This list of specially selected books are my personal recommendations for holiday gift giving, or for personal enjoyment. I hope you find these choices as enriching as I have!
[Please Note - Most of the time I use a small, inexpensive AKJV Bible. However, the exceptions are the truly beautiful Bibles that I give as gifts - for this purpose I highly recommend the Cambridge Bibles. There are really only two issues with the Cambridge Bibles: first of all, they are rare. The Baker Publishing Company has limited stocks. They could run out very quickly, if a lot of people place orders all at the same time (such as for Christmas). So plan ahead! Secondly, for some reason Cambridge does not put the words of Christ in red - in REVELATION - even in the AKJV Bibles that offer the words of Christ in red. Even in REVELATION 22:16]
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These two books below are brand new. I have not had the chance to read them yet, but I have no reservation about the quality of these books because the authors are so good. Both Charles Krauthammer and Bill O'Reilly are extremely intelligent and honest. These are guaranteed to be good books.THINGS THAT MATTER: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics
by Charles Krauthammer. Copyright © 2013 by Charles Krauthammer. Publisher: Crown Forum. ISBN 0385349173
by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard. Copyright © 2013 by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard. Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc. ISBN 9780805098549
This great book tell the truth about WWII, and the heroic fight of, first, the English people, and then — finally, after the attack on Pearl Harbor — the American people, when they joined England as very true Allies. For over two years, England fought the evil of Nazi Germany with very little help from us. (This lack of help was due to the fear and apathy of the majority of the American people — about seventy-five percent — were isolationists due to this fear, and thus unwilling to help England. This made the U.S. Congress also adopt a timid isolationism. In fact, Lindbergh — who received Germany's highest medal for a non-German, from Hitler himself — was America's leading isolationist. Lindbergh gave speeches that influenced millions!) The truth is that without America, England could not have survived. It is also true that only one man, Winston Churchill, had the genius to save the world.OPERATION MINCEMEAT
by Ben Macintyre. Copyright © 2010, 2011 by Ben Macintyre. All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Broadway Paperbacks, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York. www.crownpublishing.com. Broadway Paperbacks is a registered trademark of Random House, Inc.
Originally published in hardcover in Great Britain as Operation Mincemeat: The True Spy Story That Changed the Course of World War II, by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, London; subsequently published in hardcover in slightly different form in the United States by Harmony Books, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York, in 2010.
This excellent book tells - for the first time - the whole story of "Operation Mincemeat." The cast includes: Naval Intelligence Officer, Ian Fleming, a genius named "Lt. Chumly", and his equally brilliant co-conspirator, Naval Intelligence Officer, Ewan Montagu, and their superior officers: Adm. John Godfrey and Lt. T.A. ("TAR") Robertson, and John Masterman, the Chairman of "Twenty Committee" the leader of the Double-Cross (i.e., xx) System in charge of counterespionage.
"Operation Mincemeat", also includes a racing car driver, Jack Horsfall, who drove many spies (at very high speeds) and who drove the dead "Major Martin", with Ewan Montagu and "Lt. Chumly" to meet the submarine, Seraph, for her secret mission. There are many unknown heroes of Allied Missions, such as: Lt. Col. Dudley Clarke, a British Intelligence mastermind, and Derrick Leverton, one of the heroes of the invasion of Sicily. But, strangest of all is the German who helped the Allies win the war. He was the head of German Intelligence and he was a passionate anti-Nazi, who hated the demonic German dictator. Lt. Colonel, Alexis Baron von Roenne, was also a Christian, and was eventually killed by the Nazis, as a traitor.
This book reads like a brilliant spy novel. However, it really happened, and these heroes helped the Allied cause to save the world.
It is not possible to overstate the courage of the good people in the British Isles. I'm very grateful to our allies!
The challenge in giving a review of OPERATION MINCEMEAT, is that it is so complex. It involves so many good and brave people, as well as some espionage geniuses. So, I selected a part of the story, that most of us can relate to, without a long introduction, and without giving away too much -- I hope.
All you need to know is, that the captain of the British submarine, Seraph, is Bill Jewell, and he is a genuine hero. Also, he's on another dangerous, secret mission:
Seraph and Husky
Bill Jewell steered the Seraph toward the jagged silhouette of the coastline as the wind whipped and wailed around the conning tower. It was past ten o'clock, and curtains of thick fog draped an irritable sea, the rear guard of a nasty summer storm. Jewell shivered inside his sou'wester. The weather, he reflected, was "moderately vile," but the reduced visibility would work to his advantage. Once again, the Seraph was creeping toward the southern coast of Europe in the darkness to drop off an important item. Once again, she had been entrusted with a mission of profound secrecy and extreme danger. Once again, the lives of thousands depended on her success. The difference between this mission and the one successfully executed three months earlier was that the canister in the hold really did contain scientific instruments, a homing beacon to guide the largest invasion force ever assembled to the shores of Sicily. Having played her part in the secret buildup to "Husky," the Seraph had been selected to lead the invasion itself.
