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review 2017-02-25 14:39
An encyclopedic description of British aircraft carriers
British Aircraft Carriers: Design, Development and Service Histories - David Hobbs

This is an encyclopedic book in the truest sense of the term. What David Hobbs, a former naval officer and curator of the Fleet Air Arm Museum, has done in it is provide a description of every ship conceived by the Royal Navy over the past century to launch and support aircraft as a primary part of its mission. This requires him to define some parameters for the sake of manageability -- vessels such as battleships, for example, which were equipped with a floatplane or two for scouting purposes, were left out. Nevertheless, his scope is vast, encompassing not just aircraft carriers but seaplane tenders, "merchant aircraft carriers," maintenance carriers, and LPHs. For each he provides a description of the development of the design followed by a breakdown of the service history of each vessel in its class, which he compliments with a generous selection of photographs from his own extensive collection. Nor does he stop there, as he devotes chapters to designs that were never built (including one about the amazingly off-the-wall Project Habakkuk) and to parallel developments in other navies, showing how these vessels and the ideas they embodied shaped British concepts about the design and role of carriers. All of this makes for a book that a worthy addition to the library of anyone interested in the history of the Royal Navy or of carrier aviation more generally, providing as it does a wealth of material that better understands the evolution of these vessels but their role in the Royal Navy and the broader challenges Britain faced as a naval power over the last century.

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review 2017-02-25 09:07
Cats in Books
Cats in Books: A Celebration of Cat Illustration through the Ages - Rodney Dale

Another library sale find; one I'd never seen before, but really it's a book about cats.  In books.  How bad could it possibly be?

 

It's a gem!  The only reason I didn't rate it a bit higher is because it's a rather too concise overview of cats in literary history.  It's a slim volume; easy to read in one sitting.  Rather than looking at cats as subjects in literature, it sticks to an illustrative perspective: cats in illuminated manuscripts, fables, short stories and, of course, children's literature.  It's fully illustrated itself, of course, with examples for each entry.  A nice edition from the British Library.

 

As I said, a gem of a find; one of those karmic gifts that make library sales even better. 

 

 

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review 2017-02-25 00:25
The Secret History of Us by Jessi Kirby
The Secret History of Us - Jessi Kirby The Secret History of Us - Jessi Kirby

A special thank you to Edelweiss and Harper Teen for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The opening of the book has some really solid writing with an instant hook.  The main character, Liv, is pulled from the water after the car she was in went off a bridge into the bay below.  She appears lifeless and is given CPR.   

When she awakes in the hospital, she can't remember any details of the accident.  Assuming that the amnesia is more of a side effect from being in a week-long coma, Liv tries to remember recent events only to discover she actually can't remember the last four years!  She doesn't remember high school, why she isn't friends with her former best friend, or her doting boyfriend, Matt.

Liv has to rely on other people to fill in the gaps.  She grows incredibly frustrated because she feels like things are being kept from her on purpose.  Desperate for answers, Liv turns to Walker, the guy who was responsible for saving her life the night of the accident.  Despite her seemingly perfect boyfriend, she can't ignore the growing feelings she has for Walker.  Olivia needs to find what her new normal is and where she belongs in a life she can't remember. 

Why I didn't rate this book higher was because the ending was rushed.  It was like Kirby was restricted by page count, or perhaps she has another story in the works?  Either way, it fizzled, which is too bad because the start of the book was some really great writing. 

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review 2017-02-24 17:48
Review: Ghostland: No Man's Land
Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places - Colin Dickey
Lily Dale: The True Story of the Town that Talks to the Dead - Christine Wicker

  I was quite excited to spend my monthly Audible credit on this book; what a fascinating idea--reframing American history by examining our relationship with our landmark haunted locales.

 

I, unfortunately, have returned it to Audible.

 

Each house is well-chosen: the Lemp mansion, for example, as a haunted touchstone in American history and culture...

and then debunked as an actual, or at least a full as-known haunting by the author. Chapter after chapter.

 

I hung on through the underlayer of smugness until the author stated repeatedly that Spiritualism didn't last, it was dead, it was no longer a thriving practice in the United States. Then I stopped reading. Why? I had reached the intolerable level of poor scholarship and research. There is an entire town of Spiritualists who live and work as such, in plain sight, and have done so for years: Lily Dale. Both a documentary and a book are available about Lily Dale, New York, and both are easy to find:

 

Lily Dale: The Town That Talks to the Dead * Christine Wicker

 

HBO Documentaries: No One Dies in Lily Dale

 

Side note: The author was also treated well by the Lemp Mansion's hosts, taken on their Haunted Tour, and given the choice room--one that is on the tour because it is reported to exhibit so much phenomena. His entire account of his Lemp tour and stay was mocking, in my opinion, disdainful of staff, location's history, and even his fellow tour group members! I feel as if I have been subjected to a history book written by a hipster: "Look, we're supposed to be enjoying this. OMG, all these people are really enjoying this! I cannot wait 'til I return to my cocktail and typewriter." Combined with the shoddy research, and some debunking claims without citations, this book is disappointedly unprofessional.

 

Also posted at The Dollop: American History Podcast

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text 2017-02-23 17:59
Reginald Pole's Reaction to his Mother's Execution

Why examine this little snippet of history? We know that Margaret Pole was horridly executed on Henry VIII's orders, and we know that Reginald Pole was safely away from England at the time. I think it is important to look at how Reginald took this news because I have read some opinions that Reginald was bitter toward his mother for his dedication to the church. Based on studying both of these historical figures, I have not found evidence of that. Yet even Hilary Mantel states it as fact.

 

Continue reading on my blog.

 

Source: samanthawilcoxson.blogspot.com/2017/02/reginald-pole-learns-of-his-mothers.html
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