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The Money Men: Capitalism, Democracy, and the Hundred Years' War Over the American Dollar (Enterprise)
The Money Men: Capitalism, Democracy, and the Hundred Years' War Over the American Dollar (Enterprise)
by H. W. Brands
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.94
84 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Five men and US money, December 22, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is a book about US money as told through short biographical sketches of five men. The book was interesting and well written. It is certainly quite accessible for someone with only a little familiarity with US history and finance. However, those with a deeper understanding of these subjects may find the book a bit too basic. I liked the book and found that it did bring new facts to light.

What is in the book - The five men covered and there impact on US money were:
1. Alexander Hamilton the first US Sec. of the Treasury and the man who organized the US monetary system and formed the first Bank of the United States. This section of the book discusses the founding of the bank and how it operated. There is also a discussion of US tariffs during the period.

2. Nicholas Biddle and the second Bank of the US. This chapter focuses on Biddle and his conflict with President Andrew Jackson.

3. Jay Cooke and the Union financing of the Civil War. This chapter is about the question of money and banking in the Civil War.

4. Jay Gould and his attempt to corner the gold market. The chapter discusses Gould’s railroad schemes, but focuses of his attempt to corner the gold market. It also discusses the gold backing of the US dollar during the last part of the 19th century and how this led to the attempted corner of the market.

5. J. P Morgan and his support of the US gold reserves during the Cleveland administration and his quelling of the Panic of 1907. There is some general discussion of Morgan and his impacts on the US business in general (railroad financing, formation of US steel, etc.) with a focus on the above-mentioned events. There is also a discussion of the silver coinage movement.


American Colossus: The Triumph of Capitalism, 1865-1900
American Colossus: The Triumph of Capitalism, 1865-1900
by H. W. Brands
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.46
80 used & new from $8.47

4.0 out of 5 stars Well written, entertaining but unfocused, December 17, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
H.W. Brands is on of my favorite historians and writer of history books for a general, as opposed to a specialist, audience. This book, like his others is very well written, and highly entertaining. However, this book is a bit unfocused, at least with respect to the subtitle - The Triumph of Capitalism, 1865-1900. Based on this subtitle, I was expecting a book that detailed the growth of American Industry, but while this is touched on, the book is much more of a general history of the US between 1865 and 1900. Entertaining - very much so; informative - very much so; what I expected - much less so.

What is in the book -
The book is divided into five parts, with titles that made me believe that this would be a book that conformed to the subtitle. These parts are titled:
- The Rise of the Moguls (largely about the railroads)
- Frontiers of Enterprise (about the Western US)
- Gotham and Gomorrah (immigrants and big city politics)
- The Finest Government Money Can Buy (political scandals)
- The Decade of the Century (Jim Crow laws, the Spanish American War, McKinley and J.P. Morgan)

As the above list indicates, this is a comprehensive picture of the time period covered by the book. However, the picture is one of vignettes, rather than an analysis of the period. For instance, there is a long description of the John Wesley Powel trip down the Colorado River in the section on the Frontiers of Enterprise. This section of the book was highly entertaining, but tended to defocus the narrative instead of clarifying it. There is a long section on the Chinese work on the Central Pacific, but comparatively little on the men who ran the railroad.

The focus on fascinating stories permeates the book and is a reason why I enjoyed the book and would recommend it. However, this would not be the book for you if you were more interested in an analysis of the period. In most cases, the interesting story ends with a sentence or a few sentences that ties the story to the overall theme of the "Triumph of Capitalism", but the thread to quite diffuse. As an example, there is a long and very interesting section on the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which is tied to the rest of the narrative by stating that the fire in destroying the city enabled a more modern one to be built - one where there was a greater density of taller buildings, setting the stage for the modern skyscraper.


