Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Short Reviews

  • White King and Red Queen - Daniel Johnson. An interesting history of the Cold War played out at international chess tournaments. Looks at how chess became important to the USSR which meant that the USA then had to be good at it as well, international prestige was on the line!
  • Battle Cry of Freedom - James M McPherson. A great one volume history of the American Civil War. Something of a classic now and highly recommended. Weaves together political, military and economic history.
  • Nekropolis - Tim Waggoner. Matt Richter is a private eye in the city of Nekropolis. He's also a zombie and the town is run by vampires. While this owes a debt to Simon R Green's Nightside series, there is enough humour and atmosphere to set it apart. Looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
  • The Folding Knife - K J Parker. This is the story of a mistake. A mistake made by a great man Bassiano Severus. Parker is a wonderful writer and this story just enforces that fact. Well worth reading.
  • Senna versus Prost - Malcolm Folley. An interesting look at an intense sporting rivalry. As a kid I loved watching Senna drive and I really enjoyed this behind-the-scenes look at these two very different, yet also quite similar, men. For fans of motor sport.
  • Bad Science - Ben Goldacre. I urge everyone to read this book. Goldacre looks at fads, health scares and pharmaceutical companies. Along the way you will learn a lot about running a proper scientific trial and Goldacre will give you the tools and knowledge to spot bad science for yourself.
  • Rommel's Desert War - Martin Kitchen. A detailed account of Rommel's campaigns in North Africa in World War II. Marred by the authors problem with the postwar perception of Rommel as a 'military genius'. Goes out of his way to run Rommel down, without taking into account that hindsight is a wonderful thing. Heavily researched and overall well written.
  • Hannibal - Theodore Agault Dodge. Recounts the Second Punic War between Rome and Carthage. Written in 1891 by a veteran of the American Civil War. Fun read even if it is hagiography. Lots of maps and line drawings.