Ah, Memorial Day. The three-day weekend that kicks off the summer, right? Well, there’s a little more to it than that. Unlike Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day is a chance to remember all those killed while in service. Since we know Readerly subscribers will likely take this extra time to read anyway, why not pick up a wonderful book that also honors the sacrifices of those who have served their country?
Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War by Karen Abbott (Harper) This illuminating work of narrative nonfiction teases out the little-known stories of four women, including one who went to war as a man, who used their gender to flout the law and secure secrets for their respective sides. Focusing on the ways in which their influence changed the course of the war, Abbott gives readers a fascinating new perspective on the War Between the States, the first impetus for Decoration Day, now known as Memorial Day.
Birds of a Feather (Maisie Dobbs #2) by Jacqueline Winspear (Penguin) If you haven’t delved into the world of Maisie Dobbs, the start of summer would be a perfect time. Jacqueline Winspear’s heroine was a nurse in World War I and must navigate a crumbling England in the war’s aftermath as she sets up shop as a detective. Although the second in the series, Birds of a Feather is still a great entrance point as Maisie tries to find a runaway heiress whose friends keep showing up dead. Though it isn’t immediately apparent, the echoes of the war have reached 1930, and this tale of grief and revenge will have you reaching for the next book in the series.
Rescue at Los Baños: The Most Daring Prison Camp Raid of World War II by Bruce Henderson (William Morrow) Colin Powell teased the events in this book most enticingly, calling the raid at Los Baños “the textbook operation for all ages and all armies,” and Henderson does it justice, depicting the Pacific front of the war as well as the many American citizens whose lives were caught up in the fighting. The plans to liberate the internees were intricate and dependent on so many variables, and the tension Henderson creates in his narrative makes this an up-all-night read.
Super Spy by Matt Kindt (Top Shelf) Fictional, but no less impactful, Super Spy is an incredible collection of comics, 52 short stories constructed to dovetail and create a compendium of the brave men and women who worked as spies during World War II. Kindt portrays everything from the taut moments of covert work to the everyday, mundane life of those doing the largely anonymous work of espionage, and Super Spy manages to be beautiful and devastating all at the same time with art you will not soon forget.—JENN RAVEY