Content tagged with "history"

1913: In Search of the World Before the Great War
Book Review
March 25, 2022
227

“An interesting look at the world in 1913, before the Great War. The book doesn’t mention the looming war, and that’s kind of the point. It goes city-by-city, discussing what was happening in each, on…”

Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal
Book Review
June 24, 2017
37

“Wonderfully well-told tale of WWII espionage. Fast moving and thrilling.”

The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World
Reading List
Book Review
August 7, 2021
168

“An interesting book, but also not what the title would suggest – the subtitle anyway. This was not an all-encompassing history of money and finance. The book starts with Jewish moneylenders in Venice,…”

Bad Land: An American Romance
Reading List
Book Review
November 26, 2015
388

“This is a book about a place. Not the Badlands of South Dakota (which I initially thought), but the ‘bad land’ of Eastern Montana. It’s the story of immigrants who settled there and claimed homesteads…”

The Cold War: A World History
Reading List
Book Review
October 6, 2017
74

“Fantastic, detailed history of the Cold War. Covers all the bases, from World War I on, including quite a bit of coverage of India and Africa, outside of the big players: the U.S., Soviet Union, and…”

The Covenant
Reading List
Book Review
May 23, 2022
426

“There are ‘epic’ novels, and then there’s this. It’s the history of South Africa, starting in 14,000 BC and ending in 1978. There are 14 chapters, and each chapter handles a different time period. We…”

Cult of the Dead Cow: How the Original Hacking Supergroup Might Just Save the World
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Book Review
July 26, 2021
318

“The Cult of the Dead Cow was an early hacker group, formed in the 1980s. This book tells its story over the years and where everyone ended up. It’s…scattered. There are a lot of people, and the scope…”

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair that Changed America
Reading List
Book Review
September 20, 2019
234

“Compelling book in a weird format. It’s about two things: (1) the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and (2) a serial killer at work in the city during that time. The two stories are…”

Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune
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Book Review
June 13, 2021
310

“Fascinating story of Huguette Clark, the youngest daughter of mining baron WA Clark. She was fabulously wealthy, but reclusive and eccentric. She maintained ‘empty mansions’ that she never lived in,…”

The First Man in Rome
Reading List
Book Review
June 14, 2022
571

“This is a ‘historical novel.’ It’s sort of fiction, but sort of not. It’s a narrative of history, but apparently quite accurate. The book mainly follows two men: Gaius Marius (a real person) and…”

The First World War
Reading List
Book Review
July 11, 2021
258

“It is what it claims to be – a detailed history of WWI. Actually, I understand that this is the short version. The author is apparently one of the most renowned WWI scholars in the world, and has a…”

The First World War: A Complete History
Reading List
Book Review
November 6, 2021
311

“A magisterial history of The Great War. Nothing is left out. The book proceeds down a strict timeline, battle by battle, event by event, mutiny by mutiny. It starts just before, and ends just after….”

The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic—and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World
Reading List
Book Review
November 11, 2019
156

“Thrilling story of a cholera outbreak in London in the 1850s, and the physician who tracked down the source. At the time, illness was thought to come from ‘bad air,’ but a physician named John Snow…”

God's Secretaries : The Making of the King James Bible
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Book Review
January 12, 2019
325

“What’s interesting about this book is that there’s just very little information about the actual process of creating the King James Bible. Not much of the historical record of the actual translation…”

The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast
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Book Review
June 30, 2021
528

“This is the almost-definitive history of Hurricane Katrina. I say ‘almost,’ because it was written about a year after the 2005 hurricane, which means there’s probably some history since then that’s…”

The Gutenberg Revolution
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Book Review
April 30, 2017
90

“I love the subject but just couldn’t connect with the writing style. I found it confusing. Not an entirely bad book – it presents Gutenberg as a businessman (and not a very good one), and covers all…”

A History of the World in 6 Glasses
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Book Review
February 23, 2021
174

“A fun book about six beverages that have figured heavily in world history: Beer Wine Spirits (hard liquor, basically) Coffee Tea Soft drinks Each of these have influenced the world enormously in…”

How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States
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Book Review
December 27, 2020
234

“Fantastic book about the history of American colonialism, from the Philippines (which we set free) to Puerto Rico (which today exists in some weird in-between state), to dozens of islands (which we…”

Huế 1968: A Turning Point of the American War in Vietnam
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Book Review
July 24, 2017
61

“The astonishing story of one of the bloodiest battles of the Vietnam War. Absolutely harrowing writing, and good background on the Vietnam War itself – how and why we got to where we were.”

The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation
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Book Review
April 8, 2015
70

“A solid history of Bell Labs. Interesting, but a bit tedious. It’s astonishing how much stuff was invented there – it puts Xerox PARC to shame, really. The transistor? Wow. Meticulously…”

The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution
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Book Review
November 1, 2014
206

“Amazingly wonderful book on the history of the digital age, all the way from Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage through to Sergey Brin and Larry Page. Wonderfully written, always engrossing. It begins…”

Legion versus Phalanx
Reading List
Book Review
February 14, 2019
230

“I struggled with this book. The author admits that it’s about almost everything except a direct comparison of the legion and the phalanx. After a short introduction to ancient military tactics, it…”

The Library Book
Reading List
Book Review
December 30, 2019
169

“I thought this was a novel. It’s not. But it’s wonderful. It’s the story of: The 1986 fire at the Los Angeles library and its subsequent investigation and aftermath The larger Los Angeles library…”

