Current Reading: August, 2022.

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Current Reading: August, 2022.

elokuu 2, 2022, 6:24 pm

First up I see.

Knocked off The Gallery of Miracles and Madness, an intricate examination of art, politics and atrocity in Weimar and Nazi Germany.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 5, 2022, 10:45 pm

Completed another excellent volume from the Time-Life Series, The Old West: The Expressmen by David Nevin

Muokkaaja: elokuu 8, 2022, 7:40 am

Finish with the new biography Putin, which has already been overtaken by events. While probably unintentional, the efforts of Philip Short to treat Putin dispassionately come off as increasingly smarmy. I would say that the accounting of Putin's life, up until his political elevation by Boris Yeltsin, is the new standard.

elokuu 8, 2022, 8:42 pm

I started reading Montana's Charlie Russell : art in the collection of the Montana Historical Society right after I received it and then stopped for a long while, medical stuff, and then went back to it a couple of weeks ago. All I can say is WOW. The two introductory chapters are well done. The reproduction of the artwork and sculptures is superb. The only thing that would be nice if the illustrated letters were a bit larger for first time introductions or readers of Charlie's letters. Other than that. I'm sure it will reviewed and reread many times despite the size and the weight of the book!!

elokuu 9, 2022, 4:01 am

Started Bryce's The Kingdom of the Hittites during the weekend. Seems promising this far.

elokuu 10, 2022, 11:15 pm

Gave up about half way through Cleopatra and Antony: Power, Love, and Politics in the Ancient World by Diana Preston. It's not a badly written book, actually it is very well written. I've read other books by Preston and this one is of the same quality. It is the subject matter which goes well beyond the title persons, like any good book should. From Caesar to Antony to Cleopatra to Octavian to pretty much everyone in the book, they all behave abominably. While I've read books about bad people which I've enjoyed, or at least found informative, this one has no real counterbalance to make it less unenjoyable. I've got lots of other books to read so I'm putting this one back on the shelf.

elokuu 17, 2022, 2:51 pm

Finished: Sixteenth Street NW by John DeFerrari and Douglas Peter Sefton
Local history about one of DC's major road arteries from the 18th century to now. Lots of photos and archival images!

Muokkaaja: elokuu 21, 2022, 2:19 pm

I've just completed Patrick Radden Keefe's excellent, disturbing history of the Troubles, Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland. The book is very readable and extremely compelling. Keefe has done a great job of providing a comprehensive account of the Troubles and especially of the human toll they took. My longer review is up on the book's work page and my 50-Book Challenge thread.

elokuu 22, 2022, 4:06 pm

Gave up after grinding through two-thirds of The Invention of News: How the World Came to Know About Itself by Andrew Pettegree. It is rather academic which isn't bad in itself, but each chapter tends to be about a single theme and the chapters themselves devolve into numerous examples of the theme. It is informative, but not a lot of fun to read. Like the Cleopatra book above, it will go back on the shelf while I try to find something else that might hold my interest.

elokuu 22, 2022, 10:13 pm

Finished from the library over the weekend: Life on the Mississippi: An Epic American Adventure by Rinker Buck
The author builds his own flatboat and voyages down the Mississippi River for two months. A mix of travel and American history along the way.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 25, 2022, 10:05 pm

For those of you who don't peruse the 'Military Group," I might mention reading Pulp Vietnam and In the Waves: My Quest..., which while technically military and naval history both deal with much wider issues. Publishing, sociology, and gender image in the first case, and the pursuit of careers in STEM fields by women and the conduct of science in the second.

elokuu 27, 2022, 10:46 pm

Finished The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution by Lindsay M. Chervinsky. A bit laborious at times but otherwise a very interesting book. Having read bios of Washington, Adams, Hamilton and others from this period, I still learned a lot about Washington's two terms and how he and his cabinet functioned.

elokuu 29, 2022, 3:08 pm

Finished A Furious Sky: The Five-Hundred-Year History of America's Hurricanes by Eric Jay Dolin. Quite a number of anecdotal tales of hurricanes added to some decent chapters about the development of the science of weather forecasting, the creation of the Hurricane Hunters aircraft squadron, etc. This was the first Dolin book I've read that was a disappointment. I felt like he rehashed a number of works by other authors but didn't add anything new or notable. Also there were a glaring number of mistakes in the book, things that crop up when an author (or his researcher) doesn't bother to delve into something they post as fact. For instance, the book notes that the transcontinental telegraph was complete at the start of the American Civil War which also caused the Pony Express to be canceled; both events happened six months after the start of the war. And when talking about a pilot taking an AT-6 Texan trainer into a hurricane, that the pilot had the option to eject; AT-6 Texans had no ejection seats, at least not in 1943. And that the American Civil War ended on April 9th, 1865 with Lee's surrender; not true since fighting continued in other locations and the Confederate government fled Richmond but certainly had not surrendered. All minor points to be sure, but from an author who had specialized in American history they make me question if the author also didn't do proper research on other points.

Now to be fair if you know little about hurricanes and their history in the United States you will learn a lot from this book and the author presents his words clearly and in an easy to read fashion. So I can't condemn the book, but felt like it should have been better.

elokuu 30, 2022, 7:18 am

Wrapping up the month with The Rise and Reign of the Mammals, another sweeping, and very well executed, work of natural history by Brusatte. The man has a real talent for making very technical information palatable for the general reader; take it from someone who has bounced off their share of only semi-technical books on paleozoology!

elokuu 30, 2022, 4:58 pm

Finished a short but interesting Ball's Bluff: A Small Battle and Its Long Shadow by Byron Farwell. I have pretty much all books written by the author and I would have sworn he was some British academician but it turns out that Byron Farwell (Wikipedia link) was born in Iowa, served in WW2 and Korea and later moved to Virginia where he was mayor of a small town. When living there he developed an interest in the nearby American Civil War small but important battle of Ball's Bluff (Wikipedia link), the story of which is related in the book. Farwell tells the story of the battle very well. And the "Long Shadow" part is the story of the Union commanding general Charles Pomeroy Stone (Wikipedia link) who was accused by a Congressional committee of various discrepancies and was subsequently arrested and held for months without trial or even a formal charge.

Perhaps part of Farwell's interest in Stone was that after several years of trying to make a career as a civilian, from 1870 to 1883 he served as chief of staff and general aide-de-camp for the khedive Isma'il Pasha of Egypt, as well as for his son Tewfik. The service came upon the recommendation of William T. Sherman, who was by 1870 the U.S. Army's Commanding General. And later he was Chief Engineer of the Statue of Liberty project at Bedloe's Island, New York Harbor, and planned and supervised the construction of the Statue of Liberty's pedestal, concrete foundation and the reassembly of the Statue of Liberty after its arrival from France.

elokuu 31, 2022, 11:32 pm

To finish up August I'm currently reading The Tsar's Last Armada: The Epic Voyage to the Battle of Tsushima by Constantine Pleshakov. The author was born in Russia and had an interest in the story since a young age. His writing is a bit stylized but interesting. He freely admits that while he was able to access Russia sources and translate them himself, he speaks no Japanese and so wrote the book with an emphasis on the Russian experience. So far it is entertaining and quite informative. His section on the intelligence efforts of Russia, Japan and the other major powers is new to me.