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The Battle of Glorieta: Union Victory in the West (Williams-Ford Texas A&M University Military History Series)
The Battle of Glorieta: Union Victory in the West (Williams-Ford Texas A&M University Military History Series)
Price: $22.50

5.0 out of 5 stars A battle that deserves more recognition, November 16, 2015
I read this book before visiting the battlefield, and it helped me tremendously. I don't know how I would've managed to appreciate Glorieta Pass Battlefield without first reading Don Alberts's readable account of the battle. Alberts puts the battle in the context of the New Mexico Campaign before going into detail on the Battle of Apache Canyon, the Battle of Glorieta Pass, and finally with the aftermath and the fate of the players involved.

I got a very detailed knowledge of the battle from this quick read. I would go as far to say this book is a must before visiting the battlefield since the trail at Pecos National Historic Park is not restored to its March 1862 condition, which means having to navigate a heavily wooded trail where troop movements and locations may be hard to identify. This book really helped me imagine understand how the battle progressed as I walked the trail.

Even if you don't plan on visiting the battlefield, this is a great book to introducing yourself to the Civil War engagements in the West. My Civil War interest has always been the eastern theater, but I am now planning to read more about Civil War engagements out West after reading this book.


A Field Guide to Gettysburg: Experiencing the Battlefield through Its History, Places, and People
A Field Guide to Gettysburg: Experiencing the Battlefield through Its History, Places, and People
by Carol Reardon
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.24
101 used & new from $8.76

5.0 out of 5 stars The ultimate tour guide!, October 31, 2015
I just had to write a review for this book, because I just returned from a trip to Gettysburg. I originally brought this book to get some ideas on where to visit, but as I started reading, I decided to do the entire tour start to finish. I was not disappointed.

This book is entirely focused on the person who wants to visit Gettysburg and get the most out of it. It is organized as a self-guided tour through 35 stops, following the timeline of the battle of day one to day three. Reardon and Vossler will tell you exactly where to stop your car, where to walk, and where to look. (e.g. Park on the right on the gravel shoulder just beyond the Geary statue near the monument to the 29th Ohio. After parking, walk to the 29th Ohio monument. Face the thick woods behind it; the park road should be behind you.) I only got lost once, and it was my fault. Ditch the GPS and use this book instead.

I got the most out of this book by bringing it out onto the field with me and reading the chapter as I stood on the designated spot. It will take a while, but I followed this routine for all 35 stops in 2 whole days. It was enough time for me to thoroughly digest and appreciate what happened there. Reardon and Vossler not only bring you to the popular spots like Little Round Top and Cemetery Ridge, but also the lesser-known spots like Pitzer's Woods and the Cavalry Fields. This was the perfect supplement to the background knowledge I had on Gettysburg from the books I've read. There's nothing like walking the field to understand the battle, and this book was the perfect guide. I can't recommend it enough.


Uncle Tom's Cabin (Dover Thrift Editions)
Uncle Tom's Cabin (Dover Thrift Editions)
by Harriet Beecher Stowe
Edition: Paperback
Price: $5.23
189 used & new from $1.19

5.0 out of 5 stars Very powerful and important book, August 17, 2014
Uncle Tom's Cabin is not the easiest book to read. The language can be unfamiliar at times, and mixed with the horrible slang can make it difficult to get through. (After finishing the book, I still have no idea what "Sartin" means.) However, the story was incredibly powerful, and I immediately see why it's a classic.

I believe this book should eventually be read by any American who's interested in history or classics, as this book was extremely important in its time.


The Art of Manliness: Classic Skills and Manners for the Modern Man
The Art of Manliness: Classic Skills and Manners for the Modern Man
Price: $9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Something to learn for every man, August 17, 2014
I'm not familiar with The Art of Manliness website, but I enjoyed this book. There's lots of things I want to experience and skills I want to learn after reading this, and the authors manage to give you that motivation as you read. I'm glad this book focuses on more traditional manly topics, and may even interest you in some classic skills like wet shaving and hat etiquette.

There's a lot of information in this book, so you'll probably have to constantly refer to the sections you're interested in if you really want to implement them into your life. However, it's still readable front to back. I enjoyed the sections on leadership and the appendix of 100 books every man should be familiar with.

This was a great self-improvement book that I would read again!


The Giver (Giver Quartet, Book 1)
The Giver (Giver Quartet, Book 1)
Offered by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Price: $7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great for adults too!, July 25, 2014
I remember reading this in grade school, and I remember hating it. As an adult, I was reminded about this novel by the upcoming movie, so I decided to give it another shot these many years later. I absolutely loved it!

There's not much I can say about this book that hasn't already been said, so I'll just emphasize that Ms. Lowry's book is great for kids as well as adults. Now let's just hope Hollywood doesn't mess it up.


The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull, and the Battle of the Little Bighorn
The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull, and the Battle of the Little Bighorn
Offered by Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price: $14.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating storytelling, July 25, 2014
I was highly impressed with Nathaniel Philbrick's three other books (Mayflower, In the Heart of the Sea, and Bunker Hill) that I didn't hesitate to dive into this book. What I got was more of the same: a page-turner, clear maps, and beautiful storytelling.

