Category Archives: Biography

WILDCAT – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

Wildcat: The Untold Story of Pearl Hart, the Wild West's Most Notorious Woman Bandit Joh Boessenecker
Wildcat: The Untold Story of Pearl Hart, the Wild West’s Most Notorious Woman Bandit John Boessenecker
TitleWildcat: The Untold Story of Pearl Hart, the Wild
West’s Most Notorious Woman Bandit 
AuthorJohn Boessenecker
PublisherHanover Square Press (November 2, 2021)
FormatKindle, Hardcover, Audiobook, Audio CD
Pages385
GenreHistory of Southwestern United States, Criminal
& Memoirs of Criminals
LanguageEnglish
ASIN # B08QZHQZZT

AUTHOR

Author John Boessenecker

True West magazine, in 2011 and 2013, named Boessenecker Best Nonfiction Writer. He received a prestigious Spur award from Western Writers of America and Best Book award from Westerners International. He has appeared frequently as a historical commentator on PBS, The History Channel, A&E, and other media.

SYNOPSIS

John Boessenecker breathed new life into an old case; the case of Lillie N. Davy known by the noms de guerre of Pearl Hart. Drawing upon his research skills, he’s removed the fallacies, the myths, the lies and revealed in extraordinary detail the life and times of Pearl Hart. She was one of the most notorious late 19th Century female criminals of the old West. Pearl was a cross-dressing female with a flare for making herself incognito when the need arose. Her endless dalliances with numerous men doesn’t mark her as unique however, her need to control situations was unique for a woman of that time. At a period in history where women were meant to be housebound homemakers; meek, submissive, barefoot and pregnant; Pearl railed against the expected norms and challenged the mores of the time. 

What John Boessenecker has presented in Wildcat is the unoccluded view of a female recidivist from child to adulthood. His research is as exceptional as it is detailed and he comingles them into a completely engrossing narrative. Boessenecker artfully recounts Pearl’s story from her parents brief courtship to her birth and on. He details ad infinitum her early years as the daughter of an indigent, semi-literate, workshy child molester and petty criminal in Canada. We follow her itinerant lifestyle across  many years and locations culminating with the pinnacle of her criminal enterprise; a coach robbery. 

Throughout the book we discover Pearl’s life of bitter poverty, abuse, and abysmal parenting culminating in a damaged woman bereft of morals, dignity or honesty. Like many women in those historic days, she was often forced to make difficult decisions just to survive. After viewing her circumstances in the round one cannot help but be sympathetic.

Boessenecker reveals the uncompromising world that Pearl lived in and the uncompromising woman that it birthed. From his detailed accounts, she owned the ‘Wildcat’ nickname. She lived life her own way, loved risk taking and took the punishment where she found it. She was intelligent and ‘street smart,’ a potent combination for an erstwhile career criminal.

Living in a time where women rarely left the home once they were betrothed and were kept in check by societal and socio-cultural norms, Pear turned the world on its head to live her own way. She seamlessly integrates into the criminal underclass not as a woman, but as a boy and later a man. She would alter her outer appearance by cutting her hair and affecting a manly stride. She was often found in the company of the criminal class sharing or gleaning useful information for future criminal activities. Peal, we discover, took things to a whole new level when she began utilizing firearms. Weapons that no doubt added to her sense of safety and security, especially due to the company she would often keep. 

She is such an outrageous character, that it is amazing that her story has been lost in time until now. It seems strange that she is forgotten but characters like Big Nose Kate still hold a semblance of allure for many Western History fans. If I were to compare the two, I would say that Pearl’s story has far more impact than the latter. 

The review of Wildcat would not be complete without mentioning Katy Davy, Pearl’s younger sister. An outrageous character every bit as unique as her older sibling. Katy Davy, who used the sobriquets of Millie Davy has an incredible nerve and was talented physically and mentally. Both sisters were, without-a-doubt, survivors; Katy even more so. At thirty-six-years-old, in the 1890’s, Katy became an ascensionist and a descensionist. She took a rest from being a fille de joie started parachuting from a balloon at a thousand feet. Following a near fatal accident she retired, but not for too long. The many tales of prison escapes, her years as a teenage madam and rescuing her husband from prison, Katy appears to have an unending skill in creative problem solving. They sisters even made it into Cosmopolitan magazine, the nations most popular women’s publication at that time. The sisters were walking contradictions for women of their time.

