simple List of books in rough topical order
It is a common thing to view a persons library and use the titles found as a window into their mind.
Here is a window into my interests, and my mind, and what I have been pouring into my memory.
Links to LISTS of Good Reads Books
Author list with LINKS to description of each book
Title list with LINKS to description of each book
Subject list - non-ficton with LINKS to description of each book
Vagabonding Under Sail
by Crealock, W.I.B.
pub. David McKay Co., NY , 1951 this later paperback edition 1978 isbn 0-679-51425-2 - black and white photos disbursed in text. - Appendix p. 279 - 302 about the boat - the rig - Navigation - Photographic suggestions - Seasickness - Sea cooking - the Cost - Useless statistics - Outward bound (general comments) - do remember all these were written in 1951 when the world was a different place. - - 302 p.
This is one of several stories of voyaging in sailboats in the years shortly after World War II. In this case 4 young men who are working in various positions have an itch for adventure. At first they are attracted to a newspaper advertisement to be crew on a boat heading out to collect rare and different botanical specimines. They decided that this effort was fatally flawed and rather than give up they pooled their resources, bought a vessel and set off on their own.
They got very lucky and were offered a Falmouth Quay Punt - Content - a cutter, about 40 feet long, length overall, which was built in 1914 and previously owned by Edward Allcard, a fameous voyager, who had set the boat up for single handing. Alcard was delighted to sell the boat to some young men who desired to really use the boat as it was intended.
They re-rigged it to have an ingenious divided version of a square rig. They also had the bottom covered with copper sheathing to prevent damage from wood eating teredo worms and other marine pests. In 1948 they headed south, stopping in northern Spain, Portugal and Gibraltar. They continued on to Casablanca N. Africa and avoided being sucked into smuggling. From there they sailed to the Canary Islands, spent some time there then crossed the Atlantic where their very special square rig showed its genius. There were 2 yards, one on each side of the mast attached to the mast with a universal joint. Triangular raffee sails were set above the square sails, and additional sails were laced to the bottom edge of the square sail(s) for added area.
They sailed to Georgetown, British Guiana and spent half a year there doing some exploring up river while another crew member had to return to England. From there they sailed by Trinidad and up the island chain to Saint Lucia where they got jobs, lived half a year and replentished their funds. From there sailed to Jamaica and did a bit of a re-fit especially to the pintles on the rudder which were seriously damaged by the galvanic action beween the ferrous metal of the pintles and the copper on the bottom. They did put sacrificial anodes on, but they had disappeared... used up ...
From there they had a short interlude in Haiti and headed past the west end of Cuba to Key West. They cleared USA customs first there and again in Miami, Florida with some difficulty with he paperwork. On the way up the intercoastal waterway they met folks in a large yacht who asked them to crew for them on the way south, which they did after the Content berthed in New York. - Then the trouble started with their official entry to USA, including imprisonment and transfer from NY to Florida and several court hearings largely around their not being able to legally work in USA. They finally prevailed and were set free. This book does not discuss what happened to the Content. It does hint that Crealock might travel from Panama into the S. Pacific on the Arthur Rogers with friends. In fact, that is what he did and wrote the book Cloud of Islands: By Sail to the South Seas describing that voyage.
This is a good read. Straight forwardly describes a 2 year voyage and notes how friends can do it and remain friends, and actually accomplish their vision... with revisions.
~ 2017-05-22 ~
The Telomere Effect - a revolutionary approach to living younger, healthier, longer
by Blackburn, Elizabeth and Epel, Elissa
pub. by Grand Central pub (Hatchette Book group), NY 2017 isbn 978- 1455587971 398 p. total - -- - Acknowledgements p.329-332 - - Info about Commercial Telomere Tests p. 333-335 - - Notes p. 337-379 - - Permissions p. 381-383 - - Index p. 385-396 - - About authors p.397-398
Elizabeth Blackburn along with collegues Carol W. Greider and Jack W. Szostak received the Nobel Prize for -Physiology-or-Medicine- for their work in Telomeres in 2009.
This book has 2 parts, First a - strictly how telomeres work - part which lays out what telomeres are and how they work with telomerase, the enzyme which allows telomeres to grow. Originally it was thought that the telomeres at the ends of DNA wore down as cells divided until the Hayflick limit was reached and the cells could not divide any more, causing aging, as tissue could not be renewed. More recent research discovered that certain cells expressed telomerase and as long as they did so the cells could regenerate.
The Second part of the book deals with how one can cause ones cells to regenerate and/or protect their telomeres length with practical methods one can do. It includes several practical ways to do this and there are several tests, mostly psychological, to diagnose ones self and attempt to correct problems. Dr. Elissa Epel is a health psychologist whose specialty is in the effects and ameloriation of stress and the effects of stress. It has been demonstrated that undue stress negatively effects the ability to re-grown telomeres.
This is an excellent book to read to understand the workings of living things. It might also guide you to live a longer and healthier life.
Do not bog down in some of the testing areas. It is a worthwhile read. In fact, I bought a copy for our family MD.
~ 2017-05-12 ~
Videos of Elizabeth Blackburn lectures
The Lost City of Z - a tale of obsession in the Amazon
by Grann, David
pub. by Doubleday, NY 2005 isbn (for Random House Large Type edition 978-0-7393-2834-7 514 p. total - - maps ahead of text - - photos between p. 306 and 307 - - Acknowledgements p.393 - - A Note on Sources p. 399 - - Notes p. 403 - - Selected Bibliography p. 465 - - Index p. 489
This is the biographical and adventure story of (British Army) Colonel Percival (Percy) Harrison Fawcett and his exploration and eventual disappearance in the upper Amazon area of Brazil. He disappeared in 1925.
David Gann did considerable research and even found some diaries not previously available to other researchers among the papers kept by one of Faucetts grandchildren.
Faucett was an army officer assigned to Ceylon, while there became enthusiastic about exploring
in tropical areas. He also met his wife, daughter of a locally stationed Englishman there.
He volunteered for an expedition, requested by the Brazilian and Bolivian governments to explore and determine the border between their countries. This border was in the jungle on the eastern side of the Andes mountains. He led the expedition in 1907-1908 in extremely dangerous conditions. He managed to complete it in a single year though 2 years had been allotted for the project.
After that Faucett got enthused about Amazonian exploration, did a lot of research including discovering what the early Spanish and Portuguese explorers reported. In 1914 at the end of one of his explorations he discovered that England was at war. He immediately returned and resumed his military position and distinguished himself as an officer in the artillery. After the war funding was minimal, but he persisted in doing more Amazonian exploration. One in 1921 ended unsatisfactorily. He returned to his wife and family who at that time were living in California, USA. They were very poor at the time. Faucett got together what he could and with his son Jack and the sons friend Raleigh Rimell went on his final expedition in 1925. This expedition traveled deep into the Mato Grosso, the part of the Amazon jungle on the SW side of Brazil and disappeared. Several expeditions were sent to find them over a period of over 80 years. Non found Faucett, son friend. Several disappeared themselves, many others died. One as late as 1998 barely escaped with their lives. David Grann, the author, went on his own minor expedition and had modest luck, even finding an elderly person who may have remembered the Faucett expedition passing through. Another group suggested that they passed by them and against that groups leaders advice went in the direction of a fierce tribe who surely killed them.
Grann did find one group living in a fairly sizable village and who had an anthropologist, Michael Heckenberger, living with them. Heckenberger showed Grann the reminints of the greater civilization which had existed over 500 years ago and had mostly vanished, as earthworks and wood structures will in the jungle. Long causeways, rings of moats etc. are discernible if you know what to look for. In essence there was a - lost city - just not one that existed after population collapse.
A very good read - recommended - A movie by the same title was released in 2017. I hope to see it some day.
~ 2017-04-21 ~
New Worlds to Conquer
by Halliburton, Richard
pub. by Garden City Pub. / Star Books / Bobbs Merrill , Garden City, NY 1929 isbn -none - 368 p. total - - maps on endpapers
Halliburton has further adventures, this time in the Western hemisphere.
San Salvador following Christopher Columbus
Mexico - Conquest by Hernan Cortez - climbing Popocatepetl - Mayan Cenote (swam in) and Temple on pyramid -
Ch VI - met Kit from NY - sailing trip - Nicaragua - Kit almost dies fever US Navy medical rescue
Panama Canal swiming began 16 Aug 1928 (date from NY Times report) - finding the Peak of Darien - Balboa (25 September)
visit to Peru where president relates an interesting story on surviving a coup attempt - and visiting with lady
visit to the recently discovered mountain top city of Manchu Picchu
Juan Fernandez Island. Alexander Selkirk
Buenos Aires - Monkey grinder - Iguassu falls Parana River - River travel Parana River - Rio de Januario - Cocacabana
Devils Island. French Guiana
These Devils Island chapters of the book are by far the most interesting and the mose soulful.
chapter XXIV Devils Island from the air starting on p. 262 continuing on theough chapters XXV De Produndis - XXVI
Convict Number 49,766 - XXVII The Blockhaus
- XXVIII Les Iles du salut and xxix Liberte - Egalite - Fraternite through page 330.
playing Robinson Cruso on Tobago Island. (view of Trinidad)
27 June (1929) returned to his parents home.
This book has 33 chapters
There ia a biograhical chapter about when early in life he ran away to sea
This is an - OK - read. The write-up of a young man out for a young mans adventure.
~ 2017-04-02 ~
Alaska, the Harriman expedition 1899
by Burroughs, John - - Muir, John - - Grinnell, George Bird - - Healey Dall, William - - Keeler, Charles - - Fernow, Bernard E. - - Gannett, Henry - - Brewer, William H. - - Merriam, C. Hart - - Washburn, M.L.
pub. by Doubleday,NY 1901 ( republished by Dover, Mineola, NY, 1986 - isbn 0-486-25109-8 - - Maps. - some diagrams - - black and white photos - - Index p. 371-383 - - 383 p. total
This book is the collection of papers written by the Harriman expedition along the coast of Alaska in 1899. It was originally published very shortly after the expedition finished and was republished by publisher Dover. It is a wonderful description of Alaska as it was in 1899.
Originally Edward H. Harriman considered a hunting expedition in Alaska. It soon developed from a hunting expedition to a scientific expedition. Harriman was one of the self made men and railroad magnate who at the time of the expedition he controlled the Union Pacific, the Southern Pacific, the Saint Joseph and Grand Island, the Illinois Central, the Central of Georgia, the Pacific Mail Steamship Company, and the Wells Fargo Express Company. He was a powerful and very wealthy man.
Harriman chartered the George W. Elder a 250 foot long steamship for the expedition. It was outfitted with anything they might need for the scientific expedition.
The group included - The Harriman family and servants (11) - The Scientific party (24) - Artists (2) - Bird Artist (1) - Physicians (2) - Taxidermists and Preparers (2) - Photographers (2) - Chaplain (1) - Stenographers (2) - Ships officers (5) - and ships crew.
The members of the expedition were arranged into 12 committees.
Executive - Route and Plans - Zoology - Botany - Geology - Mining - Geography and Geographic Names
- Big Game - Lectures - Library - Literature and Art - Music and Entertainment.
Several people served on more than one committee. The regular program included informatinoal lectures from the experts in the company.
- - - Contents of the Book - - -
Alaska (poem) - Charles Keeler -
Narrative of the Expedition - John Burroughs -
This part is the largest of the papers. It encompasses the whole of the expedition in narrative form in a most delightful manner.
It starts in New York. leaving on May 23, 1899 and describes the railroad trip across the USA
with a side trip - description and photos of Shoshone Falls. They wandered through parts of Oregon and Washington following the Snake river.
The eastern contingent arrived in Seattle. The California contingent arrived and
all found their staterooms on the steamer George E. Elder. The ship was especially laid out for the expedition.
Supplies were loaded including livestock for food and suffient coal for a 2 month cruise. (I believe they re-coaled later in the voyage.)
The expedition departed for Alaska on May 31, 1899.
The completed party include 46 among the expedition and with the ships crew a total of 126 were aboard.
The George E. Elder steamed up the inland passage past Victoriam, British Columbia into the Alaska panhandle, studying the glaciers on the way.
Burroughs spent considerable time describing the bird life at each of the stops,
and describes the flowers and small plants encountered.
His narragtive takes up 118 pages of delightful detail and touches on all aspects of
the Harriman Alaska expedition.
The expedition arrived back in Seattle, Washington on July 30, 1899.
The Pacific Coast Glaciers - John Muir -
Muir had visited many of the glaciers some time before and had studied them.
It is notable that they were already retreating due to the climate warming.
Natives of the Alaska Coast Region - George Bird Grinnell -
Lightweight Anthropology - Good and positive descriptions of the encounters.
what could be done in the short time the expedition was at each of its stops along the whole Alaskan coast,
including the 2 short stops at the eastern tip of Siberia in Russia.
the Discovery and Exploration of Alaska - William Healey Dall -
Spanish, English, Russians etc.
Days among Alaska Birds - Charles Keeler -
A more detailed look at the birds encountered.
The Forrests of Alaska - Berngard E, Fernow -
What type of trees grew where, and what were useful commercially.
Interesting that lumber was shipped up from Washington State as the lumber from there was of higher quality.
Geography of Alaska - Henry Gannett -
Inland Alaska was not very well known in 1899. The gold rush caused some exploration
but on the whole what was known of the interior was sketchy.
The Atmosphere of Alaska - William H. Brewer -
You will not read anything like this anywhere else. It is a description of the air.
Describing how it looks in Alaska and how that is differnt from other places.
It is a very interesting presentation.
Bogoslof Our newest Volacno - G.C. Gart Merriam -
A rather lengthy and great description of a volcano rising to the surface and creating an island
and how that island is re-formed, shaped and worn by the sea. Detail description from 1796 to 1899.
The Salmon Industry - George Bird Grinnell -
A straight forward description of the salmon fishery and how methods were depleating the
number of salmon. This is a good description of how lack of regulation can ruin a resource.
Fox Farnubg - N,L. Washburn -
Blue fox pelts were very popular in the fashion industry. Rather than hunt them to
extinction there were efforts to establish fox farms to raise them on smaller islands.
This met with modest success
The Innuit People (poem)- William Healey Dall -
Index - - certain individual papers have bibiiographies
I picked this book up at a rummage sale as something I might read to fill out my knowledge of Alaska.
It had been originally purchased in Alaska by someone who vacationed there. It was obvious that it had not been read.
I expected a dry listing of the features of the area. That was not an accuragte assessment.
It is a delightful book. Yes, it describes Alaska in as much detail as could be done in the time alloted.
It is also a writing of its time. In the gilded age when natural resources were exploited with little thought to the effects of such exploitation.
It is also in the beginning of the conservation movement when serious men of science were working at bringing a halt to enviornmental destruction.
Wikipedia has an article entitled Harriman_Alaska_expeditin which explains the expedition. There is a separate article on the ship SS George W. Elder in Wikipedia.
This book, and all its parts, are a good read.
~ 2017-03-23 ~
The Glorious Adventure
by Halliburton, Richard (1900-1939)
pub. by Bobbs Merril Co. Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, 1927 isbn none - - Maps. on end papers - - black and white photos - - 354 p. total
In this book Richard Halliburton wakes up one day and realizes there is not enough adventure in his life. He finds a friend to travel with him and goes to Greece to follow the route that Ulysses traveled in the Odyssey of Homer.
During this series of adventures Halliburton swims across the Hellespont. This is the body of water which separates Asiatic Turkey from the European part of the world. It is a rapidly moving wide stream which connects the Black Sea with the Mediterranean. The lake-ish Sea of Marma is in the middle of this waterway. The Hellespont is to be the part between the Mediterranean and the Sea of Marma.
First Halliburton travels to Greece and with his friend Roderick and a local shepard climb Mt. Olympus. They spent a miserable night while a storm passed.
He spendt the night in the Parthenon after sneaking in past guards after dark. During this added dialogue with one of the maiden statues. He sort-of ran the marathon over the original route. (What that had to do with Ulysses is beyond comprehension.)
Then Halliburton got down to the true business of following the trail of Ulysses. He followed the example of Lord Byron and swam the Hellespont. Then after crossing into modern Turkey arrived at Troy and ran 3 times around the mound which is the remanent of Troy following Alxander the Greats example. From there he went to N. Africa visiting Lotus land. Roderick had to go home and Richard met an Alpine ski instructor during his summer wanderings, who became his companion for the N. African venture and visit to the Island of Scicily, finding Cyclops cave and including climbing a very active Stromboli, the local volcano. The Ski instructor had to leave and for the next part in Italy he met up with a wealthy young woman who he called Jimmy (traveling in her Rolls Royce) who climbed another volcano, Mt. Vesuvius. Then rowed past the island of Li galli where Ulysses encountered Sirens (and Richard did not) followed by a trip to Capri and a visit to the fameous grotto. Later he found that swimming between Messina (whirlpool Scylla - Charybdis) and the strait between the Italian coast and the island of Sicily was not worth it. He boated across and due to a misunderstanding with the boatmen spent a night in jail in Italy.
He, Jimmy, her friend Min and a guide climbed Mt. Aetna. It was winter and very cold. After that adventure Jimmy revealed that she had to leave to meet her husband (never before mentioned). Ulysses crew ate come of cattle owned by the Sun god and managed to lose the rest of his crew. Ulysses was delayed for some years by Calypso. Halliburton, in Valetta, on the island of Malta met Fifi, and older (65 yr old) actress who assisted his re-creating the Calypso part of Ulysses travel. She also followed along to Corfu after which her husband, George, summoned her to return to Italy.
Halliburton hurridly finishes his Odyssey ending, as it should in Ithica and retelling Ulysses reunion with Penelope.
This a rollicking tale by a young man who did his best, with distractions, to re-trace the Homeric story, the Odyssey. Despite what one might read into the last third of the adventure it was not rakes progress and all-in-all it did expose one to the story.
It is a fun read.
~ 2017-03-06 ~
Note on Richard Halliburton - He was born in 1900 and disappered and was presumed dead in 1939.
He graduated from Princeton University in 1921. He adventured and wrote about his adventures.
His last was an attempt to sail from China to San Francisco, California, USA aboard a poorly contructed Chinese unk.
It went missing during a storm in 1939, in a part of the Pacific very roughly near where Amelia Erhart went missing.
Following the Equator - a journey around the world v.2
by Twain, Mark
pub. by Harper and Brothers, NY 1899 - - volume VI (6) of the Author's National Edition - The writings of Mark Twain (series) - - isbn (none) - - - - black and white frontspiece - The Mates shadow froze to the deck photos - - 362 p. total
Samuel Clemens ( Mark Twain ) is writing about his trip around the world in this 2 volume work. This is a description of volume 2.
This book was written during his lecture tour trip around the world to make money to repay his creditors. Twain traveled with his family. It started in New York in 1985. The second volume begins 23 December 1895 with his leaving Sydney, Australia and steaming to Ceylon aboard the Oceania described as a comfortable ship. In Ceylon he remarked on how beautiful the locals were, and how beautifully they wore their colorful clothes.
His next port of call was in Bombay, India. He took on the necessary man-servant, a bearer, who he kept for most of his Indian visit. As his name was un-pronouncable Twain renamed him Satan, which served both quite well. In Bombay Twain met a living deity, who he unexpectedly found charming. He also described a Zorasteran funeral and other things among them some discussion of the Thugee cult whose members murdered for money and were the scourge of much of India.
From there he proceeded to Allabad, India by train, describing the travel in detail. Then to Benares and description of the religious activities there.
Next he traveled to the capitol, Calcutta. It was HOT. He took the train to Darjeeling at an altitude where it was much less hot. Part of the way back involved a free run down the steep railroad tracks as fast as they could freely run. Dangerous but fun.
There were several chapters describing the great Mutiny and the killing of many Englishmen. Some of this in great detail. Some descriptions of Delhi. He also visited the Taj Majal. He explained how the Sutee worked (wives hurling themselves on the funeral pyres of their husbands, and who it seemed to do it as a duty without reservation, or complaint. ) The family sailed from Calcutta toward the end of March stopped a day at Madras, 2 or 3 days in Ceylon and went on to Mauritious.
Mauritious Island, which was traded back and forth between Britain and France. He arrived in Port Louis. The then current governament and culture was strongly French.
The next stop was in Durban, South Africa. Here Twain tried to make sense out of the recent hostilities between the British settlers and the Boers. On the whole his reportage was very interesting to me. It was very much different from what I had read from biograhies of Baden-Powell who had participated in that war. It is interesting what over 100 years of history how the understanding of events changes. Twain describes the Kimberly diamond mines as I have never read of before, and how the DeBeers company came to own them.
There was a short bit at the end of the S. Africa bit about a medical person who rose to prominence as Dr. Barrie, who upon death was discovered to be a woman.
They sailed on 15 July aboard the steamer Norman. They made a short stop at the Madeira Is and arrive in Southhampton, England ending the circumnavigaion.
These short stories of his travels are classic Mark Twain in his glory. It is a beautiful read for any one who appreciates the truly American literary art. - Please read this book.
~ 2017-02-26 ~
Following the Equator- a journey around the world v.1
by Twain, Mark
pub. by Harper and Brothers, NY 1899 - - volume V (5) of the Author's National Edition - The writings of Mark Twain (series) - - isbn (none) - - - - black and white frontspiece - Protecting the women - a bouy rescue from a ship photos - - 317 p. total
Samuel Clemens ( Mark Twain ) is writing about his trip around the world in this 2 volume work. This is a description of volume 1.
This was written during his lecture tour trip around the world to make money to repay his creditors. It started in New York in 1985 and he traveled across USA and to British Columbia, Canada. From there he boarded a ship and sailed for Hawaii. There was a cholera epidemic in Hawaii and none of the passengers who were continuing on across the Pacific were allowed ashore. His next stop was in Fiji from there to Australia where he stayed for some time and traveled about by railroad. He wrote a number of stories about various places in Australia, a few humerous and others describing the places in his travels. He discovered that someone had declared that he had died there some time earlier. In the middle of his Australian sojurn he discovered the story of how that happened.
He described Tasmania and the horrors of the past penal colony there and was sensitive to the natives who were effectively exterminated.
He sailed to New Zealand and generally reported favorably about the beauty of the country as well as the fact that the women could vote there, both the English heritage folks as well as the native Maori. He also was impressed that the Maori were guaranteed positions in their parliament.
These short stories of his travels are classic Mark Twain in his glory. It is a beautiful read for any one who appreciates the truly American literary art.
~ 2017-02-09 ~
The Way of Herodotus - travels with the man who invented history
by Marozzi, Justin
pub. by Da Capo Press, Perseus Books Group NY. 2008 isbn 978-0-306-81621-5 - - Maps p. xvi-xvii - - black and white photos between p. 174 and 175 - - Bibliography p. 327-333 - - Index p. 335-348 - - 348 p. total
The author travels to many of the places mentioned in the Histories by Herodotus.
He starts out describing current and historical views on Herodotus, most not complimentary. Then travels to modern places which were were described in antquity. First Turkey Halicarnassus, now called Bodrum (where the Inst. of Nautical Archeology has its Turkish headquarters.)
Then off to Iraq and Babylon in the midst of the occupation after the war. (In 2004)
Third to Egypt where Marozzi had a number of enlightening contacts. He got a snapshot of Egypt just before the Arab Spring difficulties. As did Herodotus he had conversations with the mdern equivalent of the priestky leadership, including a short interview with the Grand Mufti. Both Herodotus and Marozzi visited Siwa in the desert west of thr Nile. It was a place differedt from Egyption society in both Herodotus and Marozzis time. Egypt was Persian administered when Herodotus visited.
Fourth he traveled to Greece. Athens and an internaqtional conference (Greece and Turkey) was included Then Greece in general, followed by northeastern (Thessaloniki) where Greek beets Turk and cohabits with some difficulty and the long Ottoman occupation is specially remembered. A visit to Cyprus also illustrates current Greek/Turkish tensions. There is the haiographic visit to the home of Sir Patric Leigh Fermor, WWII hero and writer.
Lastly Marozzi visited the island of Samos, the most eastern place which is a part of Greece, and is only 11 miles from the Turkish coast. He investigates a long tunnel there - the tunnel of Eupalinos which was built under the reign of tyrent Polycrates to bring water to town to insure it could not be starved out. Marozzi also had a meeting with the local leader of the Greek Orthodox Church which included an ordination.
It is a fun read which says something about Herodotus and his times, also a lot about current conditions (in 2007), which is what Herodotus did for the area during his times.
~ 2017-01-25 ~
An Evolution of Singlehanders
by Clarke, D.H.
pub. by David McKay Co Ltd, NY. 1976 isbn 0-67950706-x - - LCCN 76-40513 - - black and white photos between p. 97 and 97 - - Bibliography p. 157-159 - - Appendices (10 of them) p.160-206 - - - - 206 p. total
Chapter 1 - The Early Voyagers -
Chapter 2 - Introduction to Sponsorship -
Chapter 3 - Jachts, Fore-and-afters and Open Boats -
Chapter 4 - The first solo-cruising yachtsmen -
Chapter 5 - The Sinlehanded trans Atlantic Racers -
Chapter 6 - Early and Solo Women Voyagers -
Chapter 7 - The Singlehanded Circumnavigators -
Chapter 8 - The Cape Horners -
Chapter 9 - Other Record-breakers -
Chapter 10 - The Last Freedom
~ 2017-01-08 ~
Journey with Caravel - we ran away to sea
by Carlisle, Fred
pub. by Clarke,Irwin and Co., Canada. 1971 isbn 0-7720-0505-2 - - Maps. Atlantic and regional - - black and white photos between p. 66 and 67 - - Appendix Celestial Navigtion - the Easy Way p. 212-225 - - Glossary p. 226-241 - - 241 p. total
Fred Carlisle had what some would call a mid-life crisis - or re-examination - of how his life was being lived. At age 55 he was a successful insurance salesman in Toronto, Canada. He wanted some adventure in his life, sailing adventure. His wife humored him. They built a A. Piver designed trimaran, (a PI-40) 40 ft long overal beam 22 ft. 6 inches with a mast which stood 51 ft. above waterline. They named the trimaran Caravel II. At first they used an outboard motor for an auxiliary but later fitted a small diesel. They sold most of their worldly goods and rented out their house, and left Toronto on November 4. Fred, his wife and two young daughters. They sailed across Lake Erie and entered the Erie Canal at at Oswego,NY (took down the mast) and used the canal to get to New York City. There they re-steped the mast and sailed down the coast, mostly in the Intercoastal waterway to Florida. They stayed in a slip, girls enrolled in school for some time. Installed a more reliable diesel auxiliary and sailed to the Bahamas. There they had an adventure in bad weather. Fred seriously injured his hand. (Do not get tangled up in the anchor line when a ton of pressure is on it.) Injury was attended to in a Florida hospital - helicopter flight included, and after a stay in the Bahamas they headed to Bermuda. From there they navigated across the Atlantic past the Echo mid Atlantic weather ship (US vessel) and on to the Azores. From there sailed to England where he visited relatives and the girls were enrolled in school for some months.
The original plan included sailing the North Sea and perhaps the Baltic. That was scrapped due to a careful examination of the weather they would probably encounter. They sailed to Gibralter. Again they stayed some time. The girls were semi-enrolled in school there. Again the original plan was to cruise the Mediterranean. After a taste of the unpredictable and wild weather that the Med kicks up they decided to head back across the Atlantic.
From Gibraltar they sailed to Mdiq, Morocco, Ceuta and Tangier in N. Africa then to Agadir on the Atlantic coast. From there they sailed to the Canary Islands. Here they met up with 2 other crews on boats who wanted to cross the Atlantic. They decided to sail in compamy as much as possible, as each crew was strong in some aspect and weak in others. (Do remember this whole voyage was sailed long before GPS was invented and navigation was much more an art than a science.) The sailing in company was marginally successful and was hampered in that they did not all have readios which could talk with one another. All of the boats eventually arrived in Barbados intact.
From there Fred and family sailed along the islands back to Florida and eventually back to Toronto, in early September 1970 after 5 years aboard. The girls were home in Canada for their High School years.
This is a good tale which fairly well explains how they did their adventure, and how a reasonable person could also do so. The authur declares he is not an expert, but he does have real-world practical experience. Honestly put forth - an asset to anyone with the idea to pack up and adopt the sailing life... with family.
The appenix on celestial navigation was probably a lot more useful before the development of inexpensive and dependable GPS navigation. Nontheless it is a good skill to have... just in case... also to wow your friends.
This is a good, fun read. Not at all pompous. Might even be useful.
~ 2016-12-26 ~
Sextant - a young mans daring sea voyage and the men who mapped the worlds oceans
by Barre, David
pub. by William Morrow - Harper Collins, NY. 1983 isbn 978-0062279347 - - Maps. Atlantic and Pacific - - some diagrams - - black and white photos between p. 232 and 233 - - Notes p. 293-308 - - Glossary p. 309-312 Bibliography p. 313-317- - Illustrations credits p. 319-320 - - Index p. 321-340 - - 340 p. total
Barre wrote this book as the story of his sailing trans-Atlantic as a young man on a family friends 35 ft. sloop Saecwewn. The story is begun straightforwardly with his flying from his home in England to Falmouth, Maine, USA and with the owner Colin MMcMullen (retired from the Royal Navy) and a Colins cousin Alexa.
They sailed to Halifax, Nova Scotia and began the trans-Atlantic trip from there. The first few days were foggy. They began using celestial navigation on the third day, which is about the time they crossed from the Labrador current to the Gulf Stream. The first sights were translated to navigation by the Zenith distance method (Meridian Altitude.) The next chapter covered the origins of the Sextant including precursor instruments.
Chapter 4 begins the cycle in the book where it begins with a few paragraphs describing navigation and conditions of the Atlantic drossing, followed by the body of the chapter about a major feat of navigation and/or exploration. In this chapter Barre explores Blighs boat journey after the mutiny on the Bounty.
Chapter 5 had several pages on their condition and Ansons squadron circumnavigation in 1740.
Chapters 6 and 7 share information on the Marine Chronometer and Celestial timekeeping.
Chapter 8 is about Captain Cook mostly in the Pacific for the English.
Chapter 9 is about Bouganville charting the Pacific for the French.
Chapter 9 is about the sail by La Perouse in the La Boussole and the Astrolabe . The expedition left France in 1785 and sailed the Pacific including North around from West to East including Alaska, then across the middle of the Pacific to the Mariana Islands which were reached December 1786. In January 1788 sailed to Botany Bay.He met with a British ship and sent a batch of papers home on that vessel. Then headed off to determine the exact location of the SOlomon Islands.... and disappeared forever.
Chapter 11 - George Vancouver mapped around the island which is named for him in the Pacific coast of Canada, as well as Hawaii.
Chapter 12 Matthew Flinders maps coastal Australia.
Chapter 13 Flinders is imprisoned by the French on Mauritius Island in the Indian Ocean.
Chapter 14 The Beagle under Stokes and later FitzRoy surveys the southern part of S. America
Chapter 15 Joshua Slocum sails the Spray around the world. Longitude by Lunars only. The Sumner Line is discovered in 1837 by Capt. Thomas Sumner and a new type of celestial navigation is perfected by Marcq St. Hilaire. The method was published in 1875. This is the style of celestial navigation that is most often practiced today.
chapter 16 Ernest Shackleton and Capt Frank Worsley sail from Elephant Island (SE of the southern tip of S. America near Antarctica) to South Georgia Island in a very small boat through incredibly dangerous seas to rescue his expedition. - Some discussion of Polynesian navigation.
Chapter 18 Landfall of Saecwen in Falmouth, England. - A much later trip from England to the Azores.
Epilogue - Electronic navigation - GPS USA - GLOONASS Russia - TRANSIT (early version of GPS) - LORAN - ECDIS (electronic chart display) - A warning not to totally depend on electronic navigation as it risks humans becomming less situationally aware.
This readers note -
The Sextant is a very fine instrument for measuring angles. With exception of measuring the altitude of the star Polaris (North Star), it is of limited use unless one also has tables showing the positions of the sun, stars, planets and/or moon for the comparisions needed to do actual position finding.
~ 2016-12-21 ~
Close Hauled - being the adventures of the author ...
by Coles, K. Adlard
pub. by Seeley, Service and co. Ltd. London. 1926 isbn (none) - - Two Map p.14-15 smaller detail maps in text - - Index p. 187-188 - Appendix describing the boat and trip p. 183 - 185 - 188 p. total
K. Adlard Coles wrote this book fairly early in his life. He later became a major small boat sailing author and publisher.
Coles purchased the Racundra which Arthur Ransome had built in the Baltic (Latvia). He purchased it unseen and with his quite willing wife took a steamer from England to Riga, Latvia. There he met with Captain Sehmel, friend of Ransome and keeper of the boat. Sehmel was an elderly but active sailor and ships officer from the days of large merchant square rig sail. He gave every assistance to get the boat (renamed Annette II) ready for sea. He assisted in every way as the boat was laid up in a shed near the yacht club.
Throughout the whole book the Coles has the very evident attitude of a British person who makes little effort to learn the language of other places and relies on finding others to translate for him. When there is nobody available to translate he is troubled. He has short patience with what he sees as inefficiencies or deficiencies by other cultures - non-English cultures.
I recommend this book as a good read for those intersted in small boat sailing in foreign waters in the mid 1920s.
~ 2016-11-25 ~
The Snow Leopard
by Matthiessen, Peter
pub. by Bantam, NY. 1979 (the edition I had in hand was the 1981 Bantam Windstone edition - - (The book was originally published by Viking-Penguin in Aug. 1978) Bantam ed. isbn 0-553-20651-6 - - Two Maps at the begining of the book - - Acknowledgments p. 333 - 334 - - Notes p. 335 - 341 - - Index p. 343-350 - - 350 p. total
This is the story of an expedition in late 1973 into western Nepal led by George Schaller and Peter Matthiessen. Schaller is described as the best field zooligist of the time. He was studying the Blue Sheep (locally called bharal) of that area which exhibited traits of both the genus of sheep (Ovis) as well as the genus of goats (Capra). In essence he was attempting to determine if the Blue Sheep were predominently one or the other (or perhaps some sort of link in evolution.)
Matthiessen was invited along. He was looking for the very rare and illusive Snow Leopard.
The book is divided into a Prologue, then sections Westward p.7 Sept 28 - P.69 Oct 9 - - Northward p.71 Oct 10 - p.185 Oct 31 At Chrystal Mountain in the region of Dolpo p.191 Nov 1- p.266 Nov 17 The Way Home p.267 Nov 18 - p.332 Dec. 1 - Acknnowledgements.
Matthiessen gives his book a prologue and a few pages at the end which gives a satisfying end.
Most of the book reads like a travel diary. Each day has its own section of a few pages. Most days describe the events of the day and often reflections on other thoughts which may or may not be directly related to the expedition. this expedition is just a few months after the death of his wife (cancer with some lengthy hospital time). Every now and then psychological trauma from that enters the narrative. He also goes into lengthy explainations about his Buddhism and the religious experience(s) along the way. He also describes their findings with the Blue Sheep and Snow Leopard.
All in all, a very intersting book. As late 2016 George Schaller is still alive and working with in zoology.
Peter Matthiessen died in April 5, 2014. - - I highly recommend reading the wikipedia article on him.
I recommend this book as a good read.
~ 2016-11-20 ~
Old Peters Russian Tales
by Ransome, Arthur
pub. by Jonathan Cape Ltd, London, UK, 1984 (first edition in 1916) isbn 0-224-029592 -- Contents. p.vii - - Note (1915) p. viv - - Note to 1938 ed. p. v - - this edition is illustrated with black and white line drawings by Faith Jacques - - 243 p. - - total - - (an earlier edition produced by Thomas Nelson and Sons - NY. Edinburgh, London...printed in USA probably during WWII 1943 perhaps) is illustrated by Dimitri Mikrokhin it has 334 p.) in both editions the illustrations are small and serve the stories well.
This is a collection of delightful folk tales collected by Arthur Ransome when he was in Russia in 1914. He traveled to Russia to escape a disasterous marriage and for the express purpose to learn Russian, collect Russian folk tales, translate them to English and publish them. In that he succeded.
He arrived shortly before the Russian Revolution and stayed there through it and on through most of WWI. He also served as a correspondent for the Englisn Daily News and the Manchester Guardian as he was a reliable man living there who had good connections.
There are 20 independent folk tales and a final story of The Christening in the Village which along with the narrative includes 2 smaller folk tales.
Included in the main body are Frost - The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship - one of the Baba Yaga (witch) tales - The little daughter of the Snow - The Golden Fish - among others. Each is introduced by the grandfather who has his 2 grand children (orphans), a dog and a cat living with him. They live in a hut some distance from the local village, and are comfortable living there. Some conversation introduces the folk tale he tells. There is often some discussion about it.
These tales reinforce virtues of courage, kindleness and cleaverness. They also punish the mean spirited and evil. Help often comes from unexpected elements. They are plain and delightful. Both of the copies I own are ex-public Library. I do hope they were replaced, but doubt it. As literature they are timeless. - This book is also useful in understanding live in Russia before the Revolution.
Highly recommended for a fun read.
~ 2016-11-02 ~
Francis Bacon - the temper of a man
by Bowen, Catherine Drinker
pub. by Atlantic Monthly press (Little, Brown and Co.), Boston. 1963 LCCN 63-8960 - black and white illustrations between p. 118 and 119 - Authors Note p. 235-236 includes acknowledgements - Index p. 237-245 - this was a Book-of-the-Month Club edition -
This is a very straight forward and detailed biography of Sir Francis Bacon who at the height of his career was made Chancellor of England under King James I, and continued under Charles I. Bacon was born 22 Jamuary \1561, in the 3rd year of the reigh of Elizabeth I. He lived through the reign of James I (the King of England who was also King of Scotland) and into the first year of the reign of Charles I. He died on Easter day (9 April) 1626. He lived through some very interesting years of English history.
Francis Bacons father was the Chancelor of Engnland. Francis grew up in a priveledged family and lacked for nothing until the death of his father. After that, due to the conditions of his fathers will, he lived in much reduced conditions. He traveled to France for a while, experiencing the continental way of life, then returned for the rest of his life to England. His brother was much more cosmopolitan and lived in France, in service to the English government for some years.
Francis advanced slowly. The way of advancement was to be in service to a great personage and have that person recommend one to the King for greater positions. Francis served Robert Devereaux, Earl of Essex for some years, but Essex ran afoul of the crown and in the long run was of little help. In many ways Francis Bacon was held in lower positions because others were successful occupying the positions he wanted. He was a member of parliament for many years and his speeches caused him to be noticed. He also wrote speeches for several of the people he served. He was a lawyer and interpreted law brilliently. His chief rival was Lord Edward Coke, a judge. Coke ran afoul of popular opinion and Bacon helped to depose him. Later Bacon was appointed to the position Coke had.
Early in his adult life Francis Bacon espoused creating a university which would teach and explore the world as it was, rather than studying the classical scholars. He believed that one ought to study nature as it was and by experiment rather than the opinions of the classical scholars. In this he was some 100 years before his time.
This book is an excellent read for the understanding of the Elizabethan era and what followed through the beginning of the reign of Charles I of England.
~ 2016-10-24 ~
A Voyage Long and Strange - on the trail of Vikings Conquistadors Lost Colonists and other
adventurers in early America
by Horwitz, Tony
pub. by Picador (Henry Holt and Co.), NY. 2008 ISBN 978-312-428327 - black and white illustratinos and 15 maps in text as needed - Note on Sources p.391-408 - Bibliography p. 409- 420 - Acknowledgments p. 421-422 - Illustration credits p. 423-425 - index p.427-445 -
Horwitz writes in a breezy style. He travels along many of the voyages described probing for traces of the original travels, with very mixed results. He has done his homework and his Noted on Sources alone is a good read. The Bibliography is impressive, but not exhaustive. It is good to see the text accompanied with decent maps.
Part I - Discovery
1. Vinland and First Contact
2. 1492 - the hidden half of the globe
3. Santo Domingo - the Columbus jinx
4. Dominican Republic - You think there are still Indians
Part II - Conquest
5. The Gulf Coast - Naked in the New World
6. The Southwest - to the Seven Cities of Stone
7.The Plains - Sea of Grass
8. The South - DeSoto does Dixie
9. The Mississippi - Conquestadors last stand
Part III - Settlement
10. Florida - fountain of Youth, River of Blood
11. Roanoke - Lost in the Lost Colony
12. Jamestown the Captain and the Naturals
13. Plymouth a Tale of two Rocks
Note on Sources
~ 2016-10-12 ~
Secret of the Hittites - the discovery of an Ancient Empire
by Ceram, C.W.
pub. by Alfred A. Knopf, NY. 1966 LCCN 53-9457 - illustrated with black and white plates. p.v-xxi -- 281 pages plus index at back pages i - x.(Roman numerals)
The author writes under C.W. Ceram, a pseudonym for Kurt Wilhelm Marek. Due to an unfortunate bit of writing he did during WWII he chose to distance himself from that past.
This book covers the modern history of the discovery of the Hittite civilization and the eventual
discovery that there was a Hittite Empire. There was some scant mention of them in the Bible, and some
mention by the Egyptians, but little which would lead any modern person to the conclusion that they
were an empire. Egyptians, Assyrians, Sumarians were known.
Just before 1900 (AD) some archeologists stumbled across ruins in Turkey which did not belong to any of the other major civilizations.
The parts on the decipherment of dead languages (pre computer) is very interesting.
This is a very readable and intersting book. I recommend it to anyone interested in early archeology or the advancment of knowledge of ancient civilizations.
ix.- xii. Contents
xiii.- xiv. list of plates
xvii.- xxi line drawings in the text
I. The Enigma of their Existance
2. Note on quotations
3. Discovery and Wild Surmise
22. Bible and new research
46. Winckler digs in Boghazkoy
II. the RIDDLE of the SCRIPTS
71. On the Art of Deciphering
87. Did the Hittites speak Hittite
96. Nothing can be deciphered out of nothing
III.The Secret of their power
119. Kings of Hattusas
132. Science of Historical Dating
153. Battle of Kadesh (Hittite vs. Egypt)
200. City and Land - people and customs
IV. The Mystery of their Survival
219. Finds on teh Black Mountain (Turkey)
241. Astawandas Speaks
253. The Future
257. Chronological Table
~ 2016-09-05 ~
A Life Full of Hobbies
by Blandford, Pearcy W.
pub. by Live Wire Books. Oxfordshire, UK, 2015 isbn 978-0-9553124-9-6 -- Contents. p.5 - - Dedication. p.6 - - Forward. p.7 - - Introduction p.9 - - 312 p. total
This is an autobiography of Perrcy W. Blandford. It is organized more thematically than chronologically.
Blandford lived to be 101 years old. He was involved with Boy Scouting longer than any other person in English history.
He wrote manuals for military aircraft during WWII.
He trained to be a teacher, manual arts, but after a few years realized he could make a better living writing DIY (do it yourself) articles and books than he could by being a teacher. He wrote over 3000 articles for a wide variety of magazines and was author of several hundred books.
He was heavily involved in designing canoes and small boats. Some of his designs are still available through an American plans dealer Clark Craft. He traveled widely - From England to India via bus then on to Australia where he bought a car for the duration of his trip. He had done the same for travel in USA and Canada.
He had one son who married and had two grand-daughters.
His life was a life well lived.
All in all a very satisfying auto biography - written late in his life, and brought to publication by one of his grand daughters.
~ 2016-08-13 ~
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
The Invention of Cuneiform - Writing in Sumer
by Glassner, Jean-Jacques - - - translated and edited by Zainab Bahrani - and - Marc van de Mieroop
pub. by Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, Baltimore, 2003 isbn 978-0-801887574 - - Contents p. ix - x - - Translators Preface p xi - xvii - Translators notes p. xvii - - Introduction p. 1 - 8 - - Abbreviations p. 229-230 - - Notes p. 231-257 - - Index p. 259-266 - - 266 p. Total
This book is about more than the invention of Cuneiform, it is largely involved with the invention of
written language. When and how did human beings begin to express language in written form.
That is written language not just pictures of words, but expressing the sounds that make up our
verbal communication. This invention allows us humans to express in writing anything that we can
express in our spoken language.
Prepare to read this book by having a good dictionary at hand. Many terms used are not parts of day-to-day conversation, and even rarely used in scholarly reading... unless you are a linguist.
The author explores how writing was invented by exploring various ideas proposed in the past and showing how they are unlikely the way writing was invented. He furthers the idea tha instead of the invention of writing (puting verbal language into a scheme of symbols) being a gradual process that it was a thoughtful and comparatively rapid process driven by a group who worked at it.
This note from the translators is an important read for understanding the authors work.
They note that author takes a radically different approach to the invention of writing.
Instead of evolutionary models he puts forth revolutionary models with occasional rapid change.
There were those ideas that writing was revealed to Adam by an angel.
The cuneiform system of triangular marks was used by a variety of different languages.
Other early writing, but later than Mesopotamian include
- Olmec in the first half of the 2nd millenium BC - Zapotecs around 600 BC
- Mayans 3rd century AD - China second half of the 2nd millinium BC - Egypt second half of 4th millinium BC.
Sumerian Account of the Invention of Writing
In the Sumerian story City, fierce bull or Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta it esentially says
If spoken language is the gift of the gods, writing is a human creation.
Time and Place of the Invention
Clay tablets from the Uruk culture (lower Euphrates river, just upstream from the Persian Gulf) show writing.
Within this cultural period Writing may have begun 3400 BC .
Recived Ideas - Pictorgraphic Origins of Cunieform Writing
Early archeologists considered writing growing out of pictograms.
since the 1960s the theory that pictography evolved into a phonological system was widely criticized.
Received Ideas - The origins of Cuneiform Writing as an Accounting Device
The thesis of Denise Schmandt-Besserat postulated that cuneiform was born as a system of calculation
and originated from accounting practice that was quite old.
Glassner challenges that theory by showing a number of weaknesses in the argument.
Pictography or Writing - Oral Culture or Literate Culture
Pictography in such cultures of American plains indians may tell a story
but it can only give an idea of what transpired in and must be interpreted.
Examples of Cuna (in Panama) pictography as being well developed.
The Earliest Sumerian Writing - the Word and the Specialist, the Tablet and the Stylus
Writing was the result of a conscious process,of deliberate effort by man
to ceate a new mode of communication. It is derived from an act of the will.
That was already the thesis of the ancient Sumerians themselves,
who saw in it a deliberate procedure of the mind.
Marcel Cohen is one of the few modern historians of writing who have used the term invention in its original sense.
Writing instruments are discussed. Most of the time the reed stylus was used on wet clay. Different tips were used.
The Earliest Sumerian Writing - The System of Signs
Adam Falkenstein ideas in 1934. - - sample below - -
1. A graphic sign reproduced the object to which it refers.
2. The sign does not only signify the object it represents but
also terms and notations that are conceptually associated with it.
3. The combination of several signs permits the extnsion of the range of words indicated with writing and
consequently the extension of the area of application of writing.
4. A single sign can indicate several homophonous words.
5. A sign that takes a phonetic value can indicate purely gramatical morphemes.
6. The use of a semantic determinative allows the reader to chose
between a plurality of values of the same sign and to select the correct reading.
- - - -
Several symbols can be written together to achieve a different meaning.
Drawing or Writing
.... writing did not appear out of nothing but ... is based on the visible signs that exist in every society....
The First Social User of Writing
Writing was not just for the government and the temple
Private documents were found in individual houses
Archives were found in institutions.
There were scholarly writings from Uruk III period on through Uruk IV.
The Triumph of Writing
Writing to link Kings with gods. Gilgamesh is related to the gods.
The kings themselves wrote, as well as scribes in scriptoria.
A Written Language - (quote from the text)
With written language, in distinction to the spoken one, a graphic field appears by necessity,
which guarantees the complementarity between two syntagmatic orders - that of the combination of sign and the writing surface.
These are independent from syntax, as a sentene defines itself on the level of language, not writing.
Whatever way a sentence is written down,. its meaning cannont be changed.
The earliest texts have 3 characteristics -
1. They are written in a nuclear script. That is the verbal roots, nouns and adjactives that are indispensible for comptehension.
2. There is total disorder in the arrangement of the signs.
3. There is frequent use of abbreviation.
This is a complex read - where I understood it - it was fasinating.
As one would expedt in a writing by and for experts in the field, it is well documented.
~ 2016-07-27 ~
Library an unquiet history
by Battles, Michael
pub. by W.W. Norton, NY. 2003 isbn 0 393 020290 - - Acknowledgments p. ix-x - - Notes on Sources p. 215-227 - - Index p. 229-245 - - 245 p. total
This book was a a much better read than Battles later book Palimpsest. He is on much more familiar ground as he is a librarian in one of the great libraries of the world at Harvard Universithy.
Reading the Library
Much about the universal library, a library containing books on a wide vareity of subjects.
A little on organizing and cataloging in America.
Emphasis on the Widner library where the author works.
Interesting details on the great library of Alexandria and how/when it was destroyed,
or partially stolen away. Also about Chinese libraries and their distruction.
Some on distruction of Aztec libraries in the New World.
Finally Roman libraries and how they were mostly personal and often had books translated from Greek to Latin storing them in separate rooms.
