To say that this book has heart is an understatement. Nineteen veterans who served in Vietnam between 1965 and 1972 poured their personal stories on t...moreTo say that this book has heart is an understatement. Nineteen veterans who served in Vietnam between 1965 and 1972 poured their personal stories on the page to tell those of us who never experienced the Vietnam War what it’s been like to fight it for more than 40 years – first in ‘Nam and then at home. One cannot read this book without being touched by the veterans’ unforgettable tales of devastation and facing unspeakable horrors that few ever experience. Their thoughts, emotions, and insights are laid bare for all of us to read.
Because of the bitter divisiveness and controversy of the war (not a conflict) and the trauma inflicted on those who survived Vietnam and returned home to a frigid reception, their stories too long were untold. No longer. These authors’ unvarnished and frank narratives pull no punches in the faces of the faint of heart, the easily offended, or those who treated the Vietnam veterans with contempt.
Regardless of one’s view of the Vietnam War, these accounts are critical to understanding what really happened and how those involved were affected. One must remember and learn from a war that many wanted to forget so that the past is never repeated. These soldiers’ stories help preserve the legacy of the war, from the Band of Brothers to the Agent Orange and anti-war protests. Whether one agrees with what has been written is not as important as reading the book to understand the fall out of a conflict in Vietnam and at home that, in some ways, is still being fought by those who remain.
The book is written from the unique perspectives of veterans who served in different branches of the U.S. Military across South Vietnam at the height of the war. If you’re the child or descendant of a Vietnam veteran and want to know but are afraid to ask why they won’t or can’t talk about the war, read this book. It may be the closest you’ll get to talking about Vietnam with your own parent or grandparent.
As the son of a Vietnam veteran, I am proud of these veterans for having the courage to share stories that they have held inside for decades. I give this book five (5) stars and highly recommend it to active military, veterans, their families, and anyone interested in the learning more about the Vietnam War.(less)
Originally published by John W. Campbell as a novella in the August 1938 edition of the magazine Astounding Science-Fiction under the pen name Don A....moreOriginally published by John W. Campbell as a novella in the August 1938 edition of the magazine Astounding Science-Fiction under the pen name Don A. Stuart, “Who Goes There?” spawned the body horror fiction subgenre and three versions of the movie The Thing. The plot is familiar to millions of fans of the 1982 John Carpenter film. Campbell pioneered the concept of an alien creature that invades and assimilates human hosts and then kills them as it jumps from host to host. The story’s theme has been replicated in dozens of movies and books from horror classics like The Blob and The Fly to zombie apocalypses. “Who Goes There?” is arguably the granddaddy of them all.
Campbell’s story is timeless. Its narrative is filled with scientific theories and observations about human behaviors still valid eight decades later. Some of the technology and language he used is dated, but much of the plot is relevant and has been retold in other tales of horror both modern and classic. The ending in this story is different from what The Thing movie fans would expect, but the characters like the pilot, MacReady, are all too familiar.
“Who Goes There?” deserves five stars and is a must-read for anyone who enjoys science fiction, horror, and contemporary classic literature.(less)
After the runaway success of his “Silo Saga” series, Hugh Howey must have been under pressure of sand-dune proportions to come up with a worthy follow...moreAfter the runaway success of his “Silo Saga” series, Hugh Howey must have been under pressure of sand-dune proportions to come up with a worthy follow-up to his blockbuster. That his new, five-story “Sand” omnibus comes on the heels of the last “Silo Saga” installment was a stroke of marketing genius by Howey. He put the proverbial glassblower in the oven while it’s hot by releasing another series sure to bask in the glow of the “Silo Saga.”
Therein lies the weakness in the new “Sand” series – it feels rushed and reads like a vague retelling of the author’s other works. The “Sand Omnibus” comes off as an above-surface version of the silo world introduced in Wool. Although the “Sand” series has some notable distinctions from the “Silo Saga,” the similarities are too obvious to ignore. Both are set in post-apocalyptic versions of what was once the United States, featuring a changed environment created long ago by self-destructive ancestors. Ageless technology from a bygone era keeps survivors alive in hostile landscapes. Both series feature several protagonists’ points of view that jump from character to character as the storyline progresses. The reality of both worlds shatters when two worlds collide. What was new and refreshing in the “Silo Saga” leaves the reader with a “Sand” aftertaste like grit in one’s teeth.
