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.


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 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....


The African and Middle Eastern World, 600-1500 (The Medieval and Early Modern World)
Review Date: 4/6/2017


Very nicely done, mostly text, but with many illustrations included.


African Betrayal.
African Betrayal.
Author: Darlington, Charles, and Alice Darlington.
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 2.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 4/25/2011


An unusual book because after U.S. Ambassador to Gabon Darlington discusses political and economic matters, his wife has the rest of the book to give her take on the life and people of Gabon. Darlington, a career State Department official who helped found the UN, liked President Mba but finds the small, newly independent nation will have hard going. "All French businesses were protected by the powerful Chamber of Commerce, which made sure that its members were not disturbed by newcomers. There were only two or three electricians, only three metalworkers, only one baker, and so on down the line. What means were employed to keep others out I do not know, but they worked."


The Age of Grief
The Age of Grief
Author: JANE SMILEY
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 3/24/2017


This is a collection of sophisticated stories, the author having won a Pulitzer for another book. I read and enjoyed Jeffrey, Believe Me on the bus this morning.


Age of McCarthyism: A Brief History With Documents
Age of McCarthyism: A Brief History With Documents
Author: Ellen W. Schrecker
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 11/7/2016


The copy I have is of the revised edition of 2002, purchased by a student at East L.A. College, with some chapters underlined from use in a class. I am surprised that it was assigned, given the dumbing down of so many junior college classes today, compared to fifty years ago.
The book consists of sixteen short chapters, 106 pages, followed by 168 pages of documents, speeches, etc., and a glossary, index, and bibliography.
The chapters are concise and well-written. I read Chapter 12 Who Lost China? on the subway and believe it would work well in a high school history class that emphasizes reading if included in the weekly reading packet for brief whole class discussion.
I suspect we had no readers in the 7 weeks this was on the shelf at the old soldiers' home but it will be certainly taken up when I deliver it to the 'free' book truck at the VA Hospital lobby this week.


Airborne: Assault from the Sky (Power Series)
Airborne: Assault from the Sky (Power Series)
Author: Hans Halberstadt
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 8/8/2016


No wishes and none posted but I found it an interesting book (excerpted from a longer work and for student use) that I have taken to the old soldiers home.


The Aisles Have Eyes: How Retailers Track Your Shopping, Strip Your Privacy, and Define Your Power
Review Date: 2/14/2017


I have not yet seen the book but the author flogged it to Terry Gross (WHYY) 13 February 2017, 8 p.m., KPBS for about twenty minutes. He knows his apples and in his interview includes speculation about how much more retailers will know about us in a few short years.
As it is, I would think that few people know how closely they are starting to track shoppers. It has been previously reported that prices may be adjusted to obtain a sale from an unsure customer, but your cellphone may soon offer a 15% discount at a nearby competitor as you walk into a store to get a cuppa java.


Alfred the Great: Asser's Life of King Alfred and Other Contemporary Sources (Penguin Classics)
Review Date: 3/3/2016


I just now was writing a short essay and hitting the wrong key, lost it, maybe 500 words. I am such a dumkopf to even bother.
This is a scholarly book that I found of interest because much is deduced from limited source material, although this King of Wessex, justifiably called 'the great' for withstanding bands of Vikings who were wintering in various towns until they settled in the Danelaw, actually had a contemporary biographer and there are copies of his will, his laws, the Chronicles, Alfred's translation of Augustine's Soliloquies, etc. that provide the 'grist' for this book. The copious endnotes discuss and evaluate the Latin employed by the writer 1100 years ago, possible mistakes in copying, and arrive at what is likely.
I was surprised that Alfred, as a lad, traveled twice to Rome, because I think of the 9th Century as having poor and dangerous roads, that coins were scarce, etc. Of course, my neighbor Dona Marta showed me the 'passport' issued by the Spanish Governor of Alta California when her forbears (Rancho San Rafael) traveled to Mexico City in 1818, during the Revolution of 1810, and when little coin circulated in Alta California (then arguably end of the world).
This book is in few public libraries (Worldcat) and in many college and university libraries. Its quality is attested by its considerable sale, given that few classes are offered in Medieval History and few want to know this much about King Alfred's reign. I myself read the (long) introduction and accompanying endnotes carefully and with interest.
Poorly indexed, excellent endnotes, good bibliography, and serviceable maps/genealogical charts.


Alien Invaders/Invasores extraterrestres (Bilingual)
Alien Invaders/Invasores extraterrestres (Bilingual)
Author: Lynn Huggins Cooper
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 10/13/2016


Nicely illustrated. Each part of this book is a double page spread, one page illustration, and the other a sentence or two in English, followed by the same in Spanish. The type is large (16 point?) but the vocabulary is somewhat challenging for lower elementary kids (thus they may learn a new word or three). The last page is a Vocabulary/Vocabulario list.
P.7: Wrong! The alien invaders are here. !Nada de eso! Los invasores extraterrestres ya estan aqui.
0 posted but 0 wishes (as is almost always true with Spanish language books for lower elementary kids on PBS), so I will put it back on the branch library discard shelf for someone else to buy (25 cents).


All Aboard!: Passenger Trains Around the World
All Aboard!: Passenger Trains Around the World
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 12/28/2016


A very brief but well done introduction to rail travel--50 pages. Well-chosen photos, index, and glossary. It ends with excursion steam trains but includes good sections on EU travel, Canada, Amtrak, etc.


Altered Landscapes
Altered Landscapes
Author: Pfahl, John.
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 3/8/2011


This is Untitled 26 in the series. "Pfahl made the photographs contained in Untitled 26 during the second half of the 1970s. The series, Altered Landscapes, has proved to be very popular with curators, critics and collectors. We are pleased to bring a substantial number of them together in this volume."


America.
America.
Author: Schaff, Philip
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 2/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 3/4/2011


"Excuse me from the unpleasant task of giving a minute description of this godless German-American pest, as it shows itself daily in the rudest and most insolent fashion, especially in so many scurrilous political newspapers and tippling-houses in all the larger cities of the Union. Only allow me respectfully to remind you, that the guilt of it rests on Germany herself, who sends over, or permits to go, to America, as though it were merely a general house of correction for all European scamps and vagabonds, thousands, yea, hundreds of thousands, and among them a large portion of its very worst and most incorrigible population, without caring for their moral and spiritual wants."


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