Instant Expert: A Visual Guide to the Skills You've Always Wanted
Instant Expert: A Visual Guide to the Skills You've Always Wanted
by Lonely Planet
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $14.91
51 used & new from $7.47

3.0 out of 5 stars Some useful things here, but not enough to recommend the book, December 12, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Being that this is a book published by people who publish guidebooks, and it is billed as visual guide to skills, I think that it is only fair to judge it on how well it does at this. In my opinion the answer is not very well. If you really like cute you might like this book, but if you really want some meaty information I would pass on it. While I found a few sections of this book to be useful and interesting, I found most of the information in this book to be of little or no use. Hence I could only give the book three stars. The book treats 188 topics in a cartoon style (pictures with isolated portions of text). Each topic, with only a few exceptions, is covered in two pages, each containing about 100 words and about 6-10 drawings. Photography is covered in 8 pages and four pages are devoted to being an Inuit hunter.

The topics are an eclectic mix ranging from being a mountain guide to the Japanese tea ceremony. This book might be diverting for some people as the mix of information covered is wide, it does teach a little (a very little) about some things, the book contains some fun facts (Pakistan was the largest manufacturer of Bagpipes in 2010), and perhaps the book might peak one's interest enough want to learn more. However, I would not take this book on a trip as there is not enough in it to occupy one for even a few hours while waiting for a flight, and if I really needed to now about anything that is covered in the book I would use the Internet to get far more detailed and useful information.

Let me illustrate what is in this book by a few sections of the book that I thought were at least useful or interesting and some that I found useless.

Some examples of useful information -
Carpet Dealer - Shows how to tell if a rug is old. Actually it tells how to tell if a rug is definitely not old, since there is not enough information to tell a real old rug from a fake "old" rug, and certainly not enough information the tell if an old rug is valuable. Basically, old rugs do not have netting on the back, are made of wool or silk that smolder when lit with a match, whereas new synthetic materials burn, and if the rug has a helicopter in the design it is definitely not an old one.

Navigator - Contains some useful information regarding navigation using only the shadow cast by a stick, and sightings of a crescent moon and the North Star.

Tying knots - 12 knots are illustrated by one drawing each, but without any step-by-step instruction.

Glassmaker - Shows the basics of the float process to make plate glass (pouring molten glass on liquid tin), and compares annealed versus tempered glass. This is an industrial process and while interesting the section will not make you a glassmaker. Many people would put this information in the useless category, but I think that some people might find it at least interesting.

Some examples of what I consider useless information.
Poet - make things rhyme and fill in the blanks.

Jockey - be lightweight, over 16, fit and fearless.

Saxophonist - How to play the saxophone in two pages - really?

Cat - Two pages on how to BE a cat, really? Cutesie in the extreme.


Machine Made: Tammany Hall and the Creation of Modern American Politics
Machine Made: Tammany Hall and the Creation of Modern American Politics
by Terry Golway
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.17
65 used & new from $11.17

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A different take on Tammany Hall, December 8, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Most books on Tammany Hall and Democratic machine politics in general paint a picture of corruption and malfeasance. While this book includes these elements, particularly with respect to Boss Tweed, it spends much more time on the relationship between Tammany Hall and immigrants, particularly the Irish who were driven out of Ireland by the Potato famine of the 1840’s. Tammany Hall is depicted as the organization that the Irish immigrant had to turn to, given that there was no organized governmental program to help them. Tammany Hall would help find you a job, would provide food and emergency housing and in return expected your vote. The dark side of Tammany Hall, and what is focused on in most books, is what happened when Tammany Hall members were elected. Much more of this book is focused on the support that Tammany Hall gave to the immigrant population of New York City.

I found the book to be well written and quite informative. While the focus was largely on Tammany Hall in the 19th century it also covers Tammany Hall in the 20th. The book tells of the rascals like Boss Tweed and the reformers like Francis Perkins, who understood the good the organization did as well as the corruption that is fostered. It discusses all the Tammany Bosses - all the way up to the last boss, Carmine De Sapio. It discussed FDR’s relationship to Tammany Hall and how he started out as a reform Democratic enemy, but grew to become a supporter. The book also discusses Al Smith, who was a Tammany member who supported FDR, but became a critic and even opponent.


