History: Actual, Fictional and Legendary discussion

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message 1: by Ed, Chief Curmudgeon (last edited Nov 11, 2009 09:16PM) (new)

Ed (ejhahn) | 622 comments Mod
I believe that some of the members are reading and reviewing books that may not be relevant to a specific topic or even to History.

I thought I would provide a place for members to post reviews of any books they've read. I know most people have TBR lists that are too long but reviews by people who have similar interests may move a book up the list.

I'll start by re-posting my last two reviews. One relevant to History the other only indirectly.

No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and The Home Front in World War II by Doris Kearns Goodwin. See the review at http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/750...

Journey Into Fear by Eric Ambler. See the review at: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/759...


message 2: by Ed, Chief Curmudgeon (new)

Ed (ejhahn) | 622 comments Mod
I'm traveling so I'm reading more than usual. Here's a review that is non-historical in the extreme. The Black Ice by Michael Connelly. Here's the review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...


message 3: by Carol (last edited Nov 12, 2009 02:32PM) (new)

Carol http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...
And Ladies Of The Club

http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...
American Lion Andrew Jackson.

I hope I got it right now. Thanks.


message 4: by Carol (new)

Carol I finished Bloody Mary by Carolly Erickson. If you would like to read my review here ids the link.


http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23...


message 5: by Carol (last edited Nov 15, 2009 10:41AM) (new)

Carol http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

The man Who Made Vemeers-Jonathan Lopez

A book about the art world Pre-WWII to Post WWII.


message 6: by Ed, Chief Curmudgeon (last edited Nov 16, 2009 04:29PM) (new)

Ed (ejhahn) | 622 comments Mod
Another review. I read like crazy when I'm traveling.

Excellent Historical Fiction taking place during the Napoleonic Wars: Sharpe's Waterloo by Bernard Cornwell. Find the review at http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/....


message 7: by Silvana (new)

Silvana (silvaubrey) I've just returned from the excruciating pain and sorrow of Everest - imagination only, un(?)fortunately....via Jon Krakauer's amazing tale: Into The Air.

My review can be found here: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...


message 8: by Ed, Chief Curmudgeon (new)

Ed (ejhahn) | 622 comments Mod
I hesitate to suggest this review since the book was a bit of a clunker but what the heck: one person's clunker is another person's great read. You will find the review of Term Limits by Vince Flynn at http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/....


message 9: by Ed, Chief Curmudgeon (new)

Ed (ejhahn) | 622 comments Mod
Silvana wrote: "I've just returned from the excruciating pain and sorrow of Everest - imagination only, un(?)fortunately....via Jon Krakauer's amazing tale: Into The Air.

My review can be found here: http://www.g..."


Silvana, I share your opinion of the book. The "Made for TV" movie was also excellent and captured the spirit of Krakauer's story.

The scene where the doomed guide talks to his pregnant wife on his cell phone broke me up.


message 10: by Ed, Chief Curmudgeon (last edited Nov 19, 2009 09:25AM) (new)

Ed (ejhahn) | 622 comments Mod
carol (akittykat) wrote: "http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...
And Ladies Of The Club

http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...
American Lion Andrew Jackson.

I hope I got it right now. Thanks."


Carol, re: your review of
American Lion Andrew Jackson in the White House mentions your suspicion that Jackson was a racist. I would suggest that he definitely was a racist not only towards the American Indians but also black slaves, etc.

But then 99% of the American people were racist in those days. Not just those days, the Chinese Exclusion act was passed in 1882 and actually expanded to include all Orientals as late as 1924.

American Indians were seen as blood-thirsty savages occupying land they couldn't exploit. Jackson was merely carrying out the will of the vast majority of Americans at the time.


message 11: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads, Crazy Cat Lady (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (SusannaG) | 308 comments Mod
That reminds me of my biggest problem with Sean Wilentz' The Rise of American Democracy Jefferson to Lincoln - he idolizes Jackson and tries to paint the Trail of Tears as not really that bad.


message 12: by Ed, Chief Curmudgeon (last edited Nov 19, 2009 07:19PM) (new)

Ed (ejhahn) | 622 comments Mod
Susanna wrote: "That reminds me of my biggest problem with Sean Wilentz' The Rise of American Democracy Jefferson to Lincoln - he idolizes Jackson and tries to paint the Trail of Tears as not really..."

Wilentz obviously wasn't on it. It was horrible for the Indians. Taken out of their forests and moved to the Oklahoma plains. I wouldn't want to live in Oklahoma today, much less 200 years ago.

What is even more tragic is that the Cherokees were one of the most "civilized" Indian tribes with an alphabet and a somewhat agricultural society.

Shame! Shame! Shame!

