Reviews.

Marooned on Mars

Book Pocket Review, Title The Martian, Author Andy Weir, Rating 4.0,

The Martian

Andy Weir

Pocket Review

This 21st century Robinson Crusoe tale works because the lone marooned astronaut's effort at survival on Mars is framed around the question: how would a dogged but highly knowledgeable engineer solve the existential crises that cropped up, and live yet another day?

History, Reviews.

The smartest Nazi

Book Briefly Noted, Title Spandau: The Secret Diaries, Author Albert Speer, Rating 4.0,

Spandau: The Secret Diaries

Albert Speer

Briefly Noted

Albert Speer, Hitler's personal architect and Reich Armaments Minister, kept a diary while he was in Spandau prison following his conviction at the post-war Nuremburg trials. These diaries provide a fascinating, hooded glimpse of the 'smartest man' in the Nazi leadership. At least, smart enough to evade the death penalty at the Nuremberg Trials ...
Reviews.

Stuck at twelve

Book Book Review, Title In the Woods, Author Tana French, Rating 3.5,

In the Woods

Tana French

Book Review

Rather than mainly a rational whodunit, Tana French's In the Woods is a psychological drama, an intricate set of well-executed character studies embedded in the story of a police investigation into a child murder.

History, Reviews.

Napoleon

Napoleon: A Life, by Andrew Roberts. My early view of Napoleon was as a cartoon figure: A megalomaniac who tried to take over the world. I recall looking down at Napoleon's tomb in Paris in the company of my brother Craig, the two of us mocking his immense sarcophagus and elaborate surroundings, wondering aloud why the French would semi-deify such a bloody tyrant. The typical American republican conceits aside, we were woefully uninformed about much of the life of Napoleon.
Observations, Reviews.

Is the Lost Cause finally getting lost?

-CC BY 2.0, Maureen

Confederate flag with assault rifle superimposed and the message 'Come and take it'. Attrib: Maureen, CC BY 2.0.

In a response to the recent furor over the Confederate flag and its removal from public grounds, Kevin Drum just nails it:

Are we still arguing about whether the Civil War was really fought over slavery? Seriously? What's next? The Holocaust was really about Jews overstaying their tourist visas? The Inquisition was a scientific exploration of the limits of the human body? The Romans were genuinely curious about whether a man could kill a hungry lion? The Bataan death march was a controlled trial of different brands of army boots?
(Kevin Drum, Are We Still Yammering About Whether the Civil War Was About Slavery? Really?, Mother Jones
Literature, Reviews.

A good man cannot be found

Book Book Review, Title A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories, Author Flannery O'Connor, Rating 3.0,

A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories

Flannery O'Connor

Book Review

Within Flannery O'Conner's famed short story collection, a good man is not just difficult to find, but impossibly so. Thank God I am not Flannery O'Connor. I would not trade her ability to tell a story, and she is uncommonly good in some ways, for her brutal and dismissive view of the world. Harshness, of circumstance and character, forms her viewpoint; what is also redeeming finds little place in her stories.