Written more akin to what I imagine an intelligence report to be like or a new article, but the author was a journalist and worked for the OSS. IntereWritten more akin to what I imagine an intelligence report to be like or a new article, but the author was a journalist and worked for the OSS. Interesting and amazing stories of the dawning of modern intelligence gathering in US and the World War II era. Though women's roles and contributions are the focus of the book; McIntosh's insight to the entire intel community of the day paints additional color to one of the most globally affecting periods in human history. The reader is introduced to women and men in extraordinary circumstances accomplishing things that through the years have shaped our impressions of WWII, influenced our fiction and formed public perception of what spy vs. spy adventures may be. There is no shortage of intelligent, educated, socially or politically connected characters in the author's accounts. McIntosh is able to round out the images of those she profiles in the book, by giving just enough of their pertinent life history and in some cases, what their lives became post war, although brace yourself for many a line that lists the extensive number of languages most of these women knew. Maybe some of the writing is a bit parched for excitement, but the manner of organization the writer uses makes the book easy to read in small doses or jump around a bit. I think it would make a great addition to a reading list for anyone interested in WWII, intelligence gathering or women's history. ...more
Take out everything in the title post semi-colon and let it be.
I took issue with some of the format and seemingly type cast characters Brook's has creTake out everything in the title post semi-colon and let it be.
I took issue with some of the format and seemingly type cast characters Brook's has created in attempting to explain his context of "The Social Animal", until I went back and read the introduction again. This book is an excellent bridge into many 'science-ologies' especially neuroscience, but it outlines itself in dense concepts and information in accordance to the principles he presents. The story is exactly that, a story. It isn't a textbook, medical journal or science dictionary, but it may serve as a great introduction to other specialized arenas or as a fantastic way to revisit how some hard and soft sciences blend when it comes to the human condition. The choice to weave a diverse set of studies, history and observations into a narrative or a parable of sorts is a familiar one. It is as though the audience is treated as a child, not in a condescending manner, but in a way to which people are granted an avenue to insight. How one might instill in a child a sense of the world, a desire for learning, exploration, a sense of self awareness and relationships to others. How the character of "Harold" in his developmental years is profiled as one who was raised in fairly stable, loving and healthy environment. Or when a gifted orator gets up in front of a crowd and rallies their distractions into captivation. It is a novelization of sciences and of life observations.
I was thrilled to recognize some of the work, books and people he cites examples of. I personally felt as though the next time I discuss some of the concepts in anthropology, sociology, the nature vs. nurture argument or my love of sociology as a melding, meandering valley of a multitude of disciplines and exploration that this book would be one to recommend. I have forever been a skeptic and a note taker, so I always weave these mental or sometimes tangible paper flow charts of references and other material to research.... my first copies of "A People's History of the U.S." and "Skull Wars" looked like ink and pencil lead had exploded over every section of formerly white paged margins. This books has oodles of notes and references to keep me busy for a while and it was entertaining, without being pure dry science.
In classic Brooks fashion there is a sense of humor woven through the pages. In sections that seemed less developed or that hit a nerve with my own opinions this humor serves as a great leavening factor. It also rekindled in memory moments of comedy enveloped in his previous works. I would have liked to give this book three or four stars, but the truth is with all is arguable faults, it works. I liked it, so much that I read it within 48 hours of purchasing it. I verbally squeezed a wedge between my husband and his work when reading certain interesting sections aloud to him and we'd discuss the significance (or not) with such brief fervor that his ears remained peaked for my next interjection. So my justification for five stars: it kept my interest, I plan on giving it a place on my bookshelf and with my conscious mind questioning, my unconscious has won over the mental jury on its value. ...more
A zoo during WWII that transforms itself into a key player for underground activities and a refuge for Polish Jews fleeing the madness of the Nazi's.A zoo during WWII that transforms itself into a key player for underground activities and a refuge for Polish Jews fleeing the madness of the Nazi's. Antonina, the zookeeper's wife, is the most developed character within the story. Ackerman puts together the puzzle of a life blown apart with Antonina, though constantly fearful, courageous in her determination to save the lives of others while still trying to raise and protect her family. With her husband, Jan, and their son Ryszard (and later a daughter Teresa), she keeps the day to day of a family in check as well as the life of the Warsaw Zoo. Their lives were already extraordinary; a modern fairy tale version of literally living in harmony with the fauna of the world passing through their home and in their backyard. The German invasion of Warsaw would lead to a transition of caring for animals to transforming the zoo to support underground activities. They masked the new purpose of their roles by providing support to the Germans for their interests, as a pig farm, storing munitions and to raise animals to for furs. It's an interesting tale that shows a side of life during the war that I had not yet encountered. I cannot speak to superior writing, the story felt disconnected, flipping back and forth through the pages to piece certain parts together and make it sensible. However, it is unique and worth drudging through thoughtfully. There is great appeal to the senses in the more fluid sections and moments all too real. There are passages that take on a journalistic style eye witness report of the dangers that surround the oasis of their masked rebellion. You can smell the smoke in the air, the stillness of a land devoid the sounds of birds, and the faces of those who hid in the shadows of their home and zoo begin to take shape. Depictions of horrors that Nazi soldiers committed against humanity and animal will haunt the heart and mind but then there are the many, many silent triumphs chronicled of their quest to save lives. ...more
A little disappointing. I expected more mathematical examples, but non the less an interesting read. If you've had any experience with statistics, som A little disappointing. I expected more mathematical examples, but non the less an interesting read. If you've had any experience with statistics, some of the more popular sociological experiments and a basic understanding of human psycological behavior then there are several sections that can be scanned thru.
