Anecdotal collection of very interesting stories from the History Channel. The format of about two pages including illustrations, is mostly responsibl...moreAnecdotal collection of very interesting stories from the History Channel. The format of about two pages including illustrations, is mostly responsible for the two star rating. Scant information about the facts or reference information about a selection of stories is lacking. Some of the stories border on mythical.
This is a work that a group will point to and say, 'Well this is true because there's 'this book' from the History Channel that says it is . . . '. Some of the stories from a historical point of view are not wrong because we don't really know, but they are not an ironclad fact either.
An easy, entertaining read but I wouldn't even base a bar bet on some of it.(less)
The fourth richest American who has lived John Jacob Astor, Thomas Jefferson, former President of the US and handpicked men were unable to 'repeat' th...moreThe fourth richest American who has lived John Jacob Astor, Thomas Jefferson, former President of the US and handpicked men were unable to 'repeat' the magic of forming a new country. They tried and even gave it a potentially brilliant resource in a new business model for income but failed.
John Jacob Astor had in mind a form of international trade that would eventually become successful, but not with the cast of characters that set out for the western part of North America. Greed and petulant behavior as well as clannish activity were the primary problems. Combined with over stated qualifications of some of the members of what was supposed to be the Astoria settlement and business group, the worst personality traits and the harshness of the undertaking doomed the venture from nearly the beginning.
A story that is not as well known as it was even a generation or two ago is well told in this well written book. With the elements and research taken from Astor's own memoir written on commission by Washington Irving this new book on Astoria is well worth the reader's effort and time to review an important event in American History.
A very unusual entry in the literature of The Holocaust. The book encourages discussion about the different roles and actions of the players in both t...moreA very unusual entry in the literature of The Holocaust. The book encourages discussion about the different roles and actions of the players in both the book and the historical record.
The motivation of the author, Edith Hahn Beer, to finally tell this story is an interesting topic. A simple motivation is the encouragement of her daughter who did not know the full story until she was well into her adulthood. There are stories and reports that Hahn Beer may have needed to bolster her finances that don't change the story, but appear to be accurate enough to color the storyline. Survivor guilt that is reflected in the material associated with this story is undoubtedly a component of both the decision to tell the story and how she tells her story.
As a witness to the Holocaust this is not the story one expects. In fact, her description of being a U-boat is profound. Part of the reason for this book, to this point, being rated at three stars is as a trained lawyer the author does not clearly tell some portion of the story. There are many details up to a point and then the storyline shifts or is incomplete. This is a problem with many Holocaust remembrances because no one was alive or no witness has been found. In this case, the witness is telling the story and leaves out, something.
A confession in the middle relating to this review. The book and the A&E video/TV program of this story were 'consumed' at the same time. The demeanor of Edith Hahn Beer undoubtedly shadowed and influenced the book and the review. Certainly it enriched and reinforced both works. Thus the review of the book may evolve with some distance.
The Holocaust witnesses all have a tale of horror and irreversible change that they relate. This work is no different. But it does not on initial impression appear to be as complete as it needs to be. Things are left out. The shock and trauma may have not only overwhelmed the author in the intervening years, but she may have taken a selective amnesia through to the end of her life. There is not enough about her life after the war in this book.
As this is a 'real world' book club selection for the coming month there are several comments to be reserved for that initial discussion. Without question this review and commentary will be modified, probably extensively, after that conversation!(less)
A book that can easily be picked up and put down since it contains short chapters or sections with various stories. These 'unexplained' events or unus...moreA book that can easily be picked up and put down since it contains short chapters or sections with various stories. These 'unexplained' events or unusual events as many are well explained, are the quirky footnotes to history. Ranging from combat lore to end of the Third Reich including disappearances and strange or macabre death, most readers at all attracted to this type of work will be entertained. This is one of those read at will or leisure books that makes few demands on the reader other than for a bit of their momentary attention.
Well written and organized. Some of the stories are known to be at best anecdotal yet they are harmless for the most part. Some mysteries are not unexplained just a coalescence of unfortunate events or happenstance. Worth a look.(less)
JleC still has it. Some of his fans from the great Cold War days may be disappointed because they can't get over the fall of Soviet Union as story mat...moreJleC still has it. Some of his fans from the great Cold War days may be disappointed because they can't get over the fall of Soviet Union as story material.
Well Africa, emerging markets, and the new trans-national world is just as rich.
Barbara acts out, cuts, fights, is defiant, and displays a range of behavior that would concern anyone. But there is a reason and her most outlandish...moreBarbara acts out, cuts, fights, is defiant, and displays a range of behavior that would concern anyone. But there is a reason and her most outlandish affectation is her metaphoric way of dealing with personal tragedy and familial chaos.
A well drawn story, both prose and art, that uses the contemporary concern of kids and bullying as an added element. That isn't the whole story and the rest elevates it a notch or two above the usual moralistic tale of childhood angst.
Where this book doesn't quite live up to initial expectation is an ending that is best described as sappy or sentimental. Think the song from the show Annie, 'The sun is going to come up Tomorrow!'. O.K. that may be a bit extreme. The final dozen or so cells just don't quite work or are just 'an ending'.
This is an entirely b/w graphic experience that could have used some strategic splashes of color. Even one or two wouldn't have hurt. They might as a counterpoint to the bright ending enhanced some of the more serious moments in the artwork.
This could have easily been a 4/5 star work but it didn't quite reach that level artistically. A fine story and well told with two or three major flaws for this reader. Nonetheless it can be recommended for how well it handles the difficult topics it addresses, even if not all the issues introduced are dealt with explicitly.
And you think your family has problems! Modern and new scholarship into the life of Emily Dickinson that certainly opens several windows into the work...moreAnd you think your family has problems! Modern and new scholarship into the life of Emily Dickinson that certainly opens several windows into the works of ED.
The feud that continued long after her death alone is worth the time to read about in this well constructed work.(less)
Author Jonathan Katz takes no prisoners nor pulls any punches in his extraordinary work on Haiti. Katz was the only full time America journalist livin...moreAuthor Jonathan Katz takes no prisoners nor pulls any punches in his extraordinary work on Haiti. Katz was the only full time America journalist living in Haiti at the time of the disastrous 2010 earthquake that was centered beneath the major population center of the country.
Haiti is more than misunderstood and impoverished. It is a lesson in bad intentions, mismanagement, corruption, arrogance, and host of other problems unlike any other place. Then there are the Haitians themselves! The International community has done no favors for Haiti for . . . a 100 years! While this should not be news to anyone who has even in passing looked at the overall situation regarding Haiti, there continues to be a view of the country that is based entirely in myth for too many.
Katz should have won every award available for this piece of reporting. Obviously though his politics were not 'quite acceptable'. He is too supportive of the people who most need the support, he is critical of those most deserving of criticism, and he relates facts as opposed to the 'true' story that has been told by the aid agencies, foreign governments, and for me the most annoying group, celebrities.
Recommend to all. Readers who want to know how wrong good intentions can go only need to crack the cover of this work! (less)