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Customer Reviews: 17
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J. E. Dowdle "Blue Sky" RSS Feed (Snow Camp, NC USA)
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United States Army in WWII - Europe - Breakout and Pursuit [Illustrated Edition]
United States Army in WWII - Europe - Breakout and Pursuit [Illustrated Edition]
Price: $3.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, July 17, 2016
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I was skeptical at first, thinking this book would be dry and technical. But while it is indeed technical in the amount of detail, it is nonetheless a superbly crafted recounting of the allied effort in Europe from Normandy to the West Wall. Hard to find better history than this!


After Buddhism: Rethinking the Dharma for a Secular Age
After Buddhism: Rethinking the Dharma for a Secular Age
Price: $14.99

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Scriptural exegesis? Really?, June 29, 2016
Scriptural exegesis? Really? In what way does this not run afoul of the logical fallacy of argumentum ad verecundiam, the argument from authority? I hoped for better. I personally don't care to try to sort out which parts of the ancient texts might be 'true' or 'accurate.' Buddhism is a living, evolving way of living and knowing. It rests on experience, not scriptural authority, no matter how carefully parsed.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 17, 2016 8:02 AM PDT


Snow and Steel: The Battle of the Bulge, 1944-45
Snow and Steel: The Battle of the Bulge, 1944-45
Price: $16.79

5.0 out of 5 stars Top-Notch History, April 14, 2016
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It is hard to rate this book highly enough. I'm extremely well-read in WWII history, but this is one of the best narratives I've ever read. One thing I love is the incredible detail, an in particular, the focus on the individual soldiers as opposed to the commanders. Yes, they are there, too, but the bulk of the story is told through the eyes of the fighters - on both sides. How good is it? My next trip to Europe will be a visit to the Ardennes battlefields.


Knots, Splices and Rope WorkA Practical Treatise
Knots, Splices and Rope WorkA Practical Treatise

1.0 out of 5 stars Would be great — if it had the pictures, March 29, 2016
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I'm sure this would be an excellent book — if it had the pictures. Without it, it is virtually useless. I ordered the Kindle version and it came with no pictures. Of course, a book like this refers to accompanying figures two or three times in every paragraph, so without them it is impossible to follow what is otherwise a beautifully-written book.


The Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce, Volume 1
The Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce, Volume 1
Price: $0.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, October 14, 2015
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This is an amazing collection by a great writer.


Pyle PT390AU Digital Home Theater Stereo Receiver, Aux (3.5mm) Input, MP3/USB/AM/FM Radio, (2) Mic Inputs, 300 Watt
Pyle PT390AU Digital Home Theater Stereo Receiver, Aux (3.5mm) Input, MP3/USB/AM/FM Radio, (2) Mic Inputs, 300 Watt
Price: $94.99
121 used & new from $88.25

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This is a great amplifier. I might even use the term 'awesome'! (Revised after six months.), December 18, 2014
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This is a great amplifier. I might even use the term 'awesome.' But I need to justify that comment. I have very specific expectations. What I want from it is to drive four very large, power-hungry speakers and produce very clean sound at a volume I can feel in my bones. I have the speakers. What I needed was the power to drive them, and this amp has it. No clipping, no distortion, crisp treble up to dog-whistle, tight base all the way down to earth tremors. I personally don't care whether the Ipod menu is user-friendly. I'll never use it. I don't care whether it gets good radio reception (it seems to). What I care about is the best possible listening experience on four speakers driven by a powerful amp, fed by my computer. This amp delivers in spades!

My only complaint is the fan in the unit. It is always on, and is probably too loud to have in your living room. Of course, a fan is necessary with this kind of power. If you can put the amp in a cabinet of some sort to block the fan noise, that will be fine. At my preferred volume I never hear it. But if you are listening to a movie or jazz or classical or singer-songwriter and need silence as the background, you will find this amp to be too loud. I use it in my studio, and I turn it off when I'm not listening to it, so it is not a problem for me.

If what you want is raw clean power to drive big speakers for the sound you can only get from big speakers, at a good price, this unit has it. As for other features, better check other reviews.

So now I've owned this amp for 6 months, and I have to alter my review. I've found that the audio quality, which was so good when I first purchased the unit, has fallen off substantially. Another reviewer referred to a high-pitched interference in the audio. What I've found is that the high frequencies are becoming more and more garbled. It is especially apparent during quiet passages. I'm debating whether it is worth paying the shipping both ways to send it in for repair. Either that or relegate it to the garage and get something better. Really can't give this thing a good review at this point.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 19, 2015 9:47 PM PDT


Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and Diet Dictocrats
Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and Diet Dictocrats
by Mary G. Enig PhD
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.52
285 used & new from $7.71

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Reading, April 4, 2014
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The nutritional bible for those who want to make sensible decisions and avoid fad diets and food-industry/pharma propaganda. It is a collection of dietary wisdom collected from traditional societies around the world, many of which have chronic disease rates far below that of the developed countries. It is backed up data from scientific studies from around the world, coupled with anthropological and ethnographic information collected from indigenous tribes and traditional cultures during the last century as many of these societies were vanishing or westernizing. Traditional diets have kept humanity healthy for millennia, and it has been demonstrated again and again around the world that as traditional cultures 'westernize' their diets their health deteriorates and they begin to develop all of the modern western chronic diseases including heart disease, obesity, and diabetes, which they didn't have on their traditional diets. This book stands in stark contrast, in particular, to the bogus science of the China Study Diet.


iPod Classic Case, DigitalsOnDemand ® 15-Item Accessory Bundle for Apple iPod Classic 160GB 7th Gen + 120GB 6th Gen- Black Leather Flip Case, TPU Skin Cover, Screen Protector, USB Cables + Chargers
iPod Classic Case, DigitalsOnDemand ® 15-Item Accessory Bundle for Apple iPod Classic 160GB 7th Gen + 120GB 6th Gen- Black Leather Flip Case, TPU Skin Cover, Screen Protector, USB Cables + Chargers
Price: $22.39
3 used & new from $19.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice collection, April 4, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Considering that this iPod is effectively obsolete I didn't expect to find so much stuff available for it. Not all of it was useful, but there was plenty to choose from and it had exactly what I needed, including a variety of case-covers, screen protector, multi[ple charger options, cables, earbuds, all for a very nice price. If you have one of these iPods, get this while you can!


Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway
Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway
by Jonathan B. Parshall
Edition: Paperback
Price: $18.99
106 used & new from $10.04

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very well done!, October 26, 2012
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I've read probably every major account of the Battle of Midway that has been available here in America for the last 30 years. I felt like I pretty much had the lay of the land, at least from our side. Of course, there were always some small nagging questions, such as, since we wrote the history (in English) of the battle, to what degree were we all susceptible to myth-making? Were the 'facts' as presented to us actually a good approximation of what actually happened? But this is the kind of question one always entertains when reading history, and that's some of the joy of it, and what keeps those of us who love it, reading and reading, to try to get the clearest picture.

But there were bigger questions, too, ones that seemed unanswerable. Such as, what really went wrong on the Japanese side? We all know there were issues with carrier operations engaged in both a land assault and a surface strike against other carriers. And we've all heard the stories about the decks jammed with planes and bombs as the Japanese carriers tried in vain to shift from land attack to surface attack mode, and how it came to a hairs breadth of them getting off their strike... But did it really happen that way? And whether it did or not, the fact was that the Japanese were masters of carrier operations, with long months of battle experience operating multiple carriers as a single task force. How did they lose this battle?

Well, for the first time, here is the inside story on what was happening on the other side. It is fascinating. No spoilers here, I'll just say that some of the stories we've told for the last 65 years are accurate, and some less so. The author takes a detailed, probing look at everything from overall Japanese strategy, down to the nuts and bolts of spotting a deck-load of planes on a Japanese carrier. He gets all the way down to such details as how quickly the elevators could cycle on the various Japanese carriers, how many bomb elevators the various carriers had, and how long it took to warm up the various types of carrier planes before take-off, and a whole lot more. In the process, what we learn is pretty amazing.

I'll also say that the author's skills at storytelling are very high indeed. His narrative is tight, detailed where it needs to be, broad where that is what is required. His characters are well portrayed and fleshed out. I love history told like the story that it is, with all the drama inherent in it, and really don't much care for clinical accounts - "This happened, then this happened, then this happened..." Nothing just happens. There are reasons, and there are people involved, and in warfare, there is life and death involved. The author clearly understands this. This is my kind of book. I highly recommend it.


Islands of Destiny: The Solomons Campaign and the Eclipse of the Rising Sun
Islands of Destiny: The Solomons Campaign and the Eclipse of the Rising Sun
by John Prados
Edition: Hardcover
62 used & new from $3.86

129 of 136 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not great, October 25, 2012
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I say "good" but "not great" for several reasons. This is a good book because of the extreme wealth of detail and information it brings to the table. It is part of the recent (last decade) explosion of information from the Japanese side finally coming into the English Language. As such, it offers many unique insights and perspectives into what was actually going on on the other side, and why things turned out so badly for them. It addresses a lot of big and small questions, from overall strategy all the way down to cruiser and destroyer tactics. And it pretty much refutes the notion that Midway was THE single pivotal turning point of the Pacific war (somewhat of a straw man, if you have looked closely at the Pacific war, but for those who have only a cursory understanding, it is an effective way to shift the common perspective.)

I say "not great" mostly because of the style. The book is just not easily readable. The first several chapters seem almost encyclopedic in style -- "This happened, then this happened, then this happened, then this happened..." -- with very little illustrative detail. I understand it is necessary to set set the scene and give the background, but I very nearly put the book down and didn't pick it up again. Once you get into the main body of the book it improves substantially, but I never had the feeling I was in the hands of a real storyteller. The tone is very uneven. We go from broad scope to particulate detail and back again, over and over, and much of the small detail is disjointed and disconnected, or non-sequiter. As for the portrayals of the people involved, there is lot's of telling but very little showing. We never really get clear pictures of the main participants. Overall the book feels like it was written in a hurry and never quite polished.

To its credit, this book does take us through the Solomons campaign from beginning to end, and clearly reveals the scope, significance, and general flow and contours of the campaign. To finally get to see the war from the Japanese perspective is very enlightening. Of course I'm glad the war ended as it did, and wish it could have been avoided in the first place, but it is really sad to see how the incredibly brave Japanese soldiers and sailors and airmen were wasted by poor leadership, worse planning, and ineffective strategy. It is also very interesting to put our timeline alongside theirs and see who knew what, and when. This is where Prados' close attention to the shadow side of the war, the code-breakers and intelligence gatherers and interpreters, really pays off.

If you are interested in reading this book, there are two others I would recommend to go along with it. One is "Shattered Sword" by Johnathan Parshall and Anthony Tully. It looks at Midway from the Japanese side and is almost a prequel to this book. (And in my opinion it is a much better-written book, far more engaging, perhaps because the scope is smaller.) The other is "Neptune's Inferno - The US Navy at Guadalcanal" by James D. Hornfisher. This book follows the US Navy through its most critical and fiercest battles of the war, the seven major surface and air engagements around Gradalcanal at the beginning of the Solomons Campaign, and is absolutely stellar. Hornfisher could give Prados a really serious lesson in how to tell history, with all the drama inherent in it.
Comment Comments (11) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 29, 2014 8:28 AM PDT


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