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Gail Holst-Warhaft

The Fall of Athens

Fomite Press

Preoccupied with the culture revolution going on in our backyard, Americans of the ‘60s and early ‘70s might have vaguely noticed a parallel course in northern European social issues. So it’s not strange that few wondered what was happening in Greece…until now. This book is an insightful anatomy of exiles, political imprisonments and the arts speaking truth to power, all through the eyes of a musical “journeyperson” from Australia.

 

Gail Holst-Warhaft’s The Fall of Athens chronicles her firsthand adventures with some of the perennial greats of Greek literature and music like Mikis Theodorakis (who scored Zorba the Greek) and Mariza Koch, the German-Greek poet who wrote the eponymous poem for which this book is titled. The author’s adventures with the idealistic left wing movement of Greek musicians and writers who believed they could help bring down the military dictatorship ruling the country since 1967 casts a broad net. Comes with contemporary photographs and Google addresses for the reader to hear the songs she writes about.

– Wynn Parks

Giles Milton

Churchill’s Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare

Picador

The title sounds like an old Kinks concept album, but Ungentlemanly Warfare is the compelling history of a secret World War II British organization, comprising a set of civilian and military eccentrics straight out of Hollywood casting. The organization (MI[R]) became a pet project of Winston Churchill, whose zest for cloak-and-dagger equaled his thirst for cognac. The book reads like a novel, each oddball character serially introduced, then deftly folded into the action. If you like reading about plastic explosives, fiendish IEDs (like the Castrator Mine) and ways to kill a Nazi barehanded, check this out. Hitler had it coming…

– Bruce Collier

 

 

EDITOR’S PICKS – SHOWBIZ KIDS

Ted Kotcheff with Josh Young, Director’s Cut: My Life in Film. Fascinating memoir from a moviemaker whose resume ranges from films like North Dallas Forty and First Blood to, most recently, an NBC Law and Order spinoff. Kotcheff’s storytelling is so compelling, you might want to reconsider Weekend at Bernie’s. Yeah, he directed that one, too.

 

Brad Meltzer and Christopher Eliopoulos, I Am Jim Henson. Who can resist a kid’s book that depicts its subject as a child in full beard? And gives television pioneer Ernie Kovacs his due? The Muppets visionary’s words “Never stop being kind” ring true now more than ever. Send a copy to your president.

 

Todd Barry, Thank You for Coming to Hattiesburg. Barry offers insights on our nation’s coffee shops, hotels and eateries, as well as the working comedian’s life on the road.

 

William Daniels, There I Go Again: How I Came to Be Mr. Feeny, John Adams, Dr. Craig, KITT and Many Others. Excellent account of the Emmy-winning actor’s career that doubles as a history of the last century or so of popular entertainment, from the final days of radio’s golden age to the current Broadway smash Hamilton.

– Chris Manson
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