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review 2017-05-13 20:05
Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever - Patrick J. Buchanan

A view of the Nixon presidency, through the eyes of it's arch conservative member, Patrick Buchanan. The detail is amazing. The author must either have an incredible memory, or kept notes on everything he has done.
Throughout the book, the central theme is that Buchanan's ultra conservative beliefs are the only path to success for the United States. Everyone who has a differing opinion is just wrong, and is the enemy. (Sounds eerily familiar to the current administration). It must be something to be so sure of oneself, and to have never an inkling of doubt of one's beliefs, or that you may sometimes be wrong. However, I think it would be a sad and lonely existence. It makes me feel bad for Mr. Buchanan.

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text 2017-03-28 02:41
Finding Billy Battles: An Account of Peril, Transgression and Redemption - Ronald E Yates

Interview with the author at New Books in Historical Fiction. He's a journalist by training and inclination, as well as a former radio host, so lots of fun to listen to even if the book is not your usual cup of tea.

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review 2016-09-22 00:00
Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World
Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World - Bruce Schneier I love the topic. I love the details provided in this book. But, to tell a story you need more than a great topic and a bunch of facts. One needs a narrative and an attitude to tie the pieces together. This book lacked the story telling 'je ne sais quas" (literal: "I don't know what", but figuratively "elusive quality") though he does have the attitude.

I don't think there is any current topic where I could be more interested in than along the lines of the merging of the data that is out there with computers and algorithms, and I would consider Edward Snowden a hero, because what we have learned from him and the potential to do harm (as well as good) with the merging of big data with computers and the power of using context and content that both government and corporations (and even private citizens) can use against us (or for us) as a potential threat to our liberty or a boon to our equality. Complete liberty means no equality, and complete equality means no liberty. There is a balance and books like this can offer a guideline, but it needs the story to tie the pieces together with a narrative of some kind.

I'll give an example, of a book that I just recently read. "Rise of the Machines", by Thomas Rid. He covers many of the same topics that were covered in this book, especially on the part of encryption and PGP (pretty good privacy). At the same time that book always had a theme woven into the story as a whole in which he was tying all the pieces together, and even summarized them in the final chapter for the dense reader like me. This book, "Data and Goliath", doesn't interweave them coherently and therefore made what should have been an incredibly exciting story for me into a dull story with a lot of facts.

My problem with this book is not that it didn't give the listener plenty of details, but it didn't give the listener an easy story to tell so one can, for example, share with colleagues over the water cooler while at work. The values we use to explain the world through science would include: simplicity, accuracy, prediction, fitting in to the web of knowledge, and lastly the ability to explain. In order to explain, one needs a story to put the pieces together this book doesn't offer that. (Galileo had a story to tell as well as plenty of details. Read "Dialogs Concerning Two Chief World Systems", e.g.).

I'm in the minority on this book. It gave me details which I loved, but it lacked a over arcing narrative that I could wrap my mind around. Good fiction needs a story to hook the listener, and non-fiction needs that narrative even more as to not bore. I like all genres of non-fiction except for the boring kind.
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review 2016-04-12 15:22
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
All Quiet on the Western Front - Erich Maria Remarque

5/4 - Another book from my school days that I haven't read since, at least 14 years ago (I'm not sure which year I was in when it was the set reading). Another book where my tolerance for injustice will be tested. I think the only war book that I've read from the German point of view, but except for calling the enemy 'Tommy' and the fact that most of the names aren't what you would expect to hear from a group of Australian, American, or British soldiers, this could have been written by a soldier from any army from either side of the war. This was the book that taught me that the average German soldier had a pretty similar experience to the average Allied soldier - inappropriate clothing for the conditions, not enough food, a lot of hurry up and wait, too many dead friends, men too old to go off to war encouraging the boys to join up and fight for their country - simply put no matter who you fought for it was a horrific experience for any 18-year-old boy that left a generation of men permanently damaged. To be continued...


12/4 - I consider that I have reasonably strong ties to 'the Western Front' (for an Australian of my generation) and a high level of interest thanks to the presence of my two paternal great-grandfathers. One was with the 22nd (I can never remember who was in which battalion or who went through which specific experience, so I won't be able to name them), the other the 24th infantry battalion of the AIF. Their battalions were practically neighbours on the battle field, it's amazing that they both made it back home and ended up brothers-in-law. A kneecap was blown off by the shrapnel of a passing grenade and they were both gassed, and reading the chapters of that were set in the hospital really made me think about what they went through while they recuperated in whatever hospital they were sent to (records do exist, but they're very faint and the handwriting is a nearly illegible scrawl). Were they sent to hospital with friends or did they go alone? How many men did they see being taken away and then never saw again while they lay in their bed, not knowing if it was going to be their turn next? Of course, they lost many friends, in fact one of them was discharged from the AIF a sergeant because all of his commanding officers died in battle and he was the only one left with enough experience to reliably hold the position. I never actually knew either of them, they both died before I was born, but I have heard a lot about them from their children (my grandparents) and my father who was close to both of them. 24 years later my grandfather enlisted in WWII and he went through many of the things his own father and future father-in-law did (although, knowing my grandfather as I did, I doubt they talked about their experiences). He was with the 2/6th Field Ambulance in New Guinea and the surrounding islands and almost never mentioned what he saw or did during the war. All that kept running through my head while I was reading was that the 'others' Paul and his friends were fighting could have been one of my ancestors' battalions and how it was pretty much luck that my great-grandads made it home (and thus, indirectly enabled me to be here) and Paul and his friends didn't.