58mm Multi-Coated 3 Piece Filter Kit (UV-CPL-FLD) For The Canon Digital EOS Rebel T5i, SL1, T4i, T3i, T3, T1i, T2i, 60D, EOS 70D, EOS 5D Mark III Digital SLR Cameras Which Use Any Of These (18-55mm, 75-300mm, 50mm 1.4 , 55-200, 55-250mm) Lenses
58mm Multi-Coated 3 Piece Filter Kit (UV-CPL-FLD) For The Canon Digital EOS Rebel T5i, SL1, T4i, T3i, T3, T1i, T2i, 60D, EOS 70D, EOS 5D Mark III Digital SLR Cameras Which Use Any Of These (18-55mm, 75-300mm, 50mm 1.4 , 55-200, 55-250mm) Lenses
Offered by Amazing Deals Online
Price: $10.95
4 used & new from $9.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fully satisfied, December 4, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is an inexpensive set of three filters. I purchased them to go with a new DSLR camera because I always use a UV filter to protect the camera lens. I am an amateur photographer who has taken thousands of photographs with a variety of cameras. I did not see any visible defect in the lens or distortion in the image, so I am fully satisfied with these lenses. They screwed onto the lens easily with no tendency to strip the threads. The kit comes with a case that that holds the lenses in separate compartments.

Many professional photographers or very serious amateurs hold that inexpensive lenses such as these are not of sufficient quality to be of any value and expect to pay 7 to 20 times more for a lens. However, as I said, I could discern no degradation in image quality with these lenses, so they were just what I was looking for.


Canon EOS Rebel T5 EF-S 18-55mm IS II Digital SLR Kit
Canon EOS Rebel T5 EF-S 18-55mm IS II Digital SLR Kit
Price: Click here to see our price
93 used & new from $344.95

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great entry level DSLR, December 1, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is my first DSLR, but I have had a lot of experience with SLR cameras, and with a Canon Power Shot A720 IS digital camera. I have waited until after Thanksgiving so that I could put the camera through its paces before writing this review. I used the camera in its fully automatic mode and got wonderful photographs and excellent video footage.

For those who are interested in my more detailed comments, they are listed below.
- The Canon T5 in the budget version of the Canon entry-level DSLR EOS Rebel T5i. I direct the reader to the review by Joanna Daneman for an excellent comparison of the T5 versus T5i. The camera body is different, particularly with respect to the screen, which is fully articulated, a touch screen and has a greater number of pixels on the T5i versus the T5. However, I for one did not feel deprived using the T5. The screen resolution was fine, I do not particularly like touch screens and being fixed rather than articulated was fine with me. The T5i is a bit heavier than the T5, because the T5 uses a high impact plastic. When one reads that the T5 body is plastic, one can get the false impression that it is made from a cheap brittle plastic of the sort that one finds in a toy, but this not the case at all. It is more like the plastic of a Glock pistol.

- The camera comes with an 18-55mm zoom lens (and so does the T5i). This a very versatile lens, which I consider to be very good for wide-angle scenery photographs, for portraits and for use at family gatherings where the subjects are generally less than 20 feet away. It is NOT, however, a telephoto lens. The information on this site that lists the magnification as being optical 5.6x is wrong. (The 5.6 number seems suspiciously like an f-stop number, so listing it as a magnification may just have been a typo of sorts.) The zoom, given by the ratio of the focal lengths, is only 3.06, and at 55mm the object on the screen is, as I measured it, about half what one sees by eye at the same distance. There is a magnification setting that allows one to view the image on the screen at 5x or 10x, and at 10x what you see may be 5.6 times what your eye sees, but I do not consider the 10x to be optical magnification. The take-away is that you will need a telephoto lens if you want to magnify distant objects.

- I found the auto focusing to be fine, but it did hunt a bit and was not extremely fast, but fast enough for my purposes. The auto focusing can be turned off. The camera also comes with Image Stabilization, which I used and found to work perfectly. The zoom is all manual, which I believe is the case for all cameras of this type. It was motorized on my Canon Power Shot A720 IS, which was nice, but I was OK with the manual zoom on this F5.

