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In his latest book, former Washington Post East Asia Bureau Chief Blaine Harden reveals the story of a rogue American spy who operated on the Korean Peninsula during the Korean War. Virtually unsupervised by the U.S. military, Air Force Major Donald Nichols planned and ran covert missions in a world of mass executions and torture for 11 years. And was then taken out of Korea in a straightjacket by American military authorities and forced to undergo months of electroshock in a military hospital, where Nichols said Air Force psychiatrists tried to “erase” his brain.

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The year was 1908 and an Ohio doctor, appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt as the nation's first Opium Commissioner, warned that Americans "have become the greatest drug fiends in the world." If the sentiment seems all too familiar in the grips of our current opioid epidemic, you'll find there are many similarities, and some shocking differences, between current times and a drug crisis that dates all the way back to the Civil War.

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Geoff Edgers is the National Arts Reporter for the Washington Post who recently reported on the slow collapse of the guitar industry. 

Washington Post staff writer Neely Tucker moonlights as a novelist at night and has just released his third mystery in his Sully Carter series.