This is a book that would have been better if I read it instead of listen or it would be a good book for the e-book with whisper-sync. It was a bit hard to follow unless I took notes. Paul Nahin covered the innovative ideas and history of mathematician George Boole (1815-1864) and electrical engineer Claude Shannon (1918-2001). The book explained classic logic vs Boolean logic in depth. He also covered how Boolean algebra is the bases of electronic circuitry that everything today works on. He covered a great deal on data transmission and its importance in day to day live. The world would not function without this innovated body of work. Allan Robertson did a good job narrating the book.
I found this to be a charming book and very readable book. No reporter has gotten close to the reclusive writer other than Maja Mills. In 2001 she flew to Monroeville Alabama to write about her for The Chicago Tribune. She told Alice about the Chicago library’s “One Book, One City” to celebrate the 41 anniversary of the publishing of “To Kill A Mockingbird”. To Mills surprise the sisters gave her a brief interview. Alice Finch Lee was born in 1911 and is the older sister. She is the measured steady one and is still a practicing attorney. Maja Mills had been diagnosed with Lupus in 2004 and was out on disability from The Chicago Tribune. Consequently, she moved to Monroeville, Alabama next door to the Lee sisters home. Mills states the move was with the permission of the Mills sister and with the understanding she was going to write a book. She entered easily into the world of the Lee’s and their friends. They all shared aching joints and free time to talk about books, local history, to go fishing and long car rides into the country. The book provides a rich sense of the daily texture of the Lee sister’s lives.
The author is respectful guest of the Lee sisters, so don’t expect insider gossip. Mills describes Nelle Harper Lee (born 1926) as a down-to-earth, self assured, spirited, spontaneous, quick-witted and passionate. She is also impatient and has a temper. The author repeatedly tells of what good company the Lee sisters are. When ask about the name Harper they explain the middle name Harper, was a tribute to the doctor who saved the life of Louise (the middle sister). Mills delves into Harper Lee’s relationship with Truman Capote, who appears as Dill Harris in “Too Kill A Mockingbird”. Truman lived with his aunt next door to the Lee’s a few years when they were all children.
The publisher delayed the publishing of the book because Harper Lee published a letter saying she did not participate in the book and did not authorize it. Alice Lee wrote a letter to the publisher saying both she and Harper Lee participated knowingly and willing in the book. So the publisher went ahead with the release of the book.
“To Kill A Mockingbird” was published in 1960, won the Pulitzer Prize and became a classic of American literature. It still sells some 750,000 copies annually and is now sold in e-book and audio format. Harper Lee stopped talking to the press in 1965.
I enjoyed the book and found it to a relaxing read. Amy Lynn Stewart did an excellent job narrating the book.
William Tecumseh Sherman was born in 1820 in Ohio. His family nicknamed was “Cump”. He was the grandson of Roger Sherman of Connecticut a signer of the Declaration of Independence and one of the architects of the Constitution. WTS’s father moved to Ohio in 1811 and set up a legal practice. He fathered eleven children and died unexpectedly in 1829. WTC was adopted by Thomas Ewing a friend of his fathers and a wealthy lawyer and politician. Sherman’s brother John Sherman became a lawyer and politician. He was a U.S. Senator from Ohio during the Civil War and after.
The first part of the book covers Sherman’s early life, his time at West point (1836) and his career in the army. The section that covers the Civil War is extremely detailed. In the Civil War Sherman was assigned to serve under Major General Ulysses S. Grant, they fought together at Shiloh, Vicksburg and Chattanooga. Sherman was promoted to Major General and turned loose by Grant in 1864, with an independent command, to rip out the logistical innards of the Confederacy. O’Connell goes into meticulous detail in Sherman’s “March to the Sea”. This is the largest part of the book and the most through.
The middle of the book covers Sherman’s career from after the Civil war to retirement. WTS was made General in Chief of the Army when Grant became President. WTS over saw the Westward expansion of the Nation, including the building of infrastructure such as roads, railroads and protecting settlers.
