The Great Quake

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I received a free Kindle copy of The Great Quake by Henry Fountain courtesy of Net Galley and Crown Publishing, 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 am have an avid interest in earth science and plate tectonics. This is the first book about the Alaskan Earthquake of 1964 that I have read. It is the first book by Henry Fountain that I have read.

I found this to be a very interesting book. It is well researched and well written. The first half of the book lays the groundwork for the earthquake with a discussion of the history of continental drift and plate tectonics and the small villages along the coast of Alaska that were severely damaged or in some cases wiped out by the tsunami that followed.

The second half of the book deals with the events that took place and the aftermath. The focus is on a few villages and individuals. The author does a very good job of bringing the human tragedy into the events that took place. Families and whole villages uprooted, decimated by loss and then eventually recovering.

I recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in plate tectonics, earthquakes and Alaska.

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The Cooperstown Casebook

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I received a free Kindle copy of The Cooperstown Casebook by Jay Jaffe courtesy of Net Galley and St. Martin’s PressSt. Martin’s 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 I am an avid baseball fan and the description of this book sounded interesting. It is the first book by Jay Jaffe that I have read.

This was an interesting book and a quick read. The premise of the book is accurately described in the subtitle: Who’s in the Baseball Hall of Fame, Who Should Be In and Who Should Pack Their Plaques. The author’s suppositions, while interesting, are based solely on numbers and ratios. While he presesnts strong arguements, he appears to want to totally take the human element out of the qualification process. There is not room for the intangibles – leadership in the clubhouse or clutch pitching, hitting or fielding as examples. He also in in favor of overlooking some of the seedier side of baseball. While I can go along with overlooking the steriod era as ballplayers since the establishment of the game have always looked for an edge, I do not agree with allowing those who gambled on the game to be allowed entrance into the hall. Joe Jackson admitted that they threw the second game of the Black Sox series and Pete Rose has denied betting on the Reds while he was manager, there is not proof of it or that he may have manipulated the lineup to lose games.

This is not a book for the casual or even more than casual baseball fan. It is intended for hard core fans, but does not really present anything new (other than additional numbers) to the arguements of those who are in and shouldn’t be and those who are not and should be.

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Electric October

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I received a free Kindle copy of Electric October by Kevin Cook courtesy of Net Galley and Henry Holt & Company, 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 am an avid New York Yankees fan and I have read numerous books about them. It is the first book by Kevin Cook that I have read.

This is a very engaging book that addresses the roles that six individuals played in the 1947 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn  Dodgers. They were players Bill Bevens, Al Gionfriddo, Cookie Lavagetto, Snuffy Stirnweiss, and managers Bucky Harris and Burt Shotton. Cook follows their careers, some of which were long term in baseball and some that were not. Bevens, Gionfriddo and Lavagetto were remembered for a single play that followed them the rest of their lives. This is one of the best baseball books that I have read in that the focus was not on the stars, but on those who had a brief moment in the sun.

I strongly recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of baseball and the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers.

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The Ghost Ship of Brooklyn

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I received a free Kindle copy of The Ghost Ship of Brooklyn by Robert Watson 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 I read a great deal about the Revolutionary War, but this is the first time that I have seen a book devoted to the subject of the prison ships used by the British. It is the first book by Robert Watson that I have read.

This is a well researched and engaging read. It is not a dry recitation of the facts surrounding the subject. The author used the written first hand experiences of five survivors of the infamous prison ship the Jersey that reportedly had over 11,000 men die as a result of their incareration on it.

Watson delves into the reasons why the British used the ship(s) and the amount of embezzlement that led to the horrid conditions on the ship. In addition, he discusses the differences in the groups of rotating guards on the ship. In the final chapter, he briefly presents what happenned to the the 5 survivors and the main characters on the British side.

I recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in the Revolutionary War and is interested in an interesting read about something of which there has been little written about.

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The Unwomanly Face of War

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I received a free Kindle copy of The Unwomanly Face of War by Svetlana Alexievich courtesy of Net Galley and Random 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 I read a great deal about World War II, but always from a man’s perpsective. It is the first book by Svetlana Alexievich that I have read.

This book was engaging and very interesting. It is a compilation of first hand experiences of a number of Russian women who had been involved in World War II. The stories give you a different perspective in that they are from a woman’s viewpoint about fighting in wartime.

I strongly recommend this book for those who have an interest in World War II and in particular from the viewpoint of those who are often overlooked in other books on the subject.

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Shadow Over The Atlantic

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I received a free Kindle copy of Shadow Over the Atlantic: The Luftwaffe and the U-Boats: 1943-45 by Robert Forsyth courtesy of Net Galley and Osprey Publishing, 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 read a great deal about World War II, but not much about U-Boats and their interaction with the Luftwaffe. It is the first book by Robert Forsyth that I have read.

This is a well researched book, but it is not one that will rivet you to your seat and cannot put down. The author presents the facts and story is a well detailed history of the relationship between U-Boats and the Luftwaffe. It lacks the engagement that some of the other authors of the time period have developed that makes for a more enjoyable read.

I recommend this to anyone with an interest in World War II in Europe, the Luftwaffe and U-Boats. But be prepared for a somewhat dry recitation of the facts.

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Hannibal

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I received a free Kindle copy of Hannibal by Patrick N. Hunt courtesy of Net Galley and Simon & Schuster, 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 heard a great deal about Hannibal Barca and saw the movie from several years ago, but had not really read anything about him. It is the first book by Patrick N. Hunt that I have read.

This book is well researched and written. My limited exposure to Hannibal revolved around his getting battle Elephants over the Alps and into Italy as part of invasion. As it turns out, this was a great achievement, but the elephants did not really play that big a role in the subsequent years and battles.

Hannibal was a great military strategist who continually won battles against superior numbers, but over a period of years the lack of support from his home country eventually led to his downfall. After semi-retiring, he ended up taking his own life instead of being arrested and put on trial as a result of Romans seeking revenge. The author does a good job of presenting the facts in chronological order and with great detail.

I recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in learning more about Hannibal Barca.

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