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review 2020-12-13 23:33
O du Mörderische (Befrieidgend)
O du Mörderische - Anne George,Christiane Filius-Jehne

Die zwei Schwestern Patricia Anne und Mary Alice sind grundverschiedene Charaktere. Zusammen beschließen sie, die Weihnachtsfeier einer Galerie zu besuchen. Einen Tag nach ihrem Besuch hört Patricia in den Nachrichten, dass Mercy, die Besitzerin der Galerie, die Patricia und Mary am Vorabend noch besucht haben, tot aufgefunden wurde. Die Todesursache soll ein Herzinfarkt gewesen sein. So richtig können Patricia und Mary das nicht glauben und finden sich in der Lösung des Falles wieder.

 

In insgesamt 18 Kapiteln erzählt Anne George in ihrem Roman “O du Mörderische” einen Krimi, rund um die zwei Schwestern Patricia und Anne. Wie man bei dem Titel schon vermuten kann, spielt die Handlung dabei in der Weihnachtszeit, weshalb sich das Buch besonders um Weihnachten rum lohnt, zu lesen. Erzählt wird das Buch dabei aus der Sicht der jüngeren der beiden Schwestern.

Eigentlich ein Fest der Besinnlichkeit, entwickelt sich in dem Buch die Weihnachtszeit doch etwas anders, wie sich die zwei Schwestern vorgestellt haben. Hier könnte dann ein wirklich toller Krimi beginnen, besonders weil die Protagonisten viel Potenzial haben. Leider wird, zumindest was den Krimi angeht, kaum etwas von dem genutzt, was man zur Verfügung hatte. Eher zufällig schlittert die Protagonistin in die Ermittlungen der Polizei, wobei das ein wenig aufgesetzt wirkt und ich mich eher gefragt habe, wieso die Polizei überhaupt auf die Protagonistin zugeht und ihr so viel Freiraum lässt, was die Ermittlungen angeht. Auch im weiteren Verlauf der Handlung ist der Mord eher eine Nebenhandlung.

Was mir dann aber doch positiv gefallen hat, sind eben die zwei wirklich gut gewählten Charaktere. Besonders der Umgang, der nicht immer nur freundlich und nett ist, der beiden miteinander, aber auch die Dialoge sorgten immer mal wieder für einen kleinen Schmunzler. Eigentlich kann man sagen, geht es in dem Buch um die Beziehung zwischen den beiden Charakteren. Als Aufhänger hierfür dient dann eben der kaum beachtete Mordfall.

Zum Ende des Buches, wird die Handlung dann doch noch versöhnlich und passend zu Weihnachten, auch wenn die Auflösung des Mordes, etwas schnell und unlogisch abgehandelt wird.

 

Cover: Das Cover vom Taschenbuch ist in der Farbe Rot gehalten. Hier passt die Farbgebung zum weihnachtlichen Rahmen, in dem der Roman spielt. Auch sonst erkennt man die Weihnachtszeit an weiteren Details wie beispielsweise dem kleinen Baum, welcher auf der Kommode steht. Ansonsten sehen wir zwei Frauen, die vor einem Kamin stehen und anstoßen. Hier sieht man die zwei Protagonisten, von denen eine durch die Handlung des Romans führt. 

Im Großen und Ganzen gefällt mir das Cover von “O du Mörderische” recht gut. Es spiegelt Aspekte der Handlung wieder und zeigt die zwei Protagonisten des Romans.

 

Fazit: “O du Mörderische” ist kein wirklich guter Krimi, weshalb ich das Buch eher als kriminalistisch angehaucht bezeichnen würde. Im Mittelpunkt stehen ganz klar die zwei Schwestern, wodurch das Buch doch noch Spaß beim Lesen machte. Durch den tollen und gut zu lesenden Schreibstil der Autorin lässt sich das Buch flüssig und schnell lesen.

Wer zur Weihnachtszeit nach einem Buch sucht, kann sich gerne die Zeit nehmen, sollte allerdings keinen krassen Krimi erwarten (hier gibt es deutlich bessere Bücher).

Für kurzweilige Unterhaltung sorgt “O du Mörderische” aber dann doch. Ich komme am Ende allerdings nur auf solide 3/5 Sternen.

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review 2020-08-31 06:37
The general who built an army
George C. Marshall: Ordeal and Hope: 1939-1942 - Forrest C. Pogue

As the fifteenth Chief of Staff of the United States Army, George Catlett Marshall oversaw the transformation of the United States Army from a modest constabulary into an organization capable of waging war on a truly global scale. Though such a metamorphosis was due to the efforts of thousands of people working over the course of many years, as Forrest Pogue demonstrates in the second volume of his biography of the general and statesman Marshall’s contribution was key to the development of the Army into a force that would play a vital role in defeating the Axis powers and establishing the United states as a global superpower.

