Tuesday, September 24, 2019

I regret that I have been out of the loop for several weeks. I have not done as thorough a job as I normally do with these most recent reviews, but will keep plugging away!

I review almost exclusively history books (with rare exceptions). I will eagerly review any book having to do with antiaircraft or air defense. I am also interested in books on Africa, but again, mostly the history of the continent, especially in the 20th Century. Get in touch with me for more information. Most of my book reviews are also on Goodreads and Amazon.

Peking 1900: The Boxer Rebellion (Four Stars)

When foreigners began to be murdered by a group called the "Boxers" in China the great powers of the time responded with a multinational effort to rescue the diplomats and traders threatened by the group... especially those in Peking. The author does a good job of discussing the events which led up to Chinese hostility to the presence of foreigners and to the actual events (and rumors!) which resulted in intervention. An all-but-forgotten chapter in military history today, but still a neat read. Well-illustrated with photographs, maps and original artwork.

Akhenaten: Egypt's False Prophet (Five Stars)

The subject of Reeves' book is Akhenaten; a Pharoah who attempted to remake Egyptian society from country where a host of gods and idols were worshipped to a monothiestic society which recognized only one god: the Aten, or sun disc.

Reeves looks further back than most other authors for the origins of the Aten cult, seeing not just the trend of a priesthood that was becoming more and more politically powerful but also in other events during the 17th and 18th Dynasties which might have effected Akenaten's thinking. Reeves also discusses archeological proof as he tells the story (as it is known) and writes about different theories to explain this or that. Reeves does NOT fall into the trap of discussing the Aten cult as predecessor or influence on Judaism, which has become fashionable as of late. Overall, a good book.

The Gunfighters (Five Stars)

Nothing beats these Time-Life books for the feel and look of the Old West. I really enjoyed re-reading this volume and learning the rugged life of desperados and lawman... who often were the same people at different times in their careers. Very well illustrated and it explains a lot about the handling of firearms in the wild west.

People of the Shining Mountains (Five Stars)

I recently visited the area of Colorado where the Utes once roamed free and was fascinated by some of the stories I heard there. I got this book to learn more about this tribe and I was not disappointed. It talks about the tribe's history, both before and after initial contact with the United States government, as well as their culture and relationship with other tribes of the west. I really enjoyed learning about these fascinating people.

Operation Crossbow 1944 (Four Stars)

This book looks at the German V-weapon campaign against England and Operation Crossbow, its response. Although not a large book, this volume discusses developmental problems with the V-weapons (especially the V-1). It also discusses the planned response using bombers, as well as the difficulty in maintaining this response in the light of other bombing requirements. The photographs and other illustrations make it a fascinating book.

French Tanks of World War I (Five Stars)

A great look at the French Army's attempt to break the stalemate in the trenches, not by building "land battleships" as the British did but by creating much smaller tanks in larger numbers. The technology and resources of France argued for this method, especially after the French tried out a few of the armored behemoths and found them wanting. Of course, this is a slim volume but it provides an excellent account of the development and use of the early tanks. A must-read for WWI fans!