Roman libraries - Palatine and Octavian destroyed and rebuilt.
From the scroll to the codex in the Christian era. Easier to read and store.
Techniques invented to read the charred remains of books.
The House of Wisdom
The wax tablet (wax in a carved out board) and those boards fastened together developed into the codex.
English word book comes from Anglo Saxon word for beech (boc) the favored material for those wooden panels with wax in indentations.
Cassiodorus library vivarium.
Rise of Islamic libraries - 1004 AD House of Wisdom diminished later as the society became more conservative.
The great Medici library Florence in 1444 AD
Sorbonne library first general catalog written in 1290 AD
Vatican library organized - a catalog produced 1475 AD
The Battle of the Books
As the numbers of books produced rapidly expanded the library became a battleground for contesting idealogies.
Francis Bacon (English) All human knowledge is either Memory. Wisdom. or Imagination.
The origins of the British Library - W Temple vs J Swift the battle of the books old vs. new
Books for All
Books published for every tast and need.
Melville Dewey and efficiency - his cataloging scheme.
The library in service to the masses.
Knowledge on Fire
Twentieth Century library destruction - 1914 Louvain destruction and again in 1940 - Nazi book burning 1933 etc.
Libraries in the ghetto in Poland.
Library access limitations to colored people in the American south.
Library destruction in Sarajevo (Vijecnica) by Serbians
Lost in the Stacks
The rescue of books from the Jewish Geniza in Cairo, Egypt.
The American public library movement and new formats including digital.
~ 2016-07-03 ~
Palimpsest a history of the written word
by Battles, Michael
pub. by W.w. Norton, NY. 2015 isbn 978-0 393 05885 7 - - Forward Mind as Page p. 1-4 - - Notes on Sources p. 227-238 - - Illustration credits p. 239-240 , Index p. 241-262 - - 262 p. total
This book was a difficult read. The author seemed to wander about in his mind for the first few chapters.
In Origins and Nature he revealed that the reed (which was the instrument of writing was the beginning of
writing, even on clay and the Egyptian god Thoth, an ibis whose footprints on wet clay wrote thoughts. It was not what I expected. Things settled down in the Pictures and things chapter when he discussed Chinese and cuneiform writing.
The Logos ex machina chapter has some interesting items on computer code and also some detail on how ASCII was created and Unicode fonts including for cuneiform.
Books in running Brooks
Origins and nature
Picures and things
Writing and power
Logos ex machina
Afterword - Page as mind
On the whole I got some interesting information, but probably would have found the same information more directly elsewhere.
~ 2016-06-22 ~
Unknown Shore - the Lost History of Englands Arctic Colony
by Ruby, Robert
pub. by Henry Holt, NY 2001 isbn 0-8050-5215-1 - , 300 p. total - - Notes p. 261-282 - - Bibliogrraphy p. 283-290 - - Acknowledgements p. 291-292 - - index p. 293-300. -
This is the history of Martin Frobisher and his attempts to find the Northwest Passage (not mentioned as such in the book) - the way to Cathay (China) and the riches of the east by way of sailing West past Frisland (probably Greenland) and north of the North American continent. This effort was side tracked by the discovery of what they thought was gold.
Frobishers first voyage was frustrated by ice. On Baffin Island or a small outlaying island One of the crew picked up a black rock. This is generally between Greenland and Husdons Bay. Some time after they returned home the rock was assayed for mineral content. Depending on who did the assay some found a bit of gold, others nothing. The optimists financed a second voyage, which did not go well. A third voyage was financed with a number of boats, miners, and other tradesmen to built a fort and some dwellings. That flotilla was scattered by bad weather. Most of them did come together and although many of the parts for the buildings were lost, a building was built on Countess of Warwick Island (Kodlunarn Island) and the remaining ships were loaded with the black rock -ore-. Upon leaving a storm scattered the fleet. Most of the ships made it home to England. Later assays proved that the black rocks had no gold. Fortunes of the investors were lost. Queen Elizabeth herself lost some. The assetts of the Cathay Company were liquidated and some of the suppliers got some of their money.
Woven into the story is the story of Charles F. Hall of Cincinnati, Ohio. The English Franklin Expedition
which departed England in 1845 had vanished in the Arctic somewhere north of Canada. Rescue expeditions found nothing. Charles Hall thought that some may be still alive, assisted by the Eskimo. He stumped about and got enough funding for a very bare bones expedition - mostly himself - with transport on a Whaling ship. He left in May 1860 and spent the better part of 2 years in the arctic. He befriended some eskimo and lived with them. He did what can only be described as quite good scientific anthropological work. He recorded
stories of white men in sailing vessels from a long time ago, and linked those stories to Frobisher. He did
discover the site of the site of the Frobisher building (constructed some 300 years previously) and brought home things from that site. He also brought an eskimo family he had befriended.
Hall did a round of public speaking and fund raising. His Eskimo friends were used as exhibits. (This all during the US Civil War.) He managed another and larger expedition seeking any survivors of the Franklin Expedition. He found tales of their starvaton and death.
The book returns to information on Frobisher. It discusses more modern archeological work on Countess of Warwick Island. There is a fair amoung of discussion of the financial mess left behind. There are ample documents extant which illustrate the problems.
It ends with a - rest of the story - part describing the remaining lives of the major players.
Throughout the book John Dee is given a fair amount of discussion. It is much more straght forward and clear than some books which are biographies of Dee.
This is a well thought out book. It presents the story on several levels. It fairly accurately portrays life in Elizabethan England. It is a good read, well crafted, well researched. It reads easily and quickly.
~ 2016-05-21 ~
The Natural Navigator
by Gooley, Tristan
pub. by Virgin Books, imprint of Ebury Pub. subsidary of Random House, NY 2010 isbn 978 1905264940 - , 296 p. total - - index p. 281 - 296. - Acknowledgements p. 279 - Bibliography p. 267 - 278 - Sources and Notes p. 246 - 266
This book is what the title promises. Tristan Gooley learned how to find his way from one place to another in a wide variety of enviornments without the use of any mechanical aids such as GPS (Global Position System devices) or even compasses. He lives in England, and much of what he mentions works best in the northern hemisphere in mid latitudes. There are suggestions about navigation in the Southern hemisphere. He has traveled and practiced his craft in remote and rugged places such as north Africa and has done considerable sailing with minimal navigational equipent.
He starts describing how humanity has drifted away from being spatially aware to depending on a wide variety of devices to get from one place to another. The most recent GPS systems with little maps on glowing screens remove us from having to pay attention to our enviornments and use often simple and obvious clues to make our way (navigate.) He defines what he means by Natural Navigation.
He then presents a chapter on land navigation, followed by a chapter on the use of the Sun. This is followed by a chapter on using the stars and later, with cavates that it is more difficult, the Moon.
This is followed by a chapter on navigation at Sea, with kudus to Marvin Creamer who successfully sailed his boat Globe Star around the world in the mid 1980s without any sort of navigational instruments.
Gooley offers a good section on his Sources and Notes and includes a useful Bibliography.
Well educated people who have gone through reasonable way-finding courses or are well trained members of such groups as the Boy Scouts will find they know or recognize many of the techniques mentioned in the book. What this book does, in a verbose way, is to pull it all together for the modern person, who probably does not pay enough attention to the world about him/her self.
~ 2016-05-02 ~
Running Toward Danger - Real Life Scouting Action stories of Heroism, Valor and Guts
by Malone, Michael S.
pub. by Windrush Pub. Dallas, Texas,( http://www.windrushpub.com/ ) in 2015 isbn 978-098590977-2 - , 348 p. total
This book is not an official publication of the Boy Scouts of America
This book is a history of the heroism medal of the Boy Scouts of America. As such it is well written. It does a very good job describing the beginning of the concept at the very establishment of the Boy Scouts of America and the heroism recognition development over time. Each of the chapters contain the details of some of the medalists and their achievements. Each chapter also develops a theme on how the heroism was defined and recognized and what sort of heroism was recognized, set in historical framework given the times discussed. The various quotes sprinkled through the volume are are high quality and do a good job in support of the text.
The physical layout of the book is an amazement. Literally each page seems to be laid out indepent of its neighbors, and often each column independent of the neighboring column. The type used is mercifully very readable, however the type size can vary 3 times within a single page. Sometimes the reader has to look for where the text continues. The photogrphic illustrations are of very high quality and well positioned. The hand drawn illustrations are more jarring than Japanese anime.
The book is a good read, and very worthwhile to develop an understanding of both the BSA and also of the general society of the United States of America.
Welcome by Michael Surbaugh, Chief Scout Exec. BSA p. iii
Preface p. xi
Acknowlegements p. xii - xv
Table of Contents p. xvi - xvii
Prologue - William P. Hemenway, Great Grand Nephew of Daniel Carter Beard p. xix - xxi
Forward by Hershel -Woody- Williams, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient - USMC Iwo Jima, WWII p. xxii - xxxiii
Introduction p. xxiv - xxxiv
Really more like a first chapter.
A history of very early Boy Scouts of America - James West - Daniel C. Beard and Ernest Seton - scrambling to keep the organization organized.
Chapter 1. What Makes a Hero
The Hero award is created without much thought with expectations that it will be some time before any would be awarded.
The huge surprise that there are immediately heroes and the Head Office is not prepared. Medal not yet designed.
The scramble to do the right thing.
Dan Beard largely in charge of the effort. some involvement by E. Seton. Review committee is really small.
Almost all the early Hero medals for rescue from drowning, followed by breaking through ice on ponds.
Special rules on drowning rescues (Victim must be be really drowning)
Chapter 2. The Ultimate Sacrifice
When the rescuer dies in the attempt.
Scouting response - making the boys better prepared so they can survive their heroism. Manditory swimming.
Chapter 3. Blue Brown and Green
Chapter 4. A World of Heroes
Who are doing the heroic rescues. Answer, many different boys and adults.
Chapter 5. Heros of All Types
BSA does not keep records by racial or ethnic divisions.
Unless noted in news stories there is no record of race.
Through newspaper accounts it is noted that heroes come from all segments of society.
Chapter 6. Scouts in Action
Detailed information about how selected heroism was written about in Boys Life magazine.
At first more fictionalized, or at least without identifying details, then later
The Scouts in Action stories presented in abbreviated but acurate detail in a cartoon format. Includes details on how that format is developed
Chapter 7. A New Centry of Heroes
A collection of heroism stories in modern times, most after WWII.
Some acomplished by very young Cub Scouts, under age 10.
There is a lengthy report on the mass heroism by the boys at the
Little Sioux Scout Ranch tornado disaster on the Oklahoma-Kansas border in 2008.
Heroism in the 21st Century, using 911 calling and modern methods including AED devices and the anti-choking Heimleich maneuver.
Eagle Scout Matt Moniz and the Nepal earthquake and saving lives on Mt. Everest.
The new model, how requests for the heroism medals are actually processed
in the offices at BSA Headquarters. The nuts and bolts of the operation.
Index p. 335-341
Credits (photos etc.) p. 343
Notes - p. 344-346
About the Author p. 347
Widnrush publishers p. 348
~ 2016-03-19 ~
Sea-Boats, Oars and Sails
by OBrien, Conor
pub. by Loadstar Books, London, UK 2013 isbn 978-1-90206-17-7 (later edition) - (1st Ed Oxford Univ. Press 1941) - illustrated with drawings by the author p. 160-172 - - Index pl 158-159 - - postscript p. 173-175 Lugger for the 21st Century - other B and W modern illustrations within text.
Imagine small boating with work boats, not yachts, before fiberglass, before epoxy, before nylon or dacron. Then imagine the practice of going to sea and estuary in small boats along the often rugged and stormy coast of England (UK) and Ireland. Imagine discussion with one who has great experience in that place, in that era. That is what this book dishes up.
Edward Conor Marshall OBrien born 1880 died 1952 was an Irish intellectual and Republican Nationalist. He sailed around the world 1923-1924 on his 42 ft. Saoirse. He had considerable experience sailing small boats in Ireland and UK waters and was known to design boats.
This edition of Sea-Boats begins with a forward by Sam Llweellyn written in 2013 which introduces the book to the modern reader.
The first part of this book is delightfully written - then it becomes one for which much boat building, design and sailing knowledge is useful before understanding the information dense text following. Do NOT use this book for your first introduction to the world of small boat. It is, however an excellent book for the knowledgeable boater to better understand the world of design, bust building and boat operating.
Construction and Materials
The Rowing Boat
The Sailing Boat
A Canvas Canoe
Rigging nad Running Gear
Gear and Gadgets
Sails and Fancy Rigs
The Boat Under Oars
Mooring and Beaching
Postscript (A small lugger for the 21st century
~ 2016-03-10 ~
In the Heart of the Sea - the tragedy of the Whaleship Essex
by Philbrick, Nathaniel
pub. by Viking (Penguin), NY 2000 isbn 0965-032871 - , 302 p. total - preface p. xi -- Crew of Esses (list) p.xvii -- labeled diagram of Essex p. xviii Notes p. 239-278 -- Select Bibliography p. 279-290 -- Acknowledgements p. 291-294 -- index p. 295-302
I had been putting off reading this book. That was a mistake.
It is an excellent read. Well written, well researched and amazingly thorough.
The author relied on the published book by Mate. Owen Chase and a much more recently discovered hand written monograph by Nickerson, the cabin boy, as well as other descriptions of the events. Where they differed he made reasonable judgements on accuracy.
Nantucket p. 1
Knockdown p. 28
First Blood p. 44
The Lees of Fire p. 62
The Attack p. 77
The Plan p. 92
At Sea - p 104
Centering Down p.123
The Island p. 135
The Whisper of Necessity p. 151
Games of Chance p. 164
In the Shadow p. 177
Homecoming p. 190
Consequences p. 207
Epilogue - Bones p. 230
Notes - p. 239
Philbrick sets the stage for the story with enough detail to understand the late details, but does not smother the reader with extraneous verbiage. He then moves on to the early part of the voyage showing that things are not going as well as they could. Early in the voyage, in the Atlantic, they were in a hurry with too much sail up, were hit by a squall and incurred some damage. It was obvious to crew and officers that the captain was in error.
They seem to have sailed past Cape Horn (southern tip of S. America) with little damage and made it to staging ports in western S. America. Here they lost a crew member who abandoned ship. This created a further hardship as there were few enough along to properly handle the Essex and the whaleboat crews when on the hunt. The whaling grounds closer to S. America had been depleated and the more fertile grounds were farther west into the middle of the Pacific Ocean. This was much further from supply bases in S. America. It was here, far from any land, that while the whaleboats were in chase, and one was stove (broken) and being repaired on deck, that a large sperm whale attacked the Essex ramming it with its massive bony head twice, breaking boards in the hull and causing it to leak and eventually sink. The Essex did not sink immediately. Most of its cargo was not heavier than sea water. It floated awash for over a day allowing the whaleboats to take provisions and even rig sails. (At this point in history working whaleboats were not rigged with sails.) They and even add a board to make their sides higher to make them more seaworthy as lifeboats.
From that point on the crew was in survival mode. There was some re-distribution of crew. An unfortunate decision was made to return to S. America, generally upwind, instead of a much easier sail downwind to mid-Pacific islands. They took navigation tools and could determine their latitude fairly easily, but not their longitude - no chronometer and they were not prepared to do lunars. They only had 2 compasses between the 3 boats. They were working with bad and outdated information that the inhabitants of those islands which were downwind and easier to sail toward were cannibals. (In fact they were well into being ~missionized~. The inhabitants were not as fierce as they had been some time before.
They attempted to sail in company, keeping one another in sight. This worked for some time, but they eventually agreed to give this up as looking for a lost boat and/or waiting delayed their progress and endangered the whole by that delay. This was increasingly important as food and water became more scarce and their sufferings greater.
They sailed South to achieve a better wind belt to allow them to get to S. America, and happened upon Henderson Island (which they had mis-identified as Dulcie Island). There was little to eat and practically nothing to drink on the island. Skeletons of previous castaways were found. After refreshing themselves by eating birds and finding a trickle of water which was only available at low tide they abandoned the island had headed on. Three decided to stay, and although they had a hard time of it, were eventually rescued.
Their most severe tribulations came on this last part of their boat voayage. The boats got separated. Circumstances forced them to cannibalism, first of crew who naturally died, and finally one occasion of drawing lots and a crew member allowing himself to be killed to feed the others.
The boat headed by Second Mate Matthew Joy was lost and may have been found much later with skeletons aboard. The boat headed by Capt. George Pollard Jr. and the one by Mate. Owen Chase were each rescued in independent incidents.
Philbrick did considerable research on the effects of starvation and describes what the bodies and minds of the crew went through, as well as their long recuperation.
He follows each of the survivors to the ends of their lives. Pollard for instance was given another whaleship. That venture ended in disaster on French Frigate shoal many miles NNW of Hawaii. All were rescued but that incident ended his career. Owen Chase sailed on several more successful whale hunts.
A final part of the book describes a modern stranding and natural death of a sperm whale on Nantucket Island and its study by the local museum and National Fisheries.
This was a thorough study of the events surrounding the sinking of the Essex. It was a very good read.
~ 2016-02-17 ~
by Plutarch - trans. by Dryden, John
pub. by Random House - Modern Library, NY, 2001 - isbn; 0-375-75676-0 biography p.V-Vi Intro. by James Atlas p. ix-xv Preface by Arthur HUGH Clough P. xix-xxxvi Index p.757-764 Discussion Guide p.765 total size 766 p.
Plutarch was a Greek. He traveled to Rome and perhaps to Egypt. He was born about 45 AD and died about 120 AD.
There are at least 3 volumes of these biographies - titled Lives
Plutarch wrote short biographies of many luminaries in the ancient world, many who died as much as 600 years before he was born. A few of these people are considered mythical. He wrote the biographies in pairs, often a Greek and a Roman, then compared them for their merit, especially the strength of their character and their virtue. After the end of each pair of biographies he writes a few paragraphs evaluating each of the pair on how well they lived their lives.
Theseus and Romulus - the first pair
Lycurgus and Numa Pompilus - the second pair
Solon and Poplicola - 3rd pair
Pericles and Fabius
Alcibiades and Coriolanus (also called Marcius)
It soon becomes evident that these luminaries all had their faults.
There are many more - I read this far and intend to read more later.
There are many more. The translatons to English were originally done by poet John Dryden (1631-1700) and somewhat refreshed by Arthur Hugh (1819-1861) given that the English language has evolved since those translators died I expected the language to be more archaeic. It is not. The biographies are easy to read. However some place names are a challenge to understand. Have a decent map of the ancient Mediterranean world at hand if you want to thoroughly understand what is written.
Venetian Navigators - the Voyages of the Zen brothers to the far north
by Ribukabtm Abdrea di
pub. Faber and Faber, London - 2011/, isbn 978-0-571-24377-8 - - few black and white portraits and reproductions of ancient maps - - 244 p.
There are 9 chapters
The Tony Hillerman Companion - a comprehensive guide to his life and work
by Greenberg, Martin. editor
pub by - Harper Collins, NY, USA, 1994 - - ISBN 0-06-017034-4 - - - LCCN = 93-49507 - 8 pages of black and white photos between p. 152 and 153. maps on endpapers - - 375 p.
This book is in fact 7 separate works bound together.
It begins with a Hillerman Chronology p. vii - viii, a mini biography.
1 - The Detective Fiction of Tony Hillerman. a book-by-book guide - Jon L. Breen - p. 1 - 47
In which each fiction book by Tony Hillerman which had been published up to 1994
is reviewed and abstracted. Care is given not to reveal the end
2 - Interview with Tony Hillerman - Jon L. Breen - p. 49 - 70
3 - The Navajo Nation - George Harden - p. 71 - 85
This is an essay by a Navajo writer from the APA Insight Guide Native America . It was recommended by Hillerman
4 - Native American Clans in Tony Hillermans Fiction - A Guide - Elizabeth A. Gaines and Diane Hammer - p. 87 - 96
Just what it says it is, an annotated listing of the various Navajo and some Hopi clans mentioned by Hillerman, including the Leaphorn clan which was made-up.
5 - Characters in Tony Hillermans Fiction - a Concordance - Elizabeth A. Gaines and Diane Hammer - p. 97 - 295
Each character in every book is described. The ones who are in several books get longer listings. It is an immense bit of work.
6 - A selection of Tony Hillermans Nonfiction
Dinetah, If I Forget You - p. 299
Why Not Religious Freedom for All Americans - p. 305
Taos Restores the Spirit - p. 308
A day in the Life of Chapter Two - p. 316
Dancing Gods - p. 318
Skinwalkers - p. 322
Chaco Canyon - p. 325
The Budville Murders - Reardon Rules in Action - p. 331
7 - A Selection of Tony Hillermans Fiction
The Witch, Yazzie, and the Nine of Clubs - p. 341
First Lead Gasser - p. 355
Chees Witch - p. 366
Tony Hillerman is one of my favorite writers. He wrote a number of books (7 Leaphorn/Chee) and some others after this guide was published.
He died in October 2008. His autobiography, Seldom Disappointed published in 2001, is a good but not exciting read.
This book is a celebration of Hillerman as a writer. It is critical in some places and follows the authors development as a writer of fiction.
If you are interested in Hillermans writing, this book is for you, especially after you have read the books.
If you are interested in the development of a fiction writer this book is for you.
If you are interested in the Navajo reservation area and/or the people and their ways, this book is for you.
Ambrose Bierces Civil War
by Bierce, Ambrose
pub by Regnery Gateway Company, NY, 1956 reprint Wings Books div. of Random House, NJ, 1996 isbn 0-517-15013-1 _ introduction p. iii - xi - - - contents p. xiii - - total 258 pages.
Read the 9 page introduction by William McCann. It does a lot to understand this book and the life and works of Ambrose Bierce. He actively participated in the Civil War on the Union side. He also was a topographical specialist, doing surveying and making maps for active military activities. He also was involved with - skirmishers - those who were posted in front of the front lines. This book is a series of short stories. His stories often reflect his experience in the field. They are almost all very dark and often with a twist at the end like the writing style of OHenry. Except for the last story, this is a dark book. It describes the horrors of war as only a participant could write. The US Civil War is a particularly nasty war. Families often had members on both sides, who encountered one another as opponants, as is described in several of the stories. Given the way he lived his life after the War, Bierce would have been described as having PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder.)
The final story in this collection is the only light one. The book ends with a giggle as a Union politician is made a general, and in spite of himself accidentally stops the advance of Confederate forces.
Read this book if you can stand the violence of the battlefield... from the perspective of those who were on the lines actually fighting. Read it to understand how things happened on the scale of the individual. Beware, it is often a downer.
HMS Beagle - the story of Darwins ship
by Thomson, Keith S.
pub by W.W. Norton and Company, NY, 1995 isbn 0-393-03778-9 contents p. 5-6 - Preface, Acknoledgments, Preface and Prologue p.11-18 -- body of text p.19-269, illustrations, plans - Endnotes p. 271-281 - Index p. 301-310. - - total 320 pages.
This book is the story of a ship - HMS Beagle the ship that Darwin rode on while he worked out what eventually would become his theory of natural selection. This vessel was one of a large class of Cherokee 10 gun brigs. A Brig is sailing vessel with 2 masts, square rigged on each mast. It was not a well thought of class. It was a small workhorse, only 99 feet long (73 ft 7 inches on keel) and displaced some 297 tons. 107 Cherokee 10 gun brigs were built. The Beagle was 41st in this series.
The Beagle was re-rigged as a Bark or Barque when a fore and aft rigged mizzen mast was added to make it handle better. It needed all the good handling capability it could get as it was used as a survey vessel in some of the most difficult areas of the world - Tierra del Fuego at the soutern tip of South America.
This was the great age of scientific study by England, USA and many of the European governments. Hydrography was a major area of study. Many of the Cherokee 10 gun brigs were used in Hydrographical studies and other scientific studies, even measuring the strength of gravity in different places on earth.
The Beagles first voyage was among other ships surveying the Strait of Magellan area in S. America. That voyage became so tough that the captain of the Beagle, Stokes, committed suicide at Port Famine in the Strait of Magellan as a result of the strain of command.
The second major voyage began after a major re-build and it was the -around the world- trip in which Charles Darwin participated as a scientist and companion of the captain Robert Fitzroy. This voyage began late in 1831 and ended upon arrival in Greenwich, England in late October 1836, a voyage of almost exactly 5 years. Then followed almost a year of finishing up maps and writing reports.
The third voyage departed England in 1837 to survey in Australia especially on the hostile north shore but actually all around the subcontinent. The Beagle returned home to England at the end of September 1843.
It was then involved in some local survey work and ended up in the service of the coast guard as a watch ship. It was eventually sold for scrap in 1870.
There is a fair amount of detail on each of the major voyages. There is a lot of good reading about activities during each of the major voyages.
Keith Thompson, the author, is a professional biologist. He was attracted to the Beagles story due to its being instrumental in the study of biology. He did considerable research and had several strokes of good luck finding documents which brings the The Beagle to life.
This is a good read.
The Sea Chest - a yachtsmans reader
by Rimington, Critchell, editor
pub. W.W. Norton, NY - 1947, repirnt 1975 isbn 0-393-03183-7 - - LCCN 74-28144 - - 355 p.
This is a book made up of 49 reprinted stories from various sources.
Many of them from the yachting press, but some from newspapers and a few which are parts of books.
Most of the stores are tales of trips on various vessels and are dated from about 1911 to 1941. There are a few other curiousites such as James Thurbers The Story of Sailing by humorist James Thurber and 4 stories on the details of Navigation. It includes Ernest Ratsey writing The Care of Sails which details the care of cotton sails used by serious yachtsmen in 1937. It also includes a history of knots and rope making. Some of the stories are of fairly simple sailing, but many are of adventures, tragedies and some tragedies averted. Many are instructive on what to do and what not to do on the great waters in small craft.
This is an interesting read for those who think of taking boats on the great waters.
Roman Army - pocket dictionary
by Abdy, Richard
pub. British Museum Press, London - 2008/, isbn 978-07141-3126-9 - - - - 48 p.
This is a short book on the organization and workings of the Roman Army, mostly set in the time period then the Romans occupied Britain. (about 117 AD). Each page conveys a different topic and includes pictures.
It is a nice introduction to the Roman Army. For instance the smallet groupings of men were the 8 man contubernium. Ten of these made up a century. Interesting that a Centurian actually headed 80 men plus a few staff officers.
Six centuries made a cohort, A Legion being made up 9 Cohorts of480 men to a total of 5300 men. During Emperor Hadrians time the army consisted of 30 Legions.
The regular soldiers were Roman citizens. They were supported by a lagre number of non-Roman troops which were largely made up of specialists (Auxiliaries) such as archers, cavalry, and light infantry. After 25 years of service these who survived were given Roman citizenship and a pension.
There is a section on arms and tactics.
This is a good short read, very straight forward.
by Michener, James A. (James Albert), 1907-1997
pub. by Fawcett Crest - Ballentine, NY. 1991 isbn - 0-449-22143-1 (LCCN 90- 53489) - - 436 p. - maps p.iii - vi
Michener wrote this very late in his career. It is a novel on the writing, getting published and the literary world. It has an autobiographical feel as it is set in the area where he was born and raised.
As most of his writing, this book is divided into discrete and linked parts. In this case there are 4 parts. Each part is narrated by a different person, but all are closely linked in the story.
I. The Writer - Lukas Yoder p.1-106 - A very popular author but by no means avant-guard. He lives lives in rural SE Pennsylvania in the Pennsylvania Dutch area among the Amish and Menonites. There is another person mentioned in the publishing process, his agent Hilda Crane. After some mention about her and what agents fo she is not mentioned again in the story.
II. The Editor - Yvonne Marmelle p. 107-179 - This book gives a more complete biography of this character than any of the others. She grew up in New York in what she called genteel poverty. Starting out as a tomboy after an accident broke an arm she, under the tutelage of an uncle, discovered the world of books. From that she grew into the world literature and found a job in a publishing house, where she worked her way, through formal study and much hard work, into an editorship. Along the way she had a disasterous relationship with a young man who attempted to be an author but never made it. That ended but Yvonne picked herself up and succeeded in the the work of the publishing firm. She worked hard helping Lukas Yoder, many years her senior, into a very successful published author.
III. The Critic - Karl Streibert p.180-334 - College student who in grad school met up with a great critic from UK. He vacationed with him in Italy and Greece and Streibert bcame a proponent of his critical theories, and promoted them in USA. Later he became a professor at the university in the Yoder area of SE Pennsylvania. Yvonne Marmelle becomes the agent for a weak novel he has published. She works with him on a non-fiction book of criticism of American literature. Although the recipient of an unexpected grant from the Yoders he eventually attacks the Yoder style.
IV. The Reader - Jane Garland p. 335-435 - Jane is the widow of a steel company executive. She is the areas greatest philanthropist to the local university as well as the local public library. She is also a friend of the Yoders. She has a grandson who she raised and becomes a young literary prodegy. That grandson, Tim, is tutored by Streibert and rises fast.
The stories weave in and around one another as they are presented, coming to a unified crescendo at the end.
An interesting read from a well seasoned writer. I enjoyed it.
Rock with wings
by Hillerman, Anne
pub. by HarperCollins, NY, 2015 - isbn; 978-0-06227051-1 Acknowledgements and Disclaimers p. map of spooky sites on pages viii - 319-320 - Glossary of Navajo words used in Rock with Wings p. 321-322. total 323 pages.
This is Anne Hillermans second novel. It follows the series written by her father, Tony Hillerman. It is of the Leaphorn. Chee and Manueleto series.
It is a - page turner - not so much by excitement as for the reader wanting to know what is coming up next. The story is complex with a number of twists. For much of the action Bernie (Bernadette Manueleto) operates separately from her husband, Joe Chee. They plan a short vacation together, but are soon called back into police service, Chee in Monument Valley where a movie is being filmed and Manueleto called into duty back in the Shiprock, New Mexico area. Family matters add realism and compication. As with most mystery novels the threads come together at the end.
A very satisfying and readable story. Highly recommended.
Amerigo the man who gave his name to America
Spider Womans Daughter
by Hillerman, Anne
pub. by Harper Collins, NY. 2013 isbn - 978-0-06-227048-1 - - 307 pages
The author, Anne Hillerman, is the daughter of Anthony (Tony) Hillerman, the Edgar award winning author of the Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn mystery series, and many other great books.
This story begins with Joe Leaphorn, a retired Navajo police detective being shot in the head outside one of the spots where some of the force meet over breakfast. Female Navajo police officer Bernie Manuelito witnesses the attack. The attacker speeds away. The rest of the mystery involves hunting down the shooter. Leaphorn, though shot in the head does not die, but is gravely injured, and is on the edge of death. Bernie is married to Navajo police detective Jim Chee. She is ordered to take some vacation, and stand down, but is given a minor task to notify Leaphorn relatives. The story has a number of twists and refers back to cases in previous books in the series, which were written by Tony Hillerman. No knowldege of these is needed to make sense of this story, but knowing of them can enrich the experience of reading this one.
Anne Hillerman choses a person from the original cast of Navajo policeman introduced in mysteries written by her father. In this she works the story through female eyes, a nice change. The writing is very good. The story proceeds apace, and is in fact a ~page turner~. I thoroughly enjoyed the story, and do hope she continues the series. She has proven that she is up to the task.
A very good read.
The Burgler in the Library
by Block, Lawrence
pub. Dutton, NY, 1997 isbn 0-525-94301-3
This is a mystery novel. It is part of a series by the author where the investigator is Bernie Rhodenabarr. It is set in contemporary time (1997). It involves a New York bookstore owner and professional burgler (Bernie) and his friend who ownes a dog grooming studio having a late winter vacation in upstate New York State. They are looking for an elaborately signed book dedicated from one classic mystery writer to another. What they stumble into is a multiple murder while isolated in a small specialty hotel, snowed in, with the telephone line cut.
It is an enjoyable tale, well written by an Edgar Award winning author. The setup takes up a fair amount of the narrative and it is worth it. The solution comes fairly rapidly after the action sequence, and is followed by a further denoument fleshing out the satisfying end.
This story involves references to other historic authors of the mystery genure. It is a pleasant read. lightweight by satisfying.
~ 2015-08-18 ~
Walden - and - A week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers - and - Civil Disobedience - and - Life
without Principle - and - Cape Cod - and - fragments from his Journals
by Thoreau, Henry David -- 1817-1862
orig. pub. by Tichnor and Fields, Boston - 1854 Bantam pub. NY, 1982 (Walden and other Writings by Henry David Thoreau) isbn 0-559--21012-2
Introduction and edited by Joseph Wood Krutch p. 1-23 the text of Walden p. 105-351 - Bibliography p.435-436 - - total volume has 436 p.
This physical book is bound with A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers - - Civil Disobedience - - Life Without Principle - - The Maine Woods - - Cape Cod - - The Journal
Henry D. Thoreau writes in a mixed style. He can go along with straight forward commentary, sometimes heading off in different directions and involving references to classical works and writers which are a way he shows off his Harvard education. Other times he waxes eloquent on the simple life and espouses a way of living simply and at a much slower pace than most human beings can manage. In fact I often found it irritating. Here is a man, living singly, with few if any obligations, offering advice when most of humanity is involved in the real business of being human... being married, raising a family, making some attempt to benefit the human condition. Other times his writing rings true, exposing the hubris of modern mankind.
One needs to note that Thoreau was a man of his times. Between the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. He was a man who loathed slavery. He was suspicious of modern conveniences, even the railroad. He also was a land surveryor and improved the family business - making pencils - including inventing better machinery to produce higher quality pencils.
In the book on his visit to the state of Maine he revealed his distaste of hunting purely for sport, though he considered hunting a good exercise good for young people. He was deeply interested in botany.
An interesting, and sometimes difficult read. - Read the works of Thoreau yourself, and get an understanding for the mind of people of that period of the history of United States.
A Sand County Almanac and sketches here and there
by Leopold, Aldo -- 1886-1948
- pub. Oxford University Press, NY - 1949 (comerative edition 1987) isbn 0-19-505305-2 - - - forward by Aldo Leopold. March 1948 p. vi - ix - - contents p. xi - xiii - - Introduction by Robert Finch. June 1987 p. xv - xxvii - - Pt.1 A Sand County Almanac p. 3 - 92 -- Pt.2 Sketches Here and There p. 93 - 162 - - Pt.3 p. 163 - 226 - - About the Author p. 227 - 228 - - total length - 228 p.
This is a commerative edition of the publication. It has a very useful introduction by Robert Finch which makes the writings of Aldo Leopold more intelligible for the modern reader. This is not to say it is a difficult read, but it was written immediately after WWII and the world and how we deal with the natural world is different now from then.
The first of what are in effect 3 books bound together A Sand County Almanac is a collection of articles by month describing some of the activities which occurred or may occur in that month. Leopold reveals an incredible depth of knowledge of the enviornment and all the natural living things on and around his farm.
The second part entitled Sketches Here and There consists of a number of short writings on various natural subjects, often revealing deep knowledge and interesting information.
The third part The Upshot would be a call to action to save parts of the world in their natural state, except Leopold understands how unlikely this would be. He also understands the tension between preserving actual wildness, and having that actual wilderness in such a state where it can actually be appreciated by people. He rails against making roads in and near wilderness as they eventually degrade and destroy wildnerness. On the other hand, few will be able to physically appreciate wilderness unless there is some of the destructive development (such as trail making) which is so troublesome.
I read this book while on vacation in Wisconsin. The Aldo Leopold farm was located in Sauk County, Wisconsin, just south of a bend in the Wisconsin River. The nearest city is Baraboo, Wisconsin. The Aldo Leopold Foundation has a study center there and offers enviornmental studies there.
This is a truly interesting read, though the first two parts are a fullfilling read, the last part is almost despairing.
~ 2015-07-01 ~
1177 B.C. the year civilization collapsed
by Cline, Eric H.
pub. by Princeton Univ. Press, Princeton, NJ, USA, 2014 isbn - 0-609-80826-5 - - 237 p. - map p. v, vi - Black and White photos - Epilogue p.171 - 176 - Dramatis Personae (names of ancient people) p. 177-180 - Notes p. 181-200 - Bibliograpny p. 201-228 - Index p. 229-237
This in the first book in a planned series Turning Points in Ancient History, series editor Barry Strauss.
Cline takes the date of pharaoh Ramses III fight against the Sea Peoples for his title. This was a significant event in the history of the Late Bronze Age in the eastern Mediterranen, including the Tigrus Euphrates civilization. The Minoans, Mycenaeans, Hittites, Assyrians, Babylonhians, Mitannians, Canaanites, Cypriots and Egyptians all interacted on a high level, ruler to ruler, in a surprisingly friendly matter, often addressing one another as brother or father. We know as much as we do because there was a common written language used between the rulers and their ministers, written Akkadian. This was the diplomatic lnaguage of the Bronze Age in the ancient Near East - using cuneiform (wedge shaped) signs, which most of the time were ~written~ on clay tablets which were sometimes (but not always) fired for durability. Cuneiform written in clay is more durable than most types of writing, which is one of the reasons why we know as much as we do of the events of a time several thousands of years in the past. (One wonders how much of ourhistorical documets will be available some 3000 years in the future.)
The cartuche (royal name symbols) of Egyptian royals as well as pottery styles and various inscriptions were useful for dating various events.
The book is a study of what caused the collapse of the civilizations of the late Bronze Age. The simple, and incomplete answer was that the unidentified Sea Peoples. They, whoever they were, were part of the solution, but by far not the whole story. A series of earthquakes, climate change, droughts, crop failures and famine contributed to the collapses. Also there is strong evidence of internal governmental failure. Some of the failed cities had weapons, including many arrowheads found in their ruins but many others just seem to have failed and were abandoned. In other cases only the palaces and governmental buildings were destroyed but the living structures remained in fair condition. Some destruction was soon re-built, and other destruction was more total.
What happened overall is a continuing mystery, however Cline expects that there were a variety of reasons which individually and in concert with one another caused the end of civilizations as they were.
This is a good read, but one which involves a certain amount attention (especially if one is not acquainted with the civilizations and various names of places as they were known in antiquity.)
It is also a cautionary tale. What happened in the remote past could happen again.
~ 2015-05-02 ~
Wild Ocean - the Story of the North Atlantic and the Men Who Sailed It
by Villiers, Alan J. 1903-1982
pub by Mcgraw Hill, NY, 1957 - - - LCCN 57-9440 - - (later edition isbn 1258173050 ) - - 327 p. -- illus.
Villiers, a sailor from the end of commercial sailing who had vast experience on the various seas of the world, describes the North Atlantic Ocean. He does this by time period, first the Ocean by its physical characteristics, then begins with human times, pre-Columbus on through the discoveries and development of English speaking North America. This was written in 1957 and much of the narrative reflects what was known of history at the time. He has an interesting and enlightened view of the reason for the American Revolutionary War. After that period he expands on the establishment and growth of scheduled sailings across the Ocean (Packet service) followed by a chapter on mysterious events including a long and well thought out solution to the mystery of the brig Mary Celeste which was found floating with nobody aboard.
He continues with the development of steam and other motor propulsion, followed by how WWI and WWII was waged on, over and under the waves. He reminds us that there were several flying crossings of the Atlantic before Lindbergs flight from New York to Paris. He tells the interesting story of sheparding a fleet of delicate landing craft across from USA to the Mediterranean - a personal story. Lastly he describes the coming and beginning dominance of commercial air traffic ferrying people across the Ocean. From his view in 1957 he has difficulty seeing that commercial passenger traffic by sea would be doomed. The statistics he lists on passenger ship traffic vs. air traffic are very interesting, given how things turned out over the following 69 years.
Villiers wrote this as he was preparing to sail the replica Mayflower II across the Atlantic. Which he did very successfully sortly as this book was going to press.
An interesting read.
~ 2015-04-14 ~
The Race to the New World - Christopher Columbus, John Cabot and a Lost History of Discovery
by Hunter, Douglas
pub. by Palgrave McMillan - St. Martins, NY 2011 isbn 978-0-230-34165-4 (hardcover 978-0-230-11011-3) - - LCCN = 2012011581 - - 277 p. - maps p vii - viii - Notes and commentary p 253-263 - Bibliography p 265-269 - Index p 271-277
This book is a biographical and historical sketch of the lives and efforts of Christopher Columbus and John Cabot.
More than any other book I have read on the 1480-1500 era of discovery, and I have read quite a few, this one refers to and discusses primary documents. I had not known that so many primary documents were extant. It brings to life the correspondence of ambassadors of Venice and Spain to Henry VIIs England as well as letters of Martin Behaim (a German who traveled widely and created a globe of the earth which is still extant today.) The globe which shows the earth as it was known before 1492, without the continents of N. America or S. America. It is the 3 dimensional representation of the Paolo del Pozzo Toscanelli map of the world. This is the map which gave the idea that it was possible to sail west to get to the East. There was disagreement about the size of the earth, by Toscanelli it was possible to sail west to get to the East. By other (more accurate) measurements it was too far across the Ocean Sea to be practical to sail west to get to the known riches of the East.
This book brings together all the major players in the rush to head west in expectation of finding the East with all its riches. It shows John Cabot in a rather poor light as one who rarely finished any project, but took the money at least on 2 major projects. He was one step ahead of his creditors most of his life. He had a judgement against him in a court in Venice from bad realestate deals and that was the cause of him hastely leaving Venice to avoid imprisonment. It mentions his son Sebastian Cabot who practically ignored the successful voyage of his father, and even intimated that it was his (Sebastians) own discovery.
There is considerable unveiling of correspondence between J. Cabot and King Ferdinand of Spain and other Spanish officials, which reveal what Cabot was doing previous to his moving to England.
Hunter also posites a time-line of who did what given what documentary evidence is available, piecing together what might have happened given very convincing lapses in the documentary evicance.
He also sets the whole of the discovery efforts within the situation of the time in Europe with the situation of Venice, the rise of Maximilian I (German Holy Roman Emperor), Joao II (King of Portugal) and his successor Manoel I, Charles VIII of France who invaded Naples (what is now Italy) during this time. There was a serious effort to get England to band together with the Holy Roman Emperor and Spain against France. There were dynastic marriages attempting to link Spain and England as well as some of the other kingdoms, some successful, some not. All this background to efforts of Columbus, Cabot, Behaim and several others to get funding to sail to the west, while the Treaty of Tordesillas (dividing the non-Christian world between Spain and Portugal) and its several modifications were either observed or ignored. During this time Henry VII of England was threatned by an impostor who claimed his throne, Perkin Warbeck who was sheltered by Maximillian I and later by the King of Scotland. Warbeck attempted to take England by force from Scotland. His invasion came to a quick end, but Warbeck escaped. Much later he was capturd by Henry VII, escaped again and eventually recanted his story admitting he was the Flemish son of John Osbek. Eventually the pretender was hung and Henry VII could breath easy.
One of the strange things I learned from this read is that in 1467 the Danish governor of Iceland was murdered by Englishmen when the governor tried to enforce Danish laws limiting fishing for cod in the Icelandic area. Some time later an agreement was reached where English fishermen paid for licenses to Denmark to fish off Iceland. Another item I had never before encountered were the letters written to Christopher Columbus sent by Hugh Say (writting under the name John Day), a merchant in Bristol and in London, England who reported on the activities of Cabot in England.
Some interesting sources include documents from Jerome Munzer a wandering (not quite ambassador) from Germany and his chronicle of his travels through Spain and Portugal. There are the letters of Pedro de Ayala (Spanish ambassador to Scotland vs. Roderigo de Puebla, Spains ambassador to England who served Henry VII of England better than his own monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella).
Read this book if you wish to have a better understanding of European history and complications during the early period of the discovery of the Americas.
~ 2015-03-28 ~
In the Footsteps of Lewis and Clark
by Snyder, Gerald S.
pub by - National Geographic Society, Washington, DC, USA, 1970 - - ISBN 87044-087-x - - - LCCN = 77-125338 - heavily illustrated with copies of artwork, color photos and maps - Index p. 212-215 - - 216 p.
Gerald Snyder takes his family along with him on a trip, mostly by automobile, following the route that Meriwether Lewis and William Clark and the - Corps of Volunteers for Northwestern Discovery - more commonly known as the Lewis and Clark Expedition took on their historic trip. Snyder is well prepared and provides many interesting details at all levels. These are verbally illustrated by his eyewitness description of what he and his family saw on their travels, which seem to have been done about 1965.
President Thomas Jefferson had considered sending an expedtion to discover what was between the known west up to the Mississippi River and the Pacific Ocean.
After the USA made the - Louisanna Purchase - and nearly doubled the size of the nation it was more necessary to examine what was there. The set-up, planning and beginning (starting down the Ohio River from Pittsburgh and officially starting from St. Louis) is covered. Then folllowing up the Missouri the trip starts in earnest. They followed the Missouri to its source. They spent the first winter among the Mandans and were joined by a trapper Charbonneau and his Shoshoni wife Sacagawea, who delivered her child during the expedition. Having a woman and child along helped prove that the expedition was peaceful, as none would have a woman (and mother) along with a war party.
From the souce of the Missouri they traveled across the Rocky Mountains through Lemhi pass (some miles west of the Yellowstone River), then followed down the Snake and Columbia rivers to the coast. In mid-November 1805 they arrived at Cape Dissapointment on the Pacific Coast. They erected a small fort there, spent the winter, then retraced their tracks and explored more on the way back, arriving in St Louis 23 September 1806.
Snyder finishes out by following each of the participants with as much information is known on each of them.
This is a good short read. Perhaps a good preparation for reading - Undaunted Courage - by Stephen E. Ambrose, the much more developed book on the expedition, which I hope to read some time.
A Basic History of Germany
by Lowenstein, Hubertus zu (1906-1984)
pub by - Inter Nationes, Bonn, Germany, 1965 - (copyright 1964 by Verlag Heinrich Scheffler, Frankfurt) - - isbn -none- - - LCCN = 67-006896 - - Index (names) p. 186-192 - - 192 p.
The author is properly known as Prince Hubertus Friedrich zu Lowenstein. It seems he is royalty. He was born in Germany before WWI and was somewhat active in what might be called Good Government. He was at odds with Hitler and as soon as Hitler established his rule, in 1933, Lowenstein fled Germany and came to live in USA. After WWII he returned to Germany and assisted in re-setting up civilian government.
This book is not an easy read. The attitude of the author shows his European heritage, and is sometimes difficult for a modern American to fully appreciate. I read it to understand my ancestors and why they decicided to come to America. One side of the family in about 1848 (when there was a revolution and lot of unrest in Germany) and the other side of the family in 1888, (Kulturkampf) another time when there was a lot of political unrest in Germany. There is explaination of the situations which caused people to want to leave at that time.
This book was meant to be a short history of Germany, mostly defined as those who share a culture and language as there was no such country as Germany until fairly modern times. The book begins in Roman times and the civilization Rome brought to the Germans. Then continues on through the history of the Holy Roman Empire, when the Emperor was often what would now be called German. The book continues up to the date of its publication in 1965 and the German nation re-constituted after WWII, but divided between those parts held by the western powers (USA, England and France) and the part occupied by communist USSR.
Lowenstein is proud of the fact that the German Holy Roman Emperors saved central-eastern Europe for Christianity when there were rather several incursions from the East, from pre-Christian forces and later defending from Turkish and other Islamic invasion.
He explains and lists all the twists and turns of leadership change and various hostilities. It is largely a political and diplomatic. Germany is sandwiched between two strong empires... France and Rusia. Constant struggle between them and the smaller neighboring states seems to have been the norm.
About in the middle of the book the Hapsburg (Habsburg) family features prominently. Earlier the Hohenzollern dynasty is featured. In each case some leaders are stronger and some weaker. Several persons who were trusted ministers made great strides in political growth, such as Heinrich F. K Stein (1757-1831) whose political ideas were liberal and of great benefit to the common man, long before WWI. For instancd servitude (feudal concept) was abolished in 1807. The idea of having a constitution which would limit the power of the monarch was considered.
There is considerable discussion of the Napoleonic period and how it affected Germany.
I am surprised that he did not provide much description of the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-1871 when Prussian and oter German forces vanquished France.
One thing that surprised me was that there was early support for the -proletarate- defined as the working class which did not own property, such as tradesmen and factory workers. In 1881 Bismark recommended legislation to set up insurance against sickness, invalidsim, old age, and accident, a scheme well ahead of the current Social Security system in USA. Of course it was partially to fend off the effects of Karl Marx and Fredrich Engles communist thought and writings. In 1839 again in 1853 child labor in some forms was banned. Also the industrial code of 1891 insisted on safety devices to all branches of industry.
Lowenstein describes the rise of Hitler and the National Socialist (Nazi) party in some detail as well as their activities up to the beginning of WWII. Then the book describes the era immediately after WWII in some detail, re-constructing the modern German State.
Read this book to have an understanding of central European and German history written from the perspective of a native, definetly not an American, and not an Englishman. It that it is refreshing, though a heavy read. This book has no maps or illustrations. It would be well served with the inclusion of maps. It would also be better served with an index of wars, concepts etc. expanding the more simple index of names.
The World of Gerard Mercator - the mapmaker who revolutionized geography
by Taylor, Andrew
pub. by Walker and Company, NY - 2004 isbn 0-8027-1377-7
- 291 p. maps, black and white pictures, Notes p. 257-269 bibliography p. 271-274 index p. 275-291
Taylor presents a thorough and well researched biography of Gerard Mercator - son of Hubert de Cremer, shoe maker. The family had a clerical uncle Gisbert de Cremer, who took young Gerard under his protection and provided him an education. Gerard was a very successful student and continued his education at the great northern European university of Leuven (Louvain in French). It was here where Gerard selected a Latinized name, as was the custom of educated people and became known as Gerard Mercator Rupelmandanus. (last name from the place he was from) He studied under Gemma Frisius, mathematician, astronomer and physician. He made acquaintance with the heavy thinkers of the era. John Dee, an English savant studied alongside Mercator at Leuvin for several years. They became lifelong friends and correspondence for the terms of their lives. Taylor presents a more positive picture of John Dee 1527 - 1608 than the biography of Dee written by Benjamin Woolley titled - The Queens Conjuror. The Life and Magic of Dr. Dee -
Instead of becoming a cleric Mercator married and set up shop making globes and maps working with practical help from his teacher Gemma Frisius. The works of Aristotle (BC 384-322) and Ptolemy (AD 90-168) were the approved ancient knowledge and thought which varied from their writings were suspect. The knowledge of the world was changing, new places were being discovered, which created tension. Interestingly even in Ptolemy the concept that the earth was a sphere was common knowledge. The exact size, of the earth and where places were were a matters of conjecture. Eratosthenes (of Alexandria) (BC 276-194) had measured the earth and came out with an amazingly accurate number. Ptolemy believed it was smaller.
Taylor describes the physical construction of globes in some detail. They were as accurate as humanly possible, and throughout his life they were the mainstay of Mercators shop.
Taylor does a masterful job of describing the times, including the constant wars where Charles V., the Holy Roman Emperor, who ruled a vast part of Europe including what is now Germany, Spain, and Holland (but not France) had to war constantly to keep his empire together. This was the time of Reformation. Charles V. and his successor sons Philip and Ferdinand warred against protestantism with the full force of the Inquisition. It was an ugly time. Mercator was denounced and thrown in prison and examined by the Inquisition for 4 months. Heroic efforts by his wife to secure his release by having his parish priest, and highly placed friends from the University of Leuven finally convinced the Inquisition that he was not guilty of heresy, even though he had conversation with some suspicious people in the past. Upon release Mercator continued working on projects which included work for Emperor Charles V. Mercator made scientific instruments for surveying as well as his popular globes and maps.
Mercator was invited by Duke William to move to Duisburg, upstream on the Rhine River, away from the more active area where the Inquisition was working and in an place where protestant thought was tolerated. Duke William was attempting to establish a university there and wanted Mercator to teach, but that did not come to pass as permission from Rome was needed, and was not granted. Mercator developed his fameous Mercator projection for the map of the world especially for the use of navigators at sea. It was years before it was well enough understood for those navigators to use. Mercator himself did not consider it his most important contribution.
Mercator lived in Duisbert until at the age of 82 he died 2 December 1594. He outlived most of his friends, his wife and most of his children. He had grand children and great grand children to carry on his final projects, including the final volume of his maps of the world.
Read this book to understand the unfolding the understanding of the world during the Renaisance. Read this book to begin to understand the incredible violence and struggle in northern Europe during this time.
~ 2015-02-19 ~
Food at Sea - shipboard cuisine from Ancient to Modern Times
by Spalding, Simon
pub. by rowan and Littlefield, NY. London, 2015 - isbn; 978-1-4422-2736-1 LCCN = 2014024370 Illustrated black and white pictures - Contents p.vii Selected Recipes p. 205-220 Notes p. 221-240 Bibliography p. 241-247 Index p. 249-264 About the Author p. 265 265 pages
Simon Spalding covers food served at sea from the ancient world Bronze Age and on in developmental stages of seafaring through the Roman age, the Medieval world, the Age of Exploration both Iberian and northern, the Sailing Navies, 19th Century Merchant ships, Immigrant and Slave Ships, then on to the more modern world of Steam Powered vessels and new food technology such as Canned Food, The high peak of food at sea in Ocean Liners and the advent of refrigeration and finally the current world of Submarines, Cruise Ships and Merchant Container Ships.
Beyond being a book on food, it also organizes the development of seafaring and illustrates the march of progress with respect to the way people travel on the oceans and seas of the world.
The Bibliography is impressive.
Jagular goes everywhere - mis Adventures in a 300 dollar sailboat
by Pamperin, Tom
pub. by Cedar Street Press, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, USA, 2014 - isbn; 978-0-9914617-1-4 LCCN = 2014907079 Illustrated by Eric Bott - map on p. 110 222 pages
Tom Pamperin builds a Philip C. Bolger design plywood boat, the Pirate Racer (design 542) with help from Pamperins brother. Then he sails this boat, mostly in northern Wisconsin, USA.
The book is written in 2 major sections, the first being 6 chapters, sailing mostly in Wisconsin, but also includes a longer chapter on his sailing of the Texas 200 , a sailing in company or raid along the Texas Gulf of Mexico coast from Port Mansfield, north past Corpus Christi into Matagorda Bay, ending at the tiny town of Magnolia Beach.
The second part of the boat is a detailed telling of his sailing along the North Channel of Lake Huron, passing from De Tour Village, Michigan north into Canada, then East along the skirt of islands to Manitoulin Island then back to De Tour Village, Michigan and navigating a formal US Customs re-entry to USA.
Much of the book is presented as dialog between the author and his boat, which (who) he named Jagular after the bouncy character in Winnie the Pooh.
Between sailing adventures Tom Pamperin is a teacher.
Setting Sails - a tribute to the Chinese Junk
by Maitland, Derek - photos by Wheeler, Nik
pub. by South China Morning Post, Ltd, Tong Chong Street, Quarry Bay, Hongkong, 1981 - isbn; none LCCN = 82-174349 Illustrated by Nik Wheeler - many color photos, some in black and white - - some line drawings bibliography p. 170 Acknowledgements p. 171 Index p. 172-174 174 pages
This book is what might be called -coffee table- format, that is physically large and has pictures on every page. It is however information dense and a good read if you want to understand Chinese watercraft. All sorts of watercraft in this book are called either Junks or Sampans. It seems a dis-service that the term Junk covers such a wide variety of watercraft. It would be the much like all western watercraft would be either called Ships or Boats.
The book is divided into 5 chapters.
I. - Triumph and Tragedy - The Junk in earliest history, of which little is written. The Junk in competition with western watercraft, especially after 1700 when the western technology was predominant.
II. - The Imperfect Perfection - Traditions of Junk design - becoming obsolete as an oceanic trader - its brief history as a pirate vessel (up to WWII).
III. - An Endless Epitalph - A study of many different Junk designs - River as well as Coastal.
The works of Joseph L. Needham (many on science and technology in China) - - G. R.G Worcester (Junks and Sampans on the Yangtze) - - and Archibald Little (Gleanings from Fifty Years in China) are referenced. IV. - The Lau Family Fishermen - A fishing Junk from 1979 in operation. With a long section about the Tin Hau (female protective deity) festival.
V. - Traditions Last Stand - The Junk as a yacht, a pleasure boat, popular during from 1960 through 1973. The latter when an economy downturn caused many wealthy to be less wealthy and not be able to indulge their fantasy of having a pleasure Junk. A few examples of those who live aboard in comfort and the cost of such living are presented.
Spooky Wisconsin - Tales of Hauntings, Strange Happenings, and Other Local Lore
by Schlosser, S. E.
pub. by Guiliford, Connecticut, USA (Globe Pequot Press), 2008 - isbn; 978-0-7627-4562-3 LCCN = 2008008833 Illustrated by Paul Hoffman - map of spooky sites on pages viii - ix 207 pages
This is a collection of folklore. Ms. Schlosser collected the tales and presents 25 of them in this book. The stories are divided into 2 groups 1 - Ghost Stories and 2- Powers of Darkness and Light. A few involve the local people before Europeans arrive, but most involve those who came to came to live in Wisconsin. Some involve individual groups, such as Welsh miners and German family immigrants. Others are more general. As a group they are delightful tales, making this book a fun and fast read.
The same author and illustrator have published Spooky books for 12 other states and a regional one for the southwest. ~2014-12-29~
by Mace, Elisabeth
pub. by Andre Deutsch Ltd , London, UK, 1975 - isbn; 0-233-96656-0 LCCN = 140 pages
This is a work of fiction set in a bleak post apocalyptic future in England and Scotland. The first third of the book is a rough read. It sets up the setting for the action part which occurs in the last two thirds of the book. It starts out with a boy, Leven (short for eleven as they are only known as numbers and get names later in life) and his mentally challenged older brother Thirty at a boarding school. Upon graduation they are sent out to a distant worksite, in their case a slate mine. There they are to learn to be adults and perhaps be given a name. Leven meets up with a number of others and learns the hard facts of life. The overseer is a large robust and mildly cruel man. The co-workers are a mixed group. The living conditions are meager. One of the people at the mine is a half daft girl, Susanna who discovered an abandoned house, and in that house a copy of Arthur Ransomes book Swallowdale. Reading that book opens up a incomprehensible world of children who do things other than work, and have choice in their activities. She also learns some practical skills from the book. A girl and her young sister who have runaway from further south arrive and are hidden and helped. Then after a mine disaster Leven, Thirty, Susanna, and the young girl runaway to the north...to a mythical Colony where people are nicer and life may be easier. The young girl wants to go to what is to her a real, but perhaps mythical Scotland. They travel, have adventures of a hunted group, and each arrives at a moderately satisfactory conclusion, but still living in the dire apocalyptic world.
Nowhere in the story is it revealed what happened to cause life to be reduced from previous civilization to what appears to be an almost immediate post medieval life. There are ruins all about. There is barter trade for necessities and small groups producing necessities including food and such things as slate building materials. The content of the education at the schools is not mentioned, but must have been limited to literacy and basic arithmetic. Little is taught/known about geography or history.
This tale was probably meant to illustrate how Arthur Ransome put enough practical knowledge into his Swallowdale that it could be practically used to improve conditions and broaden the knowledge of a reading person who had little knowledge. It is a tough read through the first third of the book, but improves later. There are some incongruities such as having a motor powered boat... but the society as a whole not seemingly having the wherewithal to produce either gasoline or diesel fuel... or for that matter produce advanced machinery. Puzzling. If you want to read everything about or influenced by Arthur Ransome, this is another book for you.
Richard Halliburtons book of Marvels
by Halliburton, Richard
pub. by Bobs-Merril , NY, 1941 - isbn; (none) LCCN = 316 pages
This book is actually two previously published books Richard Halliburtons book of Marvels the Occident (c) 1937 and Richard Halliburtons book of Marvels the Orient (c) 1938 both published by Bobbs-Merril. It seems that this combined - bound-together book was published after Richard Halliburton went missing/died. In 1939 he attempted to cross the Pacific Ocean in a Chinese Junk and was never seen again. Not even any wreckage was ever found.
This book is written in a narrative style. It is written in simple language for an Jr. High School or High School audience. It appears that Halliburton took a number of young adults on a trip around the world showing them what he considered the Marvels of the world, some natural and many man-made.
The first book includes sites in North America, South America and Europe. There is a chapter for each place.
The first book The Occidental book includes
1 - The Bay Bridge, San Francisco, California USA
2 - Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
3 - Yosemite, California
4 - Grand Canyon, Arizona
5 - Boulder Dam, California-Arizona
6 - Niagra Falls, New York-Canada
7 - New York City
8 - Washington, D.C.
9 - Fort Jefferson, Florida, Dry Tortuga Is. - (where Dr. Mudd who treated Booth was imprisioned and there was a Yellow Fever epidemic)
10 - Popocatepetl, Volcano, Mexico
11 - Chichen Itza, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
12 - Christophes Castle, Haiti, Island of Hispanola
13 - Panama Canal
14 - Machu Picchu, Peru, South America
15 - Iguazu Falls, Brazil-Argentina
16 - Rio Janeiro, Brazil
17 - Gibraltar
18 - Carcassonne, France (excellent walled city in Southern France)
19 - Mount St. Michelle, France
20 - Reims Cathedral, France (Joan of Arc)
21 - The Matterhorn, Mountain in France
22 - Monastery of St. Bernard - St Bernard Pass - Switzerland-Italy
23 - St. Peters, Rome, Italy (written before Vatican City became a country)
24 - Bay of Naples - Mount Vesuvius
25 - Pompeii, Italy
26 - Capri, Italy - the Magic Grotto - near Naples
27 - Parthenon, Greece
28 - The Monastery of Sinopetra - men only in Greece (near Athos)
29 - St. Basils Church in the Kremlin, Russia
30 - Santa Sophia - Istanbul, Turkey
~ ~ ~ End of Occident book ~ ~ ~
The second book includes sites in Turkey, Rhodes, Crete, Egypt, Knosos, Timbuctoo (French West Africa), Rhodesia , Saudi Arabia, Trans-Jordan (now Israel and Jordan), Syria, Iraq, Persia, India, China and Japan.
The Oriental book includes
1 - Travels of Demetrius - Ephesus the temple of Diana, larger and grander then the Parthenon
2 - Halicarnassus the tomb of King Mausolus from which we get the word mausoleum.
3 - Colossus of Rhodes - did not straddle the harbor entrance
4 - Pharos of Alexandria - Lighthouse Egypt
5 - First Wonder of the World - the Pyramids and the Sphinx from an ancient perspective
6 - Pyramids, Egypt more modern visit
7 - Labyrinth, Island of Crete
8 - Slave City, Timbuctoo in western Sahara, Africa - birds on the roof. The description is much different from any other I have ever read.
9 - Victoria Falls, Zambezi River - Smoke that Sounds where Niagra, Iguazu and Victoria falls are compared
10 - Mecca - getting near and an interview with King Ibn Saud
11 - Petra, the Enchanted Temple carved out of solid rock
12 - Dead Sea
13 - Rock of Abraham - Jerusalem Temple
14 - looking for a tunnel under temple mount
15 - Baalbek, Syria - great huge quarried rocks (largest ever quarried) make the temple of Jupiter, much destroyed by earthquakes and the temple of Bacchus of which more stands
16 - Palmyra which attempted to be free of Rome and was destroyed, the city of Queen Zednobia, Syria
17 - Bagdad, Babylon, Samarra ziggurat - Iraq - King Ghazi
18 - Babylon, Iraq - explanation about why the Hanging Gardens were made for Nebuchadnezzar s queen.
19 - Isfahan, Persia - Nightingales the great mosque and the college Madrasa
20 - Udaipur in Indian state of Rajputana there is a lake with palaces, a Wonderland - a Hindu community challenged by a Mohammedan king and Padmini commits suicide rather than submit to him.
21 - Hindu Pricess - rowing on the lake with a young Hindu being caught in the rain.
22 - Taj Mahal history, India built by Shah Jehan as a funerary memorial for his beloved wife Promcess Arjemand. He reigned in Agra and was the first who sat on the Peacock Throne.
23 - Taj Mahal, India the visit
24 - flying by Mount Everest before it was climbed. The history of the attempts to climb it and the loss of George Mallory and Andrew Irvine.
25 - Tibet, Lasa - lamas in Buddhist Monastaries
26 - Potala - Tibet the main Monastary and head of government
27 - Madura, southern India - Hindu temple built by king Tirumala decorated with plaster figures
28 - Angkor - French Indo-China (Cambodia) which was mysteriously de-populated
29 - Great Wall of China
30 - Mount Fujiyama, Japan which they all climbed.
These books offer a wonderful view of the world shortly before WWII - when the western powers ruled the world and travel for westerners was easy. Read it for an idealized view of the world as it was.
River of Doubt - Theodore Roosevelts darkest journey
by Millard, Candice
pub. by Anchor Books (Random House) , NY, 2005 - isbn; 978-0-7679-1373-7 Maps p. xii - xiii black and white photos Notes and References p.355-393 Bibliography p. 395-402 Acknowledgements p. 403-407 Credits p. 408 Index p. 409-416 total size 416 p.
Millard does masterful work. This book begins with a short biography of Teddy Roosevelt as a person, set in his family and explains what drove him. He was born in 1858. He served as president of USA for the better part of 2 terms. He became President after McKinley was assassinated in 1901 (6 months into McKinleys 2nd term) so Theodore Roosevelt served just 6 months short of 2 full terms as President. He ran again in 1912 as the candidate of the Progressive -Bull Moose- Party which he formed to challenge the Republican Party which would not nominate him. He lost this presidential election. With this in background, to heal the sting of losing, he agreed to travel to South America on the invitation of the Argentinian Museo Social to lecture. He accepted and also planned other travel, and a scientific expedition. Plans were set in place, a team was gathered and supplies purchased.
Upon arrival in South America the scope and direction of the expedition changed dramatically from a more manageable, tame and safe expedition to a true exploration of the river of doubt in extreme southern Brazil, of which was known only where it started and that it fed into the Amazon system somewhere. Brazilian officer Candido Mariano da Silva Rondon, was the co-leader and in fact practical day-to-day leader of the expedition. They got off to a rough start for a number of reasons, including that they were originally prepared for a much tamer expedition. Roosevelt and Rondon got along well. The travel was brutal. The dugout canoes used heavy and awkward in the river which had many rapids and waterfalls. Supplies were short, much was lost. The idea that supplies could be supplemented by hunting was impossible (game to hunt mostly not in evidence and even fishing not very productive.) Theodore Roosevelts son Kermit came along to assist. It was good for him to do so. After some time when things got really rough and Theodore was injured and became infected he needed Kermit to force him to continue living. Almost surprisingly the local natives did not attack and were not seen, although their shadow presence was acutely felt. There was one murder on the trip when one of the helpers shot another over food stealing. He ran away, 3 days later begged to come back, was rebuffed at first and when some were sent back for him he had disappeared.
The expedition ended just in time, as they could not have held out much longer. In short order the Roosevelt and party returned to USA and a heros welcome. He never really recovered total health. He traveled and lectured about the expedition, even in Europe. He died a few at age 60, just a few years after the end of the expedition. It should be noted that Rondon lived an extremely long life and died in old age of natural causes. Millard often goes into background explanation about the natural setting, and gives other background information which while valuable cuts up the narrative some times.
This is an extremely interesting read. In impact compares well with Ernest Shackletons adventures, but in steaming jungle rather then freezing and ice.
by Hunt, Peter
pub. by Twain Publishers, Boston, 1991 - isbn; 0-8057-7003-8 Notes and References p.151-163 Index p.164-169 The Author p.170 total size 170 p.
At first I thought - Another biography of Arthur Ransome ? - Reading it I find that it is an entirely different type of Arthur Ransome study, and one which explores new ground.
Hunt gives a brief overview of Ransomes life and then dwells on meticulous study of his writing methods, plot development etc. It is in essence a study of the writing method and style of Arthur Ransome. It also compares his writing with and places it among other writing for children. It is a masterful book. An appriciation of technical ability. Each of Arthur Ransomes books is examined, even some which are not popularly known.
While other biographies explore Ransomes life socially, Hunt explores the act of writing.
Peter Hunt is from the University of Wales, Cardiff.
If you want to read about an authors work lovingly disected and appreciated, this is the read for you.
The Making of the African Queen or how I went to Africa with Bogart, Bacall and Huston and almost lost my mind
by Hepburn, Katharine
pub. by Knopf, NY 1987 isbn 0-394-56272-0 heavily illustrated with black and white photos - photo credits p.132-133 - a note on the type face used p.134 - - 134 p. .
This book is the story of the making of the movie African Queen. It effectivley begins in 1951 with the beginning organization of making a movie from the 1935 novel written by English author C. S. Forester.
Part of the interest of making this movie is that it was to be filmed on location in Africa, which the actors thought would be very interesting. The principle actors were Katharine Hepburn as Rose Sayer and Humphrey Bogart as Charlie Alnutt. The director was the legendary John Huston.
After organizing themselves in England they flew to Stanleyville (now Kisangani) spent some time in a hotel there. After a few days they moved to their production camp taking the railroad to Ponthierville (now Ubundu) then some 40 miles to Biondo where their jungle camp was built. They filmed on or near the Ruiki River for some time. For other filming they flew to Entebe,Uganda near Kampala. Katharine got permission to take her Congolese young man assistant with her for that part of the filming. (Hepburn noted that the natives were treated much better in Uganda than in the Belgian Congo.) On location they stayed on a boat and filmed other parts of the story. In this place most of the crew got sick. It turned out that their supposedly safe bottled water was compromised. Both Bogart and Huston were not much affected, as their liquor consumption largely kept them safe. The filming and sound crew were also sick. They finished up as soon as possible, then flew to England for the final filming on stages there, including all the shots where they were actually IN the water. They had been warned not to get in African water because of likely infection from bilharzia. By the end of the year the African Queen was finished. Bogart got an Academy Award for the lead in the movie.
This is a delightful read. It offers a minor view into what central Africa was like in 1951. ~ 2014-08-08 ~
Blood River a journey to Africas broken heart
by Butcher, Tim
pub. by Grove Press, NY 2008 isbn 0-8021-1877-1 - photos - 363 p. -- map p. Viii-ix -- Epilogue p. 343-346 -- Bibliography p. 347-348 -- Acknowledgements p. 349-350 -- Index p.351-363
Tim Butcher was assigned to be the Africa correspondent for the Daily Telegraph the same newspaper which backed Stanley when he crossed Africa East to West 1874-1877. Tims mother also vacationed in the Congo in 1950 when it had a good veneer of civilization. Part of his family history included stories and having keepsakes of this in the home where he grew up.
Butcher did his travel in 2004 in what he hoped was a lull in the fighting which has gone on for over 20 years.
Butcher devotes whole chapters to historical and to a lesser extent geographical background which is very enlightening in understanding the area and how it came to be the way it is/was in 2004.
After much preparation and emailing to leaders and NGOs in the area Butcher starts out by flying in a UN
airplane to Kalemie (was Abertville) on the western shore of Lake Tanganykia in Katanga province of the
Democratic Republic of Congo. Here he stayed with the local Anglican bishop and was supported by an
official of a cobalt mining company. Here he met up with contacts with an aide NGO Care International who travel in pairs of 100cc off-road motorbikes.
He traveled overland paralleling the Lukunga a seasonal river which flows into the Congo from lake
Tanganyika when it overflows.
to Kasongo then crossed river to (Kabambarre) on Care Int. motorbikes rough journey he did not have enough boiled water and suffered dehydration on the way. The motorbikes did not stop for anything during the day, being live moving targets. At night they slept and headed out pre-dawn... not enough time to boil water for next day. He was accompanied with a pygmy rights activist who knew many along the first part of this trip and he protected them by his presence.
Across Congo River at Kasongo (bridge out) ferried with motorbikes in large dugout canoe. They proceeded to Kimbomo through dense jungle to Kindu where UN station was (only supplied by air the UN people there did not believe he got there overland they thought it was impossible). After a short layover he proceeded by UN (Uruguayan Navy) patrol boat 150 km to Mutshaliko. Butcher hired a canoe there with 4 paddlers over 2 days they traveled 200 km to Stanley Falls - passed Ponthierville (=Ubundu). It was Very dangerous there. He spend the night in a church. The Care Internatinal people were there with motorbikes and they proceeded to Kisangani (Stanleyville) down river from the upper Stanley Falls 7 sets of cataracts.
He was stuck in Kisangani for some time, luxurating in a fairly decent and expensive hotel for a few days, then staying in a Catholic Church guest house. Most travel to and from Kisangani, even for supplies was by air. There is only infrequent river traffic. Butcher tried byt could not get on fuel supply boat which was heading back down river. He did manage to get a ride on UN pusher tug and barge run by Malaysian navy officer and piloted by a Congolese skipper with congolese crew. They proceeded down river past Bumba and Lisala to Mbandaka which was the destination of the tug. The river traffic from there downstream may have taken weeks and there was no timetable when the next tug and barge to arrive. Butcher took the faster way from Mbandake to Kinshasa by UN helicopter. He rested up in Kinshasa and did the last bit by jeep/car to port of Maradi at lower end of the lower falls (Cataracts) of Congo River on moderately good road, then the absolute last bit on more primitive track (passable with difficulty by 4 wheel vehicle) to the actual mouth of the river at Bomba. (cast iron church).
During the whole trip Butcher reveals much history and describes the current situation (in 2004). The book has an epilogue which brings one up to the situation in 2006. ~ 2014-08-02 ~
Old Indio last of he Karankawa and other short stories
by Hathcock, Steve
pub. Padre Island Trading Company, 104 W. Pompany St., South Padre Island, Texas 78597 - copyright 2010 comb bound isbn (none) - OCLC (Worldcat) number 701236095 - - 140 p.
Steve Hathcock lists Kay Lay as his editor and has a special acknowledgement to Amy Lindstrom.
This book is a stitched together grouping of 26 stories which are independent chapters each a story mostly about Padre Island, on the southern part of the Gulf of Mexico coast of Texas. They are roughly in chronological order, with the exception of the first chapter which strides from early Karankawa tribe history down to the death of - Indian Joe, aka Emil Guerro - who died some time before 1960, but even the year of his death is unknown.
Hathcock does a total of 21 chapters of informal history of the Island and the more interesting inhabitants.
The last 5 chapters are generally about treasure hunting including techinque on using metal detectors.
An interesting book of local history, where the stories may be simple truth, or truth embroidered. If you are considering a visit to South Padre Island a first read of this book will make it a more interesting experience.
~ 2014-07-22 ~
Facing the Congo - a modern-day journey into the heart of darkness
by Taylor, Jeffrey
pub. by . Three Rivers (random house), New York, 2000 isbn - 0-609-80826-5 - - 261 p. - map p.2 - Black and White photos - Epilogue p.257-260 - Acknowledgements and Prologue. Visions of a River p. xi-xxii
Jeffrey Taylor served as in the Peace Corps in Uzbekistan and was working in Russia when he became dissatisfied with the way his life was going. He became infected with the idea of going to Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), and taking a local canoe down the Congo River from Kisangani downstream to Kinshasa. If he succeded he would be the first since H. M. Stanley did the trip 1875-1877.
After much preparation Taylor flew to Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of the Congo, just across the river from Kinshasa in Zaire (as Democratic Republic of the Congo was then called). In Brazzaville he met with Peace Corps people and took a few weeks to learn rudimentary Lingala the most common language in the region, other than French.
He took a ferry from Brazzaville to Kinshasa and encountered a less than great reception. He described incredible poverty and squalor. The hotel he found was dreadful. Looking for a ride up river to Kisangani he was directed to -the Colonel- (Zaire Army) who ran a pusher tug (pousseur) which pushed barges up river to Kinsangani carrying cargo and a large quantity of people. Taylor was roughly befriended by -the Colonel- and was provided with a ride, over a few weeks, to arrive in Kisangani (The Congo River goes through rapids above there and is not navigable by the same boats which travel from Kinshasa.) Taylor learns much on the trip up. He purchases a 30 ft. dugout canoe and hires Desi, one of the crew as a guide. After buying supplies they leave in secrecy so that none wishing to harm him would be able to easily follow him. There are difficulties, in the Lokele tribe region, but the trip went well enough. Enviornmental councerns (mosquitos, wasps etc.) were seveare. Desi visited relatives, including his wife and child, and soon after became ill. Traveling through the area where his tribe lived was not very hazardous. There were other areas downstream inhabited by less friendly tribes such as the Ngombe tribe which natively spoke another language and who they did encounter and the fierce Bangala tribe further down the river. (The Bangala supplied many of the soldiers in the Zairean Army under President Mobutu.)
In the town of Lisala Jeffrey Taylor hired an armed member of the army to accompany and guard them for travel through more dangerous territory. Desi became more ill and came to crisis. To save his life they tied on to a pousseur (called Colonel Ebeya) with barges. They managed to tie on without it stopping, an interesting feat, near the town of La Gare, near where the Mongala River enters the Congo. Taylor had gone some 470 miles on his trip when he had to quit. He paid the fare for the soldier to return to his post and paid him the full amount agreed on plus a bonus. Desi was also paid off with bonus, and given the canoe and all the equipment left. His condition became much better by use of medicine from some selling medicine on the barges. There were some 4000 people traveling on this barge tow. These barge tows are regular towns on the Congo.
He and some Spaniards he encountered on the Ebeya left river travel at Mbandaka and flew back to Kinshasa and the practical end of the adventure. From there Taylor traveled across the Congo to Brazzaville and flew back home.
Jeffrey Taylor includes a good epilogue finishing off the story and his eventual marriage to his Russian friend and living near Moscow, enjoying the Russian winter.
This is an incredible and detailed true adventure story, from an area where few have ever gone, especially in the last 20 years. Read it for the adventure. Read it for priceless geographical knowlege.
~ 2014 ~
Arthur Ransome . Master Storyteller
by Wardale, Roger
pub. by Great Northern Books. Ilkley, UK ( www.greatnorthenbooks.co.uk) - 2010 isbn 978 1 905080 81 6
- - 160 p. - - ransome
This is a biographical work which details Arthur Ransome writing the books for which he is famous. It is well written and illustrated by numerous black and white photos of locations that were in some way sites of Ransomes writings. Each of books has its own chapter describing how it came to be written. Ransom had an interesting method. After outlining the story he just jumped in and wrote a chapter anywhere in the book, then wrote other chapters and stitched them together. After a rough first draft was done he re-wrote until satisfied with the text. His wife Evgenia, read the drafts and offered criticism, sometimes harsh, driving Arthur to re-write and improve the stories. Ransomes mother also read and offered advice. Sometimes the publisher (a friend as well as business associate) offered suggestions.
Arthur Ransome was very particular about the illustrations for the books. At first he considered professional offerings dreadful and actually the first edition of the Swallows and Amazons was not illustrated beyond a map. He and publisher, and the American publisher Macmillan found illustrators whose work was appreciated. In later works Ransome largely did his own illustrations, sometimes with help from talented friends.
This book is a very good study of the work of a successful author. It reveals methodology, as well as the joys and sorrows of a very successful writer. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in writing fiction for people of any age, and for anyone interested in having a better appreciation of Arthur Ransome. I have read 3 book length biographies of Arthur Ransome before reading this one. Each of them reveals a little more about the man. He lived a very interesting life before he launched into the Swallows and Amazons series, and revealed himself as a great writer in the creation of this series. In his lifetime over a million copies of his works sold. A great accomplishment particularly in that most were hardback books.
Rod and Line
by Ransome, Arthur
pub. by Oxford Univ. Press - 1980 isbn 0-19-281-278-5
(first pub. by Jonathan Cape 1929 ) - - 196 p. - - ransome
Before Arthur Ransome wrote Swallows and Amazons, and after he returned from Russia, he wrote articles for the Manchester Guardian on fishing. This book includes 50 of these articles. The writing is clear and amazingly good as non-fiction literature. Few write as clearly or entertainingly as some of the first few articles in this book. They were collected by Ransome himself in their first book publication.
Almost all fishing discussed here is in streams and small rivers.
Much of the writing involves pointing out proper behavior for fishermen.
It should be noted that almost all of the fishing is using what in USA is called a ~ fly rod ~. The tying of fishing flies is discussed in some articles. The general styles are known by specific names, which are known to afecionados but not the general public, but then these were articles for members of the fishing fraternity.
Fishing in the UK... mostly England and Scotland... at this period of history was a stratified sport. Fishing for trout and salmon was considered noble. Fishing for other fish such as pike, perch, carp, tench, roach, chub, etc. is second class.
If you are thinking of putting on your tweed coat, waders, taking up your rod and creel to do some stream fishing, or studying about how this was done before WWII, this is the book for you. Also, particulary in the first 16 pages, the writing will raise a chuckle. It is really well written.
Ransome was a serious fisherman. When he was being interrogated by the British governmental authorities upon his first return to England from Russia early during the Russian Revolution, (they were afraid he was an agent of the communists) he was asked what his politics were...he fameously replied fishing and stuck to that answer. The authorities came to believe him.
Young Crusoe -
by Hofland, Barbara - 1770-1844
pub. by John Heywood, Bristol, England, (orig. about 1840) this edition 1894 isbn -none- several pen and ink illustrations 164 p. - -
Subtitle is The adventures of a shipwreched boy on the island of St. Paul., inthe Indian Ocean in the year 1826
There are many editions. some are 164 pages long. - There is a Kindle edition dated 2011. which lists a print length of 116 pages. ASIN = B004J8HTNA - There is another editino in the British Library listed as being published in 1896.
The Crusoe family lives in India, where the father is a successful businessman. The family decides to move back to England. The mother and daughter return first while the father remains, with the son, Charles, to close up the business.
Some time before the move began, young Charles Crusoe after reading Daniel Defoes Robinson Crusoe asks his father about the story and gets good information in response. Charles attempts to imitate Robinson Crusoe in little ways related to self sufficiency. Mother and daughter go to England. Over a year later Mr Crusoe and son take a ship to leaving India for England. Charles Indian servant, Sambo, accompanies them. A great storm comes up and most aboard attempt to leave in a small boat as the ship becomes unsafe. The small boat founders and all those are lost. The elderly and sick captain, Charles, his father and the servant remain aboard until the ship wrecks on St. Paul Island in the southern Indian Ocean. The captain dies of his illness. Both the Charles and his father also have a fever. They explore the small island and the father attaches a sheet to a tree on a hill as a distress signal. They enlarge a small cave for shelter. Then while the father walks around the island he disappears. The servant disappears with at the same time. Young Charles Crusoe is left alone. He survives his fever, wonders what happened to his father and the servant friend. Charles experiences what the storied Robinson Crusoe did, being alone on a deserted island.
Many months later he is rescued, his father in attendance with an interesting tale on how he was taken off the island and survived. They return to England and a good family reunion.
This book was very likely written in the late 1830s. It is set in 1826. The language and mannerisms are archaic to the modern reader. One can view that as an irritation or a challenge. For me, it added to the charm of the story.
The reason I got and read this book was that it purported to involve St. Paul Island. I have an interest in that place mostly due to a description in Alan Villiers book on the Indian Ocean. It became readily apparent that the author of this book knew that it, and neighboring Amsterdam Island . She must have located them on a map and used them in her story. She either used literary license or misunderstood, as she portrayed Amsterdam Island as volcanic and St. Paul Island as more flat. In reality St. Paul Island is quite obviously the caldera of an ancient volcano. The descritpion of the island, its flora and fauna is totally wrong in reality, but good for the story. - This is a fine story, but just a story, which reveals much more about the way of life in the British Empire in the 1820 - 1830 time period.
The author wrote many books for children during her life. This one is not the most often published.
It is an interesting read - for the flavor of the time.
The Last Navigator -
by Thomas, Stephen D.
pub. by Henry Holt and Co., NY. 1987 - isbn; 0-8050-0096-8 Index p. - 308 total size 308 p.
The story of Mau Piailug
Freakonomics - a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything
by Levitt, Steven D. and Dubner, Steven J.
pub. by William Morrow, an imprint of Harper Collins, NY. 2005 - isbn; 0-06-073132-X Notes (chapter by chapter) p. 209-230 Acknowdedgments p. 231-232 Index p. 233-242 total size 242 p.
Levitt bills himself as an economist. He comes off as a rigorous statistician with a lot of raw data with which to work (play). Upfront he says that the book does not have a theme. He is correct about that.
The chapters include
-1- What do Schoolteachers and Sumo Wrestlers have in Common ( cheating. In which chapter he uses some interesting statistical methods where he can not achieve his -truth- by a show direct facts. )
-2- How is the Ku Klux Klan Like a group of Real-Estate Agents ( Information is power, and when the good true information gets out - Klan passwords and foolishness - Real-Estate value information - get out things change )
-3- Why do Drug Dealers Still Live with their Moms (because for most there is little money in it. There is an interesting narrative on the workings of a network of gangs selling crack cocaine.)
-4- Where have all the Criminals Gone. ( most controversial - they were aborted before they were born )
-5- What Makes a Perfect Parent ( except for genetics, wealth, and amount of education, children are more affected by their peers . Swimming pools in residential property is much more dangerous than having a gun in the house.)
-6- Perfect Parenting Part II - or - Would a Roshanda by any other Name smell as sweet ( a long and wandering bit about whether or not the names parents give their children have any effect on their lives.)
On the whole, the authors hope that the reader will look at things differently having read this book. I think they worked long and hard for modest merit. This was a very popular book when it came out. Sometimes the authors strain too hard to make their points. They rail against ~common knowledge~ and often enough common knowledge is not totally correct. This is a smattering of overkill. It is not always convincing.
The authors have a follow-up book - Super Freakonomics - published some 4 years after this one. It starts out with an explanatory note ~In which we admit to lying in our previous book~ I intend to read at least the first part of that book.
Tupaia - Captain Cooks Polynesian navigator
by Druett, Joan
pub. by Praeger an imprint of ABC-CLIO, LLC, Santa Barbara, California, USA, in 2011 - isbn; 978-0-313-38748-7 map and some B and W pictures Bibliography p. 241-246 Acknowledgments and Chapter by chapter commentary p.218-240 total size 257 p.
This is a thorough biography of Tupaia (name variously spelled in original documents) who was a Polynesian nobleman Navigator and perhaps on some level a priest. He was born and raised on the island of Raiatea. In his adulthood people from the island of Bora Bora captured Raiatea and he escaped, eventually to Tahiti. There he became an adviser to Purea (female) one of the rulers of Tahiti and became a powerful person on the island. Polynesian society was rigidly stratified. Tupaia was of noble lineage and was always treated as a noble. He also had considerable training in navigation and religion, so was powerful on a number of levels.
Tupaia was one of the noble group who encountered the English when HMS Dolphin commanded by Capt. Samuel Wallis discovered Tahiti on June 19, 1767. They named the island King George III Island. The Wallis and crew were suffering from scurvy and other ailments. After a number of violent altercations the situation settled down and the Dolphin anchored down for a long visit. The crew soon learned that the female Tahitians were sexually available and took full advantage of their company. The Dolphin left on July 26, 1767 leaving with good feelings toward Purea and her group. May 18, 1768 HMS Dolphin arrived back in England.
Between English visits French explorer Bougainville briefly visited Tahiti.
Also during this time Tupaia had a very large pyramidal temple (marae) constructed. After that there was war between Pureas followers and those of rival Tutaha. Tutaha won. Purea escaped to the mountains. Tupaia also escaped, mostly by changing sides.
England was scientifically involved with astronomical measurements and viewing a transit of Venus across the face of the Sun from various places on Earth would allow certain measurements to be made. Also the current theory was that there was a continent in the South Pacific to balance the mass of the continents north of the equator. An expedition was formed to be led by Capt. James Cook on HMS Endeavor . They were to take those astronomical measurements from the island of Tahiti in June 1769. Several of the Dolphin crew signed on HMS Endeavor for the trip. English nobleman Sir Joseph Banks and some scientists were also aboard.
The ship arrived in Tahiti April 11, 1769. The crew was puzzled that Purea was not in evidence and managed to form a trading relationship with Tutahas group. He was much more difficult to work with. At first Tupaia was not recognized, but after some time he became known for who he was, and also even Purea showed up in her diminished leadership capacity. Tupaia, among a few others moved aboard HMS Endeavor and with a few others became part of the crew. From Tahiti they sailed west visiting Raiatea, which the Bora Borans captured and ruled, then sailed south in search of the non-existant southern continent. Tupaias body did not thrive on navy rations. He began to suffer from scurvy. After taking a beating in the roaring 40s they headed west and came upon New Zealand. They were very lucky that Tupaia could communicate with the Maori, who were Polynesians isolated from their roots. The Maori are very warlike, and difficult to work with, and any relationship would have been impossible without Tupaias intervention. They had arrived approximately 500 years earlier, and 300 years previously a huge tsunami had devastated their coastal population. The Maori had to totally re-build their society without most of the keepers of the old ways (and elders who knew the religion) who had been killed in the inundation and/or famine which followed. Tupaia worked well with their current leaders and priesthood and helped them re-establish their religious knowledge. Capt. Cook surveyed both North and South islands and with Tupaias help with little bloodshed.
From there HMS Endeavor sailed for Australia and sailed the whole east coast, threading inside the Great Barrier Reef with much difficulty. The Australian aborigines did not speak Polynesian however Tupaia managed to communicate with them with much patience and hand signaling. They finally rounded Cape York at the northeastern corner of Australia and arrived at the southern coast of New Guinea on September 3, 1770. Most of the crew were sick, they were on short rations. Soon after they arrived in Batavia (now Jakarta, Indonesia) on October 10, 1770. There at the Dutch port they hired a major re-fit of HMS Endeavor . It was a very unhealthy place. Many died of disease, including both Tupaia and his young protege Taiata. Tupaias intention was to get support in England to fit out an expedition to route out the Bora Borans from Raiatea and and utterly destroy them. He did not live to attempt this.
Capt. Cook and the remaining crew of HMS Endeavor arrived back in England July 13, 1771.
Captain James Cook sailed on 2 additional expeditions to the Pacific, eventually dying in Hawaii in a skirmish with the Hawaiians.
Down the Nile - alone in a fishermans skiff
by Mahoney, Rosemary
pub. by Little Brown and Company, NY, 2007 - isbn; 978-0-316-10745-7 Bibliography p.271-273 Acknowledgments p.275 total size 277 p.
This book is much more than a tale of travel down the Nile River in Egypt. It was published in 2007, which I expect means that the actual trip was in 2006 or even a year earlier. This book is a history of travel accounts on the Nile from Herodotus through Napoleons army and many travelers from the 1700s. She particularly quotes Florence Nightingale, more fameous for her nursing, and the French writer Gustave Flaubert.
Rosemary Mahoney rows small boats at home in New England for relaxation. She came up with the idea of rowing down a good part of the Nile, just for the experience.
The narrative begins in Cairo then quickly moves to Aswan, some 423 miles by air (555 miles by surface transportation) up stream, which in this case is - going South. The town of Aswan is located a few miles downstream (North) of the Aswan Dam constructed in the 1960s. It has a population over 250,000 and is 636 ft. above sea level. It is just North (downstream) of the cataracts which by definintion divide the Nile into upper and lower sections. The felucca captains used to sail up through this swfit water using considerable skill, and sail up the Nile for a considerable distance. After the dam it is sailed for just the the challenge sail, past the cataract then turn back to Aswan.
Mahoney spends considerable time attempting to buy a boat to row. She is rebuffed on all sides. People just do not do that, especially females. There were many offers to hire a felucca, there was a fleet of them available. Finally one felucca captain (a Nubian) took her seriously, and lent her his tiny skiff to row about Elephantine Island by Aswan.
After some negotiation and the arrival of a western female friend who lives in Cairo, she rows the little skiff a head of the friendly captains felucca, her friend and a crewmember aboard, often just out of sight of the felucca. They spend the evenings camped out with the felucca and other feluccas which are on more traditional tourist trips. This part of the journey ends in Luxor. At Luxor the felucca sails back to Aswan with her friendly Nubian captain.
She found Luxor to be a veritable den of iniquity. Tourists, especially older European women often coming for carnal company with local young men more than to see the antiquities.
She managed to buy a boat fairly directly, from some fishermen in Luxor and after some gathering of supplies rowed south to Quena on her own. The terrors of this part of her trip came mostly out of her own head. Toward the end she was discovered by a man and 4 of his young children. It gave her a fright and she reacted in fright. Later she came to understand that her reaction was unjustified. The story ends with her waiting for the train in Quena, her quest finished.
There is much more to this book, exploring social lives of the locals she met. Upon invitation she visits the family home of the Nubian captain on Elephantine Island, and met his elderly mother and sister. She later visited before he came home and had interesting conversation with the sister. She also had conversations with others over what in our western society would be considered highly personal matters. There was great curiosity about the -freedom- which westerners have, especially western women.
This is a very good read if one would want to have a look into upper Nile Egypt before the ferment which began in 2012.
Salvage for the Saint
by Charteris, Leslie - Peter Blossom and John Kruse (actual collaborative authors)
pub. by Crime Club - Doubleday, Garden City, NY - 1983 - isbn; 0- none shown - LCN 83-5233 181 p.
Another book written by two writers Peter Blossom and John Kruse in collaboration with Leslie Charteris. This one starts out with a powerboat race off the Isle of Wight in England, on the English Channel. A boat suspiciously explodes and burns. The widow of the boat owner had asked for help from Simon Templar. On the case he follows the widow across France in search of a large yacht which her husband owned and which he (the husband) had never mentioned to his wife. Adventures ensue. The large motor yacht is found. A hunt for a treasure in gold bars that the husband stole is sought. Complicating matters are the husbands partners in crime who, unlike the husband were caught and did jail time. The husband had managed to escape. The partners are ruthless in their efforts to get their share (all of) the gold. Through several plot twists and police intervention the story comes to a satisfactory conclusion, at least for The Saint and the widow.
Voyages to paradise. exploring in the wake of Captain Cook
by Gray, William R. 1946-
pub. by National Geographic Society, 1981 - isbn; 0-897044-284-8 215 p.
This book is a very clear biography of James Cook, from his birth in northern UK of Scottish parents through his short career in commercial sail and his long Royal Navy career.
Cook distinguished himself in Canada during what we call the French and Indian War by doing an excellent job surveying the coast and supporting the invasion of Canada. He went on doing much the same in the Caribbean and came to be noticed by practical navy people in very high places. When a great expedition to the Pacific Ocean to observe the transit of the planet Venus across the face of the Sun on Tahiti he was chosen to head the expedition. Aboard the Endeavor he accomplished that goal and also the second part of his orders... to explore the South Pacific Ocean, create friendly relations with the natives (and plant the flag.) At that time -1769 - it was thought that there must be a continent in the S. Pacific to counterbalance the landmass in the northern hemisphere. Cook was to find if it was there and explore it. He found a number of islands and thoroughly surveyed New Zealand and the eastern coast of Australia, encountering the Great Barrier Reef, surviving grounding on it. On that first voyage Joseph Banks, the great naturalist was along.
As the expedition was wildly successful he was nominated to take a second and larger expedition to fill in more blank spots on the map. Two ships the Resolution and the Adventure were used. Cook was one of the first to have the advantage of Harrisons marine chronometer to help determine longitude. Although skeptical at first he found It to be of great assistance.
More islands and island groups were discovered on this trip. Both ships also sailed far south finding ice but no continent. They also discovered the very remote Easter Island on this expedition. Although there were 2 ships, they became separated after some time. Cook on the Resolution stayed much longer. The Adventure sailed for England (after losing a few of their crew to cannibal Maori in New Zealand.) Upon return to England James Cook was celebrated as the great man he was. He had several visits with King George III, a very high honor.
Cook was ready to settle down with his wife and children. He was given a good shore job. Then a third expedition was planned, this time to explore some of the northern Pacific specifically to find a Northwest passage linking the Atlantic and Pacific north of Canada. James Cook was again pressed into service. This time the ships Resolution and Discovery were not well prepared and Cook found it necessary to constantly make repairs. William Bligh (of Bounty fame, was an officer on this 3rd voyage. Cook revisited some of his better harbors and delivered some livestock to Tahiti. He headed north and discovered Hawaii and was well received. From there they sailed north and actually made it through the Bering Straight before being turned back by ice and the lateness of the season. He met up with Russian traders at Unalaska, an outpost in the Aleutian Islands. They shared maps and information, then Cook headed back to Hawaii. At first he was very well received, arriving in the midst of a religious celebration during which he was taken as a god. They did some repairs, headed out, cracked a mast and returned for repairs. Gods were not supposed to return and relations with the Hawaiians turned sour. James Cook, and some of the marine guard were killed in a skirmish on the beach. There was some difficulty getting his body back for a proper English burial, but in time they were presented with his bones.
Charles Clerke then led the expedition and took it north the next season, did some exploration and headed west to Kamchatka. He became ill and died. A message was sent overland using Russian lines of communication to give a brief report on the expedition. It returned to England Lts. John Gore and James King brought the ships home, returning August 1780. They had been away 4 years. Cooks wife and family were supported by a generous pension, provided as a reward for his valuable service. His children died in various sickness or accidents. His wife lived to old age, dying at age 93, 56 years after her husband died.
James Cook was and excellent seaman, a superb navigator and a very humane explorer, treating the people he met with as much dignity and kindness as he possibly could, given the circumstances.
Another, and somewhat more lighthearted, which traces Capt. James Cooks travels is Blue Latitudes - Boldly going where Captain Cook has gone before by Horwitz, Tony. Of course there is a large body of official writing about Capt. Cook. some of the most detailed is by John C. Beaglehole and historian Michael E. Hoare of New Zealand.
The Saint and the Hapsburg Necklace
by Charteris, Leslie - Short, Christopher (actual author)
pub. by Magna Print Books, Lancanshire, England - isbn; 0-86009-223-2 347 p.
This book is set in 1938 and was published 1968, probably written shortly before it was published. This is notable because it portrays Vienna, Austria as the world was beginning to experience what soon would be World War II. Simon Templar is staying in a businessmans hotel in Vienna and his curiosity brings him into a situation with a beautiful young woman. As the story develops she is the keeper of the Hapsburg Necklace, which is hidden in her ancestral castle. The castle is occupied by Nazi SS who know of the necklace and would like to have it. The story winds and twists around the recovery of the necklace and there are sufficient plot twists and turns to make an interesting tale.
