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1. The Library: An Illustrated History
2. Library: An Unquiet History
3. Victory on the Walls: A Story
4. Your Guide to the Family History
5. History of Libraries of the Western
6. The American Revolution: A History
7. California: A History (Modern
8. The New York Public Library Amazing
9. The Lakotas and the Black Hills:
10. The Reformation: A History (Modern
11. Histories: Volume 1 (Everyman's
12. The British Library Guide to Manuscript
13. The Story of Rolf and the Viking
14. Dangerous Games: The Uses and
15. The British Library Guide to Printing:
16. The Histories, Volume II: Books
17. Baghdad at Sunrise: A Brigade
18. The Hellenistic Age: A Short History
19. The Airplane: A History of Its
20. The New York Public Library Amazing

1. The Library: An Illustrated History
by Stuart A. P. Murray
Hardcover: 320 Pages (2009-07-27)
list price: US$40.00 -- used & new: US$25.07
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1602397066
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Through the ages, humanity has created, destroyed, rescued, neglected,discovered, stolen, and cherished libraries—and no other institution soperfectly mirrors the human condition in any period of history.The Library tells the story of libraries and of the changing form and function of the book from era to era, whether clay tablets, parchment sheets, papyrus scrolls, glossy paper, recording tape or silicone chips. At the heart of the story of libraries and books is the story of the reader, who also has changed from era to era. Profusely illustrated, with fascinating is a comprehensive look at libraries that will interest book lovers and librarians. 100 illustrations, 80 in color ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars A beautiful book
This may be the most beautiful book--and the saddest--that a bibliophile will ever read. Most beautiful because it's illustrated on nearly every page with paintings, drawings, and photographs of libraries around the world. Saddest because so many of those libraries have, over the centuries, been sacked, bombed, or burned.

The Library opens with an account of the discovery, in 1853, of the world's first library. As gangs of diggers worked in the ruins of Nineveh, they found inscribed terracotta tablets in the palace of Assurbanipal (625-587 BCE), the last ruler of Assyria. The next twelve chapters take us into libraries all around the world and in nearly all cultures and nations, from the ancient world to medieval and modern Europe and Asia, from Timbuktu to the New World. (The only nations not mentioned are those in sub-Saharan Africa and South America outside Brazil.) We read about the horrific effects of wars and crusades on libraries and books and about the library movement of the 19th century (mainly), when public libraries were established all over the world. Although the author describes ancient and vanished libraries in the Fertile Crescent, Alexandria, and Aksun (Ethiopia), he also discusses the digitizing of books in the 21st century. (Strangely, this book needs better editing or proofreading, as there are occasional typos.) The book concludes with page-long descriptions, most of them with pictures, of "the libraries of the world"--fifty institutions, including public libraries in the U.S., Europe, and Asia; specialized libraries (the Folger Shakespeare, the Huntington, the new Bibliotheca Alexandrina, the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica in Amsterdam), national libraries (Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan), and the oldest standing library (St. Gall in Switzerland, built in 719, rebuilt in 973).

Indeed, you'll probably want to have paper and pencil in hand as you read The Library because you'll learn something on every single page. In Roman times, librarii "meant publishers, copyists, and book-sellers (the book trade), not buildings or book collections." The Romans invented the codex (or scroll) but "legend has it that Julius Caesar was the first to fold scrolls, concertina-like fashion." Eventually the folds were cut, making "leaves," or pages, which were bound together and "protected by stiff covers, usually of wood enclosed with leather." Codex is Latin for "a block of wood." Both the Latin liber (the root of "library") and the German Buch (the source of "book") refer to wood. The Greek biblion ("book") is the source of "bibliophile," "bibliography," and "bibliotheque," in many languages the word for library (pgs. 24-27). We also learn that El Real Monasterio de San Lorenzo del Escorial (1563, near Madrid) was the first library to put the shelves against the walls instead of perpendicular to them and that King Philip II kept reshelving the books with their spines in to protect them from the sun. The Sorbonne in Paris was the first library to alphabetize books by title. And there's a drawing of a nifty medieval contraption called a "book wheel." This revolving bookstand let a reader study a dozen books, which were chained to the perimeter of the wheel (which seems to be as tall as a man), at the same time by turning the wheel.

As he takes us along his multi-century, multi-national tour of the world of books, the author also repeats what wise men have written about books. Sir Francis Bacon: "Some books are to be tasted; others swallowed; and some few to be chewed and digested." Danish physician A. Bartholini: "Without books, God is silent, justice dormant, natural science at a stand, philosophy lame, letters dumb, and all things involved in darkness" (pg. 81). What else is there to say?

Quill says: The Library should be in the hands of every elected official (including school board members) and voter who is even thinking about defunding or closing a library or shortening its hours. Keep our libraries open! We need them!

5-0 out of 5 stars Delight for Book Lovers!
"The Library: An Illustrated History" is a must-read for anyone who loves books or libraries. Stuart A.P. Murphy, an author and editor for nearly forty years, takes on the challenging task of presenting the history of libraries around the world and succeeds admirably. While some have tolled the death knell for libraries with the advent of the internet and information at the touch of a button, the reverse is actually true. Both library attendance and circulation are up in recent years. Libraries are more relevant and important than ever.

Murphy traces the history of libraries from the most ancient (the famous great library in Alexandria was actually considered a "museum," technically "a place for the Muses, a place of culture. It was the Romans who coined the term "librarii" and opened them up to the general public), through the dark days of the middle ages where monks worked to preserve culture, to the advent of movable type in Asia, through the proliferation of Universities and their corresponding libraries in the late middle ages, the spread of learning during the days of the Renaissance and Reformation, to the libraries of England in the seventeenth century where books were often chained so they couldn't be stolen. Murphy then moves on to colonial America and the library movement of the 1800s in the young United States. He discusses the debate over how to organize all those books and the increased role of librarians. He concludes with a section featuring famous libraries around the world.

Murphy's text is accompanied by a breath-taking array of photographs. These photos will leave any book-lover hoping for more! There are photos of old manuscript pages, art featuring libraries and the creation of books, and stacks upon stacks of books just begging to be read. "The Library: An Illustrated History" is a literary and visual feast for bibliophiles everywhere.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Book and a Fascinating History
For a book and library lover like myself, this book is the ultimate! Murray has complied wonderful information and illustrations into one volume that is a real treasure trove.

I loved the vignettes about unknown people, obscure events, and objects related to libraries (Sister Juana of Mexico; chained books; when and where the first papermaking mills were; all of the steps a scribe had to take prior to starting to write a document; and so much more). These little tidbits of information were so interesting.

The old illustrations (many were etchings) fascinated me, as did the photos of writing and books from long ago. It was interesting to follow the long and circuitous path of public libraries...how what we have today came to be.

I especially enjoyed the final section entitled "Libraries of the World". My dream would be to travel all over the world visiting these libraries. Sigh!

5-0 out of 5 stars Insightful perspectives into the history of libraries over time
As a child growing up in Malaysia, our local library was very poorly stocked (and did not have many books in the English language either). Luckily, my school library was different - thanks to the generosity of patrons, my school library was well-stocked with the classics of English literature, and I devoured them one by one, and I have loved books and libraries ever since. In "The Library: An Illustrated History", readers get a glimpse of various libraries over the ages and in different countries. The book is well-organized into the following chapters:

The Ancient Libraries
European Libraries of the Middle Ages
Asia and Islam
Europe's High Middle Ages
Renaissance to Reformation
People of the Book
War and a Golden Age
The Library in Colonial North America
The Library in the Young United States
The Library Movement
Organizing Knowledge
Libraries, Librarians, and Media Centers

The book is also peppered throughout with photographs of actual libraries, illustrations of some of the ancient libraries, and quotes. The final part of the book is a listing of some of the most prominent libraries in the world, due to their age, reputation, as well as uniqueness. Some of those included are Bibliotheque Nationale de France; the British Library; Austrian National Library; National Library of Russia; Toronto Public Library, Canada; Royal Library of the Netherlands; New York Public Library; National Library of China, Beijing; National Library of Iran; Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Egypt, and many more. There is also a list of sources at the end of the book, and also recommended titles for further reading.

I would recommend this book to book lovers and those who have always had an abiding love of libraries, and I end with this quote by Norman Cousins:
"The library is not a shrine for the worship of books. It is not a temple where literary incense must be burned or where one's devotion to the bound book is expressed in ritual. A library, to modify the famous metaphor of Socrates, should be the delivery room for the birth of ideas - a place where history comes to life"

Also recommended: The Most Beautiful Libraries in the World.

5-0 out of 5 stars A powerful presentation for any interested in history
THE LIBRARY is more than a place to borrow books, and historian Stuart A.P. Murray provides a lovely illustrated book describing these libraries and the effect they are having on the developing world. From the history of book collections around the world from the 1830s heyday to modern times to printing specs and regional heroes, THE LIBRARY is a powerful presentation for any interested in history, blending vintage black and white and contemporary color illustrations throughout. ... Read more

2. Library: An Unquiet History
by Matthew Battles
Paperback: 256 Pages (2004-06)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$7.94
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393325644
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

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"Splendidly articulate, informative and provoking....A book to be savored and gone back to."—Baltimore Sun

On the survival and destruction of knowledge, from Alexandria to the Internet. Through the ages, libraries have not only accumulated and preserved but also shaped, inspired, and obliterated knowledge. Matthew Battles, a rare books librarian and a gifted narrator, takes us on a spirited foray from Boston to Baghdad, from classical scriptoria to medieval monasteries, from the Vatican to the British Library, from socialist reading rooms and rural home libraries to the Information Age.

He explores how libraries are built and how they are destroyed, from the decay of the great Alexandrian library to scroll burnings in ancient China to the destruction of Aztec books by the Spanish—and in our own time, the burning of libraries in Europe and Bosnia.Encyclopedic in its breadth and novelistic in its telling, this volume will occupy a treasured place on the bookshelf next to Baker's Double Fold, Basbanes's A Gentle Madness, Manguel's A History of Reading, and Winchester's The Professor and the Madman. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars fascinating and highly readable--a keeper
A fascinating book woven together by a rivetting storyteller.I've read it twice since buying it last month, and I can't bring myself to shelve it yet.I need at least another go through it before I put it down.Absolutely gripping reading.

An Unquiet History manages to cover a great expanse of time without becoming vague and generic, and without becoming too dense for the lay reader.The bibliography is super, too, and a well for more reading on the topic.

I absolutely love this book and highly recommend it.

3-0 out of 5 stars Shhh!
Slight, meandering look at libraries, not a true history, more a series of vignettes that Battle weaves into a story of what libraries do, did do, should do, or could do.

