I saw this mentioned as a Kindle Daily Deal in July & checked it out of the library, as the topic sounded interesting.
While I enjoyed the biograpI saw this mentioned as a Kindle Daily Deal in July & checked it out of the library, as the topic sounded interesting.
While I enjoyed the biographical info on Franklin as well as some of the other individuals (David Rittenhouse sounds particularly interesting!), the text felt a bit dry and repetitive at times ... tho it might have been me. The notes and bibliography were very thorough, so Lyons definitely did his homework.
It just didn't quite grab me, but is probably worth the read if you're interested in the Enlightenment as well as the struggles & conflicts between the leading men of the early United States....more
Picked this book up from the local library after Jaime & Forthbridge gave 5 stars, as I had a general interest in the topic.
A bit dry/technical aPicked this book up from the local library after Jaime & Forthbridge gave 5 stars, as I had a general interest in the topic.
A bit dry/technical at times (and overly dramatic at others), but a fascinating look behind the scenes of WWII-era UK intelligence. I didn't realize how many civilians were involved in the coding arena & how far some of them got (like Marks). Recommended to fans of Fleming & other WWII era spy novels who want more real-world knowledge....more
I first spotted this book as an Amazon Kindle sale item, but opted to check it out from the local library instead.
I found On Gold Mountain to be a faI first spotted this book as an Amazon Kindle sale item, but opted to check it out from the local library instead.
I found On Gold Mountain to be a fairly engrossing look at a personalized history of the immigrant Chinese experience in California (specifically San Francisco, Sacramento and Los Angeles) from the 1870's onward. While I was aware of the big picture (men brought in to work on the railroads; the various Exclusion laws and regulations), being able to follow a single family provides a new perspective.
Fong See was a bit of an anomaly; his ambition led him to a merchant role; and his (common-law) marriage to an American woman afforded him more opportunity than a typical laborer of the time. His long life and success afforded him the chance to take additional wives back in China; bringing one to the States after his relationship with Ticie disintegrated. She was also a fairly remarkable woman, starting her own antique business and keeping her family afloat while Fong See started fresh with a traditional Chinese woman.
Unlike several GoodReads reviewers, I found the book very readable, and was not bothered by how See filled in the blanks in terms of what the individuals probably felt, thought and said over the years. See did include a Notes section citing her references; and the photo section was a nice addition. While I don't know if I'll return to this book in the future; I may have to look up some of Lisa See's fiction work as well.
Recommended as at least a library read to those with an interest in immigrant experiences....more
lilrogue gave 3 stars: SDMB recco JohnT "This is, simultaneously, the most-poorly researched yet entertaining as hell, history book I've read. It's thlilrogue gave 3 stars: SDMB recco JohnT "This is, simultaneously, the most-poorly researched yet entertaining as hell, history book I've read. It's the Cheeto's™ of history books"...more
I checked this book out from the library based on a mention in Jo Walton's Among Others - I think someone over on the SDMB mentioned it as well, but dI checked this book out from the library based on a mention in Jo Walton's Among Others - I think someone over on the SDMB mentioned it as well, but didn't make note of who.
This historical novel tells the story of Bagoas, a Persian eunuch who became a companion/lover of Alexander the Great - starting with his childhood. I'm up to the start of their relationship, with Bagoas being around 17 and Alexander perhaps in his early 30's.
Having only a basic knowledge of this time period/historical age, I can't speak to Renault's research, but the story has felt very believable and engaging so far, and I feel I'm learning a bit along the way.
I haven't read the first in this series: Fire from Heaven, but don't feel I've missed much. I will probably go back and pick it up at some point, as I'm enjoying the story quite a bit. It reminds me a bit of Richard Adams' Maia, in terms of the court intrigue as well as the role of the main character. Renault's sex scenes are not nearly as ... detailed .. as Adams' mind you, but Bagoas is clearly a courtesan. I would not be surprised to learn that this novel(published in 1972) was an inspiration for Adams.
Recommended to those looking for well-written historical fiction set in the Middle East of the 4th century BC....more
Am working my way slowly through this weighty tome borrowed from the library. McCullough does an excellent job of briFan of author; SDMB SiamSam recco
Am working my way slowly through this weighty tome borrowed from the library. McCullough does an excellent job of bringing in just enough historical background to round out the story of this incredibly ambitious feat of construction and architecture - I've not (yet) seen it in person, but I think having read this book will give me a greater appreciation of The Bridge.
Mind you, the book can be slow going, but not at all tedious, IMHO - reading the descriptions of working in the cassions (and finally getting a clear description of what they are and how they work!) and the danger of "blowouts" made me understand just how so many lives could be & were lost during the construction of a project as massive as this.
ETA: I did skim thru a few sections, but overall found the book a fascinating look at an amazing feat of engineering, as well as the people in charge. I will definitely continue to work my way thru McCullough's body of work; tho I'm personally a bit more interested in this kind of history than straight biographies. ...more
Collins recounts the story behind the murder trial of Levi Weeks - accused of killing fellow boarder Elma Sands (with whom he was rumoured to be romantically involved) and dumping her body in a local well. This trial, held in early 1800 in New York City was the first to be fully documented in the press in America, and featured two of the Founding Fathers as defense lawyers - Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. Even amateur students of history (like myself) might find it surprising that these two men would have worked together on anything together after the Revolution, but Collins explains the connection.
There's plenty of research, and plenty of detail - resulting in 45-ish pages in the Notes section! Collins does a good job of weaving it all together into an engaging story, focussing on Sands and Elma, while still providing details on the famous figures as well. Collins delves a bit into New York City history as well - wrapping up the book with not only the story of the Burr/Hamilton duel - but the fallout of the duel as well.
It was an interesting read about a time in history I wasn't very familiar with - recommended as at least a library read. ...more
Think I'll be returning this to the library after only getting a few chapters in - it's very well written and researched; but too damn depressing.
AppThink I'll be returning this to the library after only getting a few chapters in - it's very well written and researched; but too damn depressing.
Apparently, Florida has been a f'd up place since the Europeans first showed up; lots of treachery & revenge, broken dreams and lost hopes with (of course) the natives and slaves getting the shortest shrift.
I may return to it someday, as I'd like to know more about this part of the country, but am not in the mood for this kind of book at the moment. ...more