The last part of the book covers WTS personal and family life. He married Ellen Ewing his adopted sister. They had seven children. His wife travel with him to some post but preferred to stay at her father’s home in Ohio most often. They had seven children, one son became a priest must to the dismay of Sherman. Ellen was a devoted catholic but Sherman was a Calvinist. Ellen died in 1888. O’Connell does cover some of the affairs and mistress of Sherman. No biographer, including O’Connell has made the marriage come fully to life, or his well known womanizing. This section of the book is under developed.
Robert L. O’Connell has a Ph.D. in History and spent thirty years as an analyst at the National Ground Intelligent Center. Currently he is a visiting Professor at the Naval Postgraduate School and author of numerous military books. O’Connell takes a fresh viewpoint from other writers I have read on Sherman to date. The book is well worth the read for those interested in Civil War history or in general history. Andrew Garman did an excellent job narrating the book.
Listening to this memoir by Gore Vidal, I had the feeling I was spending the afternoon with an elderly man listening to his stories. A few years ago I had read a biography of General Robert Olds who in 1942 married Nina Gore Auchincloss. Gore Vidal’s famous actress mother. I like it when information in one book I read shows up in another book I am reading. Vidal came from a famous family. His father was a military pilot who in civilian life started three airlines, TWA, Eastern and Northwestern. His mother was an actress whose father was a long time Senator from Oklahoma. Gore tells about reading to his grandfather who was blind and going into the U.S. Senate to read whatever was needed to him. The book is a bit rambling but just as it would be if you were sitting having a conversation with him. His life ranged from a playwright on Broadway to a Hollywood screen writer to essayist and novelist. In the book he discusses the various famous people he knew in all types of professions. From Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy (his step sister was Jackie Auchincloss Kennedy). He also discussed Tennessee Williams, William Faulkner, Saul Bellows, and Marlene Dietrich, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. Two people he had nothing nice to say about were Truman Capote and Richard Nixon. A few of his witty aphorism were present also. He wrote this just after the death of Howard Austen his partner for 53 years. I noticed some of the reviews of this book were negative but I enjoyed listening to Gore Vidal. He gave me a glimpse into the life of a famous writer and intellectual from the 1930 through 2005. I remember reading some of his books such as Lincoln, Burr and the novel Myra Breckinridge. Gore Vidal narrated the book himself.
The tale begins in July 1914 about two girl friends and how their lives entwine when one of them marries the others brother. Kenzia a Vicar daughter and Thea who grew up on a farm were scholarship students. Thea gives Kenzia a book as a wedding gift “The Woman’s Book” a publication advising woman on a variety of subjects. The story pulls the reader immediately into Kenzie’s life. She struggles to be the wife her husband deserves, and struggles to maintain the farm while enduring the yearning their separation brings. Thea is transformed from being a suffragist to an ambulance driver on the front lines. Food is scares both on the home front and for the soldiers. To keep Tom’s spirits us Kenzia sends letters detailing imaginary scrumptious meals she’s prepared for him, which he shares with the comrades.
This historical novel illuminates the ways in which the Great War affected the men and women who were called to duty, as well as those who stayed at home. The story raises profound questions about conflict, belief, and love that echoes in our own time. This book was set 100 years ago; it was so well written I felt as if I had stepped back in time. It also made me think of all the advancement that has taken place over the past 100 years just in the home and on the farm. The book was published to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Great War. Nicola Barber narrated the book.
The Supreme Court will soon complete the ninth term with Roberts as Chief Justice. The Robert Court has matured enough after more than 600 decisions to merit significant attention. In “Uncertain Justice” Harvard Law School Professor Laurence Tribe and his former law student Joshua Matz find much to Analyze. Joshua Matz was law clerk in 2012 to Judge J. Paul Oetken of the Southern District of New York. In 2013-2014 he is clerk for Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the ninth circuit court of appeals. I believe he may be a person to watch.
The strength of the book is its painstaking explanation of all sides of the critical cases, giving full voice and weight to conservative and liberal views alike. The book is well-written and highly readable. It provides background, context and insight on important constitutional issues. On most issues, though, the right-leaning justices seem perfectly in agreement as to where they are going, even if they differ on the route. Antonin Scalia has been on the court long enough to see many of his dissents become law. He no doubt takes satisfaction in the sweep and success of the Roberts courts deregulatory campaign. The book covers key cases such as Citizens United, Heller (2nd Amendment gun) marriage act, health care, voter’s rights, affirmative action, and civil rights.
