Title:                      Floodgate

Author:                 Alistair MacLean

MacLean, Alistair (1983). Floodgate. London: Collins

LOC:       84149000

PR6063.A248 F55 1983

Date Posted:      August 7, 2013

As is true for all the later books of MacLean, this one is formula driven, and far from his best writing.

An organization calling themselves the FFF (“Fighters For Freedom”) start breaching dykes in order to force the Dutch government to force the British government to pull all their troops out of Northern Ireland. It is the task of Peter van Effen, a detective-lieutenant in the Amsterdam police, to find and stop the FFF.

The story is weak and the plot very thin, with the “love interest” and Van Effen’s sister serving no real purpose. The ending falls apart as an explanation for the ludicrous behavior of all involved is offered. Too much explanatory dialogue, naïve villains, no claustrophobic tension and without the signature plot twists this is a very weak MacLean.

Chronicle of the 20th Century

Title:                      Chronicle of the 20th Century

Author:                   Clifton Daniel

Daniel,Clifton (1994), ed. in chief. Chronicle of the 20th Century: The Ultimate Record of Our Times. Liberty, MO: JL International Pub

LOC:       94213235

D422 .C53 1994

Date Posted:      August 6, 2013

This book, also available on a CD-ROM, provides a fabulous interactive view of the news, people, and trends for each day of our latest century. It invites you to step back into history to experience mankind’s triumphs and tragedies from the Wright Brother’s first flight to the Apollo moon landing… from the Great Depression to the Radical 60s to the present 90s.

The program begins in the 3-D Newsroom which is an interactive route into the Chronicle. As you move the browser across the screen, objects such as drawers, news clips, or the typewriter may move or make sounds. You can click on them to connect you to more news stories. The other areas of the Chronicle include the News Screens, the Calendar, Biographies, 20th Century in Focus, and Chronicle Online.

The 1,100 News Screens contain more than 6,000 news bits and stories written in the familiar tabloid format and a “you are there” style. The linked screens highlight the events month-by-month with News in Brief giving a day-to-day account of the century’ s events.

The Calendar is organized by decades and lists each year for each decade. Clicking on a year takes you to the corresponding News Screen.

The Biographies section contains over 100 biographies of the famous and sometimes infamous personalities of the century. The biography screens review the person’s life and achievements. A chronology button takes you to a pop-up chart of key dates and events in the person’s life.

20th Century in Focus examines, in-depth, 8 critical movements or conflicts which have shaped the world. This section contains excellent nostalgic video clips. If you are unsure where to begin, the program offers a random tour option. If you are looking for events on a specific date or topic, the powerful Search screen which allows keyword and date searches, will quickly connect you to the information. Finally, to keep you most up-to-date, the program features Chronicle Online which connects you to the Chronicle’s website for the latest news.

With over 6,000 news articles, 3,000 photographs, 90 archival sound clips, 70 videos, and 80 maps and animations, the Chronicle of the 20th Century CD-ROM is an ideal source for information and entertainment.


Title:                      Firebreak

Author:                  Richard Herman, Jr.

Herman, Richard (1998). Firebreak. New York: W. Morrow

LOC:       91007969

PS3558.E684 F5 1991

Date Posted:      August 5, 2013

In this action adventure book, the Middle East erupts in a red-hot shooting war—and the President’s grandson is in the thick of it. Herman’s prewriting career (The Warbirds, Force of Eagles) as an Air Force fighter pilot shows clearly and to advantage.

President Zack Pontowski and his high-flying grandson Matt are at the heart of the heated political and military action stirred up by the resurgent Iraqis and their new best friends, the Syrians, and by Israel’s clear intent to go nuclear if provoked. While the President copes with the intrigues of his Sununu-ish chief of staff, his wife’s fatal illness, Soviet political disintegration, a blackmailing oil empress, and Israel’s friends in Congress, his grandson seeks to erase his playboy past, renounce his grandfather’s political influence, win the heart of luscious Sabra, and earn the respect of his Air Force colleagues.

The brilliant, tubby, lustful chief of staff, who is in the clutches of the aged oil queen, very nearly cooks Israel’s goose as he pooh-poohs the threat of war and tries to freeze out pro-Israeli intelligence. But the Israelis start channeling their messages through Matt, and the President wises up in time to get on top of the situation when the Arabs and Egyptians start shooting. As the Israelis rattle their nuclear weapons, the Iraqis shake their chemical weapons, and it becomes necessary for grandson Matt to zoom into the thick of the fray to let off a few of those amazingly intelligent weapons we have come to know so well on the TV screen. Good, generally intelligible military thriller–this one distinguished by credible political characterizations and hair-raising aerial shootouts.