BY JACK RICCARDI
Went into the weekend, which was a sickbay one for me, reading Eric Blehm’s excellent 2015 account of our own Sgt. Roy Benavidez, and his May 1968 actions that resulted in his Medal of Honor. Most of us know the basics of this late, great man’s heroics, but Blehm in “Legend” takes him from his hardscrabble childhood through his military service, introducing us to the people who helped make Roy Benavidez the man he was, and America the country which produces such men.
Then it was on to one of my favorite mystery series, Jan Willem van de Wetering’s novels about Dutch cops DeGier and Grijpstra. This time it was 1978’s “The Blond Baboon”. Besides always keeping you guessing until the last page, this series does a great job of humanizing police officers and detectives, much like Joseph Wambaugh novels used to do. You can find old van de Wetering novels online or at Half Price Books.
Right now, I’m getting into a Cornelius Ryan WW2 title, “The Last Battle”, which is about Germany’s last few weeks defending Berlin as the Allied pincers closed and the war ended. Ryan, as always, is equally good at telling you what the generals were doing and how everyday Germans went on living, waiting to see which conquerors would arrive first and what it would mean. Many Berliners became late-inning fans of the Anglo-American forces closing from the West, largely because Nazi propaganda had so conditioned the people to fear the rapacious Russians rolling from the East.
As always, for more on these titles, click on the links. Let me know what you like to read and if you check any of these out! Thanks!