I really enjoyed this book. The details about the ship and submarine, the people involved, just everything - great! I'm a big fan of Erik Larson's booI really enjoyed this book. The details about the ship and submarine, the people involved, just everything - great! I'm a big fan of Erik Larson's books, and if you have read his others, you need to read this one as well.
Description: On May 1, 1915, with WWI entering its tenth month, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were surprisingly at ease, even though Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone. For months, German U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era’s great transatlantic “Greyhounds”—the fastest liner then in service—and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack.
Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of Unterseeboot-20, was happy to oblige. Meanwhile, an ultra-secret British intelligence unit tracked Schwieger’s U-boat, but told no one. As U-20 and the Lusitania made their way toward Liverpool, an array of forces both grand and achingly small—hubris, a chance fog, a closely guarded secret, and more—all converged to produce one of the great disasters of history.
It is a story that many of us think we know but don’t, and Erik Larson tells it thrillingly, switching between hunter and hunted while painting a larger portrait of America at the height of the Progressive Era. Full of glamour and suspense, Dead Wake brings to life a cast of evocative characters, from famed Boston bookseller Charles Lauriat to pioneering female architect Theodate Pope to President Woodrow Wilson, a man lost to grief, dreading the widening war but also captivated by the prospect of new love.
Gripping and important, Dead Wake captures the sheer drama and emotional power of a disaster whose intimate details and true meaning have long been obscured by history....more
I did enjoy browsing through all the photographs, but was distracted frequently by all the TYPOS within the text. It doesn't look to me like anyone acI did enjoy browsing through all the photographs, but was distracted frequently by all the TYPOS within the text. It doesn't look to me like anyone actually proofed the text before sending it to the publisher.
My other issue with this book is that, though a number of the photographs were borrowed from the Allen County Public Library, and the Allen County Public Library opened in the last 1800s, there were no pictures of the library anywhere in the book. They talked about the baseball team, the basketball team, different businesses, the Raft Race in the Three Rivers Festival, but nowhere in the book is there a single picture of the library. Really? (I do work for the library, but still - it seems like a huge oversight to me.) They also only had one picture of the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo, which is one of the top children's zoos in the nation, and that seems like an oversight, too. They didn't mention the Historical Museum, Science Central (which opened in 1987), or have any interior shots of the Courthouse, which is beautiful. They didn't mention most of the high schools, and there may have been one photo of IPFW, though, granted, it was not as big back then as it is now. I don't remember seeing mention of any of the other colleges in town either.
I also got the feeling after a while that only a few families were tapped for personal pictures. The same family names were repeated over and over.
I'd like to see this book redone, with proper editing, all the original photos, and photos of the places I mentioned, as well as any others I neglected to think of. And it would be nice to see a wider range of personal photos - perhaps a call out to all the locals instead of just friends of the Bicentennial Committee. I know the bicentennial is over, but it would still be cool to see it redone and updated.
It is an interesting book if you don't mind the typos and omissions. But I'd love to see it redone. :)
If you love everything about the movie The Princess Bride, then you need to read this book. (If you have never seen the movie, then go rent it from yoIf you love everything about the movie The Princess Bride, then you need to read this book. (If you have never seen the movie, then go rent it from your local library or buy it on Amazon RIGHT NOW.)
The Princess Bride is a wonderful book, which was made into a wonderful movie. It's whimsical, romantic, suspenseful, and has plenty of adventure for all ages. It's a classic the family can watch together, and has lines fans can quote in everyday conversation, just because.
This book tells the tale of the making of the movie, from actor Cary Elwes' point of view, with asides from other actors who took part. It's a good book for those who are interested in the making of movies, because it details the process pretty well. But more than that, it's a love letter from the people who were involved to all the fans. Loved it. Made me smile. Thank you!
Book Description: From actor Cary Elwes, who played the iconic role of Westley in The Princess Bride, comes a first-person account and behind-the-scenes look at the making of the cult classic film filled with never-before-told stories, exclusive photographs, and interviews with costars Robin Wright, Wallace Shawn, Billy Crystal, Christopher Guest, and Mandy Patinkin, as well as author and screenwriter William Goldman, producer Norman Lear, and director Rob Reiner.
The Princess Bride has been a family favorite for close to three decades. Ranked by the American Film Institute as one of the top 100 Greatest Love Stories and by the Writers Guild of America as one of the top 100 screenplays of all time, The Princess Bride will continue to resonate with audiences for years to come.
Cary Elwes was inspired to share his memories and give fans an unprecedented look into the creation of the film while participating in the twenty-fifth anniversary cast reunion. In As You Wish he has created an enchanting experience; in addition to never-before seen photos and interviews with his fellow cast mates, there are plenty of set secrets and backstage stories.
With a foreword by Rob Reiner and a limited edition original poster by acclaimed artist Shepard Fairey, As You Wish is a must-have for all fans of this beloved film....more
The writing style of this author reminded me a bit of Eric Lawson (Devil in the White City) in the scope of research and coverage of the subject. I liThe writing style of this author reminded me a bit of Eric Lawson (Devil in the White City) in the scope of research and coverage of the subject. I listened to this one on CD, being read by the author himself. I was a little disappointed to discover the description of the actual volcanic blast didn't occur until the fifth or sixth disc (I think), but the history presented was interesting. Overall, a necessary read to those interested in history, politics, Krakatoa, or volcanoes in general.
