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James Gallen RSS Feed (St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A.)
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Shacke Luggage Tags with Semi Transparent Protective Cover w/ Steel Loops - Set of 2 (Aqua Teal)
Shacke Luggage Tags with Semi Transparent Protective Cover w/ Steel Loops - Set of 2 (Aqua Teal)
Offered by Shacke
Price: $9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Luggage Tag For Air Travel, May 1, 2016
This Shacke Luggage tag is of blue, rubbery construction, 4 long, 2 1/2’ wide and ¼’ thick. The owner’s information is recorded on white strips with lines for name, address, etc. that are covered by an opaque, rubber flap. If you have any doubts about your lettering running you could secure the flap with a piece of tape. The attaching devices are steel loops in which one end screws into the other. The loops appear to be strong so I doubt that they would easily break. From my own experience with other screw-in devices I would recommend a back-up, perhaps a twistee from a bread wrapper. With this failsafe I would have high confidence that your luggage tag will be there on the carousel. I assess this as a very high quality luggage tag, particularly for air travel.

I did receive a free sample for testing and review.


Shacke Luggage Tags with Full Back Privacy Cover w/ Steel Loops - Set of 2 (Black)
Shacke Luggage Tags with Full Back Privacy Cover w/ Steel Loops - Set of 2 (Black)
Offered by Shacke
Price: $11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Heavy Duty Tag That Fights Identity Theft, May 1, 2016
This Shacke Luggage tag is of black, rubbery construction, 4 3/4’ long, 2 1/2’ wide and ¼’ thick. The distinguishing feature of this luggage tag is that the owner’s information is covered by a black rubber flap that can be lifted up read the information but is normally lowered to make identity theft more difficult. The owner’s information is recorded on a slip with lines for name, address, etc. The 2” by 4” opening is also ideal for a standard size business card. The attaching devices are steel loops in which one end screws into the other. The loops appear to be strong so I doubt that they would easily break. From my own experience with other screw-in devices I would recommend a back-up, perhaps a twistee from a bread wrapper. With this failsafe I would have high confidence that your luggage tag will be there on the carousel. I assess this as a very high quality luggage tag, particularly for air travel.
I did receive a free sample for testing and review.


Shacke Luggage Tags with Long Bendable Rubber Design w/ Steel Loops - Set of 2 (Red)
Shacke Luggage Tags with Long Bendable Rubber Design w/ Steel Loops - Set of 2 (Red)
Offered by Shacke
Price: $11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Luggage Tag for Heavy Duty Use, May 1, 2016
This Shacke Luggage tag is of red, rubbery construction, 7’ long, 1 1/2” wide and ¼’ thick. The owner’s information is displayed in a 5 ¼’ by ¾” opening with a plastic cover. A white slip with designated lines for information is provided. The attaching devices are steel loops in which one end screws into the other. The loops appear to be strong so I doubt that they would easily break. From my own experience with other screw-in devices I would recommend a back-up, perhaps a twistee from a bread wrapper. With this failsafe I would have high confidence that your luggage tag will be there on the carousel. I assess this as a very high quality luggage tag.
I did receive a free sample for testing and review.


Rediscover Jesus
Rediscover Jesus
by Matthew Kelly
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $22.50
75 used & new from $0.93

5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Lenten Read, April 28, 2016
This review is from: Rediscover Jesus (Hardcover)
“Rediscover Jesus” consists of a collection of 40 readings, usually 3-8 pages each, that focus on a particular way to know Jesus and to open the reader’s life to His grace. Each reading concludes with a Point to Ponder, a Verse to Live, a Question to Consider and a short prayer.

Some readings examine things Jesus said on a subject, others explore the process of prayer, some begin with a teaching of Jesus and apply it to our lives while others begin with a challenge and look to Jesus for a solution.

I used “Rediscover Jesus” as a Lenten reflection. I was really pleased with the way it drew me into message. It is a combination of scripture study, contemplation and meditation that aid’s the reader to appreciate God’s role in our daily lives. I picked it up day after day not out of obligation but desire,. I am convinced that it will continue to guide my life, even when I cannot identify the source of its wisdom. I will probably read it again some time and will certainly be looking for more books by author Matthew Kelly.


