Battle Cry of Freedom is a huge book covering a weighty topic--the history of the American Civil War, from the Free Soil politics of the 1830s to Lee'Battle Cry of Freedom is a huge book covering a weighty topic--the history of the American Civil War, from the Free Soil politics of the 1830s to Lee's surrender at Appomattox Courthouse. It discusses a bewildering array of battles, politicians, and generals. It covers a long span of time and an incredibly complex period in American history.
I couldn't put it down.
McPherson's book is an exceptional overview of the Civil War, and weaves together the political, sociological, and military circumstances to detail who was fighting for what, how they fought, and why it possibly turned out like it did. The author doesn't go too deep into any single topic, and in particular the battle descriptions are at a mercifully high level. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a greater understanding of this crucial time in American History....more
I have to admit, I didn't quite finish this book, but I got within 40 pages of the end.
In short, this book is an important catalog of medical experimI have to admit, I didn't quite finish this book, but I got within 40 pages of the end.
In short, this book is an important catalog of medical experimentation and abuse of African Americans from slave times to the present era. Most Americans aren't aware of this history outside of the famous Tuskegee Syphilis study, but African Americans have been used as experimentation subjects from colonial times.
The book is full of information, but is often rather dry. If you're not looking for an exhaustive list of race-based medical abuse, then it can be a bit of a slog toward the end. Still, I learned a ton and while you don't necessarily need to read the whole thing, I think most people would benefit from reading a bit on this subject--especially about the continuing medical abuse....more
An academic review of Southeast Asian culture at the dawn of European exploration. The author devotes chapters to Physical Well-Being; Material CulturAn academic review of Southeast Asian culture at the dawn of European exploration. The author devotes chapters to Physical Well-Being; Material Culture; Social Organization; and Festivals and Amusements. It's a relatively short, quick read with lots of interesting information. At times it's rather academic, with lists and figures, but just when I'd start to get bored, the section would end and the author would start discussing a new aspect of culture. Being an academic work, the author refers a lot to first sources, which is definitely a plus for me.
All that said, no one would mistake this for a casual overview. This is not particularly entertaining reading, and is probably not suitable for someone with just a casual interest. This is what you get when you ask an Asian Culture professor for reading suggestions....more
This book provides an overview of Theravada Buddhism in SE Asia. In three sections, it examines popular belief and practice; Buddhism and government;This book provides an overview of Theravada Buddhism in SE Asia. In three sections, it examines popular belief and practice; Buddhism and government; and Buddhism's adaptation to the modern world.
Overall, the book is academic in tone and detail, and contains lots of religion studies jargon. I found the first section of limited usefulness and unsurprising conclusions, however the second and third sections provided interesting historical background.
This book was a drier introduction to SE Asian Buddhism than I was looking for, but contained lots of information and was a useful read overall....more
Southeast Asia: Past and Present is a detailed, thorough, and very dry history of SE Asia, from early history up until the present. (I'm reading the 2Southeast Asia: Past and Present is a detailed, thorough, and very dry history of SE Asia, from early history up until the present. (I'm reading the 2009 edition, and it has political information up to mid-2008). The book covers all of SE Asia and has individual chapters for most countries. The early chapters were sometimes short on detail, but that's due to the limited knowledge we have of early SE Asian society and civilization.
The more modern chapters (from the 1900s onward) are a whirl of political parties and politicians, and while that probably *is* what makes up modern history in most countries, I would have preferred a heavier focus on events and less of a focus on the political wrangling. As a reference it could be useful, but I guarantee that in two weeks, I won't remember who the PAP was and why they were different from the MRRC or the VNQDD.
The author occasionally uses Indianisms, and while the overall editing of most of the book is quite good, there are a few sloppy mistakes in the last chapter, which deals with events from the past few years. There is also occasional editorializing (it's funny to see how many deeds were "dastardly"--a particularly common word in Indian journalism that's otherwise used mainly in really bad fiction.)
I would have preferred a "lighter" history of SE Asia with more narrative content and fewer political facts, but for what it attempts to accomplish this book is very thorough and workmanlike....more
This book is a history of the how European views of world geography evolved in the years leading up to the Renaissance and how geographical knowledgeThis book is a history of the how European views of world geography evolved in the years leading up to the Renaissance and how geographical knowledge fueled (and was fueled in turn) by European exploration of the world.
For me, the most interesting bit was the explanation of the name "America" and Amerigo Vespucci's role. It's a subject that is always glossed over in school. ("America is named after an Italian mapmaker named Amerigo Vespucci" "Why?" "Ummmmm") it's an interesting tale of Spanish-Portuguese rivalry, fabricated personal correspondence "leaked", and some naive and influential map-makers (none of whom were our friend Amerigo).
Interesting for people who like the history of geography, European exploration, or the Renaissance. Others might be bored by the panoply of old maps, explorers, cartographers, and humanists. ...more
William Dampier is a fascinating character: explorer, buccaneer, amateur scientist. William Dampier's account of his voyage to New Holland not fascinaWilliam Dampier is a fascinating character: explorer, buccaneer, amateur scientist. William Dampier's account of his voyage to New Holland not fascinating. It's mostly filled with the minutiae of daily life as a sailor: depth soundings, currents, weather, and occasional descriptions of the consistency of the seabed. This was probably useful information in the 1700s. Now, not so much.
The book is at its best when Dampier is describing the colonies and daily life of the time, especially in the early part when he's describing Brazil. It is at its worst when he's cataloging all of the various fruits that are to be found on a certain island.
Overall, skip this book and read a biography of Dampier....more