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review 2018-10-23 18:26
THE ODYSSEY OF AN AFRICAN AMERICAN VETERAN OF WORLD WAR II
Blood on German Snow: An African American Artilleryman in World War II and Beyond - Emiel W. Owens

Born in Texas in 1922, Emiel W. Owens went on to live an extraordinary life as an educator and economic/financial consultant. He shares with the reader his life experiences from growing up under Jim Crow segregation in Texas, through his service in the U.S. Army during World War II with the 777th Field Artillery Battalion (which was engaged in almost constant combat in Europe between October 1944 and V-E Day in May 1945), and his subsequent reassignment to a quartermaster unit that was shipped to the Philippines shortly before the end of the Pacific War.

Owens was honorably discharged from the Army shortly after returning to the U.S. in early 1946. He went on to earn his undergraduate degree at Prairie View A&M University and graduate degrees (a Masters and doctorate) in economics from Ohio State University. He would go on to teach and serve in a variety of educational and consultative endeavors both in the U.S. and abroad.

I very much enjoyed reading this memoir. It is well-written and a rare work, because there are very few memoirs from African American veterans of World War II. That in itself makes "BLOOD ON GERMAN SNOW" a book to treasure.

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review 2018-10-23 13:27
Vega Jane finding out an enslaved people
The Width of the World - David Baldacci

First part of Vega Jane adventure is coming to a world that is closer to ours. But there is still something wrong when people are happy to be worked but were fooled to do so. Again. Like this world.

 

Then she found the magic people is behind this. Magic is being drained from magic people and let them forget themselves and be a slave. 

 

She is then confronted with the possible of a companion practice dark magic.

 

Then she found a safe haven that is hers. 

 

Again. All good and well until the practice of magic for battle part. Which is kind of boring. Expecting a solution to finding the True or the Greater True behind all this hurt. Then when it is not going to happen, felt a bit cheated. 

 

That's why it is getting a 4 or even a 3.5. 

 

Reading this for Spellbound. 

 

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review 2018-10-23 06:04
Plagues and Peoples by William Hardy McNeill
Plagues and Peoples - William Hardy McNeill

TITLE:  Plagues and Peoples

 

AUTHOR:  William Hardy McNeill

 

DATE PUBLISHED:  1998, first published 1976

 

FORMAT:  ebook

 

ISBN-13:  9780307773661

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DESCRIPTION:

"Upon its original publication, Plagues and Peoples was an immediate critical and popular success, offering a radically new interpretation of world history as seen through the extraordinary impact--political, demographic, ecological, and psychological--of disease on cultures. From the conquest of Mexico by smallpox as much as by the Spanish, to the bubonic plague in China, to the typhoid epidemic in Europe, the history of disease is the history of humankind. With the identification of AIDS in the early 1980s, another chapter has been added to this chronicle of events, which William McNeill explores in his new introduction to this updated editon.

Thought-provoking, well-researched, and compulsively readable, Plagues and Peoples is that rare book that is as fascinating as it is scholarly, as intriguing as it is enlightening. "A brilliantly conceptualized and challenging achievement" (Kirkus Reviews), it is essential reading, offering a new perspective on human history.
"

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This is an interesting and somewhat scholarly look at how people and diseases have interacted and evolved together over time, from "man the hunter" to "the ecological impact of medical science and organization since 1700".  McNeil examines macroparisitic and microparisitic effects on the growth of civilizations, focusing primarily on diseases and how epidemics have effected world history, the course of civilization and human evolution.

I found the sections where the author discusses the "living conditions" of diseases particularly interesting:  how a specific disease inhabited a certain enviornment, how it arrived and survived in that environment, and how those environments may have been altered by human impacts such as agricultural activities, population growth (or lack thereof), how the disease spread to other areas etc.  McNeill's comparison between human micro-parasites (bacteria, worms, viruses) and our macro-parasites (governments, armies ,raiders, plunderers) was a particularly thought-provoking and novel (to me) aspect of the book.

The book was originally published in 1976, so some details are a bit dated, but this doesn't detract from the overall thesis.  The writing style is also a bit "old-fashioned" if that sort of thing bothers you.  The author does, however, make use of historical sources that include as much of the globe as possible, so the spread between and effects of epidemics on Europe as well as of China, India, the Middle-East, the America's and Africa are discussed where possible (allowing for existing source material on these regions).

This is an interesting, fundamental and thought-provoking book about the interactions of humans and diseases and the course of human history.

