They called him Mickey Free. His kidnapping started the longest war in American history, and both sides--the Apaches and the white invaders--blamed him for it. A mixed-blood warrior who moved uneasily between the worlds of the Apaches and the American soldiers, he was never trusted by either but desperately needed by both. He was the only man Geronimo ever feared. He played a pivotal role in this long war for the desert Southwest from its beginning in 1861 until its end in 1890 with his pursuit of the renegade scout, Apache Kid. ~Goodreads Blurb
Instead of glossing over the various shades of humanity and presenting characters in the a simplistic black and white, good versus evil, format, Author Paul Andrew Hutton, has done exactly the opposite of that. Hutton has managed to squeeze every drop of his research into a condensed 424 pages in order to explain a thirty year war between the United states settlers and the Apache people. The detail and depth that Hutton combines in order to not only display a few chosen historical figures but a wide range, shows Hutton’s dedication to avoiding a classic pitfall of historical nonfiction writers. Where most writers would have simplified characters down to the classic “noble cowboy” versus “savage native” trope Hutton takes the time and the pages to show the horrors perpetrated by both sides.
While the sheer volume of details and facts may be off putting to some readers, I found that it enabled me to immerse myself into the past, with much more ease. The narrative style also made it easier to read instead of the standard textbook style that many fall into. There also is not much in the way of glossing over the misdeeds of both sides and if you prefer your history to be more PG than this may not be the best book for you.
*This Book was provided by BloggingForBooks and Broadway Books in exchange for honest feedback*
Tania O’Donnell takes the reader on a journey from medieval Courtly Love, through to the sexual license of the Restoration, and Victorian propriety. Pick up historical ‘dating tips,’ from how to court (or be courted), write romantic love letters, give and receive gifts, propose and pose as a sighing swain.
The book takes a historical approach to the problem of finding a mate, with case studies of classic romantic mistakes and plenty of unusual tales. In the 14th century young men tried to impress the ladies with their footwear, donning shoes with pointed toes so long that they had to be secured with whalebone—presumably because size mattered!
A History of Courtship is an entertaining and enlightening look at seduction over the centuries.~Goodreads Blurb
Starting off by titling your book “800 Years of Seduction,” you are promising the readers a great deal of information. Instead readers of this particular book are left with a series of little bits of information from a mainly European, and predominantly United Kingdom view on seduction. While there a plethora of information gleaned from other books and several different sources are given out throughout the text, there seems to be very little real flow to the book.
If the book was able to focus on any one segment of time and be able to give details, and perhaps use a bit of narrative to give readers a focus point, it would have promise. As it is, promising 800 years worth of history with only 176 pages, both leaves the reader with not enough detail and too much jumping around. This book would be suitable for a light read and I would recommend looking at some of the references that author Tania O’Donnell has written about throughout if this is a subject that intrigues you.
*This eBook was provided by NetGalley and Skyhorse Publishing in exchange for honest feedback*
As a boy, Robert D. Kaplan listened to his truck-driver father's evocative stories about traveling across America as a young man, travels in which he learned to understand the country from a ground-level perspective. In Earning the Rockies, Kaplan undertakes his own cross-country journey to recapture an appreciation and understanding of American geography that is often lost in the jet age. The history of westward expansion is examined here in a new light—not just a story of genocide and individualism, but also of communalism and a respect for the limits of a water-starved terrain—to understand how settling the West shaped our national character, and how it should shape our foreign policy. In his clear-eyed and moving meditations on the American landscape, Kaplan lays bare the roots of American greatness—the fact that we are a nation, empire, and continent all at once—and how we must reexamine those roots, and understand our geography, in order to confront the challenging, anarchic world that Kaplan describes. Earning the Rockies is a short epic, a story both personal and global in scope.~Goodreads Blurb
Reading this was like reading a thank you to his father’s shared wanderlust, and to the expansion of his mind by Bernard DeVoto.In writing this Robert D. Kaplan has managed to shine a light on the circular nature of history during a time when we might need it most. I was worried that this was going to be the sort of book that bemoans the lack of the good ol’ days, and a wishlist of the way things used to be. I was pleasantly surprised in the manner of which it showed inclusiveness and really highlighted more than simply the white folks conquering the West. There also is a deep understanding and a spark of joy in knowing that instead of simply tearing down our past to build up from the bones, more and more of America is investing in preserving our past. Whether good or bad, it is a part of us and it will shape our future in ways we might not be able to spot. The push towards isolationism and solidarity seems to be taking place in our country not from a position of strength but from a place of fear. Kaplan notes this and tries to explain the large political swing America’s political system is going through, by showing our past and how it affected us at the time.
