Ken Consaul Ken's Comments (member since Nov 15, 2011)

Ken's comments from the History is Not Boring group.

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Introductions (246 new)
Jun 09, 2013 10:37AM

435 Been a member here for some time. Didn't see a place for members to flog their own work, so here goes:

Today and Monday, the first four introductory chapters to The Platte River Waltz, introductory chapters are free for all on Amazon.

Set in a panorama of the American West as its portrait is first being painted, The Platte River Waltz is the initial stroke in the unfolding of Josh Bonner’s tale. In 1848, only seventeen years old, on the Oregon Trail and suddenly orphaned, Josh begins a journey through the unsettled frontier of a wild continent. Just making first acquaintance with manhood, he quickly finds his future linked to Elizabeth Hampton, a coquette from his old hometown. Together they resolve to venture into an uncertain and dangerous future. Accompanied by Jubilee, an escaped slave, Josh and Elizabeth join a wagon train of Missouri emigrants led by a voyageur scout and a town constable turned captain. The couple commences a lusty exploration of the lands they pass and of each other.

"What a wonderful and superbly written account of a journey West!
I was completely absorbed by the remarkable characters and sweeping landscapes- caught so brilliantly by the magnificent writing and plotting!
A winner!!!"
--as reviewed on—

"I have to say that this was one of the best books I have read in the past year. A few minutes ago I ordered [The Growler Brigade], and cannot wait to start reading it. I'm surprised a book this good was self-published.."
--review on Amazon--

For Prime members, both volumes of the complete book are free borrows.
May 21, 2013 04:31PM

435 OK, its stylized and certainly a reach historically but I'm finding I like the HBO series Boardwalk Empire. Anyone else?

For those unfamiliar, Prohibition and corruption in Atlantic City. Nice period piece. Clothes, cars, advertising, customs.
May 21, 2013 04:27PM

435 Yes, sometimes history IS boring!

I'm reading what I would call a 'pre-Western', Nothing Like it in the World: The Men Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad, 1863-1869 and I admit it, I'm struggling.

I can't recall anything by Stephen Ambrose that I haven't thoroughly enjoyed. In the Foreward, Ambrose admits the book wasn't even his idea. It was kind of shoved on him by the publisher. However, he soon warmed to the task.

I was hoping for something like D-Day/Citizen Soldier but this account is packed with stats, congressmen of the 1850s, appropriations bills, and minutiae about how the railroad was funded, bonds issued, land grants, shares subscribed and AAArrrrrgh!

There are parts that are entertaining, especially when they actually start building the road on p. 145. Interesting factoids about the Chinese laborers and other fun stuff. I don't need to know how many cubic yards, acres of trees, tons of black powder, and so on were used. Glad there was no test.
435 SS could never hope to cover all the fields of fire.
Jan 25, 2013 02:33PM

435 Bii_leto wrote: "I love books from the nineteenth and twentieth century-- any ideas? "

Sorry, nothing comes to mind. Slim pickin' in those two.
Nov 14, 2012 05:19PM

435 I have two 'coffeetable' books on World War Two by Churchill and published by Life Magazine in the late 50s.
As a kid I would pour over the volumes as they were illustrated by photos from Life Magazine with maps and full page artwork and paintings.
I finally started reading the text. Most of Churchill's story is centered around British politics and how he took over for Chamberlain and the people he picked for his war cabinet. When he talks about the actual war history, there is very little anecdote and a lot of "the First Armored Expeditionary Division, commanded by the nephew of my old friend, Sir Reginald Pinkney, embarked for Norway on May 10, 1940..."

Sorry to say, while Churchill's wit and brilliance occasionally shine through, there is too much of the diplomacy, troop movements, political dealing to really appreciate the wit of WC. I managed to get through the evacuation from Dunkirk before I just turned to reading the captions under the photos like I did when I was a kid.
Nov 14, 2012 05:12PM

435 Just finished The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany. What an undertaking just to read all 1150 pages with copious footnotes. For someone who is interested in the topic and/or WW2, I'd have to say its a must read. Anyone else, I dare ya to get through it.

Using captured German documents and testimony from the Nuremberg trials, this work traces the history of Germany and Hitler's rise and fall from 1918 on. This gives the reader kind of an 'inside' look at the Nazis and their intrigues within the inner circle as well as impressions from foreign diplomats and emissaries. Talk about a cult of personality.

Some of the best stuff is from Mussolini's son in law (executed for conspiracy against his father in law) where he describes how vulgar Herman Goering was. He describes him at a dinner party with fancy rings on each finger and how HG constantly talks about them. He is also wearing a full length fur coat in Rome described as 'the kind worn by an automobile driver of 1906 or a high-priced prostitute going to the opera.'

