Gigantic, comprehensive, indispensable, and ultimately... superlative-exhausting. The greatness of this book cannot be overstated. I took a few years...moreGigantic, comprehensive, indispensable, and ultimately... superlative-exhausting. The greatness of this book cannot be overstated. I took a few years to read it, as the chapters are roughly chronological and are a grand journey through western civilization. My highest praise goes towards this stupendous and monolithic achievement, which permanently enriches the life of all those who explore it.(less)
This was Kersh's 7th novel, a shortish story about Yugoslavian guerilla fighters battling Italian fascists, each one taking a chapter or two to tell t...moreThis was Kersh's 7th novel, a shortish story about Yugoslavian guerilla fighters battling Italian fascists, each one taking a chapter or two to tell their views, reveal their personality, and move the story a bit forward, then pass the narrative along to the next person. I found it amazing. Vivid, gritty, vibrant, heartfelt and original. Tons of great descriptions and great characters. Loved it. A number of times I was struck by the simple, honest and bold beauty of Kersh's writing, the frank way he frames a undeniable truth. A great, great book. A hell of a goddamn book.(less)
Another hell of a book from Gerald Kersh. This is a fictional account of life in the Coldstream Guards, a kind of British marines. Kersh was in the gu...moreAnother hell of a book from Gerald Kersh. This is a fictional account of life in the Coldstream Guards, a kind of British marines. Kersh was in the guards during WWII, and this is a vibrant, manly and heartfelt fictionalization of the types of characters he encountered there. As with much of the Kersh I've read, there is so much humanity and character in the story, the characters are perfect reflections of people we all can imagine, and Kersh turns a deft and skillful phrase quite often. Many funny bits, and many sentimental bits as well, every last one of them done proper. A fine piece of writing, this. Certainly a dead hot piece of writing he's done here. Definitely.(less)
This is the future of human civilization; and it is astounding.
Zubrin blew my mind a number of times, and in later chapters it appears that Zubrin is...moreThis is the future of human civilization; and it is astounding.
Zubrin blew my mind a number of times, and in later chapters it appears that Zubrin is blowing his own mind, based on the prevalence of conclusions he makes accentuated with exclamation marks in ellipses (!!!). All of which are warranted, as Zubrin is clearly the most visionary, optimistic, and forward thinking aeronautical engineer around. Having read his previous book 'The Case For Mars', I was expecting optimism and brilliance, and this more than delivered. (Also, I plan on going to this year's Space Development Conference in Florida, where Zubrin will speak).
The book begins with the current state of space exploration: capabilities, missions, goals, technologies, etc., It then begins to discuss the near future, including missions to mars, returning to the moon, and then progressing along a logical path into the future of space exploration. I recommend this book to all who are interested in knowing what their children, grandchildren and more distant offspring will be doing in the centuries to come. (less)
Avrum Stroll has grouped together and shown the similarities of the last century or so of major (mostly) British and American analytic philosophers, f...moreAvrum Stroll has grouped together and shown the similarities of the last century or so of major (mostly) British and American analytic philosophers, from Gottlob Frege though the early 20th century greats at Cambridge (Moore, Russell, Wittgenstein), to the postwar greats at Oxford and Americans like Quine and Kripke. He gives biographic information anecdotally, and seeks to explain each philosopher's work and ideas and the philosophical context they existed in. His major metaphor for the Analytic tradition is the 'Solera system', taken from the bottling of Sherry - where the best old sherries are topped off with more recent vintages, and thus their quality is preserved. In philosophy, despite the obvious irrelevance of Aristotle or other ancients when discussing topics which have since been subsumed by the natural sciences, the philosophic tradition is preserved because new philosophers reinvigorate older philosophers, and ancient insights and paradoxes trouble generation after generation. Wittgenstein, after years of formal logic, wrote on Augustine's ideas on time. Russell similarly reinvigorated Frege, and Quine followed in bringing Frege back into prominence. Is philosophy doomed, as Hilary Putnam seems to believe? Yes, in the areas where its inquiries stray into science. But in logic, metaphysics, and especially through Wittgenstein's later methods, which focus philosophers to think in non-scientific ways about non-scientific topics, philosophy will remain. I certainly hope the Analytic tradition has more influence than the idealist continental philosophers with their obscurantist hermenuetic accretions on the foundational idealist Hegel and Marx. This book convinced me to read more G.E. Moore, but that Karnap is probably not really worth it for all his relentless categorization.
p.s. typo on page 119, line 9 of the hardcover - "freeest".(less)