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review 2019-02-13 16:02
Colonel Roosevelt
Colonel Roosevelt - Edmund Morris

So I am a moron. I had no idea there were two other books before this one. I felt like I got plopped into Theodore Roosevelt's life and felt confused. Once I realized that I was on the third book I felt better since I was all, why is the book acting as if I read about Theodore Roosevelt before now? 


I have to say though that my attention kept straying away while reading this. I thought that Morris does a good job of bringing Roosevelt out as a man who is out to explore Africa after completing his run as President after his second term.  I just found most of the book to be a bit colorless after we have Roosevelt returning from Africa and hell bent on being the savior of the Republican party. This of course caused the great "schism" and the Bull Moose party of progressives emerged. 


Morris does a good job I think of showing all sides of Roosevelt. He's not a saint, he's a flesh and blood man that at times refused to listen to those around him since he thought he knew best. The book also goes into his other expedition which led to him getting ill and then following him and his family through World War I. I just wish that the book had managed to keep my interest throughout. I don't know if this book should have been broken into two volumes, with volume I following Roosevelt before WWI and then after or what. I think there was so much going on with Roosevelt and his family at times I was left a bit overwhelmed and feeling like I had forgotten some things and having to go back to check myself. 


I read this on my Kindle and was happy to see that the plethora of notes that Morris had actually worked. My big complaint though and why I stopped reading the notes after a while is that my book wouldn't take me back to the place I was in the biography. This books is ridiculous full of notes and the historian in me was happy to see them. But it sucked for me as a reader since I kept getting taken out of my place and had to scroll back to wherever I was. I also was happy to see the pictures and other illustrations that were included.  

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review 2019-02-12 03:52
Compulsive read about Trump and his journey to the White House, with copious research and a no-nonsense approach: a must-read
Unpresidented - Martha Brockenbrough

This biography of Donald Trump is as captivating as it is disturbing, and not surprisingly because sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction. Many readers picking up this book will already have heard or read the countless stories and news items about the current President, but to see Trump’s story on paper, told in linear form, and with 54 pages of references and endnotes, it’s hard to deny just how bizarre and mind-boggling it all is. 


From the Trump family’s beginnings in America, all the way up to the middle of 2018, Martha Brockenbrough has painstakingly pieced together a biography that is hard to put down. Written with a young adult audience in mind, the tone and language is one that is pragmatic and clear for any reader, with care taken to keep out any opinion on the matters at hand (which I expect was difficult). 

The more recent events following Trump’s inauguration are pretty familiar to me, but I found the section dealing with his numerous bankruptcies and his past financial deals to be most fascinating (and pretty horrifying). The summary of all the ‘players’ in Trump’s life and administration with Russian connections is nicely laid out, as well as a complete family tree, and bold-typed quotes and tweets to capture your attention (like everything he does). It’s easy to forget how very many shocking things Trump has said and done in the last few years of him constantly in the spotlight, but when they are right there on the page, the moments of frightful truth come flooding back. The public has been bombarded with all of this for so long now that it’s hard to keep track of it all, but Brockenbrough has done brilliantly in her documentation and presentation. 


I can’t help but wish more people had read such research before they voted, because surely (aside from his frighteningly loyal fan base) his ‘huge’ win in 2016 wouldn’t have been as likely. I desperately hope author Martha Brockenbrough continues this saga in a second book, because the next piece involving the Mueller investigation looks like it’s about to get very interesting.

A must for any school or home library that needs a concise (and compulsive) read about Donald Trump and his journey to the White House, spray tan and all. 


Source: www.goodreads.com/book/show/39863338-unpresidented
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review 2019-02-10 23:39
John Harvey Kellogg: Pioneering Health Reformer
John Harvey Kellogg, M.D.: Pioneering Health Reformer - Richard W. Schwarz

A pioneer of the Adventist health message and controversial figure that had a very public break from the Church, yet his life was whole lot more.  John Harvey Kellogg: Pioneering Health Reformer by Richard W. Schwarz details the long life of a man who wanted to teach and not become a doctor, but who became both in advocating healthy living.


Schwarz begins the biography in the standard way in relating the background of Kellogg family just before John Harvey birth then proceeded to follow the young Kellogg’s life until he became a doctor.  The biography then shifts into various facets of Kellogg’s life ranging from his appointment to head Battle Creek Sanitarium and developing it, his development of various health foods and later his efforts commercially, his family life with 42 adopted children and cool relationships with his siblings, his humanitarian efforts, his work and later break with the Seventh-day Adventist Church including his relationship with Ellen White, and many more.  The final chapter chronicles the latter events of his 91 year long life including the struggle to keep Battle Creek Sanitarium open.


In around 240 pages, Schwarz gives a thorough look into everything that John Harvey Kellogg did throughout his life but in a non-chronological manner save for his early and late life.  Given the start length of the book and the long life of its subject, this non-chronological look was for the best as Schwarz covered topics in a straightforward manner and avoiding attempting to cover all of them in a on and off if the biography was written in a chronological fashion.  This format also allowed Schwarz to reference big events that effected all topics and foreshadowing there importance for when he covered them later in the book.


John Harvey Kellogg: Pioneering Health Reformer is a well-organized and informative biography of a notable pioneer in the Adventist health system that also influenced the larger American health landscape.  Richard W. Schwarz work is outstanding and his prose presents a very easy read which makes this book a highly recommended one for anyone interested in Adventist health history.

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review 2019-01-24 00:32
Conan Doyle for the Defense by Margalit Fox
Conan Doyle for the Defence: A Sensational Murder, the Quest for Justice and the World's Greatest Detective Writer - Avishai Margalit

Glasgow, Scotland: 1908
A wealthy, and extremely paranoid elderly woman is brutally murdered in her home. Clues that would prove to even the untrained to be blatantly false lead the police to a suspect, Oscar Slater - immigrant German Jew with a shady reputation. Slater finds himself imprisoned for a life of hard labor in one of Scotland's worst prisons...barely escaping hanging for the crime. After 18 and a half years, and close to suicidal, Slater manages to get a cry for help out....to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
A well known crusader for justice, despite the blows to his reputation concerning his fascination with the afterlife....and a faked photograph of "fairies", Doyle takes on the case....applying the same investigative tools used by his fictional creation, Sherlock Holmes.
Battling the rabid anti-Semitism and anti-immigration bias that gripped Scotland, and the entire British Isles at the time....along with a police department and prosecutors more willing to frame a man on questionable circumstantial evidence rather than find the real perpetrator, Doyle would spend his final years seeking justice, finally freeing Slater in 1927.

A remarkable work of biography, history and true crime that captures the time and place that this travesty of justice occurred, and revealing the honorable man Doyle was, along with the innate genius for deduction that he was blessed with, a genius that lives on in his most famous creation.

Overall, a highly recommended read...for Doyle fans, Holmes fans, history buffs and true crime aficionados everywhere.

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text 2019-01-22 02:56
The House of Morgan
The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance - Robertson Dean,Ron Chernow,Inc. Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Thank goodness for an excellent narrator. When a title is 34+ hours long, you definitely need a narrator who doesn't drive you crazy.



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