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Archive for the ‘History’ Category

No doubt some people will be traveling to visit family and relatives as Christmas gets closer and/or people take a vacation or are done with the semester in school.

Here’s some nonfiction audio books recommendations to help with your travel whether you are waiting in the airport, on the bus or driving cross country.

Secret Warriors: The Spies, Scientists and Code Breakers of World War I

Taylor Downing. Secret Warriors: The Spies, Scientists and Code Breakers of World War I.  Ashland, OR: Blackstone Audio Inc, April 15, 2015. 13 hours, 8 minutes and 10 seconds.

4 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

This work is about how the Great War/World War One was a different military conflict than the wars that came before it since it was a war in which the world entered a new age with modern warfare.  I think the author presented his case quite persuasively with his focus being primarily on the British then German and French developments in the Western front.  I enjoyed this work in audio book format and found that the work overall was informative and interesting.  It was also read in such a way that helped the listeners endure over thirteen hours of materials without any problem.

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A weekend nonfiction leisure reading review…because even Pastors need a break from heavy theological reading.

Flo Groberg and Tom Sileo. 8 Seconds of Courage: A Soldier’s Story from Immigrant to the Medal of Honor.  New York, NY: Simon Schuster, November 17th, 2017. 208 pp.

5 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

This is the story of Flo Groberg, a US Army infantry officer who was a recipient of the Medal of Honor in 2015 for actions in Afghanistan in 2012.  There’s few Medal of Honor that has been awarded in the post-9/11 world and still fewer who are among the living that received it; Flo Groberg is one of them.  The autobiography tells the story of his childhood, his decision to join the Army, his time in Afghanistan and after his time in the military.  Reading this book makes me grateful for men like Groberg who was willing to risk his life and limb for others.

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A Veteran’s Day weekend book review.

James Wright. Enduring Vietnam: An American Generation and Its War.  New York, NY: Thomas Dunne Books, April 4, 2017. 464 pp.

5 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

I read this book as a son of a refugee of the Vietnam War and also a Marine veteran of post-Vietnam military conflict.  Although I have read some individual biographies and accounts of the Vietnam War this is probably the first work I read in which looks at the bigger picture of the conflict such as evaluating the generation that fought in Vietnam, an evaluation of the political landscape and decisions of policy makers, the anti-war sentiments and the experiences of the guys doing combat operations.  The author James Wright did a good job of weaving veteran’s stories, statistics, and social discussions and offered to the readers a larger picture of the political narrative.  Being an academic historian, former Marine officer and an avid advocates for veterans puts him in a unique place to write this work.

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A weekend nonfiction book review.  Because Pastors need a break from heavy theological reading too.

Tom Standage.  The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph and the Nineteenth Century’s On-line Pioneers.  New York, NY: Bloomsbury USA, February 25th 2014. 256 pp.

4 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

Earlier this year I read the author’s newer book on the history of social media.  Stumbling upon this book I thought this was worth reading too.  I found both books fascinating.  In this particular title the author looks at the invention, development and impact of the telegraph and we see how it parallels to the internet today.  What is amazing to me is the fact that this book was first written in 1998 and much of the materials is the same in the second edition.  In fact what was true in 1998 is even more so the case today.

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Note: I’m away at the moment preaching at a church retreat.  But here’s this weekend’s nonfiction reading review…because Pastors also need a break from heavy theological reading.

Ben Macintyre. Rogue Heroes: The History of the SAS, Britain’s Secret Special Forces Unit That Sabotaged the Nazis and Changed the Nature of War.  New York, NY: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, June 1, 1989. 352 pp.

4 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

What a fascinating book on the origin of the British Special Air Service and also its early years during World War Two.  This is the first book on the SAS that I read as an adult.  I remember being a little kid reading a book on elite military units and seeing the glossy pictures of the SAS famous raid on the Iranian embassy in London to rescue hostages from terrorists with SAS commandos dressed in black and armed with MP5s.  Ever since then I have been hungry to know more about these guys and as I got older I discovered that I’m not the only one who remains fascinated with this unit.  This book surely is written because of that public interests of Britain’s most famous unit.

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In light of Memoral Day weekend, I thought this would be timely to post this review for this Friday Night’s Non-Fiction Review.

James L. Swanson. Bloody Crimes.  New York, NY: William Morrow and Company, September 28th 2010.  464 pp.

4 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

This book is a study of the President of the Union and the President of the Confederacy during the last days before Lincoln was killed and the days afterwards.  The side by side account of both these Presidents was a fascinating angle of the book and one which I appreciated.  There were many moments that I thought the juxtaposition was quite fascinating.

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A weekend nonfiction review!  Cause even ministers need breaks from heavy theological reading!

Tom Standage.  Writing on the Wall.  New York, NY: Bloomsbury USA, October 15th 2013. 288 pp.

5 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

This was a fascinating book on social media.  As the subtitle states this book is on the first two thousand years of social media.  You might be scratching your head like I did at first with the idea of social media having been around for the last two millennium but I think the author Tom Standage made a good point that social media has been around for some time though it might not look like the social media we have today. We must not confuse our idea of social media that is based upon technologies such as the internet, websites and high speed connection with the social media that has been existent in the past.

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