Book Reviews

Reviews of books by MWSA members. Reviews appear in reverse chronological order, with the most recent review posted appearing first.
Note: Some older reviews are being reposted to this site and those will appear out of order.

War in the Pacific: America at War: (Volume 1)

Title: War in the Pacific: America at War: (Volume 1)
Author: Jerome T. Hagen
Genre: Non-Fiction, History
Reviewer: Bill McDonald

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0976266903

War in the Pacific begins with Japan's interest in colonialism, the assassination of Marshall Chang Tso-lien in Manchuria, and Japan's subsequent decision to 'Strike South.' The attack on Pearl Harbor is examined in light of the difficulties Japan's navy had to overcome to launch such an attack.

The atrocities inflicted upon innocent people and prisoners of war, even prior to the Rape of Nanking, are covered in detail throughout Japan's conquest and reign of terror. Here, in succinct and lucid presentation, is all the information you wanted to know about the Bataan Death March, the Burma Road, Doolittle's Raid on Tokyo, the Death Railway, the Kamikazes, the Firebombing of Japan, and difficulties Japan had in ending the war.

The chapters on 'Other' Surrender Ceremonies and 'Independent Forces and Unnecessary Battles,' reveal new information never before published.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Hagen, Jerome T.

Guide to the Battles of the American Revolution, A

Title: A Guide to the Battles of the American Revolution
Author:Theodore P. Savas & J. David Dameron
Genre: Non-Fiction, History
Reviewer: Bill McDonald

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1932714944

A Guide to the Battles of the American Revolution is the first comprehensive account of every engagement of the Revolution, a war that began with a brief skirmish at Lexington Green on April 19, 1775, and concluded on the battlefield at the Siege of Yorktown in October 1781.

In between were six long years of bitter fighting on land and at sea. The wide variety of combats blanketed the North American continent from Canada to the Southern colonies, from the winding coastal lowlands to the Appalachian Mountains, and from the North Atlantic to the Caribbean.

Unlike existing accounts, A Guide to the Battles of the American Revolution by authors Theodore P. Savas and J. David Dameron presents each engagement in a unique way. Each battle entry offers a wide and rich-but consistent-template of information to make it easy for readers to find exactly what they are seeking.

Every entry begins with introductory details including the date of the battle, its location, commanders, opposing forces, terrain, weather, and time of day. The detailed body of each entry offers both a Colonial and British perspective of the unfolding military situation, a detailed and unbiased account of what actually transpired, a discussion of numbers and losses, an assessment of the consequences of the battle, and suggestions for further reading. Many of the entries are supported and enriched by original maps and photos. Fresh, scholarly, informative, and entertaining, A Guide to the Battles of the American Revolution will be welcomed by historians and general enthusiasts everywhere.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Savas, Theodore P.
Dameron, J. David


Title: Paradigm
Author: Robert Taylor
Reviewer: Bill McDonald

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1932714162

What is tomorrow's Wall Street Journal worth to you today? Where is the line between reality and fiction? Are the financial markets really predictable? Does an ancient artifact hold the key to how some of the world's wealthiest families made their fortunes?

When a mysterious granite and cypress Egyptian box is found hidden away in a secret room in the palatial Biltmore Estate, twin scientists Alex and Nicholas Shepard work to unlock the secret of its intricate dials, gauges, crystals, and carvings. What they discover has the potential to make them rich beyond their wildest dreams. But it could also collapse financial markets, bankrupt corporations around the globe, and destroy many of the world's most powerful families. As the twins quickly find out, people will not only kill to make money, but will kill to keep it.

What begins as a simple scientific experiment in the stock market quickly descends into a nightmarish intrigue of murder, deception, and mystery. When one Shepard brother is killed, the surviving twin and his wife find themselves in a desperate gambit to learn the truth about the box's legacy. Using ancient documents found with the box, they unearth clues to trace its history through the ages, from the catacombs of Paris to the Knights of the Templar in Scotland. Their investigation takes them from London to Paris, Venice, and finally, to the Vatican itself, where they uncover the greatest deception ever perpetuated by man.

Robert D. Taylor's enthralling debut novel "Paradigm" is a unique and masterful blend of intelligent scientific suspense and bold historical mystery stretching from earliest antiquity to the present day-and beyond. His intriguing plot and cast of memorable characters makes for a suspenseful pager-turn that will keep readers guessing about where the lines of reality and fiction merge.

"Paradigm" demands we believe the unbelievable. The challenge of finding out just what is truly real and what is not is now up to you.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Taylor, Robert

Legend of the Lost Tiki, The

Title: The Legend of the Lost Tiki
Author: Jan E. Culbertson
Genre: Children's, Young Adult
Reviewer: Bill McDonald

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1589093151

Bianca, Alyssa, and their mother set out for an adventure to Hawaii. The girls are eager to go swimming, attend a Hawaiian luau, learn to surf, and maybe do a little shopping. On the very first night, the family gets to attend a luau where the girls get to try out Hawaiian dancing. During the big event, the sisters also make a friend, Kaimi. Kaimi had sung a traditional Hawaiian song at the luau. This touching song told the tale of how the first Hawaiians came to the island and how a Tiki had been responsible for their safe journey. The saddest part of the song was that this Tiki had been lost and the Hawaiian people wished that someday it would be found. Perhaps the two sisters can help.The Legend of the Lost Tiki is quite enjoyable. The girls have adventurous souls and are always ready for a new adventure whether it is learning to surf or tracking down antiquity smugglers. What will Bianca and Alyssa do next?

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Culbertson, Jan E.