Hampton Sides is aiming dead on for the classic, “The Endurance,” mano-a-mano! And he almost gets us there. This true story is awesome …and wildly griHampton Sides is aiming dead on for the classic, “The Endurance,” mano-a-mano! And he almost gets us there. This true story is awesome …and wildly grisly! I keep a folder on GoodReads called “ICE” and I have 8 great titles tucked in there, Kingdom is among the most graphic. (Side-note: the best title name in the group is still “We Die Alone.” …you just can’t beat that bold face title!)
The twin tragedies of the Endurance and Jeannette include a similar series of eerie events; a hobbled and abandoned polar ship, swamped life boats and a final desperate death march. The unique twist resides in the desperate consequences of their captain and crew.
Sides early build up is way… way too long. We don’t care that much about the back story -- The New York Herald challenge, the 100 little details behind the investment and rigging. My Man! Please!!!... Get these fearless men … up on some ICE! Those who are familiar with Sides previous work may be surprised by the slow early turn – he is capable of thrusting his readers headlong into white-knuckle action (i.e. Ghost Story and Hell Hound).
On a very small note, I would have also dropped the random insert of the love letters. Screw Emma and her stiff, little Victorian dribble. I came for a brutal survival story -- sans the widow’s watch. I smell an attempt at a screen play. This is a great effort and it deserves 4-stars, so please ignore my minor jabs. The second half of Side's story will drop your jaw in frozen terror.
Grandin tells an incredibly well researched, comprehensive and at times fascinating story that encircles the entire history of Fordlandia. He also divGrandin tells an incredibly well researched, comprehensive and at times fascinating story that encircles the entire history of Fordlandia. He also dives deep into the corporate culture of Ford that first hatched, then mismanaged and ultimately abandoned Ford’s Utopia. The size and scope of Ford’s vision was staggering; a 2.5 million acre parcel of deep Brazilian jungle, envisioned by the 60 year old to become his rubber dynasty. Hints of a real life “Atlas Shrugged” come to mind. The root of the monstrous failure was Ford’s own hubris. His corporate dictate stubbornly enforced compliance to his christian, Midwestern values and his own universal assembly-line model of industry. Ford’s company town was a surreal and rigid import; an ultra-clean main street complete with white picket fences, a swimming pool, a square-dance hall and a 18-hole golf course. Soy milk (another Ford obsession) replaced most milk products and alcohol was strictly prohibited on the plantation. At the end of both his life and his legacy, Ford was knowingly investing millions into a colossal corporate cluster-fock. On the surface, Grandin’s book is concerned with the logistics of building a town and cultivating a huge foreign plantation. However, below the surface, we are rewarded with an excellent, classic, modern-day tragedy. A character study of Henry Ford’s life and philosophies held in stark contrast to his flagrant flaws. Ford’s founding principals all fail in the Amazon and his naivete is both personally polarizing and suicidal for his pet project. Adopt or die Henry! Grandin also weaves into this epic three excellent side-car stories; Diego Rivera’s Detroit Murals, Ford’s Greenfield Village and the founding of the UAW. Folks, this classic “Machine vs. Jungle” book has it all!; swarms of spiders, evil chemists, seed smugglers, river boat prostitutes, a brow-beaten son, tribal uprisings, vampire bats, massive crop infestations and grafted rubber trees...lots and lots of rubber trees!!!...more
An epic historical account of the building of the Panama Canal. One of man's largest turn-of-the-century engineering and medical feats. The story spanAn epic historical account of the building of the Panama Canal. One of man's largest turn-of-the-century engineering and medical feats. The story spans 30 years including both the French failure and Roosevelt’s victory. Critical to US Naval Superiority. Pivotal in the war on Yellow Fever and Miliaria. A great, great story told by a master. Anything and everything written by David McCullough is exceptional. There are few scenes within this multi-tiered masterpiece that are still haunting. For example, the head engineer looses his dear daughter and wife to Miliaria and in a moment of deep grief take his prize white stallions up into the hills and slaughters them. Spooky!
Side Note: I once bought a book online by mistake written by another "David McCullough." The topic was the Brooklyn Park System. The topic did not seem like such a stretch, the real David McCullough wrote the incredible, "The Great Bridge" about the infamous Brooklyn Bridge. Even his name sake can write. I took solace in thinking, hey I'd rather over-reach then miss one of his books... any of his books!...more
The mysterious disappearance of world adventurer David Livingston captivated England and America in the late 1800’s. The old man’s new mission was toThe mysterious disappearance of world adventurer David Livingston captivated England and America in the late 1800’s. The old man’s new mission was to find the source of the Nile. Stanley, New York Daily New’s Foreign Corespondent, was sent in to find him dead or alive. Both men braved the tribes of Africa and ruthless Arab slave traders. The brutal bush exposed them to sickness and threatened starvation. The story behind the meeting is epic — this book is not. Accurate and enlightening, but short of engaging....more
I've been mousing around for 5 years trying to open my mind to the full glory and immensity of evolution. Several books lead me along the path, but thI've been mousing around for 5 years trying to open my mind to the full glory and immensity of evolution. Several books lead me along the path, but this might be the first to fully enlighten me. I find it funny to resort to language like "glory" and "enlighten" in order to defend an evolutionist's manifesto against christian creationism. I suppose knowledge can be just as spiritual and soulful a pursuit as religion. The Greatest Show on Earth is first-rate mind blowing stuff. Dawkins technically persuasive book on evolution is scaled back just enough so I can understand the multiple sciences supporting evolution. His clear and concise science writing and his sensational subject are both deserving of the title, “The Greatest Show on Earth.” An updated version of his book should be read every 10 years ... by everyone! Regarding the beauty and endurance of evolution, a favorite quote comes to mind, “Ever present never twice the same, ever changing never less then whole.”
An essential book for the basic visual understanding of Evolution, artfully disguised as a beautiful coffee table book. The intricate staging and starAn essential book for the basic visual understanding of Evolution, artfully disguised as a beautiful coffee table book. The intricate staging and stark black and white skeleton photography in this over sized book is expansive, if not mind blowing. Jean Baptiste visually demonstrates the dotted line “AHA'S!” that must have thrilled the first scientists that made the connection. It sure made an impression on me. Five stars. PS A great visual follow-up to the more text dense, “Your Inner Fish.” So much so, I’d bundle and market them together. But please don't dismiss the writing in this book. Panafieu's summations are exceptional! This book is an uncommon find. ...more
An excellent contemporary biography smartly delivering a layman’s understanding of Darwin’s life long pursuit and struggle to fully commit to his thesAn excellent contemporary biography smartly delivering a layman’s understanding of Darwin’s life long pursuit and struggle to fully commit to his thesis Natural Selection and The Origin of Man. He sat and stewed over the publishing of the papers for close to 20 years. He spent two decades intricately preparing a defense for his radical ideas against the expected backlash of the Victorian age of creationism. Quannen’s writing style features robust character development salted with a little modern sarcasm (what a surprising mix for a science book). Just when you think Quannen’s chapter on crustations was getting a little... well ... crusty, Quannen makes a lightly humorous side slight and wraps it up. I’ll keep reading this guy. 10/25/07...more
The transcontinental railroad and Lincoln’s underwriting of a race between the two coasts during and after the Civil War. The link was a necessity toThe transcontinental railroad and Lincoln’s underwriting of a race between the two coasts during and after the Civil War. The link was a necessity to survive and protect our borders as one country. Cover to cover is stuffed with stories from immigrant labors; Chinese from San Francisco and Irish from Boston New York. Crooked deals and boom towns!...more
Another small world brought to us by a book. A hidden garden centuries old hanging in the sky. A precious micro environment of plant and fauna growingAnother small world brought to us by a book. A hidden garden centuries old hanging in the sky. A precious micro environment of plant and fauna growing on the incredibly wide canopies of giant and ancient California red woods. Preston brings to bare a quirky little book highlighting a small click of West Coast nerd adventures. To be more precise, a group of obsessive tree climbers, thrill seekers and scientific botanists. The book clips along, but gets a bit redundant. And in case you forgot that they are truly nerds, you are never more than a page or two from a sci-fi, Token or Greek God reference as they name their many conquests. I loved climbing trees as a kid, so I liked this book, but it could have remained an Outside Magazine cover story (six bucks cheaper and four hours shorter)....more
A penetrating story about a dead math genius that haunts his adult daughter, an unrealized genius in her own right, who is being ground-down by the weA penetrating story about a dead math genius that haunts his adult daughter, an unrealized genius in her own right, who is being ground-down by the weight of a deep depression. A love interest brews between her and her Dad’s favorite understudy. A rare treat in a play, exhibiting excellent, believable and engrossing dialog. Like all dramas, maybe a bit too argumentative for my taste, but without tension their is no redemption. 2/8/07...more