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Eric Hobart (La Center, WA United States)

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1912: Wilson, Roosevelt, Taft and Debs -The Election that Changed the Country
1912: Wilson, Roosevelt, Taft and Debs -The Election that Changed the Country
by James Chace
Edition: Hardcover
26 used & new from CDN$ 2.16

3.0 étoiles sur 5 This book does not focus on the election - more the people, June 16 2004
"1912: Wilson, Roosevelt, Taft & Debs - the election that changed the country". That is the title given to this book, but the title certainly is not reflective of the substance of the work.
The book does center around the political contest known as the Presidential Election of 1912, but it veers off on many tangents that are unrelated to the contest. It is true that there were four major candidates for President that year, and all of them had a story to tell, but this book does not cover that story as well as it should.
The book spends entirely too much time discussing the history of the candidates for President - in fact almost 1/2 of the book is devoted to biographical sketches of these four men.
The most exciting (and relevant) section of the book details the Democratic National Convention in Baltimore in 1912 -Chace does a great job of relaying the exuberance felt by the attendees of the convention, and gets the reader very excited about this important moment in American Political History when Woodrow Wilson, soon to be elected the 28th President of the United States, was selected as the standard bearer for the Democratic Party. To a much lesser scale, and not quite as well, Chace describes the Republican, Progressive, and Socialist conventions which led to the nomination of William H. Taft, Theodore Roosevelt, and Eugene V. Debs respectively.
The election gets almost no attention at all in this book, but the Wilson administration does get a significant amount of attention, as does the legacy of Wilson and the impact of both Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt on a future President's administration - that of Franklin D. Roosevelt.
All told, I cannot recommend this book to anyone that is looking for a comprehensive story of the 1912 Presidential Election. However, if one is looking for brief (very brief) biographical sketches of the candidates, this is a great book, with some very exciting highlights of an important political campaign thrown in.

Man On The Moon Tv Tie In
Man On The Moon Tv Tie In
by Andrew Chaikin
Edition: Paperback
17 used & new from CDN$ 3.83

2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A dream for many, a reality for a few, May 30 2004
Space flight - the dream of so many youngsters, is the topic of Andrew Chaikin's book "A Man on the Moon". Chaikin has given us the story of the Apollo space program - the only program launched by NASA that has landed humans on another world.
Chaikin launches the book with the story of the tragic fire that claimed the lives of three astronauts - the first three austronauts to die either in preparation for or during a mission for NASA. The loss of Grissom, White, and Chaffee would pave the way to significant improvements in the Apollo program and probably helped to save the crew of Apollo 13 a few years later.
The book races through the thrills of the Apollo 11 mission and the first humans to set foot on another world - Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, as they landed on the moon. Chaikin captures the tribulations of the Apollo 13 mission where Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise were nearly the first space casualties and the heroic efforts of the NASA staff to return them safely to Earth. He continues through the remaining Apollo missions, concluding with Apollo 17, the final moon landing.
Chaikin has taken terrific interviews and conversations with the astronauts and other members of the Apollo program into account when writin this book. The book covers every topic from the exhiliration of launch to the post-recovery doldrums experienced by some of the astronauts. He explains how space flight changed some of the men, and merely enhanced traits seen in others.
This book is a tremendous piece of literature that belong in every space afficinado's library, and any historian of space travel must read this to understand how the Apollo missions paved the way for the Space Shuttle program and any upcoming manned missions that humans may have planned for the Moon, Mars, or beyond. I highly recommend this book to anyone with any interest in the history of space travel. It is easy to read, and very enjoyable.

