Reviews for Inspector Oldfield & The Black Hand Society

'An inspector should go quietly about his business, avoiding newspaper notice or self-advertisement.' – Manual of Instructions for Post Office Inspectors. Thankfully, Inspector Frank Oldfield paid no attention to these instructions! This book not only captures the investigative exploits of Oldfield’s relentless pursuit of the Black Hand, but shows what a masterful public relations machine he was for the Postal Inspection Service – and for Frank Oldfield. As someone who has worked hard to raise the profile of Postal Inspectors from the 'Silent Service' image, I tip my hat to Inspector Oldfield. He was way ahead of his time and his efforts are magnificently relived in this book. - (Daniel L. Mihalko, Postal Inspector in Charge, Congressional & Public Affairs (Retired))

“It’s filled with colorful characters… neatly balances the old family stories with a solid historical perspective on the time and place. The combination makes for an intriguing look at a forgotten piece of Ohio’s history.”
Columbus Dispatch

“This unputdownable book covers a topic that hasn’t received much attention. Highly recommended.”
Library Journal (starred review)

“Inspector Oldfield and The Black Hand Society” is part family history and part history of a terrorist crime group that was finally rounded up by a dedicated Post Office inspector. It is a well-written and well-researched book that will interest students of crime and history."
Washington Times

“Precise, fascinating.” 
Wall Street Journal

“A simply riveting read from cover to cover... a unique and extraordinary study that will prove to be an immediately popular and enduringly valued... Impressively informative and exceptionally well written, organized and presented.”
Midwest Book Review

“Drawing on a treasure trove of family records, Oldfield and coauthor Bruce (No Apparent Danger) use the remarkable life of the author’s great-grandfather, Frank Oldfield, to illuminate the little-known role of federal postal inspectors in federal law enforcement at the turn of the 20th century... A captivating summary of the origins of the U.S. postal system adds intrigue to this lucid blend of true crime and history.”
Publishers Weekly

 

Reviews for Sellout

"'Sellout' mines an important topic: the national-security risks arising from our loss of industrial expertise and manufacturing capacity." - Wall Street Journal

"a compelling narrative. . . . Readers will share Kennedy's considerable frustration with the shortsightedness of profit-driven stakeholders and the hubris of politicians." - Library Journal

"Bruce provides a concise, inspiring story of personal transformation and dedication to American technology production. An instructive tale of one man's 'burning mission to bring back manufacturing and innovation to America.'" - Kirkus Reviews

"A master of her craft, Bruce (Hostage Nation, 2010) combines intellect and a no-nonsense tone to tell a complicated scientific and global story through the lens of one determined man . . . Bruce's thorough work explains the historical context for Kennedy's mine, the evolution of nuclear energy at the Oak Ridge laboratories, and the globalization process, all balanced with Kennedy's biography. This book will, no doubt, spur policy change." - Booklist

 

Reviews for Hostage Nation

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In this thrilling account of the origins and workings of the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), Bruce (No Apparent Reason), Hayes, and Botero, all codirectors and coproducers of the documentary Held Hostage in Colombia, marshal years of research into the guerrilla group, the Colombian drug trade, and the story of three American private contractors and Ingrid Betancourt, a Colombian presidential candidate, held captive by the FARC from 2003 to 2008. FARC™s history is expertly interwoven into a narrative that includes intimate details of the lives of the hostages, their families back home, and those who worked for their release. But the authors™ real achievement is their objectivity--no book published in the U.S. in the last decade details the activities of the FARC, the Colombian and U.S. military, the flailing war on drugs, and President Alvaro Uribe™s administration in such a well-rounded and unbiased way, covering recent history from so many perspectives--no small feat given the perils of reporting from the region and the polarized views of the FARC as revolutionaries or terrorists, bumbling gangsters or major players. 
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

The authors here profile the FARC, the Colombian Marxist rebels whose power declined precipitously during the recent presidency of hard-liner Alvaro Uribe. From a summary of the FARC’s origins, sketches of its leaders, and description of its self-financing via drug trafficking and kidnapping, which plagued Colombia for decades, the authors launch their narrative’s main story line: the FARC’s seizure of politician Ingrid Betancourt, their later kidnapping of three Americans conducting surveillance operations (FARC summarily murdered two other operatives), and the attention the hostages’ plight drew from the outside world. Author Jorge Enrique Botero was a Colombian journalist whom FARC permitted to film the hostages. They despised Botero for that (see Out of Captivity, by Marc Gonsalves, 2009); nevertheless, Botero’s role as a participant, which Botero justifies as facilitating a negotiated release, is recorded here. But that intention was trumped by the Colombian army’s spectacular 2008 rescue of the hostages (also recounted in Law of the Jungle, by John Otis, 2010). Readers inquisitive about the FARC will benefit from the authors’ informative investigation. --Gilbert Taylor

Reviews for No Apparent Danger

 