 

 

 

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review 2018-10-22 13:01
The Library at the Edge of the World (Finfarran Peninsula #1) by Felicity Hayes-McCoy
The Library at the Edge of the World - Felicity Hayes-McCoy

As she drives her mobile library van between villages of Ireland’s West Coast, Hanna Casey tries not to think about a lot of things. Like the sophisticated lifestyle she abandoned after finding her English barrister husband in bed with another woman. Or that she’s back in Lissbeg, the rural Irish town she walked away from in her teens, living in the back bedroom of her overbearing mother’s retirement bungalow. Or, worse yet, her nagging fear that, as the local librarian and a prominent figure in the community, her failed marriage and ignominious return have made her a focus of gossip. With her teenage daughter, Jazz, off traveling the world and her relationship with her own mother growing increasingly tense, Hanna is determined to reclaim her independence by restoring a derelict cottage left to her by her great-aunt. But when the threatened closure of the Lissbeg Library puts her personal plans in jeopardy, Hanna finds herself leading a battle to restore the heart and soul of the Finfarran Peninsula’s fragmented community. And she’s about to discover that the neighbors she’d always kept at a distance have come to mean more to her than she ever could have imagined. 

Amazon.com

 

 

 

Twenty years into marriage to a London barrister, Irish native Hana Casey gets hit head on with the news that he's been unfaithful to her pretty much from the beginning. She decides to pack up their daughter and move back to her hometown to try to start her life over. Now three years later, Hana is still living with her mother while daughter Jazz is traveling around the world as a flight attendant. Feeling stifled, with her mother driving her mad, Hana decides it's time to be on her own -- fully on her own -- once more. 

 

At the start of divorce proceedings, Hana had told her ex (in anger) that she didn't want a cent of his money. Now those words are coming back to bite her as she struggles to find housing on her paltry income as the town's librarian. Hana contacts her ex, presenting her case as to why he should help her all these years later. Her plea is not well received, in fact he quickly shuts her down with an ol' "you made your bed." That's right, this is coming from the unfaithful one himself... Malcolm is a true piece of work in this story. He somehow manages to shirk much of his responsibility in their breakup, instead accusing Hana of being a terrible mother for ruining their daughter's life with the sudden move back to Ireland. This guy! Divorcees, brace yourselves! 

 

"A little discretion. A sense of responsibility. A willingness to look beyond your personal agenda. That's not a lot to ask, Hanna. Not of someone who claims to be a loving mother."

 

~ Malcolm, Hanna's ex-husband

 

(Can you imagine hearing this out of a man you'd just discovered had been having an affair for pretty much the entirety of your marriage?!)

 

Just as she's nearly at wit's end, a solution comes to our main lady. She remembers she was left an old derelict cottage by the sea by her great aunt Maggie. How one forgets that they own a piece of property on prime picturesque real estate in Ireland stumps me a bit, but there are parts of this novel that ask the reader to suspend disbelief a bit. Taking on the renovation of the place proves to not only solve the housing issue for Hana, but also provides her with an outlet for the depression she continues to battle, the hurt of having been a faithful wife left to feel "not good enough" by a greedy, emotionally immature husband. 

 

The project brings out numerous interesting characters in Hana's town, as they all come forward at different points to help her reach her goals. While overseeing the renovation of this small cottage, Hana also juggles trying to improve the relationship with her mother, Mary, (who comes off as harsh initially, but the reader comes to see it's more of a tough love thing... she might lack tact now and then, but the intent is generally coming from a caring place), continuing with the book mobile service throughout Ireland's West Coast counties, and taking on the town council as they threaten to possibly shut down her library in favor of more profitable real estate developments in the area. 

 

 

Glancing in the rearview mirror, Hanna saw her walking back to the house with a spring in her step. It had only been a few minutes spent with an acquaintance but the human contact and the prospect of a couple of books to read and chat about had obviously made her day. No matter how isolated the scattered farms and villages on the peninsula might seem, there was a web of personal and communal relationships that linked people together, offering mutual support. 

 

 

Library at the Edge of the World will appeal to many booknerds in general, but especially those who have worked as librarians or booksellers themselves. There are references to some of the crazier, more laughable customer service-type aspects to the industry, such as the shocking condition books are sometimes returned in or the aggravating, information deficit type of book inquires some readers bring to the help desk: "I'm looking for a book with a dog on the cover." (This particular patron of Hanna's is an entertaining recurring character as his diligent search -- on nearly zero information -- progresses).

