Among this week’s selection are a deep dive into the mind and methods of history’s most successful art thief — successful to the tune of billions of dollars-worth of masterpieces. On a similar theme, the fiction offering begins with a search for a valuable work of art before becoming a high stakes game of international politics and intrigue. Segueing into real-life international events, an expert takes the reader through the events and personalities that led to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine nearly 18 months ago, while more positively is the examination of the life of an amazing athlete who repeatedly succeeded despite a huge handicap. Firstly, there is an investigation of the left’s attempt to destroy the values that make America, America.
“America's Cultural Revolution: How the Radical Left Conquered Everything,” by Christopher F. Rufo (Broadside Books)
Chris Rufo is a conservative activist and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, who was appointed to the board of trustees at New College of Florida in an effort to help turn the tiny liberal arts school into a “Hillsdale College of the South.” “American Cultural Revolution” explains how the death of George Floyd accelerated the erosion of American values such as equality and personal responsibility, a process that had been slowly taking place for decades. As a result, “the best and the brightest” has been replaced with “diversity, equity, and inclusion,” and socialism is taking over the very thing that was responsible for the rise of the middle class — capitalism. In addition, critical race theory is routinely taught in schools, racially dividing everyone into either oppressed or oppressor. In order to return to the values and principles that made America a powerhouse and beacon of freedom to the world, Rufo explains how the United States arrived in this position and why “where we’re at” doesn’t work. (Nonfiction)
“The Art Thief: A True Story of Love, Crime, and a Dangerous Obsession,” by Michael Finkel (Knopf)
If true crime is your passion, “The Art Thief” tells the astonishing tale of an incredibly proficient and prolific thief Stéphane Breitwieser, who lifted hundreds of pieces of art, primarily from museums, worth an estimated $2 billion during a seven-year period. The thief himself was able to provide astonishing detail of each caper during hours of interviews with the author — how and why he did it. “'The Art Thief' is an astonishing story that capitalizes on our love of true crime,” wrote Krysta Fauria, reviewing for The Associated Press. “Although the definition of a page-turner, this book will also likely force the reader to consider why details of this kind are so exhilarating to us in the first place.” (Nonfiction)
“The Collector,” by Daniel Silva (Harper)
“The Collector” is the 23rd installment of No. 1 New York Times bestselling author Daniel Silva’s popular series featuring legendary art restorer and spy Gabriel Allonseries. In this episode, what begins as an effort to track down the world’s most valuable painting ends with a race to stop a conflict between Russia and the West. “These books are an education in art history and world history,” wrote Anna Amato for GoodReads. “You’ll learn about the lives that they’ve lived, and you’ll understand the history of the repetitions and the ‘inside jokes’ that will make you smile and even laugh and snort what you’re drinking.” (Fiction)
“Pat Browne Jr. Story, The: A Life Played Well,” by Jim Fraiser (Pelican Publishing)
Golf legend Arnold Palmer nominated attorney Pat Browne Jr. for the World Golf Hall of Fame. He was an athletic standout in both high school and at Tulane University. Despite a 1966 car accident that left him blind, Brown went on to win 23 blind pro golf tournaments. In this remarkable book, Jim Fraiser tells the inspiring story of a remarkable man who refused to allow setbacks to dictate his life and defeat him. Brown died six years ago at the age 84, but his legend lives on through this book. “I loved the game, and I thought it was worth taking a chance to see if I could hit it again,” Brown said in an interview. “Once I hit it solid, I was hooked again.” And in his case, both the game and his life were dead solid perfect. (Nonfiction)
“The Russo-Ukrainian War: The Return of History,” by Serhii Plokhy (W. W. Norton & Company)
The Russo-Ukrainian War has been a part of every nightly newscast since Vladimir Putin’s tanks rumbled across the border in February 2022. And Serhii Plokhy provides all the history to help readers completely understand the conflict. While Ukraine has followed its own destiny since the breakup of the Soviet Union, the author argues that the country has always remained central to Russia’s destiny. “Russia’s initial advances were followed by successful Ukrainian counterattacks, and the war seems to have settled into a brutal, high-tech slog. The text includes maps,” said Kirkus Reviews
. “Readers aiming to follow the fighting should read the daily news, but for a complete picture, this is the book.” (Nonfiction)
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