Every once in a while I will grab one of the coffee-table books I've somehow managed to accidentally collect over the years...and actually read it. IEvery once in a while I will grab one of the coffee-table books I've somehow managed to accidentally collect over the years...and actually read it. I received this one as a gift when I was leaving an active duty assignment and moving on to the next. Since it happened to be in the year 2000, somebody must have thought this would be an appropriate gift. Evidently they didn't notice the subtitle, "For Young People" but no matter. Sometimes that is for the best.
The book is divided into major sections, each corresponding to an era of the 20th century such as 1900-1913, 'Across the Threshold' and 1930-1939, 'Empty Pockets' all the way to 1993-1999, 'OurFuture.com'. Each section is introduced with an essay by an award winning author of children's or YA books. These served well to summarize the particular era. Of course the majority of the book is the pictures from the extraordinary archives of Life magazine. Most of the famous (or infamous) photographs I have ever seen before are included and many that I had not. Each is accompanied by several sentences of description which serves further to summarize the event.
Of course, in any book like this there will be disagreements on how various events are portrayed and what is important enough to be included and what is left out. I suspect some will be frustrated at the political slant of the choices here but overall I thought they did a good job of representing the century. At least from an American perspective. While events such as Apartheid, Polish solidarity, the Russian Revolution, etc. are included, I would wager that roughly 80-90 percent of the events concern the US or the US perspective on a world event.
This book is a collection of letters and personal diary entries from George H. W. Bush throughout his life. The book is divided into major sections thThis book is a collection of letters and personal diary entries from George H. W. Bush throughout his life. The book is divided into major sections that align with what he was doing at the time. It includes letters to his mom back when he voluntered to enter the US Navy after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and goes all the way up until the date of publication of the book, just prior to his son's campaign for president. It includes sections during his time as an oil man in Texas, as a congressman, as the US Ambassador to the UN, as the Chairman of the RNC (during the Watergate era), as the Director of the CIA, as the US liaison to China, and of course as the Vice President to Ronald Reagan and ultimately as the US President. We get to see his thoughts on historical events like the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Panama invasion, Somalia, and, of course, Operations Desert Shield/Storm. But we also get to read his thoughts on infamous events like his upchucking on the Chinese Premier and the fallout from "Read My Lips" etc.
I have not read very many political autobiographies, at least not of the modern era. I figure they are pretty much attempts to justify their own actions, show things from their point of view, etc. But since this was a collection of actual letters written at the time I think that phenomenan is lessoned. Overall, I was very happy to have read this book...it was a far better experience than I was expecting. Afterall, George Bush, our 41st president is usually considered forgetable, despite Desert Storm. This is probably due to being only a one term president sandwiched between the personalities of Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. It was fascinating, however, to see what his thoughts were regarding all of the events he participated in. He spent a lifetime at or near the top of huge events in this world and that fact can be easy to forget. But more importantly than the events he describes, I was struck by the very nature of the man. This book confirmed my impressions of him, showing him to be a compassionate man, who holds high ideals, who loves his family above all else, and who tends to give everybody, even his political foes, the benefit of the doubt. Of course an arguement can be made that only the letters that showed him in a positive light were included but there is just too much here to dispute the very nature of the man himself.
Pick up this one and enjoy the journey, no matter what your political beliefs might be....more
Mr Bacevich has written an incredibly thought-provoking book on where the US lies currently in it's trek along the "great experiment." I like to fancyMr Bacevich has written an incredibly thought-provoking book on where the US lies currently in it's trek along the "great experiment." I like to fancy myself a student of history, especially US history and have been troubled for quite some time about where my country is on its time line. I try to be optimistic and hope we are still on the rise but its difficult not to compare us with the fall of previous empires. Mr Bacevich has cleared up my thoughts considerably.
This book will appeal to people of all political parties. The author spares nobody in uncovering reasons for our current predicaments. He doesn't lay all the blame on GW Bush like so many authors do (but still plenty) but rather traces our current situation all the way back to the beginnings of the Cold War, JFK, Carter, Reagan, etc. Everybody has leant a hand in putting us on the current path. But at the same time he offers clear clues on how to extricate ourselves from that path. He examines the economic, political, and military aspects of history since the end of WWII and charts the rise of American Exceptionalism to the detriment of our actual desired identity.
The book is relatively short (less than 300 pages) but sure packs a whallop. Every sentence focused my mind and it seemed like every page offered a eureka moment as it brought yet another aspect into focus. If you are like me and have scratched your head at finding the US in the predicament we are, then you owe it to yourself to read this book. Enjoy!...more
Book 8 of Joy Hakim's "A History of US, An Age of Extremes" is another fine entry in the 10-volume young adult US history set. Even though I like to cBook 8 of Joy Hakim's "A History of US, An Age of Extremes" is another fine entry in the 10-volume young adult US history set. Even though I like to consider myself quite knowledgeable about history in general and US history in particular, I always uncover new facts when I read these books. Moreover, I gain greater insight on the happenings of the era because of the excellent presentation. I love all of the interesting sidebars, pictures, and diagrams that are included.