The authors address the legal, philosophical and political motivation, and they document the general direction taking shape, as one that tends to reverse laws in many areas established since the New Deal. The Supreme Court can frame the way we live. The authors want readers to see at least two kind of uncertainty. One is the uncertain outcome of major issues still to come before the court; the other is the uncertain impact of certain decisions already rendered. But there is one facet of Roberts’s court where Tribe and Matz find real clarity, the shrinking unavailability of judicial relief.
One of my goals this year was to read about the Supreme Court so I could have a better understanding of its role and influence. I also read biographies of justices to learn about the justices past and present and how they became a Supreme Court Justice. The year is half completed and from my reading I have come to appreciate the complexity of the Court and the critical role it has on our life. I also have come to appreciate the importance of the lower court judges. You can be assured that from now on I am going to be extremely careful in the local judges I vote for. I started the year with curiosity about the Court now I am truly fascinated with the subject. Holter Graham did an excellent job narrating the book.
It has been many years since I have read anything about Robert E. Lee. I saw this new biography by Michael Korda and grabbed it. Michael Korda is the son of English actress Gertrude Musgrove and film production designer Vincent Korda. His uncle was Sir Alexander Korda the famous British film producer and director. In 2004 he wrote “Ulysses S. Grant: The Unlikely Hero” and in 2008 “Ike: An American Hero”.
In this exhaustive study Korda examines the life and times of Robert E. Lee from birth to death, illuminating not just the man, but his extended family and the society which produced him. The book traces Lee’s life from relationship with his father, the famous light cavalry leader light horse Harry Lee to his marriage to Mary Custis and his own relationships to his seven children. Lee’s mother was Ann Hill Carter; she was raised at the famous Shirley Plantation on the James River. Ann was from one of the wealthiest and oldest families of Virginia. Lee graduated second in his class at West Point. He was one of the rare cadets that graduated without a demerit. Lee was commissioned into the engineers and spent several years building coastal fortification. Lee became famous for diverting the course of the Mississippi river at St Louis, improving the port and allowing for river navigation from New Orleans to St Paul.
Korda provides a crisp and concise account of Lee’s major engagements. The author is good at explaining Lee’s strategic thinking, maneuvering of armies and the sometimes crippling limitations imposed by logistics, bad maps and worse roads. Korda has a knack for describing the complex unfolding of Civil War battles in lucid prose. Most of the book consist of gripping, if perhaps, excessively lengthy, accounts of Lee’s military campaigns. Korda clearly has command of the life and times of Lee. All three of Lee’s sons fought for the confederacy and General Lee would run into them periodically on an off the battlefield, including his son Rooney as he was being carried from the field with a serious leg wound. Michael Korda’s mastery of such details adds texture to his account. The reader learns that none of Lee’s four daughters married and his sister sided with the Union for which his nephew fought. Lee lost his two homes, Arlington the Union confiscated and the White House (Martha Curtis Washington home), the Union burned to the ground. Lee’s wife was Martha Washington granddaughter. The war’s devastation did not spare lee’s family.
“Clouds of Glory” is unfortunately marred by more than a few annoying errors of fact that should have been picked up in editing. For example, Northern politicians with Southern leaning were called “doughfaces” not “doughboys”. At the time of the Nat Turner rebellion in 1831, the enslaved population of the United States was two million not four million. The Kansas-Nebraska Act was passed in 1854 not 1845. This is a very long book and it suffers on occasion from redundancy and inadequate organization. The book suffers for the want of good editing.
As its subtitle suggest, one of Michael Korda’s aims in “Clouds of Glory” is disentangling Lee for his myth. In this he mostly succeeds. Although it appears Korda greatly admired Lee, he challenges the image of a man who could do no wrong. Jack Garrett did an excellent job narrating the book.
