Wayne and Ford

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I received a free Kindle copy of Wayne and Ford by Nancy Schoenberger courtesy of Net Galley and Doubleday, the publisher. It was with the understanding that I would post a review to Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and my history book review blog. I also posted it to my Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus pages.

I requested this book as I have been a fan of John Wayne movies and in particular the ones directed by John Ford.  I have not read any biographies on either of them. It is the first book by the Nancy Scnoenberger that I have read.

The subtitle of the book: The Films, The Friendship, and the Forging of an American Hero pretty much describes the detail in the book. That said I felt that the book itself could have been much better. The author’s writing style, while okay, is not overly engaging that does not make this a book that one can’t walk away from and resume at a later time.

She spends a great deal of time detailing what a pain in the a** John Ford is and how he humiliated Wayne throughout their interactions, but Wayne saw him as a father figure and put up with it. As far as the descriptions of the movies, you would be better off just watching as the author makes most of them sound less interesting than they really are.

My recommendation is to watch the movies and skip the book.

 

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Destination Casablanca

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I received a free Kindle copy of Destination Casablanca by Meredith Hindley courtesy of Net Galley and Perseus Books, the publisher. It was with the understanding that I would post a review to Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and my history book review blog. I also posted it to my Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus pages.

I requested this book as I have read a great deal about World War II, but very little about the war in northern Africa. It is the first book by the Meredith Hindley that I have read. This book is well written and researched. Hindley has a writing style that is informative and engaging.

This book is nothing like the movie Casablanca except at the beginning where individuals are trying to escape to go to Britian or the United States. The main theme of the book is the role that Morocco and Casablanca played in World WarII in the conflict in nothern Africa.  The author does spend time on many different individuals that were either stationed in or passed through Casablanca.

Hindley does a very good job of laying out the demise of France and the development of Vichy France and the Free French movement and the roles that they played as part of the intrigue of Casablanca. At other times it seems like some of the material is filler to make the book longer. The only drawback from my perspective is that it really shouldn’t have taken 500 pages and innumerable chapters to cover the subject.

I recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in World War II and in particular the conflict in north Africa.

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Evicted

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I decided to read this book as I am the Executive Director of a regional food bank and wanted to gain a better understanding of the challenges facing clients we serve in their struggles to ovoid being homeless.

The author does a fantastic job of painting a vivid picture of the struggles that low income people are continually faced with in their attempts to keep a roof over their heads. He also describes the viewpoint from the landlords who target these individuals as tenets of their properties. He gathered this information from numerous first hand interactions with people as he spent time living in a trailer park that was substandard at best.

The picture he paints is very grim in that the circumstances often involve displacing children, seniors and people with disabilities. Most individals do not escape the vicous cycle that our current legal system supports through at one time well meaning laws that over the long term have had huge unintended consequences.

In the final chapter of the book, Desmond does offer some potential solutions to the problems, but is also open to other alternatives.

I strongly recommend this book to anyone who wants to gain a better understanding of poverty, it’s root causes and its impact on housing for low income indviduals and families.

I received a free  copy of Evicted by Mathew Desmond courtesy of Blogging for Books and Crown the publisher. It was with the understanding that I would post a review to Blogging for Books, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and my history book review blog. I also posted it to my Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus pages.

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Hoover: His Life and Times

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I received a free Kindle copy of Hoover: HIs Life and Times by Kenneth Whyte courtesy of Net Galley and Knopf Doubleday the publisher. It was with the understanding that I would post a review to Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and my history book review blog. I also posted it to my Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus pages.

I requested this book as I have read a number of presidential biographies, but never one on Herbert Hoover. It is the first book by the Kenneth Whyte that I have read. This book is well written and researched. Whyte has a writing style that is informative and engaging.

What I knew about Herbert Hoover prior to reading this book was just snippets of information. He was president when the stock market crashed and the Great Depression started. He briefly lived in Newburgh and Salem, Oregon close to where I currently reside.

Hoover had a difficult childhood that led to his many unusual characteristics for a person who would aspire to and achieve the presidency of the United States. His ability to focus on situations to the exclusion of most everything else (including his famiy) was unparalleled at the time. His often thin skin (he took a number of things as personal when they wre not) would not do well in current times with the phlethora of social media and the 24 hour news cycle.

What I found most interesting was that many of his ideas that he was unable to implement during his term as President to get the country moving again during the Great Depression due to a democratic Congress were adopted and implemented by FDR with the support of a democratic Congress.

In the end, Hoover was complicated man who had a deep seeded need to help others – especially children.

I strongly recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of presidential biographies or is interested in learning more about one of our most misunderstood presidents.

 

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Queens of the Conquest

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I received a free Kindle copy of Queens of the ConquestQueens of the Conquest by Alison Weir courtesy of Net Galley and Random HouseRandom House the publisher. It was with the understanding that I would post a review to Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and my history book review blog. I also posted it to my Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus pages.

I requested this book as the description sounded very interesting.. It is the first book by the Alsion Weir that I have read.

This book was informative and engaging. The author chronicles the lives of five of the earliest queens of England and is well researched. One of the things that I found interesting was that four of the five were named Matilda, although one of them was better know as Maud. The author paints a vivid picture of each one and their husbands and does not gloss over the expected norms of a relationship during those time periods.

This is the first of a series of four books on the queens and based on this one I am looking forward to the others. This is a definite read if you are interested in English royalty or are a fan of Alison Weir.

 

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Shooting Lincoln

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I received a free Kindle copy of Shooting Lincoln by Nicholas Pistor courtesy of Net Galley and DeCapo Press  the publisher. It was with the understanding that I would post a review to Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and my history book review blog. I also posted it to my Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus pages.

I requested this book as the description sounded very interesting and I have read a great deal about Abraham Lincoln. It is the first book by the Nicholas Pistor that I have read.

The subtitle of the book: Mathew Brady, Alexander Gardner and the Race to Photograph the Story of the Century partially tells the story contained in the book. When the author focuses on the main theme the book is good. The problem is that large sections of the book deal with what was going on in the civil war and there are several other books out there that do a much better job than this one.

Pistor does a very good job of presenting the background on Brady and Gardner and the reasons for their split.

I recommend this book if you have not read a great deal about Lincoln or the Civil War. If you have I would recommend skipping over the parts that do not deal directly with the two main characters on which the book is based.

 

 

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The Man From the Train

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I received a free Kindle copy of The Man from the Train by Bill James and Rachel McCarthy James courtesy of Net Galley and Scribner,  the publisher. It was with the understanding that I would post a review to Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and my history book review blog. I also posted it to my Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus pages.

I requested this book as the description sounded very interesting. It is the first book by the authors that I have read.

The subtitle, The Solving of a Century Old Serical Killer Mystery, is an adequate description of the book. It is a rather dull read due to the writing approach of the authors presenting the material in an almost “Joe Friday” format from the Dragnet television series (I know I am showing my age). Another slightly annoying detail is the authors briefly discussing a crime and then telling the reader that it will be covered in more detail in chapter xxx. They also included murders that were not part of the pattern or associated with individual that they identified as the serial killer. Again, I ask why include it other than fill pages.

In summary, this book just did not grab me or engage me. It is unfortunate becaus I had high hopes for the book. I will say that others have given it rave reviews on Goodreads so they must have found value in the book that I did not.

 

Posted in Crime, NetGalley | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment