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Posts Tagged ‘History’

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

Second World Wars Victor Hansen lectures

5 out of 5

Free: Hillsdale Online Course

Purchase: DVD Box Set

Readers of this blog will know I love history.

I finished recently a lecture series from Hillsdale College by famous historian Victor Hansen on the Second World War.  I immensely enjoyed this lecture.

Here’s the trailer from Hillsdale:

After seeing this trailer as an ad for a whole year I finally got around to signing up and taking this course online free!

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A special Memorial Day weekend reading review.

Marine the life of chesty puller

Mark Galeotti. Marine! The Life of Chesty Puller.  New York, NY: Open Road Intergrated Media, March 29, 2016. 371 pp.

5 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

One of the most celebrated legendary Marine is Chesty Puller; the most decorated US Marine in history, even today every Marine would know of his name after being drilled information about him starting in the days of boot camp; do you know who he was and what he has done?  Though I’m a Marine veteran who love Marine Corps history I am ashamed to realize that I have never read any books about Chesty Puller until recently and I don’t know much about him as much I should compared to other military leaders in the other services!  For those that don’t know anything about him Chesty Puller is literally the guy that you want to be around taking charge when the enemies have surrounded you and outnumbered against you; and he’s literally saved men’s lives during such a scenario too.  So I am glad I saw they have an electronic format of this book available.  Originally published in 1962 this book was written when Puller was still alive.  This book actually made me want to read more works on Chesty Puller especially more recent works evaluating his life, legacy and contribution.

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I’m reviewing two history books…because Pastors also need a break!

On Desperate Ground

Hampton Sides. On Desperate Ground: The Marines at The Reservoir, the Korean War’s Greatest Battle.  New York, NY: Doubleday, October 2, 2018.  368 pp.

4 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

If you ever heard the hymn for the US Marines there’s a line that says “we will fight in every climb and place” but where’s a place that’s cold that the Marines have fought in? This book covers the legendary First Marine Division and their campaign in the Korean War.  Readers will learn about the epic and horrible battle of Chosin Reservoir that took place in frostbiting cold of North Korea.  There’s other battles covered but this was the climatic part of the book.

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I’m reviewing two history books…because Pastors also need a break!

 

Churchill and Orwell

Thomas E. Ricks.  Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom. New York, NY: Penguin Books, May 1, 2018. 352 pp.

5 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

A book on Churchill and Orwell?  Both men at first glance seems so different; so what does these two men have in common?  Both men love freedom and opposes totalitarianism.  With so much talk about fascism and also with the increase statism we are seeing worldwide today this book might be quite relevant to read.  The subject matter and the two individuals that are the focus of the book are interesting enough to read as a dual biography in its one right but what further propelled me to read this is because this is authored by Thomas E. Ricks.  It seems as I grow in my intellectual and thought life one can mark it with different milestone based upon books published by Thomas Ricks, from my high school years with Rick’s early book Making the Corps that was about Marine Corps boot camp when I was a high school kid dreaming about joining the Marines and then when I was a Marine and Marine veteran of Iraq with Ricks’ book The Gamble: General David Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2006-2008 by Thomas E. Ricks and The Generals by Thomas E. Ricks.

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I won’t be sharing pictures on my blog since I travel overseas to teach theology but I can say that we visit South Carolina during our vacation and got to visit Fort Sumter where the Civil War’s first shot took place.  Its why I reviewed a book on Fort Sumter this month.  See 

A History of Fort SumterThis post I want to share a devotional thought.

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I am reviewing this book for this weekend’s leisure reading review because Pastors also need a break from heavy theological reading!  I hope to share more reviews from the reading I finished while I was on Vacation.

Valiant Ambition

Nathaniel Philbrick.  Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution. New York, NY: Penguin Books, May 9, 2017. 448 pp.

4 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

Want to read a book on the American War of Independence and the infamous general Benedict Arnold and his relationship with George Washington?  This book might be for you!  Benedict Arnold was the general who betrayed the American cause and helped the British.  About eight years ago I read The Notorious Benedict Arnold by Steve Sheinkin and reading this book jogged my memory of what I previously learned about Benedict Arnold whether from the previous book or other readings and lectures.  Yet I still learned some new things about Arnold from the book.

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This is one of the books I finished while on vacation!  A weekend non-fiction fun read as a break from heavy theological reading: Because Pastors need a break also!  Haven’t done one of these in a while!

A History of Fort SumterPatrick Hendrix. A History of Fort Sumter: Building a Civil War Landmark. Charleston, SC: The History Press, March 4, 2014. 161 pp.

5 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

Most people have probably have heard of Fort Sumter from their history book as the place where the Confederates fired the first shot that launched the Civil War but did you know there were battles and military operations concerning Fort Sumter and around Fort Sumter between the Confederates and the Union after the first attack?  This book examines Fort Sumter not just with the historically memorable artillery barrage by South Carolians against Union troops in the Fort but it also goes over the history of the founding of the Fort, the tension between South Carolina and the fort for decades leading up to the attack and also the history of the fort militarily after the fateful attack of April 12-13, 1861.  And it was an interesting book written by the author even for a general reading audience.

