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Posts Tagged ‘History’

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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It’s the Fourth of July!  For those outside the United States that doesn’t know, today is the day Americans celebrate the founding of the United States as a country.  Here’s a review of an audiobook that’s fitting for today.

Derek W. Beck.  The War Before Independence: 1775-1776.  Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks, June 1st 2016.  528 pp.

4 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

This audiobook is a fascinating military history on the first few months of the American War of Independence.  Tantor Audio turned the written book into an audio book.  While the physical book is over five hundred pages long the book in audio format comes in at 13 hours and 49 minutes long.  The narration was good and both the reader and the content of the book captured my attention from start to finish.

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I didn’t get to post this earlier as this weekend non-fiction review since our church was going all out for VBS but here it is…

T.J. Stiles. Custer’s Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America.  New York, NY: Knopf, October 27th 2015. 608 pp.

5 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

This book is a biography on the legendary George Armstrong Custer.  The book also was the recipient of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for History.  For the general readers it might be good to know that the book is more on the personality of Custer than a book solely on military operational history of Custer’s campaign.  So it is quite readable and makes for a fascinating read.

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A weekend non-fiction book review.

Joshua Rubenstein. The Last Days of Stalin. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, May 10th, 2016. 304 pp.

4 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

The publisher Yale University Press have published some really interesting works on Stalin including a really good one I enjoyed titled Stalin: New Biography of A Dictator.  In this book the author Joshua Rubenstein explores the death of Stalin as well as the weeks leading up to his death and the weeks following his death.  This book is well-researched, insightful and interesting.  Below are some of the highlights.

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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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