the nightstand. These are the books I am reading, just finished, or am about to read. And, since books are shared surprises, let us know what … Continue reading

 
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Best Fiction — Gallows Humor

My objective criteria for this category is that the humor must be such that on first reading I began to laugh while enjoying a rising sense of someone’s imminent demise. For example, one that should be on the list but … Continue reading

 
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Porcelain on Steel: Women of West Point’s Long Gray Line

Porcelain on Steel, (2010), Fortis Publishing, $17.95, by Donna McAleer, is a provocative reminder that social evolution is rarely the product of intelligent design. This fine book is a pointillist image of change that is hard won but, seen in retrospect, long … Continue reading

 
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Walking a mile in someone else’s shoes — two memoirs of great courage

‘Code Name Christiane Clouet’ is a memoir, written by Claire Chevrillon, a school teacher whose family fell afoul of the Germans in occupied Paris. Translated to English by Jane Kielty Stott and published by Texas A&M Press, this is the … Continue reading

 
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Old Filth, (2004), and The Man in the Wooden Hat, (2009), by Jane Gardem

If I am limited to recommend only one book, I urge you to read these two books. Jane Gardem writes prose that begins gently, invitingly, leading you to the next page and the next, never permitting you to notice that … Continue reading

 
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Unbroken (2010)

Unbroken (2010), Random House, $27.00, by Laura Hillenbrand is a magnificent account of an ordinary boy who became an extraordinary hero, a history and biography of an American in World War II and, by implication, of the American home front and of … Continue reading

 
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Fortress Rabaul, (2008)

Fortress Rabaul, (2008) by Bruce Gamble,  is a riveting history of two years of unrelenting conflict in the South Pacific triangle of New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and New Britain Island, on which the port, village, and Japanese military base of … Continue reading

 
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The American Future: A History, (2008)

The American Future:  A History, (2008) by Simon Schama, is not so much a history as a magnifying glass put to episodes in our history rather that lead to the question ‘Who, exactly, are we?’ In what must have been a … Continue reading

 
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Inchon and a visit with Don Farinacci

People who write have good book lists…. My friend and fellow author Donald Farinacci wrote a fine non-fiction book, ‘Truman and MacArthur: Adversaries for a Common Cause,’ published this year by Merriam Press.   Today, September 10, is the eve of the … Continue reading

 
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War, (2010)

War, (2010) by Mr. Sebastian Junger, (http://www.sebastianjunger.com/) is a well-written and provocative book, the product of Mr. Junger’s having been embedded with an Army infantry company in a remote front line outpost in Afghanistan in 2007 and 2008. The title … Continue reading

 
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Truman and MacArthur, Adversaries for a Common Cause

Truman and MacArthur, Adversaries for a Common Cause, by Mr. Donald J. Farinacci, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Scrivener-Literary-Productions-Books-by-Donald-J-Farinacci/346933663716 is an elegant political biography of two men who unwittingly reinforced a principal of the American fabric by engaging in a confrontation that ended both their … Continue reading

 
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New Dawn: The Battles for Fallujah (2010)

New Dawn: The Battles for Fallujah (2010), by Mr. Richard Lowry, (http://richardslowry.com/) painstakingly details the 2004 battles that ravaged Fallujah, Iraq. Fallujah was, before 2003, a city of some 425,000 inhabitants, physically located on the Euphrates River in Anbar Province about 30 miles … Continue reading

 
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