What the Author is Reading: November ’19

A little of this and that, some for pleasure, some for Day Job, some because I need to refresh my American history knowledge. In no set order—

McClay, Wilfred Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Story An excellent survey history of the United States that brings out the good things about America without ignoring the not-so-good. Very good sources in the bibliography, and well written. A bit of an anti-Zinn text.

DelArroz, Jon. Justified A knight Templar in nanotech armor fights slavery and his own doubts. Pulled me in from the start.

Cohen, Richard By the Sword A history of sword and swordsmanship, emphasis on fencing and dueling. Well written, but it helps if you have some familiarity with the topic.

Koloski-Ostrow, Ann The Archaeology of Sanitation in Roman Italy Pretty much what it says. If you are fascinated by the history of plumbing, this is your book.

Löns, H. Der Wehrwolf A German novel about survival during the Thirty Years War. Not for the faint of heart (or non-bilingual.)

Mattis, Jim and Bing West. Call Sign Chaos. Sec. Mattis’ autobiography. Very military, minimal politics that doesn’t apply to the military. A good book for those interested in Marines, leadership, and the like.

Moorman, George The Latin Mass Explained The theology, ritual, responses, and variations found within the basic Latin-language Roman Catholic mass. Fills in some gaps and explains some things I’ve observed in Medieval art.

Sandridge, Scott, ed. Hero’s Best Friend A collection of short stories about animals and heroes. Some are funny, some are poignant, some are better than others. Sci-fi as well as fantasy.

Radkau, Joachim. Wood A history of wood, how it was and is used, the politics of wood and of conservation. Very well written but perhaps a little much for someone not really into environmental history or resource management.

Sarah, Robert Cardinal. The Power of Silence A Roman Catholic cardinal’s observations and meditations on stillness, contemplation, and modernity, in interview form. A bit mystical, but a refreshing pause from the every-day.

Elvin, Mark The Retreat of the Elephants An environmental history of China. Fills in some gaps, and is a good reminder that as dismal as the West’s record can be at times, China’s take on “nature” was rather different, with all-too-familiar results.


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