Simon Winchester, New York Times bestselling author of The Professor and the Madman, examines the legendary annihilation in 1883 of the volcano-island of Krakatoa, which was followed by an immense tsunami that killed nearly forty thousand people. The effects of the immense waves were felt as far away as France. Barometers in Bogotá and Washington, D.C., went haywire. Bodies were washed up in Zanzibar. The sound of the island's destruction was heard in Australia and India and on islands thousands of miles away. Most significant of all -- in view of today's new political climate -- the eruption helped to trigger in Java a wave of murderous anti-Western militancy among fundamentalist Muslims, one of the first outbreaks of Islamic-inspired killings anywhere. Krakatoa gives us an entirely new perspective on this fascinating and iconic event....more
This book was a hit and miss for me. There were certain passages that kind of made me choke, like so:
"In compensation for this crown of thorns, all auThis book was a hit and miss for me. There were certain passages that kind of made me choke, like so:
"In compensation for this crown of thorns, all authority at the site also belongs to me, the medical examiner. Under this banner of dominion, I must reign with the right of kings, giving irreversible orders, making all decisions as to when and how the body should be handled, and cracking the whip with just enough snap to make certain that every worker and every agency operates at maximum effectiveness."
Think much of yourself? Ego a bit big?
There were also a couple of pictures that had no story to go with them, I think. Now, this could totally be that I missed something or forgot something. But chronologically, the pictures went with the stories, and then there were these two pictures at the end with no stories. So that was kind of odd. But, again, I might have missed the mention of them.
Another odd thing to me was that the book felt as if it were written a long time ago. The copyright is 2005, but it felt at times as though the writing came from the 1980s.
And, part of the book was written in present tense, even though the author was referring to past events, and the other part was written in past tense.
Overall, if you're into this sort of book, it's a decent read. The cases are interesting, and the science is presented in an easy-to-understand way.
Book Description: As chief medical examiner of Rockland County, New York, for almost thirty-five years, Dr. Frederick Zugibe literally wrote the book on the subject—his widely used textbook is considered the definitive text. Over the years he has pioneered countless innovations, including the invention of a formula to soften mummified fingers—enabling fingerprinting, and thus identification, of a long-deceased victim. He has appeared as an expert hundreds of times in the media and in the courtroom—and not once has a jury failed to accept his testimony over opposing expert witnesses. And now, in Dissecting Death, he has opened the door to the world of forensic pathology in all its gruesome and fascinating mystery.
Dr. Zugibe takes us through the process all good pathologists follow, using eleven of his most challenging cases. With him, we visit the often grisly—though sometimes shockingly banal—crime scene. We inspect the body, palpate the wounds, search for clues in the hair and skin. We employ ultraviolet light, strange measuring devices, optical instruments. We see how a forensic pathologist determines the hour of death, the type of weapon used, the killer’s escape route. And then we enter the lab, the world of high-tech criminal detection: DNA testing, fingerprinting, gunshot patterns, dental patterns, X-rays.
But not every case ends in a conviction, and in a closing chapter Dr. Zugibe examines some recent high-profile cases in which blunders led to killers going free, either because the wrong party was brought to trial or because the evidence presented didn’t do the trick—including Jon-Benet Ramsey’s murder and, of course, the O.J. Simpson trial....more
If you are into looking at fashion through the ages, you will like this book. However, it needed to be longer with more pictures!!!!! There are only aIf you are into looking at fashion through the ages, you will like this book. However, it needed to be longer with more pictures!!!!! There are only a few pictures to cover each decade, so it did not satisfy the need to pore over photo after photo. However, it is a pretty heavy book, so if it was thicker it would have weighed too much to lift easily! Fun for a quick glimpse of fashion.
Amazon description: Vintage Fashion and Couture: From Poiret to McQueen tells the story of fashion through the work of its key design talents and the memorable women who have worn their designs. It explores designers' careers through a dazzling range of clothes and accessories, and explains what makes each item so desirable and why it was so important for the fashion world. It describes the designers' role among their contemporaries, and their influence on the world of fashion. ...more
This is a great book for young people interested in the Holocaust. The chapters are each about a different person who was in hiding during WWII, and iThis is a great book for young people interested in the Holocaust. The chapters are each about a different person who was in hiding during WWII, and it reads fast. Very interesting information. It might be a little light on detail for adults, but still an interesting read.
Product Description: Fourteen unforgettable true stories of children hidden away during World War II
Jaap Sitters was only eight years old when his mother cut the yellow stars off his clothes and sent him, alone, on a fifteen-mile walk to hide with relatives. It was a terrifying night, one he would never forget. Before the end of the war, Jaap would hide in secret rooms and behind walls. He would suffer from hunger, sickness, and the looming threat of Nazi raids. But he would live.
This is just one of the incredible stories told in HIDDEN LIKE ANNE FRANK, a collection of eye-opening first-person accounts that share what it was like to go into hiding during World War II. Some children were only three or four years old when they were hidden; some were teenagers. Some hid with neighbors or family, while many were with complete strangers. But all know the pain of losing their homes, their families, even their own names. They describe the secret network of brave people who kept them safe. And they share the coincidences and close escapes that made all the difference....more
My favorite book of Erik Larson's so far is still Devil in the White City.
Just by my personal preference, I would have enjoyed reading more about CripMy favorite book of Erik Larson's so far is still Devil in the White City.
Just by my personal preference, I would have enjoyed reading more about Crippen and less about Marconi. But I am especially interested in criminology. I listened to this one on CD and generally enjoyed the reader, though there were a couple of times I was distracted because I would have hit on the words a different way. But that's just me.
