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November 24, 2012
The Mining Journal

HELL ABOVE EARTH: the incredible true story of two American WWII bomber commander and the co-pilot ordered to kill him written by Stephen Frater.

An unforgettable and thrilling tale of two American bomber pilots who forged an unexpected friendship in the flak-filled skies over Nazi Germany.

The air battle over Nazi Germany in WWII was hell above earth. It lasted three years and cost the lives of 125,000 Allied crewmen, including 26,000 Americans from the U.S. Army's Eighth Air Force in England. For bomber crews, every day they flew was like D-Day, exacting tremendous amounts of emotional uncertainty and trauma. Some men, like 20-year-old U.S. Captain Werner Goering, accepted this, even thrived on it, and welcomed the adrenaline rush. They knew that death could come in a variety of ways: an unlucky flack blast, Luftwaffe fighters that could appear anywhere at anytime, or pilot error while flying less that 20 feet apart. Werner Goering was an exceptional pilot. He was also the nephew of Herman Goering, a leading member of the Nazi party and Commander in Chief of the Luftwaffe.

When Werner qualified to become a bomber commander in 1912, J. Edgar Hoover issued a top secret order to ensure that if his plane was downed for any reason over Nazi-occupied Europe.

ALWAYS RUNNING by Luis J. Rodriguez. By age twelve, Luis Rodriguez was a veteran of East L.A. gang warfare. Lured by a seemingly invincible gang culture, he witnessed countless shootings, beatings and arrests, then watched with increasing fear as drugs, murder, suicide and senseless acts of street crime claimed friends and family members.

Before long, Rodriguez saw a way out of the barrio through education and the power of the words and successfully broke free from years of violence and desperation. Achieving success as an award-winning Chicano poet, he was sure the streets would haunt him no more-until his son joined a gang.

Rodriguez fought for his child by telling his own story in "Always Running," a vivid memoir that explores the motivation of gang life and cautions against the death and destruction that inevitably claim its participants. At times heartbreakingly sad and brutal, "Always Running" is ultimately an uplifting true story, filled with hope, insight and hard-learned lessons for the next generation.

GYPSY BOY by Mikey Walsh. Mikey Walsh was born into a Romany gypsy family. They lived in a secluded community, and little is known about their way of life. After centuries of persecution, gypsies are wary of outsiders, and if you choose to leave, you can never come back.

This something Mikey knows only too well.

Growing up, he didn't go to school, he seldom mixed with non-gypsies and the caravan became his world. It was a rich and unusual upbringing, but although Mikey inherited a vibrant and loyal culture, his family's legacy was bittersweet. It held a hidden history of violence and grief. Eventually Mikey was forced to make an agonizing decision-to stay and keep secrets, or escape and find somewhere to belong.

"Gypsy Boy" shows, for the first time, what life is really like among the Romany gypsies. This is a one-of-a-kind memoir of a little-seen world, one both fascinating and heartbreaking.

Mikey Walsh left the gypsy community and moved to London. It is the longest he's ever stayed in one place. He taught himself to read and write and now works at a primary school as a teaching aide where he also picks up the formal education he missed out on as a child.

ESCAPE FROM CAMP 14: ONE MAN'S REMARKABLE ODYSSEY FROM NORTH KOREA TO FREEDOM IN THE WEST by Blaine Harden. North Korea is isolated and hungry, bankrupt and belligerent. It is also armed with nuclear weapons. Between 150,000 and 200,000 people are being held in its political prison camps, which have existed twice as long as Stalin's Soviet Gulag and twelve times as long as the Nazi concentrations camps. Very few born and raised in these camps have escaped. But Shin Dong-hyuk did.

In "Escape for Camp 14," acclaimed journalist Blaine Harden tells the story of Shin-Dong-hyuk and through the lens of Shin's life unlocks the secrets of the world's most repressive totalitarian state. Shin knew nothing of civilized existence. He saw his mother as a competitor for food; guards raised him to be a snitch and he witnessed the execution of his own family. Through Harden's harrowing narrative of Shin's life and remarkable escape, he offers an unequaled inside account of one of the world's darkest nations and a riveting tale of endurance, courage and survival.

LIFE AFTER DEATH by Damien Echols. In 1993, teenagers Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley, Jr.-who have come to be known as the West Memphis Three-were arrested for the murders of three 8-year-old boys in Arkansas. The ensuing trial was marked by tampered evidence, false testimony and public hysteria. Baldwin and Misskelley were sentenced to life in prison; while eighteen-year-old Echols, deemed the "ringleader," was sentenced to death. Over the next two decades, the WM3 became known worldwide as a symbol of wrongful conviction and imprisonment, with thousands of supported and many notable celebrities who called for a new trial. In a shock turn of events, all three men were released in August 2011. Now Echols shares his story in full-from abuse by prison guards and wardens, to portraits of fellow inmates and deplorable living conditions, to the incredible reserves of patience, spirituality and perseverance that kept him alive and sane while incarcerated for nearly two decades.

In these pages, Echols reveals himself as a brilliant writer, infusing his narrative with tragedy and irony in equal measures; he describes the terrors he experienced every day and his outrage toward the American justice system, and offers a firsthand account of living on death row in heartbreaking, agonizing detail. "Life After Death" is destined to be a riveting, explosive classic of prison literature.

- Stan F. Peterson





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