5-0 out of 5 stars A must for bibliophiles
Mr Battles's "Library" is not a study for scholars but for general readers who will be charmed by its old-fashioned character, by the elegant prose of its sentences and paragraphs and by its human portrait of libraries. The recording and transmission of knowledge from generation to generation is one of the greatest achievements of mankind and libraries play a crucial role in this process. And it is certainly disquieting to learn about the destruction of millions of books by the Nazis in the Louvain library or the siege of the Boston National and University Library but then Mr Battles reassures the reader by focussing on the building of outstanding collections and on the central role of libraries in every society. Who would have thought that the books in the infamous "model Jewish city" at the Theresienstadt concentration camp during the Final Solution "cast the ghetto reader into bibliopsychological relief"?
An excellent study which will delight all those who appreciate books. And the next time we enter a library, we should keep in mind that "readers read books; librarians read readers"!

4-0 out of 5 stars Read the first chapter last!
It is an entertaining and educational book. I was very surprised when I learned that, in ancient times, any book brought to Alexandria was confiscated to be duplicated. I guess since the beginning of time knowledge is assumed to be power.

One complaint is that the first chapter does not belong to the book. It is an incoherent collage of trivia. One should read it at the end. It is unfortunate that the beginning chapter of the book induces such distaste that I almost gave up on the book. Surprisingly, from chapter two on, it picks up and becomes an excellent read.

5-0 out of 5 stars At Last one Book about Books with a Clear Script...
Battle has written a book about libraries -so, about books put toguether and creating a new, chemical reaction- that has a non very common feature in this class of books: direction.Most of the books about books or related issues tends to be just catalogues of anecdotes, information, curiosities and sometimes even trivia. That's not bad. It can be very entertainning. But Battle has done more than that. With an excellent sense of style and elegance, -but also with a very hidden sense of humor titilating almost out of sight here and there- always sugestive and often very penetrating, he offer a clear vision not just of histories about libraries, but the History about relationships between the Library as institution and the ideas about it that have been developped in different phases of cultural history. The multifacetic substance of the library is presented, then, as never before and in no way just in the stratosphere of theory and speculation, but taking the reader to specific places and libraries, people and events, tragedies and personalities, bookmen and burning books-men.
Great reading. ... Read more

3. Victory on the Walls: A Story of Nehemiah (Living History Library)
by Frieda C. Hyman
Paperback: 182 Pages (2005-02-28)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$7.55
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1883937965
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Thirteen-year-old Bani, though born in Jerusalem, has lived from infancy with his uncle in beautiful Susa, the city of the Persian King Artaxerxes. Now, his Uncle Nehemiah wants to leave his position of high honor as Cupbearer to the King to return to Jerusalem, a city in ruins and beset by every kind of trouble! Nehemiah's request of the king, permission to return to help his own people, could so easily—in an empire riddled with political intrigue—be misconstrued as treasonous scheming. Bani himself is given an unexpected part to play, the outcome of which is to forever change his life. Seen through the eyes of Bani, this novel dramatizes a turning-point of history, in 445 BC, when—through confrontation and daring risks—Judaism was re-established in the Promised Land, and purified for her unfolding mission.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars great historical fiction
This book does a great job of bringing Ezra, Nehemiah, and the ancient world alive for students. My daughter and I both enjoyed reading this as part of her history studies.Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book!
This is another excellent book from the Living History Library.We've never gotten one of these books and been disappointed.They really make history come alive, and because of that, the facts are easily retained.Very enjoyable read.

4-0 out of 5 stars Jerusalem rises again
Historical fiction retellings of Bible stories can be tricky propositions. It's no easy task for an author to create a new tale which weaves personages from salvation history in with fictional characters. Sometimes the results are highly unsatisfactory to the point where the original Scriptural passages are warped or wrongly interpreted. When done well, the new story can help elucidate the Scriptural passages and generate interest in them.

Victory on the Walls: A Story of Nehemiah by Frieda Clark Hyman is one of the latter variety. Mainly following the adventures of Bani, a fictional nephew of Nehemiah, the tale tells the story of how the Jewish people re-established themselves in Jerusalem after the Babylonian Captivity. It is based on the Biblical books 1 and 2 Ezra (Nehemiah) and the major events which occur in the story are drawn directly from Scripture.

On the whole, the story moves quickly and is well told. Nehemiah is presented as strong and focused, but at the same time compassionate and forgiving. The character of Bani is predominantly well drawn, although there are a few scenes where he appears too much like a petulant modern teen for my tastes. I found the writing a bit more simplistic than some of the other books in the genre. It can be easily read by a 10 year old, as the book is billed.

Victory on the Walls was interesting enough for me that a re-reading of the relevant Scriptural passages was warranted after I finished it. Hopefully the book will inspire others to do likewise.

2-0 out of 5 stars Not worth your time...
Covering the story of Nehemiah's return to Jerusalem to lead the effort in rebuilding the wall, Mrs. Hyman's rendition is fairly close to the Biblical narrative in its basic facts. Unfortunately, the plot revolving around the main fictional character, Bani, is simple and rather predictable; my junior-high students found it rather uninteresting. Additionally, the book has multiple grammatical errors that are quite distracting. We will not be using this book with future students.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book!
I read this as a read aloud to my nine year old son and we both loved it! It puts you in the time of the reconstruction of the temple and we really felt like we were there. We had been studying Biblical history up to this point and this pulled it all together for us. There is plenty of action and drama to keep young kids' attention and it is great that is is written from a young boys perspective. My son kept begging me to keep reading, "just one more chapter" was often the plea so we read it in about three days. Some of my favorite parts were when Nehemiah stood up and defended, without excuse, why they were following God's call and why they would not be intimidated. Powerful stuff! ... Read more

4. Your Guide to the Family History Library
by James Warren
Paperback: 256 Pages (2001-08-15)
list price: US$19.99 -- used & new: US$177.24
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1558705783
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The Family History Library in Salt Lake City is the world's largest archive of genealogy and family history materials. No other repository compares in the quantity and quality of its records.It is only fitting, then, that such an extraordinary facility warrants this exceptional guide.

Intended for beginning and intermediate genealogists, this books enables readers to use the library's resources effectively, whether in Salt Lake City or from their home. They'll find:

* Tips for trip preparation--advice for making the most of their time at the Family History Library
* Guidelines for accessing the library collection from afar, including FamilySearch Internet and in 3,400 Family History Centers worldwide
* The basics of family history research
* Details on Family History Library records, including major U.S. and world collections
* Onsite research tips to help readers locate resources, organize their workdays and materials, and make the most of limited research time

Each topic is discussed in a fully, making this unique book an invaluable companion for genealogists and family historians everywhere. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Your guide to the Family History Library
I find this will be a great help in getting around the Family History Library as this is my first trip there. Knowing where things are and how to prepare will help me take full advantage of my limited time there.Having been told knowing what you want and where in the Library it is, will save me much time and effort, this book doest just that for me.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very Helpful
I read this book the week before I arrived for my first visit to the FHL.It was very useful to me. I did what they suggested and purchased the FHL Library catalog on CD (did not know that was available before) and searched in my hotel room for potentially useful items when the library was closed. I was then able to go straight to those items the next day. A good descripton of the surrounding area too.I know they can't cover it all, but I would like to see them add a little something on what there is to do with young children in the area. My husband had to entertain the children while I was doing my research. ... Read more

5. History of Libraries of the Western World
by Michael H. Harris
Paperback: 312 Pages (1999-08)
list price: US$44.55 -- used & new: US$36.43
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0810837242
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
This edition of the "History of Libraries in the Western World" represents a substantial revision of the earlier edition, taking into account the "information revolution" that has swept the West since 1945 and the political revolution that swept across Europe beginning in 1986. In addition, recent scholarship has been incorporated throughout the text, with special emphasis on the work centered around the "new history of the book." The bibliographies at the end of each of the twelve chapters have been thoroughly revised to reflect the very considerable new work on library and book history. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A great book about libraries!
I had the pleasure of taking several classes from Dr. Harris while I wasin library school at the University of Kentucky.He was passionate abouthis subject, witty, erudite -- just a great teacher.This book reflectsthese qualities.If you want to learn the important role libraries haveplayed in the development of the Western world, this is the book for you. ... Read more

6. The American Revolution: A History (Modern Library Chronicles)
by Gordon S. Wood
Paperback: 224 Pages (2003-08-19)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$7.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0812970411
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
“An elegant synthesis done by the leading scholar in the field, which nicely integrates the work on the American Revolution over the last three decades but never loses contact with the older, classic questions that we have been arguing about for over two hundred years.”
-Joseph J. Ellis, author of Founding Brothers

A magnificent account of the revolution in arms and consciousness that gave birth to the American republic.

When Abraham Lincoln sought to define the significance of the United States, he naturally looked back to the American Revolution. He knew that the Revolution not only had legally created the United States, but also had produced all of the great hopes and values of the American people. Our noblest ideals and aspirations-our commitments to freedom, constitutionalism, the well-being of ordinary people, and equality-came out of the Revolutionary era. Lincoln saw as well that the Revolution had convinced Americans that they were a special people with a special destiny to lead the world toward liberty. The Revolution, in short, gave birth to whatever sense of nationhood and national purpose Americans have had.

No doubt the story is a dramatic one: Thirteen insignificant colonies three thousand miles from the centers of Western civilization fought off British rule to become, in fewer than three decades, a huge, sprawling, rambunctious republic of nearly four million citizens. But the history of the American Revolution, like the history of the nation as a whole, ought not to be viewed simply as a story of right and wrong from which moral lessons are to be drawn. It is a complicated and at times ironic story that needs to be explained and understood, not blindly celebrated or condemned. How did this great revolution come about? What was its character? What were its consequences? These are the questions this short history seeks to answer. That it succeeds in such a profound and enthralling way is a tribute to Gordon Wood’s mastery of his subject, and of the historian’s craft.

From the Hardcover edition.Amazon.com Review
Gordon S. Wood's The American Revolution, part of the Modern Library Chronicles series, is an erudite, concise summary of the events and circumstances surrounding the seminal conflict, both physical and philosophical, in American history. The Modern Library Chronicles are accessible-but-serious works of scholarship, meant to serve as introductions (or refresher courses) on large subjects for interested readers. The American Revolution is an excellent case in point. Wood deftly describes seeds of the Revolution, most notably disgruntlement on the colonists' part brought about by increasingly maladroit and fiscally punishing British policies. He then follows the course of actual warfare and its aftermath, most interestingly the fraught, bitter battle to draw a governing blueprint for the new country.

Wood breaks little new interpretive ground himself, here, but as a synthesizer (and amiable, skillful narrator/guide) he stands on high ground. --H. O'Billovitch ... Read more

Customer Reviews (28)

5-0 out of 5 stars Essential American History Narrative
As a teacher of US History (high school) and a current graduate student (US History), this book struck me as an essential narrative of our nation's past. Concise (not short) and full of language that is understandable and clear, Prof. Wood paints a picture of what the American Revolution really was and what it should mean to us today.

