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reviewed A Pair of Blue Eyes. April 16
A Pair of Blue Eyes
The third book published in his slowly accelerating career brings Hardy to. the style and moral principles that will finally bring him fame and acclaim as a writer.  Desperate Remedies was a derivative …
Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 1
If you search any book buying site you will find editions of Mark Twain s autobiography.   You will also learn that Mark Twain's will called for his autobiography to be sealed for 100 years …
reviewed The Skin map. March 31
Lawhead has made a career writing series of books updating and reinterpreting legends that may have some roots in the early mists of history, most notably Robin Hood and King Arthur.  I have read …
Civil War Pittsburgh: Forge of the Union
Pittsburgh may have been far from the battlefields of the Civil War but from its position guarding the Ohio River gateway to the South and West it supplied the men and steel that earned it the subtitle …
Heretics and heroes: How Renaissance artists and Reformation priests created our world
Cahill has been guiding us through what he calls the "Hinges of History", describing the major threads and the decisive turning points in cultures, languages, arts, nations , and religions that …
Ping Pong diplomacy: The Secret history behind the game that changed the world
If you have a chance to go to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, OH, be sure to stop by the museum there, and take special notice of the display of the rail car mounted Minuteman nuclear missile.  …
This is a fast paced trace of carbonated soda pop beverages from their historical roots in mineral waters, ginger beers, and patent medicine concoctions.  While Coca-Cola features prominently because …
Candy: A century of panic and pleasure
Candy might be empty calories but Kawash has written a satisfying study of the intersection of the history, nutrition, sociology, marketing, and even morality of candy.  Yes, candy is bad for you, …
reviewed Let me clear my throat. February 24
I picked this up based on the title of one of the essays in this collection called "Double Joy: Myron Cope and the Pittsburgh Sound."  Growing up listening to My ron Cope on Steelers games …
reviewed Under the Greenwood Tree. February 22
The concept and the execution of Seinfeld, the TV show about nothing, applies to Hardy's second novel as well.  Though nothing much happens, the feel, the characters, the places, the relationships …
reviewed Desperate remedies. February 15
Hardy became known for the depth and nuance of his morality plays but in his debut the moral landscape is simpler and clearer in its shading of black and white.  The subtle shades of gray would come …
The Life of Charles Dickens: The Illustrated Edition
But maybe not larger than this book.  The title of my review is the tag line on the back cover of this one volume 500-page abridged edition on oversized pages printed on thick glossy paper, referring …
Not a fan: Becoming a completely committed follower of Jesus
Kyle Idleman is a pastor at a very large church in Kentucky.  I am always suspicious of churches of this size, expecting that they must be softening the message of the Bible to attract big numbers.  …
reviewed Alarms and discursions. January 16
Alarms and discursions
When Chesterton starts off this collection of newspaper essays with the claim and reason why he wanted to start the title to this book with the even-then archaic "alarums" you have a pretty …
reviewed Jim Henson: The biography. January 14
Jim Henson: The biography
Jim Henson, in Jones's biography, is an incurable optimist.  He loves his work, enjoys his coworkers (says long-term Muppeteer partner and friend Frank Oz, Henson was an "extraordinary appreciator"), …
So this might be one of my least favorite holiday songs (the combination of desperate male, sultry female, and Christmas just doesn't work for me) but it is an appropriate title for this review.  …
Troost has made a living (fragile as it may be based on his funny "hypothetical" aside about the writing/publishing process) writing short wry accounts of his overseas sojourns.  While …
The Men who united the states: America's explorers, inventors, eccentrics, and mavericks, and the creation of one nation, indivisible
Winchester, a native of England, married to the daughter of a citizen of Japan, became in 2013 a naturalized US citizen.  In his journey he has lived out the meaning of the word he often uses to …
Bottom of the 33rd: Hope, Redemption and Baseball's Longest Game
On the Saturday and Sunday of Easter 1981 the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings played the longest professional baseball game ever.  Thirty years later Dan Barry retells the story of …
reviewed Dead run:The murder of a lawman and t.... December 26, 2013
Schultz tells an intriguing tale of three loners who leaped and lost.  But what were they reaching for?    A police officer in a small western Colorado town pulls over a tanker truck suspected …
It turns out that though there has never been a shootout at the OK Corral here, there have been some pretty wild shootouts--and holdups, and bank and train robberies, even a desperate pair of mismatched …
reviewed Fifty railroads that changed the cour.... December 23, 2013
