Really fun history book. I read a few books on the topic for a research paper, and this was by far the most entertaining to read. Not as much scholarl...moreReally fun history book. I read a few books on the topic for a research paper, and this was by far the most entertaining to read. Not as much scholarly credence as the others, but still an interesting brief on the period that touches on a lot of important topics, and as such sparked a lot of ideas and venues to pursue. (less)
An accessible work of scholarly research. Jager has done an impressive job culling from primary sources in order to flesh out a story that was briefly...moreAn accessible work of scholarly research. Jager has done an impressive job culling from primary sources in order to flesh out a story that was briefly mentioned in a chronicle. However, this book is prone to tangents (describing how a room might have been decorated, the roads these people likely used, etc) that feel like the author wanted to make use of all the material he found. Where the sources are silent, he gives in to speculation a little too often, trying to figure out what people are doing or thinking. It might have been better for him to have made this a novelization instead. (less)
First off, this book is not for people who don't already know how to sew. You should have already sewn a few garments (so that you know what the gener...moreFirst off, this book is not for people who don't already know how to sew. You should have already sewn a few garments (so that you know what the general steps are when constructing them, because even though it's included here, it's done in a huge paragraph that you're better off not trying to follow) and have a working knowledge of sewing terms (which is weird when the author goes on to differentiate between muslin the cloth and muslin the garment you use to try on for fitting purposes).
This looks rather cute and has Anthropologie-looking clothing worn by attractive models. Unfortunately, it takes a very simplistic view on pattern making. If you have a body that is relatively straight without a lot of curves and you can get away with wearing clothes that aren't very fitted, then this book has you covered. But if that's your case, you probably don't have too much difficulty with commercial patterns that are already available to you.
There are five basic garments that this book walks you through constructing: an a-line skirt, a t-shirt, a button-down shirt, a dress, and pants. What's not working for me is that only the skirt and the dress has steps for adding darts (seriously, pants without darts?), and even then it's done in a haphazard fashion: for the dress, you are to take what's drafted of the top, make it out of fabric, drape this over yourself, pinch and pin some darts until you're satisfied, and then "do your best to replicate the darts on the other side". She talks about squaring edges, but again, it's in a pretty rudimentary way.
What this book does do well is the variations. If you already had a basic template/sloper that fits you well but don't know how to use it to make something more complicated, this book is pretty useful. It walks you through adding extra fullness at hems and necklines, pockets, yokes, ruffles, and drawstrings.
There's also a tiny section in the back that discusses how to create patterns from clothes you already own and love and how to grade patterns to different sizes, but you're better off looking for books that are dedicated to these topics if you're going to be serious about it. (less)
I was hoping that this book would go in-depth about the White House garden and its planning stages and the maintenance required so that it would inspi...moreI was hoping that this book would go in-depth about the White House garden and its planning stages and the maintenance required so that it would inspire others to try planting their own gardens. Unfortunately, this is not what this book is about. Luckily, the First Lady is very charming and enthusiastic, so this book was still enjoyable, because it is actually a primer on her own goals during the administration.
Each chapter is named after a season, but the writing is not limited to a seasonal theme (though the plans and pictures of the last year's garden at each season is included, as well as some delicious-looking healthy recipes for that season's produce). Instead, she talks about the White House Garden (Spring), community gardens around the country (Summer), getting children involved and eating better (Fall), and the importance of exercise (Winter). It's mostly superficial and broadly rendered, but Mrs. Obama graciously includes profiles of several people around the country who are making a difference, and the book is a nice starting point since it provides inspiration as well as information on how you can take action. (less)
**spoiler alert** Needs better editing. The core story itself is fascinating, but the author for some reason keeps trying to connect it to Brown vs. B...more**spoiler alert** Needs better editing. The core story itself is fascinating, but the author for some reason keeps trying to connect it to Brown vs. Board of Education. Couple that with odd tangents from a few random people about their memories of Marshall and the way the author slips in information about what happens to one of the people from the story within the first hundred pages, which made the story rather anticlimactic since we can then figure out that change did not come to this community after case. I found the first half of the book to be hard to read through, but once it stopped alternating between the Groveland case and other stuff and just focused on the trials, it was a lot better. (less)