Posts Tagged With: History

book review | Apollo 1: The Inside Story by David Whitehouse

apollo 11 the inside story david whitehouse book reviewAuthor: David Whitehouse
Title: Apollo 11: The Inside Story
Series: –
Genre: History; Science
Pages: 320
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

Somehow I have quite a few books on Apollo missions. Among which was “Apollo 11: The Inside Story” by David Whitehouse. A tale of the great space race to reach the moon.

About the Book: Author David Whitehouse has collected the tales of all the key players and put together a story of tension, rivalry, drama, and tragedies. From pioneers, to satellites, to rovers. The path to success, to the moon, is splattered with sweat, tears, and blood.

My Opinion: There’s quite a bit of tech stuff, but nothing’s too big or too serious. Worst is the dark side of the human beings. With rivalry unfolding there were true tragedies. And then once the goal got achieved, heroes got forgotten, in a sense, their troubles – no longer interesting. Kind of makes you wonder why we try so hard.

If you enjoy the moon landing tales, then go for it. A 4 out of 5.

Categories: 4-5, Biographies, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, Historical Books, Science Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | Darkly: Black History and America’s Gothic Soul by Leila Taylor

darkly black history and americas gothic soul leila taylor book cover reviewAuthor: Leila Taylor
Title: Darkly: Black History and America’s Gothic Soul
Series: –
Genre: History; Memoir
Pages: 207
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Finally, a truly good book! “Darkly: Black History and America’s Gothic Soul” by Leila Taylor is a beautiful memoir that encompasses black history and it’s great part, contribution and fit with the gothic subculture.

About the Book: When people already look upon you as “other” due to sheer ignorance or lack of representation, such vile ideas as “goth is so white” only serve to deepen the rift between “them” and “us“. In short, but with plenty of details, this book weaves together America’s history, specifically the black history that is too often hushed and overlooked, and that of gothic subculture.

My Opinion: First of all, let me just gloat in the fact someone put it so well what a goth is and what it might entail, without any ridiculous elitism that many “elder goths” shun like they don’t do it with “it’s the music scene, you must at least enjoy the music” as if those dusty records matter any more than fanciful relics of a culture no one bothers to research deeper. This way some jackass eventually comes up with that saying above, and other morons repeat it, thinking it “trendy” or “cool” (you know whom I pointing at). And second of all, this is a damn good book. Author speaks in short, but there’s enough details to follow and remain interested from cover to cover, with witty, heartwarming, and scary, heartbreaking stories to emphasize the point. Truly, I cannot recommend it enough.

A very good book. 5 out of 5.

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Categories: 5-5, Biographies, Books: Everything, Books: Horror, Books: NonFiction, Historical Books, Nosferatu Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | The Age of Vikings by Anders Winroth

the age of the vikings anders winroth book coverAuthor: Anders Winroth
Title: The Age of Vikings
Series: –
Genre: History; Vikings
Pages: 320
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

I’ve picked up “The Age of Vikings” by Anders Winroth after AC: Valhalla came out, and it’s one of the two history books I have on the topic. Can’t vouch for all facts in this, but there’s a lot of good and interesting stuff anyway.

About the Book: Book ranges all through what author calls Viking Age, as far as it can be traced, and in good detail, comparing stories, myths, tales, and what found evidence there is, paints a picture of how they came to be such a prominent force; what they gave to world, what they took from it, and what’s left of it all today.

My Opinion: This is pretty good, a fairly wide take on the topic, from farming to traditions, to values, to runes, to decor. Interesting and easy read.

A 4 out of 5, good starter book, just keep an open mind to learn beyond it. Or beyond what you have learned before it.

the age of vikings anders winroth book review

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Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, Historical Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | History’s 9 Most Insane Rulers by Scott Rank

historys 9 most insane rulers scott rank book reviewAuthor: Scott Rank
Title: History’s 9 Most Insane Rulers
Series: –
Genre: Nonfiction; History
Pages: 320
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

History’s 9 Most Insane Rulers” by Scott Rank must be taken with a grain of salt. And one must always keep in mind that by “insane” author means an actual mental illness, and not just behavior that would seem insane to regular folk.

About the Book: Nine insane rulers, their lives and the lives of their subjects, their country. From Caligula to a view into the far East, with a diagnosis at hand. Some might have not been cruel. Some might have not even been as insane as history, told by their enemies, claimed. But others had enough depravity for all and then some.

