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Deadly Risks
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In the Cauldron.jpg

IN THE CAULDRON: Terror, Tension, and the American Ambassador's Struggle to Avoid Pearl Harbor

(Publication date: November 5, 2019)

This is not just another book about Pearl Harbor.  It is the story of Joseph Grew, America’s ambassador to Japan, and his frantic effort in the months before the Pearl Harbor attack to orchestrate an agreement between Japan and the United States to avoid the war he saw coming.  It is a story filled with hope and heartache, with complex and fascinating characters, and with a drama befitting the momentous decisions at stake.

And more than that, it is a story that has never been told.

In those months before the Pearl Harbor attack, Japan and the United States were locked in a battle of wills. President Franklin D. Roosevelt's economic sanctions were crippling Japan.  America's noose was tightening around Japan's neck — but the country's leaders refused to yield to American demands.

In this cauldron of boiling tensions, Joseph Grew offered many recommendations to break the deadlock.  Having resided and worked in Tokyo for almost ten years, Grew understood what Roosevelt and his administration back home did not: that the Japanese would rather face annihilation than endure the humiliation of surrendering to American pressure.  


The President and his administration saw little need to accept their ambassador’s recommendations.  The administration’s policies, they believed, were sure to succeed. And so, with increasing urgency, Grew tried to explain to the President and his administration that Japan’s mindset could not be gauged by Western standards of logic and that the administration’s policies could lead Japan to embark on a suicidal war with the United States “with dangerous and dramatic suddenness.”

Relying on Grew’s diaries, letters and memos, interviews with members of the families of Grew and his staff, and an abundance of other primary source materials, Lew Paper presents the gripping story of Grew’s effort to halt the downward spiral of Japan’s relations with the United States. Grew had to wrestle with an American government that would not listen to him – and simultaneously confront an increasingly hostile environment in Japan, where pervasive surveillance, arbitrary arrest, and even unspeakable torture by Japan's secret police were constant threats. 

In the Cauldron reads like a novel, but it is based on fact.  And it is sure to raise questions whether the Pearl Harbor attack could have been avoided.

Praise for In the Cauldron

​“The underbrush through which Mr. Paper cuts his way . . . would be challenging for any writer.  But Mr. Paper, with an eye for character and an easy narrative style, manages to keep his subject interesting. . . . And even though we know how it’s all going to end, Mr. Paper manages to add a measure of suspense to his narrative — a tribute to his abilities as a writer.”

— Washington Times

​"In the Cauldron tells one of the great overlooked stories of World War II. Lew Paper delivers a riveting tale with deep research and compelling prose."

– Jonathan Eig, author of Ali: A Life, Get Capone: The Secret Plot That Captured America’s Most Wanted Gangster, and The Luckiest Man: The Life and Times of Lou Gehrig

"Lew Paper’s In the Cauldron is simply the best treatment of Ambassador Joseph Grew and the run-up to the Pacific War.  Engaging writing and thorough research make the book a must read for both the historian and the general audience."

– Sidney Pash, author of The Currents of War: A New History of American-Japanese Relations, 1899-1941

​"Lew Paper's In the Cauldron is a compelling narrative of events leading up to Pearl Harbor.  Even though we know the end, the book is hard to put down.  Being a US ambassador is a tremendous privilege but can be very challenging.  Read this book and you will see why."

– Mark Gitenstein, Former Ambassador to Romania

"Lew Paper has produced the gripping story of Joseph Grew, the U.S. ambassador to Japan, as he fervently worked to prevent war between the United States and Japan. While Grew is the center of the story, Paper also brings to life the array of Japanese and American leaders with whom he interacted.  The book is incisive and vividly portrays the different perspectives and pressures which confronted these decision-makers."

– Ira Shapiro, former U.S. trade negotiator with Japan, and author of The Last Great Senate: Courage and Statesmanship in Times of Crisis and Broken: Can the Senate Save Itself and the Country?

"A lucid and engaging narrative of misguided US-Japanese diplomatic negotiations.  The writing is smooth and easy to read.  This is a book that should be read by a wide audience."

– Noriko Kawamura, author of Emperor Hirohito and the Pacific War


Click here to read Lew’s article from the Fort Myers News-Press on December 7, 2019 on the similarity between the comments during the current impeachment inquiry and Pearl Harbor history.  

