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review 2015-11-10 01:15
Out of Order : Stories From the History of the Supreme Court / by Sandra Day O'Connor
Out of Order: Stories from the History of the Supreme Court - Sandra Day O'Connor

I remember when Sandra Day O'Connor was appointed to the Supreme Court.  I was only a kid, but her nomination was significant.  It told me that women could be more than secretaries, nurses, and teachers.  Women could be powerful, and could hold the same jobs that men could hold.  Women could be educated, talented, professional.  Women could be anything.  

 

Because Sandra Day O'Connor was a symbol for me, maybe I expected more out of Out of Order.  This woman has a unique perspective on the Judicial Branch of our government.  She is in a unique position to tell the story of the Supreme Court, and to really examine that history from a very interesting vantage point.  This book could have been full of substance.  It really kinda wasn't, though.  There were points of interest, and there was some "neat" history, but just when Justice O'Connor would prick my interest, she'd back off and leave me feeling cheated out of substance.  Out of Order was more broad than deep.  Any given chapter could be plucked from this book and be easily turned into a six, or eight, or ten panel pamphlet to be handed out to tourists visiting the Supreme Court.  This book was history-lite.  Not at all taxing, somewhat interesting, but mostly capable of having been so much more.

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review 2014-09-16 06:19
Dark Tide : The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919 / by Stephen Puleo
Dark Tide: The Great Molasses Flood of 1... Dark Tide: The Great Molasses Flood of 1919 - Stephen Puleo

I first heard about the Boston molasses flood of 1919 on an episode of Mysteries at the Museum, and I found it to be a captivating piece of history.  Since then it has been one of my goals to learn more about this deadly disaster, but not much has been written about it.  Then I found Dark Tide, and eagerly began to read.

 

Dark Tide is a pretty amazing piece of research.  I learned a ton about the molasses flood, about its causes, about its victims, about the court case that came out of this disaster.  The thing is, though, the story of the actual disaster isn't that meaty.  Interesting, yes, meaty, no.  It can basically be explained and summed up in a few sentences, and well described in something about the length of a college essay.

 

To make this story into a book, though, the author included a lot about the way the world was at the time of this disaster and at the time of the court case that this disaster lead to.  That information did all tie together with the story of the molasses flood, and it did put this disaster squarely into context.  It also made the first quarter(?) half(?) of the book drag, and I couldn't help but think that some of the fat could have been trimmed off.  Once the tank holding the molasses blew, however, things all came together, and I have to admit that I was pretty well riveted by the book.  

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