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James R. Holland "Author, Photographer, Photo Diarist" RSS Feed (Boston, MA)
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Historical sketch [of Newburgh, N.Y.]
Historical sketch [of Newburgh, N.Y.]
by Edward Manning] [from old ca [Ruttenber
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.98
22 used & new from $10.61

2.0 out of 5 stars Not Really Worth the Price Except for Researchers, October 14, 2014
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This was one of the few books I was seriously disappointed in purchasing.

I'm a bit of a history buff on Newburgh, N.Y. because my son lives in that charming community so I read almost anything I can locate about the city.

However, I don't feel this book was worth the purchase price for me. First of all, its an almost unreadable 58-page reprint of an original work published prior to 1923. The copy was part of the Library of Congress Collection and it might be valuable to true historians and folks researching the early history of the town in search of their own relatives.

Most of the book is either blank pages or scanned pages that look like a heavily redacted FBI report with few readable pages. Fortunately, the unreadable copies of the Library of Congress original are translated on the facing page of each two-page layout. While those two pages are supposed to cover the same material, it's almost impossible for the reader to match the original with the translation. And it's really not worth the time to do so unless you are looking for a specific name or date.

For instance, there is no caption for the really fascinating cover photo, which looks like I might be Roman Ruins. It goes down hill from there.

I'm sorry I can't recommend this publication for the average book reader.


GI Brides: The Wartime Girls Who Crossed the Atlantic for Love
GI Brides: The Wartime Girls Who Crossed the Atlantic for Love
by Duncan Barrett
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.23
58 used & new from $6.26

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars American G.I.s Were Overpaid, Over Sexed and Overly Rude, September 24, 2014
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When I received this non-fiction book about four British women who met and eventually married WWII American Soldiers I figured it was going to be a Class-A Chick book. I was wrong. It was actually a fascinating history book.

From the books very beginning it was amazing how nasty and spoiled the English felt American Soldiers really were. Most young women and their mothers avoided the lonely soldiers like they were some kind of invading plague instead of arriving wartime allies.

By using the personal experiences of four different British women and their families to tell this broader story of WW II most readers will be surprised at how alien the English felt their former colony cousins really were.

The four stories are quite charming as well as educational. The writing by the two co-authors moves right along without any annoying delays even though each chapter switches from one woman’s story to another’s. Each of the women’s experiences was enough different to keep the reader from being confused about “who is who.”


The First Family Detail: Secret Service Agents Reveal the Hidden Lives of the Presidents
The First Family Detail: Secret Service Agents Reveal the Hidden Lives of the Presidents
by Ronald Kessler
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.22
105 used & new from $9.48

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What's The Worst Duty Assignment in the Secret Service?, September 22, 2014
For those readers who enjoyed the author's earlier bestseller about the Secret Services protection of the President of the United States, this sequel is even more illuminating. It's a page turner for many reasons not the least of which is that it provides the public with a glimpse of their leaders from the people whose business it is to protect them from harm and in some cases, from themselves. They are some of the few people who actually observe our leaders when their guard is down (no pun intended) and they can be their unvarnished selves.

The Secret Service are almost the only people who see the President and Vice President and their families both when they are performing for their public and when they are relaxing and going about their regular daily activities.

This book is alarming because it points out how often petty office politics and human folly have accidentally placed their protectees in possible danger. Often it's the President's very staff that opens the President or Vice-President to potential harm. Sometimes it's the protectee him or herself.

Naturally, the book's 26 chapters are filled with eye-popping revelations much of it hard to believe if events hadn't proved it. It's amazing how many of the protectees actually misuse the Secret Service and put themselves in danger. The book provides many examples of this fact.

For most readers, the insights into which people were the most likeable, polite and helpful to the Secret Service and which people pretty much resembled their public images and who didn't resemble it at all is downright fun to learn. Every voter wants to know what their elected leaders are really like.

"In Hillary Clinton's case, because she is so nasty to agents and hostile toward law enforcement officers and military officers in general, agents consider being assigned to her detail a form of punishment. In fact, agents say being on Hillary Clinton's detail is the worst duty assignment in the Secret Service."

This fascinating book will also provide answers to which President's Details were the best ones to be assigned to and then inside word as to why.