Today railroads are romance, but we cling warily today on the shoulders of giants for whom railroads were commerce, industry, science, politics, culture and the future.  This small book documents …
reviewed Pittsburgh film history: on set in th.... December 18, 2013
Pittsburgh film history: on set in the Steel City
Not very often do I rate a book a "Waste of paper" (this is the 20th out of over 1000 reviews I've written), and I didn't want to here because I was so looking forward to this book based …
reviewed Stonehenge: A New understanding: Solv.... December 16, 2013
Stonehenge: A New understanding: Solving the mysteries of the greatest Stone Age monument
Much of what you know is about to be revised.  Pearson led a multi-year series of excavations and scientific studies in and around the world's most famous stone monoliths to prove a theory, and …
reviewed Tales from the Pittsburgh Steelers si.... December 12, 2013
Tales from the Pittsburgh Steelers sideline: A Collection of the greatest Steelers stories ever told
Slim history of Steelers goes decade by decade from 1930s to the 2013 draft.  Along the way author Grdnic had access to interview some mostly minor figures from Steeler history (the most well known …
reviewed Tales from the Pittsburgh Pirates dug.... December 07, 2013
The Pittsburgh Pirates as one of the oldest franchises in the majors have a long rich history of winning, losing, Hall of Fame winners ,and laughable losers.  This collection of stories, arranged …
reviewed Remembering Pittsburgh: An "Eyewitnes.... December 07, 2013
Remembering Pittsburgh is a modern collection of columns recalling events from Pittsburgh as culled from the pages of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (which merits a story as the first newspaper-1786-west …
reviewed The Fort Pitt Block House. December 03, 2013
It is just a tiny brick windowless outbuilding of a long demolished Fort Pitt, but it's mere existence on its original site and still over 80% original makes this little historical building truly …
reviewed Thinking in numbers: On life, love, m.... November 30, 2013
Tammet is a young (born in 1979, which makes him mid 30s; he looks much younger in the picture on the flap of the book cover) autistic savant and this is his third book.  I had never heard of him …
reviewed Falling upwards: How we took to the air. November 28, 2013
Falling upwards: How we took to the air
Richard Holmes quotes iconoclastic 19th century French aeronaut and ballooning promoter Felix Nadar from the title of one of his promotional pieces "Le Droit au vol":  the right to fly.  …
reviewed Clemente: The true legacy of an undyi.... November 25, 2013
In the world of sports celebrities, I think it is a safe bet that none is so universally loved and is so richly deserving of that love than Roberto Clemente.  Yes, he died young and tragically still …
reviewed Roger Williams and the creation of th.... November 25, 2013
Roger Williams and the creation of the American soul: Church, state, and the birth of liberty
Barry, better known for his histories of the 1919 flu epidemic and the 1927 Mississippi flood, here biographizes Founding Grandfather Roger Williams.  You may have a vague memory of 10 minutes classroom …
reviewed The Hunt For Red October. November 17, 2013
The Hunt For Red October
Like "The DaVinci Code" or any of a score of Clive Cussler novels, after watching hundreds of (mostly) men carrying paperback copies of them through airports, I decided it was time to read "The …
reviewed Duel with the devil: The True story o.... November 08, 2013
Manhattan in 1800 was a small town, and there was one event then that everyone was talking about:  the Elma Sands murder and trial.  When the young single Quaker girl's body was found in …
reviewed Color blind: The forgotten team that .... November 05, 2013
No sport is more thoroughly over documented, romanticized and historically studied than baseball, which makes Tom Dunkel's story even more remarkable.  Only the hardest core of baseball fans …
reviewed Strong Poison. November 02, 2013
Strong Poison
Sayers is known for her mysteries and her Christian scholarly writing, but it is her Lord Peter Wimsey  mysteries that are most accessible.  And her writing reaches above the normal standard …
reviewed the last of the doughboys: The Forgot.... October 30, 2013
Once in a while you read a book that makes you want to be or do something different, and Richard Rubin makes me want to retire immediately and devote the rest of my life to reading and (in my dreams) …
reviewed The Great degeneration: How instituti.... October 24, 2013
The Great degeneration: How institutions decay and economies die
Ferguson is a well-respected and popular historian who has written an excellent history of the first Great War, and here, in a book adapted from a lecture series, he turns his hand to the causes of the …
reviewed Pittsburgh then and now. October 22, 2013
Time is a funny thing, when things change so slowly that those of us observing it fail to note the change until, too late to correct or direct it the change has become an accomplishment.  Arthur …
reviewed Curiosity: How science became interes.... October 22, 2013
Author Ball frames a fascinating subject:  what do we want to know?  what should we want to know?  what is (and isn't) appropriate to know?  What does science want to know and …
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