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review 2018-01-17 21:26
Ambition and Destiny
Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution - Nathaniel Philbrick

The war for Independence has long been glorified in our history books. However, Nathaniel Philbrick looks through the layers and brings us a untarnished view on the history of the war.

George Washington and Benedict Arnold were two men that became legend during the war. While the war raged on, the two men could not have been more different. Washington worried about the army as the whole and suffered from indecision. Arnold thought of himself and what he could gain from the war. Two men who had greatness before them, but who could not have been more different in their mindsets and goals.
Benedict Arnold became one of the greatest traitors in the history of the United States, and his defection could have demoralized the entire army. However, Washington had been turning the war around, and those who had once been detractors of the Commander in Chief were realizing that he was the only one who could effectively lead the army. Arnold wanted to enrich himself, and come out of the war as a hero, but his actions can speak to anything but. Instead of working toward the betterment of his country, he became a turncoat, and began to work with the enemy, with the urging of his second wife, Peggy.

This is one of the best books on the American Revolution that I have read. While Benedict Arnold and George Washington are the two main characters, there is so much more present. The highs and lows, the good and the bad are all played out on the pages, and no one is spared. From the Continental Congress, to the French allies - every leaf is overturned to give a comprehensive view and greater understanding of what lead to the defection of Benedict Arnold.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants a deeper understanding of the war, and the men who's names have become entwined in history.

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review 2018-01-17 18:53
My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix
My Best Friend's Exorcism - Grady Hendrix

Steeped in 80's nostalgia, I thought this book was a blast!

 

It was never really scary, and I'm not sure that it was meant to be. My instincts tell me this book was written as an homage to the 80's and the silly fun that the horror genre provided at that time. Sure, there were crazy Satanism scares, Geraldo and diet fads but there were also great music videos, Blockbuster stores and a horror book boom to beat all booms. A lot of them were just like this...about young people, influenced by culture and cliques, just trying to fit in. Carrie, Audrina, and all those kids from the covers of John Saul novels know what I'm talking about it.

 

If YOU know what I'm talking about and if you're smiling at those memories as I am, then I recommend this book. It was made for you!

 

*I bought MY BEST FRIEND'S EXORCISM with my own hard earned money. It's the enhanced version and it's a lot fun, especially those flies crawling on the cover!*

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review 2018-01-17 16:15
An excellent narrative about the naval war in the Pacific
Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942 - Ian W. Toll

Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7 1941 caught the U.S. Navy by surprise in more ways than one. For not only did Japan succeed in disabling a major portion of the Pacific Fleet, the attack by waves of bomb- and torpedo-carrying planes inaugurated a new style of naval warfare for which the United States was unprepared. The learning curve that the U.S. was forced to undertake serves as a key theme of Ian Toll's book, which chronicles the first six months of the war in the Pacific. During these months the Japanese enjoyed virtually free reign in the Pacific, as their planes and ships swept aside what opposition the Western powers could throw together on short notice. The result was a succession of victories won at a pace that astonished even the Japanese themselves.

 

Yet as Toll demonstrates, the United States was quick to absorb the lessons of the new style of warfare. Here he focuses on the carrier operations that formed the initial response to the Japanese onslaught. While the famous Doolittle raid gets its due here, Toll rightly highlights the often overlooked strikes on Japanese bases in the Marshall and Gilbert island chains Not only did these strikes give the U.S. Navy valuable experience, but they were central to Admiral Yamamoto's decision to stage an invasion of Midway Island in an effort to draw the remaining U.S. forces out for a decisive engagement. The resulting battle in June 1942 proved the turning point of the war in the Pacific, however, as the sinking of the four carriers that formed the core of the Kido Butai deprived the Japanese of their ability to conduct further offensive operations.

 

Toll describes these months in a text that engages the reader with dramatic yet straightforward prose. His pen portraits of the major commanders -- men like Chester Nimitz, Ernest King, and Isoroku Yamamoto -- are a particular strength of the book, as is his integration of the role American codebreakers played in this stage of the war. Though he bases his book almost entirely upon previously published works, his analysis and his evocative writing style make this a book that even readers familiar with the subject will find well worth their time. It's a promising start to what, when completed, could prove to be an enduring go-to source for anyone interested in reading about the Second World War in the Pacific.

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text 2018-01-17 13:54
Just starting out
The Case for Christ - Lee Strobel

I had seen the movie and was unable to watch uninterrupted, so I thought I would try to "read" this book instead. It has even been on my TBR list. Wish me luck. 

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review 2018-01-17 05:42
Corsets and Codpieces: A Social History of Outrageous Fashion by Karen Bowman
Corsets and Codpieces: A History of Outrageous Fashion, from Roman Times to the Modern Era - Karen Bowman

This book provides a brief (and extremely selective) historical review of the stranger (as well as outrageous, ridiculous, hazardous and down-right uncomfortable) fashions of European (mostly British) clothing (mostly women's) from Roman times to post WW2 era.  The book is short, entertaining, amusingly written, with illustrations, but does have a few errors.  The book also lacks a cohesive narrative, left our some of the more outrageous European (and "rest of the world") fashions and could have done with better diagrams to illustrate some of the more obscure fashions.  The book also completely fails to mention underwear, other than the corset.   In short, amusing for an afternoon lark when the brain isn't functioning well enough to pay attention to anything serious and you want to giggle at some of the silly things people wore in the name of fashion.

 

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