Breakout: The Chosin Reservoir Campaign, Korea 1950
Breakout: The Chosin Reservoir Campaign, Korea 1950
by Martin Russ
Edition: Paperback
Prix : CDN$ 19.00
37 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 étoiles sur 5 A true taste of battle in a frozen wasteland, April 17 2004
Martin Russ has given us an exceptional work here - the story of 12,000 United States Marines, interwoven with the story of some members of the US Army in the hellish environment of North Korea in late 1950.
General MacArthur sent this force of Marines marching North during the Korean war, and they were suddently surrounded by a force of Chinese Communist troops five times their size (this was the first time that American troops had ever fought directly against the Chinese Communists). Although they were severely outnumbered, and fighting in one of the world's harshest environments, they somehow managed to emerge from this horrible scenario and maintain the honor and dignity that the Marine Corps has demonstrated from day one.
Russ gives us a narrative history collected from many interviews conducted with survivors of the campaign and weaves it into the military and tactical struggle faced by these men. Some of the pictures that he paints are gut-wrenching because of the horrors that these men endured; some cause the reader to smile because of the way that the soldiers faced their lot and overcame such challenging obstacles. His writing style is crisp & clear, which enables the reader to sympathize with the harshness of the reality that the soldiers faced in North Korea.
Without a book like this, the literature on the battles of the Korean War could never be complete. Russ has ensured that the men who faced the Chinese in the winter of 1950 will never be forgotten. I would recommend this book to anyone that has an interest in the humanistic side of the Korean war; it does not delve into the military campaign as much as the people, but it does do justice to the military commanders involved in this series of engagements.

Brown V. Board of Education
Brown V. Board of Education
by Robert J. Cottrol
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 35.07
14 used & new from CDN$ 3.31

4.0 étoiles sur 5 Good book, but does not focus on Brown v. Board of Education, March 6 2004
When one sees the title "Brown v. Board of Education", it immediately stirs up notions of a Supreme Court case involving desegregation of public schools in America. Robert Cottol, Raymond Diamond, and Leland Ware have given us some of that feel, but not enough in this book.
The book, only 240+ pages to start with, does not even touch on the Brown case (or any of the six cases that collectively were referred to as "Brown") until page 119. The first half of the book is spent exploring the history of segregation in education and in America as a whole. I believe that this is an important topic, but not of enough importance to require half of a book that is supposed to be about this one Supreme Court case.
Aside from the fact that there is little in the book that deals with the case itself (besides the history of segregation in education, there is a substantial section of the book that deals with direct ramifications of ordered desegregation and the reactions of state and local governments to this order), the book is well written. I enjoyed reading the book, but I think that I would refer readers to a broader history of the Supreme Court and interventions in race relations, such as the new Klarman book "From Jim Crow to Civil Rights: The Supreme Court and the Struggle for Racial Equality" instead of this book.
If, however, one is looking for a consice book that does indeed provide the story of segregation in American education, including the historic decision in 1954 that abolished that segregation, this is a great book to read and understand.

Touched with Fire: Five Presidents and the Civil War Battles That Made Them
Touched with Fire: Five Presidents and the Civil War Battles That Made Them
by James M. Perry
Edition: Hardcover
19 used & new from CDN$ 2.16

4.0 étoiles sur 5 A war, 5 Presidents, and a little politicking, Feb. 26 2004
In his latest book, Touched With Fire: Five Presidents and the Civil War Battles that made them, James M. Perry has given us a glimpse into the wartime efforts and heroics of five men who later occupied the Oval Office of the White House.
Presidents Grant, Hayes, Garfield, Harrison, and McKinley were all soldiers in the Civil War, and all had exposure to enemy fire at some point during the war (Hayes was wounded four separate times during the course of the war, though none of his injuries was life-threatening).
In my opinion, Perry has given us a good reading of Civil War history, including an introduction to some battles that are not often heard of (such as Garfield's involvement at The Big Sandy Valley battle in Kentucky). However, Perry gives short shrift to U.S. Grant, who was the only professional military officer to become President, and to McKinley, who was but an 18 year old Private when he enlisted at the outbreak of the war.
Perry's writing is lively, and gives the reader a nice vision of what was going on not only on the battlefield, but also in the minds of these five men. He closes the book by giving us a brief glance into the political careers (however short, bland or corrupt their administrations may have been) of these men as well.
I enjoyed reading the recounts of the battles and the actions taken by these men immensely, and I would highly recommend the book to anyone that is looking for a good understanding of the military years of Garfield, Hayes, or Harrison. With the shortcomings given to Grant and McKinley, I think that a more exhaustive biography would better provide an adequate picture of their wartime activities.