CONCLUSION

John Boessenecker’s writing style is compelling from the very beginning. His research is second to none, and his narrative is fascinating throughout.

The book is entertaining, inspiring, alarming and touching in equal measure. The main characters are mentally re-created. Boessenecker did an exceptional job in breathing life back into the long dead. He avoided tainting the account with his own opinions and simply reported the facts previously occluded by time, myth, disinformation and lies. Overall, John Boessenecker created a fair illustration of the characters, the time period and the environment in which they lived. He’s managed to inject new life in the antics and life of Pearl Hart and her sister. It is a superior read. Some of the material discussed will remain with you long after you have read it.

I highly recommend Wildcat to all adults and children over the age of sixteen. It is entertaining, heartbreaking, outrageous and so much more in-between. If you enjoy reading about true survivors of extreme circumstances, look no further because Wildcat is the story of two consummate survivors.

Wildcat will resonate with you if you are an avid reader of Western History of the United States, Criminal Biographies or Women in History. This it is a rip-roaring tale. You know that if Pearl were alive today, she would be down at Cancún during Spring Break doing whatever she wants whilst engaging in some nefarious activity. You are left with the feeling that she was mad, bad and dangerous to know, but that she was also probably huge fun. 

Why not give it a read yourself? Be prepared, it’s quite a ride; remember to hold on to your hat!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

I would like to thank John Boessenecker, Hanover Square Press and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review Wildcat: The Untold Story of Pearl Hart, the Wild West’s Most Notorious Woman.

OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR

RELATED POSTS

SPITFIRE!-REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

Spitfire by Dilip Sarkar
Spitfire by Dilip Sarkar
TitleSPITFIRE! The Full Story of a Unique Battle of Britain Fighter Squadron
AuthorDilip Sarkar
PublisherPen & Sword Air World (August 29, 2019)
Pages296
GenreAviation History, Military Aviation History
LanguageEnglish
ISBN 10/131526732815 / ‎978-1526732811

AUTHOR

Learn more about Dilip Sarkar.

SYNOPSIS

Spitfire is a new version of the original book with the same title. The author has updated it with a ‘wider context including social, political, aviation and military history.’ It tells the tale of the British Royal Air Force (RAF) from its inception through the Battle of Britain and a little beyond. Its primary subject is Squadron Leader Brian John Edward “Sandy” Lane DFC; fighter pilot and flying ace of the RAF.

Mr Sarkar has written this book as a tribute to Squadron Leader (SL) Lane DFC; and all of the men and women, on both sides, that took part in the Battle of Britain. The book covers the RAF from WWI through the many changes into WWII. He explains the politics and tactics of the time used in defending England in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s. He further discusses the men and women who made up the RAF, their jobs, and family lives. He tells the harrowing tales of the real life live-or-die dogfights that took place over England and the Channel. Mr Sarkar includes personal recollections, pictures, and stories from the real people that took part in this time of historic conflict.

The book is filled with the actual logbook entries of the pilots. Sarkar also includes the letters and diary entries of the actual people who participated in the action. Sarkar discusses the individual players, their lives, their careers, and for the survivors their post-war lives.

Although the book is focused on SL Brian Lane DFC, Sarkar incorporates 19 Squadron and all the key personal: the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF’s), the ground crews, the pilots, the decision making leadership, and of course the politicians. He further discusses the technology of the time and how it was used in the defense strategy.

The author thoroughly covers the Spitfire; from its inception through the many models and modifications. We discover the shortcomings of some models that have catastrophic consequences for the pilots that flew them. We learn just how the Spitfire stacked up to the Messerschmitt ME 109 and its different variants. Finally, Sarkar discusses the Spitfire against the Focke-Wulf  FW 190.

CONCLUSION

Spitfire is an exceptionally researched historical account of 19 Squadron and the Battle of Britain. The information contained within its pages is in-depth and vast. From the different types of airplanes the RAF used from WWI through the beginnings of WWII, to the political infrastructure and bickering that took place.

I found the book to be a bit confusing at times. My epub copy didn’t differentiate from the story to the photo captions causing confusion when the story just changed mid-sentence to photo caption. This issue occurred throughout the entire book. However, if you can get past that little inconvenience, the information contained within its pages is priceless.

