February is National Black History Month and I usually try to read a book by an African-American or a biography. I usually obtain my idea on who to read about from the United States post office stamp choice for Black History Month. I was perusing the review of stamps and decided to read about W.E. B. du Bois. I looked on Audible and found this book Edward J. Blum published in 2012. Unlike other biographies of du Bois, Blum explores his work and writings in depth and only touches on the man. Edward Blum explores a crucial but neglected aspect of the life and times of de Bois; the intersection of race and religion. The author illuminates the entire range of du Bois writings showing him to be a prophetic thinker and a visionary who anticipated trends in black theology and civil rights. Du Bois also was a big advocate for women’s right to vote and equal rights for women. Du Bois was the first African-American to graduate from Harvard University with a Ph.D. in history. Du Bois took advantage of Harvard’s foreign study program and studied at the University of Berlin. He studied under Europe’s most prominent social scientist. Du Bois taught and did research at Wilberforce University in Ohio, University of Pennsylvania and Atlanta University. The author states that du Bois was one of the foremost African-American intellectual of the 20th century. He was a pioneering historian, sociologist, editor, novelist, poet and a civil right advocate. He was a co-founder of the NAACP. He was a leading civil rights agitator in the 1902-1906 race riots. Blum goes into the investigation of de Bois by the FBI tying to prove he was a communist subversive. The author goes into detail about the disagreement between du Bois and Brooker T. Washington. Apparently du Bois felt that Washington was not doing enough to advocate education of the blacks. Blum indicates that du Bois was a big advocate for education of blacks and felt that until blacks and whites were educated together the black would receive an inferior education. Du Bois died the day before Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. I learned a great deal about African-American theology and history from reading this book. Andrew L Barnes did a good job narrating this book.
This is book number three in the Ramage series. This series of historical novels are based on the British Admiralty records of the Napoleonic era.
Lt. Ramage is given command of the brig HMS Triton with orders to deliver a warning to the three offshore fleets that the fleet in Homeport has mutinied. Ramage’s first job is to get the Triton underway but surprise the crew has also mutinied alone with those of the homeport fleet. After delivering the message to the three fleets Ramage is to report to the Caribbean for further others. As usual Ramage uses creative tactics to overcome his problems.
The book is well written with lots of sea action. Pope does not shy away from describing the harsh realities of life at sea during the Napoleonic wars. Pope explains how the poor treatment of sailors led to the great mutiny of the Home Fleet. The author also goes into detail about the slave trade. The book is full of action and is an exciting fun read that is based on historical fact. Steven Crossley narrated the book.
I must admit up front that I have never been in a Wal-Mart store and there is no Wal-Mart store anywhere near where I live. My second disclaimer is I absolutely hate to shop; I rush in and obtain the items I need and rush out of the store. Since the 1960 I have made it a mission of mine to buy products made in the United States even if I have to pay more or do without if I cannot find products made in the United State or Canada.
Fishman has done extensive research for this book. He has drawn on unprecedented interviews with former Wal-Mart executives; pursued a wealth of business and economic data and has created an interesting look at the corporation.
Fishman states the story of Wal-Mart is really the story of the transformation of the American economy over the past twenty years. Fishman presents a case for Wal-Mart (mostly consumer benefit) and against Wal-Mart. Fishman puts the reader inside the company’s penny-pinching mindset and shows how Wal-Mart’s mania to reduce prices has driven suppliers into bankruptcy and sent factory jobs overseas.
The “Wal-Mart effect” has become a common phase in the vocabulary of economists, and includes a broad range of effects, such as forcing local competitors out of business, driving down wages, and keeping inflation low and productivity high. Fishman discusses the replacement of quality with cheapness. The author sees Wal-Mart as neither good nor evil, but simply a fact of modern life. I enjoyed the fact he told stories and named the product and or company he spoke of to demonstrate the good or bad effect. I found the afterword the most important part of the book.
The book is well written and well organized. Fishman has made the book understandable and easy to read. Alan Sklar narrated the book.
This is book seven in the Longknife series. Kris and crew aboard the exploratory ship USS Wasp have blundered into an encounter with an Iteechee vessel. The Iteechee is the race with which humanity had a war 80 years previously. They are so mysterious the cause of the war is still unknown. Kris’ great- grandparents King Raymond and General “Trouble” both fought in the war. The Iteechee death ball vessel wants to speak to Kris, as an envoy from great-grandfather King Ray to plea for galactic safety. Kris takes the delegation of Iteechee to meet with King Ray. Kris is sent off to a planet on a diplomatic mission (with the Iteechee delegation on board her vessel). As usual she is walking into trouble.