I shudder to think of the Karma we white folks earned with our treatment of the American Indians.


message 13: by Hayes (new)

Hayes (Hayes13) Silvana wrote: "....via Jon Krakauer's amazing tale: Into The Air."

I too read this; it was good, just not my thing: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...




message 14: by Silvana (new)

Silvana (silvaubrey) Hayes wrote: "Silvana wrote: "....via Jon Krakauer's amazing tale: Into The Air."

I too read this; it was good, just not my thing: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

"


I concur with your statement on whether it's worth it or not, with the all sacrifices to one self and loved ones. Can't decide, it's just too overwhelming, both emotionally and intellectually.

Ed wrote: The "Made for TV" movie was also excellent and captured the spirit of Krakauer's story.

whoa, there's one? *checking imdb...*
oookay, gotta find a copy then, thanks.




message 15: by Ed, Chief Curmudgeon (new)

Ed (ejhahn) | 622 comments Mod
I struggled to the finish line with this Michael Crichton offering: Airframe.

You can find the review at http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/....


message 16: by Hayes (new)

Hayes (Hayes13) Finished The Smell of Apples A Novel

Almost...

http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

Am still moving slowly through Nelson Mandela's biography.


message 18: by Kayleen (new)

Kayleen (jegka) | 12 comments I just finished A Private Hotel for Gentle Ladies
by Ellen Cooney. Fair historically, but a dreadful bore listening to her fickle thoughts.
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/14...


message 19: by Hayes (new)

Hayes (Hayes13) Great review, Kay.


message 20: by Ed, Chief Curmudgeon (new)

Ed (ejhahn) | 622 comments Mod
Kay wrote: "I just finished A Private Hotel for Gentle Ladies
by Ellen Cooney. Fair historically, but a dreadful bore listening to her fickle thoughts.
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/14......"


Loved your review. I did not have to "dither" about whether or not to put it on my TBR list.


message 21: by Hayes (new)

Hayes (Hayes13) Ed wrote: "I did not have to "dither"...

me neither!!




message 22: by Kayleen (last edited Dec 04, 2009 07:08AM) (new)

Kayleen (jegka) | 12 comments I'm glad you found it useful.

I haven't yet reviewed Tuesday's Warby David Fiddimore, but I enjoyed it enough to order the rest of the series. But then I am a sucker for Air Corps/RAF/etc.

The synopsis on goodreads is pretty accurate. RAF bomber crew runs across a female ferry pilot and the book covers the rest of their assignment, in the air and on the ground, as the female comes and goes in their lives. It was a bit deja vu, but I don't know what book/movie it reminded me of. Or maybe I've just read so many of that type they all seem the same now.

It did bring in elements of the Polish and Czech wartime governments I hadn't given much thought to before. I don't know enough about it to know how accurate it was.


message 23: by Hayes (new)

Hayes (Hayes13) Speaking of which... I'll be starting Sand In My Shoes Coming of Age in the Second World War A WAAF's Diary over the long weekend (here in Italy Dec 8 is a holiday and I can't ever remember which). I have no idea what it will be like and the bookring participants have been, so far, split down the middle. We'll hope for the best.

Gore Vidal is dripping along... don't know if I will finish it.


message 24: by Kayleen (new)

Kayleen (jegka) | 12 comments For those that, like me, enjoy their history on the lighter side and hidden within a story, Moloka'iby Alan Brennert is about a 6 year old diagnosed with leprosy and exiled without her family to a leper colony in Hawaii. It was given to me by a friend who fell in love with the characters. It was a subject I knew nothing about and real people and events are woven into the story. It's fiction, but I did a little research since and it appears the basis is solid history. I enjoyed it.


message 25: by Ed, Chief Curmudgeon (new)

Ed (ejhahn) | 622 comments Mod
Kay wrote: "For those that, like me, enjoy their history on the lighter side and hidden within a story, Moloka'iby Alan Brennert is about a 6 year old diagnosed with leprosy and exile..."

I saw a movie years and years ago about Father Damien who ministered to the lepers and eventually contracted the disease and died from it and was later consecrated as a saint.

Since I saw it in elementary school, it must have been "The Great Heart" released in 1938.

You can find Father Damien's life story on Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Father_D....


message 26: by Ed, Chief Curmudgeon (new)

Ed (ejhahn) | 622 comments Mod
I finished this Le Carre, early effort, A Murder of Quality, a couple weeks ago but forgot to post my review. You can find it at http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18....


message 27: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads, Crazy Cat Lady (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (SusannaG) | 308 comments Mod
Working IX to V Orgy Planners, Funeral Clowns, and Other Prized Professions of the Ancient World

A rather flippant guide to a variety of jobs from the ancient Greco-Roman world. (With occasional side-trips to Ptolemaic Egypt.)

