Old guy here reads more history than anything else, and likes to share the best. That, of late, would include “Ghosts of Honolulu: A Japanese Spy, a Japanese American Spy Hunter, and the untold story of Pearl Harbor” by Mark Harmon and Leon Carroll, Jr.
The book centers on Douglas Wada, the Office of Naval Intelligence’s only Japanese-American investigator assigned to Pearl Harbor in the run-up to December 7, 1941. Like so many other books on the Pearl Harbor attack, it leaves you maddeningly frustrated at what was known beforehand yet protective action was not taken.
An aside for gun people: Wada was a distinguished, retired Navy Commander when, in 1980, he was attacked by burglars and stabbed multiple times. Fortunately, he survived. His career would have included qualifying with a handgun, but Hawaiian law didn’t allow him to carry one, and he was unarmed and helpless to stop the attack. He passed away in 2007.
“The Last Outlaws: the Desperate Final Days of the Dalton Gang” by Tom Clavin is a fascinating read for those interested in the legends of the Old West. More than any other figure, Clavin focuses on Bill Doolin. Doolin was a skilled gunman, a cop-killer, and an escape artist. His primary turf was Oklahoma, and he was hunted by a trio of famous lawmen who would be called “supercops” today who became known as The Three Guardsmen of Oklahoma. He interacted with all three at some point. In the course of a horseback pursuit Chris Madsen shot and permanently crippled Doolin, but the fugitive escaped. Sometime later, Bill Tilghman hunted him down and captured him in a dramatic one-on-one arrest…and not long thereafter, Doolin escaped custody again. Finally cornered by a posse and ordered to surrender, Doolin replied with gunfire, and was shot and killed; it is generally believed that Heck Thomas fired the 8-gauge shotgun blast that brought Doolin to justice. The outlaw should have been proud: it would have been the equivalent of a Dillinger contemporary getting wounded by Eliot Ness, arrested by Melvin Purvis, and finally killed by Frank Hamer.
In a more humorous vein, I offer something from a genre that might be called “kids’ books for adults.” The first of these I ran into was a collection of bedtime stories titled “Go the f*** to Sleep!” that was so hilarious I bought a copy for each of my own kids, who were parents themselves by then. Most recently, the Evil Princess bought a copy of “Hookers and Blow Save Christmas” by Munty Pepin. Now, in the tradition of “Thomas the Train,” “Hookers” is a tow truck, “Blow” is a snow plow, and they rescue a snowbound delivery truck to bring children’s Christmas presents to the village in time for Christmas Eve. I think the double entendres will be subtle enough to go over the heads of little ones, but just to be safe, I’ll recommend it only for adults whose sense of humor is tolerant of ribaldry, simply because I thought it was funny as hell.