This series is outstanding. Aldrete starts each lecture with a bit of background including personalities, issues, and whatever military technologicalThis series is outstanding. Aldrete starts each lecture with a bit of background including personalities, issues, and whatever military technological innovation that makes each clash different. He then switches to a tactical overview of what happened on the battlefield, and this part of the lecture is especially clear and interesting. He winds up giving his reasons why each battle was a turning point. Overall, I got quite a lot out of the series, and I highly recommend it. ...more
Five stars, outstanding lecture filled with drama, and I absolutely loved it. There are a few events in history that have a special quality to them. TFive stars, outstanding lecture filled with drama, and I absolutely loved it. There are a few events in history that have a special quality to them. They're not just great as history, they stand out as fantastic narrative stories. The American Civil War is one of these events, and King Henry II's quarrel with Thomas a Becket is another. The Persian Wars fits in that rarefied category, and it's one story everyone should know. ...more
Anna Vyrubova's memoir is a truly fascinating book. She gives you a good overview of what daily life was like in the Romanov court, and her perspectivAnna Vyrubova's memoir is a truly fascinating book. She gives you a good overview of what daily life was like in the Romanov court, and her perspective is one you're not likely to encounter elsewhere. According to Vyrubova, the atmosphere in Russia during the years of World War I, the Kerensky regime, and the early days of the Bolsheviks was so full of out-of-control paranoia, wild rumor, and myth deliberately created to help violent, conniving men claw their way into power, that much of what people believe--even today--about the Tsar, his wife, and Rasputin, is utter nonsense.
She portrays the Tsar and Tsaritsa as decent, likeable people unable to prevent or cope with Russia's great trainwreck of history, and she says Rasputin was not a monster at all, but a genuinely good man whose one fault was the typical Russian one of drinking too much from time to him. According to the author, Rasputin did not have a 'harem' of wealthy ladies, took no bribes, and gave so much of his own money away to the poor that he died in poverty himself. Everything about Rasputin, Vyrubova says, was well-known to the government because of the extremely thorough investigations of the Russian secret police, and their reports to the Tsar always gave Rasputin a clean record.
Surprisingly, Vyrubova does not blame the Bolsheviks or the Kerensky regime very much for the direction of events, but lays most of the censure on a scheming Russian aristocracy, especially the Grand Dukes. These self-interested individuals had been hostile to the Tsar and Tsaritsa for a very long time before World War I even started, and it was Russia's upper class that eventually pulled off the coup that forced the Tsar to abdicate during a low point in morale during the war. They were the main source of the wild rumors against Rasputin and the royal family, and these tales were deliberately spread to poison public opinion against the royal couple to destroy them, despite the fact that these tales smeared many innocent bystanders, including the author. Vyrubova notes that if Russia could have stayed in the war a little longer, the country would have enjoyed a victory under the Tsar's leadership, since Germany was nearing the collapse that resulted in its defeat.
Vyrubova's memoir ends with the gruesome story of her repeated imprisonments, despite investigations that always cleared her name. Neither Kerensky nor the Bolsheviks were pleased to be told she was innocent, and were so convinced by the lingering rumors planted by the aristocracy--rumors that could not be eradicated from the collective public memory no matter what--that they kept rearresting her under trumped-up charges. Eventually, Vyrubova escaped and lived on the run before she could finally make her way to Finland and freedom.
If you're a Romanov-disaster fan (a species somewhat akin to Custer fans and Titanic fans), then this is the book for you....more
A must read if you're serious about learning photography. The authors do a good job of providing examples of various bad lighting situations and how tA must read if you're serious about learning photography. The authors do a good job of providing examples of various bad lighting situations and how to fix them....more
This book is really, really, outstanding. Caidin remarks that there's not a lot of historical material about the barnstormers, mainly because so manyThis book is really, really, outstanding. Caidin remarks that there's not a lot of historical material about the barnstormers, mainly because so many of them died in plane crashes. The generation of barnstormers trained a lot of fighting men during World War II, and their feats are only known to aviation fans. Some of Caidin's anecdotes are almost unbelievable.
This book was my music Bible during the 80s and 90s, and I learned more about alternative rock from this volume than I ever could have possibly imaginThis book was my music Bible during the 80s and 90s, and I learned more about alternative rock from this volume than I ever could have possibly imagined. Absolutely invaluable. ...more