Perfect: Don Larsen's Miraculous World Series Game and the Men Who Made It Happen, Lew Paper, Don Larsen, baseball

PERFECT: Don Larsen's Miraculous World Series Game and the Men Who Made it Happen

(New American Library 2009, NAL Paperback 2010)


Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers remains the only no-hit game in World Series history and was described by The New York Times as “the greatest moment” in World Series history.  

Drawing upon oral histories, contemporaneous articles, and dozens of interviews with commentators and players (including all of the surviving players for the Dodgers and Yankees), Lew Paper brings that extraordinary event to life with a pitch-by-pitch narrative that incorporates profiles of the 19 players who were on the field that day, including Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider, and Roy Campanella.  You will understand their backgrounds, their hopes, and their heartaches – and, most important, share the incredible tension they experienced on that unforgettable day in Yankee Stadium.

More than just a story about a single game, Perfect is a window into baseball’s glorious past.


Praise for Perfect

"A home run.”

– Associated Press

"If you want to live inside the most famous statistical afternoon in baseball history, Perfect is . . . well, let's just say 'ideal.'”

– Chuck Klosterman, Esquire

"The author has succeeded in getting under the skin of the players, juxtaposing their stories with key moments.”

– Wall Street Journal

"One of the best books of 2009.”

– Washington Post

"This gem of a story brilliantly recreates one of the greatest moments in baseball history by interweaving the intense drama of the game with superb portraits of the key players who shared in the historic moment.  Perfect captures our hearts as it carries us back to the golden age of baseball and the more innocent world of the 1950s. Though it was a sad day for me as a Dodger fan, I am now mature enough to read and savor this wonderful account.”

– Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of Wait Till Next Year

"If you think you know all there is to know about Don Larsen’s perfect game, think again. In Perfect, the true story of that historic game and the men who played it is revealed in all its imperfect glory. The Dodgers couldn’t come through against Larsen, but with this charming, meticulously researched book, Lew Paper has connected for a resounding hit.”

– Jonathan Eig, author of The Luckiest Man: The Life and Times of Lou Gehrig, and Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson's First Season

"Lew Paper does something more than give you fresh details about Don Larsen’s perfect game.   He uses the game as a backdrop to tell you about the players who were there, and by the end of the book you will know each of them as a friend.  Special game  . . . . Special players. . . . Special book  . . . . I couldn’t put it down, and neither will you.”

– Joe Garagiola, former Major League baseball player, Baseball Hall of Fame broadcaster, and author of Baseball is a Funny Game

"It’s an extraordinary book with a startling approach.  A fascinating pitch-by-pitch detail of the most famous game in World Series history with individual bios of the nineteen players in the game that give a penetrating picture of what major-league baseball and major-league baseball players were like in the game’s great Golden Age, the glorious middle of the Twentieth Century.”

– Robert W. Creamer, author of Babe: The Legend Comes to Life & Stengel: His Life and Times

"So you think you know everything about Don Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 World Series . . . . not until you have read Lew Paper's classic.”

– Tim McCarver, former Major League Catcher and Fox Sports Broadcaster

"Lew Paper masterfully captures the thoughts of ‘Gooney Bird,’ the supporting cast of players, and Don Larsen ‘s World Series masterpiece.  Perfect jumps out from that Fall afternoon in Yankee Stadium to you in your comfy old rocking chair.  It's real life.  Whatta writer!”

– Tony Kubek, former New York Yankee shortstop (1957-65), NBC Broadcaster, and co-author of Sixty-One

"A terrific book.  Don Larsen’s perfect game was one of those once-in-a-lifetime events for those of us lucky enough to witness it.  Lew Paper takes us behind the scenes and allows us to get to know all the participants.”

– Peter Golenbock, author of Dynasty: The New York Yankees 1949-1964 and Bums: An Oral History of the Brooklyn Dodgers

"A memorable book about baseball's most memorable game and the men who played it.”

