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Conversations with Major Dick Winters: Life Lessons from the Commander of the Band of Brothers
Conversations with Major Dick Winters: Life Lessons from the Commander of the Band of Brothers
by Cole C. Kingseed
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.50
99 used & new from $4.48

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An unobjective look at Dick Winters, January 3, 2015
I borrowed a copy from our local library. While I'm an admirer of Major Winters and have enjoyed other books on (or featuring) him, I admit I felt the author descended to almost the "fawning" stage in the way he covered Major Winters. I admit they were apparently close, but I felt Kingseed was almost Biblical in his admiration for Winters and I started to get tired of it by the end of the book. Major Winter, while one of the best company-grade officers of World War II, was hardly superhuman, and I felt that the author was trying to create this image. Had I been able, I would have given two and a half stars.


All the Factors of Victory: Adm. Joseph Mason Reeves and the Origins of Carrier Air Power
All the Factors of Victory: Adm. Joseph Mason Reeves and the Origins of Carrier Air Power
by Thomas Wildenberg
Edition: Paperback
28 used & new from $7.78

5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book about a little known "carrier pioneer", November 26, 2014
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I just finished an interesting book about a little-known, but influential American admiral from the 1920s and 1930s, Admiral Joseph M. Reeves. The book was entitled, "All the Factors of Victory" by Thomas Wildenberg. Reeves graduated from the USNA in 1894 and served on the battleship Oregon during the battle off Santiago. He had a number of surface commands up to and including WWI.

In the early 1920s, he took command of the experimental carrier Langley. He took training (at a relatively advanced age) as a naval air observer and became very enthusiastic about carriers and the use of carriers as a strike weapon. He pioneered the use of large deck strikes and as an admiral, commanded the first carrier task force. Carriers under his command launched several simulated strikes against targets such as the Panama Canal, previewing the "real thing", launched against Japanese targets in WWII. He was not just a surface officer who happened to be, by the luck of the draw, in command of carriers, but a true pioneer. He later became commander in chief of the U.S. Fleet (although not CNO).

Ironically, he kept a mustache and goatee and was called "Billygoat" behind his back. While he retired in 1936, he was called back to active duty in 1941 to investigate the Pearl Harbor disaster.

Quite an enjoyable book about a little known, but important, carrier pioneer!


Piano and Cello Duet
Piano and Cello Duet
Price: $7.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Recycled, but good, November 17, 2014
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This review is from: Piano and Cello Duet (MP3 Music)
I loved the music but it was a little cello added to music by Brain Crain I already had.


Bull Halsey
Bull Halsey
by E. B. Potter
Edition: Paperback
Price: $25.88
52 used & new from $6.47

3.0 out of 5 stars A somewhat flawed biography, September 18, 2014
This review is from: Bull Halsey (Paperback)
I've read several books by E.B. Potter, including his superb biographies on Nimitz and Arleigh Burke. I admit I was somewhat disappointed in this one. As one reviewer mentioned, the switching back and forth between World War II and earlier times was sort of annoying. Probably the part I had the most problem with was the coverage of Leyte Gulf. Potter seemed to intimate that the idea of the Japanese decoy force which lured Halsey northward, was still open to debate. I got the idea that possibly Halsey's family was looking over his shoulder as he wrote this part. For a noted historian such as Potter, I thought this was a serious flaw.

Halsey was the naval equivalent of George Patton in many ways. He needed to be in a position where there was no doubt of what to do. Being put in a position where he had to make strategic decisions, such as he did when in command of 3rd Fleet was a mistake. As the fictional character Victor Henry said in his "history" mentioned in "War and Remembrance", he was the man who carried the flag and shouted hurrah. He was at his most effective in 1941-43. But I think it was providential that Spruance was in command and Midway and not Halsey.

Yes, Halsey was a product of his time and his opinions of the Japanese were far from politically correct. I get amused by other reviewers who try to judge a 1940s person by 2000s standards.

In my opinion, the "least" of Potter's naval biographies.


Battle Ready: The National Coast Defense System and the Fortification of Puget Sound, 1894-1925
Battle Ready: The National Coast Defense System and the Fortification of Puget Sound, 1894-1925
by David M. Hansen
Edition: Paperback
Price: $24.08
62 used & new from $19.91

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You can almost feel the guns firing!, September 3, 2014
There have been three or four other books written over the years on the harbor defenses of Puget Sound, but this one has them beat by a country mile. Mr. Hansen knows his subject and his research is almost flawless. He gives a good background, detailing the history of the Puget Sound region and attempts at setting up strongpoints. A good section on the construction of the forts, especially the difficulty in getting men to work the construction. A detailed section on the operation of the forts and their armament follows, including later developments that made these forts obsolete shortly after World War I. Some excellent pictures are included, as well as a good bibliography.

My one criticism was that the story ended effectively in 1926, and left out activity during World War II. However, in rereading Hansen's book, I think he did an adequate job of summing up this activity in the last chapter. I should also add that this book would not be suitable to someone new or unfamiliar to this subject. There is a lot of technical jargon.

An excellent piece of history and research!


Lucky Lady: The World War II Heroics of the USS Santa Fe and Franklin
Lucky Lady: The World War II Heroics of the USS Santa Fe and Franklin
by Steve Jackson
Edition: Paperback
Price: $20.12
64 used & new from $0.67

3.0 out of 5 stars I really wanted to like this book, too ..., September 3, 2014
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As another reviewer said, you really wanted to like this book. In the introduction when the author mentions going through his Dad's things and finding a lock of his mother's hair. Also, his "people" descriptions are very good and touching. I will also say that this book gains "power" as the story goes on.

