This book was one that I was really looking forward to reading. It was a bit of a let down because the information that the author had was fairly limiThis book was one that I was really looking forward to reading. It was a bit of a let down because the information that the author had was fairly limited. I was hoping that since it came out soon after the 100 year anniversary that he might have come up with something new to talk about. In all reality the author has nothing new to talk about, until the last chapter of the book. Turner talks about Hartley's violin and how it might be found. Then he just ends the book with speculation and does not tell his readers if it has been found or not, leaving us hanging on a cliff. It is a well written book and is a very historical read but I would not recommend this to people who do not like to read history. Overall though if you like history about the Titanic it is definitely worth the read as it is the definitive book on the musicians of the Titanic and the men who "Played on!"...more
I actually didnt hate this book but found it be kinda boring. I wouldnt recommend it to many people but it is an easy read and decently quick. OverallI actually didnt hate this book but found it be kinda boring. I wouldnt recommend it to many people but it is an easy read and decently quick. Overall I would give it a C- just because it is a bit boring but does have some good historical facts about a year that is overlooked within the historical timeline.
I absolutely loved the premise of this book. I loved the ideas that Mr. Larson throws out and the obvious painstaking research he did for this book. TI absolutely loved the premise of this book. I loved the ideas that Mr. Larson throws out and the obvious painstaking research he did for this book. The subject of the Chicago's Worlds Fair is one of incredibe interest. There are very few books that cover the subject at all and this one does a great job of explaining not only the event itself, but the destruction wrought by the first serial killer in the United States. Larson's potrayal of the H.H. Holmes is one of pure terror. The stories that Larson incorporates that are obviously fashioned out of knowledge of Holmes, witness testimony, and other serial killers' repetoire, is stunningly well done. Larson's treatment of Burnham and others is great and he shows their character really well throughout. I gave this book four stars because there were a few things that I struggled with while reading. I loved the historical interpretation that Larson brings to the book it was quite satisfying and it sure tells a great story. But the interpretation itself is not very historical, it is mainly juxtaposition and clearly manufactured to please the audience. I know that historical writings are becoming more and more pop culture but I still believe that history should be written as a history. This was written as more of a pop culture history. Not to say that I was not pleased, it is just not perfect. Overall though the book was well researched and incredibly well written. With some slow reading in the middle because of the architectural side of the fair, still a worthy read. The ending left me on the edge of my seat the whole time. I am glad I read it and I look forward to reading his next sensation. ...more
Buffalo Bill may not have written this autobiography but he most likely dictated it to someone. There are so many versions of this out there and it haBuffalo Bill may not have written this autobiography but he most likely dictated it to someone. There are so many versions of this out there and it has been revised so many times it is hard to find the truth on Buffalo Bill. This one is about as close as it gets and seems to be fairly well done. I would like to see a version with some annotations but overall it is a good read. Especially if you are interested in the life of a western legend, Buffalo Bill Cody....more
Turner's thesis is an incredible achievement. Unique ideas and exceptional ideas lead to growth in frontier history. This book does a great job explaiTurner's thesis is an incredible achievement. Unique ideas and exceptional ideas lead to growth in frontier history. This book does a great job explaining the criticisms of Turner's thesis while still explaining the things he has done so well. Overall this is an easy read and will provide its readers with a unique perspective on the history of the west as well as the criticisms of Turner....more
The ‘California Gold Rush’ is known as one of the most iconic time periods in American history not only because of the economic boom that it brought wThe ‘California Gold Rush’ is known as one of the most iconic time periods in American history not only because of the economic boom that it brought west but because of the idealistic American values that came with it. ‘Manifest Destiny’ is an idea that has caressed the minds of some of the greatest people in history. These people have been in different circumstances and no two experiences are exactly alike. Even though the term was coined in the United States it is still an ideal that has been passed from Western Civilization over to the United States, where the terminology was finally perfected in 1845 by John L. O’Sullivan. When gold was discovered in California in 1848, only 40 miles from Sutter’s Fort, a gold fever was to follow that would change America and the west forever. “…Starting on that day, a powerful engine—the engine of fate, or perhaps merely of human nature—began winding them (distinct individuals) all in.” In the book The Age of Gold: The California Gold Rush and The New American Dream, H. W. Brands examines this iconic period of American history and the implications that it wrought on American society and the west. He utilizes the stories of individuals who travelled west as well as the economics and industry of the time to show the far-reaching implications of the gold rush. But he does not stop there, he also covers aspects such as national issues; ratification of California to statehood, slavery (dealing with the coming Civil War) and gender issues, ethnic and immigration laws. Brands believes that this event was a “seminal” moment in American history, “one of those rare moments that divide human existence into before and after.” His book attempts to show the immense impact the California gold rush had on American industry, society, expansion, Native Americans, and the world. H.W. Brands is an Oregon born boy who stayed out west and went to College in California. He then went on to earn his graduate degrees in mathematics and history from Oregon and Texas. He then went on to teach at Vanderbilt University and Texas A&M University before joining the faculty at the University of Texas at Austin, there he is