My Opinion: The first two or three chapters were pretty interesting, and that’s what gets the points. Later on as we proceed into more and more recent times there comes a need to google facts. Or rather, there’s these moments where I secretly wondered on whether author had access to internet, or maybe there was a non-disclosure agreement of some sort, for author, seemingly accidentally, blackens the name of poor people that are held hostage by their insane leaders.

It’s an okay book that I can give a 4 out of 5 for the sake of writing consistency. But please do remember, search engines are your friends.

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Categories: 4-5, Biographies, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, Historical Books | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | White Rage by Caron Anderson

the unspken truth of racial divide white rage carol andersonAuthor: Carol Anderson
Title: White Rage
Series: –
Genre: History; Nonfiction
Pages: 256
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

In the face of what’s happening in the world right now, the best we can do is listen and learn. So I picked up “White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide” by Carol Anderson. It shines light and gives better perspective on USA history, and what brought the whole world (thankfully) to this point.

About the Book: The book begins with the earliest history of America, which is fairly recent in comparison. It tells a surreal sounding tale of systematic racism, undercutting, and this constant mix of rage and despair, fear and loathing. And then, after listening to the atrocities that end with president Obama, you hear what sounds like a prophecy: mayors, governors, fear what will happen when yet another innocent black man is shot on the street.

My Opinion: The book didn’t get that far, it was released before the proverbial camel’s back broke, but that should only help you think. In a world where people refuse to listen and outright mocks the plea of the people just like them, merely because their system is made so its more convenient to do so – is violence then not the only language one can’t ignore? First pride “parade” was a violent riot too. So if we could just listen to people, people like Carol Anderson, maybe we’d not reach another point in our history again, where human beings have to throw rocks to be heard. This is a superbly written book, with a very kind author providing information to cover every corner in a tight, condensed manner, that leads you to very clear vision of why we’re here today.

It’s a great book, and I hope everyone reads it, and many more too. A strong 5 out of 5 from me.

america is stolen land built by people who were stolen from their land

Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, Historical Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | Bullets and Opium by Liao Yiwu

bullets and opium real life stories of china after tiananmen square massacre liao yiwuAuthor: Liao Yiwu
Title: Bullets and Opium
Series: –
Genre: Nonfiction; History
Pages: 320
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I’ve no memory where, how, or even why I got “Bullets and Opium” by Liao Yiwu. But since I’m determined to make a dent in my TBR shelf, I’ve read it. It’s a very strong and scary book.

About the Book: Tiananmen Square Massacre survivors share their gruesome stories of protests, fight against communist regime in China, the people’s plea for democracy in a country where wrong thoughts against the government is a punishable crime. And these folk, these writers, poets, journalists, all stood and spoke those thoughts out loud, demanding freedom, begging the military for mercy, reconsideration. Appealing to their sense of humanity and honor, for what will happen to them, their memory, when they remain on the evil side of the history? It sounds like a far away history, stuff that happened thirty years ago that left these people maimed for life mentally, physically. But even today they can’t return home, for the battle isn’t over.

My Opinion: Those of us who live in the countries that were under the Soviet regime will find these stories painfully familiar. We grew up with them, from our parents, from our grandparents, in our history books, in our low budget beautiful old movies. Dehumanizing acts against people who merely spoke up. Brutal behavior, nightmarish conditions, grueling work that killed many, maimed for life even more. And the tale isn’t over, with most of the world not being aware of it.

It’s a very tough book, but for the sake of the names in it, it’s a very worthy read. A 5 out of 5, for nothing else is in my power, but a review and hopefully – a few more readers.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, Historical Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | Detroit: An American Autopsy by Charlie LeDuff

charlie leduff detroit an american autopsy we are aliveAuthor: Charlie LeDuff
Title: Detroit: An American Autopsy
Series: –
Genre: History; Memoir
Pages: 304
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Digging into my nonfiction folder I’ve discovered “Detroit: An American Autopsy” by Charlie LeDuff. And it’s a very fine memoir.

About the Book: This is a memoir of a journalist and his city. Passionate, angry, full of determined home. Hope that something can be done, and determination to do all he can, as a journalist, knocking on all the doors, ringing all the damned bells, to reach someone, anyone, to help the living people in Detroit. A city where fires never cease for arson is cheaper than a movie. Where people rarely call the cops, and cops, in return, rarely come.