The book is well written with a good strong plot. There is lots of banter as usual between the characters. Shepherd has created an enjoyable cast of characters to play foil to Kris. The strength of the story is the strong supporting cast of Kris’ crew and friends, including her computer Nelly, who is developing her own personality in interesting ways. Nelly created her ‘babies” and each of the key people of Kris’s crew were given their own super smart computer. Nelly created a way to hook them to their owner’s mind without the surgery that Kris had. Of course this external attachment does not work as completely as Kris and Nelly’s. Nelly made it clear that none of her “babies” are as smart as she is.
My only complaint is I am getting tired of hearing “one-of-those-damn-longknives” repeated over and over. It is starting to get annoying. This book has less action than prior books but still has lots of suspense. It is great the story is breaking away from the Peterwald feud and is opening up to the galaxy for Shepherd to play with. Dina Pearlman is doing a good job narrating this series.
This is the memoirs of a computer engineer so the book has a lot of technical information. The author tells about growing up in Sunnyvale, California and working on creating or should I say designing a personal computer. He tells about his group of computer nerds, belonging to a computer club and the founding of Apple Computer Company. It was great to hear from Woz how many of his teachers had a positive effect on him. Helping him push ahead of his class in math and giving him self-confidence in his abilities. He also went into detail about the positive effect his father had in teaching him about physics and electronics and engineering starting at age 4. Woz says his father was an engineer. His mother encouraged and helped him with math from the first grade on. Woz states he entered every science fair all during his schooling and felt he learned a great deal from the experience.
Woz tells about his relationship with Steve Jobs and other people in his work group. Woz designed Apple I and the Apple II.
Despite the help of a co-writer, journalist Gina Smith, the book is difficult to read and is poorly written. The repetitions were what got to me. Woz says so much written about him is wrong so he just wanted to set the record straight.
The book provides an inside look at the building of Apple I and II and the founding of the Apple Company. The book is well worth the read if you are interested in the tech industry and the history of the personal computer. Patrick Lawler narrated the story.
This is the fifth book in the John Pearce Pelican series. Please note you should read this series in order as each book builds on the next.
The series is set against the backdrop of the French Revolution in 1794. We learned in prior books that Pearce and a group of men from the Pelican Pub was gang pressed into the Royal Navy by Captain Ralph Barclay. Pearce and the Pelican claim to have been illegally seized in an area that was off limits to press gangs. Pearce due to his ability and bravery was appointed a lieutenant by the King which caused some hostility from officers who have worked their way up the ranks. In this story the British are starting to lose the battle for Toulon as a new commander has taken over the French artillery. Hurrah! I knew Napoleon would be showing up in this battle.
Pearce’s main assignment in this book is to take a message to Naples, an Italian State ruled by Spanish Bourbons with a Hapsburg Queen (sister of Marie Antoinette), to seek assistance to help the British and the French Royalist hold Toulon.
As with the prior episodes in the series we have feuding senior naval officers’ striving for political sponsorship and battle honor. Each naval battle is well written and gripping to read. The historical detail is accurate and makes the story absorbing and exciting to read. Donachie’s ability to write realistic and historically accurate naval battle is improving with each book. He is becoming to naval battles what Bernard Cornwell is to land battle scenes. Peter Wickham narrated the book.
This is book four in the Empire’s Corps series. You really need to read the books in order to fully enjoy the series.
The Empire has collapsed. On Avalon, Captain Stalker and his Marines have tried to establish a Democratic Republic. Avalon is arming as fast as possible, building modern starships for defense, and the Marines are training a local militia. We even find there is romance budding between Stalker and President Gaby Cracker. We get to renew the relationships with the regular characters in the series such as Jasmine but this book provides us with some new characters chief among them is a villain.
Commodore Rani Singh had been passed over for promotion. When the Empire collapsed, Singh was in charge of a Fleet Base and had under her control several capitol ships as well as support vessels and a Logistics Base. She sets out to create her own Empire until she tries to conquer Avalon. Stalker’s Marines must stop her. Lt. Jasmine goes into a covert operation to dismantle Singh’s Empire. There is lots of action and suspense in the story.
The book is well written and fairly fast paced. In many ways it is a typical military sci-fi story. Overall the story makes a good fun relaxing read. Jeffrey Kafer has narrated the series.