A week earlier, Jewell had been summoned to submarine headquarters in Algiers and briefed by his commanding officer, Captain Barney Fawkes: "You are to act as guide and beacon submarine for the Army's invasion of Sicily." Jewell's mission would be to drop a new type of buoy containing a radar beacon one thousand yards off the beach at Gela on the island's south coast, just a few hours before D-day: July 10, 0400 hours. Destroyers, leading flotillas of landing craft carrying the troops of America's Forty-fifth Infantry Division, would lock onto the homing beacon, and the assault troops would then storm ashore in the early hours of the Sicilian morning. Seraph should remain in position as a visible beacon "for the first waves of the invasion force" and retire once the attack was under way. The British submarine would act as the spearhead for a mighty host, an armada of Homeric proportions—more than 3,000 freighters, frigates, tankers, transports, minesweepers, and landing craft carrying 1,800 heavy guns, 400 tanks, and an invasion force of 160,000 Allied soldiers, composed of the United States Seventh Army under General George Patton, and Montgomery's British Eighth Army.
Sicily may be the most thoroughly invaded place on earth. From the eighth century B.C., the island has been attacked, occupied, plundered, and fought over by successive waves of invaders: Greeks, Romans, Vandals, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Ostrogoths, Byzantines, Saracens, Normans, Spaniards, and British. But never had Sicily witnessed an invasion on this scale. If Operation Mincemeat had succeeded, then Allied troops would face only limited resistance. Jewell had no idea whether his strange cargo had ever reached the coast of Huelva, but as he absorbed his new orders, he found himself wondering whether the dead body "had delivered his false information to the Germans and whether, as a result, the thousands of troops preparing to assault the island would meet less resistance." If the ruse had failed and tipped off the Axis to the real target of Operation Husky, then the Seraph might be leading the vast floating host into catastrophe.
After receiving his orders, Jewell had reported to the Seventh Army headquarters for a briefing from General Patton himself. Swaggering, foulmouthed, and inspirational, Patton was a born leader of men and a deeply divisive figure. Jewell detested him on sight. With an ivory-handled revolver on each hip, the general strode around the briefing room, barking orders at Jewell and the two other British submarine commanders who would help guide in the American ground troops. "His force was to land in three parts, each on its own beach; he wanted reconnaissance checked and the submarines allocated to the beaches to stay in their position over the beacon buoys to ensure that the right forces landed on the right beaches." The briefing lasted all of ten minutes. "He was really very short with us, somewhat conceited and very rudely outspoken," Jewell recalled. Outside the conference room, Jewell heard a loud American voice call his name and turned to find Colonel Bill Darby of the U.S. Army Rangers, his friend from the earlier Galita reconnaissance. Darby explained that he would be leading his troops ashore in Seraph's wake, at the head of Force X, made up of two crack Ranger battalions. "Do as good a job for us as you did at Galita," said Darby, "and we'll be mighty grateful." Jewell promised to do his best. Yet the submarine commander was privately apprehensive. If the enemy spotted the Seraph laying the beacon buoy, it would certainly realize that an invasion was imminent and rush reinforcements to that section of the coast. "Discovery," Jewell reflected, "would throw the whole Husky plan into jeopardy."
Dwight Eisenhower himself had warned that if the Germans were tipped off, the attack on Sicily would fail. The American general told Churchill: "If substantial German ground troops should be placed in the region prior to the attack, the chances for success become practically nil and the project should be abandoned." Even a few hours' warning would be paid for in greatly increased bloodshed. Surprise was essential; lack of it was potentially fatal. Patton's closing remark also stuck in Jewell's mind, both irritating and alarming him: "The submarines would be less than a mile from the enemy, but come what may they must stay there until the Task Force with the Army arrived, no matter how late." Seraph, codenamed "Cent," would be left on the surface as the sun rose, isolated and defenseless, a sitting duck for the Italian guns ranged along the coast. This was undoubtedly Jewell's most dangerous mission, with every probability that it might also be his last.
Jewell was sublimely indifferent to his own safety. He had faced danger and discomfort on an extravagant scale in a gruesome war. Time after time he had demonstrated his willingness to die. But now he had something new to live for. Bill Jewell had fallen in love.
After performing his part in Operation Mincemeat, Jewell had returned to Algiers for some well-earned shore leave. Among the new arrivals at Allied headquarters in the city was Rosemary Galloway, a young officer in the Wrens, the Women's Royal Naval Service. Rosemary was a cipher clerk, coding and decoding the messages passing in and out of Allied headquarters, and thus was privy to secret and sensitive information. She was vivacious, intelligent, and exceedingly attractive. Jewell and Rosemary had met once before, in Britain, and in the sultry heat of wartime Algiers that acquaintance rapidly bloomed into romance. Once Rosemary was in Bill Jewell's emotional periscope, he pursued her with unswerving determination. She proved a most cooperative quarry. There were limited opportunities for courtship in wartime Algiers, and Jewell seized all of them. At Sidi Barouk, just outside the city, the American forces had created a rest camp that was the nearest thing in Algeria to an American country club, with bar, restaurant, tennis court, and swimming pool. Jewell recalled: "The American High Command had taken possession of a strip of beach and olive grove and converted it into an Arabian Nights' dream—barring the houris, of course!" (Actually, these were available too.) An evening at Sidi Barouk was, in Jewell's words, "a really deluxe experience." Jewell's friendly relations with senior American officers earned him access to this "most exclusive spot," and even the use of an American driver, one Private Bocciccio, a Brooklyn native, who drove with one leg permanently hanging out of his Jeep. When Bocciccio was unavailable, Jewell squired Rosemary around town in an ancient Hillman acquired by the Eighth Flotilla and known as "The Wren Trap," less for its romantic allure, which was zero, than for its captive potential: "None of the doors opened from the inside and, no matter how urgent the need for fresh air, Wrens who accepted the risk had to rely on the chivalry of their companions to release them." Bocciccio, who had picked up some fruity British slang, was scathing about the Wren Trap and what went on in it: "Bloody heap ain't got no springs left."
