Le Bal des chacals

Two fine new books

Two fine recently published books: One is  Jean Lesieur's Le Bal des chacals (The Ball of Jackels),  published by Editions du Toucan,  an exciting novel  of intrigue about marriage, history, politics and media in France and America. It has not been translated into English yet but I'm pretty sure it will be.  (I read French.)

Mr. Lesieur is a celebrated  journalistic writer and editor, a novelist and a co-founder of the "French CNN'' -- France24. Few can write about contemporary France and America with such depth of knowledge about the configurations of power and with such a sense of place, including about New England.


Then there's Target Tokyo (Norton), by James M. Scott,  an exciting account of the April 18, 1942 U.S. air raid  on Tokyo led by Lt. Col. James Doolittle. Coming so soon after Pearl Harbor, it shocked the Japanese into both the Battle of Midway, which they lost, and led them commit vast atrocities in occupied China, where most of the American airmen landed after the raid.

Mr. Scott looks at what led to the raid and its short- and long-term ramifications, good and bad. It is engrossing history, written with great narrative drive and impeccably sourced. It includes  much information not previously known to the history-reading public.

-- Robert Whitcomb