Setting the World on Fire: The Brief, Astonishing Life of St. Catherine of Siena
Setting the World on Fire: The Brief, Astonishing Life of St. Catherine of Siena
by Shelley Emling
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.95
50 used & new from $9.49

4.0 out of 5 stars An Extraordinary saint, April 27, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Knowing that she is my mother’s patron saint, I have long had an interest in St. Catherine of Siena so I chose “Setting the World on Fire” to familiarize myself with her story and an incredible tale it is. .St. Catherine lived for 33 years in the fourteenth century during which she live a life of mystical experiences, advised Popes and statesmen and played what then passed for international politics.

The stories of her personal sanctity are amazing, although one has to suspect that they may have been exaggerated. I accept that miracles occur, but did God have a real reason to enable her to be sustained only by the Eucharist for months at a time? Perhaps she levitated and her trances were mystical experiences rather than the modern medical explanations that come to mind but, while interesting, they are not crucial to her biography.

Perhaps her most surprising endeavors were as an advisor to Popes and princes. A strong proponent of Crusades against Islam, she was a loyal devotee to the Popes of her lifetime. Born during the Babylonian Captivity of the Church, when a series of Popes lived in Avignon, France, and Italy was a mixture of waring mini-states, Catherine got the confidence of many parties. She convinced the Pope to return to Rome, negotiated alliances among the Italian states, all while this illiterate young woman created a body of religious literature that still guides seekers of truth.

Her worldly involvement speaks to her sanctity, for what else would gain her entry into the halls of power into which women of her age where normally excluded? Even allowing for doubts about some of the miracles, she had to have been an outstanding woman of any era.

Author Shelley Emling has crafted a short, easy to read life of an extraordinary saint. Her later designations as patroness of Italy and Europe and as a Doctor of the Church as well as her adoption as an Italian inspiration during World War I and the Fascist years all attest to her lasting influence. I recommend this book for anyone interested in Catherine or the history of Italy and the Church in the fourteenth century.


Descent from Glory: Four Generations of the John Adams Family
Descent from Glory: Four Generations of the John Adams Family
by Paul C. Nagel
Edition: Paperback
Price: $44.00
59 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars The Adams Family As Family, April 26, 2016
To many the Adams Family consists of John, Abigail and John Quincy, but that is only the start of the story. It is the story of a dynasty that played a major role in American history for a century and a half. “Descent From Glory” introduces us to that amazing genealogical tale.

This book covers four generation. The first is John, promoter of independence, congressman, diplomat, first vice-president and second president and Abigail, his faithful life partner who is, perhaps the first great woman in American history. The highlight of the second generation is John Quincy who, like his father, served as member of congress, diplomat and president, and shared some of the same qualities that irritated his contemporaries. John Quincy ended his career as Old Man Eloquent, the abolitionist of the House of Representatives. That was not the end of the story as his son, Charles Francis, would be the third in a row to serve as ambassador to the Court of St. James. While earlier generations served in eras of peace, it was Charles Francis who represented America’s interests in Britain during the Civil War with its issues of the Trent Affair, and the potential recognition of and sale of raiders to the Confederacy. The fourth generation had broader representation with Charles Francis, Jr. as a reformer of railroads, Henry and Brooks as historians and, in Henry’s case, political commentator, and John Quincy II as a political dilettante.

The title is a bit harsh in characterization of its judgement on the Adams Family. Perhaps a more descriptive title would be Adaptions of a Family. Author Paul C. Nagel describes a family that first found its place in politics but adapted to changes in America as it drew away from politics to industry, scholarship and social commentary.

The distinguishing feature of this tome is the focus it places on the Adams Family as a family, with its pride and heartbreak, successes and failures, loves and resentments. I have only mentioned the highlights but its years were crossed by alcoholism, suicides and failures to meet the ideals set for its founder. While individual biographies are helpful, it is worthwhile to read a book that ties them all together into an organic whole. “Descent From Glory” accomplishes that in spectacular fashion.