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A weekend non-fiction fun read as a break from heavy theological reading: Because Pastors need a break also!  Haven’t done one of these in a while!

Heirs of the Founders

Cody Cassidy.  Who Ate the First Oyster?. New York, NY: Penguin Books, May 5th 2020. 240 pp.

4 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

Have you ever wonder happened after the American founding father faded away?  Who was the second generation Americans?  In this book titled Heirs of the Founders author H.W. Brands look at three key important politicians that come to define the generation that was given the mantle of leading the United States after the first generation.  These three politicians are Henry Clay, Daniel Webster and John Calhoun.  These three figures were all US Senators and were leaders of their respective regions: Henry Clay representing the West, John Calhoun the South and Henry Clay the North.  I got this book to read since from other previous studies and reading I’m convinced that some of the later problems in US history was defined more by this second generation of Americans as opposed to the first generation of Americans (the founding fathers).

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

36 Books That Changed the World. Chantilly, VA: The Teaching Company, January 1st 2014. 18 hours, 59 minutes, 50 seconds.

5 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

What are the important books in history that has changed the world?  In these lectures produced The Teaching Company various experts of various literatures presents to us important literary works that literally changed the world.  A total of 36 books are surveyed and these individual lectures comes from other lecture series produced by the The Teaching Company.  For instance the lecture on Sun Tzu’s Art of War is from The Masters at War: History’s greatest Strategic Thinkers series delivered by a professor of Strategy and Policy at US Naval War college.  The Republic by Plato is lectured by a political science professor for the series Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition.  I admit listening to these lectures on 36 books that changed the world makes me want to listen to more amazing lecture series produced by The Teaching Company.

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A weekend non-fiction fun read as a break from heavy theological reading: Because Pastors need a break also!  Haven’t done one of these in a while!

Who Ate the First Oyster

Cody Cassidy.  Who Ate the First Oyster?. New York, NY: Penguin Books, May 5th 2020. 240 pp.

4 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

Who ate the first oyster?  Who discovered Hawaii?  (And how?) And who painted the world’s first masterpiece?  These questions and others are answered in this book.  Written in an accessible manner the answers that author Cody Cassidy gave are informative, fascinating and interesting with the reasoning he gives of why scientists, historians and other experts come to the conclusion they arrived at.  If you like asking questions and learning people’s attempt to answer those questions then this book is for you.

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

 

Rick Beyer. Rivals Unto Death: Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr New York, NY: Hachette Book Group, February 21st 2017. 224.

5 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

Reading this book made me realize that the current heated American political scene during election is nothing new, that it has had its crazy moments and its up and downs.  This book is about the animosity and competition between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr which most American remember with the duel between these two men that were involved with American politics that result in the death of one after the duel.  But rather than focus only on the duel the book looks at both men’s lives and the comparison and contrast between the two of them and how their lives culminated to that unfortunate duel.

I thought the author did a good job comparing and contrasting Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr.  This book is a look at not only the biographical details of both men but also how their paths cross pathed or orbited near one another over the decades. I really enjoyed learning about both men’s upbringing and also their military career during the War of Independence.  I thought it was interesting to see how both men were similar in how they were driven, talented and energetic both as officers in the Contintental Army and later in their New York law practice.  Yet there were differences between them including their deposition and also how people perceived them.

Overall in my opinion the author did an excellent job in giving us facts and attempted to be fair.  There was a sense that later in their politics the book gives you the details of both men’s concerns with the political direction of the country.  Yet their concern seem to be the reaction of coming to the opposite conclusion of their upbringing: Alexander Hamilton who grew up poor was concerned about the tyranny of the masses while Aaron Burr who grew up in an affluent household was suspicious of the few rich elites in the political process.  The book goes over the scandals of both men while also putting the over the top rhetoric of the political discourse in the context of that being how it was during their time.  Sadly with many factors being set it led us to an event where because of honor Hamilton and Burr faced each other in a duel and one would be killed.  In one of history’s dispute of what happened that day with the duel which debate linger to today, Hamilton was killed and Burr ended up being quite hated.

Fascinating read and it lead me to put current American politics in perspective and to also pray that our country’s election process would not undermine the republic.

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This is to unite, not to divide and I want to do that by challenging an incomplete narrative and also something that goes against objective historical facts. I think everyone will benefit from seeing how interconnected we are as Americans. I saw several Pastors shared a link on FB written by a Chinese American pastor who wrote this about Asian Americans relations with African Americans. I found it problematic on so many levels:

“What many Asian Americans fail to realize is that our success is largely built on the backs of African Americans themselves. After all, if African American slavery did not exist, the United States may not have been such a desirable country to immigrate to. It was through the enslavement of African Americans that American prosperity was built in the first place.”

Notice the quote made specific claims:
(a) Asian Americans as a group succeeded at the expense of African Americans.
(b) Asian Americans might not have desired to come to the United States if it wasn’t for America having African American slavery.
(c) The prosperity in America from slavery is what attracted Asian Americans to take advantage of it in America.

But is this factually true?

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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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