Overall, a good read and lots of interesting historical information.
Description: In Thunderstruck, Erik Larson tells the interwoven stories of two men—Hawley Crippen, a very unlikely murderer, and Guglielmo Marconi, the obsessive creator of a seemingly supernatural means of communication—whose lives intersect during one of the greatest criminal chases of all time.
Set in Edwardian London and on the stormy coasts of Cornwall, Cape Cod, and Nova Scotia, Thunderstruck evokes the dynamism of those years when great shipping companies competed to build the biggest, fastest ocean liners; scientific advances dazzled the public with visions of a world transformed; and the rich outdid one another with ostentatious displays of wealth. Against this background, Marconi races against incredible odds and relentless skepticism to perfect his invention: the wireless, a prime catalyst for the emergence of the world we know today. Meanwhile, Crippen, “the kindest of men,” nearly commits the perfect murder.
With his unparalleled narrative skills, Erik Larson guides us through a relentlessly suspenseful chase over the waters of the North Atlantic. Along the way, he tells of a sad and tragic love affair that was described on the front pages of newspapers around the world, a chief inspector who found himself strangely sympathetic to the killer and his lover, and a driven and compelling inventor who transformed the way we communicate....more
I listened to this book on CD. I am familiar with The Right Stuff, so I enjoyed hearing the tales from the other side of the story. My only quibble isI listened to this book on CD. I am familiar with The Right Stuff, so I enjoyed hearing the tales from the other side of the story. My only quibble is that at the very end it seemed like things were glossed over pretty quickly. Other than that, it was good listening!
As America's Mercury Seven astronauts were launched on death-defying missions, television cameras focused on the brave smiles of their young wives. Overnight, these women were transformed from military spouses into American royalty. They had tea with Jackie Kennedy, appeared on the cover of Life magazine, and quickly grew into fashion icons.
Annie Glenn, with her picture-perfect marriage, was the envy of the other wives; platinum-blonde Rene Carpenter was proclaimed JFK's favorite; and licensed pilot Trudy Cooper arrived on base with a secret. Together with the other wives they formed the Astronaut Wives Club, meeting regularly to provide support and friendship. Many became next-door neighbors and helped to raise each other's children by day, while going to glam parties at night as the country raced to land a man on the Moon.
As their celebrity rose-and as divorce and tragic death began to touch their lives-they continued to rally together, and the wives have now been friends for more than fifty years. THE ASTRONAUT WIVES CLUB tells the real story of the women who stood beside some of the biggest heroes in American history....more
I marked this as both fiction and nonfiction because it is a fictionalized work of a true story.
I don't know if I was feeling a little emotional whenI marked this as both fiction and nonfiction because it is a fictionalized work of a true story.
I don't know if I was feeling a little emotional when I read this, but when I got to the end it did bring tears to my eyes. It's amazing how much a human can go through and survive, and how cruel we can be to one another. This is an excellent Holocaust tale, one I will be book-talking. Great read.
* * *
Survive. At any cost.
Ten concentration camps.
Ten different places where you are starved, tortured, and worked mercilessly.
It's something no one could imagine surviving.
But it is what Yanek Gruener has to face.
As a Jewish boy in 1930s Poland, Yanek is at the mercy of the Nazis who have taken over. Everything he has and everyone he loves have been snatched brutally from him. And then Yanek himself is taken prisoner - his arm marked B-3087.
He is forced from one nightmarish concentration camp to another, as World War II rages all around him. He encounters evil he could never have imagined, but also sees surprising glimpses of hope amid the horror.
Can Yanek make it through without losing his will to live - and, most of all, his sense of who he really is inside?...more
I listened to this book on CD. The reader was pretty good at distinguishing between the different people presented, and overall it was a fascinating lI listened to this book on CD. The reader was pretty good at distinguishing between the different people presented, and overall it was a fascinating look back at slavery, freedom, the north versus south, daily life, morality, and so many other things. Very good read.
Editorial Reviews From Library Journal Published in 1861, this was one of the first personal narratives by a slave and one of the few written by a woman. Jacobs (1813-97) was a slave in North Carolina and suffered terribly, along with her family, at the hands of a ruthless owner. She made several failed attempts to escape before successfully making her way North, though it took years of hiding and slow progress. Eventually, she was reunited with her children. For all biography and history collections.
About the Author Harriet Ann Jacobs (1813-1897) was an American writer, who escaped from slavery and became an abolitionist speaker and reformer. Jacobs' single work, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, published in 1861 under the pseudonym "Linda Brent", was one of the first autobiographical narratives about the struggle for freedom by female slaves and an account of the sexual harassment and abuse they endured. The narrative was designed to appeal to middle class white Christian women in the North, focusing on the impact of slavery on women's chastity and sexual virtues. Christian women could perceive how slavery was a temptation to masculine lusts and vice as well as to womanly virtues. Jacobs criticized the religion of the Southern United States as being un-Christian and as emphasizing the value of money ("If I am going to hell, bury my money with me," says a particularly brutal and uneducated slaveholder). She described another slaveholder with, "He boasted the name and standing of a Christian, though Satan never had a truer follower." Jacobs argued that these men were not exceptions to the general rule. Much of Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl was devoted to the Jacobs's struggle to free her two children after she escaped. Before that, Harriet spent seven years hiding in a tiny space built into her grandmother's barn to see and hear the voices of her children. Jacobs changed the names of all characters in the novel, including her own, to conceal their true identities. The villainous slave owner "Dr. Flint" was based on Jacobs's former master, Dr. James Norcom. Despite the publisher's documents of authenticity, some critics attacked the narrative as based on false accounts. There was a reaction against the more horrific details of slave narratives, and some readers believed they could not be true. ...more
I listened to this book on CD. I did not care for the reader. I felt there were things he could have put more emphasis on but his reading was rather mI listened to this book on CD. I did not care for the reader. I felt there were things he could have put more emphasis on but his reading was rather monotone so that when he did put emphasis on something in a couple of places, it startled me. He also pronounced a few words differently than I am used to hearing and it kind of pulled me out of the story because it made me wonder if the way I have always heard them is just a midwestern approach or if he was pronouncing them oddly.
