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Edward Cuddihy


Books

NONFICTION The General vs. the President: MacArthur and Truman at the Brink of Nuclear War By H.W. Brands Doubleday 437 pages, $30 That wonderfully ambiguous document – the U.S. Constitution – the glue that has bound the great American experiment for more than 225 years, is indisputably clear when it states: “The President shall be commander in chief of the …

Books

Depicting Ulysses S. Grant as one of the most heroic figures in all of American history –right up there with George Washington and Abraham Lincoln – is a tall order, not to mention a thankless task. Neither Grant’s physical stature nor his demeanor cries out “Hero!” in the glitz of the 21st Century.  The scraggy general in his tattered blue long coat and mud-spattered b…

Lifestyles

When Shakespearean actor John Wilkes Booth burst into the presidential box at Ford’s Theater and fatally wounded Abraham Lincoln with a single gunshot to the head, he committed what most people in the Western world considered the greatest crime of the 19th century.Until then, assassinations were reserved for monarchs, despots and their families. Why assassinate a freely el…

Lifestyles

Those who think our republic has unraveled beyond the point of no return – those encouraged daily in that flawed and misguided belief by a cadre of show business personalities masquerading as news analysts whose lucrative contracts happen to depend on government dysfunction – should hit the pause button.Then they might stop and look back 150 years into our romantic past, t…

Lifestyles

The debate among historians goes on: What was the turning point, the singular point of reversion in World War II that sealed the fate of Nazi Germany?Americans usually look to the massive Normandy Invasion. Certainly Allied heroics in the largest amphibious assault in the history of the world ranks right up there near the top. But the Brits like to say Normandy was the be…

Lifestyles

The question before a beleaguered Congress is: Should we expand government to meet the growing needs of the nation? Or is there already too much government?One side of the aisle insists the government must be granted expansive new powers to make the nation safe and to rescue its economy, and the other side of the aisle insists just as vociferously that the federal governme…

Lifestyles

Walter Cronkite has come to symbolize the very best in TV journalism, a reputation earned during his 18-year reign as anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening News.Those were the heady years when millions of Americans invited Uncle Walter into their living rooms each night, when President Lyndon Johnson considered him the voice of the American people, and when in Midd…

Lifestyles

It was late winter of 1944 in Tuscany. American fliers, navigators and bombardiers in Sardinia crammed into briefing rooms as they did most mornings.Today, they were told, they would smash the main marshaling yards supplying the ammunition, equipment and supplies to the Nazis opposing the U.S. Fifth Army at Anzio and Monte Cassino.What was different on this day were the wa…

Archives

The American political highway is always circuitous, a tangled web of regional and ideological intrigue, seldom tranquil and most often agonizing. There are few exceptions in our nation’s history.One would think going to war against Nazi Germany and its canon of diabolic beliefs would be the exception.But no. It took more than two years of bitter national debate before a h…

Archives

Who would imagine that a nearly 500-page tome on the comings and goings of obscure ninth and 10th century Europeans could possibly be an exciting read, entertaining throughout and at times totally surprising?That’s exactly what we have in Paul Collins’ “The Birth of the West.” This book is scholarly and detailed, its narrative is often downright witty, its observations are…

Comparing American generals from different times and dissimilar wars, fighting radically different enemies, is an exercise one undertakes at his own peril.Some would go further and say such a befooled adventure is an invitation to sustained verbal mockery.Yet that challenge is exactly what the serious-minded and sober journalist Thomas Ricks undertakes in his deeply probin…

For most of us, the haunting image of Joseph Patrick Kennedy is one of an aged man of wealth, his face skewed by a stroke, propped up helplessly in an armchair, wearing a silk bed jacket opened to reveal a designer white shirt and tie.That image is from the 1960s, a decade at first a deliriously triumphant one for the father of the young president. Then later, it was a dec…

Ulysses S. Grant led two lives: His first life, a professional soldier, dedicated to carrying out the dictates of the nation's political leaders, and his second, a president by popular demand during the rancorous Reconstruction years after the Civil War.In his first life, Grant, who nearly pulled the plug on his West Point career before graduating, attained a success well …

This time, acclaimed British historian Antony Beevor has taken on what at first appears an impossible task.He has set out to record a complete and detailed history of World War II in one volume – albeit a pretty hefty one – while overlaying it with his own views in the hope of rescuing it from becoming just another entry in the heap of World War II histories.Keep in mind, …

Shooting Victoria? What kind of a title is that for a history?Why would anyone take a potshot at the venerable (and vulnerable) mother of the British Empire, grandmother to half the royalty in Europe, that frumpish, kindly monarch who lent her name to an era even before she took her final bow?Well, as it turns out, at least seven men were caught trying to put an early end …