The omnibus does break some new ground for Howey. His imaginative, “Max Max”-style take on how people adapt to living on the surface and sand diving in a desert world is fuel for the imagination. He delves deeper into human relationships as told through a dysfunctional family almost torn apart by the sands of time. The author’s portrayal of love, loyalty, and camaraderie among family and friends is uneven but a gripping story. His depictions of humans using vibrating dive suits to move through sand like water seems unique in literature, as are other adaptive technologies harnessed by post-apocalyptic humanity.
Although the “Sand Omnibus” is well written, its storyline and pace suggests that the author should have slowed down and spent more time tightening the plot to avoid questionable coincidences and tidy conclusions. Had the series not been published in the aftermath of the ground-breaking “Silo Saga,” it might have elicited a better response. I give the book four stars and recommend it to anyone who enjoys dystopian science fiction.(less)
Author Nir Eyal synthesized and dispensed some of the best work from his website into this great book on consumer behavior and building products that...moreAuthor Nir Eyal synthesized and dispensed some of the best work from his website into this great book on consumer behavior and building products that encourage their usage. Organized into chapters that break down basic human habits and responses in a theoretical way, it offers concrete examples of organizations that are now among the most successful at building habit-forming products. Its Hook Model is an easy-to-understand method for applying complex concepts related to human behavior and responses to business applications. Although focused largely on the technology sector, the ideas the author presents are applicable to any company or individual looking to build something better.
Mr. Eyal’s book itself is a habit-forming product. He leaves the reader with a memorable model that they can use in their own businesses and encourages them to return to his website for more insights. Not many theory books take applicability to the level Mr. Eyal’s does. I appreciated his sincere caution that the Hook Model be used for positive ends and acknowledgement that it can be used to foster addictions.
This relatively short book is a great road map that points the reader in the right direction to build great products but may not go far enough for some. It will also be dated in a year or two when today’s “hot” companies become passé. Nevertheless, his theories on human behavior may well prove timeless.
I give the book five stars and highly recommend it to anyone looking to design better content, goods, or services.(less)
Many of life’s lessons are packed into this powerful book. Filled with stories, anecdotes and quotes, Small Bites invites the reader to enjoy – no, sa...moreMany of life’s lessons are packed into this powerful book. Filled with stories, anecdotes and quotes, Small Bites invites the reader to enjoy – no, savor – the author’s wisdom in “small bites.” Broken into discreet chapters and themes, it offers a series of short stories with lessons learned, acronyms, and structured outlines to help the reader remember salient points, and page breaks to give them time to jot down their own thoughts.
At its heart, this is a management book for life. But it’s more than that. It’s a guide intended to help the discerning reader find an easier path on the road of life. Light on spirituality but heavy on profundity, the book weaves the strands of wisdom from many ancient and modern philosophies into a beautiful tapestry of poetry and prose. Few books quote Gandhi, Michael Josephson, Mark Twain, John Wooden, and others with such eloquence.
I enjoyed the personal stories that the author shared showing his humanity and his quest to rise above the challenges that made him a better person. Not many writers are so willing to share some of the most difficult – and compromising – moments of their lives with an unknown audience, but Yarbrough did. And he did it with class, using his own lessons learned to demonstrate a better way the reader can follow.
The author wrote this book for his three children. It’s a labor of love they can cherish forever. He could have kept this treasure to himself or in the family, but he chose instead to share it with all of us. I appreciate his sincerity and learned at least one take-away in each chapter applicable to my own life. This is the kind of book you don’t read once; you read it over and over again to glean new insights. If I have any quibble about this wonderful book, it is this – I hope that the author’s next book will expound more on his own great quotes.