the Dickson Allen Anderson Centennial Professor of History. Known as an author of American history and politics with many books to his name, including: Traitor to His Class, Andrew Jackson, The First American, and TR. Several of his books have been bestsellers and two were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. Brands’ resume leads this writer to believe he has the credentials to be a great writer and Age of Gold shows just that. Brands spends almost forty percent of the book allowing the Argonauts time to get west. A few of those descriptions are intriguing, especially in regards to John C. Fremont, one of the most exciting figures of the American west during the gold rush. Brands’ knack for story telling in regards to the Argonauts is absolutely stunning. He gives lucid details about each individual and their struggles to cross the great expanse of the United States. Not only does he give accounts of the travelers moving across the country by land but he gives great care to also cover the ship-goers who travelled through either the Isthmus of Panama or around Cape Horn. To this end he also covers the shipping business and the economic and technological effect the gold rush had on it. The problem with this aspect is that since Brands spends so much time on the Argonauts it really could be considered a biography instead of an overview of the gold rush. Analyzing the gold rush though does take historians far from the actual gold fields so Brands’ premise, to show the impact of the gold rush on America, must not stop at the borders of the gold fields, but must include the people as well. He does this incredibly well and is able to tie the individuals to some aspect of the gold rush that he wants to examine. For example, when Brands describes the overland journey of Hugh Heiskell he is able to explain how not everyone reached their destination. “Heiskell, after conquering the Great Plains, the Rocky Mountains, the Humboldt River, the Carson Desert, and the Sierra Nevada, died at the very entrance to the goldfields.” Brands goes into detail about the different aspects of the journey that contributed to his death as well as others that died too. “Doubtless the fatigue and unbalanced diet of the overland journey had lowered his resistance to disease; certainly the unsanitary conditions at Weaverville, the first gold camp many of the immigrants encountered…were the source of the infection that claimed him…Cholera being the most likely culprit.” Other aspects that Brands covers is the records of the dead, the only account of Heiskell’s death is from his cousin Tyler, who did not even see him during the illness. This provides somewhat of an unreliable source but it is all that we as historians have to mark his death. Brands does an excellent job of explaining the problem with numbers during this time because the records kept are few and far between. Letters barely even reached their destinations without some sort of hassle. The extensive detail given to the techniques for mining extractions, such as: placer mining, panning cradling, sluices, plumes, river mining, and hydraulic mining is also a big part of Brands’ book. All of which, especially hydraulic mining, were technological advances of the time and are incredibly important to the rise of the Gilded Age in the United States. But he misses some of the most important aspects of the time such as: land ownership issues (which he barely examines), violent crimes, prostitution, and the ever important oppression of the Chinese and other minorities. All of these he mentions briefly but does not come to any conclusion about their effect on social changes of the time. Brands’ goal being to examine the far-reaching effects of the gold rush, these are aspects that probably should have been covered to a greater extent. Especially in regards to the Chinese, they had a dramatic effect on the later “open door” policy that the United States attempted to implement. It also affected how the Chinese immigrants were continually treated in the west. Their treatment would get steadily worse and would ultimately affect how the Chinese view Americans as well as the United States government on the whole. These were the only aspects of historical content that seemed to be lacking in this intensive study of the American west and the California gold rush. Brands does delve into the territorial acquisitions of the United States and the suffering of the Mexicans that followed the Manifest Destiny war against Mexico. The Americans believed that they held rights to this new acquisition of land and as land speculators and lawyers headed out west to establish this right, the Mexicans were thrown and swindled from their land. Brands’ look into the consequences of the gold rush is absolutely the most stunning aspect of the work. The gold rush changed the ethnicity of the west and brought new immigrants from all across the world. Dispersing the Native American population, inevitably beginning the “Indian Wars,” and dwindling their numbers to nearly a fifth of what they were in 1849. The Americans saw this movement west as not only a chance to acquire the “new” American dream, the get-rich-quick-schemes, but to continually abhor the other ethnicities arriving and make their lives miserable whenever possible. Brands’ analysis of the effects of the gold rush on the Civil War, especially how the gold rush precipitated the clash of the slave states and the non-slave states, brings out the political aspect of this work and shows how diverse a writer he is. The same can be said of his talk about how the gold rush also accelerated the Industrial Revolution in the United States, compelling a push for a transcontinental railway. In regards to reviews written about Age of Gold, there are very few but the ones this writer found involve praise and adoration. “Brands has produced a work that stands far above the tide of mostly forgettable titles that accompanied the 150th anniversary of the Gold Rush three years ago.” Allen Weakland says, “In an almost cinematic style, Brands uses a secondary cast of characters to unreel this story that has had ramifications throughout the rest of U.S. history—as he demonstrates, it changed the demographic face of California forever. An important work of history.” Publishers Weekly posted a review that stated “With solid research and a sprightly narrative, Brands's portrait of the gold rush is an enlightening analysis of a transformative period for California and America.” Each of these reviews presented above give a different aspect that they found to be the most compelling argument or thesis that Brands has excelled at, but overall they found the book easy to read, full of life, exciting, and generally a good source for historical study.
