"While the book mostly covers events of the American Revolutionary War that occurred in 1776, it also examines the background for those events. For example, what were the individuals who influenced those events really like. Or it relates interesting information about the culture as a whole.
A very interesting book about our American personality during the revolutionary period and that of some of our enemies---the British.
Just as an example, one out of every eight buildings in Boston was a drinking establishment."
"A very well written book for younger readers. The book covers a trial that set precedents for legal matters that the writers of the Constitution did not anticipate. These precedents would be used in cases at both the local and national level over the next two hundred years and even help change history.
I was most impressed that such a book was written for young readers as it discusses constitutional law, a subject not often covered in books for that age group. And especially because it painted a negative picture of Thomas Jefferson, often described as a great president in most books, but who was, in reality, a very poor president and a self-centered man who should never have been elected to that office. This view is supported in other books I have read.
As such, the book opens up a new view for young readers, who are all too often subjected to a white-washed history of our nation."
"A very interesting tale from a National Guard officer whose regiment was assigned to a regular Army division. The author relates the class distinctions between regulars and the National Guard that existed throughout the war.
He also tells how officers and NCOs who served in the Guard outfit for years were discovered unsuitable for their positions as leaders in combat, and how they were eventually replaced, got sick or died.
I was fascinated, but not really surprised, by his constant telling of how the U.S. Army screwed up the replacement process and how senior officers treated the infantry as a necessary evil to ensure their promotions.
From my readings of veterans from both the Pacific and European theaters, the Army officers who were responsible for the Army's replacement policy should have been severely punished after WW II.
Considering that the author eventually became a one-star general himself in the post-war National Guard, I hope he remembered the lessons he learned at war."
"Not as good as the rest of Hervey's adventures. It is somewhat bogged down with politics, his love life (if you can call it that), and his imprisonment. This gives him time to recall his adventures in past Spanish campaigns but even that somewhat drags.
Fortunately for Hervey, a good deed done years ago helps him escape his present woes."
"Another exciting and well written version of the adventures of Robin Hood. This one follows many of the old tales associated with the famous 'outlaw,' but also includes tales of his childhood before he was driven in to the forest. Thoroughly enjoyable.
Spoiler: Those who desire a happy ending will want to skip the final chapter which takes place in Robin's later life when things do not turn out well for him.
"Another interesting history book that shows President Woodrow Wilson wasn't quite the marvel that some of our school books would have us believe.
In this book. Wilson invades Mexico simply because he doesn't like the current leader who is no threat to anyone outside Mexico. Wilson shows how to take a stand despite being given facts that he won't listen to. In that, I guess he is no different than several other presidents we've had.
All that results is Central Americans liking us even less.
The only ones who come up smelling like roses are many of our military and numerous Mexican citizens.
For another book relating how Wilson overrules the rights of others, in this case citizens of the United States, read The Great Influenza."
"I wrote a nice three or four paragraph review of this book and then went to save it. Unfortunately for me, PBS was upgrading the site and the review wasn't saved. At least the book description I typed in seems to have been accepted. Of course, I have forgotten what I wrote. So let me try a different approach.
This was not an easy book to read as the author often lists all the units engaged in different actions. And, at the same time, this is not a 'men in combat' book listing the efforts of individual units and soldiers that so many of us enjoy.
What it is is an analysis of the planning, tactics, and actual happenings of Operation Cobra. I especially enjoyed one sentence where the author relates the overcomplicated plan developed by one division commander as the worst thing that he could have done and then states that, fortunately, nothing worked out that way.
The author both praises General Bradley for his concept for Operation Cobra and faults him for his fire control plan that resulted in the loss of so many Americans due to friendly fire. The author also shows how even the corps commanders did not deserve the praise for the operation that they later received. Instead, the author shows that Operation Cobra was not the walk through of bombed out German positions that is often suggested in the histories, but was a confused mess that the regimental and battalion commanders and the individual fighting soldiers, all who had learned their trade in the weeks since the Normandy landings, were able to rescue from an apparent disaster to an overwhelming victory from the confusion of the short bombings, traffic jams and 'fighting without fronts' that led to Operation Cobra's success.
