Patton, Montgomery, Rommel: Masters of War: A Story of the Three Greatest Generals of the Greatest War

by Terry Brighton

Patton, Montgomery, Rommel: Masters of War by Terry Brighton

I am not sure why historians can’t seem to choose shorter titles, but they can’t, and as a result we know what they want their book to be about from the cover. For some reasons over the past year or so I’ve read several WWII books. Both fiction and non fiction. None have focused at all on the North African theater of war, so the novel was refreshing in that aspect. Read More »

Don’t Mind if I Do

by George Hamilton and William Stadiem

Why did I want to read about the life of the darkly tanned old Hollywood lothario? Why, not? And that pretty much sums up George Hamilton’s philosophy on life, at least according to himself. Before picking up this book I knew very little about George Hamilton. After reading it, I don’t necessarily feel like he is an old friend, but it was a fun read. Read More »

The Vikings: A History

by Robert Ferguson

This book took me forever to read, and I am not a slow reader. One of its chief problems is clear lack of thesis or theme. It follows the vikings throughout what we consider the viking age. Though most books follow the conquest of Great Britain, and possibly the new world–this novel followed the viking’s conquest of every place at every time. Read More »

American Priestess: The Extraordinary Story of Anna Spafford and the American Colony in Jerusalem

by Jane Fletcher Geniesse

When I picked out this book highly discounted I knew nothing about the American Colony. It sounded vaguely familiar, almost as though in my internet ramblings, I’d stumbled across a wikipedia article… but after having read the history, I am certain that I’d never known about the group that went to Jerusalem to await the second coming. The book chronicles the life of Anna Spafford who would transform from a poor Norwegian Immigrant to a powerful ‘religious’ leader in Jerusalem. Read More »

Exploration Fawcett: Journey to the Lost City of Z

by Col. Percy Fawcett

Exploration Fawcett: Journey to the Lost City of Z by Col. Percy Fawcett

In 1925 Col. Fawcett disappeared in the jungles of Brazil. He was looking for a legend called the Lost City of Z. In the 1950s his youngest son Brian Fawcett published his father’s manuscript that had been intended for publication after the expedition for the City of Z. Finally, finally, finally, a biography worth reading about someone who actually DID something. Read More »

The Professor of Secrets: Mystery, Medicine, and Alchemy In Renaissance Italy

by Willaim Eamon

I know very little about modern medicine, much less ancient medicine. I go to the doctor only when necessary and am not ashamed to say, that I still don’t trust them. That being said, of course I thought my neurosis would be placated by reading a book about alchemy back in the day, and by back in the day I mean the 1570s and doctor Leonardo Fioravanti. Read More »

Hunting Eichman: How a Band of Survivors and a Young Spy Agency Chased Down the World’s Most Notorious Nazi

by Neal Bascomb

A well researched, carefully crafted account of a series of events leading to the multiple escapes and captures of Adolf Eichmann, Nazi war criminal. The prologue begins with the tension of Mossad agents waiting for Eichmann to arrive in order to kidnap him and transport him to Israel, the only nation willing to prosecute him for his crimes. Though the tension is evident from the first page, the novel takes you back to Eichmann’s past as an SS officer in charge of implementing the ‘Final Solution’. Read More »

Thunderstruck

by Erik Larson

Erik Larson has done it again. Larson has a way to bring history to life. He spins a tale of murder and a tale of progress showing that man can evolve in evil and in technology at the same time. Read More »

I Was Told There’d Be Cake

by Sloane Crosley

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… if you write memoirs, or essays about your own life, or an autobiography, you should definitely have done something in your life worth writing about. Sloan Crosley has done nothing worth writing about. Read More »

A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution 1891-1924

by Orlando Figes

Perhaps it is the Political Scientist in me… but I REALLY enjoyed this book. Orlando Figes is not only an expert in Russian history he is THE expert and his novel could be used both as a textbook in a Russian history or Political Science class or works equally well when just read by someone with an interest in Russia, or the history of communism in Russia. What sets this book apart is that Figes uses the words of the people themselves to describe conditions and explain complex situations instead of relying on overused and sometimes unsubstantiated political theory. Read More »

On the Ridge Between Life and Death: A Climbing Life Reexamined

by David Roberts

A book that didn’t need to be written. Read More »

Brothers in Battle: Best of Friends

by William “Wild Bill Guarnere and Edward “Babe” Heffron with Robyn Post

I’d already read Band of Brothers, by the time I picked this book up, so I was fairly familiar with the history and the stories that were retold. Two of the most engaging ‘characters’ of Ambrose’s tale were indeed Wild Bill and Babe so it was interesting to see the past through their perspective. Read More »

The Monster of Florence: A True Story

by Douglas Preston with Mario Spezi

Confession, I enjoy true crime. I do. I once went to a writing seminar when they spoke of the appeal of escapist literature. A study had been done which said that people tend to read what they are missing in their lives. Teenagers read fantasy, house wives read “Twilight”, etc etc etc. If this theory holds true, I enjoy true crime because there is not enough crime in my life. Read More »