A Time for Truth CD: Reigniting the Promise of America
A Time for Truth CD: Reigniting the Promise of America
by Ted Cruz
Edition: Audio CD
Price: $29.70
32 used & new from $20.78

4.0 out of 5 stars Ted Cruz In His Own Words, April 21, 2016
As one always interested in politics, both contemporary and historical, I decided to pick up “A Time For Truth” to get Ted Cruz’ version of his personal story. I found it to be very interesting. Cruz talks of his family background, starting with his father, a former Cuban freedom fighter in the movement led by Fidel Castro, who got a scholarship to study in Texas, spoke in support of Castro and, after Castro showed his true colors, went back to the same groups to apologize for misleading them. From a 50 cent/hour food service job, he and Cruz’ mother married, twice, built a business in the oil industry, went broke, struggled with drink and domestic problems but, through it all, provided an example for their son to admire. Ted had to understand his parents, try to help his drug dependent relatives, listen the stories of life in Cuban prisons and make his own way through college, law school and into life. Upon graduation from law school, Cruz took a series of jobs in both the public and private sector. A clerkship to Chief Justice Rehnquist, Solicitor General of Texas and private practice prepared him for an entry into politics when he challenged an overwhelming favorite to win election to the U. S. Senate.

Naturally Cruz emphasizes his accomplishments in ways to show him as a fighter for limited government, economic growth and the Constitution and as a strong proponent of truth, not a political “go along, get along” strategy that serves the politicians but not the people. Much of the work is devoted to his memories of cases he handled that advanced conservative principles, many of which were selected to promote the agenda he espoused.

As I read this book I understood why Cruz is not among the most popular senators. He tells how he stood up to leadership who just wanted him to be quiet so they could construct their political cover. He relates in detail a debt increase bill for which leadership wanted to give unanimous consent to the bill being passed by 51 votes, which the Democrats had, rather than 60 that would require Republican support, so they could enable the bill to pass yet give them the cover that, in the end, they voted against it. Cruz refused consent unless concessions were obtained from the Democrats, which the leaders were unwilling to do. Their ire was raised when he forced several GOP senators to vote for the bill that they preferred to let pass without their public support.

Toward the end this tome evolves into platitudes and policy proposals that give us a sample of his campaign speeches without having to watch C-Span. I am glad that I read this book. I finished with a much better understanding of where Cruz came from, the values he holds and his hopes for the future. There is much about this that Cruz’ detractors can sluff off as just more political rhetoric, and that is fine. For those who want to encounter this man in the arena in his own words, pick up “A Time For Truth”.


Warbird Factory: North American Aviation in World War II
Warbird Factory: North American Aviation in World War II
by John M. Fredrickson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $24.96
60 used & new from $19.96

5.0 out of 5 stars The People Who Made The Planes That Won The War, April 16, 2016
It is often said that World War II was won by American Industry. “Warbird Factory” is part of that story. It focuses on the contributions of North American Aviation, a company that made the bombers that destroyed the enemy, the fighters that protected them and the craft that ferried the VIPs. Headquartered in Inglewood, California, North American began as the branch of a Dutch company started by Anthony Fokker and later became associated with General Motors. Its early civilian planes eventually gave way to military aircraft during the preparedness program of America remained neutral and its subsequent belligerency. Lead by Dutch Kindelberger, it became a mass producer of B-25 Mitchell Bombers, P-51 Mustang Fighters, and trainers before transitioning into Cold War production. North America’s saga is not just the manufacture of war machines, but reflects America’s social milieu of the day, with women workers and labor unrest that spurred government intervention.

The book is an oversized coffee-table book divided into 11 chapters, each covering a particular aspect of the tale. The narrative is extensive enough to be informative and crafted so as to keep the reader’s interest on a short leash. Sidebars provide technical notes of models of the warbirds produced by NAA. As much as I enjoyed the reading, a blend of the technical and the social, the real treasures are the pictures. Black and white and color photos of aircraft and shop floors, inspecting brass and visiting celebrities, male and female workers, technical drawings and advertisements all supplement the words to take the reader’s mind back to wartime Inglewood.

Author John Fredrickson and Zenith Press have combined to bring us book to read and treasure, but not to hoard. Absorb its text, savor its pictures and then leave it out to share with your guests.