Karma Kitaj chose twenty-six successful women who made their mark in the early twentieth century when the roles of women in most fields were more limited than they are today. She writes about the factors that contributed to their success and the hurdles they had to overcome. These women were all prominent in their fields of science, art, music, education. I was most interested in the science women particularly the two in physics and the physician that won the Nobel Prize.
The book is well written and informative. I enjoy learning how people over come challenges and use their gifts to success in their professions and Kitaj provided me with interesting examples.
I understand Kitaj turn her academic studies into work readable by the average reader. The book is narrated by Paige Allison.
I understand this is the first book for the author and she did manage to come up with a different idea for the book. It is interesting that I find myself able to observe this book in the manner I think the author had intended and find the author’s approach to the book interesting. As a reader, I did not feel the book pulled me in nor did I become involved in the story; I stayed an observer of the story. I am not sure why I could not become involved in the story but I am sure it’s me, not the author’s fault.
The girl on the train is Rachel. She is divorced, an alcoholic, and unemployed. Her daily commute into London on the commuter train is a sham. The train passes through the neighborhood where her ex-husband lives with his new wife Anna.
One day Rachel sees a glamorous young couple in a house a few doors from Anna’s home. She creates a fantasy about them to help compensate for her own life. One day she sees something. Megan is the young women she is fantasizing about. The question the reader needs to solve, is did she really see what she thought she saw or was it an alcoholic hallucination or was she so drunk she confused what she saw.
The book is well written and ingeniously constructed. The first person narration goes between the three main female characters Rachel, Anna and Megan. The book uses three different women narrators to enhance the effect; they are Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey and India Fisher.
The portrait of Rachel as a chronic drunk who just might save herself by playing detective is intriguing. The ending had a twist which could catch one off guard. The book dragged at times but the suspense kept me reading. The book did have some profanity which I was not aware from other book reviews or from the publisher. I normally avoid books with profanity. Otherwise I found the book quite interesting and a nice break from reading non-fiction.
I have always had a fascination with cars. Back in the fifties I use to think the car’s looked beautiful but now they all look the same. I remember in High School I was furious because the administration would not allow me to take auto shop, they said only boys could take the course. I do enjoy reading about automobiles planes and ships and now no one call tell I cannot read the book.
Americans are a nation of car cultures, plural. Automobile racing is a popular spectator sport. The early adoption of the automobile for private transportation and the restoration of old cars to the making of street rods are popular.
It is surprising that there are few authoritative scholarly histories of automobile companies written. Last year I read the biography of Henry Ford and found it most interesting. So when I saw this book on Chrysler displayed on Audible, I bought it.
Hyde tells the story behind Chrysler- its products, people and performance over time with particular focus on the company’s management including Lee Iacocca. The author begins with the story of Walter P Chrysler in 1925 and ends with the merger of Chrysler and Daimler-Benz in 1998. I was hoping this was a biography of the Chrysler brothers but it is primarily a business history book. Hyde discusses assembly line production and the architecture of automobile plants and their management. Hyde is an economic historian and an industrial archaeologist. He is a professor at Wayne State University in Detroit since 1974.
The book is balanced and Hyde does not shy away from making critical observations. I found the book an interesting story of the smaller component of the big three American auto companies. Dave K. Lawson narrated the book.
It is amazing that J. D. Robb still has some fresh ideas for the 40th book in the Death series. Most authors have burned out before ever reaching this many books in a series.
In this book Lt. Eve Dallas and Officer Peabody are investigating the murder of Leanore Bastwich a well known criminal defense attorney. Bastwich appeared in prior issues in this series. There is a message written on the wall to Dallas by the killer and signed “your true and loyal friend.” Then Ledo an illegal substance dealer and pool player is killed, poked to death with a pool cue in his chest, and there is another message for Dallas. Then the killer fails to kill the next victim providing Dallas with more clues. The Killer decides to focus on Dallas’s friends trying to decide which one to kill, will it be Charlotte Mira, M.D. or Nadine Furst.
The killer’s obsession with Dallas is a different plot than the other books in the series. The book has lots of futuristic tech along with suspense, there is less mystery involved in this story. Robb’s plots and characters are larger than life. They provide melodrama, snappy dialogue to the plot. I find I enjoy Robb’s short tight sentence, fast pace, and gripping style of writing; it works great in the audio format. Susan Ericksen is the narrator for the series.
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