During the later part of Leslie Charteris life there were others who wrote books which were published under his name. Like a Renaissance master, Charteris had a look at the work done make improvements as necessary and release it as a finshed work. I am sure that this is one of those. The plot has a few more twists and turns than a classic Charteris work. It is a lot of fun, and a good fast read.
by Haworth-Maden, Clare. editor
one of the Ancient Cultures series - and much of this material was previously published in Viking Mythology pub. by Chartwell Books,Edison, NJ, USA 1998, (c) Quantum Bks Ltd., London - isbn; 0-7858-1081-1 highly illustrated in color and Black and White Glossary of Gods and Goddesses p. 49 -63 - - this book has 64 p.
Highly illustrated book includes a history - creation myth - of Viking/Teutonic religion. It offers short stories on each of the gods/goddesses relating them to their position in the whole of Nordic myth. It also has a glossary of them at the end of the book, identifying each with a short sentence or two. Early on one can see why Christianity became popular after traditional Teutonic/Nordic religion. Christianity is much simpler, and more positive. This book is a good introduction to northern European myth.
Band Saw Projects
by Crabb, Tom
pub. by Sterling Publishing Co. Inc, NY, 1988 - isbn; 0-8069-6718-8 LCCN = 88-2162 - Black and White photos Appendix - how to make a Pantograph, Ovaler, Sriber 122-127p - - Index p. 127-128 - - 128 p.
Tom Crabb presents a very straight forward book on the band saw. Pages 6 - 19 are particularly useful for one who has a new band saw and needs to know how it works, and how to properly set it up and adjust it for best use.
One of the first -chapters- involves making joints (mortise, rabbet, dovetail, half lap, saddle, box or finger joint as well as the birds mouth joint. He also explains about jigs for repetitive work. He discusses various types of glues at some length.
- polyvinyl resin emulsions
- polyvinyl acetate or PVA - yellow or white emulsions (examples Tight-Bond and Elmers carpenters glue) - grab quickly and do not irritate the skin - less resistance to moisture - tends to clog sandpaper - main limitation is ~cold creep~ lacks resistance to continuously applied loads
- epoxies - developed in 1940s - must be accurately mixed - is a good gap filler - only requires contact (no clamps necessary) is waterproof
- urea formaldehyde - Weldwood Plastic resin (powder must be mixed with water) hard and brittle when cured, sands well but will take an edge off cutting tools. - will stick to any kind of wood. It resists moisture and high temperatures better than PVA glues. - can be cleaned up with soap and water before it cures.
Crabb advises keeping many kinds of glue in the shop and using what is most useful for any particular job.
He has a short chapter on scaling up plans and sketches - grid example, use of the pantograph, and using a photocopier.
After expounding on glue he gets into the 25 different projects, many of which can only be easily accomplished using the band saw as a machine tool vs. any other normal woodworking tool. Several of the first involve cutting a small log or balk of wood into cylinders.
Another is making folding baskets, which are spiral cut boards which get pushed out to form a basket. The angle of cut needs to be between 4 percent and 6 percent
Cutting rings and glue stacking them is another technique. (Most of these types of techniques involve cutting into the ring and gluing the entrance cut shut before proceeding with the projects.)
The Lap Desk (a historical project) and the ~Chicken Box~ use finger joint hinges in a most interesting way, doweling through the joint to make a hinge.
All in all, a very interesting book which is as or even more valuable introducing the band saw as a tool and discussing technique as it is demonstrating the various individual projects.
A very interesting read if one has a new band saw. (Which I do.)
How to Avoid Huge Ships or I never met a ship I liked
by Trimmer, John W.
pub. by Captain John W. Trimmer, Seattle, WA, 1982 (printed by The National Writers Press, Aurora, Colorado - isbn; 0-88100-019-1 LCCN = 82-61398. - illustrative charts and Black and White photos 97 p.
Trimmer is a ship captain and professional pilot, meaning a licensed person who takes ships into and out of specific ports. He worked in the Panama Canal and at the time of the writing of this book worked the Port of Seattle and the Pacific NW coast north to Alaska.
The book is organized into chapters
What you should know - Ships and Engines
Maneuvering Large Ships around Small Boats
Lights - Here Trimmer recommends good regular navigation lights which should be able to be seen for a long distance, as well as other lights to call attention to the small boat. In essence, the more light the better.
Crossing Ahead of a Ship - do not do it - the ship is coming much faster than you think, and the big ship can not stop in time, or turn fast enough to dodge you.
The Dance of Death - The hazard of changing course late, meanwhile the other ship/boat changes course so that the danger is not diminished. Much like 2 people approaching on a sidewalk each dodging to miss one another and actually both dodging the same way to a collision.
Why will a Ship hold course Until Close to a Small Boat -
Wake of a Ship and the Bow Wave - Bow waves can be dangerous. (and so can stern waves, which are harder to see.)
Cutting Ships close Astern - do not do it. AND be aware of tugs towing barges on long towlines, sometimes 600 feet behind the tug. Do NOT get between a tug and its tow. Also note the hazards of towing large rafts of logs in the Pacific NW.
Suction Astern of the Ship
Currents - the effect of currents on large ships and how to maintain a course the ship may be headed into the current and look like it is going one direction while it vectored off pointing a slightly different direction to counteract the current.
Winds - the effect of wind on large ships, making them difficult to control
The Vessel Traffic System - explains the VTS where in USA the Coast Guard monitors the movements of ships and boats with radar, making suggestions for safety. It also mentions lanes of separation, much like driving on a highway and how it works.
Crowded Sea Lanes
Diagrams - little maplets showing what the most prudent course for a small boat in 12 different situations. Most of the time the advice is turn away from the big ship at a large enough angle that the pilot understands the intentions of the helmsman of the small boat.
My Last Advice
A Short History fo Pilotage - a bit on the medieval law of Orion (Orleon) on the duties of pilots and how seriously they are taken.
IIlustrations - black and white photos mostly from the bridge of a large ship, often showing what a pilot sees.
All in All - Captain Trimmer realizes that small boats have rights. He recommends prudence on the part of the small boat, as the smaller vessel is much more maneuverable in in much greater peril. It appears that he has not had much time (or any time) in small recreational vessels. He admits that some of his pilot friends own and use small recreational boats. All of his advice is given as if the smaller boat is a motorboat, and has much more control than a sailboat.
Note that this book was written before the common usage of GPS navigation, and radar being more commonly available on small boats. Trimmer, as a harbor pilot, does not address traffic on the ICW (Intercoastal waterway) which lines most of the East coast of USA from southern Texas to Boston, Massachusetts.
An interesting read, with cautionary tales for operators of small boats, especially in harbor conditions.
Good explanation of how a big ship moves and is controlled, and what its limits are.
This book in the various editions which are for sale now seems unreasonably pricey.
I would recommend that the publisher(s) make less expensive editions available, because on the whole, it has very important information for the boating public. ~ 2014-01-27 ~
The Saint Intervenes
by Charteris, Leslie
pub. by American Reprint Company, Mattinituk, NY, 1976 (orig. pub in 1934 - isbn; 0-89190-384-4 14 chapters each a story, 274 p.
Charteris has a main character Simon Templar who is also known as The Saint who is a crook in his own right. The character spends time and effort in setting up and foiling other evil doers, mostly in some sort of confidence man racquet. All of the 14 chapters are stories in their own right. This is actually a collection of short stories. They are a good fun read. Light fiction ~ except ~ the language used presumes a good vocabulary on the part of the reader. Perhaps this is because this particular collection was written in the early 1930s. In that the vocabulary is not dumbed down, it is extra delightful. All are set in England in time contemporary to the publication... 1930. I am still wondering what the meaning of the German word zerquetschenreiflichkeit means. Used in chapter XII (12) it seems that the concept is only understood in German.
Charteris wrote many books in the ~The Saint~ series follow the same formula. The Saint identifies some crook who is causing too much trouble for the law abiding public, then takes action, often as a confidence man himself causing the other criminal to bankrupt himself, while our hero makes off with the loot for himself, supporting his lavish lifestyle.
There was a ~The Saint~ Television program series which aired 1962-1969. It was light and fun to watch. I read many of the books in the time when the TV series was aired. Now, 40 years later, the books are still a good fun read.
Hateship, friendship, courtship, loveship, marriage, stories
by Munro, Alice
pub. by Alfred K. Knopf, ( a Borzoi Book), NY, 2001 - isbn; 0-375-41300-6 9 stories, 326 p - text of stories in 323 p.
Alice Munro is a Canadian fiction writer who exclusively writes short stories. She is highly celebrated, and won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2013. She lives in, and sets her stories in, western Canada from Vancouver and Victoria to Toronto. This book is one of her later collections. She has at least 10 previous published collections of short stories.
Of the 9 short stories 8 of them are told from a womans point of view. The last The Bear came over the mountain is written from a mans view. It is also a haunting tale of the onset of alzheimers disease.
Most of the stories are more like short novels in that they span long periods of time, sometimes tens of years with parts threaded together. All are very realistic portrayals of everyday life and interior thoughts of those included. Nothing fancy here, just life as it is lived, as people live together and apart and deal with one another. The stories often describe the innermost thoughts of their characters, revealing their humanity, for good or for ill. Many of the stories have a bit of a twist at the end, not as sharp as those of the author OHenry, but a twist nonetheless.
This book was a slow read for me. Perhaps because it explores the female psyche - a place which mystifies most of us males.
Uffa Fox a Personal Biography
by Dixon, June
pub. by Angus and Robertson, Brighton, Sussex, England, UK, 1978 - isbn; 0-207-95827-0 black and white photos - line drawings of Naval Airborne Lifeboat MK.1. - International fourteen Avenger - Flying Fifteen Cowslip H.R.H. Prince Philip - 25ft Hydro Skee Family Cruiser - Day Sailer - index p. 201 - 206 - - 206 p.
This is a biography of Uffa Fox, from birth in 1898 to death in 1972. He grew up in the Edwardian period immediately after the death of Queen Victoria in 1901. His father was a woodworker who insisted on high quality work. Uffa was a difficult child who often did what he wanted rather than what was asked of him. He never made it through any official maritime design school. In his lifetime he became one of the most celebrated designers of racing sailboats of the era. He was an avid Sea Scout. His work life spanned from shortly before WWI through WWII when he designed and built Naval Airborne Lifeboats to be attached to the underside of a rescue airplane and dropped to downed aviators (mostly in the North Sea). Post WWII he re-started his boatbuilding shops peacetime small yacht building works. Through sailboat racing he became a personal friend of Philip, H.R.H. the Duke of Edinburgh. They often sailed and raced together. He later taught the royal children how to sail.
Uffa was not an easy person. His fits of anger and rash acts often enough damaged relationships and sometimes acted against his own best interest. He was also what in modern times could be called a party animal. Money flowed through his fingers and he was always in debt to his bankers and creditors. He almost always paid-up eventually, when money came in from he projects he was working on and boats built were paid for.
He was in intrepid Sea Scout leader who on holiday one year took his boys across the English Channel to Le Harve, France and up the Seine almost to Paris. Then returned before the parents of the boys knew they had - gone foreign - and without any official papers.
In his lifetime he married 3 times. Once in this 20s to Alma, a childhood sweetheart and schoolteacher (marriage ended early 1939), a second time to Cherry a lively woman he met, and finally to a wealthy French widow. The first 2 marriages ended poorly. The third, Yvonne, a Parisian, was sustained by Uffas inability to speak French and his wifes inability to speak English.
Fox wrote a book Sailing, Seamanship and Yacht Construction fairly early in his life, with the help of Alma. He came to realize there was more and easier money in writing and wrote several more through his life.
June Dixon, his biographer, knew him personally. A few times late in the book the narrative slips into the first person. From the general tone I am led to believe that June Dixon did not really like Uffa Fox, and from his antics throughout his life, one can understand the reasons.
This is an interesting read. One gets into the mind and life of a famous and temperamental designer, and finds his feet of clay.
Moon Wind at Large - Sailing Hither and Yon
by Goldman, Matthew - the Constant Waterman
pub. by Breakaway Books, Halcottsville, NY 2012 - isbn 978-1-891369-95-7 some sketch illustrations and a few sketch maps by author. 295 p.
A largely autobiographical work, well written. Goldman anthropromorphizes his boat giving it a lively personage. He describes life near and on the water in the Connecticut, Rhode Island, southern edge of Massachusetts, which he considers an almost foreign land, and the end of Long Island, NY.
Most of the book involves day trips. The last few chapters describe a 2 week cruise East to Marthas Vinyard and Block Island. He is holed up for several days while hurricane Florence passes to the east, but close enough to stir up the local weather and make it a virtue to stay in port.
He has a proper epilogue. His web presence is at http://www.constantwaterman.com/ A very enjoyable read by a sailor and boat-worker who knows how to turn a phrase, and one who walks the walk, as well as talking the talk, but does almost all of it in his own back yard.
Designer and Client - Eight Boat Design Commissions, from Kayak to Cruiser
by Dias, Antonio
pub. by Wooden Boat Pub., Brooklin, Maine, USA (c) 1998 - isbn 0-937822-51-5 many diagrams - plan cartoons etc. 149 p.
Boat designer Antonio Dias discusses the development of 8 different boats with special interest in the nature and type of communication between him as designer and the clients who hired him to design these specific boats.
Each of the clients in these cases are very knowledgeable about boats and each has specific requests. As the design develops there is significant interplay as the reality of the design comes into being. There is some discussion on how computer aided design ( CAD ) comes into play and where older more traditional methods are used. Each of the boats in this collection is designed to be built of wood. This is a very interesting book. It would greatly help if one had some pre-knowledge of hull shape terms to understand what is being discussed. The book does not have a glossary.
2 - 23 ft.Indian Header
for Peter Chesworth
The larger coastal cruiser went through many iterations The resulting boat has a very traditional long keel, gaff mainsail, jib and staysail.
The general concept was also theoretically expanded to a 40 ft schooner as an exercise.
The project also included designing a tender an 11 ft double ended peapod with a high peaked sprit sail main and a jib. The daggerboard is interesting.
3 - 40 ft. Cruising Cutter
for John and Dee Deegan
The client was on a long distance cruise in the Pacific Ocean during the design of this boat.
What was wanted is a large comfortable boat with, for its length, rather shallow draft.
It was designed with a modern marconi rig, short bowsprit, a jib and staysail. There was much discussion on getting lateral resistance in a shallow hull. Centerboards and daggerboards were discussed with the eventual design showing a daggerboard. Board up draft 4.5 ft. Board down 8 ft.
4 - Navy Point
for Jeff Halpern
The client wants a boat which can do everything, race and cruise.
This is the most developed and re-developed boat in this series. The client is of a modern bent and prefers using as much modern technology and materials development as possible, including some carbon fiber and some active water ballast to trim. A heavy bulb on the end of a daggerboard is discussed. The design is a long term project and was unresolved at the printing of this book. Last working design shows a Length over all (LOA) of 44 ft., Beam 13.5 ft, Draft board up 5.5 ft, Board down 8 ft. The rig is of course marconi with a single jib. Amazing to me is that the displacement is calculated at only 13500 lbs.
5 - Castle Hill
for Peter and Eileen Spectre
The first boat design in this chapter is a yard skiff, a small boat to be primarily used to do work on the outside of the hulls of other boats.
This resulted in a stoutly built little boat, sort of a sampan in hull type 10 ft. long
The second design was for a motorboat cruiser which developed into a motorsailer.
The client wanted a shallow draft live-aboard which would include an office and be operated largely in the intercoastal waterway between New England and Florida. The resulting design is a boat about 33.5 ft long, Beam of 11 ft. 4 in., and a draft of 2 ft. 9 in. It has 2 short masts which can fold down.
6 - 17 ft. Cruising Kayak
for Mike O'Brien
The client wanted a single seat custom cruising kayak with no frills.
Customer did not want bulkheads or hatches which often cause trapped water and eventual rot. His experience is that all hatches leak, no matter what the hatch maker says. Originally the idea was to keep hull length under 16 ft. The eventual hull length was 17 ft. - beam 1 ft. 11.5 in. - draft 4 in. -
- There is an alternative design with hull length was 17 ft. - beam 2 ft. 2.5 in. - draft 3.75 in.
Dias heartily recommends a painted hull vs. one left bright (varnished or clear) because finish would need to be better... paint shows shape and irriegularities while woodgrain hides them.
7 - Southern Waters
for Bill Page
Cruising sailboat - centerboard with gaff rig main, long bowsprit and jib.
Length 28.5 ft., beam 8.5 ft., Board up draft 2.5 ft. Board down 5 ft. 9.5 inches.
8 - The Double Headsail Sloop
for Gordon and Doris Swift
A traditional long keel on a cruising sailboat. Marconi rig main. Staysail is self tending with a club. Jib flys high on the end of a bowsprit.
Length 28 ft. 9 in, beam 10 ft., draft 4 ft.
Among other things Dias is not a friend of the use of slab plywood.
The Journals of the Constant Waterman
by Goldman, Matthew
pub. by Breakaway Books, Halcottsville, NY 2007 - isbn 978-1-+891369-73-5 some line drawings by MJG - a few line drawn maps 336 pages.
This is a collection of very small vignettes about waterbourn events in the life of Matthew Goldman, from a very young age up to nearly the time of publication. At time of publication Goldman seems to be 67 years old. He has had plenty of time to develop into a proper water rat.
He starts with events in his childhood and early life, especially on the Connecticut River. He constructed a camp or cottage on an island he owned in the river. He did it without benefit of power tools or the use of motorized boat transport... just for the fun of it.
Later in life he had adventures on larger boats, almost all set between Maine and Long Island, New York... well one further south into Chesapeake Bay. Later in the boat he describes working as a boat repair person for a boat building and repair outfit in Noak, Connecticut.
A few of these short stories are absolutely poetic in format. Good reads in every sense of the word.
At the end from pages 323 and 336 there is a useful Glossary of terms. The first page of which has a diagram of a sailboat, with each part identified.
I bought this book, and a few others while visiting Old Mystic in their bookstore/gift shop. The bookstore manager suggested leaving it with him and having the Constant Waterman sign it. Which he did, and it was mailed to me in McAllen, Texas. ... signed in fine block printing Constant Waterman.
The Canterbury Tales
by Chaucer, Geoffrey - - rendered into modern English by Nevill Coghill
pub. by Penguin Books - England and Baltimore, MD, USA , 1960 - isbn none - LCCN = 52-031409 528 pages.
Geoffrey Chaucer lived from 1343 to 25 October 1400. He wrote in what is commonly called Middle English which is difficult for modern (post 1900) people to read. Nevill Coghill (professor of English Literature at Oxford) has rendered the Canterbury Tales into modern English with notes at the back explaining some things which need to be revealed to modern people so that they might better understand the tales. There are a few words not so explained that are worthy of looking up. For instance the word pelf is an ancient word meaning wealth., as in the aggregate that a person has.
The listing below is of chapter headings in Coghills version. It should be noted that the arrangement of the stories in The Canterbury Tales is not universally the same from one modern publication to another. It should also be known that the book as we know it was not totally finished within Chauders lifetime. It was the authors intent to publish as a whole, but he died before the work was completed to publication.
The Canterbury Tales
THE KNIGHTS TALE
Words between the Host and the Miller
THE MILLERS TALE
The Reeves Prologue
THE REEVES TALE
The Cooks Prologue
THE COOKS TALE
Introduction to the Man of Laws Tale
The Man of Laws
Prologue THE MAN OF LAWS TALE
Epilogue to the Man of Laws Tale
THE SHIPMANS TALE
Words of the Host to the Shipman and the Prioress
The Prioresss Prologue THE PRIORESSS TALE
Words of the Host to Chaucer
CHAUCERS TALE OF SIR TOPAZ
The Host stops Chaucers Tale of Sir Topaz
CHAUCERS TALE OF MELIBEE (in synopsis)
Words of the Host to the Monk
THE MONKS TALE
(Lucifer, Adam, Samson, Hercules, Nebuchadnezzar,
King Peter of Spain, King Peter of Cyprus, Bernabo Visconti of Lombardy, Count Ugolino of Pisa,
Nero, Holofemes, King Antiochus the Illustrious,
Alexander, Julius Caesar, Croesus)
Words of the Knight and the Host
THE NUNS PRIESTS TALE
Words of the Host to the Nuns Priest
THE PHYSICIANS TALE
Words of the Host to the Physician and to the Pardoner
The Pardoners Prologue
THE PARDONERS TALE
The Wife of Baths Prologue
Words between the Summoner and the Friar
THE WIFE OF BATHS TALE
The Friars Prologue
THE FRIARS TALE
The Summoners Prologue
THE SUMMONERS TALE
The Clerks Prologue
THE CLERKS TALE
Chaucers Envoy to the Clerks Tale
The Merchants Prologue
THE MERCHANTS TALE
Epilogue to the Merchants Tale
The Squire,s Prologue
THE SQUIRES TALE
Words of the Franklin to the Squire and Host to the Franklin
The Franklins Prologue
THE FRANKLINS TALE
The Second Nuns Prologue
THE SECOND NUNS TALE
The Canons Yeomans Prologue
THE CANONS YEOMANS TALE
The ManCiples Prologue
THE MANCIPLES TALE
The Parsons Prologue
THE PARSONS TALE (in synopsis)
by Fox, Uffa
pub. by St Martins Press, NY, 1959 - - photos and line drawings/sketch plans - isbn none - LCCN = 59-14793 204 pages.
Uffa Fox was a noted small boat designer and sailor. Most of his designs were for small light weight racing craft. What he did not know about racing small craft probably does not need to be known. He sailed across the Atlantic at least 3 times. He lived long enough to be involved in both WWI and WWII. During WWII he designed a boat which could be released from the bottom of a rescuing aircraft to drop to downed air crews to assist in their rescue. He was a personal friend of royalty. He sailed with the Prince of Wales when that prince was quite young, also the Duke of Edinburgh and the late King Feisal of Iraq.
Fox was a keen follower of the Americas Cup races. The last chapter of the book follows the races and the boats of the races up through 1958 with in depth analysis.
This book is an examination of 17 individual designs plus the Americas Cup analysis. Not all designs discussed were his own designs. A few were well designed catamarans. One of these (the prout Shearwater) was the predecessor of the design my father and I built.
A very good read if you want to understand fast sailboats, particularly smaller fast boats.
The Ropemakers of Plymouth - a history of the Plymouth Cordage Company 1824-1949
by Morison, Samuel Eliot 1887-1976
pub. by Houghton Mifflin., Boston, 1950 - - - isbn none - LCCN = 50-014847 About this book note on pages 204 - 208 - 177 pages.
Morrison tells the story of the Plymouth Cordage Company - rope makers for maritime customers, and other customers including lariats for cowboys. This is a much more rewarding read then you might expect. It was recommended to me by the man who interpreted the rope walk at Mystic Seaport.
Prisoner of the Indies - the adventures of Miles Philips as told by Geoffrey Household
by Household, Geoffrey
pub. by Little Brown and Co., Boston, 1967 - - maps on endpapers - isbn none - LCCN = 68-11111 About this book note on pages 204 - 208 - 208 pages.
Household uses various sources, largely Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques and Discoveries pub 1589, by Richard Hakluyt as a primary source to tell the tale of Miles Philips. Philips went to sea in 1567 at age 13 on the Jesus of Lubeck, Robert Barrett, Master and John Hawkins as head of the fleet. He ended up captured at San Juan de Ulna (near Veracruz) in Mexico. He was taken to Mexico City and put to work for a wealthy Spaniard there. Subsequently he ran afoul of the Inquisition (as an English heritic) and managed to get off with 3 years of servitude in a monastery. He then learned the silk weaving trade and eventually escaped through various adventures to Spain on a Spanish merchant ship. From there he narrowly escaped being again apprehended by the Inquisition and managed to ship out on a galley in the Mediterranean and jumped ship in a port where he saw an English merchantman which took him back to England. After boarding and that ship sailing his adventures were not over. They were attacked by a Moorish galley but managed to not only repulse the attack but also capture the galley and free the galley slaves (who rowed the boat, most of whom were Spaniards) to allow them to return to Spain.
Miles Philips was well received by his old friend John Hawkins who was by that time a high government official, and Philips was questioned about Spanish strengths, as it was shortly before the Armada attack on England. (Which happened in 1588.) Miles lived a good full life eventually marrying a Spanish lady and in 1603 wrote a letter to his sons describing his adventures and explaining why he did not get directly involved during the defense against the Armada... fear of capture again...
This book was written and published for the juvenile market. It is fairly well written and introduces the reader into the history of the time in a fair and reasonable... and very readable ... manner. I recommend it for a good light historical read.
Spains Men of the Sea - Daily Life on the Indies Fleets in the Sixteenth Century
by Perez-Mallaina, Pablo E. - - - translated by Carla Rahn Phillips
pub. by Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore 1998 - - maps - isbn 0-8018-5746-5 Notes on pages 247 - 279 index on pages 281 - 289 - 290 pages.
Perez-Mallaina has written -the- book on all the people who were involved with the Spanish fleets which sailed from Spain to the New World, from the lowest cabin-boy to the Admirals who headed up the fleet and all stations of life in between. Where they came from, what they ate, what they wore, what their legal situation was etc. It is exceedingly revealing of the times, of the inequalities within the systems of the time. The differences between crews and expectations of the accompanying warships and the merchant ships is discussed.
Methods of navigation and the position of the pilots and navigators was discussed. It shows how the Spanish systems were different from the English systems and how at the situation of the people of the sea differed from the Medieval where the sailors had legal power and the beginning of the next century when they began to be just muscle.
This is an exceedingly important read if you wish to understand the great maritime affairs of the 1500s.
The Revenge of Geography - what the map tells us about coming conflicts and the battle against fate
by Kaplan, Robert D.
pub. by Random House, NY 2012 - - maps - isbn 978-1-4000-6983-5 Notes on pages 349 - 378 index on pages 379 - 403 - 403 pages
Kaplan thinks large. This book is a tour de force of Geopolitik divided by time. He defines his general ideas about the way the world is physically arranged and how that colors the events of nations history, how nations with real geographical borders are different from those whose neighboring borders are just lines in the dirt.
He is not at all afraid of using a complicated word such as hegemony when a simpler word such as leadership would do. Kaplan has traveled widely and is well well qualified to write a book on the grand scale, as this one is. He has worked under the US Secretary of Defense, and in various think tanks which examine the state of the world for various US political forces.
The book discusses several eminent geographers and their geo-political thoughts at length. I wish he had included a bibliography. One could be constructed from the chapter notes, but I would rather he had done it directly.
The book is organized in 3 parts
I. - Visionaries - with chapters headed - from Bosnia to Baghdad - the revenge of geography - Herodotus and his successors - the eurasian map - the Nazi distortion - the rimland thesis - the alure of sea power - the crisis of room -
II. - The Early-Twenty-First-Century Map - with chapters headed - the geography of european divisions - Russia and the independent heartland - the geography of Chinese power - Indias geographical dilemma - the Iranian pivot - the former Ottoman empire.
III. - Americas destiny (a very short part) - Braudel, Mexico and grand strategy.
In his summation Kaplan suggests that USA ought to pay more attention to Mexico as a possible threat if it becomes a failed state than it is taking time and energy to deal with Iraq and Afghanistan.
Some of the authors discussed in depth include Mackinder, Halford J. - Morgaenthau, Hans J. - Thucydides - Hobbs, Thomas - Mahan, Alfred Thayer - East, W. Gordon - Spykman, Nicholas J. - Berlin, Isaiah - McNeill, William H. - Spengler, Oswald - Toynbee, Arnold J. - Roux, George - Hodgson, Marshall G.S. - Pasternak, Boris - Grygiel, Jakub J. - Kennedy, Paul - Brzezinski, Zbigniew - Strausz-Hupe, Robert - Blouet, Brian W. - Herwig, Holger H. - Bracken, Paul - Ibn Khaldun - Orwell, George - Cohen, Saul B. - Braundel, Fernand - Solzhenitsyn, Alexander - Keay, John - Ebrey, Patricia Buckley - Panikkar, K.M. - Stein, Burton - Ahsan, Aitzaz - Wink, Andre - Doughty, Charles M. = Vasssiliev, Alexei - Mansfield, Peter - Friedman, George - Gibbons, Herbert Adams - Hitti, Philip K. - Adonis (Syrian poet) - Huntington, Samuel P. - and many more.
The maps are arranged in interesting ways so as to best illustrate the chapter which they head. A careful examination of them is very telling. How many know the layout of central and Southern Asia?
This book deals with ancient civilizations and their modern situations. It is almost disturbing that South America, Africa and Australia are not covered. These places might not have a relevant ancient past, but I expect that they will be serious players in the world of the future.
All-in-all a challenging book. Reading it will expand and sometimes numb your mind. It took me long enough to read this book that I ran up an overdue fine to the public library from which it was borrowed.
Sailing through China
by Theroux, Paul
pub. by Houghton Mifflin Co, Boston 1984 - - black and white line drawings by Patrick Procktor - isbn 0-395-34836-6 - 64 pages
Travel down the Yangtze on 2 large tour boats of the Linblad tour group in the company of a number of other passengers most of whom are millionaires. One of the 2 boats used was the Kun Lun constructed to give tours to visiting dignitaries by the third wife of Chairman Mao. Its accomodations were greatly simplified during the Cultural Revolution, but restored by Linblad later in an agreement with the Chinese government.
Comments on what China was like post Cultural Revolution and during the time of the prosecution of the infamous Gang of Four abound. A great part of the book is taken up with comments on his fellow tourists and their millionaire attitudes.
I wish there was a map.
A read which is now has historical merit.
The Mystery of the Burnt Cottage - (The first adventure of the five finder-outers and Buster their dog)
by Blyton, Enid
pub. by Armada (a division of Collins), London, England, 1988 - - first published in 1943 - some black and white line drawings - isbn 0-00-693194-4 - 126 pages
Some years a go a childrens librarian recommended that read some of Enid Blytons works to round out my understanding of childrens literature. Finally I got around to it.
This series of mysteries is somewhat like the American Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys mysteries, but of course Enid Blyton writes from an English countryside and experience background.
A cottage which is used as an office by a wealthy neighbor burns down setting up the story. The children include a newcomer to their group, offering some interesting tension. They discover and interview 4 different suspects, and get a bit underfoot to the local policeman. There is a twist at the end sufficient to give the story extra interest.
All-in-all a comfortable read.
Soundings - the story of the Remarkable Woman Who Mapped the Ocean Floor
by Felt, Hali
pub. by Henry Holt and Company, NY, 2012 - - photos most in color - - Acknowledgements p. 323 - 326 - - Index p. 327-340 isbn 978-0-8050-9215-8 - 341 pages
This is the biography of Marie Tharp, geologist, scientist and mapmaker. She is most famous for her work at the Lamont Geological Observatory (part of Columbia University, NY), working with Dr. Bruce C. Heezen. She drew and illustrated the map of the mid-oceanic ridges and while doing so discovered the rift zone which revealed scientific proof in support of Alfred L. Wegners theory of continental drift. This may sound droll, but it was a fundamental find which as one eminent Princeton Univ. professor and head of the Geology Dept., Harry Hess, put it...You have shaken the foundations of geology...
This is a good read if you have any interest in the grander sweep of geology, and/or the way of science... how personalities and grants make life easy or difficult. It is also, in a minor way, a love story between two researchers who between them changed the world of geologic thought.
Marie drew the popular maps of the ocean floors which were published in National Geographic over a number of years.
. Bruce Heezen died of a heart attack in 1977 at age 53 aboard a US Navy research submarine the NP-1, leaving Marie Tharp to attempt to finish their work. Very shortly before his death they finished their world map of the floor of the oceans entitled - World Ocean Floor Panorama - It was published after he died. The map and others may still be available through http://www.marietharp.com/wordpress/?page_id=28
Marie Tharp began working at Lamont in 1948 and retired in 1982 at age 63. She continued her interest and work on an unofficial consulting basis. She managed to get her and Dr Heezens papers at least semi organized and some are available at the Smithsonian in a major collection, others are in the Library of Congress. Marie died on August 23, 2006. The Google Ocean map presentation has a - Marie Tharp Historical Map - layer to their map which fills in by interpolation what is not clearly known even in 2012.
Revelation of the Magi - the lost tale of the Wise Mens Journey to Bethlehem
translated by Landau, Brent
pub. by Harper Collins Publishers, NY, 2010 - Introduction p. 1-34 - - The English Translation of the Revelation of the Magi p.35-98 - - Acknowledgements p. 99 - 101 - - Appendix - the Magi Legend from the Opus Imperfectum in Matthaeum - - p. 103-105 - - Art Credits - - Notes p. 109-149 - - Selected Bibliography p 152-157 isbn 978-0-06-194703-2 bw photos of artwork - copies of the original in Syriac on endpapers - 157 pages
This story as presented is a translation of an ancient text found in the Vatican Library, written in Syriac. This language is practically Aramaic, the language Jesus probably spoke on a daily basis. Syriac was used as a liturgical language in several Eastern churches.
The first part of the book is a lengthy discussion about the text and a gloss of the story. If you read this, do read this first. It sets you up to understand the story. It explains that nobody knows how many Wise Men were in the group and other details. Also that this story is probably the root story from which many medieval Three Kings stories were developed. One thing this text mentions which is different from other thoughts on Christianity is that Jesus, as a bright spirit had previous contact with humans before he was born of Mary.
The translation itself is fairly straightforward, and is well noted explaining various passages. Some notes short, others quite lengthy and well worth reading.
The Apppendix leads one to a telling of the story in what is the greatest multi-volume compilation of Christian writings, the Patrologia Graecaa volume 56 often called Migne after the surname name of the compiler. Brent Landau, the translator did this work as part of his doctoral thesis at Harvard School of Divinity. He now teaches in the Religious Studies Program at the Univ. of Oklahoma.
The dissertion is available at http://ou.academia.edu/BrentLandau/Papers
The Migne part is in the second chapter of the dissertation.- note this can bring up his full 281 page document as a PDF file.
Shackletons Boat Journey
by Worsley, Frank Arthur - 1872-1943
pub. by W.W. Norton, NY, 1977 - isbn 0-393-08759-x many other editions bw photos - maps on endpapers and S. Georgia Island - 220 pages.
This is Worsleys narrative of the Shackleton expedition of 1914 - 1917. This edition has an itroduction by Edmund Hillary.
Hillary encapsulates the whole expedition in his introduction, which outlines the whole expedition and effectively sets the scene for the more detailed body of the book. Worsley begins his narrative with the abandonment of the Endurance after it is crushed by the ice. The time spent on the ice is described as is the launching of the three boats James Caird 22ft 6 inches long 6 ft beam (later had sides raised 15 inches) - Stancomb Wills 20 ft 8 inches long 5 ft 6 inches beam 27.5 inches deep from inside of keel to top of gunwale - Dudley Docker 22ft long 6 ft beam depth 3 ft. - Sir Ernest Shackleton captained the Caird, Frank Worsley captained the Docker and Hudson captained the Wills during the group sailing from the edge of the more solid ice flow to Elephant Island. The Wills as the smallest boat was often towed by one of the larger ones as it had difficulty keeping up. It was also most in danger of foundering (sinking by being overwhelmed by wave).
As over a year had passed since the Endurance had last had contact with the outside world (the radio did not work at the distance they were from any civilization), and Elephant Island was not on any normally visited route it was clear that they needed to call for rescue the direct way... by having a smaller group sail to a place where a rescue could be organized. And so, the main part of this narrative begins.
The James Caird was modified by adding a canvas deck, a mizzen mast, and strengthened along the keel with a bit of wood from a sledge. It was heavily ballasted (overly so by Worsleys estimation) to make it more stable. Supplies and a Primus single burner stove were loaded. The crew for the sail to S. Georgia Island included Ernest Shackleton, Frank Worsley (who was an excellent navigator and was captain of the Endurance , Tom Crean, H. McNeish, Timothy Mccarty (carpenter), (RN Reserve and/or Merchant seamen) and J. Vincent (a North Sea fisherman).
The voyage from Elephant Island to S. Georgia, some 800 miles is described in detail. An encounter with a huge wave (now called a rogue wave) is described in horrifying detail. Living conditions and how they bore the discomfort is also detailed. The genius of the leadership in keeping spirits up and the joking done in extreme circumstances is described.
The harrowing approach and landing on S. Georgia is detailed, as is the first few days of recovery before setting off across the island to the whaling station begun.
Worsley describes hoosh their main foodstuff specially concocted for the expedition by nutrition experts of the day. The word comes from a N. American Indian word for drink but in this case meaning a meal which was thin enough to drink. It consisted of lard, oatmeal, beef protein, vegetable protein, salt and sugar which included enough antiscorbutic so they would not suffer scurvey. It was made into half-pound bricks for a one man meal and had the consistancy of new cheese, was yellow brown in color and when boiled with water was much like thick pea soup. (of all that I have read this is the first and only time that I have seen this staple food fully described).
The final part of the adventure was the crossing of S. Georgia over glaciers and ice fields, as much mountain climbing as hiking for 36 hours. Of the 6 in the Cairds crew the fittest were Shackleton, Worsley and Tom Crean. These 3 crossed from their point of landing in King Haakon Sound across the island to the whaling station at Stromness Bay, often hiking above 4,000 ft elevation.
They were lent a steam whaler the Samson to go around the island and pick up the 3 left with the James Caird , which they also brought back. (A note on how the Caird was returned to England is included).
There were 4 attempts to rescue the 22 men left on Elephant Island. Thick ice turned the first 3 back. It was 4 months from the time they arrive on the island before they were rescued (with the Yelcho a steam ship borrowed from the Chilean government. (previous attempts made by a whaler Southern Sky - an auxiliary schooner the Emma and a Uruguayan government trawler Instituto Pesca, No.1.
The absolutely amazing end of the story is that all who were on the Endurance survived.
This ends the Worsleys narrative. It does not include anything about the other half of the expedition... the adventures of the Aurora which was on the Ross Sea part of what was officially called the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. For the very interesting story of that effort one needs to read South which was written by Shackleton himself (described below).
This book is thoroughly engaging. It is an easier and faster read than Shackletons book. It is more narrative than diary and describes living conditions and details that are not often covered by a diary type story. Read this book. You will discover what - real men - can do, and what they are like when properly selected, and properly led.
Note - Ernest Shackleton did begin to lead another expedition but he died of a heart attack on S. Georgia Island on 5 January 1922 at age 47.
South - the story of Shackletons last expedition 1914-1917
by Shackleton, Sir Ernest
pub. by Konecky and Konecky, NY, 2004 - isbn 1-56852-252-5 - 380 pages.
also pub by Carroll Graff, NY, 2001 isbn 0-7867-0597-3 (paperback) - 380 pages.
alternative, and probably original sub title = A memoir of the Endurance Voyage
This is a modified version of Sir Ernest Shackletons diary, of his last (and failed) expedition to Antarctica. The intention was to travel straight across Antarctica from the Weddll Sea side to the McMurdo Sound side. While Shackleton sailed (and steamed) on the Endurance south into the South Atlantic and stopped at South Georgia Island before leaving on 5 December 1914 steaming as far south as possible. The Endurance froze into the ice and drifted about until it was crushed on 21 November 1915, 11 months and 16 days after they left their last anchorage. They spent the next 4 months and 19 days towing their lifeboats and sledges - and drifting on the ice - north to the edge of the ice. From launch of the life boats they spend 6 days moving north, finally finding a place to land on Elephant island (a very mountainous, ice covered, island with very little approachable land which was not ice covered. It had been 16 months and 12 days since they had last been on solid ground. It was a miserable existence but at least it was not moving, and would not sink, melt or break apart under them.
Since Elephant Island was never visited Shackleton decided to take one of the lifeboats, the James Caird and sail through the roughest seas on planet Earth to South Georgia Island where there were whaling stations and where he could get a rescue mission started. The James Caird was reinforced with among other things a canvas deck and was then sailed over 500 miles to South Georgia, landing on the west side. Three of the 5 men hiked and mountain climbed over the island in 36 hours to the whaling station in Stromness Bay, arriving after a 36 hour march on 19 May 1916. A number of rescue attempts were attempted before the yelcho got lucky and found the pack ice had drifted off and it could approach the camp at Elephant Island and rescue the rest of the original crew of the Endurance . ALL SURVIVED. Most became involved in WWI and a few did not survive the war. This narrative contains considerable detail on what they ate, how they slept, and how they kept their spirits up.
Then the book shifts to the adventures and narrative of the ship Aurora which was sent to the McMurdo Sound part of Antarctica to establish supply depots for the part of the expedition which was to be coming (by dog sled) from the Weddle Sea side of Antarctica via the South Pole. These people did their task surmounting great difficulties. The Aurora was also frozen in ice and after some damage managed to sail/steam to New Zealand. The ship was repaired and with Shackleton aboard went back to rescue those left behind on the McMurdo Sound side of Antarctica. In January 1917 they were picking up the remaining party and by 9 Feb 1917 the ship was back in Wellington, New Zealand. The party with the Aurora was not as lucky as the party on the Endurance the leader McIntosh and Hayward traveling with him had cut across a bit of frozen-over sea before it was solid enough. A storm blew the ice out and destroyed it. They were never seen again.
The book has a -Final Phase- chapter which describes what became of some of the survivors of the expedition with respect to their action in WWI.. Other appendices describe their scientific work, and the supply depots left behind for the benefit of later explorers.
This is the story of super-human effort, and excellent management in the face of nearly impossible odds. They just do not make people like this in the modern age. I thoroughly expect that future first visitors to the planet Mars might have such adventures. Nothing less than interplanetary travel could match what this expedition managed. Lastly, it should be noted that while both ships had radio equipment, it was not powerful enough to be of any assistance, either receiving or sending. This is unimaginable in the modern age.... to be totally cut off from news of the rest of the world for well in excess of a year.
This is a slow read, if you read it all. As it is essentially a diary there is a lot of what would be unnecessary verbiage, but for the detail it provides... it is priceless.
All Fishermen are Liars
by Greenlaw, Linda - 1960
pub. by Hyperion, NY, 2004 - isbn 1-4013-0070-7 - 228 pages.
This book is a collection of fishermens stories as told in a bar The Dry Dock in Portland, Maine. Actually they were collected over a period of time, with some credit given in the Acknowledgments. The thread through them is Greenlaws attempt to convince her old friend and mentor to slow down his fishing life as his health has deteriorated. He is getting old, has major health issues etc.
Each story has an introductory paragraph or two which she calls a Bar Snack. Often such things as - top ten fishermens lies - fibs and exaggerations of crew members - hiring crew - etc.
The stories are lively and well illustrate the commercial fishing life, and at least one, Greenlaws family life. They are well worth reading. They are a fun read.
by Leslie, Robert C.
pub. by Ashford Press Publishing, Southhampton, 1 Church Rd. Shedfield, Hamshire, S03 2HW England, 1985 - - (first publisheed 1894) - isbn 0-907069-37-1 - black and white illustrations by the author - Introductory note to this edition by John Leather - 276 pages.
This book is Robert Leslies biography of his time - on the water -. It is delightfully written with those topical chapter headings common in books published at the late 1800s. Leslie is a am amateur waterman... that is a boater, sailor, fisherman and boat designer while he was an artist and daughtsman. He was NOT a racing yachtsman. His wife did not enjoy sailing, but up to a point put up with sailing with him on rare occasions.
Over the years he owned a number of boats, mostly smaller ones.
Seaworthy - a swordboat captain returns to the sea
by Greenlaw, Linda - 1960
pub. by Viking, NY. 2010 - isbn 978-0-670-02192-5 - map - 246 pages.
After 10 years of lobster fishing Linda Greenlaw is invited to run a small - 63 ft - swordfishing boat, the Seahawk. The boat is older and poorly maintained.
Greenlaw gathers a crew of people she knows, many of whom are not seasoned swordfishermen, but are older commercial fishermen with lots of on-the-water experience. Their experience is fortunate as after they leave the dock they need to do considerable repair work while fishing.
In her first set of the longline it accidentally drifts into the 200 mile Canadian fishing zone and she is caught by Canadian fisheries people. This results in the boat being directed into a Canadian port, Greenlaw spending overnight in jail, and later being released to continue fishing... outside the Canadian zone. She and her crew rise above their problems and have a minorly successful season.
This book includes a fair amount of introspection. She notes that she is a much more mellow leader than she was 10 years previous, and presumes it is due to mellowing and becoming more mature. In this book it is revealed that she has adopted a troubled teenage girl, Sari. (In 2013 Greenlaw will be releasing a book on her relationship with her daughter.)
Again this is a good read. Revealing much about the way of longline swordfishing in the North Atlantic, and much about Greenlaw herself.
by Greenlaw, Linda - 1960
pub. by Hyperion, NY. 2008 - isbn 978-0-7868-6 - 262 pages.
Linda Greenlaw is the captain of her lobsterboat. She also captained a swordfishing boat, and has written non-fiction books on commercial fishing. This is her first work of fiction, a mystery.
She has a degree in English from Colby College in Waterville, Maine. She is well prepared to write non-fiction and fiction on fishing and coastal affairs in northeastern USA.
Her protagonist is Jane Bunker, who was born in coastal Maine but moved to Florida as a child. The character, Jane Bunker, grew up in Florida and in her youth was involved with commercial fishing there. Later became a police investigator, and left that to retire (escape?) to her ancestral homeland, coastal Maine. As a way to make a living she takes a job as an insurance investigator. Old habits of criminal investigation take over her life when she comes upon an eccentric man in the community who turns up on the beach, dead, and possibly murdered. The plot unfolds, and comes to a satisfying conclusion.
This is a good fast read. ~2012-10-02~
Fishermans Bend - a Jane Bunker mystery
by Greenlaw, Linda - 1960
pub. by Hyperion, NY. 2008 - isbn 978-1-4013-2235-9 - 245 pages.
Linda Greenlaw is the captain of her lobsterboat. She also captained a swordfishing boat, and has written non-fiction books on commercial fishing. She has published a previous book of fiction (Slipknot). She has a degree in English from Colby College in Waterville, Maine. She is well prepared to write non-fiction and fiction on fishing and coastal affairs in northeastern USA.
This mystery, a work of fiction, is delighful, well written and an all around - good read -. It develops its plot well, and comes to a reasonable and satisfying conclusion.
The protagonist, Jane Bunker, was born in Maine, but from an early age lived in Florida, grew up around boat people and commercial fishermen. She worked in law enforcement there, grew tired of it and moved to Maine. As an insurance investigator and also county sheriffs deputy she does her job - thinks like a law enforcement and manages living in a very small town. The characterizations of locals rings true. This is a satisfying book.
The Padre Puzzle - a mystery novel
by Harry, David
pub. by Hotray, LLC, 2009 - isbn 13-9781453606797 or 1453606793 - 289 pages.
This mystery is very readable, proceeds well, but the ending chapters seem rushed... then that is in the story-line. The protagonist is an older Texas Ranger on disability who is sent to South Padre Island for rehab on his shoulder which had been injured in a shooting. Though on leave he gets involved in a murder and eventually is put on active duty. The situation involves multi-jurestictional problems with all possible agencies... Homeland Securtiy, Coast Guard, local city and county police etc.
This is an enjoyable read. I recommend it.
A Portolan Atlas of the Mediterranean Sea and Western European Waters (with a World Map)
by Oliva, Juan (attributed)
pub. by Library of Congress, Washington, DC, 1987 - isbn 0-8444-0572-8 - Color reproductions of portolan charts - Introduction p. 5-9 by John A Wolter, Chief Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress - References p. 10 - Description of Atlas and individual maps p. 11-13 - has 4 portolanos and 1 world map - book has 23 pages.
Beautifully done, is in 8.5 x 11 inch format. Maps span 2 pages to roughly 11x17 inches. They are in color and the writing is readable. The Introduction is mostly descriptive of this fascimile. It is estimated that the originals were made between 1589 and 1610. This is a beautiful effort.
A Life of Mark Twain
by Powers, Ron
pub. by Pocket Books (div of Simon and Schuster), NY, 2007 (originally pub. by Free Press in 2006) - isbn 978-14165-2599-8 - b&w photos - notes p.629-682 - bibliograpny p. 683-689 - Acknowledgments p.691-693 - index p. 695-719 - book has 719 pages.
This book is an excellent biography of Mark Twain ( Samuel Langhorn Clemens ). It is also is a tour of the history of the times of his life - from 30 November 1835 to 21 April 1910. He was born when Halleys comet visitied, and died when it next visited. He outlived most of his children and his wife. He was a friend of the great men of literature of his time also of top political leaders, both in USA an Europe.
This is a great ponderous book. It covers a vast amount of time... a long lifespan... and also encompasses the USA from one side to the other and around the world. I highly recommend reading this book.
The Salt Stained Book (Strong Winds series no.1)
by Jones, Julia
pub. by Golden Duck Ltd, Pleshey, near Chelmsford, Essex UK (www.golden-duck.co.uk), 2011 - isbn 978-1-899262-04-5 - b&w drawings at end of each chapter - diagrams - map - index - book has 274 p.