I give Small Bites five (5) stars and highly recommend it to anyone with an open mind, a willingness to learn, and who enjoys wisdom in small, succinct bites. (less)
I really enjoyed this short book from Daniella Whyte filled with a year's worth of thoughts, meditations, and quotes on thankfulness to God. Broken up...moreI really enjoyed this short book from Daniella Whyte filled with a year's worth of thoughts, meditations, and quotes on thankfulness to God. Broken up into succinct daily points, the book offers new insights and inspiration every day. I appreciated that the points were organized on a rotation from Bible quotes to other quotes but always came back to the Bible. They are gems to remember for Christians and non-Christians alike. It's the kind of book that can be read one thought per day -- or many -- and can be read over and over again. It's great for an inspirational pick-me-up without being preachy. A wonderful companion to go with one's Bible study. 5 stars to Daniella Whyte for a job well done.(less)
I downloaded this as a free book on Amazon. It's a short, quick read with some good common sense recommendations, encouragements, and refutations of e...moreI downloaded this as a free book on Amazon. It's a short, quick read with some good common sense recommendations, encouragements, and refutations of excuses why people don't or get up trying to lose weight. His "My Way" recommendation -- you'll have to read it to learn more -- is a great encouragement. This is too short a book that lacks any ground-breaking tips on losing that "flat belly" to spend much money to buy it, but it's worth a few bucks to get some solid encouragement in the throes of losing weight and exercising.(less)
The title of Caterina Christakos’ short guide sold me on it, but a short read later left me wondering if I should have picked a different book. It’s v...moreThe title of Caterina Christakos’ short guide sold me on it, but a short read later left me wondering if I should have picked a different book. It’s very short – perhaps ten pages. While packed with information, it does not offer many new tips or suggestions for authors who have already published one or more books. The guide offers some money-saving advice that could prove valuable but is generally available elsewhere. It does not go far enough in giving the reader value for their money by offering more options. In the audio books section, for example, it did not make reference to Audible.com, Amazon’s audio bookseller, or producing an audiobook using Amazon’s ACX. Perhaps this was an oversight or the guide needs to be updated.
Although advertised as a resource for publishing children’s books, the guide is applicable to writers of many genres. This is a plus in that you don’t have to be a children’s writer to get something out of it. On the other hand, a children’s writer may not find Ms. Christakos’ guide useful enough to make it worth buying.
There are other, better reference materials on publishing children’s books, including free options such as newsletters and publishing guides for writers that provide more in-depth information. If you are a beginning author who needs some general information to get started, this might be the book for you if it’s reasonably priced. If not, take a pass and check out other resources. (less)
This short but fascinating photo travelogue by the husband-and-wife team of Mike and Jo Coad is one of many they’ve produced. The book is an entertain...moreThis short but fascinating photo travelogue by the husband-and-wife team of Mike and Jo Coad is one of many they’ve produced. The book is an entertaining, visual look at Rajasthan (literally “Land of Kings”), India’s largest state not far from New Delhi. It offers commentary and stunning photos of Rajasthan’s best tourist destinations, including Jaipur.
I’ve visited many places around the world but have yet to visit Rajasthan. This photographic journey gave me ample taste of what to expect. I suspect that the authors’ other travelogues offer similar adventures off the beaten path. Though short, their travel journal features beautiful color photos and enlightening personal commentary to help would-be visitors prepare for their own trips.
Publishing a short book with material often featured on blogs offers an interesting take on travel writing. While a novel concept, it faces the same challenges that all travelogues do; that is, a lot of travel information and photos are available online for free. It’s a crowded market. The Coad’s book offers some great information for the would-be traveler or armchair tourist, but it does not cover enough new ground to merit a substantial investment. Virtually everything in this travelogue can be found elsewhere for a pittance. Their travelogue may be worth a pretty penny for those planning a trip to one of their featured destinations, want to know what to visit, see, and do there, and/or want to live vicariously through the Coads. Their photography is also worth a look.
This photographic journal – and perhaps all of the Coad’s travelogues – merit four (4) stars for excellent photos and content. This rating is tempered by the reality that free information about places like Rajasthan is readily available online. Their travelogues may be ideal for those planning trips who want to read more personal accounts of their destinations. (less)