Leo T. - Reviews

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100 Planes 100 Years: The First Century of Aviation
100 Planes 100 Years: The First Century of Aviation
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 4/19/2017


The authors begin by noting that simple planes can be kept in the air today while those after the 1930s are too complex. Witness the problems the Confederate Air Force has in flying their B-29 a few times a year.
Louis Bleriot was a businessman who built a series of planes, the Bleriot XI flying the English Channel in 1909 and then the production models being employed in combat in 1914.
Interesting to read of each selected airplane as it is commented upon regrading its place in the 20th C. and its attributes. Good photos, as would be expected, no index but the table of contents lists each featured airplane. There is a list of airplane museums. My copy doesn't seem to be well bound (PRC).
I still like the Ford Trimotor (the authors explain the emphasis was on reliability, not sleek design) and the DC-3 that made Douglas' reputation here in S. Cal. The people who bought residences near the Santa Monica airport, knowing there is noise, are adamant that it will close, as well as those with development plans. The Beechcraft Bonanza is lauded for its decades of being in production. The Gruman E-2 Hawkeye is 1975's selection.


111 Days in Stanleyville.
111 Days in Stanleyville.
Author: Reed, David.
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 4/25/2011


This book is based on over three hundred interviews with those who endured the four months in Stanleyville. After the death of Patrice Lumumba, General Olenga's Simba rebel army ruled a large section of the Congo. An international effort rescued most of them by the U.S.A.F. flying in 550 Belgian paratroopers via Ascension Island, but two dozen were mown down by the Simba troops. However, two thousand were then flown out with only the clothes on their backs in what some feel is a fitting end in some ways to the bloody history of the Belgian Congo. That is not the view of the author.


1776: Year of Illusions
1776: Year of Illusions
Author: Thomas Fleming
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 8/6/2014


This is a long (35 chapters) and well-researched tome, written in an easily understandable style, and well worth reading even if it is kept on the bedside table and not finished for months. I didn't read this when it was written 40 years ago and found it in a box of books courtesy of our JWV post, read it on bus rides for three weeks, and was delighted when it was immediately taken by someone when I put it on the shelf at the old soldiers' home (we have few readers).
The year opened very hopefully, with the British holding only Boston, a few posts in Florida, and under siege in Quebec and ended with Washington hard pressed to preserve his army. Fleming discusses the dark side of 1776 as well as the upsides and urges Americans in 1976 to accept our failings today "without losing hope or faith in the future (481)." Of special interest is the efforts of Admiral Lord Howe to not completely squash the rebel army lest a very hard rule be imposed on the colony as Lord Germain and others in the British government desired. There are succinct descriptions of the English society and politics of the time, and how that led to the policy of the government.
Readers are reminded of how little revenue the British were demanding per capita from the colonists. We all remember John Adams saying one third of colonialists were Loyalists, one third Rebels, and one third rather indifferent, but the dilemma of making this decision as events of 1776 forced it on many people is conveyed to us. There are many insights for Americans who covered this in fifth, eighth, and eleventh grades, as well as in junior college. For example, I had forgotten the the Continental currency held its value pretty well throughout the year and didn't realize (given what Canadians say today) how our forces in Canada could have won the day given some hard money and fewer anti-Catholic chaplains.
This book would serve well in a reading classroom in the 11th grade, with 35 different students each having a chance to share their chapter with the whole class for a few minutes. Includes endnotes, bibliography, and index.


1913: The Year Before the Storm
1913: The Year Before the Storm
Author: Florian Illies
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 8/8/2018


