George Washington takes command of the Continental army. (Mount Vernon via Smithsonian)

The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington by Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch; Flatiron Books (413 pages, $29.99)

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New York City has seen dark times, but in the spring and early summer of 1776 the outlook was especially grim. The Revolutionary War was in its early, chaotic days, the British fleet sailed en masse toward the city, and in a desperate defensive measure, General George Washington ordered thousands of his Continental troops into lower Manhattan. Almost a third of the city's citizens fled, and Washington's filthy, untrained and undisciplined soldiers quartered themselves in the elegant houses left behind. They were hungry, cold and scared, and they numbed their fear with drink, gambling and prostitutes. They were about to face the greatest military force in the world, outgunned and outmanned, fighting for a country that hadn't been created yet.

In hindsight, America's victory against the British seems like one of history's inevitabilities, but in the beginning it was anything but. And had a small group of pro-British conspirators had their way, the Glorious Cause might have lost its essential leader — George Washington — to imprisonment, execution or assassination.

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A screenshot from the 2016 film adaptation of 'Deadpool'

Deadpool Max, a comic-book installment of the superhero saga that stormed the U.S. box office, includes a chapter about the bungling superhero's face-off with Zemo, a white supremacist hellbent on repeating the Holocaust. Deadpool's adversary spouts radical anti-Semitic conspiracy theories on his way to the grave.

David Lapham, the author, follows the chapter up with a note of caution to his readers, explaining that the historical figures and events praised by Zemo — the Holocaust, Hitler, and the KKK — are deplorable. "I know you're all savvy readers who get sarcasm and satire," Lapham writes.

The Russian censors, it seems, think otherwise.

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Captain Marvel

A new behind-the-scenes featurette for Captain Marvel just dropped, and it looks like Brie Larson has some stiff competition for the spotlight from the United States Air Force.

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Mission: Impossible II was not a good movie, but it did help give post-9/11 Hollywood an enduring vision of military smart glasses.

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In 1986, Top Gun flew into theaters — and into our hearts. Sure, Tony Scott's military rom-com opus didn't wow critics and moviegoers when it first premiered, but it quickly became one of America's favorite military classics. I mean, Top Gun has everything. Tom Cruise! F-14 Tomcats! Angry, cigar-smoking staff officers! Sweet motorcycles! Volleyball!

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