Larry Gonick is a veteran American cartoonist best known for his delightful comic-book guides to science and history, many of which have previews online. Chief among them is his long-running Cartoon History of the Universe (later The Cartoon History of the Modern World), a sprawling multi-volume opus documenting everything from the Big Bang to the Bush administration. Published over the course of three decades, it takes a truly global view -- its time-traveling Professor thoroughly explores not only familiar topics like Rome and World War II but the oft-neglected stories of Asia and Africa, blending caricature and myth with careful scholarship (cited by fun illustrated bibliographies) and tackling even the most obscure events with intelligence and wit. This savvy satire carried over to Gonick's Zinn-by-way-of-Pogo chronicle The Cartoon History of the United States, along with a bevy of Cartoon Guides to other topics, including Genetics, Computer Science, Chemistry, Physics, Statistics, The Environment, and (yes!) Sex. Gonick has also maintained a few sideprojects, such as a webcomic look at Chinese invention, assorted math comics (previously), the Muse magazine mainstay Kokopelli & Co. (featuring the shenanigans of his "New Muses"), and more. See also these lengthy interview snippets, linked previously. Want more? Amazon links to the complete oeuvre inside! [more inside]
"I realized that I was one of those extremely rare individuals who was a former POW of the drug war, and who got out and had the opportunity to share his story with the world." "It kind of makes an activist out of you when 3 helicopters land in your backyard and guys jump out with guns and destroy your place before your very eyes." Exile Nation is a documentary [complete film] [trailer] and an ongoing memoir, a work of “spiritual journalism”, and eventually "a documentary archive of interviews and testimonies […] revealing the far-ranging consequences of the War on Drugs to the American Criminal Justice System." [more inside]
“Josephine had practically every desirable personal characteristic, except wisdom and mercy.” Gee, that sounds like she actually isn’t a nice person at all! Gary Brecher (previously) reviews Banquo’s Ghosts, a political-minded spy thriller from National Review editor Richard Lowry and novelist Keith Korman. Lowry describes it as an "episode of “24″ written by Proust. " [more inside]
James Bond eat your heart out - the name's Chapman, Eddie Chapman. A German spy who was awarded the Iron Cross and a yacht. A British spy who probably saved vast chunks of London from bombs. But above all, a conman with a penchant for "prostitutes, cognac, gambling, Savile Row tailoring and fast cars" according to his spymasters (warning - PDF). Read the book. Or the other book. Or see the biopic he reportedly didn't like. He died aged 83, in case you're wondering.
At least one commander told him, "Follow the soldiers' instructions, because they'll put their lives at risk to save you." But no one tried to censor his drawings or discourage him from going out on missions. -- Steve Mumford is a New York painter who was embedded as a "combat artist" in Iraq. The archives of his Baghdad Journal make for fascinating reading. He has recently published a large book of the art he created on this voyage.
Rumsfeld, shmumsfeld. Indiana Jones to the rescue in The Battle for Falluja. "Militarily, the battle of Falluja was an unqualified success," says Bing West, the former assistant defense secretary whose not-yet-published book will be turned into the fast-paced actioner.