In his introduction, Wood states his intention for writing this narrative: to get past the many historical and modern (and overly complex in my opinion) historical interpretations of the American Revolution. He seeks to accurately describe why the Revolution happened, what form the Revolution took, and what the results of it were. Also, by placing the Revolution into a historical context of the time he allows the reader without a political theory background to understand how truly revolutionary this Revolution was.

Wood covers an immense amount of material in this book (from the earliest relationship between the colonies and England through to the ratification debate), yet it reads as a straightforward narrative that is both detailed and clear.

The American Revolution by Gordon Wood is a wonderful book about our nation's origins. It is highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Digesting our Revolution
Gordon Wood teaches early American history at Brown University in Providence, RI. Hi is a master at succinct and carefully distilled explanations of this huge, complicated series of events, the American revolution. Dr Wood does this kind of thing often, it seems. He is an acknowledged authority on Benjamin Franklin and works the same magic in summing up and compacting historical facts. He has opinions, of course. Every historian does, but if you know something about this period it is fun to test your views against his. If you wish to commend one book, and one only, for a friend to understand the American revolution, Wood's tome is the one. It is readable, brief, consistently interesting and in some ways reads like an adventure novel, even though you know the outcome ahead of time. Wood's insights are often at odds with what many others have written about persons and events. I find this enriches what I have already read about these exciting and incredibly important years which founded the first government in the world which derived its power from the consent of the governed. The grandeur and uniqueness of these world-shaking events will be clearly dramatized for the reader by the excellent work of Gordon Wood.

5-0 out of 5 stars American Revolution
This is a great book to read if you want to know more about The American Revolution. From the economic expansion, to the revolution, to the war for independence, this book covers a lot on the Revolution. For a book this short it surely is detailed.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book
Great book on the Revolution period.Concise and to the point, but not lacking detail.Very easy read.I may have to use it for teaching my H.S. history class.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Good Introduction
Gordon S. Wood provides a pleasantly swift account of the conflicts and motivations of the period from 1760 to 1790.Its language is simple and straightforward, and the organization of the book is logical and precise.Altogether, its pace and elementary approach provides for an entertaining read.

The work's objectives, according to Wood, are: "How the Revolution came about, what its character was, and what its consequences were- not whether it was good or bad- are the questions this brief history seeks to answer" (Wood xxv).This is preceded by a quick overview of past works on the subject, which Wood claims, rightfully, as being biased and too much in toe with the authors' contemporary strains.However, despite his wish to be seemingly objective in his prologue, Wood himself seems to be not without his own biases in the book.Often times the work feels not so much an explanation of how the Revolution came about, but more a justification of the actions taken by American patriots.Much attention is given to the fumbling efforts of Parliament and early on describes Great Britain's politics as "ramshackle" (5), "haphazardly" (5), "rickety" (18), "hodgepodge" (20), and declares that it was "no wonder that it took only a bit more than a decade for the whole shaky imperial structure to come crashing down" (21), while at the same time depicting Americans as "confined" (7), and "enmeshed" (23) in the empires blunderings.He then begins to show Americans in a light growing steadily brighter, describing their actions as "spectacular" (33), and as being "raised to the highest plane of principle" (39), "extraordinary" (47) and so noble as to aim to "bring freedom to the whole world" (47).His language, therefore, seems ambitious and patriotic at times, and although they are perhaps not without merit, the argument tends to be greatly one-sided.

The book ends, rather suddenly it seems, with the creation of the constitution.However, it is perhaps too sudden.The Revolution hardly seems complete without at least some attention given to the first presidential term of Washington, which set the Revolutionary principles in practice.Wood deals with the creation of the government, but in not somehow conveying whether or not these revolutionary principles were successful in practice for the figures that formed them allows the claims for the historical granduer of their fight to be rather unjustified.Now that the American (white) people had broken the bonds of an oppressive monarchy, how will their newly elected presidential leader act?Will he encompass their ideals and set new standards for the modern world?A history of the American Revolution, even a short one, hardly seems complete without at least some attention given to this chapter of the story, for just explaining that these people thought up and wrote down the ideas is not the end of the Revolution: it is those ideas put into action that truly can, in at least in some way, conclude the tale.

Despite these minor and perhaps irrelevant grievances, the work is a wonderfully quick way for one who wishes to be introduced to the origins, people, process, and outcome of the Revolution.It excels in its simple overviews of political movements and struggles, as well as concisely displaying the motivations and reasons for events and their results.Overall, it provides for a fun, quick read of a dramatic and interesting period in history.
... Read more

7. California: A History (Modern Library Chronicles)
by Kevin Starr
Paperback: 400 Pages (2007-03-13)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$8.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 081297753X
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
California has always been our Shangri-la–the promised land of countless pilgrims in search of the American Dream. Now the Golden State’s premier historian, Kevin Starr, distills the entire sweep of California’s history into one splendid volume. From the age of exploration to the age of Arnold, this is the story of a place at once quintessentially American and utterly unique.

Arguing that America’s most populous state has always been blessed with both spectacular natural beauty and astonishing human diversity, Starr unfolds a rapid-fire epic of discovery, innovation, catastrophe, and triumph.

For generations, California’s native peoples basked in the abundance of a climate and topography eminently suited to human habitation. By the time the Spanish arrived in the early sixteenth century, there were scores of autonomous tribes were thriving in the region. Though conquest was rapid, nearly two centuries passed before Spain exerted control over upper California through the chain of missions that stand to this day.

The discovery of gold in January 1848 changed everything. With population increasing exponentially as get-rich-quick dreamers converged from all over the world, California reinvented itself overnight. Starr deftly traces the successive waves of innovation and calamity that have broken over the state since then–the incredible wealth of the Big Four railroad tycoons and the devastating San Francisco earthquake of 1906; the emergence of Hollywood as the world’s entertainment capital and of Silicon Valley as the center of high-tech research and development; the heroic irrigation and transportation projects that have altered the face of the region; the role of labor, both organized and migrant, in key industries from agriculture to aerospace.

Kevin Starr has devoted his career to the history of his beloved state, but he has never lost his sense of wonder over California’s sheer abundance and peerless variety. This one-volume distillation of a lifetime’s work gathers together everything that is most important, most fascinating, and most revealing about our greatest state.

From the Hardcover edition. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (37)

5-0 out of 5 stars A brilliant synopsis of California history
Kevin Starr, a brilliant Harvard historian now academically at USC, remains a San Franciscan at heart. His multi-volume history of the state, still in progress, will doubtlessly prove the ultimate reference for those interested in digging deep into the inception, progress and multi-cultural evolution of this most fascinating of states. Meanwhile, Starr has given us a synopsis in advance in this abridged version of his magnum opus. Since Starr is as gifted a writer as he is a distinguished historian, this book is simply a great read, whether or not you're a Californian.

1-0 out of 5 stars Pretentious, Verbose, Boring & Pulped
California, A History, Kevin Starr; The Modern Library (Random House; 2005)


No, I don't know how a dull book about California can be written.But I am certain that Starr succeeded.

Purchased in hardcover at The Book Loft in Solvang, CA during our 2005-06 Santa Anita Opening Day trip, I had reasonably high hopes for what looked, at first glance, to be a winner.

But all of its positive aspects - the upfront chronology of state events between 1510 & 2005; the provision of numerous exact dates of significant events in the text; the extensive index, & the admirable quality of the paper it was printed on - were wasted on an academic hack.

I made repeated attempts to pick it up & resume where I left off.But the only time that this worked was the day when the racing card at Monmouth Park in 2007 was so boring, CAH looked exciting in comparison.

And I could have done without the author using - in the opening of his preface, "A Nation State," without having the decency of acknowledgement - Winston Churchill's rhetorical technique: "Where did it come from - this nation-state, this world commonwealth, this California?"

When you've swiped from the best & you still can't write well...

Pretentiousness Prattle: Violence did not occur; it was "wrought" ("Whatever violence [Fremont's army] wrought..."- p. 69.On the previous page, mercenary Delaware Indians were dubiously described as Fremont's "praetorian guard").

The book had a decent amount of residual value as a reference resource, but I don't care (pulped on 09/03/10).The Spirit of '76 (the page that marked the end of forward progress), for once, was an admission of defeat, not pugnacious resilience.

One can only hope that the Californian wildfires of October & November 2007 - which brought - excuse me, wrought - misery to the citizens that fled to ocean shores for safety - also managed to burn down the warehouse where all of the unsold copies of California, A History have been boxed up, presumably in silent embarrassment.

3-0 out of 5 stars OK for a fast and dirty history of the Golden State
Overall, I enjoyed reading the book.It covers many, many topics related to the history of California.As such, do not expect the author to delve too much on every single topic.I did find that some were more interesting than others and merited further treatment, instead of the paragraph or two dedicated to them.

One thing that I will say (and that prompted me to write this review) is that, when I read this book, I had several moments when I would cringe.Sometimes I would have to re-read the passage (and cringe again) to make sure that is what the author wrote.Why did I cringe?Although the author tries to keep it middle-of-the-road, his prejudices do come out in certain pages (he tilts a little to the right and has an interesting view of race and race relations).

Before you vote that my review was not helpful, I will tell you that that I am a minority and I tend to tilt to the left.While this may be the reason why some of his passages made me cringe, I would have given an author that tilts to the left the same rating.When you purchase a book with a title such as "California: A History," you expect an impartial account of history.If I purchased a book entitled "A people's history of..." then I would know what I was getting into.

Like I said in the beginning, overall I enjoyed reading the book.His list of sources is excellent.I'm thankful to the author that he pointed me towards a couple of more books.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good book
This was a good and interesting book. I had to get it for a history class and I will say I quite liked it. Easy to read and understand.

3-0 out of 5 stars worth reading, but inadequate in parts
I am a native Californian, live in Silicon Valley, and love the Golden State. I have seen the storied parts of Europe - Provence, Tuscany, Sicily - and yes, Venice,, Rome and Paris.I also know the U.S. quite well - there is no comparison, the San Francisco Bay Area, Yosemite, La Jolla, Big Sur, Mt. Shasta, Monterey, Napa Wine country, East Oakland and East Los Angeles - this is the best, most innovative, most diverse, most fantastic place on Earth.
I respect the book Mr. Starr has written, but it doesnt fully capture what makes California such a unique place.let me illustrate by one example.In the 1990s and even now, California's Silicon Valley transformed the entire planet like no other time in human history - through the Internet and world wide Web.Yahoo, Google, Cisco, eBay, Apple, Facebook on top of the 'old' economy companies like Intel, Hewlett Packard, Oracle, Genentech etc etc. did more than any place or peopleever to make the world flat (to quote Tom Friedman of the NYT). This is a place where the most innovative, driven people of Asia, America and Europe meet and work together to forge (mostly) a better world - it is the Constantinople, the Venice or the Renaissance Florence of the modern times.
Similarily, Hollywood in S. California (which began with Charlie Chaplin in the Niles Canyon area near S.Francisco) provided the most widespread means that humanity has to look at itself in the mirror, and yet Kevin Starr does notgive it the deserved importance
He devotes less to thesethan he spends on railroad robber barons and other minute happenings of the 19th century - admittedly important, but did they change the entire world, in such a short time!?
... Read more

8. The New York Public Library Amazing Women in American History: A Book of Answers for Kids (The New York Public Library Books for Kids)
by The New York Public Library, Sue Heinemann
Paperback: 192 Pages (1998-04)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$7.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0471192163
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The New York Public Library amazing women in American History

Join Susan B. Anthony's fight for voting rights. Follow Sandra Day O'Connor to the U.S. Supreme Court and Sally Ride into space. Find the answers to your questions about the amazing women in American history...

