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|I love books. What follows is an ongoing list of books that I have read and my comments. The list is not arranged in any particular order.|
|Of Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order
Written by Robert Kagan
Published by Alfred A. Knopf, New York 2003
This is a good book. A very quick read. It explains why Europeans and Americans see things differently when it comes to geopolitics and the use of power. It gives the topic a fair treatment from both perspectives and helped me understand things to a much greater degree. I recommend it to anyone trying to understand why the French and Germans where not supportive of the US invasion of Iraq.
Thomas Jefferson: The Man of Light
An enjoyable little book highlighting the answers to many of the questions ask of Clay Jenkinson while he impersonates Thomas Jefferson the 3rd President of the United States. It is a good starting point for anyone who would like to quickly learn about Thomas Jefferson and what it is like to portray a Chautauqua character.
My First Two Thousand Years: The Autobiography of the Wandering Jew
I found this book interesting because I am fascinated by the idea of hypothetically viewing large spans of history and society through the eyes of a single person who experiences it first hand. The story is about a jew who took the Roman name, Cartaphilus (aka Isaac Laquedem), and was a contemporary of Jesus. Cartaphilus, one of the Roman guards that escorted Jesus to his crucifixion, mocked and taunted him while he carried the cross. Jesus responded to him by saying, "I shall go, but thou shalt tarry until I return." From that point on Cartaphilus found that he stopped aging and was practically immortal. He became an outcast among Jews and Romans and ended up wandering the world down through the ages. The story meanders through history giving first hand accounts of Cartaphilus's experiences with (and influence on) different historical figures and eras.
A special thanks to Dr. Sam Franklin, one of my old professors and mentor, for introducing me to the book.
Angels & Demons; The Da Vinci Code
Very entertaining fiction. It was hard for me to put the books down.
The Collected WHAT IF? Eminent Historians Imagine What Might
An anthology of essays that ponders the crucial turning points of historical events that forever altered the course of civilization. What if Martin Luther had been burned as a heretic? George Washington had never made his miraculous escape from the British on Long Island in the dawn of August 29, 1776? A Confederate aide hadn't accidentally lost General Robert E. Lee's plans for invading the North? What if D-Day had been a failure? The Soviet Union might have controlled all of Europe. Forty-five in-depth essays on the monumental events of the past with speculations as to what our world might be like had things gone differently in that one singular moment in time. I am now much more aware of how small changes in todays events can have big ramifications for the future.
When asked what was the underlying message of The Prophet, Gibran replied that it was: ‘You are far greater than you know, and all is well’.
Day by Day Armageddon
Perhaps the best "zombie genre" book I've read. If you like George Romero's movies, you'll enjoy this book.
Battle Cry Of Freedom: The Civil War Era
An incredible one volume history of the Civil War. It is far more than a recount of battles and strategies. It explores the reasons why various events unfolded the way they did. The most compelling things about the book is its narrative style -- it is very easy to read and very hard to put down. I bought the book on a whim and wasn't sure I would actually sit down and read its entire 909 pages, but once I finished the first chapter I knew I would finish the whole book. I highly recommend this work for anyone who is even remotely interested in this era of American history. It is well worth the time.
From the books Afterward:
Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
This is a book that taught me much and has indeed changed my view of
world history in many ways. I do recommend this book - the details are
good and many of the theories ring true, but in the same breath I would
warn against applying Diamond's conclusions to all elements of history.
The book discusses ultimate causes of the differences between
societies on a large scale. On a smaller scale, other proximate causes
come into play.
I Am Legend
Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation
An insightful exploration of the character and times of the
men who founded the United States. Ellis strips away the
mythology surrounding Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Hamilton, Madison
and Burr. Declaring independence and creating a governement is a
messing thing full of contention, debate, alliances and friendship.
After reading the book, I feel like I have a better understanding
of who these men were. They were great people, but not for the
reasons that you learn in high school history class.
In Defense of Food: An Eaters Manifesto
"Eat Food. Not To Much. Mostly Plants." This is what the
author espouses and for the most part I agree. However, his
method of supporting his position was full of logical fallacies.
He attacks nutritional science and scientific reductionism, but
then turns around and uses them in a round about way to say that we
need to eat whole foods (as opposed to the highly refined and
manufactured foods that take up most of the shelf space in grocery
stores) and not over eat. He sites all sorts of "evidence"
about certain ethnic groups being more healthy when they eat their
native diets. And he condemns the Western Diet of highly
processed, cheap, and plentiful food. But oddly he never address
the role that physical activity plays in maintaining a healthy body.
Overall, his end message, in my humble opinion, is sound.
He would have been better off writing either a short essay or a
much more extensively researched book (i.e. either state his opinion
and be done with it, or really get in there and try to demonstrate the
proof backing up his claims).
Roadside Geology of Northern and Central California
is an excellent book for increasing your understanding of modern
geologic theory and applying it to the incredible geology of
California. The subject matter is covered in plain-English in a manner
that makes this a must-have for any geology student or enthusiast.
The Last Season
story of Randy Morgenson, a backcountry ranger in Sequoia & Kings
Canyon National Parks who disappeared while on patrol in 1996. It
was his 28th season as a backcountry ranger meaning he had spent more
time in the Sierra Nevada mountains than John Muir.
author did a great job in weaving together all of the threads of Randy
Morgenson's life into a compelling story. If you enjoy hiking in
the Sierra Nevada mountains, then this book will definitely interest
Brave New World