I read the Kindle edition downloaded from Amazon.com The map and some of the illustrations were not included in the Kindle edition. I would have been better served if the map had been included.
This book was written for the young adult market but can be appreciated by readers of all ages. The story starts out with a flashback which takes place during WWII in the Barents Sea, where a couple of brothers are serving on separate ships in the same convoy doing what I expect was the Murmansk Run. The connection of the rest of the story to this event is not made clear until nearly the end of the book.
The story jumps from WWII to what I expect is in the current time (the early years of the 2000 era). The grandmother who was the driving force in the little family dies and Skye the mom who is deaf and has always lived a very sheltered life is not prepared to live independently. The young man who is the protagonist in this story is properly named John Walker but is known as Donny (age 13). He finds a sealed stamped envelope prepared by his grandmother and addressed to her sister Ellen Walker (the great-aunt) which is to be mailed upon her death. Donny manages to mail the letter before the social service agency people can grab it, and the story begins to get underway. The great aunt, who lives in Shanghai, telegraphs back a cryptic note telling them that she is coming by sea and will arrive on a certain day, and to meet her at Shotley near Felixstow. This is much farther south in UK than where they are living so Skye and Donny head south in their vehicle. They are told to purchase a book which turns out to be The Swallows and Amazons by they do. An auto accident and Skyes reaction causes her to be taken to hospital, then a psychiatric hospital while Donny is put in a group home.
Through a series of adventures with difficult social service people, and luckily friendly school people Donny manages to eventually meet up with his great aunt Ellen... who has a very surprising alter-ego.
This is the first book of a trilogy, and I expect that the latter books will further explain some loose ends left at the end of this first book.
Beyong the Edge of the Sea - Sailing with Janson and the Argonauts, Ulysses, the Vikings, and Other Exlplrers of the Ancient World
by Obregon, Mauricio
pub. by Random House, NY, 2001 - isbn 0-679-46326-7 - b&w photos - diagrams - maps - index - book has 134 p.
The author was the Columbian ambassador to the Caribbean, Venezula and the OAS. He is the founder of the Caribbean Naval Museum in Cartegena, Columbia. He is a member of the academy of history of Columbia and of Spain.
Chapters I - PEOPLES AND GODS
II - WINDS AND STARS
III - SHIPS AND NAVIGATION
IV - EASTWARD - THE ARGONAUTICA
V - MEDEA AND THE RIDDLE OF THE ARGONAUTS RETURN
VI - WESTWARD - THE ODYSSEY
VII - EAST TO THE ISLES OF SPICE
VIII - WEST TO VINLAND
At Any Cost - Love, Life and Death at Sea
by Tangvald, Peter. (1924-1991)
pub. by Cruising Guide Publications, Dunedin, Florida, 1991 - isbn 0-944428-07-X - b&w photos - epilog by Thomas Tangvald (son of Peter) p. 319-321 - map p. 322 - line diagrams of various rigs p. 323-326. note from publisher p. 327. book has 327 p.
This is the autobiography of Peter Tangvald. In most of the last half of his life lived aboard and sailed a 50 ft. sailboat. He had no auxiliary power, the boat was a pure sailboat.
He wrote a previous autobiographical work Sea Gypsy which was published in 1966. this current book is a complete autobiography from his birth through his death which happened when he shipwrecked in 1991.
His son Thomas survived the shipwreck because he was following in a towed boat, and managed to get free of the wreck on a surfboard.
He was born in Oslo, Norway in 1924 and spent much of his early childhood in Paris, France. With the coming of WWII his family moved back to Norway. His father was in international trade and was a minor industrialist. Peter had some health issues early in life. As he was raised by his mother and a nanny his father did not know of his condition until Peter was 14 years old, whereupon his father bought a boat and hired a man to teach Peter to sail. It was a rigorous program taking up the waking hours of each day for a whole summer. At the end of the summer the instructor got his bonus, and Peter was an excellent sailor in all weather and all conditions.
In 1957 - 1958 Peter T. sailed from England to California in the 43 ft yawl Windflower where he sold her as he had planned.
He sailed the Dorothea a 32 ft. cutter (built in England in 1934) around the world in 1959 and to French Guiana. This boat sank under him in the western Atlantic.
Tangvald built his 50 ft. L'Artemis de Pytheas in French Guiana and over the next 35 years it was re-rigged many times first as a yawl with sprit main and lug mizzen, then gaff main and mizzen, then gaff schooner. In the winter she was rigged as a yawl with sprit boom and sprit mizzen and no shrouds. The most recent rig (and last one) was as a cutter with a gaff main, jib, staysail and topsail. The Artemis de Pytheas had a very shallow draft and had a centerboard.
The Man Who Thought Like a Ship
by Steffy, Loren C.
pub. by Texas A and M Univ. Press, College Station, TX, 2012 - isbn 978-1-60344-664-8 - b&w photos - notes p. 163-175 Glossary of Ship Terms 177-181 - Selected Bibliography p. 183 - index -p 185-196 - it is 196 p.
This is a biography of J. Richard (Dick) Steffy the man who practically invented the technique for re-assembling ancient shipwrecks. It was lovingly written by his son Loren Steffy, who is a writer for the Houston Chronicle. Dick was fascinated by boats and ships at a very early age, making glued paper models. His interest continued into adulthood, and his models became detailed and intricate.
His father, Milt, served in the US Navy in WWI and Dick served on the USS Wyffels (DE6) an Evarts-class destroyer escort in WWII. Dick was an electrician by trade, as was his father. They ran the family business and did electrical work for homes and industrial companies in Denver, Pennsylvania.
Seaworthy Adrift with William Willis in the Golden Age of Rafting
by Pearson, T. R. .
pub. by Crown Publishers, NY, 2006 - isbn 978-0-307-33594-4 - some maps. diagrams. b&w photos - Bibliography p.271-271- Acknowledgements - index -p 277-280 - it is 281 p.
This is mostly a biography of William Willis, who rafted across the Pacific Ocean twice, and later was lost at sea while attempting to cross the North Atlantic in a small boat in 1968 when he was 75 years old.
In early mid-life Willis successfully -rescued- a man who had served time on the French penal colony Devils Island. It seems that after one finished ones sentence on the Island one was permanently sentenced to live in French Guiana (S. America) in horrible conditions. Willis successfully managed to have the man smuggled out. This was a very interesting aside to the ocean voyage tales which make up the bulk of the book.
It also contains fairly detailed information about other rafting voyages of the time, from Heyerdahls Kon-Tiki to Bakers Lehi IV.
The West in My Eyes. a domestic circumnavigation
by Wiele, Annie Van de
pub. by Dodd Mean and Co, NY, 1956 - printed by Adlard and Son Ltd., London and Dorking isbn -none- orig Penelope Etaut du Voyage printed in France. - some maps. b&w photos - Appendix by her husband and the captain, L. G. Van de Wiele who describes the Omoo and gives tips on passage making p. 279-284 - diagrams Sail Plan, Accommodation Plan, Lines, and management of the twin staysails diagrams at the end of the book. - it is 288 p. long.
This is the story of a cruise around the world very shortly after WWII. It is notable because it is written by and told from the point of view of the single female (wife of captain) crew member.
It is a peek into the immediately post WWII world, a somewhat simpler time related to travel paperwork. A time before many of the modern aids to ocean sailing including modern anti-fouling bottom paint usable on a steel hull as well as aids to navigation (no GPS, limited radio etc.)
The author is not shy about stating her opinions of the people she met along the way, describing what she understands to be national traits.
Several other notable voyagers of this era are met on the voyage, and others are mentioned.
Winter in Fireland a Patagonian Sailing Adventure
by Coghlan, Nicholas
pub. by Univ. of Alberta Press, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G-2E1, 2011 - isbn 978-0-88864-547-0 - some maps. b&w photos - Epilog brings events up to year 2010 - Bibliography p.357-362 - index p.363-385- 385 p. -- website www.bosunbird.com
This book covers a voyage from Cape Town, South Africa to St Helena to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to Mar del Plata, Argentina to Puerto Deseado, Argentina to Puerto Williams, Chile (very near Cape Horn) and on west and north along the west coast of Chile stopping at Puerto Eden and eventually the Island of Chiloe and Puerto Mott.
The first 46 pages establish the setting 25 years before this voyage when Nicholas and Jenny married and moved to Argentina to teach at and English school for several years, hiking and adventuring on their time off.
What is mentioned but not detailed is their sailing trip around the world some 20 years before. The main voyage took place in 2005-2006. The information one gathers from this book is more current than most cruising books I have read. Especially for that this is a very interesting book.
Voyage to Jamestown Practical Navigation in the Age of Discovery
by Hicks, Robert D.
pub. by Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, Maryland, 2011 - isbn 978-1,59114-376-5 - some maps. diagrams. b&w photos - Glossary p. 179-185- Bibliography p.187-193 - - Notes p.157-178 - index- 205 p.
This book takes the word - navigation - in the broadest sense. Every element of this imaginary trip is explored. It is compared with a small number of written accounts of sailnigs during the same time period. This is a very informatinally dense book. It is a read which takes a lot of background historical knowledge and a great amount of attending the detail. There are rewards, there is much to be learned. Although the Iberian (Portugese and Spanish) earlier history is acknowledged, this book is about the English and Protestant tradition of the time period (1611).
Moby Duck The True Story of 28,000 Bath Toys Lost at Sea and of the Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Enviornmentalists, and Fools, Including the Author, Who Went in Search of Them
by Hohn, Donovan.
pub. by Viking (Penguin group), NY, 1971 - isbn 978-0-670-02219-9 - 2 maps before Prologue - Selected Bibliography p.381-384 - - Notes p. 385-401 - - 402 p.
The extended title describes the book fairly well. It is told narrative style with much of the authors personal family history thrown in. (His wife was pregnant when he started doing the research and his son was over 2 years old by the time it was done. He examines his personal guilt over missing some of his sons early life within the narrative.)
Hohn does a thorough job, not only exploring where the floating bath toys wound up, and the Pacific gyre (aka the Garbage Patch but also the chemistry and history of the use of plastic. He spends considerable time with various organizations each of which have their own reason for being and whose goals are not always congruent even among the enviornmental folks. He tours the factory in China where the particular bath toys were made... no small thing to get permissions etc. for that part of the venture.
Hohn goes down the literary trail, and it is not a bad aside. Pieces of Melvilles Moby Dick are explored as they relate to mans realtionship with the sea, and general ongoing struggles with nature and his place in nature. (Donovan Hohn is by profession a High School English Teacher.)
Towards the end he accompanies an expedition by Woods Hole in Massachusetts which goes to the high Arctic north of Canada in search of ocean currents. The most interesting part is that there are subsurface eddies and activity much like the fronts, highs, and lows in the atmosphere... but the watery oceanic ones move much slower.
Read this book if you want a broad view. It will expose you to many interesting ideas, and some interesting science. DO READ the Notes in the back of the book.
~ 2011-12-20 ~
Attack at Michilimackinac 1763
by Henry, Alexander - - edited by Armour, David A.
pub. by Mackinac Island State Park Commission, Mackinac Island, Michigan, 1971 - isbn 911872-31-0 - - 131 p.
originally published as Travels and adventures in Canada and the Indian Territories between the years 1760 and 1776 in two parts by Alexander Henry, Esq. pub. by I. Riley , New York, 1809.
This book covers the time period immediately after the end of what in USA we call the French and Indian War when English forces captured what is now Canada from the French. Many of the tribes had sided with the French, and although peace treaties were signed with the French, they had not been negotiated with the indian allies of the French.
The author was a fur trader who ventured west from Montreal up the Ottawa River traveling west across the northwestern edge of Lake Huron to Michilimackinac which is located where Lake Michigan attaches to Lake Michigan. (Previously he had traveled from Montreal to Albany, New York to purchase trade goods and had returned to Montreal via the eastern edge of Lake Ontario and the St Lawrence River.) ~2011-11-07~
by Smith, Martin Cruz
pub. Random House, 1981 - isbn 0-394-5748-2 - - 367 p.
This is the first book (mystery) in Martin Cruz Smiths novels which have Arkady Renko as the protagonist. Renko is a homicide investigator in Moscow, Soviet Union. He investigates a triple homicide which is discovered in Gorky Park, which were covered with snow, and had been perpetrated weeks or months previously. He navigates through the investigation often challenging the KGB (which investigates crime involving foreigners, while Renko's job is to investigate cases only involving citizens of the Soviet Union. Many twists and turns throughout. The author did extensive research in the Soviet Union and his depictions of their system of justice are probably fairly accurate.
I read this series out of order, but even so found them to be an engaging read. They do proceed from one to another and probably would make most sense read in order that they were written with this one first, then Polar Star (1989) (The Arkady Renko Series #2) Red Square (1992) (The Arkady Renko Series #3) Havana Bay (1999) (The Arkady Renko Series #4) Wolves Eat Dogs (2004) (The Arkady Renko Series #5) Stalin's Ghost (2007) (The Arkady Renko Series #6) Three Stations (2010) (The Arkady Renko Series #7)
The Curve of Time
by Blanchet, M. Wylie (Muriel Wylie) aka Capi - - 1891-1961
pub. Whitecap Books - Seal Press edition - Vancouver, B.C, Canada, 1993 - isbn 1-878067-27-3 - - 171 p.
M. Wylie Blanchet was known to her friends as Capi. She lived on Vancouver Island in a house on a property on Curteis Point in the Saanich district, somewhat removed from the nearest town. She motored her small cruiser Caprice in the waters between Vancouver Island and the Canadian mainland with her small children for 12 summers. Caprice was 25 ft. long with a beam of 6.5 feet it was lightly built ( planked with half inch cedar) with a cabin forward and a cockpit aft. The cockpit was covered and had heavy canvas curtains to make it more enclosed for sleeping.
After her husband disappeared /died (probably drowned while swimming alone off the boat) she and the children decided to continue to live on Vancouver Island much to the surprise of her relatives.
In the summer of 1928 she rented her house out for the summer and with her 5 children, Elizabeth aged 15, Frances 13, Joan 12, Peter 9 and David 4 set out for a summer cruising in the waters between Vancouver Island and the Canadian mainland. She continued doing this for 12 years, until World War II restrictions made it impossible to continue. After the war she sold Caprice and in 1953 had another boat Scylla built. This boat was only used for short jaunts and only once was taken to the mainland.
This book is a series of stories of the 12 years of cruising on these very interesting waters.
Following the Curve of Time - The Legendary M. Wylie Blanchet
by Converse, Cathy
pub. Touch Wood Editions, Surrey, Brit. Columbia, Canada and Custer, WA, USA, 2008 - isbn 978-1-894898-68-3 - - 208 p.
Biography of Muriel Wylie Blanchet, also known as Capi, born in Montreal May 2, 1891 - died 1961. She lived on Vancouver Island and for many years spent the summers touring about the Canadian west coast and writing about the area. She did most of this after her husband died and traveled with her children who she homeschooled. The major books she wrote (as Capi Blanchet) are The Curve of Time and The Strangers Next Door . Most of her traveling was in a motorboat named Caprice .
~ 2011-10-08 ~
by Smith, Martin Cruz
pub. Random House, NY 1989 - isbn 0-394-57819-8 - - 386 p.
In this Martin Cruz Smith mystery Arkady Renko, having escaped a prison/insane asylum in Moscow traveled east through Siberia and after working at a number of jobs finds himself employed on the slime line in a factory ship in the Bering Sea. During this period of history American fishing vessels (catchers) net fish in waters which are in USAs offshore area and bring their catch to Soviet factory ships for processing. It is an uneasy partnership, but one which works for both parties.
by Smith, Martin Cruz
pub. Random House, NY 1992 - isbn 0-679-41688-9 - - 370 p.
This is one of Cruz Smiths mysteries where his chief investigator is Arkady Renko. It is well written and a good read. The action begins in Moscow when a underworld banker is killed by a bomb exploding in his car, destroying not only him but also all his records. Renko follows leads and when one of his bosses is killed he is officially taken off the case, but he persists and gets permission to follow leads in Germany. He works in Germany without official police authority, and manages to make progress anyway. A lady he loves is an added wrinkle and becomes part of the investigation. The use of the work of a real Soviet artist, Kazimir Malevich, in the story adds a lot to the realism in the story. The final part of this story takes place back in Moscow, as government is changing in what may be setting up to be a violent confrontation in Red Square between the old guard and reformers.
The time period covers from 6 August 1991 through 21 August 1991.
This puts it during the great change of government in 1991. The book was copyrighted in 1992. It ends quite abruptly. I have the feeling the author had a story and had it end when he did not know how history would play out. So instead of guessing he ended it. He tied up all the plot threads well enough so the end is satisfying. Martin Cruz Smith does a lot of research on the places he uses in his novels. This makes them very good reads.
~ 2011-09-23 ~
The Shack a novel
by Young, William Paul
pub. Windblown Media, 4680 Calle Norte, Newbury Park, CA 91320 - 2007 - isbn 978-0-9647292-3-0 - - 248 p. - Notes
Paul Young wrote this in collaboration with Wayne Jacobson and Brad Cummings.
In a radio interview Young said that he originally wrote this for his children (he has 6 and at this writing the youngest is an adult.) The story is of a family where the dad takes the family (2 girls and 1 boy) on a camping trip in a well used park in NW USA. While rescuing 2 children from a canoe mishap the youngest girl is kidnapped and killed. There is great sadness. Then God (called Papa) invites the dad to the shack where the bloody clothes of the abducted girl were found. God appears. Each of the persons of God in the Christian Trinity interact with the dad.
This book is a vehicle for a discussion of the relationship of God and man from a Christian (but not demoninational and not churchy) perspective. In dialog fashion it is more readable than a dry text. For anyone who paid attention to their religious education class, and took one which discussed the adult version of religious concepts, there are no surprises. For those who have not, this book may have some use.
The underlying story is strong, and not a comfortable read for sensitive people
A friend of mine introduced me to this book and suggested I read it. I did so out of friendship. It is not something I would have picked up on my own. The author has a website at www.theshackbook.com
~~ 2011-09-06 ~
The Last Englishman - the double life of Arthur Ransome
by Chambers, Roland
pub. Faber & Faber Ltd. London - 2009 - isbn 978-0-571-22262-9 - - 390 p. B&W photos - Notes on sources - Bibliography - Index
Chambers has written a definitive biography of Arthur Ransome in Russia. Ransome arrived in Russia when it was still being run by the tsar and shortly before the Russian Revolution started. He managed to befriend or at least interact with most of the leaders of the revolution including Lenin, Leon Trotsky, Karl Radek and many others. Ransome was often debriefed, and sometimes fetched and held until debriefing by English MI5 organization. He actually worked for MI6 for some time. He met fell in love with and eventually married Evegenia Shelepina who was Trotskys secretary.
Exhaustive study of not only Ransomes own notes, but those at the English foreign office, recently released documents from the Soviet archives and various other contacts papers allowed Chambers to get a much better picture of Ransomes activities. Chambers also fills in historical details which is of great assistance for those of us who are not expert in Russian history or the events on the Eastern Front during WWI.
This biography of Arthur Ransome fills in the gaps left by Ransoms autobiography and the excellent biography by Hugh Brogan (which covers his early life and his life back in England after Russia in much greater detail.)
This is a -must read- for anyone wanting to understand the background of the author of the Swallows and Amazons series of very popular childrens books.
Scouting with Baden-Powell
by Freedman, Russell
pub. Holiday House Inc, New York - 1967 - isbn -none- - - 223 p. B&W photos and a few sketches by Baden-Powell - Bibliographical Note - Index
This biography of Robert Baden-Powell, the man who started Boy Scouting, is a lightweight biography. That is not to say it is a bad one. It is an excellent short biography which portrays the most positive parts of Baden-Powells life in a good time framework. In some ways, perhaps because it is shorter, it portrays a better time-line than at least 2 other major biographies of BP. The timing of publication of some of his books related to other events in his life is particularly more clearly laid out than in some other biographies. It is interesting that this short book was published shortly after William Hillcourt's early definitive biography. Obviously there was a market for this book, even though the definitive one had just come out.
BPs early life and school days were given short treatment, and most of the book covers his military career. After his military life was over and he spent full-time developing Scouting the story picks up speed and for the most part skims over the rest of his life. The bits about honors afforded him and how he felt about them is fairly well done. (He would have preferred not to have the honors but was talked into receiving them.) The description of the last couple of years of his life is well done, with judicious use of long quotes from his writings.
by Dobie, J. Frank
pub. Univ. of Texas Press, Austin - 1981 (orig. pub by Little Brown) isbn 0-292-77023-5 - - 201 p.
This is a book of folklore and stories about rattlesnakes in Texas and the western part of USA and northern Mexico. Despite the fact that the subject matter may provoke alarm, it is an engaging book with an amout of humor among the stories.
Arthur Ransome under sail - Racundra - Nancy Blackett - Lottie Blossom - Peter Duck - Selina King - Swallow
by Wardale, Roger
pub. Sigma Leisure, Carmathenshire SA18 3HP in UK - www.sigmapress.co.uk - 2010 isbn 978-1-85058-855-9 - - 256 p. - bibliography - black and white photos
This book was previously published by Jonathan Cape in 1991 under the title Nancy Blackett, Under Sail with Arthur Ransome . It chronicles the sailing life of Arthur Ransme, author of the Swallows and Amazons books. It also describes the various boats and lists owners after Ransome. A simpler version of a biography of Ransome than his autobiography or the excellent biography by Hugh Brogan. - a good read.
Our Oldest Enemy - a history of Americas disasterous relationship with France
by Miller, John J. and Molesky, Mark
pub. Doubleday, NY - 2004 isbn 0-385-51219-8 - - 294 p. - notes p. 262 - 286 - index p. 287 - 294
The title nearly says it all. However there is a lot left out of this book. Just what did the authors think... that the French government would/should not work in what they saw as their national interest?
Diplomacy and international affairs is a messy business.
I recommend Samual E. Morrison's biography of John Paul Jones to help flesh out the information presented in this book concerning the U.S. Revolutionary war.
This book was recommended and lent to me by a friend.
Some Part of Myself
by Dobie, J. Frank
pub. Univ. of Texas Press, Austin, Texas - 1980 isbn 0-292-77558-X - - 292 p. - - index
J. Frank Dobie died in 1964. He had planned to write an autobiography and had written a number of bits which were stored for later use. After his death his wife Bertha McKee Dobie collected and edited this trove of writings and published this book.
This book covers his life from birth in 1888 including ranch family life through his beginning teaching career at the University of Texas in Austin - through the early 1930s. This is the biography of a solid citizen, not much drama here, just the life of one who grew to collect stories, edit and publish them. Lon Tinkle, a friend of Dobies, wrote a more complete biography of J.F. Dobie. An American Original: The Life of J. Frank Dobie (1978) . Both this autobiography and Tinkles biography are good reads.
Cache Lake Country - Life in the North Woods
by Rowlands, John J.
pub. The Countrtyman Press, Woodstock, NY - copyright 1998 (orig pub. by Norton & Co 1947) isbn 978-0-88150-421-7 - - 272 p. map, pen and ink illustrations by Henry B. Kane.
Rowlands is an accomplished outdoorsman in the central Canadian wilderness. He builds a cabin and as an observer for a timber company lives the -simple life- in the north woods. For neighbors and friends he has an older Cree indian and a young nature photographer/artist, each of whom live in their own cabins a couple of miles away.
The book establishes the setting then goes through a year of living, describing how life is lived and describing the philosophy of how life is lived in this remote location. There is much description of how to live and thrive in the north woods, and how to be as self sufficient as possible. There are detailed descriptions of how to make several useful things, and how to cook some favorites. This is a delightful and satisfying book. In some ways it might compare with Annie Dillards - Pilgrim at Tinker Creek - ( John Rowlands died in 1976 )
A Dogs Tale
by Twain, Mark - - Clemens, Samuel
orig. pub. by Harper Brothers, NY - copyright 1905 in a collective volume -The Celebrated Jumping Frog And Other Stories - isbn 0-89577-415-1 (none on original) - - 35 p.
Twain writes an autobiography of a dog. As the tale unfolds one discovers she is a female, from puppyhood ad a description of how she was raised by her mother to be smart and understand some words and conversation of humans, and to be a noble beast supporting and fearlessly protecting her human master(s).
Upon reflection it seems to me that there is some echo of Twains feeling about slavery and the use of others by 'owners' in this story.
I read this as a PDF file in a Kindle.
~ 2011-03-08 ~
On the Decay of the Art of Lying
by Twain, Mark - - Clemens, Samuel
a short story included in - The stolen white elephant, etc. - pub. J.R. Osgood and Co., Boston - copyright 1882 isbn 9780958784528 (none on original) - - the whole volume has 306 p.
This was probably one of Twains speeches. It begins slowly with Twain explaining that as a liar he is not as skilled as the great liars. He then proceeds to explain that lies are helpful and that the truth is often hurtful and not productive to smooth human relations.
I read this as a PDF file in a Kindle.
~ 2011-03-08 ~
The Sisters of Sinai - How two lady adventurers discovered the hidden gospels
by Soskice, Janet Martin
pub. Vintage Books - division of Random House, NY - copyright 2009 isbn 978-1-4000-3474-1 - - 316 p.
Mrs. Soskice has written the biography of Scottish women, born Agnes Smith and Margaret Smith (later Mrs. Lewis and Mrs. Gibson.) Their mother died a few weeks after they were born in January 1843. Their father, an industrious and wealthy lawyer never re-married. He raised the girls himself and instead of their having a proper Victorian womens education they were taught more like boys... given the education needed to proceed in life beyond the niceties of normal Victorian women.
They were more adventurous than most and traveled to the Holy Lands and to Egypt. They put together a caravan to explore the Sinai Peninsula and there visited St. Catherine's Monastery an ancient monastery.
In the monasterys library they found an ancient book which was the history of an early saint, but the book was a palimpsest (a parchment or vellum which had been re-used by having the original writing scraped off and new writing applied).
In this case the original writing was a very ancient copy of the Gospels. As it turned out, the most ancient ever discovered up to that time. It was written in Syriac, a language close to Aramaic which was actually spoken in Israel in the time of Christ.
As a palimpsest ages over a century or more the original ink (of what was first written on the parchment) often becomes more visible as the leftover ink ages, and perhaps oxidizes.
The sisters returned to England and after some passage of time some pictures of the book were shown to scholars, who became very interested. The sisters made a second trip to the monastery with better camera equipment and made a complete copy of the book. Upon their return to England the images of the pages were studied and a better understanding of the early text of the Gospels developed.
On a later trip to Egypt they discovered a genizah (a storage room for unused Jewish writings) and rescued a large quantity of them, eventually sharing them with Solomon Schechter and the Jewish community in New York, USA.
This is an absolutely gripping narrative. Anyone who is even remotely interested in the development of the Bible, or middle eastern archeology will enjoy reading this book.
See the link below for further information...
an interview with the author Janet Soskice
~ 2011-03-05 ~
Practical Dinghy Cruiser
by Constantine, Paul
pub. Moonshine Publications isbn 978-1-907938-01-6 - - 166 p. - (contacts) - list of boats covered by the DCA (Dinghy Cruising Association) bulletin
This book was written to introduce Dinghy Cruising and the Dinghy Cruising Association to any person who might be interested in sailing cruising in small open boats. The physical book I have is the first shipped to USA. (information from the author, who is marketing the book) While it is written for the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales etc.) most of the major ideas have general application wherever small boats are sailed, and camped in.
~ 2011-02-19 ~
The Hull The Sail and the Rudder - - my search for the boundaries of the body mind and soul
by Seale, Avrel
pub. Avrel Seale - copyright 2006 isbn (none) - - 229 p. - (references) bibliography - index
This is a book where the author explores his philosophy. He is well read and combines his thoughts with those of some great historical philosophers. The title comes from a physical trip he took that almost ended badly. He uses the trip and boat as a metaphor for the individual human being.
~ 2011-01-__ ~
The Secret Lives of Lawrence of Arabia
by Knightly, Philip and Simpson, Colin
pub. by McGraw Hill, NY - (orig. Thomas Nelson and Sond, London) copyright 1969 isbn (none) - - 334 p. - bibliography - index
This biography of T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia - - also known as T. E. Shaw when he was in the Royal Air Force) had the benefit of being written after a number of documents came available after their being covered by the British governments - Secrets Act - and other impediments were passed. It clearly depicts his early life, and how his father (an inheritor of an Irish baronetc) became estranged from his wife (in Ireland), and set up a household in England with the governess of the children by his legal wife. The fact that T.E. and his 4 brothers of that - family - were by law illegitimate caused T.E. much mental suffering. Of course he rose above he rose above his situation and went on to live a very celebrated life. br> When in college at Oxford he came under the influence of David George Hogarth. Hogarth was an orientalist and the keeper of the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford. He was one of those private individuals who made it part of his life work to be of service to the British Empire. Over time he recruited T.E. Lawrence to join him in the quest of enriching and defending the Empire. Under Hogarth Lawrence visited the middle east and published a book on - Crusader Castles -. Another time he spent time at the archeological dig at Carchemish in Asia Minor. Many of the archeological digs were fronts for the basic spying activity and intelligence gathering which empire needs to further its needs and defend its interests.
When WWI broke out, and Turkey, which at that time controlled its own empire stretching from what is currently Turkey, SE to include Persia (Iran) and SW including what is now Iraq, Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine (including Isreal) up to but not including Egypt, became the enemy of England and the western Allies. Lawrence was among a group of -political officers- which operated in the shadows getting things done to support the war effort. He was wildly successful and managed to cajole and drive the Arabians, mostly through connections with the Sharif of Mecca, to take the area including Damascus, Syria. In doing this he led the Arabs to understand what was not to be. This bothered him for years later. What bothered him more was that the French eventually got Syria. Lawrence really did not like the French. Lawrence proposed that the Zionists (Jewish who wished to establish a Jewish state) could work with the Arabs and displace the French. As we know, this did not happen. The peace conference in Paris was a huge disappointment.
After things set and territory divided Lawrence basically became depressed and more than a little mentally unstable. He browbeat Winston Churchill and the head of the RAF (Air Force) to allow him to enter as an enlisted man under a pseudonym T.E. Shaw. It did not work out as he was discovered and the popular press made his life there impossible. Lawrence hired a person to be a friend and also serve certain needs he had, including sometime physical chastisement, which some figment of his imagination demanded. He exhibited some very unstable behavior. Was removed from the RAF and joined the Army tank corps. That was even worse, and he left that service. After some time he begged his way back into the RAF and was successful for many years as a clerk and later greatly assisted the design of fast light crash boats used to rescue flying boats which crashed upon takeoff or landing. He was also successful in causing a number of reforms to military life, this done through informal channels made up of very influential people he knew and corresponded with, not the least was G. B. Shaw's wife. Mrs. Shaw (old enough to be his mother) was in many ways his closest friend. She and her husband were major editors of his book -The Seven Pillars of Wisdom-.
T.E. Lawrence died 6 days after a motorcycle accident which occurred on 13 May 1935 only 10 weeks after he retired from the RAF. There were many conspiracy theories, but in fact his death was a simple accident.
Read this book if you want to understand Lawrence of Arabia. It covers all the bases, and the research behind it is rather complete.
Legends of the Fall
by Harrison, Jim
pub. by Delacorte Press, NY - copyright 1978 isbn 0-440-05461-3 - - 276 p. -
This volume contains realy 3 stories, and the volume title is the last presented in the book.
The first story Revenge is about an ex-military helicopter pilot who has friends, one of which is a Mexican drug lord. The Drug lords beautiful wife comes on to the pilot and they have an affair. After many warnings the couple having the affair suffers for their adultry. Astoundingly, neither are murdered. The pilots revenge in turn for the drug lords revenge takes up the latter part of the story.
The second story The Man who gave up his name is about a successful man, with family, who, after the children are off to college has his midlife crisis, divorces his wife, liquidates his assets and goes off to live a simpler life, cooking.
the third story Legends of the Fall begins just before WWI and continues on through the end of Prohibition in 1933. There is an epilog which ties up loose ends to the end of the lives of the major characters. In short, a wealthy rancher in Montana, who was a mining engineer, had 3 sons, who volunteered into the Canadian army early in WWI. One dies in France, and the eldest Tristan goes mad with revenge and is unusually good at killing the enemy, taking scalps. He escapes a mental hospital before he can be medically discharged and finds his way to his grandfather in Cornwall. The grandfather takes him on his schooner and while moving cargo from England to the Americas deposits Tristan with his mother in Boston. Tristan marries his long suffering bethrothed and returns with her and mom to the ranch in Montana. A year later he meets up with his grandfather in Havana and takes over the schooner. After several years of working the schooner as a trading vessel he returns to Montana. By this time his marriage is over, and he marries a local girl. They have children. He uses his schooner on the west coast of USA to bring in illegal whiskey. This causes him to run afoul of the Irish who have that trade locked up. He liquidates them. Tristan returns to the Montana ranch and after some long time the Irish send 2 to exact revenge on Tristan, and his family deals with them. End of story. Epilog petty much says they lived on to mostly natural deaths. On through this tale a faithful Cheyenne (indian) retainer gives a native American flavor. This story tries to be a great American novel, as War and Peace does for Russia. It fails due to its brevity and undevelopment of characters other than the protagonist(s).
These are quick and easy reads. Well written and enjoyable for a passtime but do not leave a lasting impression. This book was recommended by a friend who was impressed by the accuracy of the portrayal of the Cheyenne in the story.
They were originally published individually in Esquire magazine.
~ 2010-12-26 ~
Capt. Joshua Slocum - the adventures of Americas best known sailor
by Slocum, Victor
pub. by Sheridan HouseDobbs Ferry, NY, USA - copyright 1950 - this is reprint of the 1972 edition isbn 0-924486-52-X - - 384 p. - - some maps -- index - - pictures b&w -
This is the biography of Joshua Slocum, the first man to sail alone around the world (July 1, -- 1898) written by his eldest son. Joshua was a master of his craft - a sailors sailor, and a boatbuilder as well. He lived at the end of the age of commercial sail and his best talents became more and more irrelevant as the twentieth century dawned. Slocum could and did captain steam ships, but his heart was not in it. He wrote a book The Voyage of the Destroyer about his delivery of an Erickson designed & built warship from New York to Brazil.
His family life can be divided into 3 parts. First, his rocky relationship with his farmer father. Second, his very successful marriage to his first wife, Virginia, who was a true partner to a ship captain. (She died of fever in S. America on board ship in port.) Third his marriage to his second wife, who sailed with him once, then settled and supplied a home ashore when Joshua was ashore.
Joshua Slocum was born in Nova Scotia, Canada. He later became a citizen of USA. He ran away from home and found work on fishing schooners, later ships and worked his way up to being a ship captain, hired by owners who were impressed with his talents. Later in his career Joshua held part or whole ownership of the ships he captained. At first he sailed the North Atlantic, often between England and USA. Later he sailed in the Pacific, San Francisco, Alaska, Australia (where he met and married Virginia), the Phillipines, Hong Kong and asiatic Russia.
After a shipwreck in S. America he and his sons built a 35 foot long boat, rigged it out and sailed home to USA from Brazil. At this early date it was unheard of to take such a small vessel on that long a trip, especially with a wife and family. For some time the Liberdade was held by the Smithsonian Inst. but eventually it was lost or discarded.
After a period of unemployment a shipcaptain friend gave Joshua a wreck of an oyster smack, the Spray as a joke. Joshua turned the joke around by rebuilding the boat, then sailing this boat (36 ft. long overall) around the world. He wrote up his adventures in Sailing Alone Around the World , a book which has been continuously in print for over 100 years.
Joshua Slocum disappeared when sailing from his home in Massachusetts to the Caribbean where he often wintered in his later years. Victor offers some theories on what happened, the one he finds most plausable is that the Spray was accidentally run down by a large steamer, which did not even feel the collision.
This book includes a lengthy discussion on the design and charactertistics of the Spray, special consideration given to self-steering and stability. Victor quotes the favorable Andrade study. He also sheds some light on how Capt. Slocum did lunars to determine navigational time at sea, and thus navigate with some reasonable precision. (This involved measuring the angle between the moon and another body such as the sun or a star. As the moon appears to travel across the sky much more rapidly than the motion of other bodies measuring the differential can give you time.) This technique became more and more unused with the advent of comparatively inexpensive chronometers and more recently the GPS system.
Saving Paradise - How Christianity traded love of this world for crucifixion and empire
by Nakashima Brock, Rita and Parker, Rebecca Ann
pub. by Beacon Press, Boston, USA - 2008 isbn 978-0-8070-6754-3 - - 552 p. - - extensive notes p. 425 - 515 -- index p.517 - 552 - - pictures b&w -
During the first 900 years of Christianity religious art did not depict the crucified Jesus. There were no crucifixes and literature did not dwell on the suffering death of Christ. Instead early Christianity celebrated the creation of the Christian community and the prospect of living in heaven, including withing the Christian community living in as close to heaven on earth as could be managed. After Constantine and as Christianity became enmeshed with ruling an the empire of the west (Rome), the idea of suffering and the price paid for sin, and how it could be expiated by personal suffering took hold.
The authors say much about the excesses of the time of Charlemagne and after. They also cross the Atlantic and have much to say about how the Pilgrims in New England preached and lived. The last chapter brings their ideas up to date near the publication date (2008).
This book is chock full of very interesting tidbits of history, both in the first millennium and later times. I believe I learned more about history than theology. It challenges what one experienced and experiences as a Christian in the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st.
~ 2010-11-27 ~
The Chief - The Life Story of Robert Baden-Powell
by Wade, Eileen K.
pub. by ,Wolf Publishing Ldd. - 1975 ( orig. title = The Piper of Pax pub by C. Arthur Pearson Ltd. 1924 ) Electronic edition http://www.seascouts.ca/ 2007 isbn (none) - - 78 p. - - pictures - Appendix I. A farewell note to my brother scouters and to guiders - Appendix II. B-Ps medals and decoratoions - Freedoms - Honorary degrees - Appendix III B-Ps published works
Biography of Robert Baden-Powell by his personal secretary of 27 years. Originally published as the 'Piper of Pax' in 1924. This version revised by the author to include B-P's life between 1924 and 1941.
The Devils Highway - a true story
by Urrea, Luis Alberto
pub. by Little, Brown, NY, isbn 0-316-77671-1 - - 239 p. - - maps - -Acknowlegments - - Index -- Reading Group Guide -- Suggestions for further reading
This book was lent to me by a friend who thought I would profit from reading it. I did.
It is the story of 26 men and boys who attempted to enter the USA through the Arizona desert, guided by a coyote. This happened in May 2001. They lost their way in the desert and 14 perished in horrible deaths of heat and thirst. The organization which they hired to guide them to USA took a fair amount of money for the service. It was a well organized ring. Most of the men were from the Veracruz area of Mexico, a lush part of the country where it rains and finding water is not a problem. The desert they encountered on foot was entirely foreign to their experience.
The Border Patrol, and other law enforcement on the USA side is handled with some sympathy, as are the walkers themselves. The coyote group, particularly the upper echelons are not. The surviving men were repatriated to Mexico. The identified bodies were also repatriated. The Mexican Consular authorities do their jobs as well as they could. The lone surviving coyote found on the USA side pled guilty and is serving a very long sentence.
This book includes a good description of the desert between Yuma AZ and ElPaso TX. It also describes in some detail what happens to unprepared hikers, even those from USA who are out for a picnic and get lost.
This is an exceptionally well researched book. Written in a very readable and sympathetic manner. Read it if you wish to know what the illegal immigrant situation is really like.
The Lost History of Christianity - The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia - and how it died
by Jenkins, Philip - - ( John P. Jenkins )
pub. by Harper One - HarpeCollins Press, NY, isbn 978-0-06-147281-7 - - 315 p. - - Notes p 263 - 297 (generous notes on each chapter. which create a large annotated bibliography) - -Acknowlegments - - Index
I was chatting about what I had learned from the Omar khayyam biog (listed below) to a friend, and he lent me this book by Jenkins to fill out my knowledge. He did me a good favor. This is an amazing book.
Most of what we in European and American civilization know about Christianity is about (and from) a Roman Catholic and Protestant perspective, with a nod to the fact that the "Orthodox" Eastern churches exist, not giving them much thought. Jenkins opens the doors of history, revealing that huge swaths of the orient from Egypt to China, had hundreds of years of rich Christian heritage.
~ 2010-10-11 ~
In Search of Omar Khayyam
by Dashti, Ali
pub. by Columbia University Press, NY, 1971 isbn 0-231-03188-2 LCCN - 77-168669 - - 276 p. - portrait, Introduction (16 pages) by L.Pl Elsell-Sutton, the translator from Persian to English
- Note on Transliteration
- Preface to the Persian Second Edition by Ali Dashti
- Appendix I. Biographical Notes = 12 page listing of various people and organizations and a short sketch on each from Abbasaids and Avicenna to Soltan Valad son or Rumi and Azmakhshari
- Appendix II. Glossary of technical terms 5 page listing from Allahu Akbar and Arafat to Sufiam and Zoroastrianism
- Bibliography - Index
This is a thorough examination of the poetical works, and mind of Omar Khayyam (sometimes spelled Omar Kayam in USA). Omar Khayyam (Ghiyashoddin Abolfath Omar b. Ebrahim Khayyami) was born in Nishapur in Northeast part of Persia in 1048 he died in 1122 (or perhaps in 1131) depending on which expert you believe.
During his life he was chiefly known as a mathematician, particularly in algebra. He was also known for his knowledge as a natural philosopher, knowing much about astronomy and nature. His book on Algebra - L Algevre d Omar Alkhayyami - was translated into French by F. Woepke in 1851.
Short two-couplet (four line) poems are called roga'i (quatrains). The plural is roba'iyat. Thus the body of quatrains written by Omar Khayyam are often known as the robayat (rubiat) of Omar Khayyam.
Dashti first separates Khayyam's writings from many writings purported to be his. Over the centuries the number of quatrains has multiplied to be several times what are probably what are really his. Dashti uses style and content to come to his best guess at the "real" ones.
One quatrain which is very revealing of Omar Khayam's mind which is reproduced many times in this book is
Our elements were merged at His command
Why then did He disperse them once again?
For if the blend was good, why break it up?
If it was bad, whose was the fault but His ?
Khayyam seems obsessed with the futility of life. One is born (the potter makes us out of clay) and one dies (the potter smashes the pot he made.)
Then if life is futile why not enjoy it while we have life, with wine (considered sinful by his religion) and the company of women.
Several of the quatrains remind one that the dust one encounters might have once been a famous king or other personage of high estate. Which lead one to understand the equality of all people in the long run. The fact of death equals us all.
Some of the religious thinkers/writers who lived after Kayyam took serious issue with his philosophy, and these same religious writers have been counter attacked in more modern times.
Its Me O Lord - the Autobiography of Rockwell Kent
by Kent, Rockwell
pub. by Dodd Mead and Co., NY. 1955 LCCN 55- - - 617 p. -- many pictures drawn by Kent most reproductions of his work. Some drawn just for this book
This is a straightforward autobiography of the American artist. socialist. and labor supporter. It starts with a genealogy to set the stage for his birth, and continues through to his 71st year.
He started out going to college to become an architect, then several years in he changed his mind and went to art school, becoming an artist. During his life he blended the work and for many years did artistic renderings for architectural plans for various architectural firms. It was bread and butter work... that is, it kept him employed, but did not satisfy him as the best use of his artistic talent.
Kent married, raised a family, divorced, married again and lived to an advanced age.
He spent the better part of a year in a cabin on an island in Alaska with his son. This provided him grist to write and illustrate a book on the adventure.
Later he took a steamer to Tierra del Fuego, bought a lifeboat and refitted it to be a yacht and sailed the area of the southern tip of S. America. After several adventures and slogging hikes through bogs and mountains he borrowed another boat in an attempt to reach the island of Cape Horn. He got within sight of it but weather turned him back. He returned to USA and from these experiences wrote another book.
He eventually bought a farm in New England and grew it into a full working dairy operation as well as a meeting place for his artistic friends. Kent had some rather sharp disagreements with the House UnAmerican Activities Committee and Senator McCarthy, who was questioning Rockwell Kent about his Socialist and possibly Communist leanings. Kent fairly well proved that he was not a Communist, but in the heated exchange Kent challanged the committee to define socialism and communism before he would answer their questions. He never got a defining answer.
A good bit of the beginning of this autobiography took place before rural America was mechanized. This book gives one a fair look into how life was lived when things were simpler... even to not having indoor plumbing much less electricity.
The Adventures of Tintin - The Crab with the Golden Claws
pub. by Little Brown, NY. 1974 (first pub in 1941) (orig. 1953 in France pub. by Casterman, Paris) isbn 0-316-35833-9 - - 62 p.
Tintin is shown details of a counterfeit coin case by the Thompson & Thompson detectives and discovers a deeper mystery involving opium smuggling. He escapes imprisonment on a steamship and meets Capt Haddock (may be the first time Capt. Haddock appears in Tintin stories.) He ends up in northern Africa, interacts with western governmental control there and eventually foils the smugglers.
The Adventures of Tintin - The Broken Ear
pub. by Little Brown, NY. 1978 (first pub in 1937) (orig. 1945 in France pub. by Casterman, Paris) isbn 0-316-35850-9 - - 62 p.
A small fetish statue from S. America is stolen from the museum. Tintin investigates and takes a steamer to S. America. He is following what might be the thief, and is followed by 2 thugs who want the fetish. Tintin gets involved with a S. American revolution and escapes. Then canoes down a river to the tribe which created the fetish. He eventually returns home without it and finds replicas of the fetish for sale in many stores. A local factory is making them wholesale. The original is found, and so is what is secreted inside it which is what was sought by all the - bad guys -. The museum gets it back, worse for wear, sans what was secreted inside.
The Adventures of Tintin - The Shooting Star
pub. by Little Brown, NY. 1978 (first pub in 1942) (orig. 1946 in France pub. by Casterman, Paris) isbn 0-316-35851-7 - - 62 p.
A shooting star falls to earth in the arctic ocean. Tintin is along on a scientific expedition to retrieve samples, in competition with another expedition. The meteorite has formed an island poking above the surface. It has very unusual properties causing explosive growth of life forms living/growing on the island. The island disappears under the sea and a small sample is brought back.
The Adventures of Tintin - The Black Island
pub. by Little Brown, NY. 1975 (first pub in 1938) (orig. 1956 in France pub. by Casterman, Paris) isbn 0-316-35835-5 - - 62 p.
Tintin encounters a small airplane in mysterious circumstances. He follows up on it and after a series of adventures is led to the Black Island in Scotland which is said to have a monster. Tintin can not hire a boat, so buys one and goes to the island. He finds it guarded by a huge ape, which is guarding a counterfeiting ring.
3 Complete adventures in 1 volume
The Adventures of Tintin - Tintin in America
The Adventures of Tintin - Cigars of the Pharaoh
The Adventures of Tintin - The Blue Lotus
pub. by Little Brown, NY. 1977 (orig. 1954 in France pub. by Casterman, Paris) isbn 0-316-35940-8 each book had - - 192 p.
Tintin in America (first pub. 1932
Tintin comes to America to clean up the Chicago mob. He finds a main mobster and a rival association of mobsters. He chases after the head of the association across USA through Indian territory, and eventually back to Chicago.
Cigars of the Pharaoh (first pub. 1934)
Tintin is on vacation in the Mediterranean and assists prof. Sophocles Sarcophagus with a search for Egyptian antiquities. This draws him into a search for what is going on with some illegal activities. He travels in Arabia, escapes a firing squad and flies east, crash landing in India. He finds that opium is being smuggled in cigars.
The Blue Lotus (first pub serially 1935)
Tintin is guest at an Indian Rajas palace. The Raja has a son who has been poisoned by Rajaija juice ... the poison of madness. He receives what he perceives as an invitation to Shanghai and before the whole message is told the messenger is darted with Rajaijah juice. He takes a steamer to Shanghai and finds the Japanese (evil) controlling some of the area and Western powers (also somewhat evil) controlling their area. Eventually he foils a Japanese plot and returns to India with an antidote for the Rajaija juice poison. This story is set in 1931 and was serially published 1934-1935, before the Japanese atrocities in China were well known.
The Adventures of Tintin - Destination Moon
The Adventures of Tintin - Explorers op the Moon
pub. by Little Brown, NY. 1976 (orig. 1954 in France pub. by Casterman, Paris) isbn 0-316-35845-2 and 0-316-35846-0 each book had - - 62 p.
These 2 books actually comprise a single story. It begins with Tintin and Captain Haddock being mysteriously invited by Prof. Calculus to a remote lab and launch facility in Syldavia. In a super secret situation they discover that a rocket is being prepared to voyage to the moon. The rocket in question looks much like the V2 rockets of WWII, and the earliest NASA rockets. The description of the technology involved is truly amazing and Herge must have done his homework to have gotten it so correct in a 1954 publication. There is a shadow group attempting to hijack the rocket in flight and the tension with these people adds to the story. Explorers on the Moon begins shortly after liftoff and tells the story of the landing on the moon, exploration of the Moon, and return to Earth. It should be noted that Herge anticipated carrying a vehicle to the moon to facilitate exploration. All in all a delightful story, more amazing in that much of what it described was in the future, a future that was remarkably prescient
Voyaging - Southward from the Strait of Magellan
by Kent, Rockwell
pub. by Grossett & Dunlop, NY. 1968 (orig. 1924) isbn __ - LCCN 67-24245 - - 184 p. -- many pictures drawn by Kent and 3 hand drawn area maps - larger maps on the endpapers.
