One of the first books I ever read was John Toland's "The Flying Tigers"; and I know I read it while in kindergarten, because I finger-painted my versOne of the first books I ever read was John Toland's "The Flying Tigers"; and I know I read it while in kindergarten, because I finger-painted my version of the same Book-of-the-Month Club cover above, with a glorious shark mouth on a P-40 zooming over the Burmese Jungle. ...more
A superb one-volume version of Sandburg's six-volume biography of our most cherished and beloved president; from "The Prairie Years" of Lincoln's youtA superb one-volume version of Sandburg's six-volume biography of our most cherished and beloved president; from "The Prairie Years" of Lincoln's youth in Kentucky and Illinois, training himself in the law, and in practical, frontier politics, to his successful bid for the presidency during the bitter and divisive 1860 campaign; and finally the enormous challenges he confronted during "The War Years" of his presidency.
Aside from the personality and character of Lincon himself, who literally and figuratively towered over his contemporaries, other figures who stand out among the statesmen and leaders of that era include: Stephen A. Douglas, William T. Sherman, Ulysses S. Grant, and Robert E. Lee, all men of outstanding moral and physical courage and personal integrity.
Watching the trailers and promotional commercials for the recent movie "Lincoln", I was a bit alarmed at one scene in which Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln shakes his fist at his advisers and asserts: "I am the President of the United States; endowed with *enormous* power..." , which seemed to be out-of-character for Lincoln as Sandburg depicts him - that is, until, low and behold, I reached the part of the book in which Sandburg describes Lincoln as using those very words to demonstrate his authority and to encourage his advisers to see to it that the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery was passed.
Good for Carl Sandburg, Steven Spielberg - and Mr. Lincoln! ...more
For First World War aviation enthusiasts, this contains a multitude of brief biographical sketches of various pioneers of aerial combat, from Roland GFor First World War aviation enthusiasts, this contains a multitude of brief biographical sketches of various pioneers of aerial combat, from Roland Garros, the first ace, to WWI's ace of aces, Baron Manfred Von Richtofen.
My favorite is the story of Lt. Louis A. Strange, who nearly lost his life while engaing a German observation plane, when he attempted to change the jammed drum magazine of his upper-wing mounted Lewis gun only to fall out of the cockpit when his aircraft turned upside down. In his words, "There I was praying that the drum would stay on, when moments before I had been cursing it for being stuck!" He eventually kicked the control stick over to right the plane, and dropped back into the cockpit. Years later he encountered the German pilot, who complained that he hadn't been able to convince anyone that the last he had seen of Strange was his plane descending in an upside down spin, with the pilot hanging onto the machine gun for dear life. To which Strange replied, "What about me? I never could explain how I kicked out all the instruments from my instrument panel!"
I used to have a 16 x 24 poster of Lt. Strange going down hanging from the drum of his Lewis gun; and years later found "Hero's of the Sunlit Sky" and got the full background story from Arch Whitehoiuse....more
Poundstone discusses various voting methods to contrast with the current plurality vote method of electing most public officials in the United States;Poundstone discusses various voting methods to contrast with the current plurality vote method of electing most public officials in the United States; a voting method which is often subject to the phenomenon of "vote splitting" by spoiler candidates, which has five times in US history led to the election of a president who failed to receive a majority of the popular vote.
He covers the dilemma of Kenneth Arrow's "Impossibilty Theorem" which states that no ranked-choice voting system can be designed to meet a set of common-sense voting requirements in every election; and then goes one to discuss the "Borda Count", "Condorcet Voting", "Cummulative Voting", "Rank Voting", Instant-Runoff Voting", "Proportional Representation", and "Single-Transferable Vote" systems of conducting elections. All of which avoid vote-splitting but are instead subject to other undesirable results. He illustrates the defects of each voting method using real-world voting patterns and evn specific election results.
In the end, Pounstone leaves the reader with the prospect of no perfect solution to the conundrum of undemocratic outc ome arising from democratic elections, but proposes numerous options to submit to a real-world field-test on a state-by-state or nationwide basis....more
This is an excellent, highly-readable biography of Marie Sklodowska-Curie, aimed at a young-adult audience. It closely follows Eve Curie's own heartfeThis is an excellent, highly-readable biography of Marie Sklodowska-Curie, aimed at a young-adult audience. It closely follows Eve Curie's own heartfelt biography of her mother's life and career in science.