But what makes Brands’ analysis so compelling is that he explains the gold rush as a catalyst for the American value system being changed from a traditional agrarian spirit or ideology in favor of the get-rich-quick schemes, which would forever change American society from a Protestant work-ethic to a more “lazy and arrogant” approach that would according to Brands, destroy the true north American character, "El Dorado, not some Puritan city on a hill, was the proper abode of the American people." The book itself covers massive amounts of content and does a very good job of covering that content. Brands has missed a few things but overall does an excellent job of explaining the gold rush through the purview of popular history.
Stephen King's treatment of the Kennedy Assassination through the eyes of Jake Epping is absolutely amazing. King's imagery is profound and well reseaStephen King's treatment of the Kennedy Assassination through the eyes of Jake Epping is absolutely amazing. King's imagery is profound and well researched. He has examined the Texas School Book Depository where Oswald allegedly shot JFK and, really everything involved or close to being involved with the assassination. I never wanted to put the book down and was lost in the pages. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in Stephen King's writing as well as anyone interested in the JFK Assassination. Overall it is a fantastic book, long but fantastic!...more
After reading the first book about the signers of the Declaration of Independence I was really excited to read this one when it came out. I was sent aAfter reading the first book about the signers of the Declaration of Independence I was really excited to read this one when it came out. I was sent a copy of this book and decided to read it over Christmas break because that was the easiest time to read it. It took me about three days and it was incredibly easy read. I found the historical information to be sound and easily understood. The author writes about the 39 men who met in the summer of 1787 and put their names to the U.S. Constitution. What I absolutely love about this book and the other is that the writing really emphasizes that these men are human and have lives outside of just the history of the constitution. The book is broken down by state delegates, so really the men are listed by the state they are from. An easy way to organize them and it allows the reader to see them listed in cohorts. These men worked together but did not necessarily agree on everything. The humanity that the author brings to these men is what I recognized the most. I found the book interesting but not an amazing read. I would give it a three out of five stars for the information the book gives. I cannot give it a higher ranking because I did not love it. I would recommend it for anyone who loves revolutionary history....more
I found Philbricks look into the life of the Nantucket whaling industry rather exciting. With each anecdote he tells through the eyes of a few of theI found Philbricks look into the life of the Nantucket whaling industry rather exciting. With each anecdote he tells through the eyes of a few of the crew, especially the cabin boy, I found myself wondering what I would have done. A great history of whaling in the united states from a man who knows the seas. Highly recommended to all those who like Moby Dick as this is the true story of what actually happened to the whaling ship Essex. ...more
I really enjoyed this book and Black Elk's description of the loss of Native American culture. This book gives a fundamental insight into the culturalI really enjoyed this book and Black Elk's description of the loss of Native American culture. This book gives a fundamental insight into the cultural visions and beliefs of the Sioux tribe. I had to read this for a class but I rather enjoyed the quick read and would recommend it to anyone interested in Native American or Sioux history....more
In this book Mr. Frankel gives a great explanation of the Cuban Missile Crisis, not only by explaining it in easy to understand terms but also by giviIn this book Mr. Frankel gives a great explanation of the Cuban Missile Crisis, not only by explaining it in easy to understand terms but also by giving his readers an overview of the event as well as the causes and the effects. A really easy read and I rather enjoyed it. Highly recommended for anyone who is interested in the Cuban Missile Crisis or the Kennedy Presidency....more
This book is a really interesting story as it follows Sgt. Kahl throgugh his military career. It is written rather informally for my taste. Besides thThis book is a really interesting story as it follows Sgt. Kahl throgugh his military career. It is written rather informally for my taste. Besides that though it is an interesting tale and fun to read, oh and a really quick read. Recommended to anyone who has interest in memiors or journals from World War II....more
This book is the best book available on the Kennedy assassination. Posner's biography of Oswald is brilliant and the book itself completely destroys aThis book is the best book available on the Kennedy assassination. Posner's biography of Oswald is brilliant and the book itself completely destroys any facts that the Kennedy conspiracy researchers think they have. A great book, I recommend it to anyone who is interested in the JFK assassination and wants the whole story. A Kennedy library would not be complete without this book....more
I was horrified while reading it and I dont think that has happened to me before. If I could have given this book zero stars or half of a star I wouldI was horrified while reading it and I dont think that has happened to me before. If I could have given this book zero stars or half of a star I would have. Marrs attacks everything that a historian does and also attacks the experts. I cannot fathom how anyone could write like this and actually have it published. Marrs does not do his research very well and I was so annoyed with the fact that he uses sources that he didnt even seem to check. In this book he attempts to be a historian and an expert but fails miserably. Horrible book! Please do not read! Marrs attempts to confuse and dilute the facts about the assassination of JFK while showing that a conspiracy exists because so many things went wrong. If you do choose to read this or are forced to, as I was, read with care....more
