An open, flat bottomed vessel that can be trailered and beached has long seemed ideal for cruising not only our Puget Sound and San Juan's waters, but for bombing around any coastal locales. So it was with pure delight that I first opened this gem of an adventure. Beamish builds a Ness yawl in his California garage and then takes off down the coast to Baja surfing every break he can find. Using only primitive means, his experience is rich and varied. This is what life is all about.
This is the most inspired, knowing and literary nautical writing I have ever encountered. It is a work that captures a man's dream, yet achieves this with hardly a glimpse of that adventurer. For this is a book of the sea... and of salt and canvas and wind and sun. it is a book that makes the heart leap at the promise held by the horizon. The Saga of Cimba is simply, yet magnificently, the saga of life.
Agent Zigzag reads like a sexy Le Carre, but it's all true. Eddie Chapman took the Germans and British for a ride during WWII and lived to tell the tale. Riveting stuff!
To be sure, this short novel describes a cargo vessel's duress while riding out a catastrophic hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico. Yet the true richness is to be found in Hughes' lean and taut prose depicting the nature of men under prolonged, life threatening stress. In Hazard is an adrenaline rush equal almost to the experience itself.
Steve Coll continues his masterful exposé of the complex and far-reaching antecedents to the 9/11 episode. The Bin Ladens is a lengthy and immensely absorbing account of the family history; from Mohamed, the Yemeni clan patriarch, and the development of a construction empire through royal patronage to the fractious years after his death when his many male heirs struggled to navigate in a world of globe-trotting glamour and religious reclusion. It is a story inextricably linked with the al Saud clan and the introduction of their oil-rich land to the international stage. Yet most revealing, and ultimately tragic, is the conflicted development of one younger brother in particular.
Central Asia has become an important geopolitical fulcrum in the early part of this century. Bissell treats his readers to a well-researched history of the region intertwined with the wanderings of a curious travelling journalist. Chasing the Sea is a brilliant mosaic and a must for the historical vagabond in all of us.
“I have a good poker face because I am half dead inside.” And so begins a fascinating account of the modern world of tournament poker. Back in 2011, Grantland Quarterly sprung for the author’s $10,000 entry to the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. With his prodigious writing skills turned toward nonfiction, Whitehead takes us from his home games in Brooklyn, to seedy afternoon tournaments in Atlantic City, and finally to the craziness that is the Vegas Texas Hold ’Em scene. Dive into the Republic of Anhedonia, but keep your eye on the Methy Mike on your left.