Legendary Locals of Beacon Hill
Legendary Locals of Beacon Hill
by Karen Cord Taylor
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.83
21 used & new from $11.83

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Fun, But I Don't Envy The Book's Author., September 20, 2014
Hopefully, Karen Cord Taylor didn't ruffle the feathers of too many of her friends and neighbors by not including them in this fascinating book. Fortunately she said in the book that some of the residents she wished to include in her book requested that she leave them out. She also mentioned that she'd been unable to contact several possible people she wanted to include so she should be safe.

There are no people included in the book that probably don't deserve to be included in the tome with the possible exception of the Boston Strangler who was not a resident of Beacon Hill but was included only because two of his victims made the mistake of letting the workman into their Beacon Hill homes on Grove and Charles Street. Otherwise the choice of subjects would pretty much be agreed upon by other Beacon Hill residents.

This is definitely a fun book. It really does capture the spirit of many of the inhabitants of the Beacon Hill from it's founding until the present. Many not so well known folks are included and their contributions were an important part of the fabric of the neighborhood. A stranger walking down Charles Street would recognize many of the smiling faces included in the collection of portraits in this Arcadia pictorial history collection.

The book is well written and enjoyable to read. One-side observation the author made is typical of her insights into the history of Beacon Hill. "By the late 1700s, independence was familiar enough to Boston's patriots and their descendants that they felt they could get back to the real business of America, which has always been buying land, building on it, and dreaming of riches. Meanwhile, other Bostonians were starting institutions--churches, libraries and hospitals--worthy of a new nation and strong enough to serve the city for more than 200 years."

It's amazing how many former and present residents of Beacon Hill still fit that description. And the author could easily have included ten times as many fomer and present Beacon Hill residents in an expanded version of this lavishly illustrated and informative book. This particular volume is also slightly larger than the smaller sized format that has been a trademark of the the publisher. This 9.2 x 6.5 x 0.3 inch book size makes it easier to read and examine the individual photos.

This is an easy-to-read page-turner that can easily be carefully read in a single afternoon.


Newburgh (Images of America: New York)
Newburgh (Images of America: New York)
by Kevin Barrett
Edition: Paperback
Price: $17.09
25 used & new from $2.70

5.0 out of 5 stars A Historic Village That Government Seems Determined to Destroy, July 19, 2014
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The “Mecca of Historic Preservation,” General George Washington’s Headquarters is the 1750 house built by Colonel Jonathan Hasbrouck and used by Washington during the Revolutionary War. It was scheduled to be torn down in 1850 but a group of preservations petitioned to keep the building intact and won. In addition to being the location where General Washington first issued the Purple Heart Medal, it was here “that Washington refused to become King.”

Henry Hudson on “his historic voyage up the river that bears his name, anchored in the Newburgh Bay” and one of his fellow travelers told him “this is a very pleasant place to build a town on.” A hundred years later 54 Palatine refugees settled the area. The hardworking citizens turned the village into a manufacturing Mecca and their descendents built a thriving and modern city that was the second city in America to have it’s streets lighted by Thomas Edison. The city was noted for its architectural wonders.

In nine chapters of photographs the book shows the growth of Newburgh from 1860 until the end of the 1960’s. The book is fascinating, but a little depressing when the government policy of Urban Renewal (Chapter 8) destroyed much of the town’s architecture and industry.

Newburgh, NY is still a wonderful city although various levels of government have done their best to destroy this architectural jewel on the banks of the Hudson River. If the city can avoid becoming the main trash dump for NYC and stop other communities from sending bus loads of poor, largely uneducated people with no place to live to Newburgh, the city may still survive its problems just like it did Urban Renewal.

Not mentioned in the book are some of the positive things happening in the city of Newburgh and the Town of Newburg on its border. There are now two colleges making their home in Newburgh City, the Stewart Air Force Base is now expanding to become an International Airport as well, and there are plans for building a casino near the airport. Hopefully Newburgh, which includes one of the largest historical districts in America will be able to prosper and retain its fantastic architectural and historical legacy. Other nearby towns such as New Paltz, NY have only been able to keep a few of their historic structures in the form of a one-street Village within the larger town, but Newburgh still retains 445 acres of its Historical District.