One of the great joys about reading someone’s travel memoirs, especially if you have taken the same route, is seeing things through their eyes. Having driven from New Jersey to Montana myself not even two years ago, I find myself remembering the trip through Kaplan’s stories and descriptions. It adds another layer to the memories I already had, as I begin to understand not only the difference of locations and peoples but also the historical importance of the cities I drove through stopping only to fill a gas tank. Kaplan creates a connection to the readers, that pulls them in and shows them a land that has become simply a fly over zone for most of the country.
I would say that this book is for people who are interested in the politics of land, and have an interest in the shaping of America as a whole. Also anyone who enjoys travel memoirs will get a kick out of “Earning The Rockies.” Though I had no real knowledge of Bernard DeVoto’s work, I’ve planned to go back and read more into his backlog of works
*This eBook was provided by NetGalley and Random House in exchange for honest feedback*
Robert David Kaplan is an American journalist, currently a National Correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly. His writings have also been featured in The Washington Post, The New York Times, The New Republic, The National Interest, Foreign Affairs and The Wall Street Journal, among other newspapers and publications, and his more controversial essays about the nature of U.S. power have spurred debate in academia, the media, and the highest levels of government. A frequent theme in his work is the reemergence of cultural and historical tensions temporarily suspended during the Cold War.
In the summer of 1962, one year after East German Communists built the Berlin Wall, a group of daring young West Germans came up with a plan. They would risk prison, Stasi torture, even death to liberate friends, lovers, and strangers in East Berlin by digging tunnels under the Wall. Among the tunnelers and escape helpers were a legendary cyclist, an American student from Stanford, and an engineer who would later help build the tunnel under the English Channel.
Then two U.S. television networks, NBC and CBS, heard about the secret projects, and raced to be first to air a spectacular "inside tunnel" special on the human will for freedom. The networks funded two separate tunnels in return for exclusive rights to film the escapes. In response, President John F. Kennedy and Secretary of State Dean Rusk, wary of anything that might raise tensions and force a military confrontation with the Soviets, maneuvered to quash both documentaries...~Goodreads Blurb
I was concerned that this was going to be a tough one to slough through. As a 90’s kid (specifically 1991) I have no real emotional attachment or memory of the Berlin Wall. You have that standard universal knowledge that there was a wall, and someone told some Russian to tear it down.(I Googled it, Reagan to Gorbachev) Other than that I didn’t have much starting knowledge. My other fear was that it was a nonfiction book, and therefore boring. As an ardent historical fiction reader, I tend to stay away from the nonfiction. This one blew me out of the water.
With author Greg Mitchell’s use of the narrative voice, I found myself being drawn into the story. Instead of simply a black and white story, Mitchell has formed all these facts into a multi faceted gem that takes all these different nations’ and governments’ views and hands you a story. He doesn’t just stop there, instead of leaving readers in the past, he brings them forward to present time to compare it to modern day walls. Though today we spend more time talking about keeping people out with our walls(i.e. Trump) rather than the East Germany goal of keeping them in.
I would recommend this book for anyone who likes history and a good spy novel. Though it’s nonfiction I think this is going to rank very high on my list of favorites. I’m going to have to go back and give nonfiction another try and definitely anything by Greg Mitchell will be on the list. I rarely give books 5-stars, yet this one had me intrigued from the first chapter.
