Jim's Pseudo-Intellectual Book Club Vol. VXXII plus previous recommendations

Jim's Pseudo-Intellectual Book Club Vol. VXXII plus previous recommendations



One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. At least that’s what this pseudo-intellectual learned anew while scouring the shelves of a used bookstore.
The search turned up “Nuremburg: Infamy on Trial,” which was written in 1994 by historian Joseph Persico. It’s a fascinating, page-turning account of the Nuremberg war crime trials of top Nazi leaders.
For those who are unaware of what transpired when the Allies turned from killing to trying Nazi leaders for war crimes, or curious to know more about it, this book is a tour de force that comes with the highest recommendation from this intellectual poseur.
When World War II finally reached its bitter end, the Allied powers — the United States, Great Britain and the Soviet Union — were faced with a dilemma: what to do with the leaders of the Nazi war machine.
British leader Winston Churchill wanted to shoot them and be done with it. Soviet leader Josef Stalin wanted to give them a semblance of a trial in the morning and execute them in the afternoon.
President Roosevelt, followed by President Truman after FDR’s death, wanted something more sophisticated that would make an impression on a worldwide audience. They proposed a real trial with judges hearing evidence presented by prosecutors and defense lawyers to determine who was guilty and what their punishments should be.
The U.S. carried the day, and the major precedent for war crimes trials was set, although there was some legal guidance established in the aftermath of the Civil War.
The incongruity of the idea of a war crimes trial is obvious — the winners of a horrendous war were judging the losers of a horrendous war.
So wasn’t it a trial whose results were foreordained? If so, was it really a fair trial?
That’s what the critics asked, and they had a point. That was particularly true when the Allies established rules barring two important defenses:
— The accused could not argue that they were following the orders of superiors, even though most were.
— The accused could not argue that their alleged crimes were, in many cases, no different than what the Allies had done to their side.
There are no clean hands in war. Nonetheless, the Nazis under Adolf Hitler engaged in the mass killings of civilians, particularly during their invasion of the Soviet Union, that set a new record for barbarism. And that’s not even including Hitler’s monstrous campaign to murder all the Jews in Europe.
So while this trial may not have been a model of judicial fairness, most of the accused were involved up to their necks in the persecution of the Jews and scorched-earth military tactics.
The star villain was top Hitler commander, Herman Goerring, a man of considerable intelligence and charm who made no apologies for the Nazi war machine. Willing to be shot like a soldier, he committed suicide by cyanide pill rather than be hung after being found guilty.
This book is far more than a history of a great event. It’s also a sociological study of how all the people who played a role — whether it was working or playing — interacted in this drama.
Among the most interesting was the running feud between prosecutor Robert Jackson, a U.S. Supreme Court justice on leave from the high court, with former U.S. Attorney General Francis Biddle, one of the judges.
That vignette represents one of dozens of personality plays that dominate this story.
The good guys and the bad guys at Nuremberg all came from somewhere. Persico’s brilliant book describes not only what happened but who, how and why.
\ere are previous recommendations from Jim’s Pseudo-Intellectual Book Club.
[-] “Ghost Soldiers: The Forgotten Epic Story of World War II’s Most Dramatic Mission” by Hampton Sides.
[-] “The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt” by Edmund Morris.
[-] “A Night to Remember” by Walter Lord.
[-] “April 1865: The Month That Saved America” by Jay Winik.
[-] “Seabiscuit: An American Legend” by Laura Hillenbrand.
[-] “Lindbergh” by A. Scott Berg.
[-] “The Kennedy Men: 1901-1963” by Laurence Leamer.
[-] “The Brother: The Untold Story of the Rosenberg Case” by Sam Roberts.
[-] “Sandy Koufax: A Lefty’s Legacy” by Jane Leavy.
[-] “Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions” by Ben Mezrich.
[-] “Harry & Ike: The Partnership That Remade the Post-War World” by Steve Neal.
[-] “Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game” by Michael Lewis.
[-] “Into Africa: The Epic Adventures of Stanley & Livingstone” by Martin Dugard.
[-] “In Harm’s Way: The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors” by Doug Stanton.