Rockwell Kent, born 1882 died 1971 - American artist, author, liberal political activist early in his mid-life traveled stayed and wrote about Alaska, Tierra del Fuego, and later Greenland. He lived in Vermont, USA. This adventure began in 1922 when he booked passage on a steamer to Puntas Arenas the southernmost city on continental South America. En route he became friends with one of the mates on the steamer, Ole Ytterock, and hired him to be a companion on this trip. Ole was thereafter called the Mate. In Puntas Arenas he acquired an old lifeboat which over the period of 2 months rebuilt into a yacht which he named Kathleen. Kent and sailed to the west (against the prevailing wind.) He sailed into Admiralty sound. The boat leaked a lot, almost foundering. They made port on Dawson Island and as luck would have it the shipbuilders at Port Harris, in Harris Bay, strengthened the hull while Kent painted a picture of the most fameous boat that this shipyard had ever built. His adventure took him further east and a visit to Mulach (a very rural farm) where he was stuck against foul weather for some weeks. He sailed on and left the Kathleen at Don Antonio. From there he and Ole spent a few days hiking across the peninsula. They were very likely the first non-natives to do so. They arrived at an estancia at Yandrgaia Bay then traveled east to the southernmost town of Ushuaia. There they met a number of people who befriended them. They met Lundberg who had a boat and who took Kent to his home Harberton. Kent and the Mate spent a celebrated Christmas at Harberton. They met up with Ernesto Christopherson who acted as leader/captain of the hired sloop (with ancient inboard motor) for the trip to see Cape Horn. The cape is the southernmost of the Wallaston Island. They made it to the middle of the islands and the weather, which had cleared for a short time, turned stormy and they returned to Harberton. From there Kent returned to Puntas Arenas visiting a number of farms held by ex English families, and sailed from there in a steamer to return to USA. Ole, the Mate returned to where they left the Kathleen, found it sound, but up on shore due to a fierce storm which largely wrecked the village. From there he sailed it back to Puntas Arenas and delivered it to Lundberg to whom it was consigned as payment for services.
The Adventures of Tintin - King Ottokars Sceptre
pub. by Little Brown, NY. 1975 (orig. 1947 in France pub. by Casterman, Paris) isbn 0-316-35831-2 - - 62 p.
This is one of a series of world famous childrens books done in comic book style. Tintin is a reporter who solves mysteries. This one takes him to the imaginary eastern european nation of Syldavia and its neighboring kingdom Bordura. This story is resolved at the end of this book. Tintin, his dog Snowy and his 2 English police detectives, the Thompsons fly back to England in a Clipper (airplane which lands on water.)
The Adventures of Tintin - The Seven Crystal Balls
pub. by Little Brown, NY. 1975 (orig. 1948 in France pub. by Casterman, Paris) isbn 0-316-35840-1 - - 62 p.
This is one of a series of world famous childrens books done in comic book style. Tintin is a reporter who solves mysteries. Seven members of an expedition which brought an Inca mummy back to England are attacked with crystal globes, which when smashed release a gas which puts them into a coma. This book does not really resolve the mystery it is continued in a following book Prisoners of the Sun. Which is set in Peru and which is not available in my local library.
The Adventures of Tintin - The Secret of the Unicorn
pub. by Little Brown, NY. 1974 (orig. 1948 in France pub. by Casterman, Paris) isbn 0-316-35832-0 - - 62 p.
This is one of a series of world famous childrens books done in comic book style. Tintin is a reporter who solves mysteries. Tintin buys a model boat which is highly sought by 2 others. Secreted in the boat is a note which reveals 1/3 of a clue needed to recover a pirate treasure. Tintins friend Captain Hadock is prominent in this book, as are the humorous police detective Thompson brothers. This book does not really resolve the mystery it is continued in a following book Red Rackhams Treasure which is not available in my local library.
An American Original: The Life of J. Frank Dobie
by Tinkle, J Lon (Julien Lon Tinkle) 1906-1980
pub by Univ. of Texas press - 1978 - also Boston - Little, Brown, 1978. isbn 0316848875 - 6 pages of photos. - 264 p - - biography.
Tinkle was a friend of Dobies. Dobie was born on a ranch in south Texas and knew his roots. He was a writer and folklorist. He served in both WWI and WWII. He taught at UT Austin, Oklahoma A and M, and in Cambridge Univ. in England. This biography also covers Dobies problems with UT Austin, including the fact that he was more politically liberal (or less conservative) than the then governor of Texas and some of the leadership of the University. Dobie authored over 25 books, mostly on Texas folklore and history.
Why a son needs a Dad
by Lang, Gregorh E.
pub. by Cumberland House, Nashville, Tennessee, 2003 isbn 1-58182-331-2 LCCN - 2003000459 - - 122 p. (pages not numbered) - introductary - aphorisms and photographs,
This was a fathers day gift. A pretty little hardback book, well constructed, and full of good advice on raising a son. It begins with the authors exploration of his relationship with his father, and his daughter. It is a reminder that fathers are important, and what they need to do with their importance to pass civilization on from father to son. A good reminder of what we should be doing, and on a good day, what we are doing, as fathers.
The Big Rich - the rise and fall of the greatest Texas fortunes
by Burrough, Brian
pub. by Penguin Press, NY, 2009 isbn 978-1-59420-199-8 LCCN - 2008027043 - - 466 p. - photographs, bibliography notes, index,
This book was recommended by a friend, and I am glad he did. It is the fascinating story of the big oil families in Texas - H.L. Hunt - Sid Richardson - Clint. Murchison - Roy Cullen, and their children. It begins just before the Spindletop gusher (describing what happened in fine detail) and continues on nearly to the present day. As the families branched out from oil the story follows their efforts. If one wishes to understand politics and big money in USA, and the hubris of the people who held this wealth, this is the book to read. In the end, they all came to grief, but it should be noted that the surviving families still have more wealth than the this writer and most likely the readers of these words. These men were the richest in the world... and they managed to squander their wealth through unwise use of that wealth. H.L. Hunt was the least -splashy- but had the wierdest family life, having married, concurrently, 3 women and having 3 complete families, complicating the lives and finances of his heirs, of which he had many. Hunts attempt to corner the Silver market is discussed. Murchisons sports (Dallas Cowboys) efforts are explored. A comparatively minor player, Glenn McCarthy, built the Shamrock Hotel in Houston, to be the end-all of hotels. That adventure in finance and public relations is a study on how to spend more money than one could ever re-coup. In all, a fascinating book, about larger than life people
~ 2010-06-22 ~
Boats - Egyptian Bookshelf (series)
by Jones, Dilwyn
pub. by University of Texas Press, Austin isbn 0292740395 LCCN - 94-061614 - - 96 p. - line drawings, photographs, glossary, appendices, bibliography, index,
This little book contains almost anything a person would want to know about ancient Egyptian boats. It starts our describing their place in Egyptian society, and includes the various types of boats over the various dynasties, then it describes them physically and describes how they were built. It is a thorough little book.
~ 2010-06-10 ~
Lore of the Wreckers
by Shepard, Birse
pub. by Beacon Press, Boston pub in Canada by J. Reginald Saunders, Toronto. isbn -none- LCCN - 61-6221 - - 278 p. - maps on endpages, appendices, bibliography, index,
Wrecking is what is now called Marine Salvage. Nowdays it is the work of specially built strongly built ocean going tugs responding to radioed messages from vessels in distress at sea. The time period covered by this book (roughly 1200 through 1898) marine salvage was called wrecking, and was carried out mostly after a vessel had come to grief on a shore or reef. There is a chapter on the law pertaining to what to do with items found from ships which have lost their cargo either by jettisoning (throwing it overboard) or by actually being wrecked on a shore. Most often it was not -finders keepers-. The area described in this book is the North Atlantic. Some of the older stories come from England and France, but most of the book details wrecking in what is now USA, and actually it probably grew out of the authors knowledge of Key West and the area between the southern tip of Florida, USA, the Bahamas and Cuba.
I picked this book up from a used book sale as a curiosity, and am glad I did. It is an interesting read. The idea of using sailing vessels to salvage other sailing vessels in stormy conditions stretches the mind... especially of one who has had some experience sailing.
The Low-Tech Navigator
by Crowley, Tony
pub. by Seafarer Books, Rendlesham, Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK - Sheridan House, Dobbs Ferry, NY, 2004 US isbn 1-57409-191-3 UK isbn 0-95427-503-9 - - 148 p. - diagrams, appendices, bibliography, index,
This Mr. Crowley must be a navigator of the old school. He has amassed a very thorough knowledge of celestial navigation, and a wide variety of tricks of the trade, many of which are well beyond what a day-to-day navigator would know. This book is for those who want to be able to make one's way when the GPS fails. It also contains very practical sections on making navigational tools and equipment, some historical, some hysterical (compass made from toilet tank float!) Inbetween the more serious (but lightly written) parts of this book Crowly writes what appear to be fictional short stories... fun reads... like recess after a bit of class in grade school. All in all, a very fun read.
John Paul Jones - a sailors biography
by Morrison, Samuel Eliot
pub. by Northeastern Univ. Press, Boston, 1985 (orig. pub. by Little Brown, 1959) isbn 0-930350-70-7 LCCN = 84-14838 - - 453 p. - maps, appendices, bibliography, index,
This Pullitzer Prize winning biography is a good read. Morrison brings John Paul (later added Jones to his name) to life. John Paul was born July 6, 1747 in Arbigland, in the parish of Kirkbean, Scotland, the son of a farmer and the daughter of a farmer who was the houskeeper for the local landholder Mr. Craik. He had a satisfying childhood and went to sea at the age of 13, with his parents blessing. He spent the rest of his life as a seafarer. In 1763 he did a voyage as a Mate on a slaver, and left what he called that "abominable trade" in disgust. In 1768 he returned home to Scotland from Kingston, Jamaica. During that voyage the master and part owner and the mate fell ill and died. John Paul assumed command and brought the ship home. The owners were pleased, and at the age of 21 John Paul was made master of the 60 ton merchant brig. John.
After various sailings he ended up in Virginia in 1773. His brother, who had lived in Virginia had died and John Paul settled his effects. John Paul had fallen in love with "liberty" in America, and as the American Revolution began found himself involved. He was eventually given a command, and had difficulty navigating the political waters which naval commanders had to deal with to get and keep commands. He had a few successful skirmishes with English shipping of the American coast, and in what is now eastern Canada. Eventually he sailed to France to get a ship to raid English shipping. The French who had become allies with the revolting Americans supplied ships and other support. Benjamin Franklin was hard at work in Paris doing what was needed to foster that support. John Paul Jones commanded a flotilla which raided merchant shipping and made a couple of attacks on English soil which were gallantly done and done largely over the complaints of his Jr officers and crew which wanted to take other vessels where they could recieve prize money for the captures. His most fameous battle when he was master of the Bonhomme Richard with the British Serapis (sometimes called the Battle off Flamborough Head - on the East coast of England, in the North Sea) took place on 23 Sept. 1779. The Serapis was a new and powerful naval vessel, copper bottomed, mounting 50 guns. The battle was fought in light winds. The grappled (became tied to one another) and slugged it out until both were fairly wrecked. After the battle the Bonhomme Richard sank. John Paul Jones moved his flag to the Serapis and sailed to neutral Texel in Holland. Eventually he escaped back into France after a major re-fit. The battle with the Serapis made him the hero of the day... year... and he recieved many accolades, including being made a Chevalier of France, a huge honor. He did not get what he really wanted... to be offered a suitable strong vessel to continue contributing to the war. He was given a ship the Ariel to sail back to America with supplies for Washingtons army, in which he had to survive a horrendous storm in the Bay of Biscay. He also nearly captured the British privateer Triumph with 20 guns, but as Jones was cargo laden the privateer slipped away after having been raked with cannon fire. On 18 Feb. 1781 he arrived safely in Philadelphia harbor.
Jones did not manage to get another significant vessel from Congress and returned to France to arrange the payment for vessels captured from the French Govt. This took nearly 2 years. After that he was casting about for a job and was hired by Catherine the Great of Russia to be a Rear Admiral (one of 3 as it turned out) with the Black Sea fleet. He served under General Potemken He fought 2 major battles against the Turks at Liman, (liman a term meaning estuary) at the mouth of the Dnieper River on the north coast of the Black Sea. The commands were divided, and although Jones got along with the Russian sailors and Cossacks who were assigned to ship-board duty, he did not get along with the other foreign admirals - one Polish and the other Spanish. Eventually he left with the idea of an offer to serve Russia in the Balitc in the war against Sweden. This never happened. He was caught up in an unfortunate incident (being set-up by enemies as having had a forced affair with an under-aged female... charges he vehemently denied, and which his legal team showed were false.) Jones had not been physically well for some time. He moved to France, and sickness and friendlessness took him. He was living there through the early part of the French Revolution, and did not like what he saw. He died 9 July 1792 in Paris at the age of 45.
Jones had many affairs of the heart, but never really flirted with marriage. He was a difficult man to serve under, often being bitingly criticical then forgiving. He re-rigged most of the ships under his command. In an effort to help him be more successful with his management style his friend Benjamin Franklin wrote him a letter with this advice.
".... hereafter, if you should observe an occasion to give your officers and frineds a little more praise than is their due, and confess more fault than you can justly be charged with, you will only become the sooner for it, a great captain. Criticizin and censuring almost every one you hav eo do with, will diminish friends, increase enemies, and thereby hurt your affairs."
Good advice at any age.
This book serves not only as a biography of John Paul Jones, it also is a good history of naval affairs, ship handling, pay, privateers etc., and the affairs of state in Europe during the last 30 years of the 1700s. A good and fair read.
~ 2010-05-09 ~
by Hunter, J. (John) A.
pub. by Harper and Brothers, New York, 1952 isbn (none) LCCN = 52-7287 (this book has been recently reprinted) - - 263 p. - photos in b&w,
A. J. Hunter was one of the Great White Hunters of East Africa. He was born in 1887 on a farm near Shearington in southern Scotland. His family had 300 acres of farm and 3 square miles of grazing land. J.A. grew up enjoying the outdoor life, hunting, trapping, negotiating dangerous bogs etc. He was not properly successful at school. After an involvement with a local young woman his father bought him a ticket to Kenya to go to a cousin who lived there. He provided J.A. with the most powerful rifle the family owned.
J.A. Arrived in Mombassa and made his way to his cousins farm. The cousin was an uncouth man who abused both his wife and his native help. After a few months John struck out on his own. Instead of returning to Scotland humilated, by chance he was offered and took, a job as a railroad guard on the Mombasa-Nairobi line. One day he stopped the train, killed an elephant, and sold the tusks. In a short while he began his career as a professional hunter shooting lions for their hides. He met Hilda Banbury whose father owned a music store in Nairobi. They had a long marriage and had 6 children, 4 boys and 2 girls. They bought a big old house outside Nairobi called Clairmont for their home. Shortly after they were married he tried hauling freight for a living with mules and horses. That failed and he turned to a friend who hired him as a hunting guide for 2 Americans. This hunt started his long career as a white hunter and guide.
He guided, and was hired by the Kenyan government to clear areas of dangerous game (most often lions, elephant or rhino) which were threatening native villages and their agricultural holdings. He worked with Masai and had some great friendships with them. John Hunter was, for his day, remarkably respectful for the native peoples of his part of Africa.
Much of the book involves hunting tales. They are well written and thoughful. The period covered is mostly between WWI and WWII. If you want a flavor of East Africa through this time, or want to read of Africa in a more natural state read this book.
~ 2010-04-16 ~
The Prince of the Marshes and other occupational hazards of a year in Iraq
by Stewart, Rory
pub. by Harcourt, New York, 2006 isbn 0-15-101235-0 - - 397 p. - photos in b&w, Iraq timeline from 3000 BC to Dec. 2005, quotes from Machiavelli and Sumerian proverbs head the chapters
This reads fast enough, but is a tough read as it deals with unpleasant situations which one can not ignore. Rory Stewart is from Scotland. He is experienced in attempting to re-establish civil order after conflict. (Had worked in Bosnia after the conflict there.) He also traveled in the Middle East and speaks Farsi (Persian) and only a smattering of Arabic. The British Foreign office asked him to be the deputy governate coordinator of Maysan, a province in southern Iraq whose capitol is Amara. It is north (upstream) of Basara. It is perhaps the poorest province of Iraq. It is one of the provinces where the marsh arabs live. Maysan province was controlled by British military. This is during the time that Bremmer was running Iraq. The book is a narrative which seems to be drawn from a diary. It begins on Oct. 3, 2003 and essentially ends on June 28, 2004 when the governmental handover from foreign control to Iraqui control. There is an afterword from a later visit to the area through 2006.
Rory arrives, sets up and begins to establish some sort of order. About 2 months after he begins the official CPA (Coalition Provisional Authority) governate coordinator, Molly Phee (an American), arrives and they both work attempting to get some projects going, Begin employing many in re-building projects, get a police system up and going, The big project was to assemble a local Council to create the beginnings of representative government. Over 10 political parties create themselves after the fall of Sadam Hussein and they all have wildly different agendas and followers. The situation is chaotic and dangerous. For instance the first police chief lasts less than a month before he is shot and killed.
The Prince of the Marshes is a very powerful sheik whose clan was very opposed to Saddam Hussein and fought against him. As such he was welcomed by the Coalition government. He was however an old school type of leader who was a mixed blessing to the Coalition.
In March 2004 Rory Stewart was transfered to Nasiriyah the capitol of Dhi Qar. Italian military were assigned to control this area. The situation in this area was significantly different from Maysan. Variant methods were used to create the beginnings of civil order there. The Italian military were much less efficient in protecting the CPA compound in Dhi Qar than the British were in Maysan.
Some 6 or 8 weeks before the handover of the government to the Iraquis extreme violence erupted, mostly from the Sadarists. By the time of the transfer of power all order had broken down in both provinces (and very probably the others in Iraq also.) The afterword which was written nearly a year later noted that most of the work done by the CPA was forgotten.
Read this book to get a flavor of what it is like when governments fail to exist and competing power groups can not agree. It is chilling. Nonetheless, in the long run, things seem to be coming together, and a governmental organization is forming.
The book makes no reference to the end of British government in Keynya and the handover to the locals. I wonder if it would be fair to make some comparisons. That book has yet to be written.
Read this book after reading - Desert Queen - The extraordinary life of Gertrude Bell - and get a better understanding of the Iraq history, area and people. I find it interesting that Stewart never mentions Gertrude Bell, but does mention other British in Iraq during the mandate after WWI.
~ 2010-04-07 ~
Where have all the leaders gone ?
by Iacocca, Lee
pub. by Scribner., New York, 2007 isbn - 1-4165-3247-7 - - 274 p. - index
Iacocca is a plain spoken writer. This book, published in 2007, was put together with a look at the then upcomming election. Iacocca is totally disgusted with the George W. Bush presidency and offers some things to look for when choosing a leader. His list of things a true leader needs includes Curiosity, Creativity, Communication, Character, Courage, Conviction, Charisma, Competence and Common Sense. All leaders must have these qualities, but none are strong in all areas.
The author has had close contact with a wide variety of world leaders, and writes of his discussions with several. One of the most interesting conversations was that with Fidel Castro.
Even though the election is over, and the primary reason for this book being written may have passed (the presidential election of 2009 being over) it is still a valuable read.
~ 2010-03-23 ~
Around America - a tour of our magnificent coastline
by Cronkite, Walter
pub. by W.W. Norton & Co., New York, 1993 - 2001 isbn - 0-393-04083-6 - - 211 p. - drawings - maps
A fairly straightforward book by Walter Cronkite, an eminent newsman, and yachtsman. His home water is the East Coast of USA, and it should be no surprise that it gets the most thorough treatment. Some insights are truly delightful. The coast of the Gulf of Mexico is least well covered, but a quick overview is given. The West Coast is covered somewhat less thoroughly than the northern part of the East Coast, but on the whole is done well. As it is a very organized exposition from North to South, covering most of what there is to report on, one can get a fair reading of the whole from the Canadian border on to Mexico. Since much of the Pacific Coast is not very hospitable to yachting compared to the Atlantic Coast the section is shorter. Also the amount of human history available is less... so the stories available are fewer. A good light read.
~ 2010-03-16 ~
Window on my Heart - The autobiography of Olave, Lady Baden-Powell, G.B.E. as told to Mary Drewery
by Baden-Powell, Olave St. Clair (Soames)
pub. by Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1973 isbn - 0-340-15944-8 - - 256 p. - photos - list of countries visited - genealogical chart - index
This is a delightful autobiography which covers the live of Olave Baden-Powell from her birth through 1971. (She died 25 June 1977.) The chapters in the book are -
Much of this book - chapters 7 - 12 - are available online at http://pinetreeweb.com/bp-olave-07.htm
If you can get the whole book - perhaps by interlibrary loan - read it. The chapters at the beginning and at the end are well worth the effort.
~ 2010-03-07 ~
by Harrigan, Stephen
pub. by Alfred A. Knopf (Borzoi Book), NY. 1980 isbn - (none) LCCN = 79-21083 - - 260 p. - a first novel for this author, set in Corpus Christi and Port Aransas, Texas
A fairly straight forward first novel which revolves around the capture and training of 2 Atlantic Bottle-nosed dolphin (wrongly sometimes called porpoise). The protagonist, Jeff Dowling, is a native of the area. He is related by friendship to the monied and elderly mover and shaker of the area who decides to add a Dolphin Circus to the attractions in Port Aransas. The primary dolphin trainer is a -hired gun- sort. A love interest develops with a naturalist working on a dissertation on dolphins who is opposed to dolphins being taken from the wild. Tension mounts as a national level dolphin trainer (exploiter?) attempts to buy the animals after they have been trained for the local Dolphin Circus. This novel fairly presents the background of the time and the area, which, for one who visited the area often enough is refreshingly accurate. I can only guess about the accuracy concerning dolphins. Tursiops truncatus. The story starts slowly, but by the time one is one third of the way through the action picks up. It is a worthwhile read.
~ 2010-02-18 ~
by Davidson, Diane Mott
pub. by Bantam Books, NY. 2000 isbn - 0-553-10723-2 - - 294 p. - Index to recipes
This is a fairly lighweight and very readable mystery. Davidson has an engaging style and the action moves along at a reasonable pace. The background for this bit of fiction is in the ski valleys of Colorado. Since I have been on snow skis only once in my life, and have almost nil knowledge of the sport the background was new and novel to me. There is enough complexity to the plot to sustain interest. The characters are developed enough to sustain the story. In short, it is a good read for relaxation. The author has published at least 10 such mysteries.
~ 2010-02-08 ~
On My Honor - Why the American Values of the Boy Scouts are worth fighting for
by Perry, Rick (Governor of Texas).
pub. by Stroud and Hall Publishers PO Box 27210, Macon, GA 31221, 2008 isbn - 978-0-9796462-2-5 - - 226 p. - Index - black and white photos, Appendix = Scholarships for Scouts
This is a book about what has come to be called the culture wars and is mostly focused on how this phenomenon affects the Boy Scouts of America. It savages the American Civil Liberties Union as an organization which seems to have its sights set on the destruction of the Boy Scouts. The 7 pages of the Introduction sets this out very clearly. Chapter 1 gives some of Rick Perrys autobiography. Chapter 2 discusses Scouting and Public Service, including an unlikely positive quote from Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis. In Chapter 3 he introduces a number of luninaries who he interviewed about Scouting. Chapter 4 entitled Scouting How it began How it works, gives a concise and very good outline of the beginning of Boy Scouting in America, including some discussion of early competing organizations. The section on how Scouting works gives a very good view of the organization and how it is organized into sub groups by age group, then how each functions. Chapter 5 - The Culture War comes to Scouting - begins to get to the meat of this book. It covers the basics of the challenges to Boy Scouting... (a) Girls seeking membership (b) duty to God (c) Scouts duty to be morally straight (d) Scoutings access to government forums. It lists the court challenges (lawsuits) against the Boy Scouts challenging each of the above mentioned issues. The Boy Scouts almost always won on appeal, sometimes second appeal. The US Supreme Court decided in June 2000 that the Boy Scouts was a private organization and under the First Ammendment to the US Constitution had the right of freedom of association and was not a public accomodation, thereby not bound by anti-discrimination laws, in short BSA was not required to allow openly homosexual people to be leaders. Chapter 5 Pressure and Intimidation vs. the First Ammendment, discusses attempts (some successful) to limit or deny the Boy Scouts use of public parks, lands and buildings. Chapter 7 Individualism run amok, is not really about challenges to Scouting. It is about what the author considers the ultra left agenda and that individualism ranks above duty to serve. Chapter 8 Is Scouting Relevant Today?, discusses the need for role models and ADD (attention deficit disorder) and hyperactivity. Perry calls this ants in the pants and largely decries the very common usage of drugs. He does think that the use of the paddle will cure some of this problem. (I personally think that Gov. Perry has never encountered first hand a severe case of ADD. A few hours in a Kinder or Pre-K class with 2 or 3 affected children, over a 2 week period might cure him of his lack of understanding.) This chapter goes on to discuss trust and positive character traits which Scouting can foster. It also warns that we as a culture must be strong within or we will collapse from within. Chapter 9 Scouting Heroes - Values in Action, contains a number of stories of Scouts who used their training, often in emergency situations to save life. It shows what concrete positive things can happen when the training and values come together to make a very satisfying result. Chapter 10 Scouting in a Changing World takes on the ACLU for its seeming war against religion. He also discusses the National Association of Man-Boy Love of America and its criminal leanings and advice to members to infiltrate youth organizations to get access to children. Later in this chapter a number of results from a Harris pole on the effects of Scouting during youth are listed. Having had some experience with poles of this sort I expect that they are of some interest but not really statistically significant to prove anything concretely. Chapter 11 Taking Inventory of Society, notes that those who did not have the freedom or opportunities offered to citizens of USA are not as hungry or driven as native born citizens who take things for granted. It ends with a warning that we need to deal with these issues with humility lest those who identify themselves as conservatives find themselves in "hyprocritical hot water." Chapter 12 The Road Ahead - can Scouting survive, discusses secular humanism (a term defined by the religious ultra right and in my mind often abused). After, in previous chapters, Perry states that Boy Scouts duty to God is not sectarian, is not tied to any particular religion, and includes non-Christian religions, he ends with a strong statement about Christian religion and quotes C.S. Lewis broadly. There is nothing particularly wrong about that, but as relates to Scouting, the official view of the organization is much broader and inclusive than being limited to Christianity or even the Judeo - Christian tradition. Scouting is comfortable with Islam, Janism, and even simple Deism. The Afterward gives the address where to assist legal defense fund BSA and a web address where to share information on what is discussed in this book.
This book is not totally angry or bitter. Perry shows charity to the liberal cause, but he condemns it for its inflexibility and lack to being able to live with people who have more conservative views and lifestyle.
~ 2010-02-01 ~
Elizabeth Blackburn and the story of telomeres - deciphering the ends of DNA
by Brady, Catherine.
pub. by MIT Press Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2007 isbn - 978-0-262-02622-2 - - 392 p. - notes (extensive footnotes at end of book) - extensive bibliography - index - black and white photos, some chemical diagrams
Read this book if you have any interest in the real day-to-day workings of science. It is a WOW experience. It begins fairly straightfordly as a biography of a living eminent scientist - a biochemist. She was born in Hobart, Tasmania (Australia) in 1948. Her father was an MD. She went to school in Australia and did post-doctoral work in England at Cambridge. There she met her future husband John Sedat. She and her husband continued studies at Yale, in USA, and eventually moved to California, working first at Berkley and later at Univ. of California San Francisco (UCSF) where her lab is now. She serves and has served on many committees including those deciding who gets grants from the NIH (US Nat. Inst. Health). She was on the presidential committee Do note that Elizabeth Blackburn won a Nobel in Science, with 2 colleagues in 2009, shortly after this book was published. Some chapters are straight biographical, and some describe her scientific work in some detail. Many of those details went far beyond my understanding, but do illustrate the world in which biochemists who work with DNA, often at a molecular level, experience and study on a daily basis. Here also one is exposed to the ins and outs of lab work in a University setting. The internal politics of higher education and of the world of science where publishing and getting ones name on or mentioned in a major publication is essential for survival. Successful grant writing is discussed. The tensions of working in an academic lab and sharing with corporate for-profit labs is discussed at some length. Issues of ownership of information and ideas in the corporate world vs. more freely sharing among researchers in public institutions are explored. Then there is the gender issue. Serious science has been largely an -old boy- network. The place of women, especially married women with children is difficult, but as demonstrated by Blackburn, not impossible. I have heard several of her lectures which are available in Youtube. Blackburn is a charming person, and a good lecturer. When she was quite young she had elocution lessons, and no doubt they helped make her the powerful person she is.
She was appointed to President George W. Bushs Council on Bioethics and was basically let go from that appointment as her personal scientific ethics were ad odds with the posturing of the political leader of that body. She became a celebrated person in the scientific community for standing up to the pressure and not backing down on distortions to fact which were creeping into the final published report.
This book was a difficult read for me. It challenged the limits of my knowledge of chemistry... and stretched them. Nonetheless it was very worthwhile.
Some lectures online
Dr. Blackburn delivering more formal seminar lectures.
Elizabeth Blackburn talking about science and herself
~ 2010-01-18 ~
White Squall - the Last Voyage of Albatross
by Langford, Richard E.
pub. by Bristol Fashion Publications, Inc., Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 1967 / 2001 isbn - 1-892216-36-1 - - 122 p. - - black and white photos
If you have ever wondered about the accuracy of the motion picture White Squall this book will satisfy your curiosity. In short it is a narrative of the last voyage of the Albatross a sailing school ship. The Albatross was rigged as a hermaphrodite brig with 4 squaresails on the foremast and a marconi (fore and aft sail) on the mainmast. It was 92 ft. long and had a 21 ft. beam. It was built in 1929 and was originally rigged as a schooner. Langford was hired as the English teacher for the voyage. He and 2 of the other adults (John Perry = JC the Math teacher and the cook = Spook) formed a close association and often took time off in port together, discovering what was to be seen and experienced there. In the second chapter he introduces the reader to each of the people on board, giving a short sketch about them. They were a mixed group. The captain was Christopher Sheldon had sailed with Irving Johnson aboard his fameous Yankee (featured in National Geographic Magazine). He met Alice aboard Yankee and eventually married her. Alice (who was an MD) was the only woman aboard the Albatross. The voyage started in mid September 1960 sailing from Mystic Seaport, Connecticut to Bermuda. From there they sailed to Tortola BWI and cruised the eastern Caribbean for 5 months. They celebrated Christmas in Grenada. They motored through the Panama Canal and sailed to the Galapagos Islands visiting there and studying what is to be learned, then sailed back through the Panama Canal stopping to visit the San Blas Indians for a memorable visit. They stopped in Progresso, Mexico on the Yucatan peninsula then sailed for southern Florida, they never made it. On May 2, 1961 a front caught them in mid Gulf of Mexico and in that front there was what is sometimes known as a white squall. What was probably a micro-burst from it knocked the vessel over on her beam ends before sail could be shortened. There were enough deck openings that, as the Albatross was held on her side by the wind, she filled and sank. Six went down with her. Sheldon had the presence of mind to order the ships longboats cut free so they would float, which they did. The surviving adults and boys managed to empty the longboats and begin sailing to Florida. After a day and a half they were picked up by a freighter and taken to Florida. Sheldon, the captain, survived and led the self-rescue and beginning to sail to Florida, his wife Alice did not, and went down with the boat.
This book is an engaging read. More of a rememberance than more technical book on the disaster. After a long study of the situation regulations were created to inspect school ships for stability. Re-rigging the Albatross from a schooner to having a square rigged foremast changed stability to the extent that it greatly contributed to the sinking.
~ 2009-12-18 ~
East is a Big Bird - Navigation and Logic on Puluwat Atoll
by Gladwin, Thomas-
pub. by Harvard Univ. Press, 1970 isbn - 0-674-22425-6 (LCCN = 75-95922 - - 241 p. - - maps, diagrams, index, black and white photos
This book is the examination of the residents of Puluwat Atoll in the Caroline group in Micronesia in the western Pacific. (about 7.5 deg N. and 149.5 deg E.) The stated purpose of the author is to study people who may be quite intelligent but who do not do well on western civilizations intelligence tests, comparing their situation to poorer people in USA. He then departs to describing navigation (in the broadest sense of the word) in the islands and does not bring up the intelligence bit until the small chapter at the end of the book.
The body of the book is a tour-de-force of boat building, boat handling, sailing, social mores related to voyaging etc. Gladwin is a keen observer. He appears to have had some background in engineering. His description of stresses on outrigger canoes sailing in various conditions is masterful. His description of the mores shows the islanders on Puluwat to be pragmatic as they do what is needed to get the job done more than slavishly follow the rules. His investigation of navigation was mostly under the tutalage of Hipour though other master navigators Ikuliman (greatest living navigator and canoe builder) and Winin among others. There are 2 schools of navigation on Puluwat, Wareing (aka Wareyang) and Fanur. Both schools are in agreement on the rudiments though they differ in certain areas, especially the more mystical. In general navigation - finding ones way - uses the (1) stars especially their rising places and setting places which on the horizon form a compass rose with some 32 points. (2) feeling wave sets. This area of micronesia has 3 different sets. (3) using wildlife - mostly birds - to locate islands (4) using reefs, even underwater recognizable reefs as location markers (5) using mystical wildlife as position markers. (6) using a magnetic card compass to hold a course, though not to set a course. (I may have missed some methods.) In general the navigators of Puluwat are careful pragmatic mariners/navigators who use all the resources at hand to effect safe and successful voyages.
This is a well researched and well presented book. Read it to have a good understanding of what some would call primitive navigation, which is not primitive at all, but well thought out methods to assure getting from A to B. Methods which can be adopted to small boat sailors in other places to assist their sailing from A to B.
See also David Lewis We, the Navigators The Ancient Art of Landfinding in the Pacific and Steve Thomas book The last navigator and Kenneth Brower A song for Satawal for other information on native Pacific navigation.
~ 2009-12-16 ~
Fair Winds and Far Places
by Mann, Zane B. 1924-
pub. by Dillon Press, 500 S. Third St Minneapolis, MN USA 55415 , 1978 isbn - 0-87518-159-7 (LCCN = 78-543 - - 272 p. - autobiographical sailing story - index. color photos
Mr. Zane Mann, after working in investment banking for the better part of a lifetime, and after his children have graduated college and began their own lives, convinces his wife to sell off their posessions, buy a sailboat, and head off to the Caribbean. He lives the good life, which is not without difficulties. After a particularly rough stormy bit his wife decides to chuck it all and go home to mom. Good luck and careful mending on his part salvage the relationship and the lifestyle. In the long run Mrs. Mann comes around and in the end thoroughly enjoys living the cruising life. All the major islands of the Windward and Leeward groups are visited and experienced. Some very interesting stories about Don Street are related, from when he had already established himself as the great authority sailing in this area, but was not so well financed. In the text he mentions that he was sailing in 1972 when President Nixon was elected, giving this book a time stamp, and allows the reader to understand that the descriptions of the places visited were as of that time period. This may be especially helpful when considering the description of Grenada (where we fought a mini-war during the Reagan administration) and the visit to Venezuela, which is now a much different place.
After the first few chapters I was minorly irritated at this -rich guy- living the life of ease, and constant partying while -honest people- struggled. That wore off with the realization that this is the description of a time and place which no longer exist, and is well chronicled in this book. The last chapter gives pointers and lists complications that anyone considering the cruising lifestyle need to surmount. The events in this book cover some 3 years. The back dustjacket of the book mention that the Manns, following the time described in this book toured the canals of Europe and are -now (1978) sailing the Mediterranean Sea.
Complete Yurt Handbook
by King, Paul
pub. by Eco Logic Books. Bath, UK , 2008 (dist. in USA by Chelsea Green) (1st printing 2001) isbn - 1-899233-08-3 - - 121 p. - history - glossary - bibliography - list of commercial yurt makers
This is a delightful book. It begins with a good description of a yurt, (in Mongolia known as a Ger) then expands to types of yurt. It includes how they are lived in by a Mongolian family, complete with social elements. About half of the book details how to construct a yurt. Instructions are flexible enough so that the reader understands his/her options. Detailed patterns and measurements are given for several sizes of yurt. I have no doubt that any reasonably handy reader could construct a yurt after reading and understanding this book.
~ 2009-11-12 ~
Westviking - the ancient Norse in Greenland and North America
by Mowat, Farley
pub. by McClelland and Stewartr Ltd. Toronto-Montreal, 1965 (also pub Little Brown - Atlantic Monthly in USA) isbn - none - LCCN - 65-20746 - - 494 p. - history - maps - extensive Appendices - index
This book is a re-telling of a number of Norse (Viking) sagas melded together into a single narrative with a fair amount of interpretation by the author. As all the various sagas no not totally agree it was not a trivial task. There is a 20 page forward setting up the story (stories) then the body of the story occupies pages 24 - 295. An epilogue spans p 296 - 303. The first Appendix begins page 307 describing the source material. There are other appendices on the weather (climate change) during that time period (which should be read by all who think that climate change is a new phenomina). Others cover sea-level change, Norse geographical concepts, their ships (knorr and knorrir as vs. longships etc.), Norse navigation, maps, the Dorset (N. Amer natives whose civilization did not make it to the modern age), the Westmen (Celts), and some later expeditions.
A fair amount has been discovered and written about since this book was published. It is amazing that Mowat did as well as he did given what was known when he did his research. It is evident that Farley Mowat did not really like the Vikings. They were portrayed as a violent lot, not always brave, constantly squabbling in deadly ways with one another. Their dealings with the native North Americans were almost always disasterous, and most often the N. American natives were on the losing side.
The melded narrative is a good read. The appendices are exhausive, and some exhausting to read. I read nearly the whole book before I discovered the definition of the word hop which essentially means a sort of lagoon formed when a river comes to the sea, forming a bit of sheltered water behind a bar at the mouth of the river.
Nancy Blackett - under sail with Arthur Ransome
by Wardale, Roger
pub. by Jonathan Cape, London 1991 isbn 0-224-02773-5 - - 272 p. - biography - illustrated with photos, some pen and ink sketches, a few maps - index
Wardale, an avid Ransome fan and author of several books on Ransome, explores each of the boats owned and sailed by Arthur Ransome. The book is more or less in chronological order (after a brief introductory bit on the rescue of Nancy Blackett one of the boats Ransome had built for his use.)
In order the boats are Slug, Racundra, the Swallow, Mavis aka Amazon , Peter Duck a dingy given to the Altounyans , Welcome a 17 ft. una-rigged boat used to explore the Broads , Coch-y-bonddhu a dingy,
Nancy Blackett (was called Spindrift then Electron) a 9 ton cutter purchased by Ransome in 1935 this boat was the model for the Goblin in We didn't mean to go to sea,
Selina King another cutter, which he had built in 1938 was 35 ft overall sold in 1946,
Peter Duck a ketch 28ft 3 in long - beam 9 ft drew 3ft 6 in built in 1946,
Lotttie Blossom a sloop 27 ft long - beam 7ft 5in drew 4ft 3 in built in 1952.
There was a second Swallow dingy which Ransome used as a dingy with Selina King one of his larger cruising boats.
Wardale sprinkles the tales of Arthur and Evgenia sailing their various boats with bits from Ransome's writing showing where experiences in his real life reflected in his writing. This is a satisfying book for any fan of Arthur Ransome's writings.
~ 2009-10-04 ~
My Home Sweet Home translation of Corrierno delle Famiglie
by Guareschi, Giovanni
pub. by Farrar Straus and Giroux, NY 1966 (Italian version copyright 1954) isbn (none) LCCN = 66-25133 - - 214 p. - biography - illustrated with some pen and ink sketches.
This is the earlier autobiographical book by Guareschi. Originally published in 1954, the later autobiographical book was first published in 1968. About half of the stories (chapters) in this book are repeated in the later book (The Family Guareschi - chronicles the past and present). As in the later work (which I read first) one gets a look inside Guareschi's family life. Some of the bitterness about unwanted progress evidant in the later work is absent in these stories. One also learns a thing or two about life in Italy. For instance. There are taxes on firewood cut from one's own property brought into Milan, and that there are regular road blocks which may randomly stop and insepect cars and trucks before they enter the city.... in 1954. It is an interesting read, enjoyable with its philosophical ramblings and discussions between family members, and the peek into the minds of the Guareschi family.
~ 2009-09-21 ~
Don Camillo Meets the Flower Children - a comic novel
by Guareschi, Giovanni
pub. by Farrar Straus and Giroux, NY 1969 isbn (none) LCCN = 70-96146 - - 245 p. illustrated with some pen and ink sketches.
Don Camillo's renegade niece travels with a motorcycle gang from the big town. Her father died when she was very young and she developed a very independent streak, laced with motorcycle gang mentality. She is actually leader material. Don Camillo takes her in hand and has the robust bell ringer's wife subdue her and hold her hostage to modify her behavior. In the short run it does not work, but in the long run he half succeeds. The title of this work in the UK edition is Don Camillo Meets Hell's Angels which is much more descritpive This is the last Don Camillo book he wrote. Guareschi died of a heart attack several months after this book was first published in Italian.
~ 2009-09-14 ~
Not All Plain Sailing
by Sinnett-Jones, David - - with Ann Queensberry
pub by Weidenfeld and Nicholson, London, UK 1989 isbn 0-297-79653-4
208 pages - sailing adventure - biography.
In this book Sinnett-Jones describes the building of his steel hulled Spray replica, the Zane Spray (a 36 ft. version designed by Bruce Roberts-Goodson.) Then he sailed from his home port of Aberporth in Wales first to the Azores, then to the island of St. Helena, on the way he sailed through the Zero longitude at the equator - being at the Zero - Zero point, which is an unusual route, and one he paid dearly for in unusually calm and hot weather, a bad thing for a sailboat. From St. Helena he sailed to Cape Town, S. Africa where he visited his daughter Madeleine. The contestants in the BOC around the world race stopped at Durban, S. Africa while he was there. Leaving S. Africa he took a Jeannie Muir who was a great help, especially watch-keeping. He sailed on to western Australia, arriving in time to be among the throng viewing the Americas Cup races - January 1987. From there he sailed to Sydney and staged an arrival so that the Television crew would get good footage of his arrival. He stayed in Australia for some time sailing, enjoying himself and doing repairs. He sailed on to New Zealand visiting and then headed out alone across the S. Pacific around Cape Horn to Stanley in the Falkland Islands. He sailed north to St. Helena, closing the loop of his circumnavigation there. He found that he was the first to do a circumnavigation St. Helena to St. Helena. From there he sailed north to the Azores and then back to Wales. He arrived slightly early and waited in a nearby harbor to arrive back at his home port in Aberporth, Walesk UK. This book was published by a regular publisher (not vanity published as his later biography was) and the spelling and word use is much more standard. It also is more circumspect than his later biography, dwelling on the sailing and regular in-port activities.
~ 2009-09-12 ~
The Family Guareschi - chronicles the past and present
by Guareschi, Giovanni
pub by Farrar straus and Giroux, NY 1970 (orig in Italian in 1968) isbn (none) - LCCN 70-122823
246 pages - - biography.
Guareschi starts this autobiography with a tirade against the functionaries of the Italian government, who were incapable of getting a certificate of merit for her many years of teaching out to his mother before she died. He backtracks and gives us some history of his WWII experience then marches forward through his life as a family man and writer. Family life occupies much of the book. He is a straight, if old fashioned thinker who points out the follies and vanity of modern life and modern -conveniences-. Jo, their domestic assistant, adds a foil off which many conversations and idea are bounced. As is later revealed Jo is and unwed mother whose mother is raising her child. The latter part of the book is entitled - Stories about Jo - and through that part we are taken on a tour of Jo's life. This is probably the last book that Giovanni Guareschi wrote before he died. It is a fitting monument to his life.
~ 2009-09-08 ~
Little World of Don Camillo
by Guareschi, Giovanni
pub. by Pellegrini and Cudahy, NY 1950 isbn (none) - 205 p. illustrated with some pen and ink sketches.
This is thoroughly delightful fiction, translated from the original Italian, about a parish priest in northern Italy who deals lovingly with his parishoners... some of whom are Italian communists. There is some mention of the post WWII Marshal Plan - an interesting historical tidbit. Read this book and the others of the series. They will amuse you and make you happy. Remember to read the author's biographical forward. It is very revealing.
Don Camillo and his flock
by Guareschi, Giovanni
pub. by Pellegrini and Cudahy, NY 1952 isbn (none) LCCN = 52-9359 - - 250 p. illustrated with some pen and ink sketches.
This is another thoroughly delightful fiction, translated from the original Italian, about a parish priest in the Po valley innorthern Italy. Several of the stores near the end concern events during a major flood on the Po which inundated the town. Read this book and the others of the series. Again, these stories will amuse you and make you happy.
~ 2009-07 ~
Don Camillos Dilema
by Guareschi, Giovanni
pub. by Victor Gollancz Ltd., London 1968 (first pub Farrar Strauss in 1954 isbn (none) LCCN = 54-__ - - 255 p. illustrated with some pen and ink sketches.
This is another thoroughly delightful fiction, translated from the original Italian, about a parish priest in the Po valley innorthern Italy. Don Camillo deals with a headless ghost, and a pre-war activist who held people who he despised at gunpoint forcing them to drink a glass of castor oil... also Communist Mayor Peppone gets his school graduation document by exam. Among many other short stories artfully strung togher in this volume.
Passion for Life - Adventure against the odds
by Sinnett-Jones, David
pub. by iUniverse, Inc. NY - 2004 isbn 0-595-31648-4 pbk
256 pages. B&W pictures, - - biography - adventure
David Sinnett-Jones was born 3 April 1930 in U.K. His mother and father were singers. His childhood was marked with living through WWII in England. He worked for a while as a commercial seaman, spent some time in Canada and did national service in the Army in England. He modified cars to race and eventually was hired by Cooper cars as a race driver. He had an accident (not on the race track) which blinded him in one eye, did other physical damage and ended his racing career. He bought and ran a dairy farm in Wales and began messing around with boats. With a friend he built 2 Spray replicas (of Joshua Slocum's boat) and after sailing to South Africa and back, enbarked on a sail around the world. He participated in the 100th anniversary of Joshua Slocum's similar achievement being at Newport, Rhode Island, USA on 27 June 1998. He sailed back to Wales and sometime later developed a leak from a hard grounding and had to abandon ship off Ireland in 300 ft.of water. Several unsuccessful attempts were made to raise the vessel. Later he built a re-creation of Slocum's Liberdade in plywood, modern design done by Bruce Roberts-Goodson. The first attempt to cross the Atlantic failed with gear failure some 200 miles west of the Azores. He returned to Wales in stages. In 1999 he sailed to Brazil, then re-creating Slocum's own Liberdade adventure sailed on to Massachusetts in USA. He did not make part of the voyage due to ill health. He flew to England, and then re-joined the voyage in northern Virginia, USA. After the Joshua Slocum Society International (JSSI) celebrations he flew home to Wales, was diagnosed with heart problems and lived. (until he died in 15 Nov. 2007 at the age of 74, shortly after this book was published). He was not shy about noting his love-life as it occurred throughout his life resulting a spicier tale and in protraying a well rounded understanding on his life. He was married, had 2 children, and later divorced.
Don Camillo takes the Devil by the Tail
by Guareschi, Giovanni
pub. by Farrar Strauss and Cudahy NY in 1957 isbn (none) LCCN = 57-8937 - - 218 p. illustrated with some pen and ink sketches.
Don Camillo, the parish priest and Peppone, the communist ex-mayor continue their complicated relationship and the people of the village are well served. This book starts more slowly and warms as one reads. Sometimes Don Camillo and Peppone are at odds, and at other times they cooperate for the good of the people. Every now and then there is some enlightening philosophy. It becomes quite engaging and ends with a heartwarming story. - a recommended good read.
~ 2009-08 ~
~ 2009-08 ~
~ 2009-08 ~
Treasure of Kahn
by Cussler, Clive with Dirk Cussler
pub. by Penguin Audio - 2006 isbn 0-14-305895-9
- - 14 CD Disks - hours and hours - - fiction
A work of fiction, or should I say fantesy. The tale starts with a flashback from WWII in China, and from that a flashback to the time in the 1200s when the Kahn of China attempted to invade Japan. Then to the present when a NUMA team is aboard a Russian research vessel on Lake Baikal in Siberia. The action travels to Mongolia where much of the action takes place, but Hawaii, the Arabian Gulf, and the coast of China also figure. At its core the story revolves around Mongolian history and modern day oil. The writing is not of as high a quality of a few of the other Cussler novels I have read, or listeded to. More than half of this helped occupy time on a long drive across Texas. This is mind candy. Taken as a whole an overload. It could easily have been edited to half its length and still have been a credible novel.