- The camera ergonomics were good with good finger grip and with all the buttons easy to use.

- The camera has a good viewfinder as well as a screen and to save battery life it defaults to the viewfinder (you have to turn on the screen when you want to use it). However, in the video mode you can only use the screen. For video you have to focus using the shutter button (operated with your index finger), but then start video filming using a button actuated with your thumb. I found this a bit cumbersome, but with the benefit that you could take a fully automatic photograph while in the video mode by just pushing down the shutter release all the way instead of half way when focusing it.

- Operation and versatility - As noted, I used the fully automatic Intelligent Auto operation for Thanksgiving and found that it operated perfectly. However, when things are less hectic the camera can be operated in either of two modes - the creative zone that allows the f-stop, "film speed" and shutter speed to be all set independently, or with only one variable to adjust. There are also several basic modes, which operate completely automatically, where the camera chooses all the best parameters for several different situations: portraits, landscapes, close-ups, sports (fast motion) and night portrait. These basic modes also allow some of the parameters to be adjusted, although with less flexibility than with when using the creative zone.

- The camera comes with a 114-page paper manual and three CD's, one of which contains a 342-page manual. The other two detail the image processing, download software and photo editing software that comes with the camera. These can be downloaded and saved as computer files. It also comes with an adjustable neck strap that you have to put on, the 18-55mm lens, a rechargeable Li battery and charger, a spring tension lens cap and the cable that you will need to download photographs to a computer. (You can also download the photographs from the SD card.)

- The camera does NOT come with an SD card, so if you are giving it as a gift you will need to supply one in order to use the camera. This should not be a problem as an 8GB SD card now can be purchased for less than $10. The camera comes with only one rechargeable battery. Fully charged and after having used the camera to only test it out before Thanksgiving with less than two dozen photographs and three short videos, I found I was getting a low battery indication after 24 still photographs and less than five minutes of movie footage. This may have been a premature indication and I did not actually run out of battery life, but I will definitely be purchasing an additional battery. I also purchased a UV filter that I use to protect the lens.


DII Kitchen Millennium Easy to Remove, Cut to Fit, Non Adhesive, Under The Sink Liner, Taupe
DII Kitchen Millennium Easy to Remove, Cut to Fit, Non Adhesive, Under The Sink Liner, Taupe
Price: $18.69

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Works as advertised, November 29, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This liner worked as advertised, it:
- cut easily and did not curl up after being cut
- was water proof
- had no odor
- was a neutral beige color
- was non-slip but non adhesive


2X / 4X Ott-Lite 2 in 1 LED Floor Lamp Desk Lamp Combo
2X / 4X Ott-Lite 2 in 1 LED Floor Lamp Desk Lamp Combo

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I like this lamp a lot, November 26, 2014
I found this OttLite to be well made and relatively easy to assemble. I like this lamp enough to give it five stars, because:
· With 30 LED lights the lamp is quite bright (although Ott does not specify the amount of lumens that it puts out).

· The magnifier is glass and 2X with a 0.9-inch diameter 4X region.

· The lamp comes with extension poles that make it a standing lamp, with the lamp at about 40 inches from the floor with the lamp bent horizontal, but higher or lower depending on how the gooseneck is bent.

· Without the poles it is a desk lamp.

· It took me 20 minutes to assemble, with no cursing or fits of anger, but I would rate the instructions a B- because while satisfactory, they could have been a bit clearer. The lamp comes with an open-end wrench for tightening the base assembly, but I recommend using one of your own as the one that they give you is very thin and tends to round the hex bolt as it tightens it, but it does do the job. No other tools were required.

· The poles fit tightly when assembled, but the lamp can still be rotated as well as being bent.

· The LED's are rated at 40,000 hours, but cannot be replaced, so when they die so does the lamp. However, if they last 40,000 hours you should be getting your money's worth. If one were to use the lamp for 12-hours a day AND the LED's did last for 40,000 hours, you would be getting 9 years out of the lamp, and 18 years for six hours a day.

