Final Victory: FDR’s Extraordinary World War II Presidential Campaign

I wanted to review Stanely Weintraub’s FINAL VICTORY, because I thought it might be interesting to compare Franklin D. Roosevelt’s actions running for a fourth presidential term to Barack Obama’s running for a second term. But any comparisons — outside of the cliché that in all times and generations, politics is a dirty, nasty, venal, corrupting force — would be silly.

Roosevelt was nearing the end of a two-theater World War that saw food and gasoline rationing, running a nation still riven by racial bigotry, and in severe declining health. Obama has many challenges, but none that approach that level.

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Last week, we reviewed Dale Sherman’s KISS FAQ: ALL THAT’S LEFT TO KNOW ABOUT THE HOTTEST BAND IN THE LAND. Today, we offer this excerpt from the Backbeat Books release, dedicated to the one element that really set the band apart: the makeup.

Makeup and costumes were one of the first things they worked on, with Simmons, Stanley, and Criss showcasing for Epic in 1973 in whiteface and rather generic rock-’n’-roll outfits (if one can call the rented sailor suit Simmons is wearing “rock-’n’-roll”). By the time Ace Frehley joined, the four rejected the whiteface and went for a look that was more derived from the New York Dolls (whose look came from other bands like the Rolling Stones for their “Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadows?” picture sleeve single).

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BULLETS, BROADS, BLACKMAIL & BOMBS >> Down by the River, Part 1

bullets broads blackmail and bombsIn my teenage years, I read a ton of science fiction, but not what people call the classics — no Frank Herbert, Robert A. Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke or even Ray Bradbury. Instead, I was reading people like Alan Dean Foster, Harry Harrison, Roger Zelazny and today’s featured author, Philip José Farmer.

I devoured Farmer’s books in those days. Naturally, my becoming aware of him is comic book-related, and I’ll always remember the day. At my local store, Starship Excalibur, a tiny little hole within walking distance from my home, a customer and the clerk were talking about this book series that dealt with everyone from history all being alive together. And how it all took place on a planet with a giant river.

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Shock Theatre Chicago Style: WBKB-TV’s Late Night Horror Showcase, 1957-1959

As with James Arena’s recent FRIGHT NIGHT OF CHANNEL 9, I have never seen the local TV series to which Donald F. Glut’s book (and fellow McFarland & Company offering), SHOCK THEATRE CHICAGO STYLE, is devoted. As expected, I didn’t need to in order to surf right along on its wavelength, for I, too, have fond childhood memories of watching my own hometown’s horror host (Oklahoma City’s Count Gregore, for the record).

For Glut, the two years that SHOCK THEATRE was on the air in the late 1950s was a magical time that spoke directly to him, while shaping the life he would go on to lead. I know that sounds overly important — all that, from goofy puns delivered by some dude in a two-bit costume? — but it’s true; the author’s sizable bibliography proves it.

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The Face Thief

There is something slightly unsatisfying in Eli Gottlieb’s THE FACE THIEF, something that prevents me from recommending it as highly as I did his earlier work, NOW YOU SEE HIM.

Don’t get me wrong: Gottlieb’s writing style is as perfectly honed as ever, although he does succumb every now and then to peculiarly contorted metaphors that do him no favors. His characters and their situations are also interesting and emotionally real. Perhaps it’s the premise, that one can read characteristics, motivations, morals and behaviors into the physiognomy of one’s face and body language.

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Bye Bye, Baby

In case you haven’t heard, Nate Heller is back! Or more precisely, after too long a wait, Max Allan Collins’ BYE BYE, BABY, now out in paperback, continues the series of Nate Heller, a private detective whose career involved him with some of the most infamous historical individuals and notorious crimes this country has ever experienced, including the assassination of Huey Long, the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby and the disappearance of Amelia Earhart.
When Heller opened a branch office of his A-1 Detective Agency in Los Angeles, he soon became known as “the P.I. to the stars.” This latest story has him working for arguably the most enduring legend in the history of Hollywood: sex symbol Marilyn Monroe.

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Devil in the Dollhouse

DEVIL SAID BANG, Richard Kadrey’s fourth installment in his SANDMAN SLIM (a.k.a. James Stark) saga, is out now. What we have here in the form of DEVIL IN THE DOLLHOUSE is a short story about Stark’s first few days in Hell in his new position as Lucifer.

As you initiated readers out there already know, the end of Kadrey’s ALOHA FROM HELL set up a new status quo: Stark was now the new Lucifer. As DEVIL SAID BANG begins, we find Stark roughly a hundred days into his new gig — working to rebuild Hell from the chaos of the previous novel, fending off constant assassination attempts and trying to figure out a way to get back to Earth. Because as much fun as it is being the King of Hell … well, it’s still Hell.

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By the Blood of Heroes: The Great Undead War: Book I

So you’re sitting at home and watching INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS or maybe a true classic like THE DIRTY DOZEN, and you think to yourself, “You know what would make this better? If it were set during World War I and had zombies.”

Apparently, Joseph Nassise, author of THE TEMPLAR CHRONICLES had that very same notion and wrote BY THE BLOOD OF HEROES: THE GREAT UNDEAD WAR: BOOK I. And yes, that’s a long title, but the story flies by very fast.

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Harry Lipkin, Private Eye

A business card reading “Harry Lipkin, professional mensch” could sum up the mystery novel HARRY LIPKIN, PRIVATE EYE by Barry Fantoni. Lipkin is an 87-year old P.I. still working down in Miami. He knows the cases he gets are not what you would call “high-priority,” but he does his job throughly — just a bit slower than he used to.

Lipkin is hired by a woman named Norma Weinberger for a case involving stolen items of hers. The only suspects are members of her staff, whom she thinks of as family. This sets up the story quite easily, with Lipkin playing the part of a private eye in a real-life version of Clue.

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Witch Hunts: A Graphic History of the Burning Times

I’m sure there’s a great graphic novel to be mined from the sad-but-true stories of our world’s witch hunts, but WITCH HUNTS: A GRAPHIC HISTORY OF THE BURNING TIMES isn’t it.

The fault lies not with the words by co-authors Rocky Wood and Lisa Morton, as much as Greg Chapman’s illustrations. While the writers cover much ground — naturally including the Salem witch trials, as well as individual players like Joan of Arc and Witchfinder General Matthew Hopkins — the presentation simply isn’t up to their level of know-how, for three main reasons:

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