This book was a fantastic recounting of the Cold War. It was extremely factual, and did well in citing all of the sources for each piece of informatioThis book was a fantastic recounting of the Cold War. It was extremely factual, and did well in citing all of the sources for each piece of information and story that made this book non-fiction.
I always found the Cold War as this mysterious time period where we somehow miraculously avoided nuclear annihilation by coming up with Mutually Assured Destruction. However, Hoffman really gives us an in-depth and intimate look at how MAD came about. I was left intrigued as I learned about what the Dead Hand really was, how close we came to destruction and how it got that close, along with tons of other covert operations that, most likely, would never have been brought to light. The fact that Hoffman compiles all this valuable information into a solid and factual recounting of how both governments handled nuclear arms, well, lets just say that it's wonderful somebody like Hoffman took the time and effort to do that.
The book itself is very interesting, starting off with a good hook (hint: it involves anthrax) and then invites the reader into the White House for a look at the Reagan administration. Hoffman kept the book interesting and accurate by narrating a wide array of characters, never lingering with one specific person too long. While this book is hefty, it's because it goes into great detail about covert operations on both sides of the Cold War. It does so while maintaining interest, and it's well written as well. The level is definitely above teen, something an adult would read. A good comparison would probably be New York Times level reading.
I wouldn't really recommend this book to any of my peers, because this book requires not only an advanced reading level, but a strong interest in the Cold War, otherwise the reader will have trouble understanding and/or lose interest. However, if a well-rounded reader is looking for a Cold War book, I would DEFINITELY recommend it as a reliable and trustworthy source of information on the Cold War....more
Brave New World is Aldous Huxley's take on the future. It's a very unpleasant future, where the government controls who you are and what you do your eBrave New World is Aldous Huxley's take on the future. It's a very unpleasant future, where the government controls who you are and what you do your entire life. Humans are divided into classes, based on the process that hatched them. Those humans designated as Epsilons (who are little more than slaves) are intentionally made to be disfigured and mentally retarded, while the other higher classes are born superior in all respects. The story revolves around several members of this society, many of them feeling as if there's more to life than promiscuity and drugs and fake, government-mandated happiness. Although there's not a lot of character developement, there are some chilling messages/predictions about our society back in 1930 and even as we know it today.
Warm Feedback: It is really imaginative. I would even consider Huxley's ideas revolutionary. At the least, they were an obvious inspiration for Orwell's 1984. The characters all carry very interesting messages and themes regarding society; there's a lot to be learned from reading it. The story itself flows really well and is very imaginative.
Cool Feedback: It starts off knee-deep in scientific concepts and complex hatching processes. However, these concepts and processes are central to the society in BNW, and thus the story and book itself. So, in short, if you want to really understand and enjoy the entire book, you may have to re-read the first two or so chapters a few times.
Overall, I would definetly recommend it. It's a really interesting book that can teach people a lot about society, happiness, and technology. However, because of it's great length, complexity, and ideas, it might not be for the average reader. Some of my friends found it boring and detested it; I can tell you personally however, that it is a great book, filled with meaning....more
The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a humorous, sometimes nonsensical story revolving around a human named Arthur Dent. The book begins with the EaThe Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a humorous, sometimes nonsensical story revolving around a human named Arthur Dent. The book begins with the Earth's destruction, Arthur barely escaping in time, thanks to a longtime friend of his named Ford Prefect. Ford was actually an alien from a far-off planet in a far-off galaxy, hitch-hiking his way across the universe. Why? Because he was contributing to one of the most famous novels in the galaxy: The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Arthur joins Ford as they go on the (galactic) road, encountering lethal poetry, depressed robots, and a roomful of monkeys with a typewriter.
As far as critique goes, I have mostly good things to say about it. It was a very pleasant read, as the vernacular was easily understood and not particularly advanced. Douglas Adams is very inventive, and he has some really out there concepts/ideas in The Hitchhiker's Guide (THG). The only cool feedback I have is the fact that the book is obviously part of a series. The ending feels as if it's just another page in the middle of a story, and gives the novel a very open-ended feel.
