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review 2017-12-07 15:08
The role of humor in Lincoln's life
Lincoln’s Sense of Humor - Richard Carwardine

Richard Carwardine’s book is an entertaining and perceptive look at the role that humor played in the life of the 16th president. That Lincoln enjoyed telling jokes and stories is hardly new, as it was part of his appeal to his contemporaries. What Carwardine does is analyze the various ways in which he used humor and the insights it provides into his personality. Thanks to an extraordinarily retentive memory, Lincoln had a seemingly inexhaustible fund of anecdotes, tall tales, and jokes which he used throughout his career. Telling jokes drew people to Lincoln, making him a popular figure on the legal circuit and on the stump. How Lincoln used humor evolved over time, as he toned down the sometimes harsh satirical attacks of his youth to develop a broader and less insulting form by the time he reached the presidency. Carwardine sees Lincoln’s love of humor as a tool for coping with depression, though his frequent resort to it became a point of criticism during the Civil War as many – including members of his own administration – often interpreted it as a lack of seriousness about his responsibilities. Readers of Carwardine’s book have a more sophisticated understanding of the subject thanks to this discerning study, which with its frequent recounting of the jokes Lincoln employed is a pleasure to read.

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review 2017-12-07 06:50
Science and the City by Laurie Winkless
Science and the City: The Mechanics Behind the Metropolis - Laurie Winkless

TITLE:  Science and the City

 

AUTHOR:  Laurie Winkless

 

DATE PUBLISHED:  2017

 

FORMAT:  Paperback

 

ISBN-13:  9781472913234

 

__________________________

 

Science and the City is a rather superficial, but interesting look at how cities function. Topics covered include the physics and materials required for building skyscrapers; the generation and transmission of electricity; water purification and transport; sewage systems; roads; bridges; trains and train tracks; cars; and the various means that humans connect to each other (internet, satellites, food distribution, finances, time). A rather useful aspect of the book was the division of each chapter into a "today" section and a "tomorrow" section. The "today" section covering how cities function currently, and the "tomorrow" section covering new research and future technologies. So there are a fair amount of interesting future "goodies" to look up and research further.

 

The author's enthusiasm and bubbliness make this book an entertaining and informative reading experience provided you aren't expecting too many technical details and don't mind an informal writing style. Thankfully there is no running fashion commentary or excessive interviews!

 

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review 2017-12-01 16:09
Little boys at war
The Red Badge of Courage - Stephen Crane,Alfred Kazin

Today's book is a classic that I have wanted to read for quite some time but never got around to...until now. Stephen Crane's The Red Badge of Courage covers the American Civil War from the point of view of a Union soldier. It's the gritty portrayal of life at the front and just what it's like to lay down your life for a cause that you don't fully understand. In fact, our protagonist has almost no clue what it is that he's fighting for or against. He joined up because it was the done thing which seems to be the case for the rest of his regiment as well. There are those that brag about their bravado but when the time comes for the bullets to fly they are the first to turn and run. At first, our soldier is condescending towards these 'cowards' as he sees them but he very quickly sees the futility of their regiment's actions as they seem to be merely feinting and arbitrarily gaining and losing ground. It is a gritty, raw description of battle and defeat which is undercut with confusion and fear. These are children playacting warfare but the injuries and death are very real. Crane's insistence on not holding back lends a realistic, deadening of the senses feel to what it's like on the battlefield when you are surrounded by death and horror at every turn. He was making a commentary on the futility of war and how those who are a part of the 'war machine' are generally lost as to the meaning of why and who they are fighting. I am immensely glad that I finally picked this book up and gave it a read. I encourage ya'll to do the same. It's a slim volume and will take no time at all (though I don't promise you'll want a break every now and again from the bloodshed). 9/10

 

Here are a few more covers which I thought were worth sharing because they tell slightly different stories (and illustrate the point that covers do matter):

 

This one screams patriotism. Source: Goodreads

 

 

Yes, that is a bald eagle. [Source: Waldina]

 

 

Just so you get the message. [Source: Goodreads]

 

 

And my fave because RAINBOW. [Source: Amazon]

 

What's Up Next: Science of the Magical: From the Holy Grail to Love Potions to Superpowers by Matt Kaplan

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Slightly Foxed: Issues 50-53

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2017-11-29 23:38
Spider-Woman: Shifting Gears Vol. 2: Civ... Spider-Woman: Shifting Gears Vol. 2: Civil War II - Dennis Hopeless,Javier Rodriguez

Spider-Woman's involvement in the Civil War II conflict is the primary focus of this volume, but the outer two issues aren't a part of the war. The first one is actually about Spider-Woman getting back out there, fighting bad guys and riding her motorcycle. It's a fun issue, but not particularly compelling.

Then it starts. She resists at first, not wanting to get in the middle of something at that level, not wanting to pick sides between those two, but the conflict proves unavoidable. Rather, Captain Marvel has a request for her that is out of the way, but important to the cause. She does the background investigations, figuring out whether or not the visions are accurate even when they're small while Captain Marvel goes around putting bad guys away before they have a chance to carry out their evil plans.

Things start to look like they're going one way until the big problem from Civil War II happens. That time "when one of the biggest heroes of all falls," and "the resulting trial of the century stokes the fire". That doesn't turn out to help Jessica and her little part of all this. It makes things that much more complicated.

I appreciate her struggles both before and after the big event. She has issues with taking sides in this, with whose side to take, with the surrounding events of the big hero who falls and with what it all means for everyone involved. I felt like her part of the story really brought home the struggle of the war because of her relationships with everyone involved. There was no side that she wasn't going to get mad at it, that didn't have people she'd mourn, that wouldn't end with hurt for her.

But then the war is over and we get one more issue. I really loved this one because she's trying to take a much deserved and needed day off. We all need to sometimes, especially when everything seems like it just exploded around you, it's important to walk away from all that stuff and take a minute to appreciate what you do have. Like your new adorable baby and a friend or two that didn't ask you to be a part of things that you didn't want anything to do with. A friend who is there for you. The last issue was mostly adorable and regenerative for the character, and I have to admit that it was those things for me too.

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text 2017-10-28 21:30
Reading progress update: I've read 22 out of 750 pages.
Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America - Ibram X. Kendi

 

 

 

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