The person that referred me to this book indicated it would give me a more realistic view of what goes on in the CIA. I'll admit that I didn't finishThe person that referred me to this book indicated it would give me a more realistic view of what goes on in the CIA. I'll admit that I didn't finish the book, but I was over halfway through, and she had just barely gotten out of training. She had also hinted that she wasn't going to be in the CIA for long, so I gave up on it.
Ultimately, I'm of the opinion that this book is mostly just a bunch of whining intermixed with self-congratulations. For example, the author talked about how difficult everything in training was, yet only mentions a few people (I only remember one that she actually knew) not making the cut. It sounds like it is more about making it sound difficult than actually being difficult....more
If you are a fan of John Wayne, probably you should pick a different biography. If you like celebrity gossip and harpooning larger-than-life characterIf you are a fan of John Wayne, probably you should pick a different biography. If you like celebrity gossip and harpooning larger-than-life characters to dismiss their greatness due to their other flaws, this will probably be your cup of tea.
The content (life of "Duke" Morrison and the screen character John Wayne) was good enough that not even a poor presentation could completely screw it up. But be ready for this author's style- he doesn't seem to like John Wayne or his ideals and regularly inserts little self-righteous jibes (several times refers to John Wayne's traditional values as "bigotry") that show his intent is to cast John Wayne as a bit of a hypocrite, a man that couldn't manage to live up to his own ideals. The author lauds Wayne's ability as an actor, but kind of allows that as the explanation of why Wayne doesn't life up to his own principles. I feel like the author didn't really understand Duke, although he may have understood John Wayne on a superficial level, since the screen character is primarily about appearance....more
The story of his life was fascinating from the perspective of a modern reader- he struggled at this, he struggled at that, finally found something heThe story of his life was fascinating from the perspective of a modern reader- he struggled at this, he struggled at that, finally found something he was really good at, and excelled. Many histories speak of their subjects as if fore-ordained to greatness. Not this one. It recognized that the greatness was the result of the earlier struggle, not inspite of it.
The presentation was also very informative of the perception of people at the time the book was written- the author was not afraid to take sides (in this case "for"- often referring to Jackson as "our hero" and mentioning how "gallant" or "brave" noteworthy officers were when they eventually met their respective demises), the author provides some of the reasoning the South had for fighting (remarking that slavery was, at best, only tangentially related to why the South was fighting), and other pieces of information that now may seem dated or out of fashion. But I found those remarks very helpful and honest- I knew which way the piece was slanted and could take that into account.
If you want to understand the modern climate change debate, read this book. It presents two of the sides of the argument and demonstrates why each hasIf you want to understand the modern climate change debate, read this book. It presents two of the sides of the argument and demonstrates why each has limitations both ideologically and due to the figures leading those various ideological groups. It does this in a way that is an interesting narrative and doesn't ignore factors like media attention and attention paid by policy makers, which are a significant factor in this debate. It's also fairly concise and does a good job of sticking to the subject at hand, while realizing that the influences on the two main figures were many.
Having said all that, I feel like I was setup to like this book- the bad guy was more human than many villains at the beginning, but eventually became someone I could really dislike by the end and the good guy wasn't perfect, but won out anyway. And unless you already know the story, you'll have to read the book to know which of the two I like and which I don't....more
A worthwhile read that shows a look into the life of Andrew Jackson. As could be expected, the majority of the book is from his years in the presidencA worthwhile read that shows a look into the life of Andrew Jackson. As could be expected, the majority of the book is from his years in the presidency, when written documents were most readily available.
After reading the book, I concluded that Jackson was part idealist and part knave- His concern for the populus only extended to voters- slaves and indians didn't enter into his equation of human equality. He seemed happy to act on principle when he didn't have a dog in a particular fight, but as he became more involved in politics, it seems that there were few fights he didn't have a dog in, either to help a friend or spite an enemy....more