Not for everyone but if you like history, pick it up. You can find good hardcover editions for about $5.
June 6, 1944 (3 new)
Jun 06, 2012 10:47AM

435 A thank you to the few remaining heroes who set foot on French soil this day 68 years ago.

Remeberance of my father who came ashore on D+6 as a forward observer providing ground support to the troops. Later he resumed his role as pilot of a P-47 Thunderbolt flying ground support and search and destroy missions in the ETO. Veteran of Battle of the Bulge and Remagen Bridge. Thanks dad and thanks to all the remaining valiant men who shined that day.

Recommended Reading: Longest Day: The Classic Epic of D DayCitizen Soldiers: The U S Army from the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the Surrender of GermanyD-Day June 6, 1944
Texas history (4 new)
May 12, 2012 12:24PM

435 Jerome wrote: "I'm looking for a book on the Texas War of Independence. What's the best one?"

This link might steer you somewhere productive. Who woulda thunk Phil Collins (the drummer) was a big Texas history collector.
Apr 23, 2012 12:22PM

435 I don't find a lot of the results surprising but I think many of the 'complaints' by readers, particularly in the flour, butter, sugar realm, could apply to any genre.

I was a bit surprised to see that social media wasn't a larger segment for recommendations. As many of us aren't going to be reviewed the NYT, its a tad discouraging but what can you do but keep on keepin' on.
Mar 26, 2012 11:03AM

435 I see the survey is still open. Anxious to see the results. Will they be available at the original link?
Mar 22, 2012 03:46PM

435 Jerome wrote: "Unfortunately, they don't like reading. Also, they have a WEALTH of (mostly) reliable information at their fingertips via the Internet..."

No joke. I walked to my car and there was a piece of folded notebook paper by the door. I picked it up thinking it might have been a love note from one of the Bond girls. Alas, it was just a cheat sheet for a HS history test. At least half of the words were misspelled. This kid couldn't even cheat good.
'solgers', 'aneconda' and many others.

I always told my kids to pay attention to their studies or they would be assured a lifetime of hot, noisy jobs. I'm afraid the kids today, their only ambitions is to live in Dependencystan.
Mar 16, 2012 11:46AM

435 Done. Hope you get enough responses to draw some decent conclusions.
Introductions (246 new)
Feb 25, 2012 11:33AM

435 My book was inspired by Irving Stone's Men to Match My Mountains: The Opening of the Far West 1840-1900. Until I read this I was only vaguely aware of the American West, the gold rush, the emigration, the railroads and the larger than life characters that wrote our frontier history.

I tried to capture the spirit in The Platte River Waltz, introductory chapters, which, as fate would have it is a freebie today for Amazon Prime members.

End shameless plug.
Jan 01, 2012 04:15PM

435 Suburbanrockdoll wrote: "Susanna wrote: "What class are you taking?"

I just finished at San Diego State University. I was taking a World War II history class that was amazing. It was strictly lecture. The only videos we s..."

At SD State, with the large naval contingent there, an extensive WW2 history curricula should be expected. I recently obtained two coffee table books of World War Two, by Winston Churchill and illustrated with Life Magazine art and photos. We had this set when I was a kid and I poured over it for years. We lost one of the volumes and I found it on Alibris so I have the complete set again.

Instead of looking at the pics, I've started reading Churchill's account. Man, it's dry. He couples every event with how it affected the political scene in London and how the coalitions of the various labor and Tory factions ebbed and flowed. Drops names of various pols and how so and so was appointed the under-secretary of aeroplane procurement etc. I'll just look at the pictures and captions again. Guess I'm a People magazine kind of guy.
Dec 09, 2011 01:17PM

435 Amazon has made the first installment of Bonner's Road West, Chapters 1-4 available for a limited time for FREE. Its a work of frontier fiction. A young couple marry their fortunes together as they emigrate west just prior to the CA gold rush.
Come and get acquainted.

A note. free for Amazon prime I see. I'm a prime so it shows free, OTW a buck
Dec 05, 2011 01:48PM

435 John wrote: "Using the Kindle for Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant .

For a guy with no initial ambition for a military career, he certainly made his mark. It is a dispassionate acc..."

From watching the Ken Burns Civil War series I learned Grant was dying of throat cancer and stayed with his memoirs till he finished and died just several days later.
On the Ken Burns series, loved listening to Shelby Foote talk.
Nov 29, 2011 02:25PM

435 Did Churchill have a go at an autobiography?
I'm stalled trying to read his World War 2 history.
It seems everything he wrote is from a politician's viewpoint and how the Labour and Tory parties sniped at each other but eventually fragile coalitions were formed and so and so was appointed Exchecquer of the Crown and Chamberlain was sacked but his First Sea Lord was retained and yada yada.
The maps were good but I started this with higher hopes than were realized. Maybe when it gets to the "we shall fight them on the beaches..." I will like it more.

Actually the ones I am reading are the Life Magazine coffee table versions in two volumes. Written by Churchill and illustrated by Life magazine artists and photogs. Been out of print for decades.

topics created by Ken