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Books by the Blogger:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


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READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


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THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


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TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


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PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


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ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


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IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


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I've decided to stop accepting review copies. The downside of getting buried in free books is that reading increasingly becomes an obligatory act. After some seven years of blogging books, it's time for me to return to the simple pleasure of reading only the books I want to read, when I want to read them.



  
From a random review:

  

« Paul, Jim: Catapult: Harry and I Build a Siege Weapon | Main | Collins, Paul: Sixpence House »

MacLeish, Roderick: The Man who Wasn't There

  

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Random House © 1976, 215 pages [amazon]
3 stars

Rex Carnaby, the famous actor, gets on a plane and, as is his habit, he adopts a fictional persona for his conversation with fellow passengers. This time he is Frederick Jackson Carnaby, the actor's twin brother, a wild animal dealer visiting Washington from Kenya. There's nothing unusual about Rex's flight or his performance as Frederick, but the next morning Rex finds a picture of himself in the obituaries. The fictional Frederick Jackson Carnaby, it seems, has met his death en route from Washington to London.

There's nothing unusual about Rex's flight or his performance as Frederick, but the next morning Rex finds a picture of himself in the obituaries.The report of Frederick's death is the first in a series of events orchestrated by a certain "Follensbee"--we find out the mastermind's true identity only near the book's end--who is trying to drive Rex mad. In the weeks following the appearance of the obituary, Rex is haunted by voices in his house, by the creeping suspicion, cleverly planted by his tormentor, that he killed his own father as a child, and by the unwelcome attentions of a new member of his therapy group. Follensbee's reasons for persecuting Rex are not clear until his plot is finally revealed, but we do know that he intends for Rex, in his madness, to murder his own young son--the only full-blooded relative he has. As Rex's sanity unravels--rather too quickly--according to plan, it seems inevitable that he will act out the scenario Follensbee has conceived.

The plan of attack Follensbee has devised is indeed ingenious, though it depends on the assumption that a man driven to a state of "primal madness" must necessarily commit the primal crime, the murder of a family member. This assumption of the inevitability of Rex's murder once he is driven mad, however, is difficult to accept, and so one cannot be quite swept away by the book's plot. The Man who Wasn't There is nevertheless a decent, quick read that will keep you guessing, if not wide-eyed and glued to your seat.

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Book-blog.com reviews by Debra Hamel are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).

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About the blogger: Debra is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece, including Trying Neaira: The True Story of a Courtesan's Scandalous Life in Ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.

  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  






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Book-blog.com by Debra Hamel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License.