DEMOCRACY IN CHAINS by Nancy MacLean tells the story of the long-game being played by multi-billionaires in America to undo the economic and political system that has benefited most of us for fifty years and more. If we do not catch on to what they are doing and stop them, America will become a “banana republic,” with all of the wealth and power concentrated in the hand of the very few. In terms of the rule of law and our individual rights, our democracy will be meaningless. If I were still teaching high school civics (“government”) or history classes, I would give the students extra credit if they would read this book.


MOE BERG: THE SECRET FILES by Thomas R. McDonough tells the story of one of America’s best assets in the OSS, which was the early version of the CIA, in World War II: a baseball player! But Moe Berg was no ordinary baseball player. He had a very unusual “skill set,” as the Liam Neeson spy guy calls it. Full disclosure: I edited the book, but I do not get any royalties from it, other than a tiny commission if you buy it through the link below.

By Thomas McDonough


AGATHA CHRISTIE’S MISS MARPLE — THE COMPLETE SHORT STORIES is one of my recent bedtime books. The first thirteen stories introduce the character as a much more elderly Edwardian lady than she was in the later stories and the novels. All the same, I thoroughly enjoy the vivid characters, the intelligent dialog and of course the ingenious plots. Such a refreshing change from all of the noise and grittiness of modern television! For a pleasant escape from the nastier aspects of our modern world, I invite you to join me in the quieter and more refined era of Miss Marple.


THE LIFE AND TIMES OF MISS JANE MARPLE by Anne Hart is a delightful biography of the fictitious Miss Marple based entirely on material from all of the Agatha Christie novels and short stories. Because I watch the TV episodes frequently and enjoy re-reading the stories, I found this book to be indispensable to my fuller understanding of that dear character. Anne Hart writes in a refined and pleasant style reminiscent of Miss Marple’s own speech, and this makes her observations as an omniscient narrator all the more credible. I am sure that I will enjoy re-reading this book from time to time.


A FIELD GUIDE TO THE ENGLISH CLERGY by The Reverend Fergus Butler-Gallie is my latest impulse buy, inspired by the various amusing clergy in Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple stories. This book is full of hilarious true stories of some of England’s most delightful eccentrics, told with the dry wit of an Oxford and Cambridge man. Enjoy!

DARK MONEY by Jane Mayer exposes the secret playbook of certain multi-billionaires in their quest to make themselves a new aristocracy—and make the rest of us peasants. This is not an easy read partly because it is horrifying. But it goes hand in hand with DEMOCRACY IN CHAINS (see below). Staying in denial about the power of “dark money” will not stop the evil of it. It is better to face it, understand it, and know it for what it really is.