The chapter on false positives; especially in medicine caught my attention in particular. I was pleasantly surprised to read some of the more in depth history of the development of statistics, that isn't something I would have gone out looking for as reading material, so it was nice to get a little more exposure to the development of such a popular mathematical tool. As was the discussion of a dye molecule in a glass in relation to the attack on Pearl Harbor and 9/11.
Bottom line . . . Mlodinow is making the case to stop searching for patterns to make sense of one's life, because there truly isn't one. Human perception and interpretation is/ are fallible. It's a all a game of chance, skill, talent, knowledge, location and number of attempts. All play roles but persistence equates to more opportunity to achieve. The same could be said of putting yourself in a position where there is a higher probability of something negative happening.
Thought provoking and a great book for someone with little exposure to stats, etc. It's easy to read and a Mlodinow injects some humor throughout the book keeping it light and personable. ...more
A beautiful "cigar girl" that had captured the adoration of many a man in NYC, is found floating in the Hudson, brutally murdered .. . at the same timA beautiful "cigar girl" that had captured the adoration of many a man in NYC, is found floating in the Hudson, brutally murdered .. . at the same time, a struggling writer, Edgar A. Poe, sees an opportunity to shadow the murder case with a ficticious detective story.
The last time I read a Poe biography, it was stale and boring, if it wasn't for my lingering buzz from reading "The Cask of Amontillado" and "The Pit and the Pendulum" I never would have endured it. Case in point; I have no idea who authored it or even what the book looked like now some 12 years later.
Refreshingly, Stashower was able to unravel the events of the murder in a NYC long forgotten and the life story of literature's master weaver of the macabre. It could easily have been two seperate books, each with only a nod to the related events. This fact, may account for how verbose it tends to be at times, but I enjoyed the switch from one story to another. It aided to the aura of fascination that the city was in over Mary Rogers, how outraged the public was, saddened, curious and the swift opinion change when the truth emerged. ...more
While the first 100 pages or so seemed to drag on and at times the erratic shifts between family accounts, locations and politics disrupted the flow,While the first 100 pages or so seemed to drag on and at times the erratic shifts between family accounts, locations and politics disrupted the flow, I finished the rest of the book in one sitting without realizing I read it straight through.
Laskin's detailed descriptions of what things would have looked like, and felt like were amazing. Combining survivor accounts, weather observations and medical information to illustrate what was happening in the storm and to body systems in such intense conditions.
What started of as a relatively warm and "balmy" day where children went to school without coats, turned deadly in a matter of moments. The onslaught of the storm was intense; the freight train sound of the coming winds and sudden force of powdery snow, electrical charges given of by the friction of several layers of ice crystals and structures meeting in the rush of the air. It is amazing to think the snow was so fine it clouded the air so visibilty was almost impossible, people died with in a few feet of their front doors. Suffocation from the frozen powder was possible, intense cold and wind would make it a very difficult night for those venturing out to seek better shelter. Heartbreaking stories of loss and amazing tales of survival sum up just one event that made life on the Dakota/ Nebraska prarie so challenging and difficult....more