Harry Sidebottom is a fellow in ancient history at Oxford. His expertise shines though this book of historical fiction. The book is set for the most part during the Sassanid siege of Dura Europos (thinly disguised as the City of Arête. In the third century AD, the Roman Empire was in turmoil as civil war tears Italy apart and emperor follows emperor in rapid succession. The protagonist is Marcus Clodius Ballistra, a barbarian prince. In 255 AD the Persian Sassanid Empire attacks Rome’s eastern territories, Ballistra, now a Roman citizen, is appointed to post as dux Ripae. In charge of the defenses along the banks of the rivers Tigris and Euphrates all land between, he is empowered to hold the lands of the Empire.
The novel is a master class in ancient warfare. The information appears to be historically correct and the story is skillfully constructed. The characters are well defined and realistic and illuminate the different nationalities and passions prevalent in the empire at the time. The siege of Dura Europos was one of the greatest sieges in history. The book was narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
This book is primarily about Robert Koch and his discovery of first Anthrax bacteria and then Tuberculosis. In many ways this is the history of the germ theory and tuberculosis. The middle part of the book is about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Doyle traveled to Berlin to hear Koch present his findings of a cure for tuberculosis. Doyle wrote a newspaper article that exposed the treatment a failure. Goetz pointed out that Doyle’s wife died of TB. The author also covers the battle between Koch and Pasteur, both who won the Noble prize in medicine. Goetz covers the success of hygiene and public education in the control of infectious disease as well as access to clean water and sewage control. The epilogue is about the first success of antibiotics against TB and now the problem of drug resistance TB. It is a reminder that the ancient disease of tuberculosis is still with us and still one of the leading causes of death worldwide. “The Remedy” is well written, well researched, highly entertaining, interesting and thought-provoking book. Donald Corren did a good job narrating the book
Blood shot is book five in the Sara Paretsky’s V. I. Warshawski series. V.I. is an attorney turned private investigator in Chicago. In this book Paretsky gives us a tour of Chicago with all the sights, sounds, smells and history of Chicago’s South side. This book was written in 1989 when computers were just starting to be common place but cell phones were rare and expensive. V.I. is hunting for phone booths while searching for change and is using a word processor in her office. Vic returns to the South side to her high school basketball team’s 20th re-union of winning the championship as the current team is on the brink of winning. Carolyn who had lived next door to Vic wants her to find out who her father was. Carolyn’s mother is dying of kidney cancer. She had worked all her life at the local Xerxine plant. In hunting for men her mother knew from work Vic finds many have died of kidney or liver cancer and discovers how toxic Xerxine is. The author juggles wisecracks, tenderness, and grit in a fast pace action filled story. Paretsky always has created great characters and this book is no exception. The book has a great plot and numerous sub plots that keep the readers on their toes. Susan Ericksen does an excellent job narrating the book.
In many ways this book reads like a textbook but it is highly readable. The news from the Middle East recently triggered me to learn more about the history of the area. Giancarlo Casale, a professor of history, proceeds chronologically, weaving together political and intellectual history of the Ottoman Empire throughout the 16th Century. He focuses on a number of high officials among them were the Grand Viziers Ibrahim Pasha, Hadim Suleiman Pasha, Rustem Pasha, the one Grand Vizier opposed to the whole Indian Ocean enterprise, and Sokolla Mehmed Pasha, probably the strongest supporter. They were aware of what advantage a strong Ottoman presence in the Indian Ocean could be to the profitable Spice trade. The Ottoman controlled the area from the Red Sea to Atjeh in Sumatra. In response to the Portuguese global claims the Ottoman declared that the Sultan was the “Caliph of all Muslims”. The Caliphate united all Muslims under the same religious authority, much as the Papacy did for Christendom. The author shows that shifting priorities and bitter personal rivalries at the Ottoman court hampered the development of a long term global policy. Slowly the conviction grew that tax income from land was preferable to the profits made from the government controlled spice trade.
Casale’s aim is to show the achievements of the “Ottoman age of exploration” not only the military and commercial but the intellectual and political ones. He does so in a convincing manner, making both sides, the Ottoman and the Portuguese, come alive in their negotiations, their self views and perception of their opponent. The book is well researched. Casale speaks Turkish, Portuguese and Italian, enabling him to consult all the relevant archives and secondary literature. James Adams narrated the book. I would have given this book a 3 1/2 , there is no halves so I rounded it up.
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