 

What Hanna now desperately needed was to think. But inevitably, two women turned up in the last ten minutes of opening time and stood in a corner discussing the relative merits of Barbara Cartland and Barbara Pym. Hanna covered the computers, pulled down the blind on the door and announced that the library was closing. But the women took no notice. Eventually she had to chivvy them over the threshold, receiving the same outraged clucks and beady-eyed looks that she'd got as a child from the intrusive hens in Maggie Casey's kitchen. As soon as they were gone, she set the security alarm, locked up, and crossed the courtyard, wondering where to go to find peace and quiet. 

 

I was thoroughly engaged in the plot for the majority of this book but I struggled with the later chapters a bit. The plot started to feel a tad flimsy and dragged out. All in all, it was great fun getting to know this little community... but there was something about Hanna... I realized as I finished the book that there was just something about her that didn't sit quite right with me... something I wasn't noticing too much until I got to the end. It was almost but not quite a feeling of not entirely liking her. But why? She doesn't immediately come off as an immediately terrible person. But on further thought, I think I might have pinned what was bugging me. 

 

While most of the people Hanna interacts with in this story act civil enough toward her, very few seemed to honestly LIKE her. Her own behavior around town gave the impression that the feeling was mutual.... but suddenly she wants everyone to band together to save the community when HER job is at risk? She spends much of the story either trying to keep to herself or keeping social interactions to a minimum, yet for some reason the town as a whole later feels compelled to help her furnish her cottage? It was so subtle a thing, like I said, I didn't quite realize all the scenes that played out that way ... til I had finished the story. And now I struggle to be entirely comfortable with that....to the point where I'm now on the fence whether I want to continue this series. This book is the first in what's set to be a trilogy. I had fun visiting the town, and I may pop back in down the road for the later books, but I don't know that I'm in any major rush for it. 

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text 2018-10-20 11:44
Oud Perfume Oil – The Most Luxurious Fragrance Oil In The World

There is a huge variety of incense fragrance oils in the world, out of which oud oil is known to be the most expensive oil used by the high-end people of the society. The reason behind this is that this oil is distilled from the popular Agarwood tree.

If you have a bit knowledge about trees, you might certainly know that agarwoord is listed among the most expensive trees in the world. Hence, the oil extracted from the same, would obviously be expensive.

 

The Oil For Royalty

 

For centuries, oud perfume oil has been used by Sultans and royalty around the world. To justify this, there are several stories in the historic past. One of the stories tell us about the King Louis XIV of France, who used to get his clothes washed in Oud oil. Isn’t it a fascinating fact to know?

Even today, perfume oil oud is considered as a luxury item used by the western royal society and the royalty in Arabia and across the world.

 

Benefits of Oud Oil

 

Oud oil is used in various ways, owing to its number of benefits, such as the following -

  • This oil is highly psychoactive. Hence, it is greatly helpful in easing obsessive and neurotic behavior.
  • It helps in improving mental clarity.
  • It helps in providing enhanced awareness, enhancing mental functionality, keeping the body calm, reducing fear, removing negative energies and invoking a feeling of harmony.
  • It relieves epilepsy.
  • Agarwood is a tonic, antimicrobial, diuretic, aphrodisiac, carminative and anti-asthmatic.
  • Oud oil is also helpful in cancer, bronchial complaints, nervous disorders, shortness of breath, rheumatism, smallpox, asthma, diarrhoea, weakness in the elderly, chills, spasms in the respiratory or digestive systems, abdominal pain, colic, illness during and after pregnancy, general pains, cirrhosis of the liver, nausea, regurgitation and fevers.
  • The oil is found to be very effective for deep tranquility, meditation, relaxation and enlightenment.

How To Distinguish Between Pure & Synthetic Oud For Sale

 

If you are planning to purchase oud oil online or from a local store, make sure you know how to spot the difference between pure & synthetic oud oil.

The simplest way to spot the difference between the two is through their smell. The smell of oud can be described as heavenly, balsamic and woody. It surrounds a warm aura of woody and bitter sweet nuance. On the other hand, synthetic Oud lacks that warm balsamic aura and has a plain woody and leathery smell.

So, if you are all set to purchase the fragrance oil, keep this tip in mind, and be prepared to feel the magic of using the most exotic fragrance oils in the world. This is even a good option for gifting to a love one.

For more details visit Theperfumist.com

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