I did receive a free copy of this book to read in the hopes, but without the requirement, that I review it.


Neil Armstrong: A Life of Flight
Neil Armstrong: A Life of Flight
by Jay Barbree
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $22.45
113 used & new from $0.01

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Astronaut And The Space Program, April 13, 2016
As one who grew up with the space program and listened to the radio during the first moon landing and stayed up late to watch the walk, I picked up “Neil Armstrong: A Life In Flight” to learn more about the man and the age he helped create. I quickly realized that I had made a wise choice.

This is a full length biography about the boy, fascinated with airplanes, who grew into the moon walker who was able to look back over a satisfying life and calmly contemplate the future. I learned much about Armstrong, from his home in small town Ohio, his life as a Navy pilot in Korea, a test pilot, astronaut training and his flights on Gemini 8 and Apollo 9. I had made an X-15 model but did not realize that Armstrong was one of its pilots. I remembered the stuck thruster on Gemini 8 but had no idea how rapidly it was rotating. The details of the trip to the moon and back were very interesting.

Author Jay Barbree has given us more than a one man biography. Through that one life he tells the history of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs. We are introduced to the spacecraft and the men who flew them, the friendships among the astronauts, the triumphs and tragedies they shared and the support they gave each other. Barbree’s writing style holds the reader’s interest while telling their stories, but never descending into scandal mongering. This is an entertaining read for any fan of the race to the moon.


The Last Confederate Ship at Sea: The Wayward Voyage of the CSS Shenandoah, October 1864-November 1865
The Last Confederate Ship at Sea: The Wayward Voyage of the CSS Shenandoah, October 1864-November 1865
by Paul Williams
Edition: Paperback
Price: $39.95
26 used & new from $30.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Last To Lower The Confederate To Lower Its Flag, April 8, 2016
Civil War students absorb the minutest details of the land war but some of the conflict’s most interesting tales washed in from the sea.

One of those tales is that of the C.S.S. Shenandoah, the Confederate raider terrorized Yankee maritime commerce circumnavigated the globe and fired the last Confederate shot and whose surrender ended organized Rebel resistance. Its voyage from October 1864 to November 1865 is chronicled in “The Last Confederate Ship at Sea” by Paul Williams. Although limited to one ship, it is a microcosm of the history of the Confederate Navy.
The Confederate Navy sailed, not to challenge the Unions fleet, but to increase the costs of the war to Northern Marine and, through them, to pressure the Lincoln Administration to negotiate for peace. Soaring insurance premiums drove many American bottoms to seek protection under neutral flags while the raiders, like privateers, paid their own expenses out of their prizes. New England whalers seeking leviathans in the Pacific were common victims of Shenandoah as it took 38 prizes and 1,052 prisoners.
Lacking shipyards, the South purchased its vessels by stealth in European markets. Sea King sailed out of the Clyde to become the Shenandoah when it was crewed and loaded with war materials at sea, another success of the Confederate agent, James Bulloch, uncle of Theodore Roosevelt, over American ambassador, Charles Francis Adams, son of John Quincy.
Among the most interesting stories from these raiders are their shore visits. Shenandoah had its days of celebrity during its visit to the neutral port of Melbourne in the colony of Victoria, Australia. Colonial society reflected the homeland’s chasm between the opinions of upper and working and upper classes. While its officers and men were the toast of the town its presence ignited legal and journalistic clashes until, its crew full of memories and its hold full of supplies, it sailed back to sea.
When Shenandoah’s plunder proved insufficient win its nation’s independence it was left a ship without a country. It eventually completed its voyage by surrendering in Liverpool on November 6, 1865, the last Confederate military or naval unit to lower its flag.
The life of a ship is found in its timbers and canvas, but in the minds and hearts of those who serve her. I do not want to spoil it for you, but let us just say that there is a sailor, a woman and a life ever after.
Author Paul Williams has crafted an intriguing sea saga of Shenandoah that gives readers a glimpse into the life of other Confederate raiders. If you think you have read enough of the Civil War, pick up “The Last Confederate Ship At Sea”. You will be richly rewarded.

I did receive a free copy of this book to read and review.


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