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Posts Tagged ‘Nonfiction’

A weekend nonfiction reading review…because even pastors need a break from heavy theological reading!

Paul French.  Midnight in Peking. New York, NY: The Penguin Press, April 24th 2012. 260 pp.

5 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

This is a very fascinating book covering an extraordinary time in history in a fascinating place that involves the unusual phenomenon of “East meets West.”  It is 1937 in Beijing (what back then was written in English as “Peking”).  The Japanese imperial Army has invaded all over China and they are at the doorsteps of Beijing.  In the midst of all the whirlwinds of wars, famines, imperial armies, warlords and corruption there is a murder of a young lady name Pamela Werner that captured the headlines both in China and elsewhere.  What makes this murder stands out in the midst of many murders that takes place in the dark corridors of 1930s China is this is a foreigner who is a victim which automatically makes this an international incident.  She’s a young schoolgirl.  The public interests to this story is compounded with the reality that Werner was the daughter of a former British consulate official who himself is an interesting figure.  But most shocking of all is the matter in which her body was mangled.  Sometime real life mimics fictional works of mystery and in this story readers will find that the more one digs for the truth the more unusual the twists and turn and the colorful casts of suspects, detectives and other characters.

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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 non-theological book review.  Cause Pastors also need a break with other readings…

Robert M. Gates. Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War.  New York, NY: Knopf, January 14th 2014. 640 pp.

5 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

Let me begin by saying I rarely pick up memoirs and of those I have started very few I have ever finished.  A lot of them end up being somewhat anti-climatic and sometimes they can be too narcissistic for my taste.  Often in the back of my mind I wonder if there are things left out or opinions given that end up being more of a hindrance to knowing the truth.  So the fact that I finished this memoir and am writing a review of this book speaks volume of how much I enjoyed this work.

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A weekend non-fiction book review.

Luke Harding. A Very Expensive Poison: The Definitive Story of the Murder of Litvinenko and Russia’s War with the West.  New York, NY: Vintage Books, January 24th 2017. 432 pp.

4 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

Sometimes facts of history can be more fascinating than any work of fiction.  This is an example of where current events mimics a spy suspense novel of the Cold War era except it is all too real including the fatal consequences.  The author Luke Harding is a British journalist who worked for The Guardian and have spent several years as a foreign correspondent in Russia.  He has written quite a bit about modern Russia including several books on the topic.  I first read his book on Wikileaks which was also intriguing.  This book’s subject matter is even more intriguing than the first.

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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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A weekend nonfiction book review! ‘Cause Pastors need a mental break too.

Val McDermid. Forensics.  New York, NY: Grove Press, July 7th 2015.  310 pp.

5 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

This is a fascinating book on criminal investigations by a British author of crime novels and thriller.  In this work of nonfiction she explores the various specialization and sciences behind criminal investigation.  In the beginning of the book she notes that there is a lot of misconception that the public has for those involved with criminal investigations in light of TV shows like CSI.  Intrigued with the topic she gives us a journalistic account of those involved with investigating crime and how the men and women go about with the art and science of finding and proving the suspects.

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