– Michael Shapiro, author of Bottom of the Ninth and The Last Good Season

EMPIRE: William S Paley And The Making of CBS

EMPIRE: William S. Paley and the Making of CBS

(St. Martin's Press hardback 1987, St. Martin's Press paperback 1988)


This is the first biography to provide a detailed exploration of how Bill Paley took a fledgling radio network in 1927and built it into one of the major media empires of the twentieth century. Lew Paper relies upon a variety of primary source materials, including interviews with existing and former CBS employees (including legendary CBS President Frank Stanton and ousted CEO Tom Wyman), reporters and other obervers (like David Halberstam), former CBS entertainers (like Jackie Gleason and George Burns), Paley's former wife, and Paley himself. Paper explains how Paley used his considerable family wealth, talent often developed on the rival NBC network, and business ingenuity in a single-minded effort to maneuver CBS into a powerhouse position – often without regard to the consequences to his employees and his own family. It is the insightful story of a paradoxical man whose ultimate goal was to enjoy life to the fullest.

Praise for Empire: William S. Paley and The Making of CBS

“Paper's book is an anecdotal delight and a starter kit for understanding the American phenomenon that is television”

– Chicago Tribune

“. . . the most penetrating biographical look thus far at a complex man whose CBS boots are still firmly on.”

– Washington Post

“. . . Paper’s mix of broadcast history and anecdotal style serves to flesh out a story of power, ambition, and influence."

– Duluth News-Tribune & Herald

“. . . straightforward and compelling . . . ” 

– Los Angeles Times

“. . . a rather fascinating account of the CBS Chairman’s life and times.”

– Booklist

“ . . . you’ve gotta read the book . . . ”

– Toledo Blade

“. . . an extraordinary and first-rate study of the exercise of power.”

– Virginian Pilot-Ledger Star

“Paper . . . writes with balance and good taste, as well as with a sharp ear for anecdote.”

– Palm Beach Life

“Balanced, well-researched, and highly readable . . . . This deserves a high place among the essential books on TV.”

– Publishers' Weekly

Recipient of the Frank Luther Mott-Kappa Tau Alpha Award from the School of Journalism of the University of Missouri

Brandeis: An Intimate Biography of One of America's Truly Great Supreme Court Justices

BRANDEIS: An Intimate Biography of One of America's Truly Great Supreme Court Justices

(Prentice-Hall hardback 1983, Citadel paperback 1986)

This is the first biography of former Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis to provide insight into the man behind the legend. Lew Paper draws upon sources that had previously remained unavailable to Brandeis biographers: the newly-released letters and other papers of his daughter Susan, interviews with all of his surviving law clerks, and interviews with family members, including his daughter Elizabeth and his grandchildren. The portrait that emerges is surprising and uplifting – a man with many idiosyncracies (he hated cars) who had an abiding faith in man's ability to control his destiny and a sensitivity (reflected in his response to his wife's nervous breakdown) that belied the image of the hard-nosed "People's Lawyer" which he had nurtured over many years through his law practice in Boston.

Praise for Brandeis

“A comprehensive triumph of interpretive scholarship . . . . a landmark contribution to the oral history of this century.”

– Los Angeles Times

“Urbane in style and solid in content, it offers not only superb history but classic biography.”

– St. Louis Post Dispatch

“A tour de force of what judicial biography should really be.”

– American Bar Association Journal

“ . . . Paper delivers a story so intimate that the reader begins to feel like a Peeping Tom.”

– Cleveland Plain Dealer

“ . . . comprehensive and readable.  It should be the definitive work on Brandeis for many years to come.”

– Sunday (Newark) Star Ledger

“. . . readable . . . Paper successfully walks a difficult path in providing enough details about legal issues to satisfy legally trained readers while writing in language that is understandable to non-lawyers.”

– Portland Oregonian

“. . . this well-told life of jurist Brandeis takes pains to show the whole man, both public and private . . .”

– Publishers Weekly

“Paper’s work deserves full tribute for an admirable combination of objectivity and scholarship, leavened with an appropriate sense of irony.”

– Sunday Peninsula Herald

“Paper’s central accomplishment is the respectful, non-debunking humanization of a great American.”

– Los Angeles Daily Journal

“. . . an authoritative and readable biography . . .”

