Some mid-summer-night reads

Here are a few choice books for summer reading brought to you by writers and readers of the People’s Weekly World.

“Jackdaws,” by Ken Follett. It is based on the true story of a group of British women who were flown into France, behind enemy lines in World War II to blow up a telephone exchange vital to Nazi communications. The women’s courage is uplifting, the story is thrilling, “a real page turner.”

– Diane Mohney

“They Marched Into Sunlight,” by David Maraniss. Gripping account of two parallel events of October 1967. It follows a group of American soldiers plunged into a deadly ambush in Vietnam, and the swirl of student protest against Dow Chemical at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Intertwining personal, human stories and the sweep of cataclysmic political events, this is a terrific page-turner that brings vividly to life the feel of that period and the ways in which people get caught up in, are transformed by and make history.

– Susan Webb

“Rainbow at Midnight. Labor and Culture in the 1940s,” by George Lipsitz. Most of us know that the American labor movement was one of the most successful and most militant in the world before the late 1940s, and most of us know that it hasn’t been so militant nor successful since then. But what happened? This is the book that answers that most important of all American labor history questions.

– Jim Lane

“Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming,” by Paul Hawken. Out of print but available from abebooks.com. About the size and persistence of the environmental, UN-NGO “civic” movements for sustainability, housing, health care and a host of others. And “This Organic Life,” by Joan Dye Gussow, also available from abebooks.com. About reforming our food supply, but in a warm, witty generous way.

– Betty Smith

“Paul Robeson: I Want to Make Freedom Ring,” by Carin T. Ford. This biography, intended for young readers aged 12 and up, tells the story of the greatest Renaissance man of the 20th century. It shows how Robeson developed politically and chose to unselfishly dedicate his talents to the struggle for peace, justice and equality for all. Beautifully designed, with plenty of photos.

– Bonnie Weiss

“The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals,” by Michael Pollan. Food prices are soaring and food safety is declining. This book offers fascinating insights on the global food crisis and the urgent need to change how we produce and distribute food so we can all eat healthy and not break the bank doing it.

– Tim Wheeler

“Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball’s Last Hero,” by David Maraniss. This is a wonderful read about the true story and life of Puerto Rican legend Roberto Clemente, who played right field for the Pittsburgh Pirates for 18 seasons. Clemente is one of baseballs greatest players who stood up against the discrimination of Black and Latino players during the 1960s in the major leagues. He led his team to championships in 1960 and 1971 and got a hit in all 14 World Series games he played. Clemente left the world a hero who rose above sports to become a rare symbol for all athletes and paved the way for future Latino players who followed. If you love sports and if you love baseball this book is highly recommended. A quick read and an important piece of sports history.

– Pepe Lozano

“The Secret History of the American Empire: Economic Hit Men, Jackals, and the Truth About Global Corruption,” by John Perkins. In Perkins’ follow-up to his memoir “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man,” he delves deeper into the impact of global corporate exploitation on the third world economies and ecologies. Through personal accounts and interviews with other “hit men,” and “jackals,” government officials and activists, he reveals what really happened during events that have shaped the world, including the current Latin American revolution, the Asian Economic crisis and CIA-led assassinations. If you’re looking for something to remove any doubt from your mind as to the absolute evil nature of corporations and the conservative politicians that are their handmaidens, this is the book for you!

– Melissa O’Rourke

“The Silence of the Rain,” by Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza. Inspector Espinosa is the focus through which readers can get a glimpse into the criminal and “family” life of Rio de Janeiro people. The plot involves life insurance policies, life in the corporate world in Brazil and Espinosa’s real and imagined love life. There are enough murders to keep your interest. This book is a real summer read whether you’d be in the mountains or at the beach or resting at home given gasoline prices.

– Eric Green

“Pursuit of Happyness,” by Chris Gardner. The movie staring Will Smith was moving seeing the single dad struggle as a homeless man on the streets of San Francisco with his son. But the book is much, much more. This is a coming of age story about a young boy who grows up on the streets of Milwaukee not knowing his real father and has to deal with an abusive step-dad. He struggles as a young man during the civil rights era of the 60s and 70s. His personal memoirs are really touching details how one man never gave up despite the many challenges that African American men undergo in life. And still he becomes a very successful self-made millionaire. This is a book for all, especially young people who want to learn how to become victoriously unstoppable.

– Marguerite Wright

“Such A Long Journey,” by Rohinton Mistry. While you stay home because gas prices are too high, take a trip with Canadian-Indian author Rohinton Mistry to Bombay (now called Mumbai) of the 1970s. With the 1971 war as a backdrop, Mistry takes you on a Graham Greene-esque journey of the everyday life of a Parsi bank employee and his family. You’ll wish it was longer.

– Teresa Albano

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