If one were a slave, and slaves were common, I'd definitely rather be a sandaligerula, whose job was changing her master or mistress' shoes, than doomed to work in a mine (life expectancy: 3 months) or on a latifundia (plantation). The life of an ornatrix (hairdresser) wasn't a bed of roses, either, as it was filled with dies made of urine, cuttlefish ink, decomposed leeches, and pigeon dung.

Interesting book, with jokey sketches to illustrate many of the articles, as well as life sketches of some of the folks who had the jobs described.


message 28: by Ed, Chief Curmudgeon (new)

Ed (ejhahn) | 622 comments Mod
Susanna wrote: "Working IX to V Orgy Planners, Funeral Clowns, and Other Prized Professions of the Ancient World

A rather flippant guide to a variety of jobs from the ancient Greco-Roman world. (W..."


Just moved close to the top of my TBR list. I'm going to vote for Rome as the theme for February so I can use the info from this book to keep it light.


message 29: by [deleted user] (new)

Ed wrote: "Susanna wrote: "Working IX to V Orgy Planners, Funeral Clowns, and Other Prized Professions of the Ancient World

A rather flippant guide to a variety of jobs from the ancient Greco-..."


I have been compelled to find a second hand copy on Amazon for all of 1.98 USD. Thanks for the recommendation. :)




message 30: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads, Crazy Cat Lady (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (SusannaG) | 308 comments Mod
I just hope y'all enjoy it as much as I did. I found it a fun little read.


message 31: by Ed, Chief Curmudgeon (new)

Ed (ejhahn) | 622 comments Mod
I am so struggling with How Few Remain by Harry Turtledove. It never seems to gain any traction. I've read many of his other Alternate History books and liked them all. This one is a bummer.

I may decide to leave it unfinished if I can overcome my obsession with finishing books I start.


message 32: by Ed, Chief Curmudgeon (new)

Ed (ejhahn) | 622 comments Mod
Ed wrote: "I am so struggling with How Few Remain by Harry Turtledove. It never seems to gain any traction. I've read many of his other Alternate History books and liked them al..."

I just gave up on How Few Remain by Harry Turtledove: an alternative history in which, in 1881, the U.S. goes to war with the Confederacy (The South won the Civil war) and eventually both France and England.

After 150 pages, I was bored and surprised at how faulty the characterizations of the historical figures were.

I've read his other stuff and it's good, but not great. This book was just bad.


message 33: by Ed, Chief Curmudgeon (new)

Ed (ejhahn) | 622 comments Mod
I just quickly finished a most enjoyable early John le Carré effort, Call for the Dead.

You can find my review at: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/....


message 34: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads, Crazy Cat Lady (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (SusannaG) | 308 comments Mod
Twilight of Splendor The Court of Queen Victoria During Her Diamond Jubilee Year by Gregory King

I think my problem with this book is that two thirds of it was about the queen's daily routine and pattern of her year in her later years.

And then two or three chapters tacked on at the end were actually about the Diamond Jubilee.

Also there was a bit much for my taste about the queen's decorating choices at her palaces.


message 35: by Ed, Chief Curmudgeon (new)

Ed (ejhahn) | 622 comments Mod
I finally finished The Night Manager by John le Carré. You'll find the review at http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/....


message 36: by Ed, Chief Curmudgeon (new)

Ed (ejhahn) | 622 comments Mod
Susanna wrote: "Twilight of Splendor The Court of Queen Victoria During Her Diamond Jubilee Year by Gregory King

I think my problem with this book is that two thirds of it was about..."


Definitely NOT going on my TBR list.


message 37: by Hayes (new)

Hayes (Hayes13) Recently read history things:

Sand in my shoes--Was okay: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

Love and War in the Apennines--really enjoyed this:
http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

If not now, when?--didn't do much for me:
http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...


message 38: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads, Crazy Cat Lady (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (SusannaG) | 308 comments Mod
Yeah, I finally concluded with Twilight of Splendor that King had done a great deal of research for it, and couldn't bear not to use all of it.

Very uneven.


message 39: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads, Crazy Cat Lady (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (SusannaG) | 308 comments Mod
Eiffel's Tower: And the World's Fair Where Buffalo Bill Beguiled Paris, the Artists Quarreled, and Thomas Edison Became a Count by Jill Jonnes

I actually liked this one better than Devil in the White City.

I liked the part of Devil in the White City that was about the fair more than the part about the serial killer. And this one is almost entirely about the Exposition Universelle of 1889.

A large part of Eiffel's Tower (actually, a very large part, thinking about it) sets the time and place for us. And it was a very interesting time and place. Coverage I would describe as not superficial and the writing I found fairly engaging.

