About Me:

Welcome! The ultimate luxury for me is curling up with a good book and a warm blanket. The next best thing is reviewing books and sharing them with others.

Want to join our review team? Email me!

Blog Button

Blog Button

Subscribe

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

30 12, 2014

Review: Scandals of Classic Hollywood by Anne Helen Petersen

By | December 30th, 2014|Categories: Entertainment, Historical, Nonfiction|Tags: , , |1 Comment

Rating:

scandals of classic hollywood book coverReviewed by Jax Kepple

Scandals of Classic Hollywood: Sex, Deviance, and Drama from the Golden Age of American Cinema is a fascinating collection of stories of the behind-the-scenes power the movie studios had over their stars in the early-to-mid twentieth century. The studios, knowing that they had to please the conservative public, had actors sign contract which often had morality clauses and directives on how soon they could marry after divorcing. It’s almost unbelievable how much the studios got away with, but that was the price these actors and actresses would pay for fame.

About half of the stories included here were already shared on the blog The Hairpin by author Anne Helen Petersen. As someone who read and enjoyed that column I realized that they had been significantly edited in this book, and some of the stars and

25 12, 2014

Review: Bully Pulpit by Doris Kearns Goodwin

By | December 25th, 2014|Categories: Biographies, Historical, Nonfiction|Tags: , , |2 Comments

Rating:

bully pulpit book coverReviewed by Alyssa Katanic

I love a great story and I love history, therefore, I am often drawn to historical fiction works. Better yet, however, is history so well written that it tells the true stories of real people without the feel of a textbook. Doris Kearns Goodwin does the story telling of history very well in her latest, The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism. I had not read any work of Goodwin until this, but it is easy to see, as noted on the cover of the Bully Pulpit, how she became a Pulitzer Prize winning author. Her work showcases her great skill as a researcher, storyteller, and writer.

One of the best parts in a novel, which is often missing in the telling of history, is to meet the

23 12, 2014

Review: Fire and Movement by Peter Hart

By | December 23rd, 2014|Categories: Historical, Military, Nonfiction|Tags: , , |2 Comments

Rating:

fire and movement book coverReviewed by Nina Longfield

On August 4th, 2014, the world remembered the unofficial start of the First World War one hundred years ago. In 1914, Europe went to war in possibly the greatest clash the world had seen (to that time); soon after, much of the world joined in. Tensions were high in June 1914, then like a match striking a fuse, the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28, 1914 began the downward spiral to all-out war. Like all wars, it was an event of terrible loss and destruction punctuated by moments of humanity and possibly hope. The destruction, casualties and deaths resulting from the Great War seemed to know no bounds.

In his latest historical reference book, Fire and Movement: The British Expeditionary Force and the Campaign of 1914, Peter Hart captures the events and mood

23 12, 2014

Review: Isabella by Kirsten Downey

By | December 23rd, 2014|Categories: Biographies, Historical, Nonfiction|Tags: , |3 Comments

Rating:

isabella by downey book coverReviewed by Sarah McCubbin

History from around the globe is replete with the actions of male monarchs. What is less known and thereby perhaps more fascinating are the lives of the female rulers. In her book, Isabella: The Warrior Queen, Kirsten Downey explores the life of one such woman. While most of us know Isabella for her role in financing Christopher Columbus’ journey to the New World, that detail alone is an incomplete picture of who she is and how she came to power. This book seeks to give a full account of her life but often reads more like an adventure novel than a biography. The characters of history are colorfully described complete with flaws and foibles common among mankind.

In the last century, women’s rights have advanced significantly in many parts of the world. But in Isabella’s

24 11, 2014

Review: 50 Children by Steven Pressman

By | November 24th, 2014|Categories: Historical, Nonfiction, True Accounts|Tags: , , |2 Comments

Rating:

50 children book coverReviewed by Colleen Turner

50 Children: One Ordinary American Couple’s Extraordinary Rescue Mission into the Heart of Nazi Germany is an unflinching and heart-stopping look into an unbelievable mission undertaken to make the seemingly impossible possible. Gil and Eleanor Kraus, a normal upper-class Jewish couple living in Philadelphia in 1939, ventured out of their comfortable existence into the terror of Nazi occupied Vienna and Berlin, pushing through every possible obstacle and danger put before them, to legally bring the largest group of children without their parents into an America who didn’t seem overly concerned with their dire plight. Because of their bravery and unselfishness these 50 children – and many of their family members who were able to obtain American visas after the children arrived in America – lived a full life while many others like them unable to escape

24 11, 2014

Review: Tinseltown by William Mann

By | November 24th, 2014|Categories: Entertainment, Historical, Nonfiction, True Accounts|Tags: , , , |2 Comments

Rating:

tinseltown book coverReviewed by A.D. Cole

I requested this book when I saw it being compared to The Devil In the White City by Erik Larson. It’s been a personal resolve of mine to broaden my reading horizons by picking up non-fiction once in a while. Erik Larson showed me that a well-written history can be every bit the entertaining page-turner that a novel can. I’d hoped Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood would be the same. And I was not disappointed.