A sophisticated reader will enjoy this.
This is a translation of the German first edition of 2012. While waiting at the local LA County regional library, I spotted this on the shelf and checked it out with the idea it could be used as collateral reading for interested students in Eleventh grade US history when the Wilson administration is being studied. For example, Discuss in a group the chapter you choose to read (each student selecting one chapter) 10 pts.
However, the chapters I read (January and July) require a considerable amount of background knowledge about the largely German (some others, almost all Western European) artists and writers included. There are few politicians. There are anecdotes about these luminaries' daily activities, garnered from letters, diaries, and biographies for the most part. The selected âentries' do offer an interesting and human view of their lives.
Kafka, painters of Die Brucke, Junger, Karl Krau, âElse Lasker-Sholer, F4ranz Marc, Freud, Adorno, Proust, are included in January. The founding of the first Aldi market is mentionedâthe West German supermarket chain is now expanding into the USA.
Joe Stalin was in Vienna for four weeks, his longest trip abroad until Tehran during the war, and he stayed near the park of Schonbronn Palace, where he liked to take a walk, as did Hitler in that same month.
July includes Macke, Ernst De Chirico, Rosessler, Schiele, Eva Gruel, Musil, Spengler, Rilke, and Koroschka.
A handful of Americans are mentioned, Louis Armstrong being sent to the Colored Waifs Home for Boys and being given a trumpet (January chapter). I suspect they might have been added for this edition. There is a bibliography, but no index, so a student working on a term paper cannot readily find information to offer a lighter touch on, for example, the critic Alfred Kerr giving a bad review to Thomas Mann's play Fiorenza. Mann's train trip from Munich to attend the opening in Berlin and the effect on him is covered in detail.


2005 Standard Catalog of World Coins: 1901-Present (Standard Catalog of World Coins)
Review Date: 8/7/2018


I haven't looked at any of the all the world coin catalogues for some time, but find it is still of interest. Prices and most importantly, a long list of various issues. There is a chart to help one estimate minimum values given the spot price of silver (or gold).
It was on the 'free' book truck at the branch library for nearly a week. I have been taking a couple of books for the old soldiers' home and a dozen that are wish listed by PBS comrades. I had put this on the bottom and took it this afternoon and then wasted a couple hours looking at it. The copy is in ex-library, with usual markings, otherwise VG, but too heavy to mail. I will probably return it unless I can figure a way to get it to the old soldiers.
It is well bound.


The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding
The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding
Author: Al Ries, Laura Ries
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 6
Review Date: 6/14/2018


I obtained this as an add-on from a PBS comrade who was mailing me a wish listed book. It was published mainly for additional reading in college classes and I find it to be still of interest and use.
The author is very succinct. Read the introduction and then the chapters of interest to you if you have limited time. I am looking at it on the bus and then will leave it on the book truck in the lobby of the VA Hospital.
The Ries emphasize that marketing is branding. The old rule about selling is fading at the start of the 21st C., which is illustrated by the many retail places that have cashiers but few if any salespeople. And on the Internet, one tends to search for something under the brand name of the firm, such as 'Amazon' rather than searching through 'books.'
Chapter One is The Law of Expansion--The power of a brand is inversely proportional to its scope. Thus ToyRUs went the wrong way with BabiesRUs and Starbuck went the right way with coffee as noted with other examples in Chapter 2--The Law of Contraction.
No more time to type....
P.S. I read and enjoyed several more chapters on the way to an appt. at the VA Hospital and put the book on the free book truck in the lobby at 5:30 A.M. As I departed just before noon, I checked and saw someone had taken it up, which is great!
Index.


3 Kings: Diddy, Dr. Dre, Jay-Z, and Hip-Hop's Multibillion-Dollar Rise
Review Date: 3/15/2018


I heard one of the principals flogging the book on NPR and obtained a copy from the library as I did not know these masters of hip-hop were such shrewd businessmen. Quite a lot of their success with investments came from maturity. None of them has any background in formal studies of economics, etc. nor did they come from a family where someone would explain these facts of life to them.
It is well written, the author having developed this beat for Fortune several years ago. There are endnotes to back up his statements--many people have talked to him and others over the years and he seemingly has followed up every lead. There is also a chapter on 50cent, yet another who left the life behind.
"Hip-hop's top organizations were born out of a combination of gut feel and necessity. Diddy, Dre, Jay-Z, and their ilk founded record companies because at first they couldn't get deals with major labels; they launched their own clothing and liquor lines because mainstream brands wouldn't meet their compensation requirements for endorsements."
Good index.


360 Sound: The Columbia Records Story
360 Sound: The Columbia Records Story
Author: Sean Wilentz
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 3/17/2018


A really great book about this company that began by signing Sousa for its popular cylinders and carried on to Springsteen. Excellent photos and quite a bit of text.
Index and Grammy Award Winners.
There are a couple of wishes outstanding but I have been left holding the bag (i.e. carry around the book and finally leave it at the 'free' book truck at another branch library) because my PBS comrades allowed 48 hours to pass by without replying. So I will leave this AF ex-library book to await another person....


