The Story of the U.S. Air Force, by Robert D. Loomis, is a blast from the past, a book my airplane crazy self read over and over as a kid. It's part of the Landmark series of children's books, and covers the history of the USAF from the Wright Brothers up through the late fifties. It's like visiting a very old friend. (Loomis also wrote a similar book on American fighter pilots that I need to find one of these days.)
Finally, there's Red Harvest, Dashiell Hammett's first novel. It features the Continental Op, the hard-boiled detective with no name. He's 5'6" and 190 lbs., not the usual shape of a tough guy, and he's ruthless as hell. After he solves the murder of one of a small city's leading citizens, he's hired by the victim's corrupt father to clean up the town. He does this by setting the various criminal factions against each other, and dozens of bodies start to pile up. There are several mysteries along the way, but he clears them up almost too easily, but they aren't really the point. It's more like a procedural in the way he goes about his business.