However, The technical and editing errors are very annoying. The author should have either done better "homework" or had someone more knowledgable go through the manuscript and correct the obvious technical errors. A few, for example: the steam frigate Mississippi, part of Perry's 1853 expedition to Japan, is described as a "dreadnought", some 50 years before the first one was launched. Jackson describes the battleships Mississippi and Wisconsin shelling an Aleutian island, when the Wisconsin was still being constructed back at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. The Zero is described as having four 20mm cannon, and several other mistakes.

In another part, we skip from late 1943 to October, 1944 before going back to 1943, an obvious editing error. In all, I got the feeling the author sent the first draft of this book to the publisher and it was printed with no further work.

Had the rating been available, I would have given it two and a half stars. It could have been a near-classic with some more work. Too bad.


Sea Cobra: Admiral Halsey's Task Force And The Great Pacific Typhoon
Sea Cobra: Admiral Halsey's Task Force And The Great Pacific Typhoon
by Buckner F. Melton
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.13
54 used & new from $10.90

4.0 out of 5 stars Best of the lot, but ..., August 13, 2014
I've read three books on this subject - the Pacific typhoons of December, 1944 and June, 1945 - and in most cases I consider this the best of the three. The author takes pains to explain the history of typhoons in the Pacific; while the other two major versions highlighted the destroyers, especially the three which were sunk - the Monaghan, Hull and Spence), Melton does a good job of covering what was going on in the other ships, without . He does an excellent job of explaining Pacific storms and typhoons.

My only two complaints; 1) the extraordinarily long introduction, in which Melton takes two out of the three opening chapters to discuss the war in the Pacific to December, 1944, the Kamikaze threat and the 3rd Fleet. Probably a short chapter would have sufficed. 2) In one of the other books I read, ("Down to the Sea" by Bruce Henderson), he describes an almost "Caine Mutiny" situation on the "Hull", who captain froze mentally during the height of the typhoon. Melton mentions nothing about this.

Still, the best book, overall on storm, which Admiral Nimitz said, did the most damage to the U.S. Navy, without hurting the enemy, since Savo Island.


Afternoon of the Rising Sun: The Battle of Leyte Gulf
Afternoon of the Rising Sun: The Battle of Leyte Gulf
by Kenneth I. Friedman
Edition: Hardcover
37 used & new from $5.29

2.0 out of 5 stars Poor editing and/or research, August 11, 2014
To be honest, not very far into the book and I've already found numerous historical and "technological" errors, which could have been eliminated by some better editing or research. To name a few, he compares the Kongo-class Japanese battleships to those of the Maryland-Class. That the Japanese were restricted to battleships of 14-inch, when obviously the Yamato class weren't hardly of this caliber. Friedman mentions that B-24s took off from a new base on Mindanao during the invasion of Leyte, when Mindanao wasn't invaded ... the list goes on.

In professionalism and quality, Thomas Cutler's work is light years ahead of this this one. Not recommended.


Neptune: The Allied Invasion of Europe and the D-Day Landings
Neptune: The Allied Invasion of Europe and the D-Day Landings
by Craig L. Symonds
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $22.19
104 used & new from $5.21

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A partial misfire, August 1, 2014
I had greatly enjoyed Craig Symonds' previous book on the Battle of Midway - in fact, I thought it was the most remarkable book I had read on the battle in many years (together with "Shattered Sword"). I was looking forward to his next work.

I admit, after reading this book, I was somewhat disappointed. I assumed the book would be an operational history of Neptune/Overlord from the naval side. About half the book was a general history of the planning that went into military cooperation between the British and Americans. I didn't feel anything new was particularly added from numerous other books on the subject.

It was only the last half of the book, in which the actual invasion of Normandy was described, that Symonds really got into his stride, describing the actual landing, landing craft, fire support, etc.

In my opinion, Symonds should have cut down the first part of the book to a chapter or two and expanded the last half to include more operational history. I feel that was his success in his earlier book. While I have read his Midway book several times, I doubt I'll read this one again.


Their Life's Work: The Brotherhood of the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers, Then and Now
Their Life's Work: The Brotherhood of the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers, Then and Now
by Gary M. Pomerantz
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $21.16
101 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars The best book on the 1970s Steelers!, July 30, 2014
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Admittedly, it is tough being a Steelers fan in the middle of the Pacific Northwest (particularly after Super Bowl XL!), but I have been one since December 23, 1972 - the date of the "Immaculate Reception". As Peter King said in his review, they were the best team of my young adult life - the time when you feel all the passions - and the Steelers were mine. Pommerantz has done what the authors of most books I've read on the 1970s Steelers failed to do - capture not just the "history", but the "soul" of this wonderful team. He not only fills the book with great anecdotes and stories, but also what it felt to grow old and not be on top, any more. Not just as a team but as an individual, who had received the adulation of the fans.

These are the heroes of my youthful adult years - and Pommerantz made them come alive again - not only as they were then, but as they are now.

I would highly recommend as a "companion" to this book, watching "NFL: America's Game - Pittsburgh Steelers: The Story of Six Championships", at least the first four Super Bowls.


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