The Last Train from Hiroshima first describes the many phases of destruction that make up an atomic blast. When we next read the stories of the survivors of the two 10 kiloton plus blasts, it makes their survival all the more extraordinary. They all survived, ironically, by being in the right place at the right time. One step further, then one of the forces would have vaporized them. Example: one survived from a barrier and plant filtering out the rays. Their clothing color also could make a difference--white would reflect off the radiation while black would absorve it and result in searing off the clothing and skin. The horrors that these people faced with the rays, explosion, fallout, and then, to add insult to injury, the fatal if swallowed black rain are unbelievable. And they faced those things twice! They were the only people in history to be at ground zero, and I pray that this will never happen again. The thought of terrorists setting off an atomic blast in our cities is even more horrifying after reading this book.
This book exemplified how these three very different men serving different countries had the tactical genius to utilize the tanks just as they were being made into the armored juggernaut that we know today. Rommel and Patton were masters of the lightning/blitzkrieg quick strikes that the tanks were very useful for, while Montgomery was a brilliant trainer and played with superior numbers in a way that detached himself from the lives of men he was sacrificing. They all had a great deal of pride and were not afraid to voice their opinions which led to each of their downfalls in different ways. This book showed a very important chapter in World War II history. Had any of these warriors not come to his own during this time, the world could be a very different place today.
The author of this book sounds arrogant and conceited, as he boasts about how he saw the whole mess that Bernard Madoff was creating with his "Ponzi Scheme." He claimed that Madoff did not even create a very sound or creative scheme. However, Madoff did dupe many out of billions of dollars, as they turned the other way because they assumed he was beyond reproach, and he earned consistent 1 % yields every month. The author told the SEC and other organizations, but they seemed to not have a clue according to his accounts. They were all incompetent. Despite his arrogant attitude, he seems to back it up with a brilliant analytical mind, and strong sense of following rules and ethics. The book reads much like a Michael Crichton novel--the people rely on the information, but they truly do not understand it, and that leads to collamity. Instead of dinosaurs or nanobot predators, we end with a crook making off with billions in the complicated computer driven markets.
I listened to this book in the early hours of work each day before I needed to interact with the real world. Before I started, I worried that I would have difficulty following a history novel while focusing on my tasks. However, Robert Harris has woven a superlative narrative that puts you in the shoes of Cicero's servant in Ancient Rome. I felt as if I were there as Cicero dealt effectively with conspiracies among the Roman Senators, generals, and populace. I could feel the growing power of Caesar and saw him as a threat to the Roman Empire even though I knew he was destined for greatness. Clearly, the politicians of today would not stand a chance in a debate with either Cicero or Caesar--two brilliantly clever politicians who could turn any situation, good or bad, to their advantage. Get ready for an engaging trip to ancient times with this awesome novel!
I had never read the story of Beauty and the Beast, but have enjoyed the Disney production of the same. It was refreshing to hear the tale as it was originally conceived. "Beauty" really was beautiful inside and out, and as she came to care for Beast, she could not at first see past the Beast's terrible exterior. "Beast" was at first savage, but "Beauty" brought tenderness and patience to him. It is a tale of honor and staying true to your word as well as true beauty being from within.
"Under the Dome" has themes and an ensemble of characters which remind me of the TV series "Lost." In a sense, the town of Chester's Mill is lost to the world, and we have mysterious forces at work creating a force field around the town which the military cannot penetrate and nobody can get in or out. This leads to a group, like the Others in Lost, who think they are the rightful leaders of the town and proceed to make selfish decisions to empower themselves at the expense of the town that they claim to be the good guys for. Our hero, Barbi, an Iraqi veteran, is cunning and well trained but unable at first to resist the leaders of the town. He makes alliances with some of the more honorable members of the community, and these members race to save him from being framed, and the town from it's own demise. I would give this book five stars if it did not paint all Christians as cartoon villains with limited views of the world and hypocritical views, and if it did not use so much foul language.
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