Who were the Daughters of Liberty? See page 19.

Who was the first woman to run for president? See page 79.

Who were early leaders of the women's movement? See page 38.

Who was Sojourner Truth, and how did she get her name? See page 32.

What were flappers? See page 115.

Who was Mother Jones? See page 107.

How did the National Organization for Women (NOW) begin? See page 138.

What is The Feminine Mystique, and why is it so significant? See page 139.

Also in this series . . .

  • The New York Public Library Incredible Earth
  • The New York Public Library Amazing Space
  • The New York Public Library Amazing African American History
... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Essential Book For Your Child's Library
I was thrilled to encounter this book. Finally, there is a book to help fill the gaping hole in children's traditional history education. This book is written in a simple question and answer format that provides succinct historical facts about women of all colors.This book should be requiredin every school! ... Read more

9. The Lakotas and the Black Hills: The Struggle for Sacred Ground (Penguin Library of American Indian History)
by Jeffrey Ostler
Hardcover: 256 Pages (2010-07-22)
list price: US$22.95 -- used & new: US$4.68
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0670021954
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

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The story of the Lakota Sioux's loss of their spiritual homelands and their remarkable legal battle to regain it

The Lakota Indians counted among their number some of the most famous Native Americans, including Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse. Their homeland was in the magnificent Black Hills in South Dakota, where they found plentiful game and held religious ceremonies at charged locations like Devil's Tower. Bullied by settlers and the U. S. Army, they refused to relinquish the land without a fight, most famously bringing down Custer at Little Bighorn. In 1873, though, on the brink of starvation, the Lakotas surrendered the Hills.

But the story does not end there. Over the next hundred years, the Lakotas waged a remarkable campaign to recover the Black Hills, this time using the weapons of the law. In The Lakotas and the Black Hills, the latest addition to the Penguin Library of American Indian History, Jeffrey Ostler moves with ease from battlefields to reservations to the Supreme Court, capturing the enduring spiritual strength that bore the Lakotas through the worst times and kept alive the dream of reclaiming their cherished homeland. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Brief book, yet substantive
Mr. Ostler's book on the Lakotas and the Black Hills controversy stands out as a must read regarding the sticky problems that have arisen as a result of broken treaties and general corruption on the part of the federal govenment that haunt us to this day.This book covers the trek of the Lakotas from their ancrestral homeland west of the Missouri River in present day South Dakota, their eventual preimmenence over other tribes in the Black Hills, their struggle to maintain their ways in light of the advancement of anglo civilization in west in the mid 19th Century and their eventual surrender to the same by the end of that century via the decimation of their hunting grounds and bad treaties.

I learned a bit from this book in terms of Indian history and culture.Such activities as recording "winter counts" for historical purposes are covered along with brief histories of famous leaders such as Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull and Red Cloud; the origins of the Sun Dance and the Ghose Dance are covered as well.I learned also about the notorious decision (Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock) that gave Congress the power to abrogate treaties at will in the name of "plenary power," which in my opinion sets a dangerous precedent in terms of private property rights for Indian and non-Indian alike.

Despite present-day efforts to reclaim part of their ancient homeland, the Lakota has thus far been unsucessful due to political infighting among their own people as well as obstinancy on the part of the federal government.I highly recommend this book for people to learn about indian history and offers a stern warning about placing too much faith in Washington.

4-0 out of 5 stars good overview
Nothing earth shaking in this book, just a fairly evenhanded history of the conflict between the Lakotas and the U.S. government. If anything is less than evenly factual it is the descriptions given of the Lakota rights to the Black Hills. This is not surprising since this is how history has always been written by the conqueror.

3-0 out of 5 stars Understanding our Indian history
A book best read after touring Mt Rushmore, Yellowstone and the upper midwest. Explains many but not all of the native american claims. What stands outare the issues not yet settled.

5-0 out of 5 stars A historical and legal story all in one.
Jeffrey Ostler writes a very well researched history of the Lakota people entitled The Lakotas and the Black Hills: The Struggle for Sacred Ground.At a mere 256 pages,Ostler manages to include virtually every major and some minor events of the Lakota people in their dealings with the Europeans.Quite virtually, this slim volume says it all.The Lakotas and the Black Hills is really two books in one.The first part of the book is a history of the tribe and a good one at that.The second part looks at their battle to retain title to the Black Hills in South Dakota through the courts.

The legal battle has been going on for more than a century and in some ways represents as great an effort that the tribe expended on the battlefields of the west.What is more amazing to me than anything else is that just when it looked as though the Lakota would be compensated by the U. S. government for their lands, they changed their minds.The amount of the settlement?$106 million.But taking the money would mean the loss of the Black Hills and so the settlement money is locked away, quietly earning interest.According to Ostler, the present stash is up to $800 million.

The Black Hills is the most sacred land in the Lakota universe.Held dear above all else the land is considered to be magic and the spring source of the nation (Lakota).Much of that land today is in government hands, either the state of South Dakota or Wyoming or the U. S. Government.Some of the land is held by private interests as well.It is also the location of Mount Rushmore and therefore the attraction of more than a million tourists each year.

Will the Lakota ever regain control of the Black Hills?Only time will tell, but the strength of their legal argument seems to be strong.

If you have an interest in American history then The Lakotas and the Black Hills should be a book you'll want to read.The book is well written and will be worth your while.

I highly recommend.

5-0 out of 5 stars Concise, Fair and Surprisingly Fun to Read
I read this book soon after finishing Nathaniel Philbrick's gripping "The Last Stand" (on the Battle of Little Bighorn), so on opening the book I anticipated a comparatively dry read. I'm happy to say I had no reason to worry.

Ostler's book may not be an up-all-night page-turner, but it interlaces history and anecdotes, scholarly points of contention and the author's own analysis in a very engaging way. Covering roughly three centuries (or 2.5 billion years, if you include the geological background!) in 190 pages, Ostler crafts concise summaries of key happenings in Lakota and broader Native American history--such as the Fetterman Massacre, Ghost Dance, and emergence of the American Indian Movement. He seems to very judiciously choose which details deserve more lengthy discussion--such as a lucid description of key articles of the very consequential (and contentious) 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty.

For me, not knowing anything of the twentieth century battle for the Black Hills, I found the narration of the legal proceedings to be surprisingly engrossing. I mean, how can you not get riled up by a story full of spineless politicians, tone-deaf courts, and decades-long waits for court decisions? And there is some satisfaction as the courts (and country) start to come to their senses in the 70's and 80's. But of course the story can't end on a triumphant note and Ostler does a good job of assessing just what one can hope for at present.

Finally, I'll echo previous reviewers as to Ostler's fair assessment of the sources. After reading the book you can probably guess where his sympathies rest on most points of debate he mentions, but he takes care not to denigrate any side of an argument. If anything, he made me want to more fully engage in the debates at hand, and better understand the intricacies of the issue--which is I guess another reason to recommend the book! ... Read more

10. The Reformation: A History (Modern Library Chronicles)
by Patrick Collinson
Paperback: 272 Pages (2006-09-05)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$4.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0812972953
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

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“No revolution however drastic has ever involved a total repudiation of what came before it.”

The religious reformations of the sixteenth century were the crucible of modern Western civilization, profoundly reshaping the identity of Europe’s emerging nation-states. In The Reformation, one of the preeminent historians of the period, Patrick Collinson, offers a concise yet thorough overview of the drastic ecumenical revolution of the late medieval and Renaissance eras. In looking at the sum effect of such disparate elements as the humanist philosophy of Desiderius Erasmus and the impact on civilization of movable-type printing and “vulgate” scriptures, or in defining the differences between the evangelical (Lutheran) and reformed (Calvinist) churches, Collinson makes clear how the battles for mens’ lives were often hatched in the battles for mens’ souls.

Collinson also examines the interplay of spiritual and temporal matters in the spread of religious reform to all corners of Europe, and at how the Catholic Counter-Reformation used both coercion and institutional reform to retain its ecclesiastical control of Christendom. Powerful and remarkably well written, The Reformation is possibly the finest available introduction to this hugely important chapter in religious and political history.

From the Hardcover edition. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (14)

2-0 out of 5 stars Definitely not an introduction
The major problem I have with this text is that it's definitely not what the cover reviews call it, and it is certainly not for those without a strong background in early modern history.As an Oxford educated late modern historian, I picked up this book thinking it would help me organize my thoughts for a lecture, and instead found that I was no better off for having read it.I had been using Diarmaid MacCulloch's much larger tome, and I ought to have stuck with it!

Collinson's work is full of untranslated Latin and French, and it assumes a solid base of knowledge of the Reformation.While there are pockets of good information, I think the book is better suited to those who have done more extensive research on the period and are already well informed on the subject.Don't pick this book up if you're looking for a good overview, you're better off reading sections of a larger work.

3-0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile but too short and informal
If you know nothing of the Reformation or the basis of the religious conflict involved this book is a fine place to start.But it is a very small book about a very big subject so one should not expect too much of it as some reviewers appear to have done.The author's humility in the preface defines the scope of the book, and while that scope is rather narrow, it is well focused.

Professor Collinson is a Fellow in the Department of History at Trinity College, Cambridge.He has taught history and the Reformation for nearly fifty years so I don't really know why this particular work is so brief and so unrefined.It could have been Professor Collinson's magnum opus.Instead it is a highly distilled and simplified work for a popular audience.Perhaps the subject was just too daunting or perhaps the author was just too humble.

The book starts with a brief historiography of the Reformation that is refreshing if for no other reason than its rejection of deconstructionism.This sets the stage for the rest of the book which turns out to be remarkably conservative, at places downright Whig, in its view point.This is astounding considering the strongly left leaning politics of Professor Collinson and most of the rest of his generation of English academics.The book is almost completely devoid of Marxist nonsense.How did that happen?

