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Search tags: 21st-century
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review 2020-03-26 22:45
Stuck on Earth: Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century (A Stepping Stone Book(TM)) - Marilyn Sadler
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

Another well-written and exciting adventure with Zenon. I couldn't completely get behind the plot of this one in which Zenon and Nebula sneak off during a field trip to Earth. Zenon does learn her lesson in the end, but her actions were pretty serious. Taking a more lighthearted approach, the book is a fun adventure that involves a lot of quick-thinking and help from others.

As with the other books, this one includes great illustrations which pair nicely with the text. At the end an updated version of Zenon's Guide to Space Station Slang, which is very helpful while reading.

This is the fourth book in the series, but it could be read as a standalone (though the other books are very good and I recommend reading them).
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review 2020-01-08 22:14
K: A History of Baseball in Ten Pitches
K: A History of Baseball in Ten Pitches - Tyler Kepner

Baseball is a simple game; a pitcher throws a ball towards a batter who swings either missing or hitting the ball to put it into play.  K: A History of Baseball in Ten Pitches by Tyler Kepner explores the how the importance of the pitcher and the tools he uses has grown over 150 years of the sport as strategy has evolved along with and against it.

 

As the title of the book says, Kepner divides the book into ten chapters focusing on the different types of pitches that have endured throughout baseball history and some that have risen in prominence but have nearly faded away by the time of publication of the book.  Through interviews and anecdotes from current and past players—both pitchers and hitters—that Kepner conducted himself or researched from past articles written as far back as the first decade of the 20th Century, the story of each pitch’s evolution and the prominent players that used them is discussed through particular careers and game situations that defined baseball history.

 

Kepner is extensive in his research in showing the history and the importance to the game that each pitch, through the careers of Hall of Famers or players that had spectacular runs for year but not an entire career.  Yet Kepner had an issue with distinguish pitches that are very close to one another in one way or another though he tried his best, it wasn’t that I was looking for a tutorial on how to pitch but definitive elements about why pitches that appear similar to the casual fan are completely different and to me he didn’t quiet accomplish that.

 

K: A History of Baseball in Ten Pitches is a very good look at one of the most important positions in American sports over the course of 150 years and how the players who played the position were able to gain an advantage over their competitors.

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review 2019-11-03 23:17
The Curse of Oak Island
The Curse of Oak Island: The Story of the World's Longest Treasure Hunt - Randall Sullivan

The riddle wrapped in a mystery inside the enigma that is a small island just barely off the shore of Nova Scotia has tantalized and tortured people for over two centuries.  The Curse of Oak Island by Randall Sullivan covers the history of the longest treasure hunt from the individuals involved in the hunt to the theories of what is or isn’t on the island including the History Channel reality series of the same name.

 

Building upon the Rolling Stone article he wrote 13 years before, Sullivan was invited back to the island by the producers of the reality show to write this book, appear on a few episodes of the show, and interview the Lagina brothers. Starting with the historical backdrop of the Oak Island area, Sullivan goes over the often-told discovery of the Money Pit but thorough research finds out that the named three discoverers is not agreed up as well as their biographies.  Throughout his 220 year history, Sullivan goes into the numerous lead searchers as well numerous theories of who made the Money Pit and what they believed was buried in there from pirate/privateer treasure to French Royal Jewels to possessions of the Knights Templar to cultural treasures connected with Roger Bacon.  The history of the last 60 years on the island which focuses on the now-deceased Fred Nolan and Dan Blankenship with their rivalry and how they joined the Laginas search as well as how the titular reality series came about is covered extensively compared to the earlier history as Sullivan had first-hand access to the participants.

 

Given the murky history of Oak Island, Sullivan did an excellent job and navigating everything connected with the long story of the Money Pit.  However, the biggest grip I had was with the intertwining of the history and the various theories, I personally felt that it would have been better to break up the history of the search in two and have all the theories discusses in-between.  Sullivan actually goes against the show’s narration of events several times in relating the history of the island and previous searchers, however he never discusses “the legend that seven must die” which is hinted at being the “curse” in the show’s open for the first four or five seasons.

