Book Review: The Savage Worlds of Solomon Kane

Howard, Robert E. The Savage Worlds of Solomon Kane (Del Ray Reprint, 2004) E-book.

Although best known as the creator of Conan the Barbarian, Robert Howard had a number of other memorable protagonists, including the lean Puritan with glittering dark eyes, Solomon Kane. He traveled the world righting wrongs and sending the doers of evil to their fate, whatever that might be. The stories are set in Europe and Africa of the late 1600s, although there are a number of hints and nods to lost civilizations such as Atlantis and Mu. Continue reading

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What the Author is Reading – November ’19

Short version: my usual strange selection of Day Job and writing books.

Agricola, George. De Re Metallica. (Herbert Hoover, trans.)   ( Martino Books, 2014, 1950, 1912) The must-read book about late Medieval, early Renaissance mining in Central Europe, with excellent historical and linguistic foot-notes. This edition keeps the notes and all the drawings, and I recommend it over the free versions without illustrations. You do need some background in math and basic civil engineering and woodworking, though. Metallurgy or basic knowledge of mining is also helpful but not necessary. Continue reading

Book Review: American Dunkirk

Greetings and salutations, Instapundit readers! Thanks for stopping by.

Kendra, James and Tricia Wachtendorf. American Dunkirk: The Waterborne Evacuation of Manhattan on 9/11. (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2016)

Did you know that between 300,000 and 500,000 people left Lower Manhattan Island by boat on September 11, 2001? The boat-lift was spontaneous, self-organized for the most part, and has been relatively unsung. The Coast Guard eventually acted as sort-of-coordinator, but had little or nothing to do with the efforts at first. Continue reading

Book Review: The Mecca Mystery

Townsend, Peter. The Mecca Mystery: Probing the Black Hole at the Heart of Muslim History. (2018) Kindle Edition

Everyone knows that Mecca is the holiest city of Islam, and that it was there that Muhammad began his years as the last prophet of G-d. What everyone knows might not be correct, at least not if you apply the rules of historical research and inquiry. Continue reading

Book Review: Making the Monster

Harkup, Kathryn. Making the Monster: The Science Behind Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. (New York: Bloomsbury Sigma, 2018)

We all know Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein’s Monster: or The Modern Prometheus as 1) a Romantic argument against the Enlightenment, 2) proof that women invented science-fiction, 3) a feminist parable of the evils of men ignoring the need for emotion and love, 4)a powerful argument against overly-rational science, 5) the origins of several monster and mad-scientist tropes, 6) the origins of various movies and TV shows, 7) all of the above.

It is also a study in what science at the time thought was possible, and how it might have been achieved. Continue reading

The American Story

On Sunday I posted a list of books over at Mad Genius Club that I think tell parts of the American story. Now, these are not what professors and professional book critics seem to consider “the Great American Novel,” (G.A.N.) a creature more elusive—or should that be allusive?—than Bigfoot in the Bronx, or a unicorn in Washington D.C. No, these are stories that catch part of what it means to be an American, and the things that make Americans so different from other peoples. Continue reading