Stark Munro, 13 Days, and Master of the World

The Master of the World
Jules Verne
4 out of 5 stars
A sequel to Robur the Conqueror, this 1904 Verne novel is centered on one of his classic themes: a vulnerable public terrorized by unknown and indisputably more powerful technology.  Here, U.S. lawman John Strock is sent to investigate “the Great Eyrie,” in what becomes a sort of Americanized version of 20,000 Leagues.  Though it is hardly one of Verne’s best, The Master of the World takes you into Verne’s world with very little cumbersome prose, and I found it to be a rather fun read (and the Niagara Falls scene was truly exciting!).

The Stark Munro Letters
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
4 out of 5 stars
This interesting, often humorous series of letters can be best read as a fictional Doyle memoir, based on some real events in his early medical career.  For the medical side, read Round the Red Lamp – for the personal side, read this book.  Doyle fans will like it, as will anybody researching late Victorian life.  I wouldn’t be surprised, either, if the character Cullingsworth at least partly inspired the eccentric side of Sherlock Holmes…
Thirteen Days: A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis
Robert F. Kennedy
5 out of 5 stars
Exemplary history?  No.  A great historical memoir?  Absolutely.  As President Kennedy’s brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy was in a unique position to record the events of the crisis in Cuba.  In Thirteen Days, he gives us a firsthand account combining political and personal insights, something you can’t get from a history book.  Yes, the history is one-sided and incomplete, but it is a memoir, and the original letters/speeches are included in the appendix.  Altogether, it is an invaluable resource to accompany a more in-depth study.  If you are interested in the Cuban missile crisis and/or Cold War diplomacy, this is the book for you.

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