Other than that, I found the book a bit dull. It was not as interesting as Devil in the White City. I did not like the author's rendition of Martha; she seemed like a very annoying, petulant, manipulative person and I couldn't understand why so many people liked her. Her father, on the other hand, was a self-described Jeffersonian. He had Jeffersonian sensibilities. His outlook was Jeffersonian. And in case you missed it, he was a Jeffersonian. I felt like that was repeated constantly in the text. His story was mostly one of frustration as other ambassadors and political persons made fun of him and tried to derail his career behind his back.
The book did have some interesting details about Hitler's rise, though I could have done without all the blah blah blah on Martha's love affairs - I started to wonder if they were using protection against diseases. At the rate she was going, she could have killed off lots of big names, or at least put them out of commission for a while.
The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history.
A mild-mannered professor from Chicago, Dodd brings along his wife, son, and flamboyant daughter, Martha. At first Martha is entranced by the parties and pomp, and the handsome young men of the Third Reich with their infectious enthusiasm for restoring Germany to a position of world prominence. Enamored of the “New Germany,” she has one affair after another, including with the suprisingly honorable first chief of the Gestapo, Rudolf Diels. But as evidence of Jewish persecution mounts, confirmed by chilling first-person testimony, her father telegraphs his concerns to a largely indifferent State Department back home. Dodd watches with alarm as Jews are attacked, the press is censored, and drafts of frightening new laws begin to circulate. As that first year unfolds and the shadows deepen, the Dodds experience days full of excitement, intrigue, romance--and ultimately, horror, when a climactic spasm of violence and murder reveals Hitler’s true character and ruthless ambition.
Suffused with the tense atmosphere of the period, and with unforgettable portraits of the bizarre Göring and the expectedly charming--yet wholly sinister--Goebbels, In the Garden of Beasts lends a stunning, eyewitness perspective on events as they unfold in real time, revealing an era of surprising nuance and complexity. The result is a dazzling, addictively readable work that speaks volumes about why the world did not recognize the grave threat posed by Hitler until Berlin, and Europe, were awash in blood and terror....more
The chapter on Jack the Ripper was two pages long and consisted of two letters supposedly written by him with no real description of his crimes, specuThe chapter on Jack the Ripper was two pages long and consisted of two letters supposedly written by him with no real description of his crimes, speculation about the authenticity of both letters, etc. That was disappointing. It was also true of many of the other chapters I started skimming - very little real information on the crimes, including dates and whether certain letters happened before or after certain crimes, which is a problem for those unfamiliar with the timeline of events. There were also typos galore - did this book have an editor? Very very disappointing. I did not finish it....more
This has small snippets of information, entries from letters and diaries, and artwork by people who lived in Terezin during WWII. It's interesting, buThis has small snippets of information, entries from letters and diaries, and artwork by people who lived in Terezin during WWII. It's interesting, but very short and could have been made into a longer book. The format reminded me of a children's book, but the content would be too mature for very young readers.
Product Description Through inmates’ own voices and artwork, Terezín explores the lives of Jewish people in one of the most infamous of the Nazi transit camps.
Between 1941 and 1945, Nazi Germany turned the small town of Terezín, Czechoslovakia, into a ghetto, and then into a transit camp for thousands of Jewish people. It was a "show" camp, where inmates were forced to use their artistic talents to fool the world about the truth of gas chambers and horrific living conditions for imprisoned Jews. Here is their story, told through the firsthand accounts of those who were there. In this accessible, meticulously researched book, Ruth Thomson allows the inmates to speak for themselves through secret diary entries, artwork, and excerpts from memoirs and recordings narrated after the war. Terezín: Voices from the Holocaust is a moving portrait that shows the strength of the human will to endure, to create, and to survive. ...more
I marked historical for this because much of it takes place through the 1950s and up to 2009. So not historical historical, but still not completely tI marked historical for this because much of it takes place through the 1950s and up to 2009. So not historical historical, but still not completely today.
I listened to this on CD in my car. I found one passage that went into some scientific thing to kind of make my eyes glaze over, but other than that this was a good solid read. The author tackles scientific information and the lives of the family members involved in equal measures, also touching on legal matters. Did you know that it is still legal for doctors to take tissue samples from you and store them or use them for research, without your knowledge or consent? So if you have had a mole or an appendix removed or had a biopsy done, there is a good chance your tissue is still out there somewhere, maybe being tested on in a laboratory, maybe in cold storage.