– Sunday Knoxville News-Sentinel

“ . . . it will be a very long time before someone writes a more concise and consistently interesting biography of ‘the people’s attorney’ . . . ”

– Constitutional Commentary

John F. Kennedy: The Promise and the Performance, JFK

JOHN F. KENNEDY: The Promise and the Performance

Foreword by James MacGregor Burns
Introduction by U.S. Senator Bill Bradley (paperback edition only)

(Crown hardback 1975, Da Capo paperback 1980)


Relying on criteria developed from an analysis of twentieth century presidents, Lew Paper evaluates John Kennedy's presidency – and, more specifically, whether his performance in the White House matched the promise he brought to the office in 1961. To support his evaluation, Paper draws upon oral histories and documents made available by the John F. Kennedy Library, material from other libraries around the country, and interviews with reporters, observers, and former administration officials, including Ben Bradlee from The Washington Post, James Reston from The New York Times, and White House advisors like Mike Feldman, Lee White, and Arthur Shlesinger. The analysis provides a new perspective on the major events of the Kennedy era – including the Bay of Pigs fiasco, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Steel crisis, the Test Ban Treaty with Russia, the civil rights struggles, and of course the war in Vietnam. The hardback book includes a Foreword from the renonwed historian James MacGregor Burns, and the paperback edition includes a Special Foreword from former Senator Bill Bradley.

Praise for John F. Kennedy: The Promise and the Performance

“An excellent piece of scholarship and one of the most useful works on JFK.”

– Tom Wicker, New York Times

“This interesting book sets John Kennedy in the framework of our great expectations of past Presidents, their fulfillment of those hopes and their tragic failures.”

– Anthony Lewis, New York Times

“Paper has chartered some much-needed fresh thinking on President Kennedy . . ."

– CBS Radio

One of the “more thoughtful of the current reappraisals . . .”

– Newsweek

“Paper has succeeded, his reward for years of painstaking research and thought and, not incidentally, his good writing . . . . a fine addition to the history of our times.”

– Hartford Courant

“ . . . a new and different kind of ‘Kennedy book’ that is well worth reading. . .”

– Sunday (Newark) Star-Ledger

“Paper delivers. This is a balanced study of a pragmatist who seldom allowed his political progress to be burdened by the excess baggage of ideology.”

– National Review

“. . . an intriguing analysis of the intricacies of presidential leadership.”

– Chattanooga News-Free Press

“The great merit of  Lew Paper’s work is to put the Kennedy presidency into both an historical and political framework.”

– James MacGregor Burns

“For thoughtful Americans, who ponder why Kennedy’s presidency is so much greater than the facts seem to warrant, and why the impact he has made confounds objectivity, this book is essential reading.”

– Senator Bill Bradley

“Congratulations [to the publisher] in identifying so valuable a work; given the recent distress of our presidencies, the Kennedy experience – examined, warts and all, has much to offer.  It is fortunate that you were willing to bring out a book that makes this contribution.”

– Fred I. Greenstein, Henry Luce Professor of Politics, Law and Society, Princeton University

An alternate selection for the Library of Political and International Affairs

Deadly Risks, Lew Paper, John F. Kennedy, JFK, assassination, CIA


(Seven Locks hardback 2008, CreateSpace paperback 2016)

Drawing upon his considerable research for The Promise and the Performance, Lew Paper turns to fiction to provide a spell-binding story which posits a theory of how and why John F. Kennedy was assassinated – all of which is consistent with the known facts of that unforgettable tragedy. Kelly Roberts, a young woman enjoying an idyllic life in a Washington, DC suburb, is confronted with a frightening dilemma after her father dies and then her brother is killed on an African safari. The dilema arises from a note from her father, a former CIA official in the Kennedy administration, who explains that he was involved in JFK's assassination and that he wants to make amends by leaving a method for future investigators to find the truth. However, he is concerned that some of his surviving co-conspirators will not want the truth to come out and suggests that the note be given to the JFK library after his children's deaths. But Kelly cannot leave well enough alone and strives to uncover what really happened – and what role her father played in it. In a gripping plot reminiscent of John Grisham's The Pelican Brief, the book unfolds with a tale of intrigue and passion that resonates with the ring of authenticity.


“Murder by jungle lion gets this CIA-laced story off to a rousing start . . . . As conspiracy theories go, Paper, a Washington, DC attorney, offers an intriguing one that links top-level U.S. officials to the assassination.  Dialogue and pacing are superb. . . . Catnip for conspiracy theorists and fans of fast-paced thrillers.”

– Kirkus Reviews

"The JFK assassination has attracted some big-name thriller authors over the years . . . . Now veteran nonfiction writer Paper throws his hat into the ring with a new interpretation of one of the most written-about incidents in American history . . . . Paper tells an engaging, well-structured, and briskly paced tale, and he makes us believe, at least in the context of the novel, that his particular conspiracy theory is plausible."

– Booklist

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