I have a friend who was in school in Poland when the Soviet Union collapsed. Soon after, his school received new textbooks. In those new textbooks was...moreI have a friend who was in school in Poland when the Soviet Union collapsed. Soon after, his school received new textbooks. In those new textbooks was a completely new and different retelling of history. Suddenly, overnight, everything that had happened in the 20th century was completely different. In one Orwellian moment, everything he knew was wrong.
If you grew up in the 60's, or have ever hummed along or danced to a pop or rock hit from that era, prepare for an equally jarring re-write of History As You Know It. After you read this book, everything you thought you knew about the pop and rock music of the era will be, completely and utterly, false.
I tend to read "weighty" non-fiction almost exclusively, yet I found this book to be entertaining, informative and, as mentioned above, jarring.
I found myself searching my memories for the melody line and lyrics of long forgotten pop hits (which I tended to avoid once I discovered, among other things, non-mainstream music). I also found myself instantly transported back to the time and place I first heard or memorably enjoyed epic hits and songs that defined me (or so I thought) during that era.
All in all, it's a great read. And whether you are a rock historian or somebody who just gave it a 9 because it had a good beat and was easy to dance to, you owe it to yourself to read this book. In doing so, you'll find out what really happened and who really created all those tunes still filling the airwaves of the oldies and classic rock stations.
Just be prepared, your history is about to be rewritten.
In the future, when someone uses the phrase, "monumental effort," I will think of this book.
Mr. Wilkinson has not only attempted, but delivered, a su...moreIn the future, when someone uses the phrase, "monumental effort," I will think of this book.
Mr. Wilkinson has not only attempted, but delivered, a summary history of the Egyptian civilization, from conception to Cleopatra.
Aside from the scope of the work, coupled with actually having achieved it, the most remarkable thing about this book is that Mr. Wilkinson was able to craft such an accessible work.
Even when faced with source material that was both sparse, thousands of years old and almost exclusively the output of dictatorial propaganda departments, Mr. Wilkinson created a narrative that is both engaging and enlightening for the everyday, non-academic reader.
To give some perspective to the scale of the timeline involved, Thutmose IV, who reigned from 1399 BC to 1389 BC, excavated and restored the Great Sphinx of Giza, built by a previous Pharaoh, which was by then buried in shifting sands and already more than 1,000 years old. In today's world of countries that are mostly less than 300 years old, it is challenging to imagine unearthing a national monument 1,000 years old in a nation that would survive 1,000 years more.
Thutmose IV is but one of 168 Pharaohs who are individually addressed in the book, along with relevant geopolitical and regional context for their times. Somehow, Mr. Wilkinson has derived, extracted and discovered anecdotes that illuminate the life and times of many of these pharaohs, from the famous, such as Tutankhamun and Cleopatra, to the obscure, such as Neferefra and Sobekemsaf II.
While pedants may long for more detail and champions of a particular period, Kingdom or Pharaoh may wish for a more sympathetic endorsement, the overall tone of the book is even and mostly suitably detached, all while avoiding academic sterility. The flaw in this regard is the author's persistent hectoring of the ancient Egyptians for not being a replica of modern Sweden, along with its leading U.N. Gini index. Despite his sterling credentials, Mr. Wilkinson loses perspective and thus credible assessment of the realities of ancient societies when he repeatedly calls the ancient Egyptian theocratic dictatorships to task for not being more of a socialist paradise. It is hard to imagine how such a goal could have been either achieved or sustained in an era of almost universal illiteracy, cultural isolation and xenophobia. However, in the scope of a work of this magnitude, this is a minor quibble.
It is daunting to even consider addressing, in a meaningful way, a time span of 3,000 years. Mr. Wilkinson has done so, and in a very readable and entertaining fashion.
The actual edition that I read was: The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Volume I (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) by Arthur Conan Doyle, Kyle Freeman (Ed...moreThe actual edition that I read was: The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Volume I (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) by Arthur Conan Doyle, Kyle Freeman (Editor)
I am unable to locate that edition on the Goodreads search engine.
The Holmes canon is one of my lifetime favorites. I read and re-read my thick compilation of the stories and novels many times as a child. This was my first return to them since then.
In the meantime, I grew up (some), and wrote a few books. Being a writer, I take a different view on the stories now than I did then. I also have a different perspective, having learned a bit about Doyle himself and his disdain for this work.
All of that enables me to see the tell-tale signs of rushed conclusions, sloppy writing (the wandering war wound of Watson, for instance) and repetitive plots.
Nonetheless, I still came away very satisfied from my reading of this entire two-volume collection. I still very much love the characters. I still very much love Doyle's patient teaching of the methods of deduction and observation. I still very much love this peek into London's people, places and things of that era.
Even with its shortcomings, this body of work is truly timeless, and remains highly recommended reading for all ages.
PS - This annotated version adds so much to the reading experience, especially in an electronic edition where you can bounce quickly between the notes and the text. Obscure and obsolete words and phrases that I simply skipped over as a child are now quickly and easily explained. (less)
Good read. The author has an interesting take on a well-covered topic. She chose to examine the protagonist's management of his image, market position...moreGood read. The author has an interesting take on a well-covered topic. She chose to examine the protagonist's management of his image, market positioning, personal brand, etc. in an era long before social media. That element added to the also very interesting core story of a conned man's relentless pursuit of his swindlers. (less)
Bruce Tate does the nearly impossible in providing a fast paced but accomplish-able guide through seven programming languages.
He provides a good bala...moreBruce Tate does the nearly impossible in providing a fast paced but accomplish-able guide through seven programming languages.
He provides a good balance between the why and the how, while always focusing on pragmatic, delivered results. He spares no sacred cows in illuminating the weaknesses of each language, but also spares nothing in featuring their strengths.
In the end, you'll be left knowing, just as you always knew, that no one tool is the best at all things. But, you'll also know which of these tools is probably best at tackling a specific problem set.
An added bonus were the interviews of people involved with each language, often the person who invented it. They added depth and perspective, and, occasionally, surprising historical nuggets and language trivia.
Prerequisites: You'll do best if you've got some programming experience. This should not be your first toe in the water of computer programming.