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Archive for the ‘History Books’ Category

A lighter post today!  Review of a nonfiction Children’s book!

 

Vanita Oelschlager. The Pullman Porter.  Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, May 1st 2014. 44 pp.

5 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

Have you heard of the Pullman Porters?  If so have you realized how important they were for things in our society such as civil rights?  In this fascinating illustrated children’s book author Vanita Oelschlager tells us about this occupation and also how they were significant to the civil rights movement.  I thought the book was beautifully illustrated and fact based.  Fascinating!

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A weekend nonfiction audio book review…because Pastors also need a break from reading and also for you staying at home in light of the Corona Virus…

 

William H. McRaven. Sea Stories: My Life in Special Operations.  New York, NY: Hachette Book Group, June 21st 2019. 10 hours 18 minutes 39 seconds.

5 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

What is it like being the longest serving Navy SEAL commando and an Admiral of the Navy Seals and other Special Operations Forces?  This book is a memoir of Admiral McRaven whom most people probably know for his leadership of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) that pulled off the mission that target Bin Laden.  There’s not a lot of SEALs that picked up the rank of admiral and I believe he’s the second SEAL that achieved that rank.  This audio book is read by the author himself and looks back not only with his Navy career but also his childhood and a look at the men and women who have served and risked their life and at times died in serving in the military.

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A weekend reading review…because Pastors also need a break from heavy theological reading!  And also for your stay at home, “shelter in place,” etc, with the virus.

 

Scott D. Seligman.  Tong Wars: The Untold Story of Vice, Money, and Murder in New York’s Chinatown. New York, NY: Viking, July 12th 2016.  368 pp.

5 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

What comes up in your mind when you hear “Chinatown?”  For those in New York City from the 1890s through the 1930s many people associated Chinatown with organized crime.  It was seen as a hotbed for betting parlors, opium dens, prostitution and violence. Sadly most people during that time associated Chinese people with vice and were seen by the elites in New York and the Newspaper as a bigger problem than other immigrant groups such as the Irish, Italians, etc.  As the book agues this picture wasn’t accurate and Chinese and Chinatown was not statistically more criminal than the rest of the population in New York though their different lifestyles and ways did invite racism and prejudicial serotyping.  In fact during this was Tammany-era New York City and corruption and depravity was all over the city and among politicians and the police.  Situating things in this context the book focuses largely on Chinese organize crime.  The author look at secret societies called “Tongs,” which are the Chinese equivalent to the Italian Mafia.  It is well researched, heavily source documented and narrated well; I can’t put it down!

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A weekend reading review…because Pastors also need a break from heavy theological reading!  And also for your stay at home, “shelter in place,” etc, with the virus.

Barry S. Strauss. The Death of Caesar: The Story of History’s Most Famous Assassination.  New York, NY: Simon Schuster, March 3rd 2015. 352 pp.

4 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

Most people know about the assassination of Julius Caesar through William Shakespeare’s play.  But what was the actual history of this event?  Barry Strauss a Cornell University professor of classical history gives us a well-researched book about the actual events before and after one of history’s most infamous assassination.

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A weekend reading review…because Pastors also need a break from heavy theological reading!  And also for your stay at home, “shelter in place,” etc, with the virus.

 

Jeff D. Dickey. Rising in Flames.  New York, NY: Pegasus Books, June 5th 2018. 400 pp.

4 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

When I say “Sherman’s March to Sea,” what do you think of?  I know many images and connotation is stirred up when General Sherman is brought up.  This is a rather infamous military campaign led by General William Sherman going into the Confederate South for the purpose of sabotaging the economic capabilities of the South to feed and equip their Confederate Army.  This was quite a controversy then and also controversial even for our day and age for non-Southerners given the kind of tactics Sherman pursued in the war.  Most of what I have heard has largely been from the perspective of the South and also popular imagination from the movie Gone with the Wind.  The author argues that there’s a need to understand what happened from the perspective of also those in the North and Sherman’s army.

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A weekend reading review, because Pastor’s also need a break from heavy theological reading!

Casey Sherman and Michael Tougias.  Above and Beyond: John F. Kennedy and America’s Most Dangerous Cold War Spy Mission. New York, NY: PublicAffairs, April 17th 2018. 306 pp.

5 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

Anyone lived during the Cuban Missile Crisis?  While I knew some things about the incident I didn’t know the extent of how close the United States and Russia came to a nuclear war during that time until I read this book!  While the book starts kind of slow in the beginning it does pick up and is riveting and will have readers’ full attention.

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For this week’s “Wee-kids” Wednesdays here’s a review of two children’s book.

Geronimo Stilton.  The Fastest Train In the West. New York, NY: Papercutz, December 24th 2013. 56 pp.

4 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

Want your kids to experience a fun way of learning about America’s attempt to build the intercontential railroad during the late 1800s?  This might just be the book!  This is the thirteenth volume of the Geronimo Stilton Graphic Novel series.  It wasn’t my top favorites in this series but it was still fun to read that my girls wanted me to read it to them twice.

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A weekend reading review…because Pastors also need a break from heavy theological reading!  Well, this book might be a bit heavy, but next weekend I will schedule something of a lighter leisure reading!

