This slim volume recounts Bernie Webber's experiences in the Coast Guard in New England on lightships and at lighthouses and lifeboat stations. It skiThis slim volume recounts Bernie Webber's experiences in the Coast Guard in New England on lightships and at lighthouses and lifeboat stations. It skips his famous rescue of the Pendleton survivors, which is recounted elsewhere, and also his entire time assigned to Chatham which I guess is also covered elsewhere.
Bernie's experiences at these stations make for interesting and sometimes insightful reading, and I'm glad they have been written down even if Webber is only okay as a writer. Unfortunately, the first half of the book is mess as the narrative wanders between lightship history and lightship life with alot of repetition. I'm not sure if this is just bad editing or intentionally padding the page count. There are only 191 pages and it feels shorter than that; editing the front half of the book probably could have slimmed this down closer to 150 pages to the benefit of the reader.
I get the feeling this may have been a cash grab on someone's part (probably not the author's) to coincide with the release of "The Finest Hours" film. The book is sure to remind you on the front and back cover, an About The Author section, and in two prominent editorial footnotes (the only footnotes in the entire book) that Webber was a hero who won an medal for his rescue of the Pendleton survivors.
I don't hate it, but I can't recommend it. It's best value is as a primary source reference for historians researching the Coast Guard in New England, although the lack of an Index hinders that....more
I first encountered Richard Evans' work when writing a term paper for a university history class about Nazi Germany. I thought his The Coming of the TI first encountered Richard Evans' work when writing a term paper for a university history class about Nazi Germany. I thought his The Coming of the Third Reich was excellent and when I unexpectedly spotted this book on the New Nonfiction shelf at my local public library I did not hesitate to pick it up.
Evans covers the history of all of Europe between the end of the Napoleonic Wars and the start of World War I. The book features a mix of political and social/cultural history. Each chapter starts with a short biography of a a lesser known historical figure that ties into some of that chapter's topics. There are a few maps mixed in where appropriate. Other than the subject of Imperialism and one section on the influence of America on Europe, this book is pretty focused on Europe.
This is a hefty book, but I found it an enjoyable and worthwhile read. There was alot happening during this period not all of it well-known, especially to Americans. I think there are some interesting patterns and trends apparent, many not explicitly stated. One of the latter that I noticed (which reinforces a conclusion I once drew from reading about the French Revolution) is that lower class revolts are nearly always doomed to failure because their behavior scares the middle class into allying with the upper class. Another lesson especially applicable in modern times is that the radical elements, especially on the liberal side, undercut the very goals they are trying to achieve - by going too far too fast they turn moderates and centrists against them.
On a related note to that last point: much like Tony Judt's Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945, this is a European writing about Europe and there is an important difference of terminology that I'm aware of, but which is never addresses by either author. Both authors talk about conservatives and liberals, surely in the European meaning of those terms, without ever making in clear how their use in that context contrasts with their use in America today (i.e. to most of the people reading the book).
There were some social/cultural parts of this book that I skimmed over and a few that I skipped entirely simply because of what topics don't personally interest me, but I found this book pretty well organized and the sections fairly well labeled so I could determine when to jump ahead and how far. Some of the maps felt a little cluttered and some of the smaller countries felt a little marginalized, but when you're trying to fit a century's worth of an entire continent's history that is inevitable.
Highly recommended to anyone interested in this period of European history, especially as an introductory tome. And if you want to understand 20th century Europe you have to understand the century covered by this book....more