On Intelligence: The History of Espionage and the Secret World
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Book Review
March 7, 2018
105

“Wonderfully interesting overview of intelligence, from human spies to spy satellites to computer espionage. Peppered throughout are small case studies of actual historical situations (Manning,…”

Origins of a Journey: History's Greatest Adventures Marked by Ambition, Necessity, and Madness
Reading List
Book Review
October 16, 2021
144

“This is a fun book. It’s not gonna change your life or anything, but you’ll probably enjoy it if you accept it for what it is. It’s basically a series of short chapters – blog posts, essentially –…”

The Pentagon's Brain: An Uncensored History of DARPA, America's Top-Secret Military Research Agency
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Book Review
March 20, 2017
39

“I did not write a review for this book.”

A People's History of the United States
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Book Review
November 17, 2015
346

“The author of this book makes a good point in the afterword: all facts promote or minimize a viewpoint, merely by their selection. So, choosing to retell or convey a fact promotes some point-of-view…”

The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power
Reading List
Book Review
August 30, 2021
265

“This is the definitive history of oil, from the first discovery in the 1850s through the first Gulf War of of the 1990s. It’s a lot – 900-some-odd pages. Not for the faint of heart. I actually brought…”

Sandworm: A New Era of Cyberwar and the Hunt for the Kremlin's Most Dangerous Hackers
Reading List
Book Review
November 8, 2020
298

“This is a story of a bunch of hacks, which the author has strung together. The claim is that NotPetya, WannaCry, the Korean Olympic hack, etc. were all the work of the same organization – a Russian…”

The Secret World: A History of Intelligence
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Book Review
March 30, 2019
257

“This book is exactly what it claims – a magisterial history of intelligence and espionage. But, it left me a bit frustrated. (I wrote a blog post about this.) The book is a series of anecdotes, with…”

Silent Night: The Remarkable Christmas Truce of 1914
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Book Review
December 18, 2021
144

“I loved the idea of this book, but the reality was a mess. The problem with documenting the Christmas Truce (an actual event) is that it’s told largely in legend. It was impromptu and distributed – it…”

The Silk Roads: A New History of the World
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Book Review
December 30, 2018
68

“A spectacular history of Asia. This is a book where I stopped tracking what page I was on, because I just wanted to keep reading it. Also a book that could have been boring, but the writing style is…”

Soldiers Of Reason: The RAND Corporation And The Rise Of The American Empire
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Book Review
April 24, 2022
266

“The book is what it claims to be: a comprehensive history of RAND. The problem is that it’s just not that interesting? RAND (short for ‘Research and Development’) is a company created by the U.S. Air…”

The Somme
Reading List
Book Review
July 4, 2022
251

“This book forced me to think about books about wars in general. I think I’ve identified four levels, in descending order of scope. Geopolitical: These books discuss the large-scale political reasons…”

The Soul of a New Machine
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Book Review
October 5, 2019
101

“Honestly, I just didn’t get it. This book was described in near-mythical terms, but it seemed tedious to me. Maybe I’m just not used to hardware design, or I’m not an engineer anymore – I don’t know…”

Sugar: A Bittersweet History
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Book Review
January 9, 2019
238

“This is a very good book, but the title is pretty unclear. It really covers the history of sugar from one angle: slavery, or perhaps labor exploitation in general. It’s fair to say that slavery is a…”

Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates: The Forgotten War that Changed American History
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Book Review
October 16, 2021
419

“This is a recounting of the First Barbary War. That event is important because it was the first overseas conflict the young United States ever fought in. (From the Marine Corp hymn: ‘From the halls of…”

Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.
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Book Review
December 31, 2017
169

“Wonderfully written biography. Makes me want to read more Chernow. JDR was a flawed man, certainly. While an upstanding citizen in his personal life, he was a ruthless business, who destroyed his…”

Turning Points: Decisive Moments in the History of Christianity
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Book Review
November 28, 2014
147

“This book traces the history of Christianity by defining 12 ‘turning points,’ which are pivotal moments in its development. These range from the Council of Niceo, to the Reformation (the Diet of…”

The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History
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Book Review
May 10, 2019
92

“Truly, one of the most perfect books I have ever read. I wanted a comprehensive history of the NBA, and that’s what got, with style and beauty to go along with it. The history is organized well, the…”

Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty
Reading List
Book Review
April 24, 2022
368

“Enormously entertaining history of the Vanderbilt family by CNN’s Anderson Cooper, who was a Vanderbilt on his mother’s side. Cornelius ‘Commodore’ Vanderbilt was a self-made man. He started ferrying…”

The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph and the Nineteenth Century's On-line Pioneers
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Book Review
December 12, 2019
99

“A wonderful history of the telegraph which proves that all of the ‘novel’ problems the Internet brought about actually happened 150 years earlier. Standage pays social attention to the societal…”

What the Dormouse Said: How the Sixties Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry
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Book Review
July 6, 2015
164

“The title promised a discussion about how the 60s ‘shaped’ the personal computer industry, but I just didn’t see it. The book is a history of technology and how the seminal figures of that period…”

Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins of the Internet
Reading List
Book Review
June 1, 2014
96

“This book is good if you want a long, detailed history of the ARPANET, the direct predecessor to the Internet. For that, it’s fascinating. That said, it’s not a casual reader. I’m neck-deep in the…”