2016 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge Category: A Banned Book (this was banned by the Nazis after they came into power in 1933, it was in fact one of the first so called 'degenerate books' to be publicly burnt).

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text 2016-01-02 03:06
ARC REVIEW: Why Me? by Misty Michael
Why Me?: Overcome Life's Battles and Soldier On - Misty Michael

Title: Why Me?

Author: Misty Michael

Publication Date: January 01, 2016

Publisher: Clovercloft Publishing

Format: e-ARC


"Loneliness. Hopelessness. Worthlessness. Addiction. Abuse. Have you ever found yourself there? If so, this book is for you. The chains of depression, addiction and emotional bondage can be difficult to break. Why Me? is a life transformation book that will guide you through life s battles. Misty Michael shares her experiences from traveling on a path of destruction to a pathway of victorious living. Today she mentors women and is a teacher in Celebrate Recovery. The time is now! Together with God, you will discover a way out. Right in the very middle of your hopelessness, hope will rise. No matter how hopeless your life situation may seem, Why Me holds the key to victorious living. Take your first step today!"

My Thoughts

**Thank you Netgalley and Cloversoft Publishing for approving my request to read an ARC of Why Me? by Misty Michael in exchange of an honest review.**




This book was based on a true story. And holly cow, I've never read something like this.

I've never been a religious person. I never liked the idea of going to church, reading the bible, neither singing praises to God. But of course, I do believe that there is a higher being, the superior one, God.


Loneliness. Hopelessness. Worthlessness. Addiction. Abuse. Have you ever found yourself there? If so, this book is for you.


Loneliness. Given the first word, I literally dropped my jaw. The moment I read that word, I knew that I'm going to love this book to bits.


I was astounded by the introduction. Reading it made me criticize by spiritual life. It made me feel like I'm doing something that's not going to give me good.


Although this book is making me cry even from the first chapter, I cannot stop from reading it. As if stopping will kill me. I'M FREAKING CRYING MY HEART OUT!


The main character, she's depressed. There are a lot of not-so-good things running on her mind. When she was young she almost died, but God, God gave her their so called second life.


I can't say that "It's funny how I can relate to this girl." Because it's not funny. It is SAD. As a child, she experienced a lot of pain. She lived in FEAR. She grew up keeping dirty little SECRETS. She doesn't know what to do with her messed up life.


How ironic that Misty uses drugs excessively, then ask for God's forgiveness, ask Him for guidance, ask Him to help her. She continued doing things she knows will only lead her to danger. But trusting God, having faith in Him, helped her and made her realize a lot of things.


We all know the saying "Everything happens for a reason."


You feel happy today then feel sad tomorrow, there's a reason. You stumble and fall? There's a reason. You had your heart broken? There's a reason. Every single thing happens for a reason. The question is WHAT is that reason.


People are given the opportunity to make choices, but often times, they choose the wrong path. Now all they have to do is take responsibility of the path they've taken.

People will do whatever they want to do. Say whatever they want to say without realizing that they're hurting someone else's feelings.


The author made a book about love, hatred, happiness, sadness, depression, pain, fear, harassment, faith. It tackled about almost EVERYTHING.

This book gave me so much feel. ALL EMOTIONS IN ONE BOOK. Up until now, while making this review, I can still feel those feelings. If I can just highlight, put marks, and take notes of the whole book, I would. It opened my eyes. It made me see the real world, the people and how cruel at the same time, how kind life is. THIS BOOK SHOUTS "REAL LIFE" THIS SPEAKS FOR ANYONE WITH THE SAME SITUATION.


This book taught me to have hope, gave me courage, let me have faith in God.


Now I have three things stuck on my mind:
1. Trust God
2. Forgiveness means freedom
3. Life is a gift


To people who feels so broken, to anyone who feels so down, to the ones who feels like giving up, to everyone who kept on facing unimaginable problems and difficulties, and kept on asking God "Why Me?" This book, I assure you, will give you the answers you're looking for.



About the Author

Author Misty Michael is an author and mentor who serves women from all walks of life. Misty has been active leading in Celebrate Recovery, and is passionate about guiding women through a process of overcoming addiction and healing through the Word of God. She is also a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors.

Misty possesses a deep love for people. She is a successful real estate broker serving her community. Her burden is to partner with others, leading them to overcome life’s battles and live with purpose. Residing in Dallas, TX, Misty and her husband Ken have two wonderful children, Justin and McKinley

Thank you

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