My Opinion: I know nothing of the Detroit as it is today, but if even half the good people described in this book got to something, I’m sure it’s a beautiful place to be. Author describes the crimes, the life, life and death in Detroit, the constant fires, and unreported bodies. And the good people within that do everything they can, people who don’t take life for granted, and try their best to get the most from it not just for themselves, but their family, their neighbor. You can feel the beating heart in these dark stories.

It’s a very fine piece. Probably not for everyone, but I can give a solid 5 out of 5.

Categories: 5-5, Biographies, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, Historical Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

nonfiction | “Apollo 8” by Jeffrey Kluger

2Author: Jeffrey Kluger
Title: Apollo 8
Series: –
Genre: History, Nonfiction
Pages: 320
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

When I was a kid, I wanted to be an astronaut. I absolutely had no clue how does one become one, and the fact I’m from Eastern Europe likely didn’t help either. But hey, I’ve read all about space and universe that I could lay my hands upon. This, I guess, is a tribute to that kid that still kinda wants to be an astronaut.

About: Before Apollo 11 and Neil Armstrong, the first man on the surface of the Moon, there was Apollo 1, Virgil Grissom, a blood curdling fire, and many, many more mistakes to come, with too many good men dead. But neither United States, nor the rest of the humanity were willing to give up just yet. So there was Apollo 2, and then Apollo 3… Up until Apollo 8, the first one to reach the Moon’s orbit. Approximately one third of the Earth’s population that had electricity and television available have been up and watching whatever footage there was. And this is the tale of those people they watched, their families, people on Earth who regulated the flight, and so on.

Mine: I love how this book is written. It’s always from third person, but very personal anyway. There you get to read a view from beside a wife of an astronaut, practically hear the child roll their eyes, because their dad is just an astronaut, no big deal, Billy’s dad is a fireman, now that’s a something! Merely because they grew up in this environment, with their old dad being an astronaut, with his old friends being astronauts. And over there you read from beside an engineer who is sweating bullets in dread, demanding tests ran on every single thing, every detail, in dread, in memory of that Apollo 1. And the moment it starts feeling too much like a fictional novel, a movie, author gives you all of the facts, all of the sources for the facts, and even audio recordings of the most important stuff.

The book is very well written. If you’ve any interest in how humanity finally stepped on the Moon, take this one. 5 out of 5 from me.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, Historical Books | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

history | “A Brief History of the War of the Roses” by Desmond Seward

1.jpgAuthor: Desmond Seward
Title: A Brief History of the Wars of the Roses
Series: –
Genre: Nonfiction, History
Pages: 320
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Not gonna lie, sometimes, when reading history books on better known, closer countries, if I know little to nothing of what’s going on, other than the few most famous or infamous names: I feel like an utter idiot. Back in the day I really loved history. I even wanted to study it. But the want melted away, and never returned.

This is a very well written, not at all dry history book of fifteen century England. It reads like a book with a little extra facts, all the people feeling very realistic in a sense that they could be characters. During this period of time Yorks and Lancasters tore at each other for the crown, and this particular war was called War of Two Roses. Here author steps in again, and lets you know why’s that, and how it wasn’t very accurate, really. It’s really entertaining, and easy to follow.

An interesting book, as, I feel, history books should be. I’ve no clue of how accurate it is factually, but if you’re curious on the topic, I can recommend this book. In fact, I’ll give it a 5 out of 5, and will keep the author in mind, in case there’s more interesting history books he wrote.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, Historical Books | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Ursula Doyle – Love Letters of Great Men

LoveLetters  There are books one reads slowly for they lack substance. And then there are books that merely require a little more savoring and contemplation. “Love Letters of Great Men” (goodreads), put together by Ursula Doyle, is the latter type. And it’s just that. Love letters

Somehow I expected both less and more out of it. At first all I saw were banal words, overused comparisons, funny little rants, obvious inability to express one self. And then it dawned upon me – half these men were probably exactly that – unable to express the chaotic feeling they had inside, the terrible greatness of it all. Some of them were writers and still it sounded pompous and full of airs, with an exception of Oscar Wilde. His letter had a proper whiff of an author about it and was probably the most dangerous one to write. But then we have Darwin as well, and how can one say he wrote poorly when he didn’t? And if he did, well, who could write better?

I truly don’t know how to rate this. In the end, they’re just letters. Personal and meant for one pair of eyes, no more. Someone who, as they expected, wouldn’t judge. Thus, I decided I won’t judge either and give it a fair 5 out of 5. It’s worth reading, especially to those who still have old-fashioned romanticism in their hearts.

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