*This book was provided by BloggingForBooks and Crown Publishing in exchange for honest feedback*
Notes about the author: Mitchell has blogged on the media and politics, for The Nation. and at his own blog, Pressing Issjes. He was the editor of Editor & Publisher (E&P), from 2002 to the end of 2009, and long ago was executive editor at the legendary Crawdaddy. His book "The Campaign of the Century" won the Goldsmith Book Prize and "Tricky Dick and the Pink Lady" was a New York Times Notable Book for 1998. He has also co-authored two books with Robert Jay Lifton, along with a "So Wrong For So Long" about the media and Iraq. His books have been optioned numerous times for movies (including "Joy in Mudville" by Tim Hanks). He has served as chief adviser to two award-winning documentaries and currently is co-producer of an upcoming film on Beethoven with his co-author on "Journeys With Beethoven."
Irish patriot, Civil War general, frontier governor—Thomas Francis Meagher played key roles in three major historical arenas. Today he is hailed as a hero by some, condemned as a drunkard by others. Paul R. Wylie now offers a definitive biography of this nineteenth-century figure who has long remained an enigma.
The Irish General first recalls Meagher’s life from his boyhood and leadership of Young Ireland in the revolution of 1848, to his exile in Tasmania and escape to New York, where he found fame as an orator and as editor of the Irish News. He served in the Civil War—viewing the Union Army as training for a future Irish revolutionary force—and rose to the rank of brigadier general leading the famous Irish Brigade. Wylie traces Meagher’s military career in detail through the Seven Days battles, Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville. Wylie then recounts Meagher’s final years as acting governor of Montana Territory, sorting historical truth from false claims made against him regarding the militia he formed to combat attacking American Indians, and plumbing the mystery surrounding his death.
Even as Meagher is lauded in most Irish histories, his statue in front of Montana’s capitol is viewed by some with contempt. The Irish General brings this multi-talented but seriously flawed individual to life, offering a balanced picture of the man and a captivating reading experience. ~Goodreads Blurb
The title is unfortunately a lie, I'm so sorry. While I don't have a list of why Maegher is bae, it appears someone else had such a man-crush on him that he sent a letter to President Lincoln. In author Paul A Wylie's own words, "By the end of 1861 a surreptitious campaign had begun to have Meagher named the permanent commander of the Irish Brigade. Probably with his knowledge, but surely without his editing, an awkward, anonymously authored, and unsigned document titled "Reasons Why Colonel Thomas Francis Meagher Should Be Appointed Brigadier General of the Irish Brigade." was delivered to President Lincoln. Written in a hand different from Meagher's usual jagged right-slanted, nearly illegible penmanship, the pamphlet gave ten reasons why he deserved the appointment." Less than 30% into the book and I had to laugh out loud at the sheer fact that it seemed like a time travelling Buzzfeed editor was to blame for Thomas Meagher's appointment in charge of anyone, let alone a large group of soldiers.
Paul Wylie has done an amazing job putting together this biography on Thomas Meagher, a man that Montana history has started to forget. Lauded as an Irish Rebel and a brilliant orator, Meagher had nothing but trouble as soon as he stepped outside his wheelhouse. As a General he lead most of his men to the slaughter. Not believing any real cause other than Irish independence, Meagher saw the Civil War merely as a training ground for the Irish to gain experience and weapons. Most of the men he lead onto the field would not return to their homes. The man even chose to equip his men with less than modern weapons because he felt it would make a better picture and story. This man with his romantic views on war and rebellion was not a great general or even a good leader. He was a brilliant speaker and if only he had be satisfied with his speeches and rhetoric, perhaps things would have gone differently.
This fast paced but detail filled biography is incredibly well written. Without choosing to call Meagher a villain or a hero, Wylie simply lays the facts before us in a easy and simple manner, thus leaving the name calling up to the reader. At times the sheer amount of data and facts can make it a bit too dry, the action and the additional sources show what Meagher's journey from Ireland to Montana would have been like.
I would recommend to history buffs, and folks interested in Montana history. It is very well written and there are plenty of pictures if that's what you require. Even though I am not a fan of the man he writes about, I have to appreciate the work that went into Wylie's biography.
Freelance Editor & Reviewer