The Suburbanite
  • Bruce's History Lessons: It’s time to dust off those issues and FAQs

  • Bruce takes care of some “spring cleaning” by addressing reader issues and answering “Frequently Asked Questions.”

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  • Once again it’s springtime, when I do my annual “spring cleaning” by addressing any reader issues and answering “Frequently Asked Questions.”
    Issue No. 1: The only reader issue I have this year is the same as every year — but with a twist. I appreciate the volume of reader mail I get and I pride myself on answering every single reader e-mail, good or bad, agree or disagree, in awe of my range of knowledge or in disbelief at the depths of my ignorance.
    But my mail volume is such that I can answer each reader only once. I cannot, as some readers wish, get into a debate on every column. Indeed, it is becoming a “no good deed goes unpunished” situation. While I answer every reader e-mail once, some readers get mad at me for not engaging in an endless back-and-forth. I simply don’t have the time. And a new twist has come up. Because many of my papers post my column on their websites, a lot of bloggers are picking them up and posting them on their blogs to share with their readers, who also e-mail me to comment and expect a reply. My loyalty is to the readers of the papers that carry me, not to unknown blogs.
    FAQ No. 1: To remind longtime readers and to answer the query of new readers — yes, my columns are in book form. “Bruce’s History Lessons: The First Five Years (2001-2006),” can be purchased at www.Amazon.com and
    www.barnesandnoble.com, among other sites. The easiest way to purchase the book is to go to my website, www.historylessons.net, and click on the link to Amazon on my home page. Otherwise, Google my name or the book’s title and it should bring you to an appropriate link.
    FAQ No. 2: A perennial. Books from the past 12 months that I particularly recommend include:
    • “With Wings Like Eagles: A History of the Battle of Britain,” by Michael Korda, a lucidly written and thorough account of that historic air battle that rightly credits the man chiefly responsible for the British victory, Sir Hugh Dowding.
    • “The Bay of Pigs,” by Howard Jones, a well-researched, fascinating account of the disastrous attempt to overthrow Cuban dictator Fidel Castro by a CIA-trained band of Cuban exiles.
    • “Hunting Eichmann” by Neal Bascomb, the story of a special team of Israeli Nazi hunters who captured Adolf Eichmann, the man chiefly responsible for Adolf Hitler’s policy to annihilate the Jews of Europe, and secretly spirited him out of Argentina. It reads like an especially gripping “Mission Impossible” episode, only it really happened.
    • Oh, and did I mention my own book?
    There, the place looks cleaner! I’ll be back next spring.