Most Read: Politics

Posted at 11:06 AM ET, 03/29/2012

Farewell to Political Bookworm

It’s time for Political Bookworm to close its doors. In the past few years, we’ve had an active, sometimes raucous, time here with blog postings on everything from election campaign advice from Quintus Tullius Cicero to speculaltion that Castro knew beforehand of the JFK assassination plot. The range of books we’ve covered has spanned a wide spectrum: from tiny houses to major trade publishers to renowned university presses. We’ve had heated exchanges and thoughtful conversations — the signs of vibrant democratic life.

I’ll focus now on writing for the Post in print and online, tweeting on writers and publishing, and will continue to edit the Post’s nonfiction book reviews. Thank you for your enthusiasm for Political Bookworm. You can reach me at, and you can follow me on Twitter @SteveLevingston.

For the bestsellers lists, go to TheStyleBlog.

By  |  11:06 AM ET, 03/29/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:20 PM ET, 03/27/2012

Steinbeck’s Vietnam and today’s Afghanistan

About this blog: Novelist John Steinbeck toured combat areas of
South Vietnam and traveled to the north of Thailand
and into Laos between December 1966 and May 1967. The sixty-four-year-old Nobel Prize winner sent his experiences home in dispatches to Newsday that evoked the war on the ground. His war correspondence has been collected into “Steinbeck in Vietnam: Dispatches from the War,” published this month from the University of Virginia Press. The book’s editor, Thomas E. Barden, an English professor and dean of the Honors College at the University of Toledo, here reflects on parallels between Steinbeck’s Vietnam and today’s Afghanistan.


As I write this, an Army staff sergeant named Robert Bales is in a cell at Fort Leavenworth accused of gunning down 17 Afghan villagers, including women and children. In all forms of media, commenters have been quick to draw parallels between these killings and a horrific incident from my own war, the My Lai Massacre in Vietnam.

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By Thomas E. Barden  |  01:20 PM ET, 03/27/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 08:57 AM ET, 03/26/2012

BOOK WORLD bestsellers — March 25, 2012

Here’s the first bestseller lists of Spring 2012 ...

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By  |  08:57 AM ET, 03/26/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Political Bookworm

Posted at 08:54 AM ET, 03/26/2012

The Political Best — March 25, 2012

A basic top 5 this week, with two new titles perched at #1 and #2 — Mattera’s excoriation of the Hollywood elite and their backing of the president (not sure why the subtitle is framed the way it is, as he’s really just preaching to the choir), and a thoughtful look at the divisiveness that political leanings and faith can have in the microcosm of the family, not to mention in society writ large.

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By  |  08:54 AM ET, 03/26/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Political Bookworm

Posted at 04:37 PM ET, 03/19/2012

Castro knew of JFK assassination plan, book says

Fidel Castro knew of plans to kill President John Kennedy, according
to a book due out next month by a retired CIA analyst, the Miami Herald reported.

The book, “Castro’s Secrets: The CIA and Cuba’s Intelligence Machine” by Brian Latell, is based on interviews with Cuban spies who defected and on declassified documents from a variety of U.S. agencies, including the CIA, the FBI and the Pentagon.

Latell writes that assassin Lee Harvey Oswald told Cuban intelligence officers he planned to kill Kennedy. “Fidel knew of Oswald’s intentions — and did nothing to deter the act,” the author writes.

Latell, who was the CIA’s national intelligence officer for Latin America, is now a senior research associate at the University of Miami’s Institute for Cuban and Cuban American Studies.

A Cuban spy defector said that on Nov. 22, 1963, the day of Kennedy’s assassination, he was suddenly told to gather whatever intelligence he could coming out of Texas. And about three hours later he reported to his bosses that the U.S. president had been shot.

The defector later told a CIA debriefer: “Castro knew. They knew Kennedy would be killed.”


Twitter: @SteveLevingston

By  |  04:37 PM ET, 03/19/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)


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