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A Short History of the Twentieth Century
did not like it
Lukacs opens this book with the claim that: “There is no serious history of the twentieth century, that I know of.” He thus manages to be both arrogan ...more
Oct 21, 2013
Oct 26, 2013
Modigliani Scandal
it was ok
Ken Follett, in his preface to The Modigliani Scandal says something along the lines of: “I set out to write a deep and meaningful novel about the hum ...more
Aug 22, 2013
Aug 17, 2013
The Tank Lords
liked it
The principal characters in David Drake’s The Tank Lords drive hovercraft-tanks that weigh 170 metric tons, travel nearly 100 kilometers per hour, and ...more
Jan 11, 2013
Jan 06, 2013
God, Man, and Hollywood: Politically Incorrect Cinema from The Birth of a Nation to The Passion of the Christ
it was ok
Mark Royden Wynchell’s God, Man, and Hollywood is a collection of fifteen article-length essays on some twenty films, and shorter pieces on a hundred ...more
Jun 20, 2014
Jun 27, 2014
Blockbusters: Hit-making, Risk-taking, and the Big Business of Entertainment
liked it
Blockbusters is a book about the business of entertainment: about risk and reward and the bottom line. It argues that investing vast sums of money in ...more
Feb 13, 2014
Feb 05, 2014
Beautiful Swimmers: Watermen, Crabs, and the Chesapeake Bay
really liked it
William Warner’s Beautiful Swimmers is a classic piece of narrative non-fiction, and a fine introduction to the blue crabs of Chesapeake Bay and the w ...more
Dec 18, 2012
Dec 03, 2012
The Rooster (Surviving with Style #1)
it was ok
This is not a book for those bothered by gratuitous sex and violence; it consists, by design, of very little else. Our Hero, one of the survivors of a ...more
Oct 15, 2014
Nov 15, 2014
Dangerously Funny: The Uncensored Story of "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour"
really liked it
If you grew up in the United States, and were born after 1960 or so, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour may be the most significant television program ...more
Sep 22, 2013
Sep 23, 2013
The Boys of Summer
liked it
I came to The Boys of Summer knowing two things about it: That it was about the fabled Brooklyn Dodgers teams of the early 1950s, and that it had a re ...more
May 17, 2013
May 22, 2013
The Day the Earth Caved In: An American Mining Tragedy
liked it
Back about the time I was born (1963), a fire started in an anthracite coal mine that ran underneath the town of Centralia, Pennsylvania. The fire was ...more
Mar 14, 2013
Mar 17, 2013
Against the Tide: The Battle for America's Beaches
really liked it
Beachfront property is some of the most desirable real estate in the world, and some of the least stable. It’s the nature of ocean beaches and barrier ...more
Jan 23, 2013
Jan 18, 2013
Sharpe's Battle
liked it
Sharpe’s Battle—a mid-series installment in Bernard Cornwell’s long-running series—is a long series of vignettes culminating in a thunderous battle sc ...more
Jan 26, 2014
Jan 03, 2014
A Question of Loyalty: Gen. Billy Mitchell and the Court-Martial That Gripped the Nation
really liked it
Brigadier General William “Billy” Mitchell returned from World War I passionately committed to the idea that long-range bombers – used offensively to ...more
Mar 05, 2013
Jan 31, 2013
Selling Air Power: Military Aviation and American Popular Culture after World War II
it was ok
Selling Air Power is a classic academic monograph: a tightly focused analysis of a tighly bounded topic. The topic is post-1945 self-promotion by the ...more
Feb 04, 2013
Jan 31, 2013
The End of Greatness: Why America Can't Have (and Doesn't Want) Another Great President
liked it
We argue, endlessly and enthusiastically, about “the greatest” examples of things we care about. Untold hours have been spent, over countless rounds o ...more
Dec 07, 2014
Nov 15, 2014
Fiasco: A History of Hollywood's Iconic Flops
it was ok
There’s a certain satisfaction to watching the best-laid plans of self-important people dissolve into messy chaos. If there wasn’t, there’d be a lot f ...more
Apr 28, 2013
Apr 21, 2013
The Blogger Abides
really liked it
The cover of this book is – there’s no other word for it – atrocious. The kid-making-a-goofy-face image, the superimposed-eyeglasses design, and the r ...more
Mar 02, 2014
Mar 10, 2014
Glorious Way to Die: The Kamikaze Mission of the Battleship Yamato, April 1945
really liked it
On April 29, 1945, the Japanese battleship Yamato left her anchorage in Kure harbor and headed for Okinawa, accompanied by a single light cruiser and ...more
Dec 25, 2015
Dec 26, 2015
Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942
it was amazing
The opening phase of the naval war between the United States and Japan—the seven tumultuous months between the attack on Pearl Harbor and the Battle o ...more
Aug 10, 2013
Jul 01, 2013
Maryjane Tonight at Angels Twelve
did not like it
Martin Caidin started, in the 1950s, as an aerospace journalist who also wrote popular nonfiction about airplanes and aviation history. He was also a ...more
Jan 27, 2013
Jan 31, 2013
Sleepwalking Through History: America in the Reagan Years
liked it
Sleepwalking Through History presents itself as a first-draft history of America in the 1980s. In fact, it’s something subtly but significantly differ ...more
Apr 10, 2013
Apr 09, 2013
Future Perfect: The Case for Progress in a Networked Age
it was amazing
Future Perfect is an optimistic book about technology, society, and the future. That’s remarkable in itself, since pessimistic (or at least cautionary ...more
Oct 29, 2012
Oct 30, 2012
The Ass Is A Poor Receptacle For The Head: Why Democrats Suck At Communication, And How They Could Improve
really liked it
Anyone who’s paid attention to American politics for the last forty years will likely grant Barry Eisler’s central premise: the Republican party is, a ...more
Jan 06, 2014
Jan 11, 2014
A Glancing Light (A Chris Norgren Mystery #2)
Aaron Elkins’ mystery novels are efficiently plotted, capably written, and populated by amiable amateur-detective heroes and eccentric supporting char ...more
Dec 30, 2012
Jan 03, 2013
America at the Mall: The Cultural Role of a Retail Utopia
The 1964 Indianapolis 500 made headlines, at the time, for two things: the second victory of a hard-charging young Texan named A. J. Foyt, and a fiery ...more
Mar 09, 2016
Apr 02, 2016
Black Noon: The Year They Stopped the Indy 500
really liked it
The 1964 Indianapolis 500 made headlines, at the time, for two things: the second victory of a hard-charging young Texan named A. J. Foyt, and a fiery ...more
Feb 24, 2016
Apr 02, 2016
American History/American Film: Interpreting the Hollywood Image
really liked it
First things first: This is a collection of fifteen essays about American films that depicted the historical past and, in doing so, reflected the time ...more
Feb 22, 2013
Feb 22, 2013
The Seventh Enemy (Brady Coyne, #13)
liked it
The Seventh Enemy is an interesting novel about the theatrical aspects of politics struggling to escape from a lackluster mystery story. The politics ...more
May 03, 2013
May 13, 2013
Moonlight Mile
really liked it
It’s virtually impossible to describe the plot of Moonlight Mile without revealing things better discovered in the reading of it. It’s also hard to im ...more
Aug 28, 2013
Aug 30, 2013
Funny: The Book: Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Comedy
liked it
Longtime television comedy writer David Misch (How longtime? He worked on Mork and Mindy, which went off the air in 1982) turns his attention, here, t ...more
Dec 24, 2015
Dec 24, 2015
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