The book can be really dull at times but it contains some really interesting things about General Custer that most do not know. This is the only bookThe book can be really dull at times but it contains some really interesting things about General Custer that most do not know. This is the only book that discusses the topic of Grand Duke Alexis's trip through the Dakotas. It talks about the hunting trip that the Duke thought was the best part of his trip to the United States. Overall it is an interesting book but only if you want to read a lot about how the Duke was accepted in each city that he travelled. As a sidenote there is a little bit thrown in about the Native Americans and that is also fairly interesting....more
I absoultely loved this book! It gives great insight into the wartime doings and heroism of Jack Kennedy and his crew of PT 109. This particualr versiI absoultely loved this book! It gives great insight into the wartime doings and heroism of Jack Kennedy and his crew of PT 109. This particualr version also comes with 2 forwards and an afterward that gives great insight into his other PT boat and his role there in saving 80 some marines from certain death. The book is obviously written in a positive light and looks at Kennedy as a hero, as he should well be remembered as such. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes reading about WWII History because the PT boats are really an interesting part of the Pacific that is overlooked. Plus the information on Kennedy and his crew is invaluable in evaluating Jack Kennedy and his rise to power....more
Robert Dallek has given the best biography of Jack Kennedy to date. I wonderful book that highlights some of the major physical health problems he fouRobert Dallek has given the best biography of Jack Kennedy to date. I wonderful book that highlights some of the major physical health problems he fought throughout his life. This is a masterful work that gives great insight into what could have been. The historiographical approach that Dallek uses to eplain the things Kennedy was doing and what he could have done, if Oswald had not shot him, is incredibly well founded and well researched. Overall this book is great and I found it to be stimulating in regards to what I thought I knew about Kennedy and what I now know....more
This is actually a pretty boring read for a Morison book. I found it rather dry and uninvigorating but nonetheless it is important to get into the minThis is actually a pretty boring read for a Morison book. I found it rather dry and uninvigorating but nonetheless it is important to get into the mind of Morison and his belief about history. Morison once wrote that "if the only thing to come out of the revolution was the Declaration of Independence, then it would still be worth it." In this book Morison examines the revolution, its participates, and its beginnings rather thoroughly. It is an incredibly small history book and I felt as though he left way to much out for this to be a finished version. What I consider this to be is a smaller version of his much greater work that he finished later, The Oxford History of the American People. This was like a precursor to that work which is much greater and much much larger in stature and in number of pages. If you want a brief examination of the American Revolution that quickly devulges certain information crucial to a good examination then this is a great book to read and will not disappoint. Incredibly brief and easy to read, as is all Morison works....more
**spoiler alert** Upton Sinclair's the Jungle examines the life of a lithuanian immigrant who travels to Chicago in search of a better life and finds**spoiler alert** Upton Sinclair's the Jungle examines the life of a lithuanian immigrant who travels to Chicago in search of a better life and finds nothing less than Daunte's Inferno. Revolting images and disgusting work traverse the almost 400 pages of this book. Jurgis Rudkis the main character loses himself in life because he is living freedom and then bad luck befalls him and he is down and out. Sinclair examines this fictitious family and their trials and tribulations through "Packington" in Chicago. This book is not one for the weak of stomach or feight of heart. For me it was a joy to read but yet so painful to progress from page to page because things go from bad to worse. A book I will recommend because it presents an idea that even Theodore Roosevelt took to heart and provided a new way for the meat giants to do their work but I also provide a statement of caution. Be careful as you read because at times you may get lost in Jurgis's pain and agony and wish for things to get better, they do not....more
Fleming's book on FDR and the New Dealers covers a wide variety of topics and hits on many interesting details about the New Dealers. A great read thaFleming's book on FDR and the New Dealers covers a wide variety of topics and hits on many interesting details about the New Dealers. A great read that digs in depth into the fight during the fight that most people overlook and/or overlooked. An easy read for a biography/historical novel. Anyone interested in FDR should read this novel....more
I enjoyed this because it has a new history fact for each day of the year. I originally began reading this by reading it for each day of the year butI enjoyed this because it has a new history fact for each day of the year. I originally began reading this by reading it for each day of the year but decided that I just wanted to finish it and was sick of reading it once a day. Overall it is really interesting and a really easy read....more