Overall, I would definetly recommend it. It's a humorous novel with some good wit, and anybody who can get past the nonsensical talk encountered in the book will likely enjoy it....more
This was the book that got me into English classics. If the author hadn't written Sherlock Holmes, the characters in this novel would be just as wellThis was the book that got me into English classics. If the author hadn't written Sherlock Holmes, the characters in this novel would be just as well known. Great characters, wonderful writing style, interesting storyline....more
Trumbo created a brilliant and graphic story of the horrors of war. That creation is Johnny Got His Gun. The book is a slap across the face and illumiTrumbo created a brilliant and graphic story of the horrors of war. That creation is Johnny Got His Gun. The book is a slap across the face and illuminates what is is that war can and does do: kill. The story of Joe Bonham, "the dead man who could still think", is a terrifying portrayal of a man who's lost everything, including himself. No sights, no smells, no sounds. Nothing.
I will admit, the initial ramblings and memories of a semi-conscious mind did get boring. For a large part of the novel, these seemingly unrelated stories (such as Joe's mother's cooking or visiting a whorehouse) grew weary and boring. However, by the end I realized that these numerous stories were necessary to give us a semblance of normality and starting point to compare the incoming insanity to. To fully shock us, Trumbo needed to create something we could relate to and appreciate before showing us how war contorted and twisted it. By "it", I'm referring to a human life.
As the novel progresses and Joe realizes what he has become, Trumbo uses him to passionately question popular American ideas like democracy, or freedom. The thinking meat slab Joe is the center of the story, but Trumbo is the voice that violently attacks these ideas. You can hear the author's voice in the main character's ideas and ramblings, and that is the mark of a brilliant writer. He graphically shows us how war sends young men to their deaths, or in Joe's case, worse. The reader is left disoriented and wondering if things like freedom and democracy are anything more than words.
Trumbo successfully creates a dark, somber, spiral into insanity. I highly recommend the book for it's brilliant writing style, revolutionary ideas, and never before seen way of painting the horrors of war. Be aware, it does take a bit of stamina on the reader's part to stay entertained through the anecdotes of Joe's life, but the end result will be the ultimate brainteaser regarding controversial ideas....more
If George Orwell was a comedian and/or slightly insane, the result would be akin to Catch 22. Catch 22 is a mind-bending, humorously illogical, satireIf George Orwell was a comedian and/or slightly insane, the result would be akin to Catch 22. Catch 22 is a mind-bending, humorously illogical, satire, and a well written one at that. Taking place during the second half of WWII, the story is shown through the eyes of a member of a bomber squadron. There is no apparent chronological order to the chapters, and the story is jaggedly arranged.
Heller wrote the novel with the intent to express the insanity of war. That's exactly what he did, and he did it with style. The book was very amusing in the way that the endless battles and insane clauses within Catch 22 (the most nonsensical rule to exist) were ridiculously hopeless. Heller created a world where nothing made sense, and weaves a story into that.
Aside from how jokingly ludicrous the storyline was, there were also plenty of well written jokes/paradoxes peppered throughout the story that kept it interesting. (view spoiler)[ For instance, after the main character sleeps with a woman in Rome, his squadron member ,who we previously found out was desperate and constantly failing in his endeavor to photograph a naked women, appears out of nowhere and desperately attempts to photograph the main character's lover. In another part of the novel, we find out that it is actually illegal to read Catch 22. This is stated inside of the law Catch 22. (hide spoiler)] Ludicrous ironies like this give the book some quality dry humor, which I appreciated.
By far my favorite aspect of Catch 22 was the extensive cast and the quirks that every single one of them had. From Lieutenant Scheisskopf (view spoiler)[(Lt. Shithead) (hide spoiler)] to Major Major Major Major, there are dozens of people who all have interesting/funny/insane anecdotes or qualities.