 

This was no small achievement, nor was it an easy one. As Pogue notes, Marshall would regard his two years of service as Chief of Staff as the most difficult of his tenure, far more so than the four years he spent in the post during the war itself. Much of this had to do with the dimensions of the task before him. When Marshall took up the post in September 1939, the Army was both under-funded and under-strength, limited by postwar disillusionment and financial constraints. Nor did the outbreak of war in Europe suddenly change everyone’s thinking. As late as April 1940, members of Congress questioned the need to expand the ground forces, believing that the low-intensity “phony war” that developed after the fall of Poland was easily avoidable. Only after their invasion of Denmark and Norway made German intentions clear did Congressional opposition to spending for a larger force finally evaporate.

 

Yet Marshall gained his money at the expense of time. In short order he was expected to develop a fighting force capable of deterring or defeating any German threat. Nor did the now-expanded budget solve the Army’s problems, as Marshall had to cope with the competing need to support the British in their ongoing war against Germany for weapons production. Even more problematic was the widespread reluctance of many Americans to serve in the rapidly-expanding Army for one moment longer than they were required to by the draft, a sentiment to which many powerful politicians were sensitive. So how did Marshall surmount these challenges?

 

Pogue makes it clear that foremost among Marshall’s attributes was a Herculean work ethic, as he dedicated nearly every day to the duties of his office. To the task he also brought considerable diplomatic skill and a sensitivity to the limits of what was possible, enabling him to navigate skillfully the formidable politics that were part of his job. Finally, there was his eye for talent, as he had an extraordinary ability to identify men of ability and a determination to place them in the posts where they could make the best use of their skills. Often this meant promoting them over older men of longer service, many of whom Marshall knew personally. That Marshall was willing to turn friends into enemies in order to prepare the Army for what lay ahead is perhaps the best evidence of his determination to succeed in his mission.

 

These efforts, though, were outpaced by events. Pogue spends a considerable amount of space detailing Marshall’s role in the events leading up to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, with the goal of rebutting the claims that he was part of a conspiracy to bring the United States into the war. Nevertheless, Pogue acknowledges the limits of Marshall’s conceptualization of the Japanese threat, noting that he overestimated the Army’s Hawai’ian defenses and underestimated the ability of the Japanese to attack him. The months that followed were especially tragic, as Marshall watched with despair as the Army units stationed in the Philippines were defeated by the Japanese. Yet this did not deflect him from his commitment to the “Germany first” focus adopted before the war, as he worked strenuously to launch a second front in France as early as 1942. Though Marshall was frustrated in this by the British (whom, as Pogue notes, would have borne the brunt of such an early effort), by the end of America’s first year of the war he could look with hope to the victories he knew would soon come.

 

Benefiting from interviews with Marshall and his contemporaries as well as considerable archival research, Pogue’s book serves as an effective monument to his subject and his achievements as Chief of Staff. Though focused on detail, it provides more analysis of its subject than Pogue’s previous volume, Education of a General, which helps to explain Marshall’s motivations and the thinking underlying them. While further analysis would have made for an even better book, given Pogue’s proximity to many of the key figures he describes he may have felt a little too constrained to offer the sort of judgments the facts he describes seem to demand, Nonetheless, his book is a valuable resource on both Marshall and his achievements, one that will likely remain required reading on the general for many years to come.

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review 2020-07-27 06:55
The Journeys of Trees by Zach St. George
The Journeys of Trees: A Story about Forests, People, and the Future - Zach St. George

TITLE:  The Journeys of Trees: A Story about Forests, People, and the Future

 

AUTHOR:  Zach St. George

 

DATE PUBLISHED:  July 2020

 

FORMAT:  Hardcover

 

ISBN-13:  9781324001607

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DESCRIPTION:

"Forests are restless. Any time a tree dies or a new one sprouts, the forest that includes it has shifted. When new trees sprout in the same direction, the whole forest begins to migrate, sometimes at astonishing rates. Today, however, an array of obstacles—humans felling trees by the billions, invasive pests transported through global trade—threaten to overwhelm these vital movements. Worst of all, the climate is changing faster than ever before, and forests are struggling to keep up.

A deft blend of science reporting and travel writing, The Journeys of Trees explores the evolving movements of forests by focusing on five trees: giant sequoia, ash, black spruce, Florida torreya, and Monterey pine. Journalist Zach St. George visits these trees in forests across continents, finding sequoias losing their needles in California, fossil records showing the paths of ancient forests in Alaska, domesticated pines in New Zealand, and tender new sprouts of blight-resistant American chestnuts in New Hampshire. Everywhere he goes, St. George meets lively people on conservation’s front lines, from an ecologist studying droughts to an evolutionary evangelist with plans to save a dying species. He treks through the woods with activists, biologists, and foresters, each with their own role to play in the fight for the uncertain future of our environment.

An eye-opening investigation into forest migration past and present, The Journeys of Trees examines how we can all help our trees, and our planet, survive and thrive.
  "

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REVIEW:

 

In a combination of science reporting and travel writing, St George provides a fascinating look at the history and nature of forests, how people interact with them and what the future holds for them.  An overarching theme of the book is the migration of forests (or lack thereof) from one area to another.  A delightful reading experience.

