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I have seen the future: A Life of Lincoln Steffens
A well-turned phrase often repeated can become the word picture representing a person's life.  Unfortunately for Lincoln Steffins his phrase was one of the most wrongheaded and easily ridiculed …
reviewed The Trumpet-Major. October 04, 2014
The Trumpet-Major
Combining the powerful writing style of a great author with the explosive ingredients of the French Revolution (Dickens's Two Cities) and its Napoleonic aftermath (Hardy's Major) is apparently …
reviewed Birdmen: The Wright brothers, Glenn C.... September 25, 2014
Birdmen: The Wright brothers, Glenn Curtiss, and the battle to control the skies
The history of the Wright brothers and the invention of powered flight has been well-covered and usually from the position of admiring the brothers' ingenuity, persistence, and engineering prowess.    …
reviewed The Fifties. September 24, 2014
The Fifties
My title for this review works both ways.         Halberstam writes in classic narrative history style when tackling a subject as a broad as a decade.  He doesn't …
The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of journalism
Teddy Roosevelt has always been such a ridiculously heroic figure in American history, and from my high school history classes I dimly associate the muckraking journalists of what Goodwin calls this Golden …
reviewed Jerusalem: City of longing. August 15, 2014
Jerusalem: City of longing
I went to the library with a newer book on the history of Jerusalem on my wish list, but when I got to the shelf and saw how many pages it was I realized I didn't want to tackle it.   Then …
1177 B.C.: The year civilization collapsed
Cline uses archeology, inscriptions, contemporary document caches, and ancient historical text (including the Bible and Homer's Greek history/legends/myths of the Trojan War) to explore who, what, …
The Story of the Jews: Finding the words 1000 BC - 1492 AD
Schama has been a popular and prolific narrative historian covering topics as diverse as the French Revolution, American history, and now this history of the Jewish people.  I've read all three …
reviewed Why science does not disprove God. August 01, 2014
Why science does not disprove God
Aczel sets and completes a simple challenge in this book well described by his title.  He doesn't try to prove that God exists, or that science and religion are different and non-intersecting  …
The Edge of the precipice: Why read literature in the digital age
This slim fast-reading collection of essays tackles the title question from many perspectives along two main tangents.      The place of ink on paper reading vs pixels on screen …
Life's imponderables: The answers to civilization's most perplexing questions
Other than the fact that I review every book I read, I might have skipped writing a review of this omnibus collection of "Imponderables.". But I do review everything, and I also realized this …
reviewed Death dance: True life and death adve.... July 13, 2014
Death dance: True life and death adventures from Alaska to Africa
Nolan is a wildlife biologist, filmmaker, guide, and adventure junkie who has worked for years in Alaska and Africa.  Along the way he has written down stories he has heard from his friends and companions …
Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy
You know how in a Dickens novel pretty much every thing works out happily in the end?  Yeah, that doesn't happen here.  Hardy followed up his "comedy in chapters" (The Hand of …
reviewed Beatles vs. Stones. June 28, 2014
Beatles vs. Stones
The title might suck you in like it did me in this intertwined thumbnail parallel sketch of the careers of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.  After all, I am just old enough to remember when that …
1913: In search of the world before the Great War
Cataclysmic events like the Great War cause us to see the history of the time immediately preceding only in the light of the events that followed.  This historical hindsight can blind us to the true …
reviewed The Hand of Ethelberta. June 19, 2014
The Hand of Ethelberta
Hardy tries his hand at a "comedy in chapters" in this outting.  It actually sold better in serial form than Far from the Madding Crowd, the great classic just preceding it, but in comparison …
Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years
MacCulloch's massive one volume history of the religion based on the man and the mission of Jesus Christ is imaginative, insightful, and mostly maintains interest beginning to end.  The interest …
The story of music: from Babylon to the Beatles: How music has shaped civilization
Goodall spans the entire history of music (including why musical notations like allegro are in Italian) in just over 300 small format pages.   The coverage of the roots of music as sound, as …
reviewed 11/22/63: A Novel. May 03, 2014
11/22/63 a book by Stephen King
I haven't read many of this hyper selling author's books and not for quite a while (I remember reading Christine when it was a new book decades ago) and just from the plot synopsis this seems …
reviewed Far from the Madding Crowd (book). April 27, 2014
Far from the Madding Crowd
Not with any other author, even the inimitable Dickens, have I ever seen the linear progression in maturity and strength of writing as in Thomas Hardy's from his debut through Madding Crowd.  …
reviewed A Pair of Blue Eyes. April 16, 2014
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 …
reviewed Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 1. April 07, 2014
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, 2014
The Skin map
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 …
reviewed Civil War Pittsburgh: Forge of the Union. March 22, 2014
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 …
reviewed Heretics and heroes: How Renaissance .... March 18, 2014
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 …
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