Next the book attempts to preface the Reformation with a description of the failings of the Catholic Church in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.The author is almost apologetic for this but I found it the best part of the book and wanted more detail.Then follows an all too brief description of Erasmus and the influence of the printing press where Professor Collinson justly gives credit for the crystallization of the English language to Tyndale instead of Shakespeare.The book hits its stride in its account of Luther and Calvin as one would hope.The explanation of the theological conflicts of the age shows a considerable understanding and depth of knowledge, too bad more of this was not shared.The description of the Counter Reformation meanders a bit, suggesting a bit of personal contempt on the author's part, but the book perks back up in its telling of the Reformation in England and Scotland.

The writing style is what you would expect of an English student of the fifties - informal, chatty, unrefined, and full of sometimes irritating modern metaphor.This is not the rigorous academic work of folks like Sirs Herbert Butterfield or David Keir.But it is a jolly good and quick read and you will come away with a better understanding of the religious evolution that was the Reformation.

4-0 out of 5 stars Short but solid introduction
The reformation is a rather broad swipe at a broad spectrum of events and people at one of those great turns in history. It is not likely that any single volume could cover the topic in sufficient detail. Yet, such a book would escape the notice of all but the most technical of historians.Prof Collinson has given us an history that is accessible to the wider audience wishing an unbiased raw historical tale. Toward the first chapters there seemed to be a slant toward justifying the Protestant position but with the balance of the remainder, whatever slant might have been supposed seemed to disappear.

A well-written and organized summary of these great events still shaping the western world. An important work for the more casual historian or as an introduction for the serious historian just launching out to learn more. This may very well give you that desire to seek out even more detailed works on this important topic.

5-0 out of 5 stars Collinson's Summing Up
Only a master can write a book like this -- a witty, learned summary, doing the impossible by compressing a vast subject into a slim volume.Though Collinson is scrupulously fair, the account, perhaps necessarily, given its subject matter, tilts slightly toward the Reformers as occupying the high ground -- but high by only inches.Collinson alternately communicates both a wry detachment from the protagonists and also an empathetic understanding for the passions of an age far more sincerely religious than ours.While presupposing a familiarity with the outlines of history of the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance, this book would satisfy both the beginner as a guide and the historically informed for its learned perspective.

4-0 out of 5 stars You gotta love Modern Library Chronicles
Yet another success from the Modern Library Chronicles.While the Reformation and it's effects on the Western world is a subject which could (and has) filled volumes of books of history andtheology, Prof. Collinson has done a commendable job presenting the history of the Reformation (most commonly associated with Luther), the English Reformation and the Catholic Counter-Reformation in a short, easy to read book.If you want to do some additional reading, Collinson has printed an excellent list of books for further reading.

It ishard to go wrong with a book from the Modern Library Chronicles. ... Read more

11. Histories: Volume 1 (Everyman's Library)
by William Shakespeare
Hardcover: 752 Pages (1994-10-04)
list price: US$22.00 -- used & new: US$13.93
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679433120
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
(Book Jacket Status: Not Jacketed)

Shakespeare’s histories—containing within their crowded tableaux all of the tragedies, confusions, and beauties of human life—are not only drama of the highest order. They also serve as windows through which generations have made themselves familiar with crucial episodes in English history. For an Elizabethan England that had already emerged onto the stage of world power and was hungry to understand the sources and nature of its identity, Shakespeare provided a grandeur born of the transforming power of his art.

This volume contains Henry VI, Parts 1, 2, and 3; Richard III; and King John. The texts, authoritatively edited by Sylvan Barnet, are supplemented with textual notes, bibliographies, a detailed chronology of Shakespeare’s life and times, and a substantial introduction in which Tony Tanner discusses each play individually and in the context of Shakespeare’s work. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Good literature, good bindings, good commentary
We all know about Shakespeare, so a review of his writing is not required.However, I would like to say that the Everyman's Library series are worth getting.Unlike omnibus editions (such as the Riverside Shakespeare),these are actually portable so you don't need a table to hold them up whileyou are reading.The Everyman's Library series have good hardbindings, areconveniently sized to carry around, and have illuminating and extensiveintroductions.The typeface used is old, but the letters are large andeasily readable (something that is a concern with some othereditions).

Histories, Volume 1 contains: Henry VI, Part One; Henry VI,Part Two; Henry VI, Part Three; Richard III; King John

Histories, Volume2 contains: Richard II; Henry IV, Part One; Henry IV, Part Two; Henry V;Henry VII ... Read more

12. The British Library Guide to Manuscript Illumination: History and Techniques (British Library Guides)
by Christopher de Hamel
Paperback: 92 Pages (2001-12-29)
list price: US$25.95 -- used & new: US$15.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0802081738
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description

Medieval manuscript expert Christopher de Hamel selects and discusses a range of illuminated manuscripts from The British Library's unparalleled collection, some of them unfinished and so revealing the processes involved in an illuminator's work.He also explores the role of illuminators in the medieval book trade - how books were commissioned, the patron's expectations, how illuminators worked with scribes, the materials and techniques they used, and the time and expertise involved in creating some outstanding masterpieces of medieval art.

With over 70 colour and black-and-white illustrations, The British Library Guide to Manuscript Illumination is an authoritative and engaging guide to one of the central aspects of medieval bookmaking for anyone interested in medieval art, social history, calligraphy, or illumination. One of a series of accessible and lively introductions to the history of books and how they are made. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars The British Library Guide To Manuscript Illumination: History and Techniques
This book is a wonderful introduction to the history and process of medieval manuscripts and manuscript illuminations. There may be few words in comparison to other books, but this book for certain does not have any wasted words. What is especially pleasant in this book are the many color plates and even more black and white (gray scale). These images are strategically laid out and matched to the text, allowing the illuminated manuscripts themselves complete what is lacking in text. Considering the price and number of color pictures, this book is a great deal. Even without necessarily reading it again, I will return to it many times just to relish in the illuminations themselves. For these reasons and more I give this book a 5 star rating.

5-0 out of 5 stars "British Library Guide to Manuscript Illumination" by Christopher de Hamel
I have been a fan of Christopher de Hamel's for many years.As I am a Calligrapher/Lettering artist, I am particularly interested in the processes used in Medieval times to illuminate or write out a Manuscript and have always found his books immensely readable and full of information.Although 'paperbacks', this and other books of his are beautifully illustrated with clear text with a touch of humour!Anyone interested in Manuscripts, book binding, Calligraphy should definitely invest in de Hamel's books as they are worthwhile additions to one's bookshelf.

5-0 out of 5 stars approachable, digestible introduction to method and history
This is a brief, yet thorough introduction to the methods and history of manuscript illumination.After purchasing this book as a birthday gift for my sister, I read in only four evenings.I meant only to browse; but De Hamel's eloquent, affable writing style provided relaxing, fun and informative non-fiction reading.His logical presentation of technical information and facts are easy to re-assemble into a clear, basic understanding of medieval, European illumination.

Non-European illumination is mentioned but not discussed in this introductory text.Though not picture-laden, images are clearly reproduced and efficiently illustrate concepts discussed in the text.My curiosity is peaked and I look forward to learning more about manuscript production and conservation. ... Read more

13. The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow (Living History Library)
by Allen French
Paperback: 244 Pages (1995-06-01)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$8.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1883937019
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Rolf, son of Hiarandi the Unlucky, is a character who exemplifies the effect of Christ's teachings upon the Icelandic people during their heroic age. The book is set in Iceland in the days when Christianity has come to the island though the old customs still linger. Hiarandi, at the urging of his wife, does an unprecedented thing: he lights a signal fire on a dangerous point of his land, thereby challenging the accepted custom which places lucrative salvage at higher value than the saving of life. However, the life that is saved that night causes his own death and the unjust outlawing of his son Rolf. Rolf's response to this injustice creates a suspenseful, thought-provoking tale difficult to put down. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great story, prefectly told (not sure he was a Coalbiter)
This is one of my all time favorites.The subject matter and the style are based on the Icelandic sagas.French's execution in this book is just flawless.The story is tight and so satisfying, and the high, archaic style is consistent throughout.

This is by far my favorite of Allen French's books.I'll read it over and over again, to my self and to my family.I'll always be grateful to our firends who first recommended it.

And if you like this book, I recommend that you give R.A. Lafferty's "The Fall of Rome" a shot.

P.S. I have not found any evidence that French was a member of Tolkien's group of Coalbiters. According to Wikipedia (I know -- not the most reliable source in the world), French was an American who attended Harvard.If Mr. Borgquist has evidence to the contrary, I'd would love to know of it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Elisha Kim
The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow is set in Christian Iceland, and the story is of a boy named Rolf. Rolf was the son of Hiarandi and lived in Cragness Hall, until his HIarandi's neigbors, who were envious of Cragness, outlawed Hiarandi unjustly. He freed Hiarandi's slaves, and stole them. When one slave was escaping, Hiarandi ran out of his boundaries as an outlaw and was killed. Rolf, trying to save his father, killed his neighbor's herdsman and was made outlaw. He sailed with his cousin to the Orkneys, and was enslaved by the men there...
How was Rolf freed, and how did he earn the Viking Bow? How did he get back to Iceland and avenge his father's death? Read this book to find out.

Elisha Kim

5-0 out of 5 stars Good story
Purchased for my son, he then encouraged me to read it.I'm glad I did.Its a good story with many lessons that can then be discussed with your child.If you're considering this book I give it a hearty child/parent recommendation.

5-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful modern version of the Icelandic sagas
Rolf is the only son of Hiarandi the Unlucky. Most of his father's ill luck springs from the fact that he is compassionate and that his neighbor, Einar, covets his land and his spacious hall. The wicked Einar manages to get Hiarandi ensnared in legal difficulties and he is sentenced to spend a year within a bow-shot of his own hall. Not content, Einar sends his henchmen to trick Hiarandi into venturing beyond this perimeter where he will be fair game for slaughter. Hiarandi is killed, but in the process, young Rolf also kills one of Einar's henchmen. Now Rolf is made an outlaw and is forced to flee from Iceland until his sentence is complete. But Rolf will not be content until he can prove that his father was killed within a bowshot of his home--and thus make Einar subject to the law.

Rolf and the Viking Bow is a wonderful read. It is a story told in the style of the Icelandic sagas, even including some of the same characters, but the prose is completely approachable for a modern reader. The reading level is about age 12 and up, I'd say, but a precocious 10 year old could handle the content. The book is perfectly suited for parents to read along with their youngsters and there is plenty of fodder here for discussions about important subjects like justice, virtue, greed, the law, corruption, and loyalty.

This book has the look and feel of a "young adult" novel, but I must admit that I enjoyed it very much, even though I'm approaching 40. I read the edition published by Bethelehem Books and was impressed by the production values--it's definitely worth a couple extra dollars. I recommend it heartily to all.