The 51 Capitals of the U.S.A.
The 51 Capitals of the U.S.A.
Author: Muriel Mandell
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 3/19/2018


Well chosen photographs and nicely written comments on these cities, with some getting short shrift (Boise, Madison, Cheyenne) and others fulsome treatment (Princeton, Sacramento, Boston, Montpelier).
Index.


The 7th Infantry Regiment: Combat in an Age of Terror: The Korean War Through the Present
Review Date: 3/24/2017


This is the first volume of two, the next one covered the War of 1812 through WWI, this Army unit being one of the oldest, their motto being 'willing and able.'
The author aims to share with his readers 'what combat was like for the generations of men who served in the unit.' This is not a regimental history, but McManus has done his work in various archives and found those who served to be generous in granting him interviews.
It starts with 'fighting so hard and frantically' for a hill in Korea after being not much more than a skeleton unit when sent to Japan, the hard fighting in Vietnam, and then the crash into incompetence of the post-Vietnam army that General Creighton Abrams dealt with. Kosovo and the two Gulf Wars are told with a large input from veterans. Notes, bibliography, and indexes.


8 O'Cluck
8 O'Cluck
Author: Jill Creighton
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 12/22/2015


Written by a Canadian, with acclaimed Canadian artist Pierre-Paul Pariseau illustrations that employ collage in today's digital media. Unlike the Bros. Grimm, the hungry protagonist does not die a gruesome death.


97 Ways to Make A Baby Laugh
97 Ways to Make A Baby Laugh
Author: Jack Moore
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 31
Review Date: 12/8/2016


A clever idea and the execution is great. There is a photo of a smiling baby on every page! I will give it to a Marine so he can try it on his great grandkid (?), a baby that visits him sometimes at the Nursing Home.


The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook: A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal
Review Date: 12/26/2017


I read some of this on the bus/subway when taking it to the VA Hospital where there are many readers. It got no reader at the old soldiers' home in eight weeks on the shelf.
It reads well but there is a lack of index, footnotes, and bibliography and so is not very easy for a student to use.
Author's note: "recreating dialogue," "recreated scenes," and "changed or imagined." Zuckerberg refused to be interviewed.


The Accidental Theorist and Other Dispatches from the Dismal Science
Review Date: 8/24/2018


I got the book for the shelf at the old soldiers' home but I don't think anyone read it. Pulling it after eight weeks to take to the VA Hospital lobby (many readers), I enjoyed reading most of it before dropping it off.
These are articles for a popular readership and often are still of interest. Many are suitable for collateral reading in a US History or Economics class.
Some highlights:
Dr. Krugman criticizes Robert Reich ('Downsizing, Downsizing' pp. 24-27). "Like much of what Reich says, tis story was clear, compelling, brilliantly packaged, and mostly wrong." "...wrong about this and most other things...." "Reich's style of economics relies on anecdotes rather than statistics, slogans rather than serious analysis...."
'In Praise of Cheap Labor,' (pp. 80-86). Addressing the low paying manufacturing jobs in Third World countries, the economist argues that these jobs are better than what they had.
During the Clinton Administration a $50 billion loan was arranged for Mexico after investors lost confidence, thus staving off disaster. (pp. 142-145).
'Cornering the market,' an economic term, is demonstrated with copper in the 1990s (pp. 34-41).
A couple of essays deal with currency and crisis: George Soros working over sterling was an anamoly; it is rare for a "sinister financial mastermind" to cause a devaluation on his own. Mr. Soros certainly remains unloved by some governments and a whipping boy.
The other article is about the Asian financial crisis that devastated that part of the world. See Making the World Safe for George Soros plus Bahtulism: Who Poisoned Asia's Currency Markets? (146-161).
Standards (Rates) of living are compared, 1950 and 2000 in The CPI and the Rat Race (pp. 191-195).
A political science essay from an economist was published in 1997 in which Krugman considers the pluses and minuses of democratic elections (pp. 179-183).
No index.