· Since the LED's operate at low voltage, they need a step-down transformer. The lamp uses a transformer plug that connects to the lamp via an external cable (one that is not inside of the extension poles). I generally do not like plug transformers, as they tend to take up too much room when using a wall tap adapter. However, this transformer is thin enough that it did not take up two tap spaces on the wall adapter that I am using.

I purchased this lamp on sale in a store, not from this Internet vendor, so I cannot comment on delivery or service. Mine is in white, but otherwise it is exactly the same. This same lamp is listed in more than one place, and I have posted this review on each so that a potential customer can more readily find it.


Ott Lite 2 in 1 LED Floor Lamp Desk Lamp Combo Model 438PN9
Ott Lite 2 in 1 LED Floor Lamp Desk Lamp Combo Model 438PN9

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I like this lamp a lot, November 26, 2014
I found this OttLite to be well made and relatively easy to assemble. I like this lamp enough to give it five stars, because:
· With 30 LED lights the lamp is quite bright (although Ott does not specify the amount of lumens that it puts out).

· The magnifier is glass and 2X with a 0.9-inch diameter 4X region.

· The lamp comes with extension poles that make it a standing lamp, with the lamp at about 40 inches from the floor with the lamp bent horizontal, but higher or lower depending on how the gooseneck is bent.

· Without the poles it is a desk lamp.

· It took me 20 minutes to assemble, with no cursing or fits of anger, but I would rate the instructions a B- because while satisfactory, they could have been a bit clearer. The lamp comes with an open-end wrench for tightening the base assembly, but I recommend using one of your own as the one that they give you is very thin and tends to round the hex bolt as it tightens it, but it does do the job. No other tools were required.

· The poles fit tightly when assembled, but the lamp can still be rotated as well as being bent.

· The LED's are rated at 40,000 hours, but cannot be replaced, so when they die so does the lamp. However, if they last 40,000 hours you should be getting your money's worth. If one were to use the lamp for 12-hours a day AND the LED's did last for 40,000 hours, you would be getting 9 years out of the lamp, and 18 years for six hours a day.

· Since the LED's operate at low voltage, they need a step-down transformer. The lamp uses a transformer plug that connects to the lamp via an external cable (one that is not inside of the extension poles). I generally do not like plug transformers, as they tend to take up too much room when using a wall tap adapter. However, this transformer is thin enough that it did not take up two tap spaces on the wall adapter that I am using.

I purchased this lamp on sale in a store, not from this Internet vendor, so I cannot comment on delivery or service. Mine is in white, but otherwise it is exactly the same. This same lamp is listed in more than one place, and I have posted this review on each so that a potential customer can more readily find it.


The president makers: From Mark Hanna to Joseph P. Kennedy
The president makers: From Mark Hanna to Joseph P. Kennedy
by Francis Russell
Edition: Hardcover
26 used & new from $2.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An informative view of eight men who made eight other men President of the US., November 23, 2014
This is an informative and very entertaining book. It consists of short biographies of eight men and how they propelled eight other men into the presidency. These eight men and the eight presidents were:
- Mark Hanna and William McKinley
- Thomas Collier Platt and Theodore Roosevelt
- Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft
- George Harvey and Woodrow Wilson
- Harry Micajah Daugherty and Warren G. Harding
- Frank Waterman Sterns and Calvin Coolidge
- Louis McHenry Howe and Franklin D. Roosevelt
- Joseph Patrick Kennedy and John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Some of these eight, such as Mark Hanna were kingmakers in the sense that they propelled men to the presidency because they were devoted to them and felt that they should be president, others like Thomas Collier Platt provided help but not overall support (Platt did not want Roosevelt to become President, but he wanted him out of the NY Governors chair and into that of the Vice President's. Some men were more of advisors like Louis Howe, and one was corrupt (Harry Daugherty) who saw the Presidency as a way to get them a powerful position of their own.


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