5-0 out of 5 stars by an 11 year old boy!!!!!!!
This book was an amazing story. You will read this book again and again until you've memorized it. What happens is that Rolf a young viking boy is the best archer in the land. He lives a happy life until someone kills his father. He leaves his land to find someone who can out do him with the bow by three yards. I'm not telling you anymore about this story. Read this book and find out what happens. I'm sure you will have a blast reading Rolf and the Viking bow. ... Read more

14. Dangerous Games: The Uses and Abuses of History (Modern Library Chronicles)
by Margaret MacMillan
Paperback: 208 Pages (2010-07-13)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$7.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0812979966
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Acclaimed historian Margaret MacMillan explores here the many ways in which history affects us all. She shows how a deeper engagement with history, both as individuals and in the sphere of public debate, can help us understand ourselves and the world better. But she also warns that history can be misused and lead to misunderstanding. History is used to justify religious movements and political campaigns alike. Dictators may suppress history because it undermines their ideas, agendas, or claims to absolute authority. Nationalists may tell false, one-sided, or misleading stories about the past. Political leaders might mobilize their people by telling lies. It is imperative that we have an understanding of the past and avoid these and other common traps in thinking to which many fall prey. This brilliantly reasoned work, alive with incident and figures both great and infamous, will compel us to examine history anew—and skillfully illuminates why it is important to treat the past with care. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (26)

5-0 out of 5 stars A gem of a book
The slim volume of "Dangerous Games" has one main purpose:to warn the readers about the uses and misuses-or abuses- of history. In the same way that history can be extremely important, it can also be dangerous if not used wisely.
Margaret Macmillan's books are very interesting and well-researched and now she has produced another significant short masterpiece. It is not intended for everyone, as it requires a good command of facts and the ability of historical analysis.
On the other hand,everyone-including those who know less about specialists-will find here something which will cater to his/her taste. Humiliation,skepticism and and awareness of ourselves-these are the three main pillars of the importance of studying history. In this age of instant and abundant information-perhaps too much of it-Macmillan succeeds in getting us focused on why we need history,meaning the past. She does so in eight short chapters,telling us why history is still-and will always be-important .History,she says,affects us all,volens nolens. We can learn from it different lessons both as individuals and as public figures.
But the abuse of history can be also very dangerous .Dictators do it and other religious leaders can falsify and distort facts in order to mould the point of view and prism through which the masses and their respective audiences will live or look at things.
One of her main coclusions is that history not only helps us thinks about the present,but it also comes as an aide when we want to formulate various questions. We can also think more coherently about the present,because we live in a complicated world. The beauty of history is that it is an endless process, where one can reach different conclusions.The only caveat is to prove them.
As she sums it up:enjoy history but handle with care!

3-0 out of 5 stars Interesting thoughts
The authors interpretation of how history is used and abused in our culture and around the world in order to advance various causes didn't leave me with any particular insight. It was however, an interesting read full of common sense reminding readers to not take at face value the truthfulness of what we are taught, or told, by others. It seems everyone has an agenda, including historians. This one happens to be quite left of center.

5-0 out of 5 stars misappropriation of history
This is an excellent book, in which the author examines how leaders use examples from history to support their actions, irrespective of whether these examples are appropriate or not. It is an indispensible book for those interested in history and current events.

3-0 out of 5 stars Decent Work With Significant Issues
MacMillan's book is a helpful and entertaining look at both positive and negative uses of history.Her thesis is that history is often much more complex than demagogues and national leaders assume, and that although history can be helpful in understanding the present, much caution is warranted.The scope of her work is extensive, ranging from the history of antiquity to current events such as the Iraq War.The variety in her examples of the uses of history effectively supports her thesis and is extremely applicable to the political challenges of the present.In addition, there are few historical sacred cows that she does not sacrifice - national, religious, and political entities are all critically evaluated in their usage of the claims of history.

In spite of these benefits, there are a number of philosophical objections that this reader has to her work.Implicit in her "correct" usage of history is the myth of unbiased historians, well consistent with the hubris of Western academia.Popular response of Australians to this misplaced academic secular moralism is casually dismissed as anti-intellectualism (p.115).One example of her faith in academia is the "likely" contradictions of Old Testament histories with select archaeological findings of the last century.She seems to expect that the billions of adherents of the monothiestic religions will gladly forsake their faith in the biblical record due to arguments from silence by a few skeptical academians.

Similarly, there is the absence of any moral imperative in her work, in spite of the reference to following one's values (p. 169).Although consistent with the thesis of her book, tarnishing the clear-cut moral superiority of the United States by an equal comparison with an aggressor such as Germany in the Second World War is exactly the sort of criticism that conservative Americans have against the academic community.Without denying American responsibility for acts such as the Japanese internment camps, one with a moral compass can say that there is a clear difference between these actions and the subjugation of the majority of the European continent and murder of millions of Jews by the Nazis.This sort of commentary is reflective of the broader Western academics' brand of postmodernist moral relativism where there is no metanarrative and no moral absolutes save relativism itself.

2-0 out of 5 stars An important topic, an unimportant book
This is a book on an important topic. But I can't see the book itself as important. In fact, it's a genuine disappointment.

The basic questions, as outlined in the chapter headings, are topical and well-chosen. That's why I awarded the book 2 stars. But I was underwhelmed by the actual discussions. A few particulars:

Chapter One, "The History Craze," in its entirety is borderline hysterical. After the Bellesiles scandal of a few years ago, in which academic historians made collective asses of themselves by falling head over heels for a particularly slick con-man, it is impossible to take seriously an argument that we peóns should just leave the study of history to the pros. Sorry, the pros have demonstrated that they're nowhere near good enough.

Throughout the book, I was annoyed by the use of current buzzwords, most of which are essentially meaningless and have no place in a serious or semi-serious work. Phrases and words such as "playing the race card," "neoconservatives," and the use of "right-wing" as, apparently, a synonym for everything the author dislikes, particularly fascism (and the equation of "fascism" and "right-wing," although common in some circles, is not a very sophisticated concept; if the author ever denigrated anything as "left-wing," I missed it). These poorly understood words and phrases don't aid the utilization of English as a tool for precise and unambiguous communication of ideas. Attempts to use words like "appeasment" in simplistic ways impede understanding of the history involved. On the plus side, I'll give credit where it's due; the author never uses the adjective "Manichean," a pompous label for a trivial concept.

Speaking of appeasement, a particularly bizarre example appears on page 159. "Talking to your enemies" is not appeasement, despite the book's implication; talking to your enemies is diplomacy. Caving to your enemies in the hope that they will later leave you alone is appeasement. But what the author too obviously wants is revealed in the next paragraph, a manufactured opportunity to blast off on one of her rants about the Spawn of the Devil himself, George W Bush. These poorly-argued attacks rapidly become tedious.

Far too often - several times in each chapter - the author descends into snark which would be embarrassing from a high-school student. Consider this gem from page 146 - "Today, we hear that the Western powers cannot interfere in the increasing chaos and misery of Zimbabwe because it would only rouse memories of colonialism among the population. It is a pity that such considerations were not taken into account when the United States went into Vietnam or, more recently, into Iraq." Equating the military and political situations of Zimbabwe with Vietnam or Iraq is, on many levels, simply absurd. And the claim that something wasn't taken into account is unsupported; the author offers wild guesses and simplistic surmises as history. And as history, it's worthless.

On page 153 we see a peculiarity. The paragraph is about how the dumb ol' American military wanted to forget the lessons about warfare it may have learned in Vietnam, to the point that a publisher turned down a book on counterinsurgency by a Marine colonel because it was an "interesting book, well written, but a subject nobody's interested in ..." This is bizarre. Any implication that willful forgetfulness is one of the US military's core values is going to need some justification. Is it possible that Prof MacMillan is unaware of the USMC's "Small Wars Operations" manual of 1935? This was written to codify experience gained during the "Banana Wars" and interventions in the Caribbean and Central America from the 1890s to the early '30s. It is hardly an obscure work. It was republished in 1940 as the "Small Wars Manual". This is not the only such American military manual, it just happens to be one I have, a reprint published by the Navy as NAVMC 2890.

So, I have to consider this a lightweight work on a heavyweight subject. It is, at least, easy to whip through. The format was obviously a series of lectures, a stultified format, but one which dynamic writers such as A.J.P Taylor have used successfully for informative and thought-provoking works of history.

... Read more

15. The British Library Guide to Printing: History and Techniques (British Library Guides)
by Michael Twyman
Paperback: 92 Pages (1999-02-13)
list price: US$25.95 -- used & new: US$21.88
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0802081797
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Printing is generally held to be one of the most important inventions of all time and to have helped change the course of history. It can be described as a means of giving form to and multiplying graphic signs and messages, and its extraordinary social, artistic and intellectual impact derives from its technical appropriateness and adaptability.

In this authoritative introduction, Michael Twyman focuses on printing methods and techniques, from the invention of printing in the Far East and in Europe to today's digital revolution, and how they have played a part in shaping their end product.

With over 60 colour and black-and-white illustrations, The British Library Guide to Printing: History and Techniques is one of a series of titles providing accessible and lively introductions to the practical aspects of the history of books and how they are made. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Concise yet educational
This history of printing has a good balance on concise wording and pictures.Admittedly, I did focus on the later periods, having already been familiar with printing techniques of the hand press period. ... Read more

16. The Histories, Volume II: Books 3-4 (Loeb Classical Library)
by Polybius
Hardcover: 576 Pages (2010-05-31)
list price: US$24.00 -- used & new: US$23.95
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Asin: 0674996380
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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The historian Polybius (ca. 200–118 BCE) was born into a leading family of Megalopolis in the Peloponnese (Morea) and served the Achaean League in arms and diplomacy for many years, favoring alliance with Rome. From 168 to 151 he was held hostage in Rome, where he became a friend of Lucius Aemilius Paulus and his two sons, especially Scipio Aemilianus, whose campaigns, including the destruction of Carthage, he later attended. Late in his life he became a trusted mediator between Greece and the Romans; helped in the discussions that preceded the final war with Carthage; and after 146 was entrusted by the Romans with the details of administration in Greece.

Polybius’ overall theme is how and why the Romans spread their power as they did. The main part of his history covers the years 264–146 BCE, describing the rise of Rome, her destruction of Carthage, and her eventual domination of the Greek world. It is a great work: accurate, thoughtful, largely impartial, based on research, and full of insight into customs, institutions, geography, the causes of events, and the character of peoples. It is a vital achievement of the first importance despite the incomplete state in which all but the first five of its original forty books have reached us.

For this edition, W. R. Paton’s excellent translation, first published in 1922, has been thoroughly revised, the Büttner-Wobst Greek text corrected, and explanatory notes and a new introduction added, all reflecting the latest scholarship.