Accounting for Slavery: Masters and Management
Accounting for Slavery: Masters and Management
Author: Caitlin Rosenthal
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 8/15/2018


I have not yet seen the book; rating is based on hearing her flog the book for about three minutes on Marketplace radio, 8/14/2018. She bases a lot of her work on Thos. Jefferson's account books as few plantations kept such a detailed record and fewer survive.


The Adams Family (Adams Chronicles)
The Adams Family (Adams Chronicles)
Author: James Truslow Adams
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 7/12/2018


This well known book is best for those with some background knowledge of history as it is not aimed at being a biography or a history, but instead seeks to explain why the four generations of the family (beginning with President John Adams) made an extraordinary mark on America. Adams are not politicians, instead harking back to the idea that the best and brightest of their generation should work to build a country that is well and selflessly governed.
"That a farmer's son should become a President is, happily, no strange phenomenon in the great democracy, but it is strange indeed, that his descendants, for five generations, by public service in the highest of offices or by intellectual contributions, should remain leaders of the nation which their ancestor so conspicuously helped to found."
Abigail Adams shines more brightly when it is recalled the many years that she had to run the household in Braintree with few resources and the fact that even as Vice President, Adams had a salary of only $5,000 a year, insufficient to cover living and travel expenses. "Hamilton got only $3.500 a year."
Given the current popularity of Mr. Hamilton it is interesting to recall the political machinations that he visited upon John Adams. The author does admit the failings of his ancestors, noting the costs when one was on a 'high horse,' such as John Adams resenting the popularity of Geo. Washington. Facts that the reader may have forgotten are recalled here, such as Col. Washington being named General in Chief on the motion of Adams as a member of the Continental Congress. "Unfortunately he began to overrate his services, great as they were--or, rather, he failed to realize the difference between his own and those of others, no less essential because different."
Also the French did not want the USA to be too successful, being interested mainly in something that provided trouble for the UK--Vergennes was not our friend.
The index is not very good and there are few footnotes, which is problematical in that one might care to read further about certain events that are mentioned and cannot be detailed in one volume.


The Admiral's Wolfpack
The Admiral's Wolfpack
Author: Jean Noli
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 11/22/2016


No index or footnotes, this is not a scholarly book. But the author did talk to many of the U-boat personnel and obtained many stories now forgotten as the Greatest Generation fades away. 49 U-boats remained at sea when Admiral Doenitz, serving as Chancellor, ordered them to surrender on 9 May 1945 in a message sent at !:40 A.M. The Commandant of U-977 allowed 16 of the crew to go ashore in Norway and the other 26 mariners went to Argentina, a passage of 66 days underwater.


The Affluent Worker in the Class Structure
The Affluent Worker in the Class Structure
Author: John H. Goldthorpe, et. al.
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 2.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 2/23/2011


The interest is in measuring the changes in the mental attitudes of solid working class blokes, i.e. their normative orientation converging with the mindset of some UK white collar chaps. Such a change is defined using the Marxist term "embourgeoisement." Their well formulated interviewing programme yields enduring results. Explanatory footnotes and charts, tables, index, and an extensive bibliography are included.


Africa in My Blood: An Autobiography in Letters: The Early Years
Africa in My Blood: An Autobiography in Letters: The Early Years
Author: Jane Goodall
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 11/22/2016


Not for the general reader, but for someone very interested or with a scholastic project. She came to Kenya at the very end of the Mau Mau Wars and met Louis S.B. Leakey, who was interested in apes....


Africa South
Africa South
Author: Harm J. de Blij
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 3/27/2018


A well written analysis of the Republicof South Africa, as the Afrikaaners decided to make a last stand, plus Rhodesia, Nyasaland, Angola, and Mozambique, the latter areas serving as a buffer zone. "Truly, the country had never been so completely alone. Condemned once again in the United Nations for her racial policies and suppoted there--a doubtful honor indeed--only by Portugal's lone vote, censured for her actions concerning South West Africa, and boycotted in the world of trade, the Union during its last months stood in isolation. The Afrikaners accepted this condition self-righteously. Everyone else in the country viewed the grim future with apprehension, and many decided to leave."


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