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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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review 2018-01-16 04:34
More entertainment than science.
 Atomic Adventures: Secret Islands, Forgotten N-Rays, and Isotopic Murder - A Journey into the Wild World of Nuclear Science - James Mahaffey,Keith Sellon-Wright

That is, the author was more interested in telling amusing stories than explaining science, though he had a go at it ever so often, but didn't leave me feeling notably enlightened. Which is fine. I'm more interested in amusing stories than knowing what a proton does, and for the most part the stories were pretty good. He did some times get sidetracked into non-science stuff that was less interesting, and he was perhaps a little to flippant about serious matters that might kill us all.

 

The highlights of the book were the nuclear rocket experiments and other adventures that mostly weren't likely to kill us all, but hit the amusing mono-focus that science/engineering types can get into, and also explosions! The assassination part was less intrigue-laden and interesting than I thought it would be, and was mostly very sad. I'm never going to understand quantum entanglement. As far as I can tell, it's witchcraft. Liked the interstellar travel bit at the end, even if none of it works.

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review 2018-01-12 04:14
An American Lamb in Europe by Rob Colton
An American Lamb in Europe - Rob Colton

This thing with the Russians is really starting to piss me off. Another "theme"  that seems to be popular lately.

 

Need an average bad guy? Grab a Russian! Need a brutal murderer? Grab two more! Mobsters? Hey, they are a bunch a dime, why not pocket another six and store them in a cool place, until you need another psychopath? What, Russians are the only nation with the homicidal maniacs on the loose?

 

I am so fed up with this BS! 

ONE STAR

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review 2018-01-10 18:53
My eighty-sixth podcast is up!
Lincoln’s Sense of Humor - Richard Carwardine

My latest podcast is up on the New Books Network website! In it, I interviewed Richard Carwardine about his excellent book examining the role humor played in Abraham Lincoln's life (which I reviewed here). Enjoy!

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