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By Joseph J. Ellis

Knopf 26.95

In the long summer of 1776, delegates of the 13 colonies met, and after furious debate voted to secede from the British Empire. All this while a massive armada of 427 British warships carrying nearly 34,000 British and Hessian soldiers attacked and defeated our troops defending New York. With superior forces against our ragtag army, it should have been a decisive and final British victory except for the brilliance of General George Washington who, after losing New York, turned retreat into victory.


By Carsten Stroud

Knopf $25

I was fairly well into this book before I realized it was the second in a trilogy and began thinking, ‘I should have read the first, “Niceville,” first. Nevertheless, this one intrigued me even though I found Niceville not so nice. Detective Nick Kavanaugh and his wife, family lawyer Kate, who already have their hands full with events from volume one, now complicate their lives by adopting Rainey Teague, a brutalized orphan with loads of baggage. Planes crash, people disappear and international espionage brings federal investigators to this small town. For mystery and thrills, however, “The Homecoming” stands alone very well.


By Ivy Pochoda

Dennis Lehane Books $25.99

When two bored 15-year-olds in Red Hook, Brooklyn, June and Val, decide one night to have some fun doing something daring, they take a rubber raft into the river, but only Val returns, her bruised and unconscious body washed ashore. An accident? Or murder? Suspicions are cast on several residents of Visitation Street including Cree, a young black boy and Jonathan, a musician and teacher. Fadi, a Lebanese shopkeeper, keeps residents informed with his self-produced newsletter. All characters are so believable, they seem familiar. Pochoda confirms the brilliance she debuted in her first novel, “The Art of Disappearing.” Excellent!


By Billy Crystal

Henry Holt $28

From the very first line in Crystal’s Memoir, we’re reminded of his nine stints as master of ceremonies of the Oscars as he recollects the joy and laughs of his early years with family, friends and rabbis, getting melancholy only when recollecting their passing. On his 65th birthday this past March, he got to thinking of his own demise and the need to find his own burial plots. The scene with the tomb salesman quickly turns into one of the funniest stories of all. He’s not foolin’ anybody, he’s still the funniest man around.

THE SATURDAY EVENING POST’S 300 funniest cartoons


You’ll find more sidesplitting laughs in this very funny collection of cartoons in the special Humor Issue of the Post. Enjoy them at your leisure, but don’t read them all at once. Your side may actually split.


By James Patterson & David Ellis

Little, Brown $28

In a departure from Patterson’s usual style, the principal character is the narrator, Ben Casper, who witnesses his girlfriend falling to her death from her high-rise balcony. The police call it suicide, which Ben doubts. He sets out to find her murderer. What he finds is that she’s been living a double life, unfaithful to him and others. His investigation involves driving his motorcycle recklessly through busy streets as he recites quirks of past presidents and quotes of movie stars. Not Patterson’s usual formula, except for the tantalizing short chapters.

By Joseph J. Ellis

By Carsten Stroud

By Ivy Pochoda

By Billy Crystal

‘The Saturday Evening Post’s 300 Funniest Cartoons’

By James Patterson and David Ellis