The Price Of Loyalty: George W. Bush, The White House, And The Education Of Paul O'Neill.
The Price Of Loyalty: George W. Bush, The White House, And The Education Of Paul O'Neill.
by Ron Suskind
Edition: Hardcover
61 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 étoiles sur 5 Controversial look at the Bush White House, Jan. 31 2004
This is a tough book to review - upon first glance, the book appears to be a scathing criticism of the Bush administration, but it is written with the insight of an insider.
Paul O'Neill, Secretary of the Treasury during the first two years of the Bush administration (2001-2002), collaborated with Ron Suskind to prepare this book that tells what O'Neill sees as the "inside story" of how this administration operates.
O'Neill is a card-carrying member of the Republican party; he served Presidents Nixon & Ford in the 70's, and now was involved in George W. Bush's administration in the early 2000's. However, he tells tales that cast suspicion on the motives of this administration, starting with the plan to oust Saddam Hussein (as early as February 2001) to the Bush/Cheney economic policy of multiple tax cuts that, as O'Neill & fed chairman Alan Greenspan say, could be detrimental to the long-term health of the American economy.
The book is well-written, and moves along at a quick pace. I do not believe that the book was written with the intent of discrediting the present administration, but instead was written to show one individual's view of what happens in the political circles around George Bush.
If you are a member of George Bush's fan club, this book will probably enrage you, since it is at times very critical of the administration. If you are, however, an opponent to the current political leadership in this country, you just may find yourself shaking your head and saying "Wow! I knew that, but it still seems so hard to believe!"....
I would encourage anyone that reads this book to read it with a critical eye and to know that the book is likely to arouse passion or fury previously not felt about "W".

Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship
Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship
by Jon Meacham
Edition: Hardcover
66 used & new from CDN$ 1.53

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Half history, half biography, all good!, Nov. 11 2003
Jon Meacham has tried to go where others have really not gone before - to explore the friendship between President Franklin Roosevelt and his counterpart, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in his new book Franklin and Winston.
Meacham has done a great job of describing, in intimate detail, the relationship between these two men. I consider the book to be a true hybrid between a biography and a history because of the style of writing - intermixing details about the individual (the biography part) with situations in which the person played a role (the historical part). Meacham intertwines these two in remarkable fashion.
This is an important book that truly displays how Roosevelt and Churchill were not only political compadres, but were indeed friends. I greatly enjoyed how Meacham discussed, with such attention to details, those situations in which both men were involved and played a critical role. I also appreciated the way in which Meacham explained how those encounters bolstered the friendship between the men - and why.
Although the friendship was rocky at times, with Roosevelt bowing to political necessity in lieu of being true friends, there is no doubt in my mind, based on Meacham's book, that these two men were so much more than just political heavyweights - they were indeed friends.

Fraud of the Century: Rutherford B. Hayes, Samuel Tilden, and the Stolen Election of 1876
Fraud of the Century: Rutherford B. Hayes, Samuel Tilden, and the Stolen Election of 1876
by Roy Jr. Morris
Edition: Hardcover
13 used & new from CDN$ 19.18