~ 2009-08- ~
The Zimmermann Telegram - the astouding historic espionange operation that propelled America into World War 1
by Tuchman, Barbara W.
pub. by Ballantine - orig 1958 (this book 9th printing 1991) isbn 0-345-34240-2
pictures. index - 243p. - - history
A fascinating look at Woodrow Wilsons attempt for USA to remain neutral during World War 1, and the German proposal to get Mexico to war with USA, and invite Japan to help them. (Even though Japan was on the Allies side during WW1.) It explores how a codebreaking unit covers its abilities during a war, and yet effectively uses the information it uncovers.
~ 2009-07 ~
Lugworm Homeward Bound - Greece to England in an Open Dingy
by Duxbury, Ken
Pellham Books, Ltd., London 1975 isbn 0-7207-0774-9
182 p. pen and ink illus. maps, boat name is Lugworm an 18 ft. plywood Drascombe Lugger - - sailing
Duxbury sails and camps in a return passage from Greece to England. The voyage begins on the island of Corfu in Greece, progresses to the southern tip of the heel of the boot of Italy, then follows a coasting course around to the tip of the boot. He jogs across the strait of Messina to Sicily, then back to the mainland and on north visiting Capri, Elba and Genoa. The voyage takes him into France by Marselles and shortly thereafter into the French canal system including the Canal du Midi. Cities on the canal include Carasconne, Toulouse and Bordeaux. Lugworn exits the canal system near Royen and follows the coast to La Truballe where the canal is taken to St. Malo. By this time winter is threatning. He sails the coast to Granville, Garteret and Cherbourg. From there he makes a cold passage across the English Channel to Weymouth. Not satisfied with just getting back to UK, the coasts back to Fowey in Cornwall. In all it is a straight forward telling of the voyage by a person who is also an acomplished artist. His wife accompanies him on the adventure. Duxbury founded a sailing school and was an accomplished dingy sailor long before this voyage was begun.
~ 2009 ~
The Tecate Journals - seventy days on the Rio Grande
by Bowden, Keith
pub by The Mountaineers, Seattle - 2007 isbn 1594850771 (pb)
271 pages - - adventure.
The author, a Jr. College teacher in Laredo, Texas, travels the length of the Rio Grande (known in Mexico as the Rio Bravo) as it is a border with Mexico. The first part is done by mountain bicycle as the river is so shallow and overgrown that one could not effectively float a canoe or raft. Much of the water is taken off before El Paso to various irrigation projects. Some 180 miles further down he switches to canoe then farther on switches to inflatable raft for a section known to be rough. The final half of the journey is done by canoe. The trip was started late in 2004 and went on for some 70 days, finishing in late Spring of 2005. The various hazards of river travel were dealt with straightforwardly and with a fair amount of courage. On the whole the people he met were friendly. It is a good read. This is probably the first time the whole river was traveled in one trip. The prolog gives a chilling view of the violence on the US/Mexico border.
On the Water - Discovering Amerian in a Rowboat
by Stone, Nathaniel
pub by Broadway Books, NY - 2003 isbn 0-7679-0842-2 (pb)
323 pages - maps - few sketch pictures - adventure.
Nathaniel Stone rows a boat around the eastern half of USA. He starts out in New York, heads up the Hudson River, west on the NYS Barge Canal then over on the Allagheny River and down the Ohio River to the Mississippi. He jogs down to Grand Isle to expierence the end of the River. Then follows the NE Gulf of Mexico to Florida and circumnavigates it stopping at Key West and Miami, then on north back to NY City, then just to finish the trip goes on to Cape Cod where he is forced to row around the cape as the Cape Cod Canal is restricted to motor boats. Just for completeness he rows to Eastport, Maine where his trip ends August 17, 2000.
There is good narrative and description.
Skeletons on the Zahara - A True Story of Survival
by King, Dean
pub. by Little Brown - 2005 isbn 0316835145
320p. - - adventure
An account of an actual shipwreck of an American trading vessel at Cape Bojador on the west African coast about 1815. The crew suffers from incredible thirst is captured enslaved and after further adventure wandering with their captors in the western Sahara desert are ransomed through the intervention of a British consul and much good will from one of the capturers. Not all of the natives come off as savages some are very honorable. Their life-style is explored at length. This is a survival tale. An early version of it was a favorite read of President Abraham Lincoln.
~ 2007 ~
Along the Edge of America
by Jenkins, Peter
pub. by Mariner books - Houghton Mifflin Co - 1995 isbn 0-395-87737-7
319p. - - adventure/travel
The author is better known for his book -A Walk Across America-. He decided to visit the coast of the Gulf of Mexico and to to the journey by boat. He buys a boat and learns how to operate it, then over 2 years travels the Gulf of Mexico from the Dry Tortugas at the end of the Florida Keys to Freeport, Texas. His sprint to the mouth of the Rio Grande is un-documented. He stopped for considerable lengths of time in southern Florida at Goodland, then at a fishing camp on the Wakulla River near the more inland Perry, Florida. His next long stop was inland, up the Alabama River from Mobile Bay, Alabama to Wilcox County where he experience Southern hospitality in its classical sense. The next major stop was New Orleans, followed by Cameron, Louisanna at the western edge of the State. In Texas he stopped at Chambers County on the NE side of Galveston Bay, and again in Freeport. He spent some time in Seadrift, TX and was nearly hijacked near Aransas Bay. After that the trip comes to a rapid close - probably by way of a sprint for the last 160 miles or so to the southern tip of Texas. If you are interested in the adventure and travel parts of the book, skip the first 78 pages, after that it becomes very interesting as Jenkins soaks up the individual life stories of some very interesting people. Interestingly most of his informants are people with deep roots where they live. This is an interesting book which describes a time as much as a place, in the United States of America.
~ 2007 ~
Arabia Through the Looking Glass
(republished as Arabia, a journey through the Labyrinth) by Raban, Jonathan
pub. by Eilliam Collins (repub. Touchstone) - 1979 (repub. 1991) isbn 0671798807 (later ed)
348p. - - travel - current events
The author learns some Arabic and notes Arabs living and visiting in England. He cannot manage to get a visa for Saudi Arabia, and instead travels around the country to Abu dhavi, Bahrain, Dubai, Quatar, Yemin and finally stops in Egypt before returning home to England. He observes the state of life in each country from more than a tourist point of view. The original trip was done about 1978 during one of the oil booms. Often the sky was the limit on spending, but the riches are not equally distributed. Views of Arabia are from the people of its neighbors, and are not all positive. This is a very interesting read revealing a point in time from which there has been much unraveling through 11 Sept. 2001 and current difficulties. Read this to gain an understanding of the underpinnings of the situation in 2009. This is the first of Raban s travel books. It is a little raw. His technique polishes through later publications.
~ 2008- ~
Scouts honor -a fathers unlikely foray into the woods
by Applebome, Peter
pub. by Harcourt - 2003 isbn 0151005923
330 p. - - scouting
Applebome follows three years as an adult in his boys Boy Scout Troop - first in the south - then in NY State. A thoroughly interesting study of Boy Scouting - its history and current state.
~ 2005- ~
Baden-Powell - the two lives of a hero
by Hillcourt, William - with Olave, Lady Baden-Powell
pub. by G.P. Putnams Sons, NY - 1964 no isbn, LCCN = 64-24263
457 p. - photos, sketches by BP - sketch map of Mafeking in Africa - scouting
An authorized biography of R. Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts and military hero from the siege of Mafeking in S. Africa. A good read - a positive book. Has a good index and list of sources and publications.
~ 2005- ~
Floating Down the Country - a 79 day adventure down the Mississippi from its source at Lake Itasca to New Orleans
by Mohlke, Matthew
pub. by Lone Oak Press. Red Wing. MN - 2001 isbn 1-8883477-49-2
256p. - - adventure
Day-by-day adventure of a canoe trip down the full length of the Mississippi. Interesting to cross reference this trip with many others down the same route at different times in history. As per the authors card -Huck Finn meets Jack Kerouac in a canoe adventure down the Mississippi River. Has website www.floatingdownthecountry.com
Voyage of the Destroyer from New York to Brazil
by Slocum, Joshua b. 1844 - missing 1909
pub by the century Co. NY? - 1894
Slocum delivers an Erickson destroyer (steam powered warship) from the builder to Brazil (the buyer). While en-route there is a coup and the new government is not so sure it wants it. During the voyage a British naval officer who was among the officers on the crew drew critizism from Slocum when he wrote this book. Slocum was sued for liabel. In subsequent writings he was careful to couch any criticism in positive enough terms so as to avoid liable.
This book is included in Walter Magness Teller's complete works of Joshua Slocum.
~ 1977 ~
The Lobster Chronicles - life on a very small island
by Greenlaw, Linda - 1960
pub. by Hyperion, NY. 2002 - isbn 0-786866772 - map - 238 pages.
Linda Greenlaw is the captain of her lobsterboat. She also captained a swordfishing boat.
She has a degree in English from Colby College in Waterville, Maine.
This is as the title announces. A sketch of the life of a lobsterboat captain in Maine, with observations on the coastal life in a small town on the coast of Maine. (Cranberry Island)
A good read. A personal story.
The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary
by Winchester, Simon
pub by : HarperCollins, NY- 1998 isbn -- 0060175966
242 p. : illustrated
The amazing history of one of the contributers to the original effort at making the Oxford English Dictionary, who happened to be in an insane asylum.
~ 2005 ~
The Good Little Ship
by Gilpin, Vincent
pub. by Sutter House. Litiz Pennsylvan 1975 isbn 0-915180-01-4
(orig pub 1952 and reprinted 1961) 64p. - Co-published and distributed by Harrowood Books. Box 397. - - boatbuilding
This book includes lines drawings for Presto a 41 ft (overall)10 ft. 6 in. beam ketch which draws 2 ft. 6 in. with the centerboard up. and for the Good Little Ship 35 ft. (overall) 10 ft. 6 in. beam which draws 2 ft. 6 in with the centerboard up. The author owned the Wabun and is intimately familiar with these lightweight shallow draft Presto class cruising sailboats. He was a friend of Commondore Munro who designed them and popularized the design in Florida at the turn of the century. This is a delightful book full of good common sense.
Buehlers Backyard Boatbuilding
by Buehler, George
pub. by McGraw-Hill - 1991 isbn 0-07-158380-7
371p. - - boatbuilding
Buehler espouses a common sense approach to boat design and building. No magic here - just common sense. The author does assume access to lumber in dimensions and quality which may not be available in 2006 or at least not in south Texas. His advice on wood materials is probably more appropriate in the Pacific Northwest and some places in Northeast USA.
The Elements of Boat Strength - for Builders. Designers and Owners
by Gerr, Dave
pub. by International Marine/McGraw-Hill - 2000 isbn 0-07-023159-1
368 p. - - boatbuilding
This book is an in depth study. Includes graphs. charts etc. leading to an understanding of what it takes to build a strong boat.
The Nature of Boats
by Gerr, Dave
pub. by McGraw Hill - 1995 isbn 97800070242333
- - 418 p. - - boatbuilding
This book is an in depth study of boat design and building. - Advanced.
The Complete Cruiser - the art practice and enjoyment of boating
by Herreshoff, L. Francis
pub. by Sheridan House - 1987 isbn 9780911378672
(originally published 1952 )- 372 p. - - boatbuilding
This book includes a great deal of common sense about cruising boat design - from one of the great designers of the 20th Century.
~ 1990 ~
Sea Vagabonds world - boats and sails distant shores islands and lagoons
pub by Sheridan House, NY 1998 - translated by William Rodarmor - 216p illustrations, maps isbn 1-57409-021-6
Bernard Moitessier reveals the tricks of the trade of a long distance voyager. A useful book for one who wants to sail long distances offshore, written by an eminently qualified sailor.
~ 1999 ~
How to Build a Tin Canoe - Confessions of an Old Salt
by White, Robb
pub. by Hyperion - 2003 isbn 1-4013-0027-8
- - 228 p. - - boatbuilding - biography
This book is really more autobiography of a fameous US builder of small boats. He lived in Thomasville, Georgia, and Dog Island, Florida, Robb White died May 16, 2006. He was born June 4, 1941. Robb served in the US Navy, earned a teaching degree and taught high school, and worked on towboats, but his love was boatbuilding even though he often had to work at other things to make financial ends meet. It is a very good read. Highly recommended. see the website http://www.robbwhite.com it will help to sort out Robb White the boatbuilder from Robb White the author of acclaimed young-adult books (his father.)
~ 2008 ~
The Cry of the Heron
by Allan, Dick
pub. by Longfellow Publishers, Farnham, Surrey, UK 2000 isbn 0-9533291-2-7
- maps - 240 p. - boating - historical fiction
A work of fiction. This book describes the inland waterway trade in Southeastern UK (England) between 1777 - 1794. The story is fairly straightforward and involves 2 families of bargemen, one the hero, the other his evil foil. The real reason for this books popularity is that it portrays the barge trade on the River Wey and Thames in great detail, including the operation of the locks, towpaths, weirs etc. and even construction of part of a new canal. The author has a special interest in the preservation of the canals.
The author is an avid sailor and has sailed a small yacht, the Greylag around the world.
~ 2008 ~
The life of Arthur Ransome
by Brogan, Hugh
pub. J. Cape, London - 1984 isbn 0-224020102 - - 456 p. B&W photos - Index - bibliography
This is the standard biography of Arthur Ransome. It fills in and fills out Arthur Ransomes autobiography. It is fairly good at details of Ransomes early life (before going to Russia) and after he returned to live in England. It is instructive to compare this well researched biography with Ransomes own autobiography. For incredible detail on his time in Russia read Roland Chambers The Last Englishman - which gives incredible detail on Ransome in Russia. ~2007~
House of Niccolo series
by Dunnet, Dorothy
1. Niccolo Rising (1986)
pub by Knopf, NY 1986 ISBN-10: 0394531078
470 p. - maps - Fiction
2. Spring of the Ram (1987)
3. Race of Scorpions (1989)
4. Scales of Gold (1991)
Well researched historical fiction covering the period 1460-1480, and
spanning area from Bruges in the Netherlands to Venice to the eastern
edges of the Byzantine empire on the Black Sea and on to Timbuktu in the
Sahara. The books protagonist is a Flemish textile merchant who does well and
parlays a modest organization to being a participant among the great mercantile
empires of the late medieval and early renaissance.
These are difficult reads, very dense, but rewarding. Not all parts of the stories end happily.
~ most of these read in 1992 ~
The Alchemyst - the secrets of the immortal Nicholas Flamel
by Scott, Michael
pub. by Delacourt, Random House, NY 2007 isbn 978-0-385-73357-1
- maps - 375 p. plus 13 pages of the next title in the series - fantasy/fiction
A fantasy involving 2 historical characters known to have dabbled in the occult, Nicholas Flamel and Dr. John Dee. Flamel being the hero and lead of a set of teenage fraternal twins and Dee being the evil one in league with powerful beings from the earths past. It is set in southern California, San Francisco and Ojai. The action progresses quickly and it is artfully written. It is set in current times with references to the children using wikipedia on the internet. It does not end however, just segways into the following title -The Magican- and a shift of setting to Paris, France. It is somewhat like the Harry Potter books. Time will tell if the series continues the quality of writing through the various volumes.
~ 2008 ~
The Magician - the secrets of the immortal Nicholas Flamel
by Scott, Michael
pub. by Delacourt, Random House, NY 2008 isbn 978-0-385-73358-8
- maps - 464 p. plus 8 pages of the next title in the series (which will be titled The Sorceress) - fantasy/fiction
A fantasy involving 3 historical characters known to have dabbled in the occult, Nicholas Flamel, Dr. John Dee and Niccolo Machiavelli. Flamel being the hero and lead of a set of teenage fraternal twins and Dee being the evil one in league with powerful beings from the earths past in this sequel he teams up with Machiavelli who lives in Paris. It is set in modern day Paris, France and dips into the underground sewers and catacombs, which really exist under Paris. Again it does not end, just segways into the following title -The Sorceress- and a shift of setting to London, England. It is somewhat like the Harry Potter books. This volume continues to be a fast and compelling read.
~ 2008 ~
the Navajo Tribal Police Mystery stories:
The Blessing Way (1970) ISBN 0-06-011896-2
Dance Hall of the Dead (1973) ISBN 0-06-011898-9
Listening Woman (1978) ISBN 0-06-011901-2
People Of Darkness (1980) ISBN 0-06-011907-1
The Dark Wind (1982) ISBN 0-06-014936-1
Ghostway (1984) ISBN 0-06-015396-2
Skinwalkers (1986) ISBN 0-06-015695-3
A Thief of Time (1988) ISBN 0-06-015938-3
Talking God (1989) ISBN 0-06-016118-3
Coyote Waits (1990) ISBN 0-06-016370-4
Sacred Clowns (1993) ISBN 0-06-016767-X
Fallen Man (1996) ISBN 0-06-017773-X
First Eagle (1998) ISBN 0-06-017581-8
Hunting Badger (1999) ISBN 0-06-019289-5
The Wailing Wind (2002) ISBN 0-06-019444-8
The Sinister Pig (2003) ISBN 0-06-019443-X
Skeleton Man (2004) ISBN 0-06-056344-3
The Shape Shifter (2006) ISBN 978-0-06-056345-5
Read Tony Hillermans mysteries for fun, to learn about Navajo culture,
to be thoroughly engaged, and to feel good at the end. Not all end happily,
but they all end satisfactoraly. These books are good reads.
Not set in Navajo reservation
Fly on the Wall (1971) ISBN 0-06-011897-0
Finding Moon (1995) ISBN 0-06-017772-1
Seldom Disappointed: A Memoir by Tony Hillerman (2001) ISBN 0-06-019445-6
The Great Taos Bank Robbery and other tales ... (1973) ISBN 0-8263-0306-4
~ most of Tony Hillermans works were read before 1994 ~
The Black Joke
by Mowat, Farley
pub. by McClelland and Stewart - 1973 isbn 0-7710-6649-x
(first published in 1963 by Little Brown) - - 218p - - fiction
A work of fiction. About fishermen in Newfoundland and on the tiny French Islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon, the last French possessions in N. America, which figured prominently in the liquor smuggling trade during Prohibition in USA. Some good description of the area and the the watercraft there. This story is set in the 1930s during the liquor smuggling. Classified young adult, but a good read anyway.
Steaming to Bamboola - The World of a Tramp Freighter
by Buckley, Christopher
pub. by Congdon & Lattes - 1982 isbn 0865530394
(later reprinted by Penguin) - - 222 p - -
The author (son of Bill Buckley), after graduating from an ivy league school, signs on to be a sailor on a tramp steamer in 1979. He chronicles his trip, with wit and gains insight into the work-a-day world of American sailors on small general freight ships. American shipping is on decline, this book chronicles it from the inside. You might also want to read Looking for a Ship by John McPhee
The Nirvana Blues
by Nichols, John
pub. by Holt Reinhart and Winston - 1981 isbn 0030592569
- - 527p - - fiction
A work of fiction. The third in the authors New Mexico trilogy. Set in the area around Taos, New Mexico. Well written but not as satisfying as the first -Milagro Beanfield War-.
The Magic Journey
by Nichols, John
pub. by Holt Reinhart and Winston - 1978 isbn 0030153565
- - 529p - - fiction
A work of fiction. The second in the authors New Mexico trilogy. Set in the area around Taos, New Mexico. Well written but not as satisfying as the first -Milagro Beanfield War-.
The Milagro Beanfield War
by Nichols, John
pub. by Henry Holt - 1974 isbn 0-805063749
(first published in 1974 by Hold Reinhart and Winston) - - 456p - - fiction
A work of fiction. This book describes the clash of cultures between modern subsistance farmers and land developers in northern New Mexico. It is full of humor and describes the Taos. New Mexico area of the early 1970s - remember it is a work of fiction. This is the first of a trilogy of books on the area. I believe it is the best of the three. It was made into a movie in 1988 produced and directed by Robert Redford. This movie is a good translation from the book. Read the book / see the movie.
~ 1980 ~
Peters, Ellis (pseud. for Edith Pargeter)
The Brother Cadfael Mysteries set in Medieval England
A Morbid Taste for Bones (written in 1977, set in 1137)
One Corpse Too Many (1979, set in August 1138)
Monk's Hood (1980, set in December 1138)
Saint Peter's Fair (1981, set in July 1139)
The Leper of Saint Giles (1981, set in October 1139)
The Virgin in the Ice (1982, set in November 1139)
The Sanctuary Sparrow (1983, set in the Spring of 1140)
The Devil's Novice (1983, set in September 1140)
Dead Man's Ransom (1984, set in February 1141)
The Pilgrim of Hate (1984, set in May 1141)
An Excellent Mystery (1985, set in August 1141)
The Raven in the Foregate (1986, set in December 1141)
The Rose Rent (1986, set in June 1142)
The Hermit of Eyton Forest (1988, set in October 1142)
The Confession of Brother Haluin (1988, set in December 1142)
The Heretics Apprentice (1990, set in June 1143)
The Potters Field (1990, set in August 1143)
The Summer of the Danes (1991, set in April 1144)
The Holy Thief (1992, set in August 1144)
Brother Cadfaels Penance (1994, set in November 1145)
Some of the books in this series were made into television mysteries by BBC. On the whole it was a good effort by BBC.
The books themselves are very good reads. They have satisfactory endings and enhance the human spirit.
by Putegnat, Michael
pub. by Synergy Books, Austin, Texas - 2007 isbn 1-933538-19-8
- 353 p. - - fiction
A work of fiction. This book is a murder mystery. It is mostly set in coastal South Texas. Port Mansfield, Port Isabel, and Weslaco, Texas are prominently featured. The action does extend to Austin, Galveston, New York and Washington, DC in this tale of oil, South Texas ranching, big money and environmental concern. Historical facts are interwoven giving it more local flair. A short bit of offshore sailing up the Texas coast adds boating flavor. There are some interesting plot twists and turns in the last part of the book which give an OHenry flavor. The chapters are very short, which gives reading this a feeling of immediacy. On the whole a satisfying read. I believe this is the authors first work of fiction. The author is a South Texas native, and claims that his family has been here for 5 generations. I am told that his name is French. For more information on him see www.michaelputegnat.com
by Smith, Martin Cruz
pub. by Books on Tape - Random House - 1999 isbn 0-7366-5186-1
- - 10 CD Disks - 67 minutes. - - fiction
A work of fiction. Russian investigator Arkady Renko travels to Cuba to investigate the death of a friend. There is hostility to Russians in post cold war Cuba. It is read by Edward Lewis, who entertains wonderfully interpreting Russian and Cuban Spanish accents. It is also quite a tour of Cuba after the Soviets pulled out from the purported view of a Russian.
Stalin's Ghost - an Arkady Renko novel
by Smith, Martin Cruz
pub. by Books on Tape - Simon and Schuster - 2007 isbn 0-7435-5597-x
- - 5 CD Disks - about 5 hours. - - fiction
A work of fiction. Russian investigator Arkady Renko is sent to investigate a sighting of Stalin in the Moscow subway. The investigation leads outside Moscow and comes to involve black market trading of non-military items during the Chechin war. This work is a nice diversion to listen to on a long drive across Texas.
~ 2008 ~!
The Lure of the Bush (also pub as The Barrakee Mystery
by Upfield, Arthur W. (1888 - 1964)
re-pub. by Doubleday NY - 1965 isbn (none) LCCN = 65-16189
238 p. - a book in the Napoleon (Bony) Bonaparte series of mystery novels
Perhaps the first of the series - A ranking Aborigine is murdered on a station - The owners support the investigation, but the lady of the house has a secret - a "white boy" is actually a half cast. raised as what he is not. A flood down the Darling River adds spice to the action.
American mystery writer Tony Hillerman got the idea of using native investigators from Arthur Upfield, and gave him credit for putting the idea into Hillermans head for Hillermans series of Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn (Navajo American Indian) mysteries. Both authors works are good reads. Try one - you should enjoy them.
The Bone is Pointed
by Upfield, Arthur W.
pub. by Angus and Robertson, Sydney - 1938 (first U.S. publication by Doubleday in 1947) isbn (none) LCCN = 47-000921 - modern Scribner edition ISBN: 0684850575
- 288 p. - maps on endpapers - a book in the Napoleon (Bony) Bonaparte series of mystery novels
Upfield tells a fine tale with proper twists. His investigator is a man whose mother was an Australian Aborigine and father was white. He stands out as a very educated person in the Western sense as well as fully educated in his mothers ways. He is very at home camping in the outback, and equally so in polite company drinking tea. This mystery is set in outback Australia and reveals much about the way remote farms exist and work. It also reveals much about Aboriginal ways. This background information gives life to the story and makes it much more interesting.
No Footprints in the Bush (also pub as Bushranger of the Skies)
by Upfield, Arthur W.
pub. in USA by Collier Macmillan, NY - orig 1940 in Australia isbn 0-02-025940-9
- 185 p. - a book in the Napoleon (Bony) Bonaparte series of mystery novels
A renegade son sets up his own empire in the vast outback. He attacks his father and anyone who gets in his way, often using an airplane and thrown bombs (note date of first publication). Bony finds sanctuary in a aboriginal holy place.
The Bachelors of Broken Hill
by Upfield, Arthur W.
pub. in USA by Scribners - 1950 isbn 0-684-18246-7
- 254 p. - a book in the Napoleon (Bony) Bonaparte series of mystery novels
In the mining town of Broken Hill a series of poisonings causes the involvement of Bony. Many twists in this plot are reveled at the end. This mystery does not involve much Aboriginal know-how in its solution.
The New Shoe
by Upfield, Arthur W.
pub. by University Extension, University of California, San Diego - orig. 1951 isbn (none) LCCN = 0-89163-021x
- 241 p. - a book in the Napoleon (Bony) Bonaparte series of mystery novels
Bony is sent to investigate the murder of a person whose body is found in a lighthouse. One is exposed to vacation area action as well as woodcutters in back country. A childhood group features in this novel. This mystery does not involve much Aboriginal know-how in its solution. This edition has a brief biography of Arthur W. Upfield at the beginning and an annotated list of all his books at the end.
Murder Must Wait
by Upfield, Arthur W.
pub. by The Detective Book Club - 1953 isbn (none) LCCN = - -
- 169 p. - a book in the Napoleon (Bony) Bonaparte series of mystery novels
An interesting mystery. Babies are disappearing. A small town shows its leaders foibles. Bony works with an assistant who is introduced as his niece. A murder of one of the women whose baby goes missing brings Bony into the investigation. A bit of aborigional mystacism is revealed near the end, as is the misguided operation of a mental health worker.
Man of Two Tribes
by Upfield, Arthur W.
pub. by Collier Macmillan - orig . 1956 isbn 0-02-025959-6
- 215 p. - a book in the Napoleon (Bony) Bonaparte series of mystery novels
An exonerated murderer disappears from a train running across the Nullarbor plain. Bony heads out with camels posing as a dingo hunter, revealing camel handling and navigation in a very hostile place. A collection of freed and/or parolled murders is found imprisoned in a cave complex in a very remote place in the Nullarbor. Escape is managed and much is learned about this fascinating and human hostile place.
Bushman Who Came Back (also pub. as Bony Buys a Woman)
by Upfield, Arthur W.
pub. by Crime Club / Doubleday - orig . 1957 LCCN 57-7913
- 191 p. - a book in the Napoleon (Bony) Bonaparte series of mystery novels
A cook is murdered and her daughter kidnapped. All evidance points to an aboriginal, but it does not make much sense. Bony tracks the man to an island in a dry lake shortly before the lake suddenly fills due to a flood from rain many miles away. The murderer is of course a different person. Bony deals with a local aboriginal leader and buys a bride for the her lover.
The Torn Branch (also pub. as Bony and the Black Virgin
by Upfield, Arthur W.
pub. by Collier Macmillan - orig . 1959 isbn
- 156 p. - a book in the Napoleon (Bony) Bonaparte series of mystery novels
An unidentified man is found murdered and the hired hand missing on a sheep station where a terrible drought reduced the station to poverty. The hired hand is found dead and the plot twists. Rain is brought by the local Aborigines doing their magic, but it is too late for the sheep at the smaller station. The dry lake is filled. A liason between lovers of different races causes a double suicide due to their feeling that their relationship is forbidden.
Valley of Smugglers
by Upfield, Arthur W.
pub. by Detective Book Club - orig. Doubleday, 1961 isbn (none)
- 173 p. - a book in the Napoleon (Bony) Bonaparte series of mystery novels
Bony investigates the murder of a government agent who was acting undercover. He goes undercover himself to an isolated valley inhabited by Irish immigrants. Or their descendants. These people are wildly independent and wildly anti-government. They refuse to pay taxes and go out of their way to avoid paying, even the tax on television sets. They do have a well hidden and large distillery which is illegal, and is used to bring in extra income to the group, smuggling the illegal drink out to sell. Bony lives among them for weeks (months) and grows to admire their family centeredness, honesty (among themselves) and sense of fair play. They celebrate their Irishness, and the memory of the outlaw Ned Kelly (who is much like Jesse James in U.S. history). They despise the Irish who work as police and for the government, viewing them a traitors. This is a view into an immigrant society who keeps to themselves for well over 100 years after setting up their group. The end is thoroughly satisfying.
The White Savage
by Upfield, Arthur W.
pub. by Crime Club, Doubleday - 1961 LCCN = 61-9563
- 190 p. - a book in the Napoleon (Bony) Bonaparte series of mystery novels
A rapist and murderer, who was a bright child and student - a natural leader - goes bad and finally commits murder. He was the lead among the group of children with whom he grew up. All matured to fine people... except Marvin. He holes up on his parents place at the edge of the Indian Ocean at the western edge of Australia. Bony is sent to find and apprehend him. Bony adopts a fake personna and stays on a neighboring farm. The local aborigine trackers are of the highest quality, and introduce another aboriginal concept - of the Kedic - a man who is inherently evil and to be destroyed. As per Upfields way, there is good description of this new and different part of Australia. The tides, and weather of the seacoast are a major part of this mystery.
Old Soggy no. 1 - the uninhibited story of Slats Rogers
by Rodgers, Slats. and Stilwell, Hart
pub. by Julian Messner, NY - 1954 later editions in a series on the history of flight - Arno Press, NY 1972 ISBN 0405037791
- 294 p. - other ed. 249 p.
Slats Rodgers was a railroad engineer. He was the first person to build an airplane in Texas. He did so from plans from a popular magazine. The first effort did not fly flat and straight. One wing sogged down hence the title of this biography. It flew a some distance then crashed. This experience did not deter him from trying again, and having better success.
He became quite an adept flier and was legendary among fliers in Texas. He flew stunts for Hollywood productions and became expert in how to crash an airplane and walk away personally unharmed. His method... strap yourself in snugly, carry a very sharp knife to cut the straps loose and fly between something which would shear both wings off and stop the airplane.
He was the first, or one of the first. to fly through an airplane hanger where the doors on both ends were open. He flew payroll and other goods into Mexico when land transportation was too dangerous. He smuggled goods such as watch parts across the US/Mexican border. He smuggled people (Chinese) into USA from Mexico.
He was the father of the crop dusting industry in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas.
Although larger than life by reputation, he was a real person. Some of old residents of The Valley remember him.
In many places this is a very funny book. A good read.
This Thing of Darkness
by Thompson, Harry
pub. by Headline Book Pub., London - 2005 isbn 0-7553-0281-8
- 750p. - maps, extensive bibliography of non-fiction sources - historical fiction
A fictionalized biography of Robert Fitzroy, who commanded the Beagle and to a lesser extent of Charles Darwin. While this is a work of fiction it is very well researched. This book begins with the suicide of Captain Stokes, who was given the task of surveying in the Straits of Magellan. Fitzroy was given command of the Beagle and succeeded him in subsequent survey work. Fitzroy captures a 4 of the natives of Tierra del Fuego and brings them to England to introduce them to civilization and re-introduce them to Tierra del Fuego on a later survey trip to help pacify and civilize the natives. Jemmy Button, a historical character who actually was this person has his story told as a subtext in this book. There is a return to England, fitting out for the next survey work, and Charles Darwin joins the crew as Naturalist. Fitzroy and Darwin form an early friendship and commence with the business of surveying the Falkland Islands, the Straits of Magellan etc. Darwin explores ashore in Argentina and later Chile. The description of Argentina under General Rosas is chilling. Darwin also discovers large dinosaur skeletons and has them shipped back to England on a returning ship. As time progresses and Darwin does a natural history survey of Chile and the Andes he begins to believe that Genesis in the Bible is not to be taken literally. Here he begins to separate his way of thinking from Fitzroy, and their friendship is strained. By the end of the voyage, and after the friendship breaks down totally. The Beagle does its historic visit to the Galapagos in September 1835, sails on to New Zealand and back to England arriving in October 1836. The story does not end there.... It continues to the end of Fitzroys life detailing his frustrations with the end of his career sailing for the navy. It took him a very long time (years) to finish the charts of areas surveyed. In 1841 Fitzroy stood for election to parliament representing Durham and won the position. The description of the actual election with Conservative, Liberal and Radical candidates is quite revealing of the times. The election was wide-open, noisy and barely controlled. He became governor of New Zealand in 1844-45. His governorship failed because the resources he had at hand were not great enough to do the job, and the goals of the New Zealand Comany were at odds with the reality of the colony. He returned to England. In 1860 his work with the study of weather, creation of synoptic charts and weather prediction on the basis of telegraphed weather observations from wherever telegraph lines went (in Europe mostly). He was a correspondent and friend of Captain Matthew F. Maury of the US Navy Weather Forecasting Department. Government penny pinching and depression drove him to suicide in 1865. Fitzroys relationship to Darwin deteriorated more after the voyage of the Beagle and the publication of Darwins report being at some odds with Fitzroys. They became bitter enemies. This is an a great read, albeit a long one. In the postscript the author notes where he fictionalized the story to make it flow better, leaving one to believe that the historical facts covered in the rest of the story are correct.
The Bounty - The True Story of the Mutiny on the Bounty
by Alexander, Caroline
pub. by Viking - 2003 isbn 0-670-03133-x
maps. b&w illustrations -- 491 pages. - - history
A tour de force of the Mutiny on the Bounty story. Examines the players - sometimes 2 generations back and follows these peoples lives after the court marshal or escape. There are a few surprises here. It was a very worth while -listen- in my case. It is a large book. Bligh does not come out the heavy and Fletcher Christian does not come off unscathed in fact recent interpersonal difficulties on Pitcairn Island have roots back to the original settlement.
~ 2007 ~
The Bounty - The True Story of the Mutiny on the Bounty
by Alexander, Caroline
pub. by Penguin Audiobooks - 2003 isbn 1-14-280030-9
10 cassettes (unabridged). - - history
The history of the Bounty incident. Very well done. Incredibly complete including the wreck of the Pandora which was sent to bring the mutineers back to justice from Tahiti to England. Includes the court trial in England and the careers of all for the rest of their lives.
Charles de Foucauld - Charles of Jesus
by Antier, Jean-Jacques
pub. by Ignatius Press. San Francisco - 1977 isbn 0-89870-756-0
359p. indexed. - - history
Biography of Charles de Foucauld French Army Officer who served in N Africa. He later became intensely religious and set up a hermitage in Tamanrasset in mountains of central Algeria. He was involved in French colonialization of N Africa and outside the of this biography one can glean a lot of information on European influence in north Africa. De Foucauld was eventually killed by a group who thought that they could re-take north Africa from the French while they were distracted by WWI. His hermitage still exists in Tamanrasset.
Crooked cucumber : the life and Zen teaching of Shunryu Suzuki
by Chadwick, David, 1945-
Pub by Broadway Books, , NY - c1999. isbn 0767901045 - - 432 p. : illustrated
S. Suzuki was called Crooked Cucumber by his master because at times he was not an ideal monk candidate. This biography begins in Japan when Suzuki was young, and includes detail on being a monk in Japan during WWII. Later he moved to USA and set up a church in southern California. It is a positive biography, and gives good insights to the Zen way of life. Interestingly enough, he was married.
The Wisdon of the Desert - Sayings from the Desert Fathers of the Fourth Century
by Merton, Thomas (translator and compiler)
Pub by Shambala , Boston - c1994. isbn 0-87773-976-5 - - 147 p.
Merton himself was a monk of some renoun in the modern era. - died 1967.
Library of Congress has a uniform title for this as Verba seniorum
Much of this little book (physically 3 inches x 4.5 inches) is refreshingly practical commentary.
I enjoyed it very much.
The Seven story Mountain
by Merton, Thomas (translator and compiler)
Pub by , Boston - c1994. isbn - - p.
This is Thomas Mertons spiritual autobiography. It was too heavy a read for me
when I first encountered it in 1968. When I finally read it (about 2003) I understood it much better,
and enjoyed its spiritual depth. Merton was a monk of some renoun in the modern era. - died 1967.
He studied religion widely and was of an ecumenical mindset. In that he was a man of his times.
Mayordomo - chronicle of an acequia in northern New Mexico
by Crawford, Stanley
pub. by University of New Mexico Press 1988 isbn 0-826309992
231p. - - history
A delightful non-fiction book which won a Western Writers Award. The writer was elected to the office of mayordomo or ditch master of an acequia or irrigation ditch in northern New Mexico. This book describes the cycle of 1 year as a mayordomo. (ditchmaster). It is filled with humanity and insight on how ancient democratic structures function in a rural enviornment. - It is a very good read.
~ 1999 ~
Coronado s children - tales of lost mines and buried treasures of the Southwest
by Dobie, J. Frank (James Frank), 1888-1964. - illustrated by Ben Carlton Mead.
pub by Grosset and Dunlap NY - Southwest Press, Dallas, Texas c1930.
367 p. illustrated some maps, glossary of terms, footnotes
The title aptly describes this book. The concept of the seekers of fortune being Coronado s children is apt, as Coronado was the first European seeker of fortune and all subsequent seekers follow in his footsteps. I was amazed at the sheer number of claims of buried treasure, of Comanche and Apache involvement and of people who found treasure and after going for supplies, assistance etc. could not re-find their earlier find. Includes a chapter on Laffite the pirate.
by Dobie, J. Frank
pub.by Univ. of Texas press -- 1990 - orig copyright 1934 ? isbn 0-292-74627-X
index, b/w pictures - 388 p. - - history
A history of the -breed- of mostly wild cattle inhabiting Texas before it became a republic, and which were harvested in great abundance shortly after the U.S. Civil War. It is also a history of the storied cattle drives from south Texas to Kansas, and even to Montana. A fair amount of description of south Texas brush country, and ranch operation is included. J. Frank Dobie was born and raised on a south Texas ranch. He was a great Texas writer and folklorist.
Tongues of the Monte
by by Dobie, J. Frank
pub. by Univ of Texas Press, 1980 - - (first publisheed 1935) - isbn 978-0292780354 - - 301 pages.
This book is in my opinion Dobies best, at least on a literary level. It is the story of his wanderings in northern Mexico during a sabatical. Dobie is a folklorist, but this work mixes folklore and travelogue with a mystical twist in places. He unabasedly notes he disguises the locations so that others can not follow in his footsteps and bother his ranch owner friends. Read this book. It is exceptionally good.
Blue Latitudes - Boldly going where Captain Cook has gone before
by Horwitz, Tony
pub. by Henry Holt and Co. NY - 2002 isbn 0-8050-6541-5
index bibliography maps on endpages - 480p. - - history
The author follows Captain Cook and asks how he is remembered in places where he visited and lived in his youth. Interestingly in some places he receives little response and in others hostility. The book examines Cook and his life and works. In some places this is a lighthearted read then you realize that you have learned something fairly painlessly.
She Captains - Heroines and hellions of the Sea
by Druett, Joan
pub. by Simon and Shuster. NY - 2000 isbn 0-684-85690-5
index, pictures, sources - 304p. - - history
Druett researched women as captains, and found them from 500 BC to past 1900 AD. The stories are lively.
Bismark and his times
by Kent, George O.
pub. by Southern Illinois Univ Pr. - 1978 isbn 0-8093-0859-0
184p. indexed. extensive bibibliography - - history
Biography and times of Otto von Bismark. If you ever wonder why your German forefathers left Germany during the great migration of the 1870s here lies some of the answer. To build the German nation out of a group of principalities and stave off what was Austria and Russia Bismark warred threatned war and did a wide variety of underhanded deals. In the end he was successful in uniting Germany into a unified country at a cost. This is an academic book. It reads like one. If you have interest in the time period.
by Martin, Malachi
pub. by Harper & Row, NY - 1986 isbn orig 1st ed 0060154780 - Jove paperback 0515096547
657p. - - fiction/historical
Malachi Martin, was a Jesuit priest and functionary within the Vatican. He lived 1921 - 1999 so was alive during the times fictionalized in this book - 1945 - about 1985. It is a fictionalized history of the Vatican between 1945 when Pope Pius XII was Pope, through John XXIII (who called the Vatican II Conference) - Pope Paul VI - John Paul I and John Paul II. Protestations by the author to the contrary, I believe it to be thinly veiled historical fiction. The names of the major players are changed, but not in such a way that one can not easily discern their true historical names. (See several reviews on Amazon.) Martin did not view the reforms of the Vatican II conference favorably. The writing in this book makes that abundantly clear. The story is told through the eyes of a young priest from USA who lives as a functionary in the Vatican through this period.
Major historical events during this period covered include, the messy end of WWII and dealings with displaced persons (refugees) - Vatican II conference - the mysterious sudden death of Pope John Paul I - and complications with the Vatican Bank.
After reading this lengthy work one is left wondering.... how much is history.... how much in invention.... is the author at all correct in his opinions?
The Seven Pillars of Wisdom
by Lawrence, T. E. (1888 - 1935)
pub. by Anchor books - 1991 (many editions available) isbn 0-385-41895-7
(paperback ed.)(orig pub Doubleday - 1926) - 670+ p. indexed. - - history
WWI in Arabia. Palestine. Syria. This is the longer version of the story. the shorter version being Revolt in the Desert which I have not read.
A World lit only by fire - The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance - Portrait of an Age
by Manchester, William
pub. by Little. Brown Co. - 1992 isbn 0316545317
index - 320p. - - history
Another very readable work on Western history. This one covering the end of the Medieval and beginning of the Renaissance. Manchester is not an expert in this time period. His expertise is in more modern history nontheless his approach is fresh and very readable This was another terrible time for the western world which civilization lived through. If you read this book start at the very beginning and read the preface forward etc. before launching into the rest of the book.
Read this after reading Barbara Tuchman - A Distant Mirror.
So Noble a Captain - the Life and Times of Ferdinand Magellan
by Parr, Charles McKew
pub. by Thomas Y. Crowell Co. - 1953 LCCN 53-7525 (this book is pre-isbn)
index - pictures, maps, generous bibliography, apendix 425p. - - history - biography
I wish I had read this book 30 years ago. It is very readable and very detailed. It sets up the story by preceding Ferdinand Magellans birth by over 100 years setting the dynastic stage in Portugal. This is important because Magellans relations with his king were very rocky at best. Side voyages are explored, as are many which are normally not even footnotes in more popular historical writing. Find out who was Cristobal de Haro. Who really ran Spain (Fonseca). Who was Jakob Fugger. Who did Sebastian Cabot really sail for, and learn of his southern failure. How were the kingdoms of Portugal, and Spain financed. Read this book. You will learn more than expected, and enjoy the trip.
The Speedwell Voyage - A tale of piracy and mutiny in the eighteenth century
by Poolman, Kenneth
pub. by Naval Institute Press - 1999 isbn 1-55750-693-0
190p. indexed. - - history
History of a freebooting trip around the world including a stop at Juan Fernandez Is. and raiding Spanish towns and vessels in the Pacific along S. American and N. American coasts. George Shelvocke was one of the major leaders.
by Souhami, Diana
pub. by Weidenfeld and Nicholson. London - 2001 isbn 0-297-64385-1
246p. index. illus. - - history
The story of Alexanser Selkirk who was marooned on the Juan Fernandez Is. off the coast of Chile in 1704. Perhaps not scholarly but readable and thorough. It has good endnotes.
In Search of Robinson Crusoe
by Sverin, Tim
pub. by Basic Books - 2003 isbn 0-465-07689-x
or 0-465-07699-8 - - 333p. - - history
Tracks the Robinson Crusoe story to islands other than Juan Fernandez off the coast of Chile. Has a very interesting bits of information on the Moskito coast in Central America and other islands in the Caribbean.
With Lawrence in Arabia New enlarged edition
by Thomas, Lowell
pub. by Doubleday - 1967 isbn LCCN 66-24339
(orig pub Century Co. - 1924) - 320p. - - history
World War I in Arabia and what is now Israel and Syria. This edition came out about the time of the Lawrence of Arabia movie and has an extra Forward written showing 40 years of perspective on the events. Count Lukner - the Sea Devil
by Thomas, Lowell
pub. by Doubleday - 1927 isbn LCCN
(orig pub Garden City Pub, Garden City, NY - 1927) - 324 p. several other editions. recently pub by Kessinger Pub. Doran isbn 978-0766147706
- 324 p. illus. - - history
World War I sea raider Sea Adler a sailing ship, captained by Felix von Lukner raided commercial shipping in the Atlantic and Pacific. Although many ships were taken and sunk not so much as a pet kitten died. Lukner was later awarded a medal for humane warfare after the war.
Airlift - Short Stories
by Seale, Jan Epton
pub. by Texas Christian University Press - 1992 isbn-13: 978-0875651002
_ p. - - literature - short stories
A delightful collection of short stories generally set in southern and central Texas written from a female perspective. Some of the best short story writing I have ever encountered, it is also some of the most honestly female writing I have ever encountered.
Jan E. Seale was named poet laureate of Texas in 2012.
~ 1993 ~
A Distant Mirror - the calamitous 14th Century
by Tuchman, Barbara W.
pub. by Knopf (a Borzoi Book) - 1978 isbn 0394400267
maps. pictures. index - 720p. - - history
A very readable work of history. Written from a French perspective it is refreshing as most of the historical work we Americans read is from an English or American perspective. It covers one of the more horrific centuries in western history and shows how civilization muddled through despite its problems.
Barbara Tuchman is a masterful writer. She got a Pullitzer for one of her other works. The quality of her writing in this work is just as high as in the one which won her the Pulitzer.
This is one of my all time favorite reads, one which I often recommend to others.
The Guns of August
by Tuchman, Barbara W.
pub. by Ballantine Bks - 1994 (orig. copyright 1962) isbn 0-345-38623-x
maps. pictures. index - 511p. - - history
A fascinating work on the first 100 days of World War 1. Includes the lead-up to the war and miscalculations on all sides. All participants knew they did not have the resources to fight a long war, and expected it to be over in short order. Then none wanted to lose either. A good read. Tuchman has an easy reading style. This book won a Pulitzer Prize.
The Last Navigator
by Thomas, Stephen D.
pub. by Henry Holt and Co., NY. 1987 - isbn; 0-8050-0096-8 Appendices (10 of them) p. 237-290 Glossary p. 291-298 Index p. 299-308 total size 308 p.
The story of Mau Piailug - navigator. (died 2003)
Mau is the navigator who sailed and navigated the Hawaiian double canoe Holulea from Hawaii to Tahiti, demonstrating that the old traditional Pacific navigation systems work.
The author, Stephen Thomas is a competent navigator in wesern methods. That fact gave him background and credibility as a serious person when he began his study with Mau Piailug. Stephen traveled to Micronesia to see if he could study under Mau Piailug, the senior navigator on Satawal. He was accepted by Mau and the local chief, and was allowed to study uner Mau.
A quote from Mau Piliug
To be a palu you must have three qualities
fierceness, strength, and wisdom
The knowledge of Naviagation brings all three.
Fierceness, strength, and wisdom,
that is a palu - a palu is a man.
Part I - Re Metau The People of the Sea
Stephen begins his student relationship with Mau Piailug.
Part II - The Talk of our Fathers
Stephen learns the details of Micronesian navigation.
Part III - The canoe of Palulap
Which describes the Micronesian outrigger canoe.
This book contains detailed apendices which more than outline how Micronesian navigation works between various islands.
In all, Stephen Thommas spent over a year learning what Mau had to teach.
Desert Queen - The extraordinary life of Gertrude Bell - Adventurer. Advisor to Kings. Ally of Lawrence of Arabia
by Wallach, Jan
pub. by Anchor/Random House - 1999 isbn 0-385-49575-7
(orig pub Doubleday 1996) - 419p. indexed. - - history
Fascinating history of an interesting life and of the living history of Arabia Mesopotamia Syria and Iraq. Gertrude Bell was the English official who drew the map of modern Iraq and caused 3 administrative areas which were previously (before WWI) Turkish to be defined as a modern country and separate from Arabia and Syria.
Spanish Sea - The Gulf of Mexico in North American Discovery 1500--1685
by Weddle, Robert S.
pub. by Texas A and M University Press - 1985 isbn 0-89096-211-1
index - 300+p. - - history
This book is not an easy read. It is slow stylistically but it is incredibly detailed and well documented. If you have any serious interest in this part of the world in this time period. Read this book.