I found the story of this family to be highly interesting, ridiculous, unfortunate, surprising. Since much of the story takes place in the mid 1900's, I had to remind myself that things were different back then. Or the south was different, or the rural communities were different. Something. I had a hard time connecting their lives and the lack of education and the unusual familial marital relationships to my own upbringing and understanding of things (though I know of relatives in my family tree who experienced many of the same things - just not in my generation).
I was trying to remember if I had ever heard of HeLa cells before, maybe in school or in reading outside of school, but I can't remember. But what those cells have done is astonishing.
The afterward of the book was also very interesting and talked about opposing sides of the conundrum of whether it is okay to use people's tissues in scientific research without letting them know. There are many facets to consider and I'm not sure how I feel about it. It does bother me to know that some of my tissue may be out there somewhere and I did not give permission for it to be used. I'd like to know what it's doing right now and if any discoveries or new medications have been made because of it.
Product Description Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells—taken without her knowledge—became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first “immortal” human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. If you could pile all HeLa cells ever grown onto a scale, they’d weigh more than 50 million metric tons—as much as a hundred Empire State Buildings. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb’s effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions.
Yet Henrietta Lacks remains virtually unknown, buried in an unmarked grave.
Now Rebecca Skloot takes us on an extraordinary journey, from the “colored” ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s to stark white laboratories with freezers full of HeLa cells; from Henrietta’s small, dying hometown of Clover, Virginia—a land of wooden slave quarters, faith healings, and voodoo—to East Baltimore today, where her children and grandchildren live and struggle with the legacy of her cells.
Henrietta’s family did not learn of her “immortality” until more than twenty years after her death, when scientists investigating HeLa began using her husband and children in research without informed consent. And though the cells had launched a multimillion-dollar industry that sells human biological materials, her family never saw any of the profits. As Rebecca Skloot so brilliantly shows, the story of the Lacks family—past and present—is inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of.
Over the decade it took to uncover this story, Rebecca became enmeshed in the lives of the Lacks family—especially Henrietta’s daughter Deborah, who was devastated to learn about her mother’s cells. She was consumed with questions: Had scientists cloned her mother? Did it hurt her when researchers infected her cells with viruses and shot them into space? What happened to her sister, Elsie, who died in a mental institution at the age of fifteen? And if her mother was so important to medicine, why couldn’t her children afford health insurance?
Intimate in feeling, astonishing in scope, and impossible to put down, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks captures the beauty and drama of scientific discovery, as well as its human consequences. ...more
I think the title of the book is a bit misleading, because the book isn't always about how they croaked, but what happened after. It also gives a brieI think the title of the book is a bit misleading, because the book isn't always about how they croaked, but what happened after. It also gives a brief rundown of their lives before they croaked.
This is the kind of book I love because it has short little chapters with tidbits of interesting information. The description of the person's life/death is also followed by more information on other random things, like gout, the sign language alphabet, and phobias. Easy, fun read!
Product Description Over the course of history men and women have lived and died. In fact, getting sick and dying can be a big, ugly mess-especially before the modern medical care that we all enjoy today. How They Croaked relays all the gory details of how nineteen world figures gave up the ghost. For example:
It is believed that Henry VIII's remains exploded within his coffin while lying in state.
Doctors "treated" George Washington by draining almost 80 ounces of blood before he finally kicked the bucket.
Right before Beethoven wrote his last notes, doctors drilled a hole in his stomach without any pain medication.
Readers will be interested well past the final curtain, and feel lucky to live in a world with painkillers, X-rays, soap, and 911....more
This is a book about spies through the ages, mostly American. The stories are short and don't go into a lot of detail, but they are still interesting.This is a book about spies through the ages, mostly American. The stories are short and don't go into a lot of detail, but they are still interesting.
Product Description From clothesline codes to surveillance satellites and cyber espionage, Paul B. Janeczko uncovers two centuries’ worth of true spy stories in U.S. history.
Ever since George Washington used them to help topple the British, spies and their networks have helped and hurt America at key moments in history. In this fascinating collection, Paul B. Janeczko probes such stories as that of Elizabeth Van Lew, an aristocrat whose hatred of slavery drove her to be one of the most successful spies in the Civil War; the "Choctaw code talkers," Native Americans who were instrumental in sending secret messages during World War I; the staggering engineering behind a Cold War tunnel into East Berlin to tap Soviet phones (only to be compromised by a Soviet mole); and many more famous and less-known examples. Colorful personalities, daring missions, the feats of the loyal, and the damage of traitors are interspersed with a look at the technological advances that continue to change the rules of gathering intelligence. ...more
I selected this book on CD after seeing Condoleezza Rice on The Daily Show. I'd never been a fan before and had a conception in my mind about who sheI selected this book on CD after seeing Condoleezza Rice on The Daily Show. I'd never been a fan before and had a conception in my mind about who she was (not being a Bush fan either). But after listening to her interview with Jon Stewart, I thought I'd look into her book. She came across as charming and intelligent and pleasant.
The book on CD is narrated by Condoleezza herself. Her reading was generally good, but there were a few places where I felt the writing emoted more than she did. Overall, though, I enjoyed the book. I expected it to be a bit more about her parents and less about her, but it was all right because it was interesting to learn about her. The book is matter-of-fact when dealing with the segregation she faced as a child, and rarely is there any bitterness in her tone. Instead, she focuses on the positive, on her relationship with her parents and the opportunities and challenges they gave her. Really a very good read!