This volume covers numerous topics such as the rise of industry, the politics of business vs. government, and inventions galore. We get nice summaries of the major players of the day: tycoons such as Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, Carnegie, or JP Morgan; Presidents like Grant, Hayes, Roosevelt and Wilson; and other prominent people who impacted US history like John Roebling, Frank Lloyd Wright, John Muir, William Jennings Bryan, and the Wright Brothers. Of special interest to me because I like reading about the history of books, were nice summary biographies of L. Frank Baum, the author of the Wizard of Oz books, as well as the Muckrakers like Ida Tarbell, Upton Sinclair, Sam McClure and Jack London, Rudyard Kipling, Stephen Crane, and Willa Cather. We bought this set of books for use in our kids' homeschooling effort and they are perfect for that purpose as they bring the history to life. Highly recommended. ...more
I just finished this book, and, quite frankly, I feel like I have just been through a war. As a US Air Force officer who was just starting out duringI just finished this book, and, quite frankly, I feel like I have just been through a war. As a US Air Force officer who was just starting out during the time of the Gulf War, I had been looking forward to reading this book for a long time. I had already learned quite a bit about the Gulf War through other sources, but I was looking for a legitimate source of what was actually happening, on the ground and in the air, from a day-to-day perspective, and from somebody who had lived the experience.
This was the right book! The opening chapters introduce us to Gen Chuck Horner in an autobiographical approach. We learn what motivates him as a pilot, as an officer, and as a human being. We gain some insights from his experiences during Vietnam, and ultimately learn how that affected his approach to the Gulf War.
But the bulk of the book is about the Gulf War, and how the coalition forces made their decisions on the best way to approach the battle situation. My favorite partsin this book, were the "day-in-the-life" segments. We get to follow Gen Horner from the moment he wakes up, through briefings, visits to units, phone calls, problem solving, meetings with coalition partners, etc. to the minute he finally, gets to go to bed. We see and appreciate the job he does at the most mundane level, and yet understand how those small things lead to the big picture of war fighting. Gen Horner is generous in spreading the credit for successes and does not hold back in accepting blame when that is appropriate.
The only reason I didn't rate this book 5 stars is the lengthy explanations of air power and strategy. For those who are not familiar with such concepts, this information is vital, and so you should consider my rating to be 5 stars.
Finally, I appreciated Gen Horner's essay's on coalition building and the future of air and space power. I was fortunate enough to be assigned to Space Command for a short time before Gen Horner retired as CINCSPACE and from the US Air Force. And even though I was but a lowly Lieutenant, and never spoke directly with Gen Horner, I can tell you his impact on all of us was profound. As Tom Clancy states at the end of the book, "Gen Chuck Horner was the right man at the right time." ...more
I actually bought my copy at "the Anne Frank House" after touring the museum there. This book provides excellent insights into the world of a normal 1I actually bought my copy at "the Anne Frank House" after touring the museum there. This book provides excellent insights into the world of a normal 13 year-old girl who was forced to live under extra-ordinary circumstances. Anne Frank was forced to endure two years of hiding in a secret annex of her father's business during the Nazi hunt for Jews during WWII. Her insights into these facts are historically interesting but what fascinated me was the way she wrote about the everyday things. How the occupants of the secret annex squabbled, what they ate from month to month, what she thought about her friends, etc. Amazing insights from a young girl. And all the while, you already know the end, which makes it all the more intriguing. Well worth your time to read. ...more
I was an active duty Air Force member about to deploy to Sarejevo when I read this book. I picked it up to learn more about the history of the regionI was an active duty Air Force member about to deploy to Sarejevo when I read this book. I picked it up to learn more about the history of the region I would be working in for 6 months. After I finished, I felt I had gained a thorough understanding of the forces that brought about the destruction of Yugoslavia during 1989-1992. The leaders of Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Kosovo, etc. along with numerous other important players on the stage, are detailed for you. The relationships are complex but Mr. Zimmermann does a fine job of presenting the situation for the layman....more
I enjoy reading these volumes a lot. Together they form a complete history of the US. Meant for children and young adults they, however, do not at allI enjoy reading these volumes a lot. Together they form a complete history of the US. Meant for children and young adults they, however, do not at all simplify the issues of the time but rather highlight the people who lived through them. For example, in this volume, we read about famous people like Booker T. Washington, Thomas Edison, and Susan B. Anthony but we also get to hear of the experiences of lesser known people who had large impacts on history. But probably most interesting to readers is the chapters where the author delves into what day-to-day life would be like for somebody living in the times...like a Chinese immigrant working on the railroad or a child of a formerly enslaved family now forced to fend for themselves during reconstruction. That truly brings history alive for students (and for middle-aged codgers like me).
Ms Hakim does a wonderful job of distilling all of that history down into coherant pieces of information. She takes major themes of history and makes them relevant to individual people, telling their stories and thus illustrating the theme. There are lots of pictures and sidebar descriptions that serve well to keep up interest and keep readers turning the pages. You just want to keep on reading that next little bit. ...more
Blood and Thunder, subtitled, "The Epic Story of Kit Carson and the Conquest of the American West", was written by Hampton Sides and was an importantBlood and Thunder, subtitled, "The Epic Story of Kit Carson and the Conquest of the American West", was written by Hampton Sides and was an important book for me. You see, I grew up in the Southwestern US, namely New Mexico, and have since lived all over the western US including California, Utah, and Colorado, also spending lots of time in Nevada, Arizona, and Texas. And yet, I have long felt my historical education of the region has been aquired in bits and pieces only with no real handle on how it all fit together. I was first attracted to this book by the great cover art and the subject of Kit Carson since I had always wanted to read about his life. But this book turned out to be about quite a bit more than just Kit Carson's life.
Don't get me wrong, Kit Carson's life and deeds are incredible. He seems to have been everywhere in the West, at most of the important events, often effecting them in astounding ways. We read of John Charles Fremont and his Pathfinder expeditions, with Kit Carson as his guide. We follow the Civil War events in New Mexico (a good followup to the set of four novels I read last year by P.G. Nagle), as well as learn about General Stephen Watts Kearny, the conquerer of the West. And through it all is the plight of the Navajo Indians, and their leaders. These events and characters just scratch the surface of what this book covers. I highly recommend this book to anybody interested in a good all-around discussion of the history of the American South West....more