The book is well-written and maintains interest while building it throughout the novel. The cast, concepts, and story are all amusing and funny, all the while adding to the message of insanity in war. The ending left me satisfied and bittersweet about the book being over. I highly recommend it to anybody with a sense of dry humor or interest in a mind bender. Fans of 1984 and it's "double think" will definitely see a resemblance and unique spinoff. Those who liked Johnny got his Gun will also enjoy a refreshing break from somber storytelling with a similar message.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
The Lathe of Heaven is an excellent story by Ursula Guin that examines dreams and how they shape our reality. On top of that, Guin brings up some exceThe Lathe of Heaven is an excellent story by Ursula Guin that examines dreams and how they shape our reality. On top of that, Guin brings up some excellent questions about human nature and morality. Guin takes the idea of dreams shaping reality to a new extreme, creating a character in a dystopian overpopulated world named George Orr; the extreme part is when Orr’s dreams create an altered past, present, and future that all fit around certain parts of Orr’s dreams. The Lathe of Heaven has some far-out concepts that the reader really has to work to wrap their head around; in the beginning of the book we learn that Orr creates a new space-time continuum for every “effective” dream that he has. This powerful ability eventually becomes exploited by a well-meaning scientist named Haber who becomes mad with power. As the book goes on, Orr and Haber's interactions threaten to compromise the entire universe.
While the book does include some discussions on human nature, the main theme, found in the relationship between the protagonist and his abusive antagonist, is morality and what makes something morally appropriate or inappropriate. The entire conflict of the book stems from two conflicting moral standpoints: Orr believes that the course of the universe should not be altered if it does not need to be (the only real necessity being the apocalypse). Orr is a firm believer in letting the world run it’s course, which is why he is so troubled and vulnerable to the antagonist. When the author shaped the antagonist on the other hand, she likely had the phrase, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” in mind. Haber, Orr’s court-ordered psychiatrist, will do anything to change the world and eliminate all the “evil” from the world. Haber will crush Orr’s spirit and soul and re-write the entire space-time continuum if it means he can get rid of unpleasant realities like war and hunger. Guin really brings up an excellent question, “Do the ends really justify the means?” Orr believes no, while Haber vehemently disagrees. This exchange between the two conflicting perspectives forms the gist of the book and it’s themes.
I enjoyed almost all of the book. Guin writes a very interesting story and develops her characters fantastically. The reader will learn to respect Orr and Haber for their unique developed personalities. This novel is best read in lit circles or with a friend, because there's a lot about The Lathe of Heaven that should be discussed with somebody else; some parts should be discussed to see alternative viewpoints on moral dilemmas that come up in the book, while other parts should be discussed just for further understanding, as the book can be pretty out there at times. Overall, an excellent read for those who enjoy sci-fi or fantasy....more
Angela's Ashes was really not the sort of book I would enjoy. In fact, I found that the further it progressed, the less enthusiastic I became. McCourtAngela's Ashes was really not the sort of book I would enjoy. In fact, I found that the further it progressed, the less enthusiastic I became. McCourt uses the modern technique of describing the protagonist's struggles and life day by day. The intention is to make his own unique experiences feel universal because people look past each individual day and look at it as a whole, and see the supposedly universal themes.
However, I am not a believer or practitioner of this contemporary writing style. Excruciating detail of daily life is not a brilliant writing style; in my opinion, it is exactly what it is: excruciating. Sure, the stories and people were interesting/tragic/funny at first, but when the same mundane themes keep repeating themselves, it grows dull very fast.
I understand the tragedy, humor, beauty McCourt wants us to see in his childhood, I just wish he wasn't so repetitive about it, because as I said, the tactic of excessive day-by-day writing gets old quite fast, making this book a less than enjoyable read.
And for the love of God, PLEASE introduce Mr.McCourt to quotation marks. Not a single one used in the entirety of the memoir. I'm not interested in how fanciful or unique that writing style is. It's damn annoying.
In conclusion, Frank McCourt is a skilled writer, with very deep themes, and good stories to write about. However, his style of writing makes for a less-than-enjoyable experience that leaves the reader overwhelmed and frustrated. I would only recommend this book to people who want to read slow, emotional, stories about living in poverty....more