From Publishers Weekly

The fight currently raging within the volcanological community, sketched by the discrepancies between Bruce's work and Stanley Williams and Fen Montaigne's Surviving Galeras (reviewed below), concerns what is known about predicting eruptions, and particularly about Galeras when it blew, and why nine people died in that eruption (see PW, Book News, Feb. 12). In Bruce's harrowing depiction of the 1985 Nevado del Ruiz eruption, which killed 23,000 people, scientists and survivors describe bureaucratic foolishness, scientific discovery and human strife. In her presentation of the 1993 eruption of Galeras, another Colombian volcano, numerous interviews illuminate further human folly, and particularly Williams's pariah status among geologists. Seismologist Bernard Chouet's testimony discredits Williams's assertion that there was no warning of the eruption. Previously, Chouet had successfully predicted two eruptions from seismographic patterns also visible when Galeras erupted. While Williams says this was never brought to his attention, Bruce notes that leading a team into an active volcano without checking available data hardly seems responsible scientific practice. Chouet claims he presented his prediction technique, with Williams present, in 1991. Further, expedition members contend that, despite Galeras's signs of activity, Williams ignored advice to shorten the visit. One survivor says Williams took no safety precautions and mocked his colleagues who wore hard hats. Scientist and journalist Bruce traces the fascinating recent history of Colombian volcanoes and the scientific community's politics, wherein intellectual property generates fame and near-fortune, in an insightful, spellbinding account. Photos and illus. (Apr. 2)Forecast: Bruce's 11-city tour, participation in Columbia University's Earth Science Colloquium in March and the much-publicized Galeras debacle promise big sales.

 

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

 

From Library Journal

In 1993, a Colombian volcano named Galeras erupted, killing six scientists and three tourists inside its rim and severely injuring the expedition's leader, eminent vulcanalogist Williams. Could this tragedy have been avoided? Could the eruption have been predicted? Two new books debate those questions from opposite ends of the spectrum. Williams offers a firsthand account of the disaster, which traumatized him physically and psychologically, while Bruce, a science writer with a master's degree in geology, provides an investigative journalist's perspective. Arguing that there is no method of accurately predicting eruptions, Williams defends his actions, and his book reads as a partial apology to the nine who died and to all who were injured. Bruce, who also discusses a 1985 eruption at another Colombian volcano that left 23,000 people dead (studied in a referreed scientific publication by Williams), writes in a more sensational style, accusing Williams of not being a "team player" (for years the scientist claimed he was the only survivor despite evidence to the contrary) and ignoring a seismologist's research indicating that Galeras was ready to explode. However, both authors agree that Marta Calvache and Patty Mothes, two Colombian geologists who ran into the volcano to rescue people, were heroes at Galeras. Williams acknowledges that he owes his life to Calvache's actions. Perhaps the whole story still is not known, but both books read together make a try. Recommended for academic and larger public libraries. Jean E. Crampon, Science & Engineering Lib., Univ. of Southern California, Los Angeles 
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

On January 14, 1993, Galeras, a volcano in southern Colombia, erupted, killing nine people who were part of an expedition to study the mountain. Everything else related to this tragedy is cloaked in confusion, just as the mountain itself was shrouded in clouds the morning of a fateful expedition. Geologist Victoria Bruce had hoped to cowrite a book with Stanley Williams. Williams was in charge of the disastrous Galeras expedition, during which he was grievously injured, sustaining two broken legs and a nearly severed foot, two fractured vertebrae, and a life-threatening head injury that drove bone fragments into his brain, broke his jaw, left him deaf in one ear, and affected his mental processes. Montaigne, author of Reeling in Russia (1999), beat Bruce to the coauthor slot (see their book Surviving Galeras) , but Bruce soon discovered a story of her own. She focuses on events in Colombia, presenting a harrowing description of the 1985 eruption of Nevado del Ruiz that killed more than 23,000 people; a crisp chronicle of the 1993 conference that brought dozens of volcano experts to Galeras at Williams' invitation; and her piece de resistance, a thorough explanation of the pioneering work of seismologist Bernard Chouet, whose findings should have prevented the Galeras deaths. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

"A breathtaking story of scientific hubris and unimaginable tragedy. Expertly written and unflinchingly reported." -- -- Todd Balf, author of The Last River 

"A breathtaking story of scientific hubris and unimaginable tragedy. Expertly written and unflinchingly reported." -- -- Todd Balf, author of The Last River 

"A scientific thriller [that] shows how natural disasters are also the work of men... Memorable" -- -- Boston Globe 

"A shocking expose...The true story of two volcanoes in Colombia" -- -- Glamour

"A tragic story with explosive implications." -- -- Kirkus Reviews 

"A vivid account....Bruce documents...warning signals Williams missed, safety precautions he failed to take and grandstanding opportunities he seized." -- -- Time Magazine 

"A vivid account....Bruce documents...warning signals Williams missed, safety precautions he failed to take and grandstanding opportunities he seized." -- --Time Magazine 

"Harrowing...offers rich insight into the untidy workings of volcanologists and science in general." -- -- Discover Magazine 

"Harrowing...offers rich insight into the untidy workings of volcanologists and science in general." -- -- Discover Magazine 

"The finest sort of journalism -- ferociously well researched and impossible to put down." -- -- Sebastian Junger, author of The Perfect Storm

© Copyright 2019 Victoria Bruce

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