4.0 étoiles sur 5 Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it, Oct. 21 2003
So says an ancient proverb - if you don't learn from the past, you will repeat the blunders of the past. In his book Fraud of the Century, Roy Morris Jr. has given us a snapshot of an election in America's centennial year that would be considered the most controversial election in America's history - maybe until the 2000 election, but maybe even beyond that one.
Morris does a very good job of reporting the details of the 1876 campaign, starting with the party's selection of the candidates, brief biographies of each of the major candidates for President, and, finally, the campaign itself, the election, and the post-election shennanigans.
Those who are not aware of the extent of the corruption and fraudulent undertakings in a few states (Florida, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Oregon) during the course of the election will be rewarded when reading this book - Morris examines each of these cases in great detail and explains what bearing the states each had on the election.
Although this book does not flow as well as some other political history books that I have read, it is a well written and easily understandable story of an election that, although was not stolen by Hayes was stolen for Hayes by members of the Republican party. This book is well worth reading for anyone with an interest in American political history.

Jefferson's War: America's First War on Terror, 1801-1805
Jefferson's War: America's First War on Terror, 1801-1805
by Joseph Wheelan
Edition: Hardcover
11 used & new from CDN$ 64.24

4.0 étoiles sur 5 America wins its first war against a terrorist foe, Oct. 13 2003
Joseph Wheelan has provided us with a timely book in Jefferson's War: America's First War on Terror, 1801-1805. In this age where the United States is fighting terrorists in the middle east, Wheelan has given us a historical background of the American struggles against the Barbary states.
The Barbary States (Tripoli, Tunis, and Algiers) were engaged in what Wheelan describes as terrorism - capturing American ships and enslaving their passengers simply because they were Christians and not Moslems. The wars appear to be an extension of the age-old religious wars that have been ongoing for thousands of years. However, President Jefferson decided that he would end the battle between America and the Barbary States by fighting a military conflict with the aggressors.
Wheelan does a fantastic job of describing the individual military endeavors during the war, and he provides us with top-notch descriptions of the acts undertaken by the enslaving Barbarians against the Christian prisoners.
I enjoyed the book tremendously, and would recommend it to all as reading on a subject that is not well known in our nation's history. However, the last few chapters of the book really start to slide outside of the expectations based on the title - Wheelan dives into the War of 1812 against the British and the ongoing fight against the Barbary states into the Madison administration. These small detractors notwithstanding, the book is an excellent addition to the literature on America's early naval history.

Murdering Mckinley
Murdering Mckinley
by Eric Rauchway
Edition: Hardcover
21 used & new from CDN$ 18.69

4.0 étoiles sur 5 Czolgosz Insane? Did his murder of McKinley change America?, Sept. 27 2003
This review is from: Murdering Mckinley (Hardcover)
In his book Murdering McKinley: The making of Theodore Roosevelt's America, author Eric Rauchway has given us a picture of a somewhat troubled young man that assassinated the beloved President McKinley in 1901. McKinley's assassination marked the third time in just forty years that an American President had been killed. There is no question that Lincoln's assassination changed the direction of the nation, and there is no question that Garfield's assassination had virtually no impact, since he had only been in office for a few months when he was killed.
McKinley, however, had just been elected to his second term, and was considered to be a good President (consistently ranked in the top 20 Presidents ever to lead the nation), and the oft-feared Theodore Roosevelt was his newly elected Vice President, placed there by the Republicans to stymie his exuberance and minimize his impact on the party.
Rauchway excells at his descriptions of the murder and the ascension of Roosevelt to the nation's highest office, including the reasons so many people were nervous about TR taking over the Presidency. Thus, the first half of the book flows very nicely and is an easy read. However, after the assassin Czolgosz was executed, the book drifts into social history and spends a significant amount of time discussing whether or not Czolgosz committed the crime because he was infected by society and thus went mad. Rachway also delves into the theory that Czolgosz was insane stemming from a bout of syphilis.
I enjoyed the book a tremendous amount, but I truly believe that the subtitle of the book is slightly misleading - the author pays much attention to the factors that affected Czolgosz, and less emphasis is given to the way that Theodore Roosevelt changed the country once he became President. I would recommend this book to anyone that wants to understand this heinous crime and the immediate implications.

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