(20101001) ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars On Polybius: Structure, Themes and Method, O My!
In my review of Volume 1, I railed a little at the Penguin edition of Polybius for providing an edited version of this work. I want to add some substance to that complaint. The Lords of Penguin provide a good (and, I believe, complete) edition of Livy-they should do the same for Polybius. Maybe with even better reason, for Polybius' work has a structure unlike any other I have come across yet in my reading of ancient historians. Allow me to explain.

Polybius is writing a universal history and he believes that he has invented the genre. And, he believes that he is able to do so because of the amazing accomplishments of the Roman Republic during the years 220-167BC. During that short period of time, Rome expands from Italy to dominate most of the world known to Polybius. For the first time, the history of one people became the history of all people.
The structure of his histories reflects the historical moment that he has recognized. He starts off in Books 1 and 2 setting up the prehistory of his story. He does this because he realizes that many of his Greek readers will not know the history of the First Punic War and the history between the Gauls and the Romans. (By the way, when I talk about Books, I am referring to Polybius' own divisions of which there were 40. When I talk about Volumes, I am referring to the the Loeb edition which has six volumes.) Books 3 and 4 are the contents of the volume under review.In Book 3, Polybius begins his history proper and covers the causes and beginnings of the Second Punic War, Hannibal's campaign in Spain, his crossing of the Alps and the war in Italy up to and including the battle of Cannae. Book 4 covers the Social War in Greece through 218 as well as wars in Crete, Rhodes and Byzantium. So these books cover the beginning of the process that led to Roman domination.

It is obvious that Polybius wrote with his whole plan in mind. There are frequent references to his overall plan of organization or how the story he is telling is related to another story as a precursor or as the result. He also frequently tells you how other events are related chronologically to what he is telling you now.
Polybius believed his organization is an effective means of conveying the themes he wants to get across. Throughout his book he points out the makeup of a good general (Polybius had been one for the Achaean League) or how the moral failings of a particular leader led to certain results. He does this even for leaders he admires such as the elder Aratus of Sicyon who in spite of his many great qualities was a disaster as a general (4.8.6- such citations refer to book, chapter, line).
Another favorite theme (as it is among many Greeks) is the fickleness of Fortune. Sometimes she just turns the whole world upside down as she did in the early 220s BC when new kings rose to the thrones of Macedon, the Seleucid Empire, Egypt, Cappodocia and Sparta. Polybius also comes back again and again to the spirit and energy of the Roman people as after the disaster at Cannae.
Another beloved theme is what makes a good historian- apparently it is someone who has much the same background as Polybius himself. Fancy that. But he does have much to say about historical method that seems to have been influential.

He believes that as much as possible one should write from experience especially in regards to military matters and geography. He frequently goes into digressions on geography trying to paint an organized picture in the reader's mind before he goes on to tell his histories (I find that I still need maps). In fact, he himself apparently walked the route that Hannibal took over the Alps for the purposes of writing his history.
Polybius has several other interesting traits as a historian. In 3.22-28, he relates the histories of the treaties between Carthage and Rome. He quotes them and tells the reader where they can be found. He is citing his sources for his independent research. Good habit, that. Modern historians still run a foul of that.
I don't mean to imply that his work is flawless. Far from it. He is radically wrong about some of the details of his history and he obviously made stuff up (some of the speeches). But in many ways, you can see the birth of much of modern historical method by reading these books.
So there you have it- some ideas about the structure of his work, his themes and his methods. I should mention that Polybius is also blessed by the quality of some of the contemporary studies of his work. Walbank, McGing, Champion and Luce all have much of worth for any student of Polybius. I intend to review some of their works in the near future. Anybody who wants to correct me on points of fact or opinion, please have at it.
Learn, must I.
... Read more

17. Baghdad at Sunrise: A Brigade Commander's War in Iraq (Yale Library of Military History)
by Col. Peter R. Mansoor
Paperback: 416 Pages (2009-09-29)
list price: US$18.00 -- used & new: US$11.61
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0300158475
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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This compelling book presents an unparalleled record of what happened after U.S. forces seized Baghdad in the spring of 2003. Army Colonel Peter R. Mansoor, the on-the-ground commander of the 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division—the “Ready First Combat Team”—describes his brigade’s first year in Iraq, from the sweltering, chaotic summer after the Ba’athists’ defeat to the transfer of sovereignty to an interim Iraqi government a year later. Uniquely positioned to observe, record, and assess the events of that fateful year, Mansoor now explains what went right and wrong as the U.S. military confronted an insurgency of unexpected strength and tenacity.


Drawing not only on his own daily combat journal but also on observations by embedded reporters, news reports, combat logs, archived e-mails, and many other sources, Mansoor offers a contemporary record of the valor, motivations, and resolve of the 1st Brigade and its attachments during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Yet this book has a deeper significance than a personal memoir or unit history. Baghdad at Sunrise provides a detailed, nuanced analysis of U.S. counterinsurgency operations in Iraq, and along with it critically important lessons for America’s military and political leaders of the twenty-first century.


(20080914) ... Read more

Customer Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars Filling in the Perspective--yet to be completed
Colonel Mansoor's excellent work fills a vital need in the continuing perspective of US interests in the Middle East and southwest Asia. In fact, as times shrink, this foreign policy reality is rapidly spreading to all overseas operations.

While the military has learned this, the stripped suit and NSC and White House still have not done so.

American political leadership appears frozen in time, while the world goes on at ever increasing velocity, dealing with things as they are rather than how we would prefer to find them. Colonel Mansoor and other senior field commanders must deal with the real world and Baghdad at Sunrise is an excellent account of going about doing so.

From my experience there are three books which, together, complete the perspective on what has gone right, what has gone wrong--and why--and where we are headed in the unsymmetrical warfare linked statecraft arena: "Cobra II" (Gordon and Trainor) bluntly reveals the failures of the Department of Defense (Rumsfeld), creating, by default, much of the reason we are still engaged in combat in IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN, and PAKISTAN; "Imperial Life in the Emerald City" (Chandrasekaran) provides inside views of the civilian failures following after "Cobra II," and now "Baghdad at Sunrise" provides military perspective of the "Imperial Life. . ." time frame.

What is apparent as one considers these three works is the utter failure in application and practice of the so-called Country Team concept of US Strategy. I suggest that this is the result of too many civilian novices who are long on opinions and short on experience, and who usually spend little time on the ground.

It appears that the field military commanders in IRAQ (hopefully not in AFGHANISTAN, but I doubt it) are continually frustrated trying to determine which US Country Team is in command:State, President, DOD (not the same thing as military), USAID (and mutations), or CIA (and mutations). The highly motivated and dedicated enemies confronting us in the field do not have to contend with such nonsense.

Well done, Dr. Mansoor, and appreciation to the Kagans for this needful perspective. Please keep it up.

Louis T Dechert, US Army Special Forces, Retired

1-0 out of 5 stars Too much of the Verticle Pronoun
General Creighton Abrams, the man whom they named the M-1 tank after, was often asked why he did not write an autobiography. His reply was characteristic and short - "too much use of the verticle pronoun". And that is why I rated book Baghdad at Sunrise a one.

I found the author using the word I or me too much. He's incredbily quick at name dropping every single mentor he ever had past and present in the Army. Every single leader he served was with was the best. They all became fast friends. Author Mansoor quickly lets us know he graduated top of his West Point class and although he preferred teaching military lessons at West Point, one of his mentors suggested he command a Brigade so he could have that experience.

I know you have to have self confidence and ego to be a leader at this level. But every single problem Mansoor encountered was solved quickly....by him. He was involved in every fire fight, no matter how far he was....from the front. By radio and chopper, he successfully led his troopers through the battle.

Are there insights of this war here? Sure. Is it interesting to know some of the details that went on during his phase of the Iragi war? Yup. This book just read like someone was posturing for his bosses to say "see what a great job I did over there"? Mansoor could have learned from the best Army leader of the 20th century General Abrams and not used all of those "I's". Chuck Yeager, James Doolittle wrote autobiographies but found the right chord or balance on the retelling of the story without making themselves the center of it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excelllent book!
I found this an excellent read!I have met Peter Mansoor and listened to him speak and he is an sxcellent spokesman for The Ohio State University (where he now teaches) and for the U.S. Army.

Pete Anderson

1-0 out of 5 stars Too much self-promotion
Since other books on the Surge spoke highly of Mansoor Baghdad at Sunrise seemed an inevitable purchase. However, in his own book Mansoor continues to speak highly of ... himself. This incessant personal branding makes the book unbearable, although its quite possible the underlying message is interesting and relevant. However, for me the man shot himself in the foot.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great testimonial to a great brigade and its command.
I personally know the author, having worked with the Ready First Combat Team for many years prior to Col. Mansoor's command.In his book Pete Mansoor brings to light the courage, determination and heroism of all the soldiers under his command.His candid and open account of what happened during this deployment is refreshingly objective and honest.Having worked and to some extent lived among the soldiers, their families and the command, this narrative made me further realize how priviliged I was to be able to support the RFCT.I recommend this book to anyone who wants a true and accurate picture of our military's challenges in Baghdad during the 2003-2004 deployment, which eventually led to present day outcomes and events.I am proud to have known Col. Pete Mansoor, and I am proud to have served the finest brigade in the Ist Armored Division and the entire U.S. Army. ... Read more

18. The Hellenistic Age: A Short History (Modern Library Chronicles)
by Peter Green
Paperback: 240 Pages (2008-05-13)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$6.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0812967402
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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The Hellenistic Age chronicles the years 336 to 30 BCE, a period that witnessed the overlap of two of antiquity’s great civilizations, the Greek and the Roman. Peter Green’s remarkably far-ranging study covers the prevalent themes and events of those centuries: the Hellenization, by Alexander’s conquests, of an immense swath of the known world; the lengthy and chaotic partition of this empire by rival Macedonian bands; the decline of the city-state as the predominant political institution; and, finally, Rome’s moment of transition from republican to imperial rule. It is a story of war and power-politics, and of the developing fortunes of art, science, and statecraft, spun by an accomplished classicist with an uncanny knack for infusing life into the distant past, and applying fresh insights that make ancient history seem alarmingly relevant to our own times.

“Spectacular . . . [filled with] Mr. Green’s critical acumen.”
–The Wall Street Journal

“Green draws upon a lifetime of scholarship to brilliantly sum up the three-hundred-year Hellenistic age. . . . Happily, this book’s brevity–admirable in itself, and in its concision, elegance, and authority–isn’t achieved at the expense of subtlety and complexity.”
–The Atlantic Monthly

“An interesting and well-written overview . . . Students of world history are in Green’s debt.”
–The Philadelphia Inquirer

“Marvelous . . . splendid . . . a brilliant introduction to this crucial transitional period.”
–Publishers Weekly (starred review) ... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

1-0 out of 5 stars This is a novel not a history book
When I ordered this book I thought that I was going to purchase a History book. I was interested to figure out what happened during an era that influenced profoundly the western civilization and the spread of Christianity. Instead I found out that this book is grossly uninformative. Green does not really write History, he writes a novel about the Hellenistic age. Essentially it is a modern type of psycho-mythography involving a few central characters and hundreds of minor characters with Greek names. The book is loaded with Mr. Green's speculations, fantasies and psychological interpretations! Mr. Green is a very good writer and I am sure that he can pass this novel as history to innocent readers. I am a Professor as Mr Green used to be but I am a basic scientist and I always try to avoid passing to my readers my speculations as facts. I guess that certain modern historians lack this ethic.