~ 1988 ~
by Wills, Gary
pub. by Penguin Putnam - 1999 isbn --
4 CDs. - - history
An interesting look at a Father of the Church and Christianity in north Africa shortly after the major pagan persecutions. It shows that the Early Christians were a contentious lot.
~ 2007 ~
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
by Dillard, Annie
pub. by Harper's Magazine Press - 1974 isbn 0-06-095302-0
paperback edition by Bantam 1975. there are other editions. - _p. - - nature
Pulitzer Prize winner for general non-fiction in 1975. Natural and philosophical explorations which follow natural events during a year lived in a cabin at Tinker Creek. This is excellent writin very well worth reading.
~ 1985 ~
Islands at the Edge of Time - A Journey to Americas Barrier Islands
by Hansen, Gunnar
pub. by Islands Press - a Shearwater Book - 1993 isbn 1-55963-252-6 pbk
map, illustrations - recommended reading - 222p. - - nature
Gunnar Hansen traveled from Boca Chica, at the southern tip of Texas around the Gulf of Mexico through Louisiana to Florida and north to North Carolina. He writes on the science, both physical as well as biological of the islands, including the various theories on how they formed. In some parts the science is detailed, in other places his writing is more on a laymans level. Especially on the Atlantic coast side he delves into the social situation as some areas are being rapidly developed for recreational use. His writing on the situation in Louisiana, done long before Hurricane Katrina, predicted the damage done by that storm. This is a readable and interesting book for those who have any interest in coastal South and SE USA. The author is better known for his role as the actor who played leatherface in the original Texas Chainsaw movie. He is a man of many dimensions.
~ 2007 ~
Slipping into Paradise why I live in New Zealand
by Moussaieff Masson, Jeffrey
pub. by Ballentine - 2004 isbn = 0345466144 (HC)
248 p. - color illustrations - maps
Moussaieff Masson is a writer and psychologist. He visits and becomes enamored with New Zealand. He travels around both islands describing the sights and people. He has much to say about the people and government. Read this... then think a lot, before you decide to attempt to emmigrate to NZ. Its a beautiful place with lots of nice people, but not a place where just anyone would want to live for the rest of their lives.
In Trouble Again - A journey between the Orinoco and the Amazon
by OHanlon, Redmond
pub. by Random House - 1988 isbn 0-0679-72714-0
paperback edition by Vintage - 1990. there are other editions. - 273 p. map, index, excellent bibliography - - nature
OHanlon takes a very small expedition up the Rio Negro and Rio Casiquiare and Rio Baria in southern Venezuela on the border with Brazil to the foot of the highlands of Neblina, then back down the Baria and further up the Casquiare and overland to visit a Yanomami village. The fierce Yanomami live up to their fierce reputation, but he is charming enough to come home to tell the tale. OHanlon tells all including the gritty details of canoe expedition, the personnel and their issues as well as describing he flora and fauna in detail.
by OHanlon, Redmond
pub. by Alfred A. Knopf, NY - 2005 isbn 1-400042755
- 339 p. map, index, excellent bibliography - - nature
Redmond travels on a trawler in the North Sea in winter looking for hurricane force winds. He finds what he looks for, and experiences it. Also aboard is a fisheries naturalist who explains the nature of the fishery, and the natural science of the various fish. A very readable tour of the North Sea and north eastern Atlantic fishery.
~ 2006 ~
No Mercy: A Journey Into the Heart of the Congo
by OHanlon, Redmond
pub by Vintage; Vintage Departures Ed - 1998
480 p. - index, excellent bibliography - - nature - - ISBN - 0679737324
Perhaps the darkest of OHanlon s adventures. Redmond heads off into the physically and politically dangerous Congo looking for a possible living dinosaur. What is revealed about the social situation is more surprising than the stuff on the natural world.
~ 2007 ~
Into the Heart of Borneo
by OHanlon, Redmond
Vintage; Vintage Departures Ed - 1987
208 p. - index, excellent bibliography - - nature - - ISBN - 0394755405
The first of OHanlon s adventures. The most light hearted of them, still heavy on the science and the adventure.
~ 2008 ~
Life on Matagorda Island
by McAlister, Wayne H.
pub. by Texas A and M Univ. Press - 2004 isbn 1-58544-338-7
Notes drawings maps. Index - 244p. - - nature
A personal recollection of a college professor and wife who after retiring from teaching took up a job with the National Wildlife Service on Matagorda Island living there some 10 years.
There is nothing living on this island that Prof. McAlister does not know about, and what it eats and what eats it. This is a thoroughly fascinating and readable book, a must read for anyone interested in the natural history of this part of the Texas Gulf Coast.
McAlister has other books, just as useful, but not quite as smooth reading. ~ 2006 ~
Beautiful Swimmers - Watermen. Crabs and the Chesapeake Bay
by Warner, William E.
pub. by Penguin (orig. pub. Little Brown - 1977 isbn 1-14-00-4405-1
paperback - drawings. maps - 256p. - - nature
Pulitzer prize winner in 1977 and very deservedly so. Follows the life cycle of the blue crab whose scientific name translates from the Latin as beautiful swimmer. This is excellent writing very well worth reading.
~ 1980 ~
Looking for a Ship
by McPhee, John A.
pub by Farrar Strauss Giroux, 1990 - - isbn - - 0-374523193 - - or (Thorndyke large type 1-56054-102-4 - - 252 p.
Details how the modern American Merchant Marine, much diminished in modern times, functions. McPhee boards the S.S. Stella Likes and from the East Coast of USA makes a 42 day run through the Panama Canal and down the Pacific Coast of South America. A very interesting read.
~ 1992 ~
by Brown Jr. , Tom
pub. by Berkley Books. - 1978 isbn 0-425-10133-9
229p. - - outdoors
The first book where Tom Brown describes how he learned to track and live outdoors from his friends Apache grandfather. He lives in the New Jersey Pine Barrens.
~ 1985 ~
Case files of the Tracker - true stories from Americas greatest outdoorsman
by Brown Jr., Tom
pub. by Berkley Books. NY 2003 isbn 0-425-18755-1
190p. - - outdoors
Five case stories of tracking lost people, plus an introduction. Not all end happily.
~ 2008 ~
The Hungry Ocean - a swordboat captains journey
by Greenlaw, Linda - 1960
pub. by Hyperion, NY - 1999 isbn 0-78686451-6
- - 265 p - maps - historical
Greenlaw, a swordfishing boat catpain, and the captain who last had communication with the boat, the Andrea Gail, which was lost in the Perfect Storm
tells the story from the position of one who was actually there, on the water.
If you read Sebastian Junger's book, read this one also. This is great non-fiction.
by Junger, Sebastian
pub. by W.W. Norton - 1997 isbn 1857028449
- - 240 p - maps - photos - historical
The story of a confluence of weather events which made a particularly violent storm off Northeastern USA.
It details the disapearance and loss of a swordfishing boat off the Grand Banks and the rescue (later found to be unnecessary) of a cruising sailing yacht farther south on the coast.
~ 1998 ~
The Happy Isles of Oceania
by Theroux, Paul
pub. by Putnam, NY, 1992 - - - isbn 978-0-399-13726-6 - 528 pages
Theroux travels in the Pacific starting in New Zealand followed by a short time in Austraila, then visits (Melanesia) - - Trobriands - The Solomons, Guadalcanal - Vanuatu - Fij -
(Polynesia) - - Tonga - Western Samoa - American Samoa - Tahiti - the Marquesas - The Cook Islands - Easter Island
Sometimes the style is irritating. The beginning of the book dwells unhappiness related to his recent divorce, which sets the tone for the first part of the book. On the whole a worthwhile read, realizing that the time period described is 1991.
Worlds of Christopher Columbus
by Rahn Phillips, Carla and Phillips, William
pub. by Cambridge University Press - 1992 isbn - 9780521446525 - or - 0521350972
340 p. - - biography
A great and well considered biography of Christopher Columbus
From all those which were published about Columbus around the time of the quincenterary of the first Columbus voyage to the New World, this is one of the best. The authors are academic experts in the history of this time period.
~ 1993 ~
Six Galleons for the King of Spain
by Rahn Phillips, Carla
pub. by John Hopkins University Press - 1992 isbn - 9780801845130 -
336 p. - - maritime history
Having examined a considerable collection of documents on the building of ships by the Spanish government (king) in the first half of the 1600s Carla Rahn Phillips was in a great position to write the definitive book on the process.
Here you will find all the particulars of the physical galleons, where they were built, how they were financed, what supplies were needed and where those supplies were acquired.
For anyone interested in this time period - 1625-1628 - or maritime affairs in that period - this is a must read book. I should add that it is written in a very readable style.
~ 1994 ~
Bring on the Empty Horses
by Niven, David
pub. by E.P. Putnams Sons. NY 1975 isbn 0-399-11542 - - LCCN= 75-17646
369 p. - - biography
David Niven, the actor, wrights a hilarious autobiography. A fun read.
~ 1980 ~
Erasmus of Christendom
Bainton, Roland Herbert, 1894-
pub by Scribner, NY - 1969 - republished 1982 - isbn - 0824504151 - LCCN - 68-027788 - - black and white illustrations - Bibliography p. 285-299 - 308 p.
Bainton has written the definitive biography of Desiderius Erasmus (1466/1469 - 1536) born in Rotterdam, one of the intellectual giants of the Reformation. He was a Catholic priest. He was a contemporary of Martin Luther, and debated Luther. He was also a friend of Thomas More of England (who ran afoul of Henry VIII). He translated and made Greek edition of the New Testament, published in 1522, accompanied by a new Latin translation. Both sides of the Reformation wanted Erasmus to be on their side. He managed to survive by not stepping firmly into either camp. He traveled extensively throughout Europe even Rome. He was fameous enough to have had his portrait painted by Albrecht DÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¼rer, Hans Holbein, and Quentin Matsys.
Among his lesser but more popular works is The Praise of Folly. During his life he did not admit to being its author, which kept him out of trouble.
In a violent age when religious passions caused the death of many, Erasmus managed to prevail in peace and die an elderly man in his own bed.
This is an extremely readable book, and a good introduction to this time period in Europe.
The Rivers Amazon
by Shoumatoff, Alex
pub. by Sierra Club Books, San Francisco, California, USA , 1978 - isbn 0-871562103 - LCCN 78-008585 - 258 pages.
A good book to read if you are considering traveling on the Amazon River.
The Ra Expeditions
by Heyerdahl, Thor -- 1914 - 2002
pub by Doubleday, Garden City, NY, 1971 - - isbn - - illustrations, map on endpapers, photos. - translated by Patricia Crampton - 341 p.
Heyerdahl attempts to cross the Atlantic demonstrating that the pre-Columbian people of North Africa could have crossed the Atlantic Ocean on a raft made of papyrus reeds, as such were built along the Nile in ancient times.
The 1969 effort was not totally successful. The raft came apart and sank after it made it well past the mid-point of the voyage. Heyerdahl made specific note of the level of pollution in the mid-Atlantic on this voyage.
A later attempt, the Ra II was made in 1970. It was made of reeds in Bolivia, then taken across the Atlantic (by ship?) and launched in Morocco. Ra II made it across the Atlantic to the island of Barbedos.
by Michener, James A.
pub. by Random House - 1978 isbn 0812970438
- - 888 p - - historical fiction
Classic James Michener long historical fiction traces the Chesapeake area of Eastern USA from pre-European contact up to fairly recent times. Revolutionary War, Slavery, Civil War times are covered, as is the fishing and boating activity of this area.
~ 1980 ~
The Autobiography of Arthur Ransome
by Ransome, Arthur
pub. by Century Publishing - 1985 isbn 0-7126-0726-9
(first by Jonathan Cape 1976- index - 368p. - - ransome
Arthur Ransome. author of the Swallows and Amazons and other childrens books involving sailing and childhood adventure lived a very interesting life himself. He was in Russia when the revolution broke out and found himself thrust into being a foreign cor He met knew most of the revolutionaries but was himself a-political. He married Evangenia Trotskys secretary and had many sailing adventures with her in the Baltic. Read this book along with Hugh Brogans excellent biography of Ransome to get to know the complete man.
Captain Flint's Trunk
by Hardymet, Christina
pub. by Jopnathan Cape, London - 1984 isbn - new revised and enlarged edition - pub by Frances Lincoln Ltd, London - 2006 - isbn 978-071122692-0
243+ p. - - ransome
Good writing about the background to Arthur Ransoms childrens works.
In the footsteps of the Swallows and Amazons - 19 illustrated walks in Arthur Ransome country
by Kendall-Price, Claire
pub. by Wildcat Publishing. England - 1993 isbn 0-9521186-0-2
112p. - - ransome
Describes 19 trails - walks - in the Lake District of England where Arthur Ransome lived and set many of his books.
Swallows and Amazons
by Ransome, Arthur
pub. by J. B. Lippincott Co. - 1930 isbn _
_ - - ransome
Recommended as great childrens adventures. Still very readable after all these years. This is the first story in the series. It is set in the Lake District in England.
by Ransome, Arthur
pub. by J. B. Lippincott Co. - 1931 isbn _
_ - - ransome
Recommended as great childrens adventures. Still very readable after all these years. This story set in the Lake District in England.
by Ransome, Arthur
pub. by J. B. Lippincott Co. - 1933 isbn _
_ - - ransome
Recommended as great childrens adventures. Still very readable after all these years. This story set in the Lake District in England.
by Ransome, Arthur
pub. by J. B. Lippincott Co. - 1934 isbn _
_ - - ransome
Recommended as grat childrens adventures. Still very readable after all these years. This story set in England.
by Ransome, Arthur
pub. by J. B. Lippincott Co. - 1932 isbn _
_ - - ransome
Recommended as great childrens adventures. Still very readable after all these years. Set in the Atlantic Ocean.
The Picts and the Martyrs
by Ransome, Arthur
pub. by J. B. Lippincott Co. - 1943 isbn _
_ - - ransome
Recommended as great childrens adventures. Still very readable after all these years. This story set in the Lake District in England.
by Ransome, Arthur
pub. by J. B. Lippincott Co. - 1947 isbn _
Recommended as great childrens adventures. Still very readable after all these years. Set in Scotland.
by Ransome, Arthur
pub. by J. B. Lippincott Co. - 1941 isbn _
_ - - ransome
Recommended as great childrens adventures. Still very readable after all these years. Set in China.
The Big Six
by Ransome, Arthur
pub. by J. B. Lippincott Co. - 1940 isbn _
_ - - ransome
Recommended as great childrens adventures. Still very readable after all these years. Set in Southeastern England.
by Ransome, Arthur
pub. by J. B. Lippincott Co. - 1936 isbn _
_ - - ransome
Recommended as great childrens adventures. Still very readable after all these years. This story set in the Lake District in England.
We didn t mean to go to sea
by Ransome, Arthur
pub. by J. B. Lippincott Co. - 1937 isbn _
- - ransome
Recommended as great childrens adventures. Still very readable after all these years. The Swallows accidentally sail from England to Holland..
by Ransome, Arthur
pub. by J. B. Lippincott Co. - 1939 isbn _
- - ransome
Recommended as great childrens adventures. Still very readable after all these years. Set in Southeastern England.
~ I read almost all the books written by Arthur Ransome in the early 1960s - then re-read them. ~
A Song for Satawal
by Brower, Kenneth
Harper and Row, NY - 1983 isbn 0-06-015093-9
218 p. - - sailing adventure and anthropology
Brower travels to the island of Yap and examines modern conditions, then sails in a traditional canoe, examining methods of navigation and general details of life. A thought provoking book.
(Brower is also author of The Starship and the Canoe which I also recommend a a good read.)
~ 1990 ~
Sailing back in Time A nostalgic voyage on Canadas west coast
by Coffey, Maria and Dag Goering
Whitecap books N.Vancouver BC Canada 2002 isbn 1-55285-338-1
208 p. b&w photos, maps, lines and sailplan of China Moon - - sailing
The last voyage of China Moon sailed by owners Allen Farrell and Shari Farrell. A sailing history of Straight of Georgia area on the Western coast of Canada.
Farrell shows his age always wishing things were as they were in a golden age some 50 or 60 years ago. Farrell designed and built China Moon, a beautiful Chinese junk. Over the years he had built some 11 other boats - all by hand, without the aid of power tools.
~ 2008 ~
by Conway, John E.
Sheridan House, 145 Palisade St., Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522 - copyright 2003 isbn 1-57409-171-9
214 p. b&w photos, boat name is Buckrammer - - sailing
A perfectly delightful read. Summer sailing and family adventures on a 24 ft. long, Crosby made catboat, which was built in 1908. Area sailed includes Buzzards Bay, and through the Cape Cod Canal to Boston. Among the adventures, the Padanaram Rendezvous race where the last boat to cross the finish line - within an hour of the first boat crossing the finish line - wins. (LIFR - Last is first, race. see p. 62) The boats previous names Esther - - Josephine S. - - Pelican - - Cape Girl..
see also http://www.catboats.org - the Catboat Assn.
~ 2009 ~
Simple Courage - A true story of peril on the sea
by Delaney , Frank
pub. by Random House NY - 2006 isbn 1-4000-6524-0
300p. - - sailing adventure
This is the story of Captain Kurt Carlson - and the freighter Flying Enterprise. The ship was sailing from Hamburg Germany to New York in December 1951 and encountered a strong storm system in the North Atlantic. This storm system sunk several ships. After being hit by a rogue wave the Flying Entertrise hull cracked and cargo shifted. The engines refused to work (lube oil would not pump at the extreme angle). The ship was dead in the water and taking on water in an Atlantic winter storm. Other vessels stood by and the few passangers and crew were ordered to abandon ship. Carlson stayed aboard and when the salvage tug Turmoil eventually arrived assisted in the attempted salvage. The second officer on the tug Kenneth Dancy managed to jump onto the Flying Enterprise and assist the captain in his eventually vain efforts to save the ship.
~ 2008 ~
Lugworm Island Hopping
by Duxbury, Ken
Anthony Mott, Ltd., London 1983 - copyright 1976 (the physical copy I have is from The Cornish Library series Number 18) isbn 0-907746-19-5
122 p. pen and ink illus. maps, boat name is Lugworm an 18 ft. plywood Drascombe Lugger - - sailing
Duxbury sails and camps along the coast of Cornwaqll in SW UK to the Scilly isles. He also sailed by Padstow. The last half of the book describes sailing in the Outer Hebrides and living on the Isle of Ensay. He tows a dingy he calls Obbe-Wobble which allows him to get to places which would smash his lugger.
Duxbury has written a number of books on dingy sailing and coastal navigation. He did a book on his trip from Greece back to UK, and another of his sailing in the Greek Islands. He is an artist as well as writer.
~ 2009 ~
My old man and the sea a father and son sail around Cape Horn
by Hayes, David and Daniel
Algonquin Bks, Chapel Hill - 1995 isbn 1-56512-102-3
229 p. maps, line drawing of boat Sparrow - - sailing adventure
A father and grown son sail from New London, CT, USA through the Panama Canal, stop at the Galapagos Is. then round Cape Horn. They stop at the Falklands Is. and at Montevideo then sail home to New London.
The Sparrow is only 25 feet long, and has no engine. These people are pure sailors.
~ 2008 ~
The Biggest Boat I could Afford - sailing up the U.S. Coast in a dingy
by Hughes , Lee
pub. by Sheridan House - 2004 isbn 1-57409-192-1 - photos. map - 304p. - - sailing adventure
Hughes manages to buy Frank Dyes Wanderer probably the most fameous dingy in modern times. transports it from Canada to southern Florida then sails from there to the Canadian border.
~ 2008 ~
Wayward Sailor - in search of the real Tristan Jones
by Dalton , Anthony
pub. by McGraw Hill - 2003 isbn 0-07-144028-3
- map - 350p. - - sailing biography
Dalton investigates the life and writings of Tristan Jones. He finds that Jones re-invented himself, creating a mostly fictitious past, then embroidered on it and with great skill as a writer, wrote a series of very readable and interesting books, loosly based on some of his experiences. Even Jones worst detractors allow that he was a great story teller. In this case Tristan Jones (Arthur Jones) real life is very possibly as interesting as the fiction he spun, and attempted to pass off as non-fiction.)
~ 2007 ~
Jones, Tristan - born 1929 - died June 21, 1995 - published works
Three Years in a Twelve-Foot Boat
by Ladd, Stephen
pub. by Seekers Press - 2000 isbn 0966933737
- map - 390p. - - sailing adventure
The author designs and builds Squeek a 12 ft cold molded wooden boat. He sails down the Missouri River and Mississippi River then takes a steamer to Panama. From the west coast of Panama he sails down to Columbia goes inland and eventually heads down one of the major rivers deciding to head out the Orinoco to the Carribbean. From there he island hops back north including sojourns in Haiti. Cuba and an outpost of the Bahamas back to Florida and USA Adventure in the raw often as much concerning the people he meets as the places or sailing he does.
Kurun around the world
by Le Tourmelin, Jacques-Yves
pub. by E.P. Dutton, NY - 1955 isbn -none-
301 p. maps, photos, line drawings of Kurun - - sailing adventure
After WWII le Tourmelin sails through Panama - Galapagos - Tahiti - N.Australia - Cocos Keeling - Reunion - S.Africa - St Helena - then home to le Croisic in France.
The 33 ft Kurun is specially built for ocean cruising. Le Tourmelin sails around the world as only one raw from WWII could do it. He is very French, visiting with French govt. officials at every stop. His lack of envionmental concern is jarring. He often shoots at and takes game to eat where modern cruising sailors would not think of hunting, including the Galapagos Is. where he hunts goats, and even dolphins, where he is never successful. But it is understandable from one who lived in France through all of WWII, under German occupation. The first boat he had built was seized by the Germans and wrecked.
He is a purist sailor - no engine and takes few offers of tows. After Tahiti he seems to be in a hurry to get home to le Croisic Brittany, NW France. However when he arrives, celebrated by the powers that be, he feels that -home- is just another port-of-call.
There seems to be a follow-up book of his sailing in the Carribbean in the early 1960s, which I have not seen, but is listed in the holdings of the Library of Congress.
The Kurun has been restored and is owned by a group which maintains it in sailing trim at le Croisic. Jacques-Yves le Tourmelin is considered one of the great voyagers along with Slocum, Gerbault, and Moitessier.
~ 2007 ~
Oar and Sail - an odyssey of the west coast
by Leighton, Kenneth M.
pub. by Cornerstone Press, Smithers BC - 1999 isbn 0-9684043-2-4
153p - - sailing adventure
Small boat - Morag Anne - (14 ft.) traveling on the west coast of Canada. A great little read.
~ 2008 ~
The Unlikely Voyage of Jack de Crow - a Mirror odyssey from north Wales to the Black Sea
by Mackinnon, A. J.
pub. by Sheridan House - 2002 isbn 1-57409-152-2
drawings. maps - 355p. - - sailing adventure
Mackinnon acquires a Mirror dingy at the school where he is teaching. He resigns and sails rows poles the dingy which he named Jack de Crow west along a river. Then crosses England through the canal system and across the English Channel. He enters the European canal system and works across France. Germany and into eastern Europe to the Black Sea. The story is told in a very engaging style and before it is over there are true adventures.
~ 2008 ~
Tamata and the alliance
by Moitessier, Bernard
pub by Sheridan House, NY - 1995 isbn 0-924486775
A mystical autobiography of and by Bernard Moitessier.
His early years in Vietnam before WWII and shortly after WWII are particularly interesting. - A very interesting read. I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to see into the head and soul of one of the greatest voyagers of all time. This was publshed shortly after Moitessier died.
~ 1996 ~
Serpents Coil - A stunning true epic of storm and salvage in mid-Atlantic
by Mowat, Farley
pub. by Ballantine, NY - 1961 LCCN = 62-9543
222p. - - sailing adventure
This is the story of - the Foundation Company, a marine salvage company and the freighter Leicester a WWII Liberty ship. (The story may be compared to the story of the Flying Enterprise described in the book Simple Courage described above.) The main differences are that the Leicester was abandoned by her captain (Hamish Lawson) and crew when they reasonably feared that the ship would turn over and sink, while the captain of the Flying Enterprise stayed aboard, and the Leicester was successfully towed into a port (in Bermuda) by Foundation Josephine. The seagoing tug Foundation Lillian assisted, then was sent across the Atlantic to rescue another ship (a tanker) which lost its propeller. The Leicester, in some ways like the Flying Enterprise got into trouble due to a shift in cargo. Leicester was loaded with gravel ballest which shifted. It also survived 3 hurricanes during the whole ordeal, the last one while it was in port in Bermuda being stabelized before it was finally towed to a shipyard in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, for final repair work. The Leicester eventually returned to service. Its rescue and the underwriters examination of the cause of the ballast shift caused a change in the way Liberty ships were loaded. It solved the mysterious dissappearance of several -Sam- Liberty ships and allowed corrective action to be taken to keep other such ships to be saved from this peril.
Mowat weaves a fast paced tale where the rescue tugs crew and management are the heros.
~ 2008 ~
The Queens Conjurer - the science and magic of Dr. John Dee, adviser to Queen Elizabeth I
by Woolley, Benjamin
pub. by Henry Holt and Co., NY - 2001 isbn 0805065091
320p. - some black and white pictures - biography
This is essentially a biography of John Dee, 1527 - 1608. He studied in England and in the Louvain in Paris. He became a good friend of the cartographer Gerardus Mercator. Dee was a serious astronomer - astrologer as well as chemist - alchemist. There was no distinction between these during the years of his life. He also dabbled heavily in the occult, particularly scrying. Scryers were spiritual mediums who gazed at crystal balls to consult with spirits. The scryver most associated with Dee was Edward Kelley. He and Dee worked together for years and late in their association Dee began to distrust Kelly, probably for good reason. Dee lived in England, ran afoul of the government under Queen Mary and was imprisoned, and talked his way out after an interview in the Star Chamber. Later he advised Queen Elizabeth I. He had audiences with Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II in Prague Castle and King Stefan Batory of Poland. After some time on mainland Europe he returned to England. Elizabeth I supported him but after she died James I had no use for Dee. He was cared for by his daughter until he died either in late 1608 or early 1609 at his home in Mortlake.
John Dee was a serious member of the intellegencia of his time. He dabbled in many things, some which would be considered very wierd today. His political dealings were also very interesting.
Read this book to get a feel of England and Europe during the Elizabethian period.
~ 2008 ~
The boat who wouldnt float.
by Mowat, Farley
pub by Little Brown - Boston - 1970 LCCN = 73-103952
241p - - sailing adventure - and humor
Mowat attempts to sail a leaky sailboat from Canada south to USA. The boat resists by attempting to sink every time he sails south. Mowat anthromoporphises the boat, giving it a mind of its own.
~ 1975 ~
The Boy, Me and the Cat
Cruise of the Mascot, 1912-1913 by Plummer, Henry M.
pub by Little Brown - Boston - 1970 LCCN = 73-103952
241p. - - sailing adventure - and humor
Sailing a catboat from southern New England to Florida by way of informal inland waterways, before the ICW (Intercoastal Canal) existed. A man, a boy (who is actually his son) and a cat sail south away from the northern winter. Many small adventures are had along the way. As weather warms they sail back north. This takes place in Pre WWI and the South is a raw and interesting place.
This book is a classic.
~ 2007 ~
Looking for a Ship
by McPhee, John
pub. by Farrar, Straus and Giroux - 1991 - isbn 0374523193
252 p. - - sailing adventure
McPhee sailed on the SS Stella Lykes with a merchant marine sailor friend from from Charleston, South Carolina through the Panama Canal and down the Pacific coast of South America. He chronicles the trip and offfers comment on the sad state of the American Merchant Marine.
A thoroughly interesting read.
Passage to Juneau - a sea and its meanings
by Raban, Jonathan
pub. by Pantheon - 1999 isbn 0-679-44262-6
435p. - - sailing adventure
Raban sails from Seattle to Juneau Alaska. His write-up is full of thoughtful insights and historical tidbits. In the middle of the trip his father dies and he interrupts the voyage to deal with the funeral - in England - then returns to the voyage and completes it. It is an excellent read. - I recommend any of Rabans works as good reads.
~ 2000-11-19 ~
by Granzotto, Gianni
pub by Garden City, N.Y. Doubleday - 1985. isbn 0385196776
300 p. -- maps
Translated from Italian. An interesting and slightly different view of Columbus life. ~1988-04-15~
Meetings with Remarkable Men
by Gurdjieff, Georges Ivanovitch, 1872-1949
pub by Penguin, NY - 1964 - many earlier editions - isbn 0-14-019037-6
This is an autobiographical work which covers the early life and travels of G.I. Gurdjeiff.
He developed a philosophy and believed in mystical strength of human beings. He has a following which long outlived him.
We the Navigators - The Ancient Art of Landfinding in the Pacific
by Lewis, David Henry -- 1917-2002-
pub by T, 1972 - isbn 0824803949 -- 345 p. -- illus.
David H. Lewis, a sailor and circumnavigator with considerable small boat experience studied with traditional micronesian navigatora of the Pacific. He describes their methods in this book.
~ 1998 ~
Sailing Alone Around the World
by Slocum, Joshua
originally pub. by Century, NY - 1909 ISBN-10: 1574092618 - - ISBN-13: 978-1574092615
(currently available from Sheridan House) - with the original Fogarty and Varian sketches. map - 320p. - - sailing adventure
The classic tale of a lone voyage around the world in his 30 ft sloop Spray. Lived and told by the man who made the voyage, through Straits of Magellan and around the Cape of Good Hope not through the Panama or Suez canals.
~ 1964 ~
Voyage of the Liberdade
by Slocum, Joshua
originally pub. pre 1900 - now pub by Dover - 1998 ISBN-10: 0486400220 - - ISBN-13: 978-0486400228
128p. - - sailing adventure
Slocum and his family (wife and 2 children) are shipwrecked. He constructs the Liberdade in Brazil and sails it to Washington, D.C., USA. Interestingly the boat, described by Slocum as a large dory is rigged with Chinese lug sails. The boat was donated to the Smithsonian, but was later lost or deleted from that museums collection.
~ 1970 ~
Adventures under sail : selected writings of H.W. Tilman - edited and with an introduction by Libby Purves.
by Tilman, H.W.
pub. by V. Gollancz - London - 1982 isbn 057503159x
254p. maps - black and white photos - chronology. - - sailing adventure
extracts from the following books by H. W. Tilman
by Testa, Serge
pub. by Trident Press - 1988 isbn 0731648498
216p. - - sailing adventure
Serge sailed Acrohc Australis a very specially built 12 ft. boat around the world. Well written. Common sense and good humored.
~ 1990 ~
Kingdom by the Sea - A Journey around the coast of Great Britain.
by Theroux, Paul
pub. by Penguin - 1983 isbn 0-140-07181-4
361p. - - travel adventure
Theroux travels around the permiter of the United Kingdom (England and vicinity) including N. Ireland. He walks the trip. At the same time another travel writer, Jonathan Raban is sailing around England in the opposite direction. They do meet, but not much is noted about the meeting
~ 1999- ~
All in the Same Boat
by McCall, Fiona and Howard, Paul
pub. by McClwelland and Stewart, Toronto, Canada, 1988 isbn - 0-7710-5437-8 - - 249 p. - photos - Appendix A. Descruotuib if Lorcha and equipment - Appendix B. Itinerary - Appendix C. Factors in Choosing a Boat
A Canadian family build a boat and with 4 year old and 6 year old children sail to Africa, South America and Panama on their way around the world. Their boat is 29 ft long overall, and is Chinese Lug rigged. It displaces 5 tons. There is much good practical advice in this book. Do note that it was published in 1988 and some things have changed.
The Hollow hills
by Stewart, Mary, 1916-
pub. by Fawcett Columbine, NY - 1973 isbn - - - LCCN = 96-096703 - - 498 p. -
A fictionalized biography of Arthur, king of England - and Merlin. First in a series of 3 books
The Crystal Cave
by Stewart, Mary, 1916-
pub. by Morrow - New York - 1970 isbn - - - LCCN = 75-120616 - - 521 p. -
A fictionalized biography of Arthur, king of England - and Merlin. First in a series of 3 books
by Gardner, John, 1933-1982
pub. by . Knopf, New York, 1971 isbn - 0394740564 - later edition - 9780679723110 - - 174 p. - illustraded
The Beowulf story from ancient English literature re-told from the monsters perspective.
Thoroughly entertaining, and in some places deeper than most modern fiction.
A really good read.
~ 1975 ~
Iacocca an autobiography
by Iacocca, Lee
pub. by Bantam., New York, 1984 isbn - 0-553050672 - - 352 p. - photos - index
Iacocca on Iacocca - a lively biography by a straight talker. He worked most of his career at Ford Motors and was on the team which developed the Mustang . Later he was hired by Chrysler to bring it back from near ruin.
~ 1986 ~
the Hands of Cantu - concerning horses, in our New Spain none are equal to those we call Ibarra Horses
by Lea, Tom
originally pub. Little Brown, Boston, USA - 1964 ISBN-10: 1574092618 - - LCN - 64-17481 black and white illustrations throughout the book are notable works of art 244 pages
Tom Lea is a well respected western artist and author. This is nominally a book of fiction, but it accurately tells the tale of breeding, raising and training horses in northern Mexico in 1580, when it truly was frontier, and well bred and trained horses were very important to civilization.
A beautiful book and a very comfortable read. ~1982~
The Sindbad Voyage
by Severin, Tim
pub. by G.P. Putnams Sons, NY 1982 isbn 0349109958 (later edition) - illustrated,
Tim Severin builds a very traditional dhow using no metal in Oman, the Sohar and sails it from Muscat, Arabia to China.
Back to the Arabian Nights
The Coast of Malabar
Sailors of Oman
The Sea of Arabia
The Coconut Rope Islanda
Christmas in Calicut
The Kingdom of Serendeeb
South China Sea
Appendix I. The Texts
Appendix II. Sohar
Another good adventure and read by Tim Severin.
~ 1985 ~
Voyage of the Stella
by Lawrence, R.D.
pub by HRW, 1982 - - isbn 0-03-058901-0 - - - 248 p. - - maps
A narrative of modern motorboat cruising in the Pacific NW of USA and Canada. The author encounters orcas (killer whales) in a remarkably friendly way. He heads out down the open Pacific side of Washington State, then heads north between Vancouver Island and the mainland..
~ 1985 ~
The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight
by Breslin, Jimmy
pub by (orig. pub by Viking), 1969 - - isbn 0316111740 249 p.
A novel, which was published fairly shortly after The Godfather came out. While the Godfather was a more serious novel involving the Mafia, The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight is rollicking fun. The Mafia mob in this humerus presentation can rarely get anything right. One can hurt ones self laughing while reading this book.
~ 1979 ~
Indian Tipi - its history, construction, and use
bhy Laubin, Reginald and Gladys
pub. by Univ of Oklahoma Press, Norman, OK, 1957 - 1977 isbn - 0-8061-2236-6 - - 350 p. photos, drawings, some in color. - index - bibliography - hist. of tipi by Stanley Vestal
One of the first, if not the first, practical books on the tipi. How to make a tipi, and how to comfortably live in one. It explores the different styles by the major American Indian Tribes which used tipis.
A must read book if you are considering making or using a tipi.
~ 1992 ~
The Craft of Sail
by Adkins, Jan
pub. by Walker, NY 1973 isbn 0802704018 - republished in 1980 with isbn 0802772145, 64 p. total - - index on p. 64.
This is an absolutely delightful book on how to sail.
It is in the format of a hard cover, thin and longer than it is tall childrens book. Jan Adkins is both the author and illustrator. His drawings are rich in detail and portray different sailing rigs, notably lug rigs and sprit rigs as well as the more modern triangular ~bermudan~ sailing rig.
He begins with the theory how sails work and progresses through how sailboats operate on various points of sail (varying directions to the wind.) He also offers advice on dealing with heavier wind and various situations that a sailor might encounter.
Read this book for the pure joy of it... as well as how to improve your technique.
~ 1974 ~
The Brendan Voyage - Sailing to America in a leather boat to prove the legend of the Irish sailor saints
by Severin, Tim
pub. by McGraw Hill, NY 1978 isbn 0070563357 - pre pages - aviii, 292 p.,  leaves of plates - maps - Appendix I The Navigatio. p 238-248 - - Appendix II The Navigatio and Brendon. p. 249-255 - - Appendix III Brendan. with details on construction p. 256-263 - - illustrated,
Tim Severin builds a traditional and ancient leather covered boat (a curragh) as the ancient Irish did and sails it to the New World. Did the ancient Irish make it to America.
The Sheep Islands
Faroes to Iceland
Islands of Smiths
Pucture in the Ice
Land in the West
All in all, a good read.
~ 1980 ~
Poso del mundo; inside the Mexican-American border, from Tijuana to Matamoros
by Demaris, Ovid
pub by Little Brown, 1970 - - LCCN = 70-105353 - - isbn (none) 224 p.- - - Map
A newspaper reporter investigates the border between USA and Mexico. He finds corruption, drugs etc. The title loosely translated means the hole of the world... or the low place of the world. We have more colorful ways of describing that in English. This was long before the narco situation of the early 2000s. Things have not gotten better, but they were never very good.
~ 1974 ~
Blind Horns Hate, the
by Hough, Richard
pub by WW Dutton, 1971 - - LCCN = 76-116102 - - isbn (pbk.) 336 p.- - - Maps - pictures - some black and white photos - index
A very complete history of Cape Horn and the Strait of Magellan.
It includes the rise and fall of settlement attempts as well as information on the early navigation in the area by various Europeans.
~ 1976 ~
The Teachings of Don Juan - a Yaqui Way of Knowledge
by Castanada, Carlos
pub. by Pocket Books, NY. 1974 ISBN 0671827677 - - (first edition was in 1968)
This book was written by Carlos Castanada and was presented as the result of study with a Yaqui shaman. It covered a lot of American Indian (Native American) mythology and magical practice, including the use of hallucinogenic mushrooms etc. It was quite believable and in most cases accurate. However, several years after its publication, and publication of subsequent books, it was revealed to be in essence a work of fiction. The Yaqui medicine man was fictious. The anthropoligocal work was born of general understanding rather than actual contact with a specific shaman.
It is nonetheless an interesting book, and a good read, as long as one understands that it is a derivitive work.
The works are still popular and still in print. Castanada died rather mysteriously in 1998 in California.
Other books in his series are -
A Separate Reality: Further Conversations With Don Juan, Simon & Schuster, 1971.
Journey to Ixtlan: The Lessons of Don Juan, Simon & Schuster, 1972.
Tales of Power, Simon & Schuster, 1974.
I honestly do not remember how many of these I read.
~ 1975- ~
Jonathan Livingston Seagull
by Bach, Richard
pub by - Macmillan, 1970 - isbn 817223578X - . - 93 p.
Considered inspirational - story of not letting your limitations stop you. Seagull tries harder to fly better and get above the daily grind. .
Sons of Sinbad; an account of sailing with the Arabs in
their dhows, in the Red Sea, around the coasts of
Arabia, and to Zanzibar and Tanganyika: pearling in the
Persian gulf: and the life of the shipmasters, the
mariners, and merchants of Kuwait,
illustrated with photographs and charts by the author.Sons of Sinbad - an account of sailing with the Arabs in their dhows, in the Red Sea, around the coasts of Arabia
by Villiers, Alan J. -- 1903 - 1982
pub by Rand McNally, NY, 1940 - - isbn (none this edition ) - illustrations, photos, maps - 429 p.
The title says it all. A very readable and revealing book by a master mariner who sailed a voyage aboard a Dhow with a native crew. Villiers had a serious accident while aboard and the sailors nursed him back to health. .
The Return of the King (Lord of the Rings trilogy book 3)
by Tolkien, J.R.R
pub by Houghton Mifflin, Boston,1966 - - isbn (none this edition ) LCCN = - illustrations, map. - - p.
The big finale of the trilogy. Wars are fought. Frodo accomplishes his task after much suffering. ~1968~
The Two Towers (Lord of the Rings trilogy book 2)
by Tolkien, J.R.R
pub by Houghton Mifflin, Boston,1966 - - isbn (none this edition ) LCCN = - illustrations, map. - - p.
The Fellowship of the Ring (Lord of the Rings trilogy book 1)
by Tolkien, J.R.R
pub by Houghton Mifflin, Boston,1966 - - isbn (none this edition ) LCCN = 67-29221 - illustrations, map. - - p.
The story begins with the Hobbit, Frodo Baggins, relative of Bilbo Baggins, being tapped to take The Ring and destroy it to keep it from falling into hands of the evil force which intends to use it to take over the world. ~1968~
by Tolkien, J.R.R
pub by Houghton Mifflin, Boston,1966 - - isbn (none this edition ) LCCN = 54009738 - illustrations, photographs - map. - - 319 p.
The first very popular fiction by J.R.R. Tolkien. It was first published in 1937. The story set in a fictional world with some men and a number of fictional types of beings. Hobbits are introduced in this book. They are peaceable folk, mostly agrarian. One of them, Bilbo Baggins, is lured into an adventure as a thief. He is to steal back the treasure owned by Dwarves. The treasure is guarded by a huge and fearsome dragon, Smaug. Bilbo accomplishes his task and sets in place the events which expand later into the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
And excellent read, full of adventure. It is fairly light in comparison to the dark and much more serious Lord of the Rings trilogy.
The marching wind
by Clark, Leonard (Leonard Francis)
pub by Funk & Wagnalls, NY, 1954 - - isbn (none this edition ) LCCN = 54009738 - illustrations, Photos - - 368 p.
Clark was an OSS operative during WWII. Shortly after the war, he heard tales from aviators who flew the hump supplying the war against Japan in China, of a mountain which was thought to be taller than Mt. Everest. Clark wanted to take an expedition to the mountain ( Amne Machin ) to determine its height and generally explore. In 1948, when the expedition took place, China was in the midst of a civil war, between the armies of the Republic of China (PRC) led by the Kuomintang (Chiang Kai-shek) and the Communist Party of China (Mao Zedong). The war was not going well for the PRC. Clark convinced the general of the army PRC army which operated in southwestern China that such an expedition might provide information about a possible escape route in the event he and his army needed to flee.
An expedition was put together. It consisted of some regular army troops, some of which were Buddhists and some of which were Muslims as well as a few Mongolians. This mix made victualing interesting as the dietary rules of each group was different. They traveled toward Amne Machin which is on the border with Tibet, and the source of the Yellow River. As might be expected they had some adventures. They encountered a Chinese ambassador to a western country on vacation living in silk tents. They also encountered the rather fierce Ngolok tribal inhabitants of the region and managed to pass peacefully among them. Measurements taken with surveying tools showed that the mountain was probably not as tall as Mt. Everest. The expedition returned and Leonard Clark exited the area through Hong Kong.
Amne Machin Mountains. China. - Qinghai Sheng (China)--Description and travel. It should be noted that Leonard Clark was an adventurer and went on to adventures in the upper Amazon resulting in his book The rivers ran east (1953) and the Yucatan in Mexico described in Yucatan adventure (1959) neither of which I have read.
The Indian Ocean
by Villiers, Alan J. -- 1903 - 1982
pub by Museum Press, London, 1952 - - isbn (none this edition ) - illustrations, photos. - 255 p.
A well written book describing the Indian Ocean, by a master mariner of the days of sail. .
by Mattingly, Garrett
pub. by Houghton Mifflin, Boston - 1959 (1st Edition) isbn - 0395083664 - - 443 p.
about the calendar p. xiii-xiv - about ships and their guns p. xiv-xvi - map p. xvii - Epilogue p. 397-404 - note on Sources p 405-409 - Notes p. 410-428 - Index p. 429-443
Mattingly has written the definitive book on the Spanish Armada of 1588.
Philip II was king of Spain. the Duke of Medina Sidonia headed up the Spanish fleet. He was to bring a fleet of mostly merchant ships to Flanders where the Duke of Parmas army (Spanish) was to be boarded and transferred to invade England.
Elizabeth I was queen of England. Lord Howard of Effingham, Sir John Hawkins and Sir Francis Drake were leads among the defenders. The Armada held together in close formation through the English Channel and anchored off Flanders. Fire ships (ships set on fire drifting down on the anchored fleet) caused the Armada to scatter. Bad weather caused the Armada to sail North around Scotland and Ireland. The survivors returned to Spain.
There is, of course, much more to the story and Mattingly is a master at revealing the details.
Lord of the Flies
by Golding, William, 1911-1993
pub by - Faber and Faber, London, UK - orig pub 1954 - isbn 9780399501487 - . - 216 p.
Boys survive airplane crash and create their own society. Violence. .
by Dickens, Charles
pub by - - isbn (none this edition ) - . - 556 p.
Young man in England of mid 1800s - attempt to identify himself and his future. .
Aku-Aku - the Secret of Easter Island
by Heyerdahl, Thor -- 1914 - 2002
pub by Rand McNally, Chicago, 1958 - - isbn (none this edition ) - illustrations, map on endpapers, photos. - 384 p.
Heyerdahl attempts to unravel the history of Easter Island, a small lone island in the Pacific Ocean which was settled by the Polynesians, but where they had little or no contact with other Polynesians after the original settlement.
by Jarvis, D.C., MD
pub by Fawcett Crest, 1958 - - isbn 0-499-24161-0 (pbk.) 192 p.
The classic work - who knew that apple cider vinegar and/or honey could cure so much.
Also Kelp, Spruce gum and other healthy eats.
Admiral of the Ocean Sea : a life of Christopher Columbus
by Morrison, Samuel Eliot
pub by Northeastern University Press, Boston, 1983, 1970 (Originally published: Boston : Little, Brown, 1942.) isbn 0930350375 (pbk.) xxvi, 680 p. maps, ill. (1 fold.)
One of the great biographies of Christopher Columbus. Later historians have some issues with it, but it is a well written Columbus biography. This book is beautifully produced.
~ 1962- ~
pub. by .__ isbn - none - - 174 p. -
The Beowwulf story from ancient English literature. Generally taught as the earliest extant work in English.
The action takes place in Nordic past in a communal hall, where the monster Grendel breaks in to kill and sometimes eat the warriors there. The king accepts the help of Beowulf to kill Grendel, which Beowulf does, then only to infuriate Grendels mother who if anything is more terrible than Grendel himself.
This is great poetry and is a powerful tale. Almost all reading of this poem is in modern English translation. It was actually written down from oral tradition by Christian monks, in Old English or Angle Saxon (which is much like German, and not at all the language of Chaucer. Chaucer wrote in Middle English.) A really good read.
~ 1968 ~
Kon Tiki Expedition
by Heyerdahl, Thor -- 1914 - 2002
pub by Rand McNally, Chicago, 1950 - isbn (none this edition ) later ed isbn 0-917561198 (Adler and Adler pub) - illustrations, map on endpapers, photos. - translated by F. H. Lyon - 304 p.
This is the story of the first of the rafting expeditions which were done post WWII. Heyerdahl lashed a number of balsa logs to form a raft as was used by the indigenous people of the west coast of South America for coastal travel. He then sailed/drifted it to Polynesia along with an agreeable crew in an attempt to prove that there may have been contact between the peoples of South America and Polynesia in pre-Columbian times.
The expedition was a success. He got where he was going. Its result did not convince anthropoligists and historians that there was such contact.
This expedition was the impetus for others to attempt other rafting voyages, notable among them is that of Benget Danielson, a member of Heyerdahls original crew.
This is a good read - gives a good flavor of the post WWII times, and how a small group of people can live harmoniously in tough conditions.
Sailing Alone Around the World
by Slocum, Joshua b. 1844 - missing 1909
pub. by The Century Co., NY 1900 isbn 0-
xvi p, 294 pages. maps, few pictures (sketches), - - adventure
Just what the title says. This is the narrative of the first single handed sail around the world. This book is the absolute classic in sailing adventure. Slocum rebuilt the oyster smack Spray which was given to him as a joke by a friend, then after not doing well fishing, sailed around the world, supporting himself giving lectures. He sailed the long way in the days before the Panama Canal he sailed through the Straights of Magellan and avoiding the pirates in the Red Sea, around the southern tip of Africa and the Cape of Good Hope. Joshua Slocum was a ship captain in the age of sail, who became unemployed in the age of steam. Not that he could not navigate a steamship, (which he did on at least one occasion - Voyage of the Destroyer ) but his heart was not in steam navigation. This book has been constantly in print since 1900. Which is a great tribute to its alure and readability. - a very good read, written in a very engaging style.
~ 1963- ~
The Silver Chalice: A Story of the Cup of the Last Supper
by Costain, Thomas B.
pub. by Hodder and Stoughton - 1953 isbn 0802471048
- - 527 p - historical fiction
The story of the Last Supper of Christ and the Apostles followed by the story of the Silver Chalice which was used at the Last Supper - the Grail. A well written book. A best seller in its time.
~ 1964 ~
Dear and Glorious Physician
by Caldwell, Taylor, 1900-1985
pub. by Doubleday ,Garden City, N.Y. - 1959 isbn none - LCCN = 58-012032
- - 574 p - historical fiction
A fictionalized biography of St. Luke. A well written book. A best seller in its time.
~ 1962 ~
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