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The Kissing Sailor, and other new books worth a look

Detail from the cover of “The Kissing Sailor”

The Kissing Sailor
The Mystery Behind the Photo That Ended World War II
By Lawrence Verria and George Caldorisi, Naval Institute Press, 266 pages, $30

It's one of the most iconic photographs from the Second World War, and one of the most enduring msyteries. Renowned photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt shot the photo in Times Square, just after news of Japan's surrender was made public. In celebration, a sailor and a nurse are kissing. Who were they? Eisenstaedt never asked. In 1980, the editors of Life magazine tried to discover the identities of the sailor and the nurse, but there were many claimants (and many experts) and nothing was settled. But now Lawrence Verria, a historian and teacher, and George Caldorisi, a U.S. Navy pilot and author of eight books, claim they have solved this fascinating mystery once and for all.

Naked Trees
By John Terpstra, Wolsak & Wynn, 81 pages, $17

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In this republished version of his classic work, award-winning Canadian poet John Terpstra presents an ode to trees. Or rather a series of short – mostly less than one page long – anecdotes, poems, poetic prose, quotations, stories, facts and meditations. He tells of towering white oaks along the QEW and the black walnut trees of Hamilton, discusses the beauty and functionality of utility poles, and the joy of creating a work of art from black cherry wood. Artist Wesley Bates's gorgeous wood engravings of trees, roots, leaves and logs are scattered throughout the book, lending visual richness to the text.

Amped
By Daniel H. Wilson, Doubleday, 274 pages, $29.95

Daniel H. Wilson earned a PhD in robotics before becoming a successful author (Robopocalypse, How to Survive a Robot Uprising, A Boy and His Bot, among several others), and he clearly knows his technology. In Amped, hundreds of thousands of people have been implanted with devices to "amplify" their abilities. One consequence is that they become capable of superhuman feats, and soon laws are passed that restrict the rights, and the abilities, of "amplified" humans. Twenty-nine-year-old Owen Gray is part of this new persecuted underclass, known as "amps," so he goes on the run, hoping to reach an outpost in Oklahoma where, it is said, a group of amps are about to change the world – or destroy it.

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