Robert D. Kaplan. The Return of Marco Polo’s World.  New York, NY: Random House, March 6th 2018. 304 pp.

4 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

Want to read a geopolitical book that looks at various dimensions and challenges in Eurasia from China, the Middle East, Iran and the steepe?  If so this book might be for you.  The author is a bestselling author on foreign policies and travel, a political risk consultant, former visiting professor at the Naval Academy (2006-2008) and journalist.   Readers don’t have to agree with everything he has to say and still walk away learning a lot and being challenged in a good way in thinking about international relations.

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A weekend reading review…because Pastors also need a break from heavy theological reading!

Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. Killing the SS: The Hunt for the Worst War Criminals in History.  New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company, October 9th 2018.  307 pp.

5 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

It seems people are still fascinated with hunting down Nazis doesn’t it, with a much anticipated Amazon Prime TV show released called Hunters for February 2020 after World War Two has ended decades ago.  The Holocaust was one of the most horrifying evils done against humanity in history.  Yet in order for this to have happened for year that involved many, many Germans.  One such notorious groups was the German Waffen SS units.  With all the evil they done it seems that many escaped punishment.  Or did they?  This book tells the story of “Nazi hunters” after the war.  One of the co-author is a popular Conservative news show host: Bill O’ Reilly.

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For this week’s “Wee-kids” Wednesdays here’s a review of a children’s book and while its not Christian its still family friendly.

 

Kyandreia Jones. Spies: James Armistead Lafayette.  Waitsfield, VT: Chooseco, May 1st 2019.  199 pp.

4 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

As a kid I love Choose Your Own Adventures!  Now that I’m a parent I wanted my kids to also enjoy these.  I got this book to read to my kids after I read a Christian version of Choose Your Own Adventure and I thought I read one aloud to them.  Of all the titles I picked this one since it focused on the American War of Independence and I’ve gone over the topic as a history lesson with my kids.  My girls thought it was a fun historical fiction!

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A weekend reading review!  Because Pastors also need a break from heavily theological reading!  Last week I also reviewed a history book: .

Greg King.  The Assassination of the Archduke: Sarajevo 1914 and the Romance that Changed the World.  New York, NY: Saint Martin’s Press, September 3rd 2013. 432 pp.

4 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

Most people know about the Archduke as the one who was assassinated that became the catalyst for the First World War.  Other than that little else is known about him not because there’s no information out there but I believe a large part of it is because Archduke Franz Ferdinand was not popular with the elites in the Austrian ruling family and its court and also because the horror of World War One eclipsed everything.  This book turned out to be quite interesting in its own right not just in relations to thing that led to the World War but also for the tragic love story of Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie.  Certainly the human interest is there in this book!

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Robert Greenberger.  When Montezuma Met Cortés: The True Story of the Meeting that Changed History.  New York, NY: Ecco, January 15th 2019. 560 pp.

5 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

What if everything you heard about the Conquistor Hernando Cortés and the Aztec emperor Montezuma was incorrect?  This book is a work of superb historical scholarship that goes against the grain of mainstream narrative that often glorify Cortés.  In peeling back the myth we get closer to the truth of what actually happened in history between Cortés and the Aztecs. This book makes a strong case of how people even today have not look at him and his claims critically enough even by those who teach history.

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A weekend reading review, because Pastors also need a break from heavy theological reading.

Simon Anglim, Phyllis G. Jestice, Rob S. Rice, Scott M. Rusch, John Serrati.  Fighting Techniques of the Ancient World.  New York, NY: Saint Martin’s Press, January 1st 2003. 256 pp.

4 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

Are you looking for a book on military history and military techniques during ancient times?  This book might be for you!  Written by a team of experts on military matters with academic and published credentials this book is quite informative and engaging concerning military matters of equipping, tactics and combat skills for warfare.  The work covers largely Europe and the Middle East before the advent of gunpowder.  While the subtitle of the book states it looks at 3000 BC-500 AD most of the book concentrates on the Greek and Roman classical period.
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A weekend reading review, because Pastors also need a break from heavy theological reading.

Eugene Rogan.  The Fall of the Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East. New York, NY: Basic Books, October 4, 2016. 512 pp.

5 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

We hear so much of the news about the Middle East today but most people don’t know how World War One and the aftermath after the war has shaped so much of the tension and difficulties geo-politically today.  Would you like to learn more about the history leading up to it?  This book is for you, which focuses on the fall of the Ottoman Empire during World War one.

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A weekend reading review…because sometimes Pastors need a break from heavy reading also.

Jonathan Parshall and Anthony Tully. Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway.  Washington D.C.: Potomac Books, November 1st 2005. 612 pp.

5 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

Want to read one of the best book on the Battle of Midway?  I remember as a young kid reading about this battle and how it turned the tide of the war in Pacific in favor of the United States in which Japan suffered serious loss in this battle.  This work simply exceeded my expectation and I was thoroughly hooked from page to page, which might sound almost unbelievable concerning a military operational book but the two authors did a good job telling us the story of the Battle of Midway and throughout the book they also critically interact with previous presentation of the battle by historians and popular misconception and argue for their account of what happened in a way that is informative while displaying an attitude of being concern for truth of what really happened.

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