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Podcast recommendation: Robert Maxwell, his pursuit of power

The name Ghislaine Maxwell is a familiar one to those who have followed the news over the last couple of years. She was a cohort to the infamous Jeffrey Epstein, who was accused of sexual trafficking and misconduct and who died in prison in 2019. Ghislaine stayed on the run for a while as state […]

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Heads and Tales: Caricatures and Stories of the Famous, the Infamous, and the Just Plain Interesting

My latest literary and artistic efforts are coming to fruition in the next couple of weeks with the publication of a new book: Heads and Tales: Caricatures and Stories of the Famous, the Infamous, and the Just Plain Interesting. The book will be in paperback and ebook form, but it will be accompanied by something else: a podcast […]

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Early voting

William Seward, voting, Vietnam Voices, and a podcast recommendation: newsletter, November 6, 2020

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,5xx) on Friday, November 6, 2020.   There are those of us who are wondering if the fevered political season will ever end. An interesting novel is sometimes a good antidote. I’m reading a couple now: Ian Rankin’s In a House of Lies and Ian McGuire’s The Abstainer. […]

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First cup at sunrise

The unknown Jacques Futrelle, Drew Pearson (part 2), and a podcast recommendation: newsletter, October 30, 2020

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,5xx) on Friday, October 30, 2020. Back to the (Zoom) Future. In the last few days, I attended a poetry reading of a friend’s new book on Facebook; I helped another friend launch a book on Zoom; and I attended a memorial service on YouTube​ for a friend […]

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More on Mary Mapes Dodge, Josephine Tey and paranoia, and a couple of podcast recommendations: newsletter, September 18, 2020

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,529) on Friday, September 18, 2020.   Getting a book that you have anticipated for a while and then having it live up to your expectations is a particular delight. That happened to me with the arrival of Ian Toll‘s Twilight of the Gods: War in the Western […]

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Being tall at Guadalcanal, a notorious pirate, rural noir, and the serial killer: newsletter, August 14, 2020

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,5xx) on Friday, August 14, 2020.   One of the things on my mind this week is the concept of respect. The thinking on that was kicked off by an NYT column by Bret Stephens on the 18th-century politician and philosopher Edmund Burke (Why Edmund Burke […]

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DamonRunyon

The world of Damon Runyon, a bee inspection report, and the best girl group of them all: newsletter, May 29, 2020

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,575) on Friday, May 29, 2020.   One of the delights of doing this newsletter is the response I get from you readers — something I have mentioned several times previously. Where it’s appropriate, and it usually is, I try to share most of those […]

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Who killed the truth? Find out in Jill Lapore’s podcast The Last Archive

Truth, these days, seems to lie dead as a doornail, half-hidden in the weeds like those bodies you see at the beginning of television murder mysteries. It’s obviously been assaulted, and since its demise, wild animals have been feeding on it. Not a pretty sight. For nearly two centuries now, truth was healthy and robust, […]

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Presidential candidates who stayed put and the one who didn’t, Smokey Robinson, and the no-tears absence of baseball: newsletter, May 15, 2020

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,579) on Friday, May 15, 2020.     One of the bright spots we had going for us this spring — among so many spots that were not quite so bright — is the garden, which with plenty of rain and somewhat cooler temperatures had […]

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The father of modern horror literature, grammar rules to live without, and a podcast recommendation: newsletter, January 17, 2020

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,6xx) on Friday, January 17, 2020.   {% if subscriber.first_name != blank %} Hello {{ subscriber.first_name }}, {% else %} Hello, {% endif %} News from Major League Baseball in January is never plentiful, and what there was this week was not good: two team managers were fired […]

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Accused

Accused: a top-notch true-crime podcast, now into Season 3

After June 18, 1984, no one ever saw David Bocks again. He was a divorced father of three and, despite the divorce, a devoted dad. He worked as a pipe-fitter at the Fernald Feed Production Center, which was a cover for a U.S. Department of Energy facility that processed high-grade uranium for use in nuclear […]

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Podcast: From the NYPD: Break in the Case 

If you are a fan of true-crime police procedurals and looking for a good podcast along those lines, there probably isn’t a better source than the New York Police Department. The NYPD has just begun a new podcast called “Break in the Case” that will follow some complex cases through multiple episodes to their conclusion. […]

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Podcast: Countdown to Capture – Peter Chadwick: Murderer and Fugitive

Countdown to Capture – Peter Chadwick: Murderer and Fugitive is another of the police-produced podcasts (I recommended one, Break in the Case, from the New York Police Department last week) that examine and a crime and the subsequent investigation purely from the police point of view. But this one is different. It was produced by a […]

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Edmund Morris and Richard Ben Cramer and unworthy subjects, a police procedural podcast, and reactions to the World Series: newsletter, Nov. 8, 2019

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,666) on Friday, November 8, 2019.    Baseball is a game you can share with others. That was the message I got from a large number of emails sent after the special report on my trip to the World Series in the last newsletter. Those emails […]

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Podcast recommendation: Secrets and Spies: The Untold Story of Edith Cavell

Edith Cavell was a British nurse working in German-occupied Belgium in 1915 when she formed an escape network for British and allied soldiers who found themselves behind enemy lines. She helped hundreds of soldiers and put herself in great danger in the process. German authorities realized what was happening, and Cavell was arrested, tried for […]

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Tunnel 29, another podcast hit from the BBC

First, there was the Ratline, the story of a high-ranking and much-wanted Nazi who escaped justice after World War II. Now, the BBC’s Intrigue series has come up with another podcast hit: Tunnel 29. This is the true story of a group of people, mostly students, who found themselves in West Germany in the early […]

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Podcast recommendation: The Ratline from BBC Sounds, a gripping, intriguing tale

Hundreds of Nazi criminals escaped justice at the end of World War II through something called the Ratline. But few were as high on the wanted list as Otto von Wächter, an Austrian SS officer whose administrative positions during the war had him overseeing the deaths of thousands of Jews, Poles, gypsies, and others who the […]

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A new podcast examines the Jeffrey Epstein case

Julie K. Brown, the reporter for the Miami Herald who would not let the Jeffrey Epstein story go when just about every other reporter and prosecutor would, has a just-out series of podcasts about this sad and sorted tale. Epstein recently committed suicide rather than face a trial for his multiple assaults on underage girls, but his name […]

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ElizebethFriedman

America’s chief WWII codebreaker, language and dialect in Appalachia, new season for Serial; newsletter, September 14, 2018

This newsletter was emailed to everyone on Jim’s email list (x) on August 30, 2018 At this writing, a major hurricane is about to slam into the east coast of the U.S., and predictions are that it will cost lives and do great damage. In the middle of this past week, as we were traveling […]

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Slow Burn, Season 2: Bill Clinton, Monica Lewinsky, and impeachment

It’s been almost two decades now (really? that long!), and the impeachment of Bill Clinton still rubs up against raw feelings on the part of Clinton’s supporters and opponents. And even if you don’t have feelings about it that were generated at the time (maybe you weren’t old enough to really remember), you should list […]

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