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review 2020-07-13 16:38
A general's rise, sans analysis
George C. Marshall: Education of a General: 1880-1939 - Forrest C. Pogue

Ask most people to name the greatest American general of the Second World War and you’re likely to hear such famous names as Dwight Eisenhower, George Patton, or Douglas MacArthur. Only occasionally might someone propose the name George Catlett Marshall, despite his outsized role in the conflict. From September 1939 until November 1945, Marshall served as the military head of the United States Army, in which role he built up and directed a massive ground and air force that waged war across the globe. Yet Marshall’s role has long been overshadowed by those of the commanders on the battlefield, whose achievements were only possible because of Marshall’s organizational abilities and strategic guidance.

 

How Marshall came to occupy such an important position at such a crucial time in history is the focus of the first volume of Forrest Pogue’s tetralogy about the general and statesman. A former member of the U.S. Army’s historical division and the author of the volume in their famous “green book” series on the supreme command in Europe during the war, Pogue was invited to write Marshall’s official biography and was granted unrestricted access to both the general and his papers. These he combined with additional archival research to provide a comprehensive look at his subject’s life and career.

 

Pogue begins with Marshall’s upbringing in western Pennsylvania. The son of a businessman, Marshall enjoyed a comfortable childhood until a poor investment on his father’s part left his family in straitened financial circumstances. While drawn to soldiering, the challenges of gaining an appointment to West Point led young Marshall instead to enroll at the Virginia Military Institute. Upon graduation, Marshall was commissioned into an army recently engorged by the Spanish American War with new officers, making for an extremely competitive contest for promotion.

 

Nevertheless, Marshall rose gradually through the ranks. As Pogue makes clear, this was due to Marshall’s hard work and diligent application to his tasks. The young lieutenant soon demonstrated capabilities far beyond his rank, impressing both his peers and his superiors. After service in the Philippines Marshall returned to the United States, where he distinguished himself as both a student and an instructor in the Army’s emerging professional educational system. For Marshall, however, this proved a double-edged sword for his career prospects, as his gifts as a staff officer denied him the opportunities to serve in the line that were invaluable for an officer’s promotion prospects. As a result, Marshall found himself still a captain after the First World War, while many of his peers sported eagles or even stars on their shoulders.

 

Yet Marshall benefited enormously from the support of his former commander, General John Pershing. Chosen as Pershing’s aide during the general’s postwar service as chief of staff, Marshall enjoyed Pershing’s patronage and connections as he rose steadily in rank through a shrunken military establishment. During the 1930s Marshall’s service both as a regional commander within the Civilian Conservation Corps and as Deputy Chief of Staff commended him in the eyes of President Franklin Roosevelt, resulting in his appointment as chief of staff on the eve of the momentous outbreak of war in Europe.

 

Thanks to his access to both Marshall and his documentary legacy, Pogue provides his readers with a thorough account of his pre-Second World War military career. Though rich in detail, the text never drags thanks to Pogue’s deft writing and his ability to supply the exact right amount of explanatory context. Yet while Pogue provides an invaluable of Marshall’s activities, he falls short in terms of analysis, as he refrains from analyzing Marshall’s ideas about tactics or doctrine or strategic thinking. While this reflects in part a paucity of writing on Marshall’s part, his failure to supplement this with his interviews with Marshall represents a missed opportunity, one that Pogue himself never compensates for by offering his own suppositions based on the historical record. It’s an unfortunate omission in what will likely be the most detailed study of Marshall’s development, and limits the achievement of what is otherwise a valuable study of an underappreciated American military leader.

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review 2020-07-13 09:08
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Animal Farm - George Orwell

TITLE: Animal Farm: A Fairy Tale

 

AUTHOR: George Orwell

 

PUBLICATION DATE: 2018 (originally 1945)

 

EDITION: Penguin English Library

 

ISBN-13: 9780241341667

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DESCRIPTION:

"'All animals are equal - but some are more equal than others.' When the downtrodden animals of Manor Farm overthrow their master Mr Jones and take over the farm themselves, they imagine it is the beginning of a life of freedom and equality. But gradually a cunning, ruthless élite among them, masterminded by the pigs Napoleon and Snowball, starts to take control. Soon the other animals discover that they are not all as equal as they thought, and find themselves hopelessly ensnared as one form of tyranny is replaced with another."

 

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REVIEW:

 

You may call this a political or social commentary, a satire, an allegory, a moral story, or a combination of a whole lot of other things. The novella is still relevant today and should be a warning to the general public to think for themselves and question everything, instead of dully going along with the approved narrative (whatever it is). At the end of the day, this is a short and witty observation of animal human nature.

 

PS: This is not a children's book. The book is better if the reader has some knowledge of history and adult concerns (i.e. putting food on the table, economy in general and politics).

 

 And just because:

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