Newburgh may survive simply because it’s one of the least expensive places to live within easy railroad commuter range of NYC.

This book provides a nice peek at the town and its unique history.


Boomerang: A Boomerang Novel
Boomerang: A Boomerang Novel
by Noelle August
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.16
94 used & new from $0.01

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Story Suffers From Too Much Needless Description., July 16, 2014
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It took me forever to finally get to the end of this silly, shallow novel. I'd read a couple of chapters and then get side tracked by another book and then another and then another. Try as I might I just could not enjoy this novel. The writing was okay, better than the plot, but much too wordy. It reminded me of the many attempts I'd made to read Thomas Hardy's "Return of the Native" where the author spends 30 pages describing a walk down a country road. I'm amazed anyone ever reached the end of that walk and finished that so-called "Great English Novel." I'm obviously too shallow for it.

Reading it also reminded me of my phone conversations with my sister where she will spend an hour or more telling me every word and feeling she got from a 10 minute conversation about nothing with one of her friends.

One of the first chapters of this novel set in L.A. involved the main female character waking up in bed with a nude man that she could not remember ever meeting. She immediate starts trying to figure out if she had sex with this stranger. But there is no sign of used condoms or her diaphragm. Does any women in the college-aged, Millennial generation depicted in this novel even know what a diaphragm is?

Anyway, the two strangers spend considerable time trying to find the woman's panties so she can get
to her summer internship with an outfit called "Boomerang." The panties are gone until the couple accidentally finds them in the toaster oven. Okay, so that's supposed to be amusing. Maybe yes, maybe its just stupid?

Frankly, the plot felt contrived and included lots of material (like the diaphragm) that would not likely be a part of the time frame of the story and it's characters.

As somebody who lived in L.A. for several years, almost none of the residents we encountered (even in Hollywood) were as sex-crazed as the characters in this book. But having watched Jay Leno's "Jay Walkers" in utter dismay for several years since we lived there, I supposed Californians may have since dumbed down to a level described in this novel.

Boring, boring, boring was my over-all reaction to this novel, even though the writer does know how to write. Maybe she managed to get farther along the country road in "Return of the Native?"
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 17, 2014 12:17 PM PDT


Erie Railroad's Newburgh Branch (Images of Rail)
Erie Railroad's Newburgh Branch (Images of Rail)
by Robert McCue
Edition: Paperback
Price: $16.43
36 used & new from $12.04

4.0 out of 5 stars Definitely A Book For Real Railroad Buffs, July 16, 2014
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I bought and read this book because I'm very interested in the city of Newburgh, NY's history. I'm not really a railroad buff like some of my friends. The book was well written and satisfied my curiosity about the important part railroads played in the development of the historic city of Newburgh and the rest of the Hudson River Valley. The city is old enough that Gen. George Washington's headquarters was located there and is now a museum. The city was also the second city in America to have Thomas Edison provide the streets with electric lights.
There is a lot railroad history attached to Newburgh and an equal amount, or even more, attached to the eastern side of the Hudson River across from Newburgh, but that's another subject (especially Croton-Harmon) for the Arcadia publishers.This book only devotes one chapter of pictures to the railroads running along the other side of the river.
While this book provided me with what I wanted to learn, after a while I got tired of the ten chapters of photographs of classic trains, railroad bridges, ferry boats, active and abandoned railroad stations. However, I'm certain that when I loan my railroad buff friends this volume that they will find it infinitely more entertaining because with their educated eyes, they will see rare details and delights in the historic photographs that mean little to me. And if they also happen to know the geography around Newburgh well, then the train schedules and maps will also be of much more interest to them.
This is a useful reference book for true lovers of railroad history. It was even educational for a non-railroad history buff like me.


Blood Feud: The Clintons vs. the Obamas
Blood Feud: The Clintons vs. the Obamas
by Edward Klein
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.79
145 used & new from $9.07

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Shakespearean Drama About Power, Ambition and Corruption., July 14, 2014
It’s amazing how riveting a non-fiction book about modern day politics and power can really be. This is a 281-page turner in the purest sense of the term. It’s impossible to put the book aside once began. Readers of Edward Klein’s previous books won’t find this reading addiction surprising, but others should be prepared for a long night of blurry-eyed reading. Each chapter leaves the reader hanging over a cliff and ready to jump to the next exciting adventure in the political thriller.