Condoleezza Rice has excelled as a diplomat, political scientist, and concert pianist. Her achievements run the gamut from helping to oversee the collapse of communism in Europe and the decline of the Soviet Union, to working to protect the country in the aftermath of 9-11, to becoming only the second woman - and the first black woman ever -- to serve as Secretary of State.
But until she was 25 she never learned to swim.
Not because she wouldn't have loved to, but because when she was a little girl in Birmingham, Alabama, Commissioner of Public Safety Bull Connor decided he'd rather shut down the city's pools than give black citizens access.
Throughout the 1950's, Birmingham's black middle class largely succeeded in insulating their children from the most corrosive effects of racism, providing multiple support systems to ensure the next generation would live better than the last. But by 1963, when Rice was applying herself to her fourth grader's lessons, the situation had grown intolerable. Birmingham was an environment where blacks were expected to keep their head down and do what they were told -- or face violent consequences. That spring two bombs exploded in Rice’s neighborhood amid a series of chilling Klu Klux Klan attacks. Months later, four young girls lost their lives in a particularly vicious bombing.
So how was Rice able to achieve what she ultimately did?
Her father, John, a minister and educator, instilled a love of sports and politics. Her mother, a teacher, developed Condoleezza’s passion for piano and exposed her to the fine arts. From both, Rice learned the value of faith in the face of hardship and the importance of giving back to the community. Her parents’ fierce unwillingness to set limits propelled her to the venerable halls of Stanford University, where she quickly rose through the ranks to become the university’s second-in-command. An expert in Soviet and Eastern European Affairs, she played a leading role in U.S. policy as the Iron Curtain fell and the Soviet Union disintegrated. Less than a decade later, at the apex of the hotly contested 2000 presidential election, she received the exciting news – just shortly before her father’s death – that she would go on to the White House as the first female National Security Advisor.
As comfortable describing lighthearted family moments as she is recalling the poignancy of her mother’s cancer battle and the heady challenge of going toe-to-toe with Soviet leaders, Rice holds nothing back in this remarkably candid telling. This is the story of Condoleezza Rice that has never been told, not that of an ultra-accomplished world leader, but of a little girl – and a young woman -- trying to find her place in a sometimes hostile world and of two exceptional parents, and an extended family and community, that made all the difference....more
The book was interesting and the photos included were very dramatic and perhaps cleaned up a little. But there were a couple of places in the book wheThe book was interesting and the photos included were very dramatic and perhaps cleaned up a little. But there were a couple of places in the book where I was not sure the author had his facts right, and then I talked to a couple of other people and they said the same thing. Wondering about the correctness made me wary of trusting other parts of the book.
Product Description Nonfiction master Russell Freedman illuminates for young readers the complex and rarely discussed subject of World War I. The tangled relationships and alliances of many nations, the introduction of modern weaponry, and top-level military decisions that resulted in thousands upon thousands of casualties all contributed to the "great war," which people hoped and believed would be the only conflict of its kind. In this clear and authoritative account, the author shows the ways in which the seeds of a second world war were sown in the first. Numerous archival photographs give the often disturbing subject matter a moving visual counterpart. ...more
This book is good, and it is interesting. It's a little light on information, though. There are copies of the actuaI wanted to give this a 3.5 rating.
This book is good, and it is interesting. It's a little light on information, though. There are copies of the actual written pages of the author's mother's posie album, written during WWII in Germany. There are also a few pages from the mother's own diary.
The text portions of it, though, are written by the author as an interpretation of conversations she had with her mother about what happened. It kind of bothered me that it was not the mother's own words, and yet this book made it into the nonfiction section while another book set in WWII and written by the author telling the story of her great aunt, Yellow Star, is shelved in the fiction section. I don't get that distinction. I think that is part of why I ranked this one lower, which kind of has nothing to do with this book, but it bothered me.
The book is short and does have some photographs in the back, so it's a fairly quick read. ...more
This book had nice short chapters and gave good information without bogging the reader down or making it too light on facts. Interesting read.
ProductThis book had nice short chapters and gave good information without bogging the reader down or making it too light on facts. Interesting read.
Natural and man-made disasters have the power to destroy thousands of lives very quickly. Both as they unfold and in the aftermath, these forces of nature astonish the rest of the world with their incredible devastation and magnitude. In this collection of ten well-known catastrophes such as the great Chicago fire, the sinking of the Titanic, and hurricane Katrina, Brenda Guiberson explores the causes and effects, as well as the local and global reverberations of these calamitous events. Highlighted with photographs and drawings, each compelling account tells the story of destruction and devastation, and most especially, the power of mankind to persevere in the face of adversity. ...more
This was a very interesting book with lots of information about the time during which the events took place, 1893 and thereabouts. I listened to it onThis was a very interesting book with lots of information about the time during which the events took place, 1893 and thereabouts. I listened to it on CD and there were times when my mind wandered away from the story, but I think I might have been more focused on this one if I had read it rather than listened to it.
The book tells the story of the creation of the Chicago World's Fair in 1893 simultaneously with the story of H. H. Holmes, a serial killer living in Chicago at the time. My initial interest was in Holmes, but as the book went on I became more interested in the story of the World's Fair and the effort it took to make it happen in a time with no telephones, fax machines, Internet, airplanes, major construction machinery, etc. I was amazed by all the familiar names of the era - Marshall Field, Buffalo Bill, Frank Lloyd Wright - as well as the inventions and products introduced at the fair.
There is very little graphic detail about Holmes and his killings. Much was never learned about the man, but there were probably many more deaths he was responsible for than the public ever knew about. He was the first of his kind to be recognized as such - a man who killed not for money or love or jealousy alone, but because he liked it.