In the end, this is another revisionist history of World War II, and destroyer of some myths, that all might not agree with, but which deserves the attention of all who are deeply interested in the history of World War II in Europe. Operation Cobra opened the floodgates for the rapid liberation of France and more than made up for the slow, slogging fight through the hedgerows of Normandy. And, what I particularly liked, it is yet more proof that the German soldier was not the greatest fighting man of World War II."
"The Battle of Leyte Gulf, one of the largest naval battles in the history of the world, stretched over such a vast area that it had several major sub-battles.
The complete destruction of the Japanese Southern force is almost anticlimatic to the other battles. The Americans did nothing wrong there. Hasley's 'failure' to defend the northern flank of the American task forces is still argued about today--over 60 years afterwards--as to whether he did the right thing.
However, the unbelievably heroic--even these words are an understatment--actions of the men manning the 'jeep' carriers and their destroyer escorts against Japanese battleships and cruisers are a testimony to the courage of "The Greatest Generation." While this book does cover this final battle in great detail, the best book on this action is found in "The Last Stand of the Tin-Can Sailors."
Overall the book is somewhat confusing, as the author jumps around and repeats information. The book is also not well referenced and you often wonder if the author reviewed information that supports his views or is just writing what he think happened. I also noticed some historical errors in the book that I included in my review on the Amazon site.
If you are only going to read one book on this battle, don't make it this one."
"Nine good, old sci-fi stories from the late 1940's. The list of authors includes many of the greats: Edmond Hamilton, Robert Bloch, Erle Stanley Gardner, Arthur C. Clarke, Clifford D. Simak, Ray Bradbury, A.E. van Vogt, Andre Norton and Isaac Asimov."
"I don't know what it is about Alistair MacLean's books. You pick one up to just read a chapter or two, and the next thing you know you are halfway through it. I think I've read every one he ever wrote and they were addictive.
This one - Night Watch - was finished based on notes he left before he died. Once one of the top authors on the NYT Bestseller list, MacLean gave you all the action, intrigue, and suspense you could want, without resorting to the supposed "required" sexual interludes that seem to be the hallmark of today NYT authors.
MacLean's action starts off slow with events based on a single premise, then quickly diverges into several subplots that get more suspenseful as the book evolves. Yet he does this without losing the reader in complicated tangles.
What is best is that he often waits until the final chapter to expose the true hero and the plot twist. Plus, most of his novels leave you with the nice feeling that once again Good has triumphed over Evil.
I think I read Night Watch long ago, but it wasn't on my shelves and I had forgotten the plot. I finished it within 24 hours.
What made this book more interesting to me now is that I have seen the original painting in Holland since I last read this book.
Pick up any of MacLean's books - you won't be disappointed."
"The fifth book in this series, and apparently the last written by the author who devoted himself to other interests. It somewhat leaves you hanging, as apparently it was suppose to continue as Captain Briddlecomb has a new ship and other enemies to defeat.
This ship's captain must have been the luckiest man in the American Revolutionary Navy. His escapes sometimes strain the imagination, but that doesn't mean the stories are not interesting."
"If you read much about World War II in Europe, you know that Roosevelt and Churchill had problems with Charles De Gaulle. Yet most books do not go into much detail on this relationship, except to place the blame on De Gaulle.
However, this book takes the stance that it was De Gaulle that had problems with Roosevelt and Churchill, especially with Roosevelt and some of his pro-Vichy advisors. This is not a new outlook, as historians are lately looking askance at how Roosevelt manipulated his allies. There are several books that show how Roosevelt initially proclaimed friendship for Churchill and then ditched him, even insulted him, as the Americans took a more prominent position in the war.
According to a number of historians, Roosevelt ran the U.S. government as if he owned it, treating his cabinet and vice-president as insignificant figures that he played off one another. Roosevelt did the same with world figures, like Churchill, Stalin, De Gaulle and others.