The book is nonpartisan in that the author doesn’t seem to favor either the Clintons or the Obamas. He just lays out the facts as best as he can based on interviews with many people who were present at the events and planning sessions.

While many critics have claimed the book is a pack of lies, for those readers who have carefully followed the careers of the Clintons and the Obamas its difficult not to believe the contents of the books even if individuals might interpret them differently. The most interesting speculations, based on fact and common sense, are the secrets that Hillary and Bill are with-holding by omission that might make Hillary’s White House Run a flop.

For those readers who believe what either the Clintons or Obamas say in public, be prepared for a shock to your system. It's unbelievable who really runs the nation because its really not the President.

It's amazing that every speech, decision, budget, law, executive order has to fulfill a political function whether or not it is good for the country. The political intrigues and lies that permeate Washington, DC, are truly Shakespearean. This book could easily be about the Roman Empire and its rulers and their political power struggles.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 14, 2014 3:07 PM PDT


To Taste the Oil: The Flavor of Life in the Middle East
To Taste the Oil: The Flavor of Life in the Middle East
by Kelly Jadon
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.24
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Author Loves Food Metaphors., June 17, 2014
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"Basil & Spice" was the name of a blog this same author ran for years. The blog's title caused most new viewers to think it was a food or cooking website. Not so. Ditto for this book of poetry that does indeed use food metaphors as well as actual foods to introduce the readers to the Christian Cultures that have existed in the Middle East for two thousand years.

So skillfully done is the writing, that many of the meals that are an important part of every family and extended family celebrations that the reader can almost taste the distinct flavors. Some times the descriptions of the meal preparation seem like they could be used as actual receipts for making the yummy taste bud pleasers.

Reading this book will probably make most readers long for the large extended families that exist in the Middle East. Many of the mothers included in this book had a dozen children. The culture is so different that it almost seems like is from an unreal world.

This book will open the eyes of the Western readers through it's descriptions of important milestones in family life that hasn't changed much since Jesus walked the same areas described in this tome. The events are timeless. Birth, Baptism, learning, courting, weddings with the new bride moving out of her childhood home to the house of her Mother-in-law, Diaspora, endless war, loss, death, funerals, hope, all these events are conveyed in the poetry of this volume. As the author writes, "Music, dance, and poetry are in a sense the soul of the people of the Middle East. Poetry is often read aloud and is cherished, as it speaks to the heart in its native tongue."

It's definitely worth the read. And the reader should take a look at the author's portrait on the book's last page. The image almost seems to levitate. That adds a certain amount of surrealism to the marvelous poems.


Who's Bigger?: Where Historical Figures Really Rank
Who's Bigger?: Where Historical Figures Really Rank
by Steve Skiena
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.53
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics", March 30, 2014
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As one of those folks who are fascinated with reading and comparing listings and rankings of various people, companies, political trends. sports teams and sexual habits, I found this book interesting but my mind told me that it was probably not relevant to anything.
First of all, probably some of the greatest leaders in history may be totally forgotten in the mists of time. As far as great inventors goes, who was it that first discovered how to make fire?
Secondly, it makes perfect sense that recent events and personalities are well known enough to be listed on more than a couple of data banks and computers, but what about those famous or non-famous people from the past that no one even knows the names of?
Naturally, in this world of 24/7 media, current events and personalities are going to garner the most Google and other types of hits from people searching for information. Movie and music celebrities may soon be the most researched folks in the history of the world. Based on search hits Barrack Obama will probably be the listed as the most important leader of the 21st Century even though he may well prove to be by far the worst U.S. President in American History.
This reader reviewer will continue to enjoy reading the constant barrage of new lists--Top Film Stars, Richest People, Most Popular Dog Breed, etc., etc., but 99.9% of them are fad flashes.Fame, like beauty is fleeting.
Statistics are the worst of the three main types of lies. Readers of this book should always bear that fact in mind. Statistics can be made to say anything.


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