[-] “Public Enemies: America’s Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-34.” by Bryan Burrough.
[-] “Flags of our Fathers,” by James Bradley.
[-] “Cary Grant: A Biography” by Marc Elliot.
[-] “Three Nights in August: Strategy, Heartbreak and Joy Inside the Mind of a Manager” by Buzz Bissinger.
[-] “Boss Tweed: The Rise and Fall of the Corrupt Pol Who Conceived the Soul of Modern New York” by Kenneth Ackerman.
[-] “They Marched Into Sunlight: War and Peace, Vietnam and America, October 1967” by David Maraniss.
[-] “Flashman” (a novel) by George MacDonald Fraser.
[-] “Beyond Glory: Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling and A World on the Brink” by David Margolick.
[-] “Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx is Burning: 1977, Baseball, Politics and the Battle for the Soul of a City” by Jonathan Mahler.
[-] “Five Families: the Rise, Decline, and Resurgence of America’s Most Powerful Mafia Empires” by Selwyn Raab.
[-] “The Rivalry: Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain and the Golden Age of Basketball.” by John Taylor.
[-] “American Brutus: John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln Conspiracies” by Michael Kauffman.
[[-] “The Looming Tower: al-Qaida and the Road to 9/11” by Lawrence Wright.
[- ) “A Well-Paid Slave: Curt Flood’s Fight for Free Agency in Professional Sports” by Brad Snyder.
[-] “The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game” by Michael Lewis.
[-] “The Education of a Coach” by David Halberstam.
[-] “Arc of Justice: A Sage of Race, Civil Rights and Murder in the Jazz Age” by Kevin Boyle
[-] “The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived The Great American Dust Bowl” by Timothy Egan.
[-] “The Wrong Man: The Final Verdict on the Dr. Sam Sheppard Murder Case” by James Neff.
[-] “The Survivor: Bill Clinton in the White House” by John Harris.
[–] “FDR” by Jean Edward Smith
(-) “The Unlikely Spy” (a novel) by Daniel Silva.
(-) “Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love and Betrayal” by Ben Macintyre
(-) “The Interpretation of Murder” (a novel) by Jed Rubenfeld
(-) “The Teapot Dome Scandal: How Big Oil Bought the Harding White House and Tried to Steal the Country” by Laton McCartney.
(-) “The Last Great Fight: The Extraordinary Tale of Two Men and How One Fight Changes Their Lives Forever”
by Joe Layden.
(-) “The Best Game Ever: Giants vs. Colts, 1958 and the Birth of the Modern NFL” by Mark Bowden.
(-) “Making Jack Falcone: An Undercover FBI Agent Takes Down a Mafia Family” by Joaquin “Jack” Garcia.
(-) “Into the Wild” by Jon Krakauer
(-)  “Hunting Eichmann: How a Band of Survivors and a Young Spy Agency Chased Down the World’s Most Notorious Nazi” by Neal Bascomb
(—) “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln” by Doris Goodwin.
(—) “His Excellency: George Washington” by Joseph Ellis.
(—) “Clemente” by David Maraniss
(—) “An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy 1917-1963” by Robert Dallek
(-) “Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination” by Neal Gabler.
(-) “Tears in the Darkness” by Michael and Elizabeth Norman
(—) “The Scarecrow” by Michael Connelly (mystery novel).
(-) “Four Days in November” by Vincent Bugliosi
(—) “Legend: The Secret World of Lee Harvey Oswald.” by Edward Jay Epstein
(—) “America’s Game: The Epic Story of How Pro Football Captured a Nation” by Michael  MacCambridge
(-) “Billy Boyle” (fiction) by James Benn
(-) “The Ghost War” (fiction) by Alex Berenson
(-) “Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President” by Candice Millard
(—) “Cobb” (a biography of baseball great Ty Cobb) by Al Stump.
(-) “The Boys in the Boat, Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics” by Dan Brown.
(—) “Last Stand at Khe Sanh: The U.S. Marines Finest Hour in Vietnam” by Gregg Jones.
(–) “A Cruel and Shocking Act: The Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination” by Philip Shenon.
(-) “The Intimidation Game: How the Left Is Silencing Free Speech” by Kimberly Strassel.
(-) The Black Widow (Gabriel Allon novel) by Daniel Silva.
(-) (1944: FDR and the Year That Changed History” by Jay Winik
(—) The Perfect Pass: American Genius and the Reinvention of Football   by S.C. Gwynne.
— “Leo Durocher: Baseball’s Prodigal Son” by Paul Dickson.
— “The Aviators: Eddie Rickenbacker, Jimmy Doolittle, Charles Lindbergh, and the Epic Age of Flight”
by Winston Groom.
—  “The Last Innocents: The Collision of the Turbulent Sixties and the Los Angeles Dodgers” by Michael Leahy
(-) Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews (a spy novel)
(—) The Cubs Way: The Zen of Building the Best Team in Baseball and Breaking the Curse by Tom Verducci
 

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