In one place in the book, Roosevelt states that De Gaulle had "the Messianic complex." Well, Roosevelt would know, as he had one himself. This book just reinforces this belief that I have gained from other readings.
The author does a good job of showing the cooperation and infighting between the three and how De Gaulle overcame it all in the end, beating out Roosevelt's attempts to sideline him.
The negative side of the book is that the author uses almost no citations to back up what he wrote, except for some text in the back stating that "so-and-so states this in his book -------."
Still it is a good read as it shows why we had trouble with France when De Gaulle led it for 11 years. If I was insulted as much as he was, I would have treated the U.S. and Great Britain in the same way.
"As it was an 'oral history' I wasn't too sure I would enjoy the book, as it seemed to consist of a collection of short sentences and paragraphs from numerous individuals (privates to majors). But I was pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed the story with all its heroics, dumb luck, misfortunes and stupidity. Once again, the Marines and their training proved that us 'sea going bellhops' can usually overcome anything thrown at us.
As a former USMC officer who served in Viet Nam, I was taken back numerous times when certain terms were used, and the photographs of living conditions and shacks in so-called "rear areas."
While this was a significant action, it is also a good overview of what it was like for most Marines 'in-country' during the Viet Nam War."
"If you read any of the books on code-breaking in World War II, and realize how important reading the other side's mail was to the Allied victory, then you must also read this book, as it is frequently mentioned in the World War II books on code breaking.
After a stupid U.S. Secretary of State, and we've had more than just one of those, stated "Gentlemen do not read each others' mail," Yardley was without a job. So he decided to write a book about what he did during World War I and later.
The publication of the book caused an uproar, but was mostly read by the people who would fight us in World War II. I had always wanted to read this book and was delighted to find a copy posted here. I was not disappointed with its contents. Except for the few sections describing how codes are developed and broken, this is a well written history of America's Black Chamber and the effect it had upon history."
"Ensign Richardson went out to the Philippines a year before the war began. Assigned to the PT boats, he served with them until they were sunk or ordered out. He then began working with the Filipino guerrillas. I have read numerous books on the exploits of the men and women, American and Filipino, who fought the Japanese throughout the Philippines, forming one of the greatest guerrilla forces in history. Richardson's is just one of these amazing stories. When American forces returned to the Philippines, many of the islands were already all or mostly under guerrilla control. It is almost a crime that their struggle has not received the attention it is due."
"A truly outstanding book on the American army in the early days of WW II in the Europe theater, concentrating on North Africa. I could write more, but I'll just say that it is very easy to understand how this book received the Pulitzer Prize for History. In addition to being good history, it is well-written and a good read."
"This mystery takes place in the 14th Century. A former captain of archers is now working undercover as an apprentice apothecary. Hmmmmm.... a former soldier now working with herbs. Skip back two centuries and you might confuse him with Brother Cadfael.
Well, who cares if maybe the author took a good idea from Ellis Peters. Robb then modified it a bit and produced a good story. I found myself ignoring my other open books and continually picking this one up to read.
Not only did I enjoy the story, but I learned something too. I never knew the Church employed summoners to ferret out sin.
While the chief protagonist is male, the ladies will enjoy the book as there are at least three or four strong woman characters."
"Another fascinating memoir of an American infantry commander in World War II. Edward Arn was almost "too old" for combat. However, his great physical condition and his ability to lead led the U.S. Army to send him to Europe to command an Infantry platoon. He joined the 30th Infantry Division, one of only eight that would receive the Presidential Unit Commendation. Arn rose to command F Company, of the 119th Infantry and served with in every major campaign in Europe.
This memoir is so good that it should share your shelf with Charles MacDonald's "Company Commander," a recognized infantry classic of the same war.
I noticed a few minor editing or memory errors in the book, which was written decades after the fact. The only one that was of any consequence was his mention of the "51st Engineer Battalion" stopping the German panzers during the Battle of the Bulge. I believe he meant the 291st Engineer Battalion. But when you are fighting in the front lines, especially at The Bulge, you are not often aware of what is happening the next valley over."