I would recommend this one.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/61...


message 40: by Ed, Chief Curmudgeon (new)

Ed (ejhahn) | 622 comments Mod
I recently finished The First World War by John Keegan. You'll find my review at http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/....

Really helped put our whole WW I discussion in perspective for me.


message 41: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads, Crazy Cat Lady (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (SusannaG) | 308 comments Mod
I finished The Class of 1846: From West Point to Appomattox: Stonewall Jackson, George McClellan, and Their Brothers by John C. Waugh last night, and gave it 4 stars. My review:

"Focuses on the class as a whole through the first two parts (West Point and the war with Mexico), then a very scattered section on the 1850s.

After that, it's largely focused on "Stonewall" and "Little Mac." Jackson is stubborn as a mule and crazy like a fox. McClellan is arrogant (at fifteen even!), pompous, paranoid, and incapable of not seeing at least 2 Confederate soldiers behind every tree.

An entertaining read."

It does assume some prior knowledge of the general events of the war, so is certainly not the first volume I'd give someone on the subject. But a very nice read.


message 42: by Ed, Chief Curmudgeon (new)

Ed (ejhahn) | 622 comments Mod
Just zipped through McNally's Risk by Lawrence Sanders. More mind candy. You can find my review at: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/....

Also read Code to Zero by Ken Follett. Takes place in the '50s. Not one of his best efforts but an easy read. You can find my review at: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/....


message 43: by Ed, Chief Curmudgeon (new)


message 44: by Ed, Chief Curmudgeon (new)

Ed (ejhahn) | 622 comments Mod
First time I've read a Stephen White novel, Private Practices. Review at: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/....


message 45: by Ed, Chief Curmudgeon (new)

Ed (ejhahn) | 622 comments Mod
Traveling a lot so reading more. Just finished three. two good, one bad.

The Arraignment by Steve Martini. Review at: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/.... Good!

Wings Of Fire by Dale Brown. Review at: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/.... Bad!

Dead Sleep by Greg Iles. Review at: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/.... Very Good!


message 46: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads, Crazy Cat Lady (last edited Mar 28, 2010 11:40AM) (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (SusannaG) | 308 comments Mod
Recently finished Rome 1960: The Olympics That Changed the World, by David Maraniss. I gave it 4 stars.

A very interesting, and sometimes very funny, read.

In 1960, the Olympics were at a cusp, between "amateur" and "shamateur," colonialism and the new states of Africa and Asia, assumptions and achievements. The stars of the show? Wilma Rudolph, Rafer Johnson, Cassius Clay. Would-be defectors, egomaniac athletes, east-west competition, paranoid ex-spies, and the gross hypocrisy of Avery Brundage.

Track and field gets the most time, but swimming, diving, boxing, cycling, basketball, and weightlifting all get a decent amount of coverage.

I did find it odd that gymnastics were the reason the Soviet Union won the medal race - and yet gymnastics got minor coverage in this book.


message 47: by Ed, Chief Curmudgeon (new)


message 48: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads, Crazy Cat Lady (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (SusannaG) | 308 comments Mod
Just a brief review on Roman Life: 100 B.C. to A.D. 200, by John R. Clarke - 3.5 stars.

Vignettes: interesting.
Pictures: good. And there were a lot of them. (This book is pretty thoroughly illustrated.)
CD-Rom: needed more instructions about how to navigate it. Interesting, however.

Final rating probably about 3.5 stars.


message 49: by Ed, Chief Curmudgeon (last edited Apr 17, 2010 11:30AM) (new)

Ed (ejhahn) | 622 comments Mod
On a bit of a reading jag. Finished two more.

Redcoat by Bernard Cornwell. Find the review at: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/.... I liked it.

Obsession by Jonathan Kellerman. Find the review at: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/.... Not as good as some of his offerings and better than some.


message 50: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads, Crazy Cat Lady (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (SusannaG) | 308 comments Mod
Finished The Fires of Vesuvius: Pompeii Lost and Found, by Mary Beard. 4.5 stars.

Asking the question, what do we really know about ancient Pompeii, and how do we know it? Do we really know what we think we know?

Highly thought-provoking, and I'd recommend it to anyone interested in the Romans.


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History: Actual, Fictional and Legendary

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Books mentioned in this topic

The Black Ice (other topics)
Waterloo (other topics)
Term Limits (other topics)
American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House (other topics)
The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln (other topics)
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Authors mentioned in this topic

Michael Connelly (other topics)
Bernard Cornwell (other topics)
Vince Flynn (other topics)
Haruki Murakami (other topics)
Anurag Mathur (other topics)
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