Don’t know much about the age of silent movies? William J. Mann brings the setting to life before your very eyes. History, to me, is a bit of a black-and-white, flat image that reads like a textbook, until I open a book like Tinseltown. And now I see 1920’s New York with it’s ambitious men racing to build

21 11, 2014

Review: Gaza by Jean-Pierre Filiu

By | November 21st, 2014|Categories: Historical, Nonfiction, Politics & Government|Tags: , |4 Comments

Rating:

gaza by filiu book coverReviewed by Nikhil Sharma

For many people, Yasser Arafat was the one who single handedly lead the war for liberation of Palestine and after his death nobody of his stature ever came up in the region to replace him. Such myths have crept in the common psyche because of ignorance on our part and selective propagandized hoopla the media creates around personalities and events. The Lebanon War of 2006, waged against Hezbollah by Israel, is what got me interested in history of the region.

Several commendable books on this subject have been written by historians and journalists. Avi Shlaim’s Iron Wall is an excellent book on Israeli-Palestinian conflict; The Great War for Civilisation by Robert Fisk is a thriller with first-hand accounts of war-reporting; while Holy Land, Unholy War by Anton La Guardia unearths personal histories of many displaced Palestinians.

18 11, 2014

Review: Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy by Karen Abbott

By | November 18th, 2014|Categories: Biographies, Historical, Nonfiction, Women's Studies|Tags: , , , , , , |6 Comments

Rating:

liar temptress soldier spy book cover 201410-omag-read-7-949x1356Reviewed by Sarah McCubbin

Unlike a traditional war novel, Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War by Karen Abbott seeks to uncover the important although unusual role of women during the Civil War. It tells the four unique stories of women who chose to serve their respective sides of the war as spies.

On the Union front, we meet Emma Edmondson and Elizabeth Van Lew. For the Confederacy, Belle Boyd and Rose O’ Neal work to advance their efforts and undermine the Union. The methods each of these women employed to advance her cause took advantage of each ones unique feminine abilities. Whether posing as a man and fighting in the ranks, using feminine “charms”, simple social connections or the help of a child, each

30 09, 2014

Review: Wanted Women by Deborah Scroggins

By | September 30th, 2014|Categories: Biographies, Historical, Nonfiction, Religion & Spirituality|Tags: , , , |5 Comments

Rating:

WceGgDUNlCA8RPHOz66AbHHs4RI12Vqg+OoBRGBrKx0gjMb1TSGn63!P3!BaM61Ycim7TPw2yzIaTKEqk4wNnDHjr1b6gOv!JK2gG4iMspVQ5iDKyCBWtzAWMsmQ+7PKReviewed by Shannon Trenton

September 11, 2001 marked the beginning of the United States’ War on Terror – or, more accurately, brought into focus our nation’s ongoing efforts to combat the religious and ideological other of radical Islam. It thrust mainstream Islam into a spotlight that many have used to educate and illuminate while others use it to underscore the flaws inherent in the faith (while conveniently ignoring those inherent in other faiths, but this is not an op-ed).

One particularly interesting study in these times is the role of women in the war on terror. War has traditionally been understood as man’s territory despite the historic participation of women, but in the last several years women have readily stepped up on both sides of the ideological divide to fight for what they believe is right. Female soldiers, female suicide bombers…the list goes on.

In

26 09, 2014

Review: The Romanov Sisters by Helen Rappaport

By | September 26th, 2014|Categories: Biographies, Historical, Nonfiction|Tags: , , |3 Comments

Rating:

the romanov sistersReviewed by Jax Kepple

Everyone knows what happened to Tsar Nicholas and his family in a basement in 1918. Author Helen Rappaport sets out in The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra to shed light on the lives of the four spunky and vivacious daughters: Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia. The result of Rappaport’s historical research and story is an engrossing, easy-to-read record of the entire Romanov family just up until they are called to the basement.

Rappaport uses the personal correspondence of the four sisters to establish their personalities, as they often were lumped in together as one unit. Olga, the shy quiet eldest; Tatiana, the proficient go-getter who was looked upon to take care of the family while their mother was often ill; Maria, the middle child who was sweet and kind; and