Ship of Ghosts: The Story of the USS Houston, FDR’s Legendary Lost Cruiser, and the Epic Saga of Her Survivors

by James D. Hornfischer

One: unnecessarily long title. Two: seriously, after writing that title I am exhausted. That being said, this book is well worth reading. I have only a passing interest in WWII history (gasp) as I feel I’ve read it, heard it, seen it all a hundred times over. What I enjoyed about this book was that the author tried to keep the focus narrow in an arena that hasn’t received much media attention. Read More »

My Lobotomy

by Howard Dully and Charles Fleming

As I began reading Dully’s account of his youth and the lobotomy given at the age of eleven, I found myself disliking the author intensely. Granted, he has had a lobotomy so his memory was affected, but he strikes me as the textbook bratty kid with a bad attitude. Read More »

What Am I Doing Here

by Bruce Chatwin

Ah, Bruce… I think I am done with you. Maybe it was wrong to read three separate Bruce Chatwin books in a two week period, but I couldn’t help it. They were loaners from my uncle who needed them back in a hurry. Unlike other travel memoirs What Am I doing Here is a series of essays. They follow no general pattern that I could discern. Read More »

Who Killed Iago: A Book of Fiendishly Challenging Literary Quizzes

by James Walton

Yes, I did read this book. What can I say? I really love bargains at the bookstore and I really like books. I can think of, perhaps, four of my friends who would actually be willing to do these quizzes, but it was  a fun read none the less. The premise of the book is great. Read More »

The Undercover Economist

by Tim Harford

I like a good book about economics.  I particularly like Harford’s style of sneaking the economics in there and not bogging the text down with a bunch of technical economics terms. He gives the reader just enough to be able to converse with some authority afterward, but not enough to start pitching his own economic theories. Read More »

The Songlines

by Bruce Chatwin

Another travel memoir, but this time with a thesis, that all men are born to wander as it is their natural state. Bruce Chatwin writes of his travels to Australia to learn more about the songlines. It appears that Mr. Chatwin did his homework before he goes, because those he come into contact with seem impressed by his knowledge about the culture. In a later book I read that one of the reviewers called the book unbelievably pretentious, and I agree.  Read More »

In Patagonia

by Bruce Chatwin

A little back ground is in order. I am actually half Chilean, and have spent a little time there over the years. I also lived for a while in Brazil. This helped me in my pursuit of a second major field of study at university. Yes, one major was not enough. I double majored in Political Science and Latin American Studies. As a result I feel fairly confident in my knowledge of Latin American history, culture, politics and religion. So when my uncle (also an avid reader of anything he can get his hands on) lent me his battered copy of In Patagonia, I was excited to see what Mr. Chatwin would have in store. Read More »

Under the Covers and Between the Sheets

by C. Alan Joyce and Sarah Janssen

I had high hopes for this book. High hopes that were not met. Don’t get me wrong, the facts were interesting and a few of the anecdotes amusing, the problem is that the audience of this book is going to be book lovers, avid book readers. And avid book readers are going to already know everything in this book. Read More »

Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher: A Political Marriage

by Nicholas Wapshott

One thing you mus know about me before I continue…  I LOVE Ronald Reagan. In the early 80s, I was an elementary school kid. President Reagan fascinated me then, and he fascinates me still. My husband has even expressed relief that Ronald and I were born decades apart because I would have married President Reagan if given the chance. As a self proclaimed Reagan devote, I’ve read a book or two about Reagan in my day. Read More »

Uncivil Wars

by Thomas A. Hollihan

Once upon a time I majored in Political Science, that was a long time ago, but might explain my reasons for reading Uncivil Wars by Thomas A. Hollian. This used but unloved manuscript came into my life via a sibling who was getting rid of ‘junk’ before a move to Peru. Read More »

Lions of Medina: The Marines of Charlie Company and Their Brotherhood of Valor

by Doyle D. Glass

I tried, and I tried, and I tried to determine what special interest, authority, or expertise prompted Mr. Glass to write about the soldiers of Vietnam, and I could find none. Glass’s lack of scope made the book disjointed. Glass’s self stated reason for writing about the men of Medina (other than it would have a less competitive market than a WWII book) was to give credit to the soldiers of Vietnam to whom history has given very little. Read More »

The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession

by Allison Hoover Bartlett

I loved this book. There, I said it. I don’t need to say it again even though I feel compelled to. Rarely do I feel comfortable paying full price at Border’s for a new book, when I always suspect that book will go on sale in a month or a few weeks. Read More »

Dear Undercover Economist: Priceless Advice on Money, Work, Sex, Kids, and Life’s Other Challenges

by Tim Harford

For a few semesters of my university career, I toyed with the idea of getting a minor in Economics. I enjoy economic theory and had done well in the subject. I abandoned economics and did not regret that decision when I later took Econ 451: Economic Trade Theory. Read More »