How is it possible that someone would know so little about starting a bee hive that she would neglect to let the queen bee out of the little box thatHow is it possible that someone would know so little about starting a bee hive that she would neglect to let the queen bee out of the little box that it was shipped in ? If you are about to receive all the necessary parts to start a bee hive, wouldn't you at least read something about what to do once the package arrives? What a moron.
It's like an episode of Portlandia, where the hipsters go out to the woods to live off the land, only this book isn't supposed to be funny. This book is awful, look for a copy of 'We Took To The Woods' instead....more
Non-fiction writing should be more than just paragraphs filled with facts. A good non-fiction writer can get readers involvA good story, poorly told.
Non-fiction writing should be more than just paragraphs filled with facts. A good non-fiction writer can get readers involved in their subject, no matter what it is. This book just lurches along from one less than compelling fact after another. I have worked in publishing for many years, and I've been interested in all aspects of publishing since I was a kid, from editorial to art direction and production. So this book would seem to be a good fit for me. However, the focus here is on some of the most uninteresting aspects of book publishing, such as paper procurement, and legal issues. Little bit of information on production management goes a long way, and there's a lot of that here. Chapters and chapters of it.
Then, once we get through all the information on paper, we get to wade through the regurgitation of letter after letter of how important these wartime books were for the soldiers. After awhile, they all sounded the same. Yes, the soldiers loved these books, I get it. But wait, here's yet another letter that says just about the same thing that the last one said. For some reason, the author does not identify most of the soldiers who wrote these letters. They are mostly identified as "A soldier wrote a letter that said ...", or "A sailor wrote a letter that said...". A bit more research could have been used to put some names to these soldiers, maybe interview some of the family members who might remember how much their grandfather liked the books, or maybe a veteran who might still have some copies of the books. But no, there's none of that, seems as though the author just spent some time in an archive, found some letters, read some newspaper accounts from the time, and then put together this series of facts and called it a book.
So I think that is one of the things that good non-fiction writers do, they go beyond what the reader might expect. They find remaining veterans who remember these books, find the book collectors and used book sellers who have these books, I'm sure collectors have some good stories to tell. Maybe interview people in the publishing industry who know this story and could have provided another perspective, maybe travel to the battlefields and ask around at the local villages to see if anyone remembers anything about them, maybe there are a few left in local libraries in France or Germany? The author could have tracked down some of the administrators who worked on the program, maybe some of the younger assistants might still be alive ? Or maybe their family members or descendants might have been of help? You would think that an editor would have asked the author to do that. But no, there is none of that, just facts, facts, facts. All of which could be found by reading a Wikipedia article, or a high school level History term paper.