I do feel some of the book's reviews give the impression the book is mostly about Holmes, but the actual text I thought had a little more coverage of the creation of the fair, so people interested only in the serial killer aspect might be disappointed.
From Publishers Weekly Not long after Jack the Ripper haunted the ill-lit streets of 1888 London, H.H. Holmes (born Herman Webster Mudgett) dispatched somewhere between 27 and 200 people, mostly single young women, in the churning new metropolis of Chicago; many of the murders occurred during (and exploited) the city's finest moment, the World's Fair of 1893. Larson's breathtaking new history is a novelistic yet wholly factual account of the fair and the mass murderer who lurked within it. Bestselling author Larson (Isaac's Storm) strikes a fine balance between the planning and execution of the vast fair and Holmes's relentless, ghastly activities. The passages about Holmes are compelling and aptly claustrophobic; readers will be glad for the frequent escapes to the relative sanity of Holmes's co-star, architect and fair overseer Daniel Hudson Burnham, who managed the thousands of workers and engineers who pulled the sprawling fair together 0n an astonishingly tight two-year schedule. A natural charlatan, Holmes exploited the inability of authorities to coordinate, creating a small commercial empire entirely on unpaid debts and constructing a personal cadaver-disposal system. This is, in effect, the nonfiction Alienist, or a sort of companion, which might be called Homicide, to Emile Durkheim's Suicide. However, rather than anomie, Larson is most interested in industriousness and the new opportunities for mayhem afforded by the advent of widespread public anonymity. This book is everything popular history should be, meticulously recreating a rich, pre-automobile America on the cusp of modernity, in which the sale of "articulated" corpses was a semi-respectable trade and serial killers could go well-nigh unnoticed....more
This was not a bad book; it's just a little dry to be in the YA section. It is told from - I believe - a 9-year old's perspective. I can't remember ifThis was not a bad book; it's just a little dry to be in the YA section. It is told from - I believe - a 9-year old's perspective. I can't remember if she was 9 or 11, but I think 9. Most times the story seemed to be from someone younger.
There was a lot the child did not understand, which is fine, but it was never explained so the reader could understand it, which was quite frustrating. The questions the child had remained unanswered by the adults around her, so there was also no resolution for the reader. Someone not familiar with the history of Romania would finish this book and be no wiser as to the events which unfolded there and how things came about.
There were other things left in the air - did she ever see her friends Claudia or Andrei again? How long was her family in Israel before immigrating to the United States? Did her parents stay together? Once they reached Israel, how did they get along as far as finding a place to live or a means of employment? It all just stopped abruptly when they got to Israel and would have been more satisfying if there had been some sort of brief wrap-up.
Product Description Eva Zimmermann is eight years old, and she has just discovered she is Jewish. Such is the life of an only child living in postwar Bucharest, a city that is changing in ever more frightening ways. Eva’s family, full of eccentric and opinionated adults, will do absolutely anything to keep her safe—even if it means hiding her identity from her. With razor-sharp depictions of her animated relatives, Haya Leah Molnar’s memoir of her childhood captures with touching precocity the very adult realities of living behind the iron curtain....more
This is the story of a surviving Mengele twin. This is a second version of a previously published memoir, Echoes from Auschwitz, and I found it a bitThis is the story of a surviving Mengele twin. This is a second version of a previously published memoir, Echoes from Auschwitz, and I found it a bit overly simplified. It would be a good read for a 5th or 6th grader, but I think an older teen would want something with more detail and information, and this kind of glossed over everything, though it was interesting. I am going to look for the adult version to compare....more
Product Description Born near the beginning of World War II, Li Na was the youngest son of a wealthy Chinese government official. He saw his father jaiProduct Description Born near the beginning of World War II, Li Na was the youngest son of a wealthy Chinese government official. He saw his father jailed for treason and his family's fortunes dashed when Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists came to power in 1945. He watched from his aunt's Shanghai apartment as the Communist army seized the city in 1948. He experienced the heady materialism of the decadent foreign "white ghosts" in British Hong Kong and starved within the harsh confines of a Communist reform school. Over the course of twenty-one tumultuous years, he went from Li Na, the dutiful Chinese son yearning for a stern, manipulative father's love, to Charles, an independent Chinese American seeking no one's approval but his own. Lyrical and luminous, intense and extraordinary, The Bitter Sea is an unforgettable true story of a young man, his father, and his country.
I read this as an advanced readers copy and loved it. Charles' story is amazing, especially his time spent living off the streets as a young child and then his development into a man of learning in later years. Fascinating story, well-written and poignant....more
Product Description Kris Waldherr’s elegant little book is a chronicle of the trials and tribulations of queens across the ages, a quirky, funny, utterProduct Description Kris Waldherr’s elegant little book is a chronicle of the trials and tribulations of queens across the ages, a quirky, funny, utterly macabre tribute to the dark side of female empowerment. Over the course of fifty irresistibly illustrated and too-brief lives, Doomed Queens charts centuries of regal backstabbing and intrigue. We meet well-known figures like Catherine of Aragon, whose happy marriage to Henry VIII ended prematurely when it became clear that she was a starter wife--the first of six. And we meet forgotten queens like Amalasuntha, the notoriously literate Ostrogoth princess who overreached politically and was strangled in her bath. While their ends were bleak, these queens did not die without purpose. Their unfortunate lives are colorful cautionary tales for today’s would-be power brokers--a legacy of worldly and womanly wisdom gathered one spectacular regal ruin at a time.
