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review 2019-01-18 22:22
The Rise and Fall of the British Empire
The Rise and Fall of the British Empire - Lawrence James

The largest empire in history ended less than a century ago, yet the legacy of how it rose and how it fell will impact the world for longer than it existed.  Lawrence James’ chronicles the 400-year long history of The Rise and Fall of the British Empire, from its begins on the eastern seaboard of North American spanning a quarter of the world to the collection of tiny outposts scattered across the globe.

 

Neither a simple nor a comprehensive history, James looks at the British Empire in the vain of economic, martial, political, and cultural elements not only in Britain but in the colonies as well.  Beginning with the various settlements on the eastern seaboard of North America, James describes the various colonies and latter colonial administrators that made their way from Britain to locations around the globe which would have an impact on attitudes of the Empire over the centuries.  The role of economics in not only the growth the empire but also the Royal Navy that quickly became interdependent and along with the growth of the Empire’s size the same with the nation’s prestige.  The lessons of the American War of Independence not only in terms of military fragility, but also politically influenced how Britain developed the “white” dominions over the coming centuries.  And the effect of the liberal, moralistic bent of the Empire to paternally watch over “lesser” peoples and teach them clashing with the bombast of the late-19th Century rush of imperialism in the last century of the Empire’s exists and its effects both at home and abroad.

 

Composing an overview of 400-years of history than spans across the globe and noting the effects on not only Britain but the territories it once controlled was no easy task, especially in roughly 630 pages of text.  James attempted to balance the “positive” and “negative” historiography of the Empire while also adding to it.  The contrast between upper-and upper-middle class Britons thinking of the Empire with that of the working-class Britons and colonial subjects was one of the most interesting narratives that James brought to the book especially in the twilight years of the Empire.  Although it is hard to fault James given the vast swath of history he tackled there were some mythical history elements in his relating of the American War of Independence that makes the more critical reader take pause on if the related histories of India, South Africa, Egypt, and others do not contain similar historical myths.

 

The Rise and Fall of the British Empire is neither a multi-volume comprehensive history nor a simple history that deals with popular myths of history, it is an overview of how an island nation came to govern over a quarter of the globe through cultural, economic, martial, and political developments.  Lawrence James’s book is readable to both general and critical history readers and highly recommended.

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review 2019-01-09 04:57
The Snark Bible: A Reference Guide to Verbal Sparring, Comebacks, Irony, Insults, and So Much More
The Snark Bible: A Reference Guide to Verbal Sparring, Comebacks, Irony, Insults, and So Much More - Lawrence Dorfman

Pretty much what it says on the wrapper.  I love snark and this random gift from a family member is just the sort of thing that makes me chuckle.  It's a great collection, and was heading towards a 5 star rating, but it floundered a bit at the end.  I was willing to overlook a couple of quotes - and really it was only a couple - that were repeated in slightly paraphrased form.  

 

It's a thick book and one or two passing through the keeper is not unexpected.  But at about the 80% mark, specifically the chapter on Motherhood, the quotes stopped being snarky and were just quotes about motherhood, some of them quite endearing and touching.  

 

Then in the last 2-3 chapters, Dorfman lost that fifth star all together when he stopped quoting the greats and started ad libbing his own brand of snark, or at least what he likely considered snark.  It was too acerbic for my tastes; it didn't read snarky nearly as much as it read angry and bitter.  Vitriolic, even.  The dude does NOT like Christmas.  That's fair enough; Christmas can be a trying time for even the most festive feeling of us, but his barbs failed to find that sweet spot of gracious lunacy that can be Christmas.  After that chapter, his further attempts at snarky comebacks to enduring cliches just fell flat.

 

Still, overall it's an excellent compendium of sarcastic and witty quotes that will serve me well as a handy reference when I'm at the end of my rope trying to be polite to the more challenging people in my life.  Mostly time well spent.

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review 2019-01-04 01:05
The St Lawrence (Rivers of America series, #20) - Henry Beston

I was reading this to see if it had any information about Ile d'Orleans. While there isn't much there, this a lovely read about the river, at least the Canadian side of the river. Beston writes about the city and nature. His writing about Beluga whales is also very powerful.

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text 2018-12-29 22:54
2019 Reading Goals #1 - Deep Dive into Watergate
1968: The Year That Rocked the World - Mark Kurlansky
Playing with Fire: The 1968 Election and the Transformation of American Politics - Lawrence O'Donnell
Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America - Rick Perlstein
All the President's Men - Carl Bernstein,Bob Woodward
The Last of the President's Men - Bob Woodward
The Nixon Defense: What He Knew and When He Knew It - John W. Dean
The Making of the President 1972 - Theodore H. White
Breach of Faith: The Fall of Richard Nixon - Theodore H. White
The Nixon Tapes - Douglas Brinkley,Luke Nichter
Shadow - Bob Woodward

Inspired by the podcasts Slow Burn (season one) from Slate and Bagman by Rachel Maddow, I decided to do a deep dive into the Nixon administration, specifically Watergate.  I already read the Nixon/Ford section of Clint Hill's Five Presidents just to get my feet wet. I may not get to all of these, but I hope to read enough to have a good grasp on what happened.

 

My Nixon Reading List:

 

1. 1968: The Year that Rocked the World by Mark Kurlansky

2. Playing with Fire: The 1968 Election and the Transformation of American Politics by Lawrence O'Donnell

3. The Making of a President 1972 by Theodore White

4. Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America by Rick Perlstein

5. All the President's Men by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward

6. Last of the President's Men by Bob Woodward

7. The Nixon Defense: What He Knew and When He Knew It by John Dean

8. Breach of Faith: The Fall of Nixon by Theodore White

9. Shadow: Five Presidents and the Legacy of Watergate  by Bob Woodward

10. The Nixon Tapes 1971-1972 by Douglas Brinkley and Luke Nichter 

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review 2018-12-25 23:53
Just 3 stars for me
The Taken Girls - Lawrence Sanders

 

Someone is watching them…

When a missing teenage girl reappears unharmed but pregnant, the case falls to DI Edina Ogborne, the newest recruit of Canterbury Police. But Ed’s already got her hands full with a team who don’t want her, an ex who won’t quit, and terrible guilt over a secret from her past.

As Ed investigates the case, she discovers Canterbury has seen this crime not once, but several times before. And when Ed and her detectives encounter missing historic police files, falsified school records, and Ed’s new lover as a prime suspect, it becomes clear that the system has been corrupted.

Can Ed find the kidnapper behind these depraved crimes before he strikes again? Or has time already run out?

My Thoughts
Rating :3
Slow going into the story , kept bring up parts of Ed's past we already know about, I mean come on you already told us a some of her past that happened when she was a teenager ,you didn't have to keep remind us it, and she kept making stupid decision that could and would and have affected her job, a job she wants and loves . Would have finished it sooner but there was times I just wanted to put it down.Glad I didn't because even though it's slow , it does pick up a little bit not that much , and other thing I can't sstand was how the author also kept bring up the past of one of Ed's teammates, and once again we didn't need to be reminded of . So I the question I'm asking myself right now is this a new series and if it is I want to go on with it, and it's a maybe for right now. With that said I would like to thank Netgalley for letting mme read and review it in change for my honest opinion.

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