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review 2017-04-25 07:42
The Card Catalog: Books, Cards, and Literary Treasures
The Card Catalog: Books, Cards, and Literary Treasures - Carla D. Hayden,Library of Congress

 This is probably the most pleasant, and by extension, interesting, history of something as mundane as a card catalog as I'm likely to ever run across.  From the first example of a book catalog, pressed into clay in cuneiform, to the modern day usage of MARC records, the text flows in a tight, succinct narrative that is neither chatty nor dry (and I'm sure nowhere near comprehensive).

 

Where the book truly shines is in its photographs and illustrations.  The author and publisher were generous with the photographs and they fill at least 1/3 of the pages.  Most of them are photos of the old cards and the books they belong to, but there are many old pictures of the Library of Congress and other related images.  The number of cards the Library of Congress had to deal with daily in the mid-50's is staggering.  I can't even imagine the logistics.

 

Did you know that the Library of Congress still has their old card catalog and it's still in use?   (Most of it.)  I think that's wonderful and the perfect example of how old and new methodologies can complement each other instead of competing.  

 

This isn't the kind of book that's going to have wide appeal, but for those that find the subject interesting, it's a beautiful book, thoughtfully put together.

 

 

Page count: 220
Dollars banked: $3.00

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text 2017-04-24 13:35
What Elizabeth Learned from Mary

I am at the blog of historical fiction author Judith Arnopp today looking at what the favorably remembered Queen Elizabeth I learned from her less loved sister, Queen Mary I.

 

Source: juditharnoppnovelist.blogspot.com/2017/04/what-elizabeth-learned-from-mary.html
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review 2017-04-23 15:24
Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann
Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI - David Grann

Killers of the Flower Moon is the true story of the slaughter of dozens of Osage Indians and how MANY people got away with it. It's SO over the top that if this were a fiction story I would say the author had overwritten it and that it wasn't realistic. David Grann has come at this story from two angles.

 

The Osage tribe reigned over much of the mid-west back in the day. By the time of this book, roughly the early 1920's, they were mostly moved onto what was thought to be worthless land in Oklahoma. Then oil was discovered there and their lives changed forever. The first angle was how the Osage were changed by the sudden influx of millions of dollars and how the white man viewed that; how they were jealous over that, and what they did about that.

 

The second angle comes from the law enforcement side of the story, and specifically the building up of the FBI. At the time the first murders occurred the FBI wasn't the FBI yet. By the time the investigation was in full swing, (keeping in mind that the Osage tribe had to basically beg and pay through the nose to get anyone to investigate or do anything at all about these murders), the FBI was officially called that and Mr. Hoover was in charge.

 

There is a third portion of the book, not exactly another angle, but a portion so unbelievable yet proven,(to my mind at least), to be true that it actually brought tears to my eyes. I can't get into more detail but trust me on this: it was horrifying. It was shameful. It was a wrong that's never been righted and I don't believe it ever can be.

 

Bravo to Mr. Grann for his extensive research on this case. A case that, until now, I had never heard of. That is an injustice. I believe Mr. Grann has done his damnedest to bring to light the wrongs that were committed here, and that alone is the only justice that the Osage can hope for at this late date.

 

I think we owe it to the Osage to read this book, and as such, I highly recommend it.

 

*Thanks to NetGalley and Random House/Doubleday for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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review 2017-04-23 01:19
A first-rate resource on the subject
British Cruisers of World War Two - Alan Raven

Among warships cruisers may lack the power of battleships and the mystery of submarines, but their combination of speed and firepower made them vital components of most major navies for much of the twentieth century. Though ostensibly about the Royal Navy's cruiser force during the Second World War, Alan Raven and John Roberts provide in this book a far more comprehensive compilation, one that begins with the pre-First World War Arethusa class and concludes with the postwar completions of wartime programs. Its coverage is encyclopedic, detailing their design histories, the construction and trials of the warships, and the modifications they underwent over the course of their service lives.

 

Supplemented by numerous tables and generously illustrated with photographs and line drawings, Raven and Roberts's book is an invaluable technical resource for anyone interested in the subject. Yet where the authors fall short is in detailing the war service of these vessels. Such coverage is actually provided in the early chapters, which describe the cruisers that served in the First World War. This makes the absence of similar coverage for their successors in the Second World War -- the titular focus of the work -- particularly glaring. Readers seeking a more comprehensive analysis would do well to supplement this book with Norman Friedman's more recent British Cruisers: Two World Wars and After which, while not as well supplemented with pictures, nonetheless provides a more useful narrative analysis of its subject.

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review 2017-04-21 12:47
Fifty Days that Changed the World
Fifty Days That Changed The World - Hywell Williams

A beautiful book, with 50 well chosen, although as the editor freely admits, subjectively chosen, days that inarguably changed the world.

 

But the writing was dry, and overly focused on battlefield/military statistics for my personal tastes; I quickly lost track of who did what to whom, and when they did it - especially since the writer(s) often went back and forth in time in an attempt to flesh out events.

 

I was also surprised by the poor editing; call me naive but I expected better from a Folio Society publication.  Spaces missing between words and sentences that were incomplete or nonsensical did nothing to improve my opinion.  It's not a bad read; it's just not as good as I'd hoped.

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