The Hotel St. George was the best hotel in Algiers and Eisenhower's headquarters. Built on the site of an ancient Moorish palace, it was surrounded by botanical gardens with hibiscus, roses, and flowering cacti; in both war and peace, visitors sipped cocktails in the shade of vast umbrellas beneath the palms and banana trees, served by Algerian waiters in starched uniforms with epaulettes. The hotel chef, in Jewell's estimation, "could turn out a meal, even in the depleted Algiers of that day, in keeping with the finest traditions of French cuisine." Rudyard Kipling, André Gide, Simone de Beauvoir, and King George V of England all stayed at the St. George. On June 7, 1943, the hotel hosted the crucial conference at which Churchill and Eisenhower finalized plans for the Allied invasion of Sicily. That same month, it was the setting for the culmination of Jewell's campaign to win Rosemary Galloway. For two joyful weeks, he had wooed her with every weapon at his disposal: French food, an American swimming pool, and a British car with doors that wouldn't open. Rosemary was in no mind to resist, and at the end of this sustained bombardment she had sunk, unresistingly, into Lieutenant Jewell's arms.
It was therefore with even more than his usual alertness that Jewell scanned the foggy seas off the Sicilian coast at midnight on July 9: he had captured Rosemary Galloway's heart, and he did not intend to lose his prize by getting killed. If Mincemeat had failed—or worse, had backfired—then Jewell, his crew, and the thousands of British and American troops streaming into battle behind him might not live through the next few hours. If the plan had worked, then perhaps he would see Rosemary again. Jewell was surprised at how much this mattered to him. Before meeting Rosemary, Jewell had not cared very much whether he lived or died. Now, he discovered, he cared very much indeed.
The crew of the Seraph had already laid out a trail of small marker buoys, each primed with a fuse that would set off simultaneous blinker lights in exactly four hours, to lead the flotilla to shore. The heavier beacon buoy was brought up on deck, and the submarine slowly edged toward the drop point. Jewell was about to give the order to lower the buoy, when the lookout's hushed voice cut through the darkness. "E-boat on port quarter, Sir."
The German Schnellboot, known to the Allies as the E-boat, was a motor torpedo launch with three two-thousand-horsepower Daimler-Benz engines, carrying four torpedoes, two 20 mm cannons, and six machine guns. It was better armed and three times faster than the Seraph. And it was about four hundred yards away, motionless, "a clearly visible silhouette standing out blackly against the dark blueness of the night." The E-boat had also spotted the British submarine and was attempting to determine whether it was friend or foe. "It was a ticklish moment," wrote Jewell. "That Nazi, I knew, was faster than we and much better armed. I knew her gunners were at battle stations, manning their weapons and waiting for the word to fire." For what seemed like minutes but was only seconds, Jewell "waited tensely for the E-boat to make its move." At a whispered order, the submarine's gun crews and torpedo men moved to action stations. If the Germans attacked, the Seraph would have to try to fight it out. Even if he won that duel, the coastal defenders would be alerted to what was coming over the dark horizon. Jewell knew that then "the fat would have been in the fire." The British submarine lay low in the water, and the swirling fog made identification doubly difficult. The German captain was plainly "undecided about her identity, expecting only friendly submarines so near his coast." Suddenly, he flashed his navigation lights. "I knew that would be a recognition signal of some sort that I'd be expected to answer immediately." The German captain's challenge gave Jewell the vital few seconds he needed. The decks were cleared, the buoy manhandled below, and the hatch slammed shut, and Jewell barked the order to dive. "Down she went in a few seconds. To the enemy she must have seemed literally to vanish." With luck, reflected Jewell, the encounter would not tip off the defenders to the impending invasion: "The captain of the E-boat would still be victim to his own indecision [and] so long as he couldn't be sure whether we were friend or enemy it was not likely the Germans would take alarm." But time was short. The buoy would have to be laid within the next hour, for the mighty Allied army of invasion was now only a few hours away, strung out in a vast flotilla just over the horizon to the south.
Reprinted from OPERATION MINCEMEAT by Ben Macintyre. Copyright © 2011. Published by Broadway Books, a division of Random House LLC, a Penguin Random House Company.