The story follows young "Manya" Sklodowska's youth in Poland, where she grew up despising the Russian authorities and their ban against the teaching of Polish history and even the Polish language. It describes her despair at the death of her beloved oldest sister from typhus, her mother's death from tuberculosis, and her father's professional humiliation at the orders of the Russian authorities.
She eventually supported her sister Bronya in her wish to attend the Sorbonne and train to become a doctor. And Bronya's subsequent support for Marie to attend that same institution where she met her future husband, Pierre Curie and their mutual mentor Henri Becquerrel.
When Becquerrel accidentally observed the effects of radioactivity for the first time, it was Marie Curie herself who coined the term radioactivity to describe the pentrating rays given off by ores of uranium.
At Becquerrel's suggestion, Marie dedicated herself to discovering the source of that radiation. When her investigations indicated the presence of an unknown element present in those ores, which was more highly-radioactive than uranium, Marie's husband Pierre dropped his study of telectro-sensitive cyrstals to assist her in what he believed was of greater scientific significance.
Together they struggled for years to isolate the mystery element and eventually isolated it and named it Polonium after Marie's homeland. In the meantime, they had determined that there was yet another element hidden among the uranium pitchblende ores, an element vastly more radioactive than even polonium.
Several years of arduous work separating and re-separating the ore fractions, sifting through tons of pitchblende ore using the radioactivity of the elusive element itself as their guide, resulted in the isolation of a tenth of a gram of pure substance which they called "Radium."
For their efforts, Pierre and Marie shared the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics with Henri Becquerrel.
Following Pierre's death in a traffic accident, Marie continued their work investigating the properties of radioactivity and Radium, and eventually received the 1911 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, becoming the only person to receieve two Nobel Prizes in science.
Marie Curie eventually died due to complications of radiation exposure at the age of 67, and was buried in a simple ceremony beside her husband Pierre....more
A remarkable story of determination, hardship, and both moral and physical courage under extreme conditions, which in the end earned Sir Earnest HenryA remarkable story of determination, hardship, and both moral and physical courage under extreme conditions, which in the end earned Sir Earnest Henry Shackleton both international acclaim and a knighthood, despite having failed to acheive its ultimate goal of planting the British flag at the South Pole.
Shackleton's decision to turn back 97 miles short of the pole was recognized as exemplifying both his own moral courage and his dedication to preserving the lives of the men in his charge. Shackleton never lost a man during any of his polar expeditions, despite food and supply shortages, blizzards, hazardous terrain, and even the loss of his ship the HMS Endurance during the 1914-1916 Trans-Artarctic Expedition.
Written with a style which emphasizes Riffenburgh's detailed scholarship, the true emotional impact of Shackleton's acheivement comes through in the epilogue where the ultimate fates of each member of the expedition are outlined. Riffenburgh includes Amundsen's tribute to Shackleton as the book's final lines.
But the greatest tribute to Shackleton was when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, while serving in parlaiment during the the debate over the Admiralty's 1912 appropriation request for eight dreadnaught-class battleships instead of the usual four, said, "We can approve the eight Dreadnaughts, IF we can find the eight Shackletons."...more
Covers everything (almost) that the authors consider part of a modern day education. Read this an you'll be ready to impress your friends when you bluCovers everything (almost) that the authors consider part of a modern day education. Read this an you'll be ready to impress your friends when you blurt out the answers while watching Jeopardy; even though you'll be unlikely to beat Ken Jennings in a real competition....more
Numerous color plates and text describing 64 of the world's great steam locomotives, from the Stephenson Rocket of 1829 to the last steam locomotive bNumerous color plates and text describing 64 of the world's great steam locomotives, from the Stephenson Rocket of 1829 to the last steam locomotive built in 1960, the Evening Star, for British Railways....more
The Good Doctor presents parade of little-known and even whimsical facts from history, charmingly illustrated by Sam Sirdofsky Haffner, ranging from bThe Good Doctor presents parade of little-known and even whimsical facts from history, charmingly illustrated by Sam Sirdofsky Haffner, ranging from baboons trained to wait on tables by the ancient Egyptians to the story of Bobby, the devoted Skye Terrier who guarded his master Auld Jock's grave day & night for fourteen years until finally being buried at his side by the citizens of Edinburgh....more
This amounts to a travelogue of Burton's journey to the coast of West Africa, with stops at Madiera, Teneriff, and Sierra Leone along the way, beforeThis amounts to a travelogue of Burton's journey to the coast of West Africa, with stops at Madiera, Teneriff, and Sierra Leone along the way, before his final arrival at the Ivory Coast. Detailed, but rather dry descriptions of everything that interested him (and practically everything did)....more