As in his other books, Mr. Philbrick likes to tell the story of the events leading up to George Armstrong Custer's Last Stand at Little Bighorn as well as the aftermath. Custer's history is examined to further understand his decision making. This context is important to understanding the Battle of the Little Bighorn, and the author compiles all this research together into a narrative that's easy to follow.

"The Last Stand," like Mr. Philbrick's other books, is targeted towards the general audience and not to Little Bighorn scholars (and I know there's many out there). It was interesting at first that he chose to write a book far removed from his usual subjects of the sea and New England history, but my doubts were quickly shattered after a few chapters. This book flows just as well as the rest!

After reading this book, I highly recommend the couple of movies on Custer he mentions in the preface: They Died with Their Boots On (1941) and Little Big Man (1970). They are both worth watching (though not historically accurate) in that they portray Custer completely differently from each other. Definitely worthwhile if you find yourself fascinated with Custer like I did.


Anthem
Anthem
Price: $0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful book, July 20, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Anthem (Kindle Edition)
Out of all the books I read back in high school, "Anthem" was one of the ones that stuck with me over the years. I reread it simply wanting to refresh my memory, but I realized my perspective on the story has changed. Instead of an entertaining, dystopian novel that my teenaged self remembered reading, I now focused more on the collectivist mindset and economic failure that exists in this futuristic society. Substituting "we" for "I" to abolish individualism, what I once viewed as science fiction, I now see as necessary if this society based exclusively on collectivism were to survive.

Reminds me of George Orwell's "1984". Spend a few hours reading it, and maybe you'll find yourself thinking about it years afterwards like I did.


George Washington's Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Saved the American Revolution
George Washington's Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Saved the American Revolution
Offered by Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price: $9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The secret story of the Revolution, July 19, 2014
One of the first thoughts on my mind after finishing this book was: How could other American Revolution books gloss over such a crucial intelligence-gathering operation? Not until I picked up this book did I fully appreciate the importance of espionage to securing victory for the Patriots.

18th-century espionage was more sophisticated than I could have imagined. Code numbering systems, pseudonyms, and invisible ink are just a few of the spying methods used by the Culper Spy Ring to deliver secret intelligence from behind enemy lines to the Continental Army's commander-in-chief, George Washington.

Major George Beckwith, head of British intelligence operations, said after the war: "Washington did not really outfight the British, he simply outspied us!" Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger do an excellent job revealing just how crucial spying was to winning the American Revolution in a highly readable and short book. Recommended for both history buffs and casual readers interested in American history!


Bunker Hill: A City, A Siege, A Revolution
Bunker Hill: A City, A Siege, A Revolution
Offered by Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price: $10.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Reads like a novel, July 7, 2014
I absolutely loved this book. I was reluctant to pick it up at first since an entire book on Bunker Hill might get into too much minutiae to be an enjoyable read, but I really enjoyed Nathaniel Philbrick's other books, so I gave this a shot. I'm glad I did.

To be clear, this book isn't just about Bunker Hill. It provides all the relevant context for the battle: the deteriorating situation between the colonies and Great Britain that led to the war, the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the Siege of Boston, and finally Bunker Hill.

Interestingly, Mr. Philbrick chooses a lesser-known revolutionary to be his protagonist: Joseph Warren. Leader of the Provincial Congress, a physician, and a soldier, Warren plays a major role in colonial Boston leading up to Bunker Hill. Meeting his demise at Breed's Hill, Mr. Philbrick speculates that George Washington may have been a footnote in history if Warren survived. It's interesting to read this story from the perspective of Warren, especially since many of the other books from the time period tend to focus on the same cast of Founders. It was refreshing to read about a lesser-known but important man.

The diagrams are excellent. You don't have to be a military buff to understand the battles. Mr. Philbrick provides simple, easy-to-understand maps that illustrate the landscape at the time (today's Boston bears no resemblance to colonial Boston). Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill each have maps that make the battle movements incredibly easy to grasp.

Several suggestions: the author makes some references to King Philip's War and the earlier colonists of New England. If you intend on reading other books by Mr. Philbrick, then his "Mayflower" would be a great book to read before this one. Also, since this book ends with the British retreat of Boston, then "1776" by David McCullough would be a great book to read after this one since he picks up the storyline where this ends.

I'd give this book more than five stars if I could. Highly recommended!


Street Without Joy: The French Debacle in Indochina
Street Without Joy: The French Debacle in Indochina

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Difficult to get through, July 7, 2014
I read this book wanting to understand the broader context of America's involvement in Vietnam. "Street Without Joy" definitely puts the Vietnam War in perspective by looking at the First Indochina War between France and the Viet Minh between 1946 - 1954.

Unfortunately, I can't bring myself to give this a stellar review like a vast majority of people here. Despite being interested in France's involvement in Indochina, I found it difficult to maintain interest in parts where Mr. Fall describes the battles and the different military units involved. The maps don't help a casual reader very much since they're cluttered with details. In addition, too many times does Mr. Fall drop the names of random Vietnamese cities without providing any context or location. A simplistic map of Vietnam with all the key cities that are relevant to this book, as well as a clear list distinguishing the military units involved, would have been extremely helpful.

I did find the sections on Mang Yang Pass and Dien Bien Phu to be fascinating, so I may pick up his book on the subject.


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