I had never heard of some of these women, and their stories were all interesting. The chapters are only a page or two long, so the reading goes fast, and there are lots of tidbits of interest thrown in. I found the artwork rather pedestrian - it looked like something I could have done when I was in high school (a peak of talent I never quite surpassed), but the writing was worthwhile. I would recommend this book.
Product Description When Tony Perrottet heard that Napoleon's "baguette" had been stolen by his disgruntled doctor a few days after the Emperor's deathProduct Description When Tony Perrottet heard that Napoleon's "baguette" had been stolen by his disgruntled doctor a few days after the Emperor's death, he rushed out to New Jersey. Why? Because that's where an eccentric American collector who had purchased Napoleon's member at a Parisian auction now kept the actual relic in an old suitcase under his bed. The story of Napoleon's privates triggered Perrottet's quest to research other such exotic sagas from history, to discover the actual evidence behind the most famous age-old mysteries: Did Churchill really send condoms of a surprising size to Stalin? Were champagne glasses really molded upon Marie Antoinette's breasts? What was JFK's real secret service? What were Casanova's best pickup lines? Napoleon's Privates is filled with offbeat, riotously entertaining anecdotes that are guaranteed to amaze, shock, and enliven any dinner party.
This book was too funny. I would say about 1/3 of it has stories that are not sex related, but the rest does involve body parts and strange acts, so be warned. Mostly, though, the author manages to take fascinating stories and events from history and turn them into hilarious tales that will have you remembering your history for once. Also great for random useless trivia to amaze your friends.
Not recommended for those who are prim and proper. I WISH I could take it on book talks to middle and high schools, but I think I'd get in trouble for it. But some of the stories in here are terrific....more
Product description: Our age doesn't have a lock on outspoken women, as Vicki Leon proves in this impudent, flippant history of the Middle Ages. In theProduct description: Our age doesn't have a lock on outspoken women, as Vicki Leon proves in this impudent, flippant history of the Middle Ages. In the 1600s, Lady Castlehaven charged her husband with rape and had his connubial rights--and head--removed. Prioress Eglentyne, who appears in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, fell afoul of clerical colleagues by ignoring rules about "dress, dogs, dances" and worse yet, "wandering in the world." And let's not forget Isabel, Queen of Castile, patron of Columbus, and wife to Ferdinand. Her marriage motto was "They rule with equal rights and both excel, Isabel as much as Ferdinand, Ferdinand as much as Isabel."
This is fast, light reading that introduces the reader to more than 200 medieval women who did not do things in the acceptable manner - for women, that is. All sorts of women are highlighted, from the famous to the not-so well-known. Fun reading....more
I first read this book while taking the anthropology course "The Indians of North America" in college. ForI wish I could give this more than 5 stars.
I first read this book while taking the anthropology course "The Indians of North America" in college. For our final, one of the things we had to do was select three of the tales from this book and summarize them and answer specific questions on it.
Most of these stories are heartbreaking. A few are funny (or at least show the cleverness of the Indians in dealing with the whites). But the book is definitely a very important read for just about anyone interested in the past, Native Americans, the effects of foreign expansion on native peoples, etc etc etc. Excellent narrative.
Amazon.com Review First published in 1970, this extraordinary book changed the way Americans think about the original inhabitants of their country. Beginning with the Long Walk of the Navajos in 1860 and ending 30 years later with the massacre of Sioux men, women, and children at Wounded Knee in South Dakota, it tells how the American Indians lost their land and lives to a dynamically expanding white society. During these three decades, America's population doubled from 31 million to 62 million. Again and again, promises made to the Indians fell victim to the ruthlessness and greed of settlers pushing westward to make new lives. The Indians were herded off their ancestral lands into ever-shrinking reservations, and were starved and killed if they resisted. It is a truism that "history is written by the victors"; for the first time, this book described the opening of the West from the Indians' viewpoint. Accustomed to stereotypes of Indians as red savages, white Americans were shocked to read the reasoned eloquence of Indian leaders and learn of the bravery with which they and their peoples endured suffering. With meticulous research and in measured language overlaying brutal narrative, Dee Brown focused attention on a national disgrace. Still controversial but with many of its premises now accepted, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee has sold 5 million copies around the world. Thirty years after it first broke onto the national conscience, it has lost none of its importance or emotional impact. --John Stevenson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
It's difficult to say I enjoyed this book, as it is about a Holocaust survivor, so I will instead say it is an engrossing tale that I could not put doIt's difficult to say I enjoyed this book, as it is about a Holocaust survivor, so I will instead say it is an engrossing tale that I could not put down.
From the front cover: In 1939, the Germans invaded the town of Lodz, Poland, and moved the Jewish population into a small part of the city called a ghetto. As the war progressed, 270,000 people were forced to settle in the ghetto under impossible conditions. At the end of the war, there were about 800 survivors. Of those who survived, only twelve were children. This is the story of one of the twelve.
Syvie is moved with her father, mother, and older sister into the ghetto when she is four years old. This book is written by her niece from Syvie's young point of view, expressed in free verse. The chapters are short, fast reading, but no less terrible for that. Syvie talks about the shortages of food, friends disappearing, the trains taking people to concentration camps, and the exceptional cleverness of her father, who saved them many times over.
This is an amazing, fascinating story. Highly recommended. ...more