 

The Curse of Oak Island is a fine look at the history surrounding the search of the Money Pit and the men who’ve dug on the Nova Scotia island.  Randall Sullivan gave the reader an idea about the individuals who kept the search going and what they believed they were searching for while also showing the toll it took on them and the island itself.  Overall it’s a fine book, but not laid out very well.

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review 2019-10-09 17:14
Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush
Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush - Jon Meacham

Coming to the Oval Office at a critical time in foreign and domestic affairs, the Presidency of George H.W. Bush was filled with successes and failures but guided by a steady hand.  Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush by Jon Meacham brings together independent historical research and interviews from the former President and numerous family members as well as political colleagues and advisories to bring the life and career of the 41st President to readers.

 

Meacham begins the biography with a family history of G.H.W. Bush’s father and mother showing how their lives were shaped that would influence their second son and made him the competitive though ego suppressing individual he was.  Though Meacham gave overall historical background for certain situations, this was a book focusing on the life of G.H.W. Bush and what he did throughout his life from his post-war decision to forgo an easy career on Wall Street to join the oil business to Texas and being his own man in politics and not agree with everything his father Prescott believed while serving in the Senate.  A political career that had as many defeats as victories, G.H.W. Bush’s path to the White House was through public service, especially throughout the 1970s especially in the diplomat sphere that would later impact his handling of foreign affairs of his Presidency.  Meacham covers the Vice Presidential and Presidential terms in detail which cover over half the book before ending with the former President’s unique retirement as elder statesman and father of a serving President of the United States and an analysis of his relationship with his son during those years.

 

Taking roughly a decade of research, interviews, and writing Meacham presents a thoroughly well-rounded view of the 41st President, Barbara Bush, and their relationships with their children within reason.  The elder Bush and Barbara allowed Meacham a free hand in written and this is evident in their attitudes to individuals being put in print and Meacham analysis of various controversies particularly Iran-Contra scandal.  If there is one drawback is that at the time of publication the 41st President was still alive with several years left to live and express his views on things, but also a biography after the subjects death allows time afterwards to fully analyze their lives and that difference was evident.

 

Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush is a very written and thorough biography of the 41st President of the United States.  Like his other biographies, Jon Meacham’s research and analysis give a vivid description of his subject and his family.  This is a highly recommended biography for anyone interested in the 41st President or the particular time in the 20th Century when he was in office.

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review 2019-01-14 22:16
ELIZABETH WARREN: THE PEOPLE'S ADVOCATE & CHAMPION
Elizabeth Warren: Her Fight. Her Work. Her Life. - Antonia Felix

This is a biography of one of the most remarkable political leaders in the United States to emerge in the past decade.

 

Elizabeth Warren, born into a working class family in Oklahoma, is the embodiment of what has come to be known as the American Dream. By dint of sheer hard work and scholarship, she earned a university degree and a law degree, all while raising a family. She went on to teach law at Rutgers University, the University of Houston, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Pennsylvania, and in 1995 was offered a position to teach law at Harvard, where she went on to become a tenured professor.

I first became aware of Elizabeth Warren in 2011 when her work in the establishment of what became the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was highlighted by President Obama's naming of Richard Cordray to head that bureau. I was impressed with her knowledge of consumer and economic issues and when she decided to challenge in 2012 the Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) for the Senate seat previously held by Ted Kennedy and John Fitzgerald Kennedy, my interest in her began to grow. 

Antonia Felix has done a wonderful job through this biography in making real the manner of person Elizabeth Warren is. Unlike a significant number of politicians on Capitol Hill today who came into elective office (many of them from privileged backgrounds) to derive some benefits for themselves by currying favor with the corporate lobbies that have an inordinate and excessive influence in the shaping of legislation relating to policies and practices in the marketplace, Elizabeth Warren won election in 2012 to the Senate as an outsider willing to work on the inside for the public interest. She has proven to be the real deal. She's got grit, spunk, compassion, and saavy to get things done. And now that she has declared herself a candidate from the Democratic Party for President of the United States in 2020, I am hopeful that Elizabeth Warren will prevail against her detractors and critics, while inspiring millions across the nation to support her campaign and make it successful.

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