5-0 out of 5 stars Review of Green's 'Hellenistic Age'
It's very hard to write gripping history, but Green here succeeds. He gives an appropriate median of history and soap opera in retelling the story of the post-Alexandrian dynasties. Green is frankly an excellent writer. His hundred-page introduction to the Hellenistic age is a pleasure to read. The work is also supplemented with a lengthy chronology, maps and a few genealogies. This is great classical writing, have no doubt.

3-0 out of 5 stars Aiming at the wrong audience
I thought this was supposed to be a survey for those of us not expert on the topic, so why is he dragging in 19th-Century Greek poets, and using terms nonexperts won't know? And what's with the love of foreign terms?De haut en bas, indeed! (Yes, I know what it means. But there are some terms I don't know and couldn't find, including untranslated Greek. I had Greek decades ago in college. Most readers probably never had it.) Substantively, I'dhave liked more on the Seleucids. He refers to the Parthians eventually taking over while the Seleucids were having their dynastic quarrels, but doesn't go any farther on that topic. He seems much more interested in the parts taken over by Rome: Greece, Asia Minor, and Egypt. Also, the grammar is awful. Doesn't anyone copy edit anymore?

4-0 out of 5 stars Good, easy read; awesome appendices
Peter Green has crafted a very readable and well-rounded history of theHellenistic Age in the eastern Mediterranean, from the death of Alexander to Rome's conquest of the squabbling Greek kingdoms. It is nice to see such an accessible, cheap volume put out by a major historian in the field. The reason that I don't give it 5 stars is because at times it feels extremely rushed. A lot of detail is sacrificed, and trying to follow some events is mind boggling.

While the book itself is good, the real reason to own this volume is for the appendices. There are some excellent tables depicting the very convoluted family trees of the various Hellenistic dynasties. The Ptolemy tree is an especially welcome addition. The maps are nothing terribly special, but there are a number of them and they're crisp, clear and easy to read. (The Aegean one is a little squished, but it is well-labeled.) The chronological table is also wonderful for making sense of this fast-paced era.

This book is more than worth its price tag for an introduction into the era. More advanced students will want to look at Dr. Green's 'Alexander to Actium', but this little book has a lot of good stuff inside.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great product!
I just used these cups today and I love them. By simply buttering or using a little oil to coat the interior, the poached eggs slid out easily and without fuss. Clean up was a snap.

I strongly recommend this product.
... Read more

19. The Airplane: A History of Its Technology (Library of Flight Series)
by John D. Anderson
Hardcover: 369 Pages (2002-12)
list price: US$75.00 -- used & new: US$65.69
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1563475251
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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This new book was commissioned in celebration of the100th Anniversary of Powered Flight. It is written by one the mostrespected authors in the aerospace world. John D. Anderson Jr. iscurator for aerodynamics at the National Air and Space Museum,Professor Emeritus, Department of Aerospace Engineering, University ofMaryland, and the author of several world-renowned textbooks.

Contrary to popular belief, the Wright brothers did not invent theairplane; rather they invented the first successful airplane. Theconcept of the airplane was invented a hundred years earlier, and theWrights inherited a century's worth of prior aeronautical research anddevelopment. The Wrights did not work in a vacuum; they admitted thatthey "worked on the shoulders of giants." Indeed, if Orville andWilbur had not entered the field of aeronautics, and their momentousflight on 17 December 1903 had not taken place, the first successfulairplane would have been invented by someone else within thedecade. The time was right. The Wrights were the right people at theright time.

Just what aeronautical technology did the Wrights inherit from their predecessors? How much was right? How much was wrong? Who were the major players in the development of this technology and why?

This book will answer those questions. It is a history of the technology of the airplane, written with the nontechnical reader in mind, but telling a story that the technical reader can also enjoy. This history begins centuries before the Wright brothers and takes us to the present day. "After you finish this book, I hope that the next time you get on an airplane, you will feel the history of its technology. If you do, then I will have accomplished my goal." -- John D. Anderson Jr.

Technical and nontechnical readers alike will find this book fascinating reading. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

3-0 out of 5 stars promising but disappointing
After having read Anderson's wonderful book A History of Aerodynamics and his college text Introduction to Flight, I looked forward to a full historical coverage of technology as a whole in the history of aircraft. That is not really what we have here. Rather there are three chapters taking us up to the Wright brothers with lots of well presented material that has I must say been just as well covered in some of the other references Anderson himself cites.Then three chapters take us through the strut and wire biplance, the mature propeller driven airplance and the modern jet aircraft. In these three chapters are a lot of interesting stories about technology development but they seem to represent just those areas that the author has specific interest in and there is not a strong attempt to construct or de-construct any coherent narrative.
Specific shortcomings include ignoring a great deal of aeronuatical engineering going on the United Kingdom and paying attention to German developments only as they affected American activities. Apparently there was not much aviation technology going on anywhere else and perhaps that was really the case. If so, that should at least have been explained in some fashion. In addition, since Anderson is an aerodynamicist, structural technology is covered less extensively and less intensively, and the whole area of aircraft power (non-propulsive) and control systems is just taken for granted.
The main problem with this book is not what is in it, but what is not in it to justify the grand title. If you are an aviation enthusiast at whatever technical level, this is a good book to buy and enjoyable to own and read but I rated it three stars to warn about expectations. To give due credit to John Anderson, the Preface to the book makes clear this is a personal choice of stories and if you could read the Preface before you buy the book, you wouldn't need this review. Unfortunately, the Inside feature starts with the first chapter.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent coverage of the first 40 years
This work covers excellently the first 40 years of flight, up to and through the golden years of the piston aircraft. That is unlikely to be bettered for a long time. The remaining period to the present is covered much less comprehensively, but remains an good introduction to the salient features of this -as seen from a USA perspective.

5-0 out of 5 stars It flies!
This book is terrific. But let me introduce my background first, so you know my perspective. I have passed two PhD qualification exams (both at first try) in Material Science and Engineering, and Electrical Engineering in a top research university, but have never taken a class in fluid mechanics or aeronautics, or read any book on them. I got this book about a week ago, and have finished all of its 358 pages. Although an early sleeper, several nights I read it until 2am in the morning. This book is very clear, and no doubt is a masterpiece written by a grand master for everyone, unlike some books that were written by genius for genius. I have some trouble understanding the engines due to the lack of my background. I guess I need an introduction book on engine to make that up. Other than that, I would say I understand the rest pretty well. A little complaint here: the index sometime does not include some of the technical terminology. For example, I missed the definition of "camber ratio" the first time, and had a hard time to find it later.
This is the first book review I wrote, simply because this book is so good. Too bad the highest review one can give in Amazon is only 5 stars. This book flies way above it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Masterfully Conceived and Written
With the publication of John Anderson's seminal overview of the history of aerodynamics, "A History of Aerodynamics, and Its Impact on Flying Machines" (Cambridge University Press, 1997), the former Glenn L. Martin Distinguished Professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Maryland and current curator for aerodynamics at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum established himself as the preeminent interpreter of the history of flight technology in the United States. This book solidifies Anderson's stature with its outstanding analysis of the evolution of the airplane from its origins before the Wright brothers through the design revolution wrought by the advent of jet propulsion.

Anderson begins with an introduction that serves as chapter 1. He then offers six additional chapters chronologically exploring the development of aeronautics. These include: (2) aeronautical thought and research before the nineteenth century, (3) work during the nineteenth century but before the Wright brothers, (4) the efforts of the Wrights and their revolutionary Flyer, (5) the era of the strut-and-wire biplane which Anderson characterizes as "seat-of-the-pants" design, (6) the development of the mature propeller-driven airplane which the author considers the first design revolution, (7) and the second design revolution wrought by jet propulsion.

This work is written for the general reader, and Anderson does a fine job of communicating difficult concepts without reliance on jargon and a plethora of equations. There are a few of the latter, but they are kept to a minimum and the author takes pains to explain them clearly. This is also a large format book well illustrated with diagrams and photographs that do much than just decorate the text by serving to illustrate the principles of flight.

Anderson also does a good job of demonstrating the state of the art of flight at critical points in the evolution of the airplane. For example, while most people believe that Wilbur and Orville Wright "invented" the airplane, Anderson shows that the idea of the airplane predated them by centuries and that they inherited a considerable body of knowledge about the principles of flight. This, and their own work, enabled the Wrights to fly the first successful airplane. Others following in their footsteps significantly advanced knowledge about the technology of flight and brought us to the point we are now. Always, Anderson explores the evolution of the major technologies required for flight: aerodynamics, materials and structures, propulsion, guidance and control, and the systems and processes that guide the development of any airplane.

While there are no footnotes in the text, there is a bibliography and Anderson often refers to specific publications in his text. Prepared in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of powered flight, this is quite an excellent work and highly recommended. ... Read more

20. The New York Public Library Amazing Hispanic American History: A Book of Answers for Kids (The New York Public Library Books for Kids)
by The New York Public Library, George Ochoa
Paperback: 192 Pages (1998-08-25)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$5.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 047119204X
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Search for the "Fountain of Youth" with Ponce de Léon, witness the dramatic events leading up to the Spanish American War, and explore the dozens of different nations from which Hispanic Americans hail. Discover Hispanic holidays, foods, and dances, and find answers to all your questions about Hispanic American history. . . .

Why do some people call themselves Hispanic, while others call themselves Latino? See page 11.

Where in the Americas did the Spanish first settle? See page 20.

Which Spanish explorer discovered the Mississippi River? See page 39.

Who were the desperadoes? See page 62.

What is the Day of the Dead? See page 78.

Who was Che Guevara? See page 106.

Who was the first Puerto Rican to break into professional golf? See page 175.

THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY's bestselling reference books include The New York Public Library Desk Reference, The New York Public Library Book of Answers, and The New York Public Library Student's Desk Reference. GEORGE OCHOA is the author of The Fall of Mexico City for young adults, Wilson's Chronology of the Arts, and the coauthor of The Book of Answers: The New York Public Library Telephone Reference Service's Most Unusual and Enlightening Questions.

Also in this series:

  • The New York Public Library Amazing African American History
  • The New York Public Library Amazing Women in American History
  • The New York Public Library Incredible Earth
  • The New York Public Library Amazing Space
... Read more

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