Overall, I found this book a little difficult to read at times due to the jumping around from person to person and the photo captioning intermixed with the main text. However, I immensely enjoyed learning the history of Squadron Leader Brian Lane DFC, and all of the men and women who took part in the book. I definitely enjoyed reading all about the Spitfire and the dogfights that the pilots flew.

I do recommend this book to anyone interested in Aviation History, the Battle of Britain, or the historic account of the Royal Air Force.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

I would like to thank Dilip Sarkar, NetGalley, and Pen & Sword Air World for affording me the opportunity to review SPITFIRE! The Full Story of a Unique Battle of Britain Fighter Squadron.

THE KING’S PAINTER – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

The King's Painter: The Life of Hans Holbein by Franny Moyle
The King’s Painter: The Life of Hans Holbein by Franny Moyle
TitleThe King’s Painter: The Life of Hans Holbein
AuthorFranny Moyle
PublisherAbrams Press (October 5, 2021)
FormatHardcover
Pages400
GenreArt History, Artist & Architect Biographies, Great
Britain History
LanguageEnglish
ISBN 10/131419749536 / 978-1419749537

#Artist & Architect Biographies, #Art History (Books), #Great Britain History (Books)

AUTHOR

Granny Moyle Author of The King’s Painter Author Section

Franny Moyle is the author of The King’s Painter. She is a Cambridge educated art historian and biographer.

SYNOPSIS

The King’s Painter: The Life of Hans Holbein written by Franny Moyle is a long-awaited full biography of the great German Artisan. Moyle presents her research and analysis into his life, times and work. Moyle posits that Holbein was arguably the greatest renaissance Master painter in Northern Europe with a wide repertoire during the 1530’s until his death. Holbein was exalted by his peers as comparable to the German artist Albright Dürer and indeed there are some similarities in their style of painting. Nicholas Bourbon compared him to Apelles of Kos. Others have described him as a multifaceted genius, humanist, political propagandist and a satirist. A man who’s deft work consisted of loosely concealed symbolism and allusion, hidden in plain sight. Moyle’s focuses upon the period of Holbein’s life from the 1520s until his death and the administration of his will. 

The King’s Painter begins with the unique and close relationships that Hans Holbein enjoyed with King Henry Vlll of England. Holbein is at the height of his power, and his talent was known around Northern Europe. He was arguably the most notable painter in Europe during the Reformation and the Dissolution of the Monasteries in England.  

Moyle’s research puts flesh on the bones of Hans Holbein the Younger. He was the son of Hans Holbein the Elder, also a painter famed for creating The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian. Holbein the Younger earned his accolades through his skill, commitment and hard work. He aligned himself with wealthy patrons, principal amongst them: Erasmus of Rotterdam, Thomas Cromwell, Anne Boleyn, and King Henry Vlll of England.

The book begins in the 1530s; Holbein was an exalted artist enjoying the fruits of his labors. He had a wealthy clientele, fame and riches; all forged on his talent of creating realistic likenesses for his patrons. Such was his success that he was one of the few who could engage with King Henry Vlll in private, a very rare honor indeed. 

The gravitas of Holbein’s fame as Northern Europe’s most heralded painter comes into stark contrast when one considers his contemporaries. His peers during the period were: Leonardo da Vinci who was working in France at the time; Michelangelo who was painting the Sistine Chapel for Pope Paul lll; and the Venetian artist Titian da Cadore, also know as Tiziano Vecelli,, who was creating work for King Charles V The Holy Roman Emperor and Archduke of Austria.

Hans Holbein the Younger worked during some of the most tumultuous times in history. Times that were resplendent with great artists. His work was held in the highest esteem due to the verisimilitude of his portraits. He was respected and valued by the political elite, religious, and other connoisseurs.

It is difficult for us to imagine today just how popular Holbein’s art was during the late 16th Century’s European Renaissance period. When he released a new work, there was a frisson of excitement so powerful it was palpable. Holbein’s projects were considered to be a luxury. At a time before modern photographic processes, his paintings were seen as a way of passing down your visage to history and your decedents. At no time since Apelles had an artist been so able to depict his subjects with unfettered verismo.

By the end of Holbein’s life, he had accrued wealth and notoriety. Moyles posited that his sad demise was due to the plague. However, the absence of an identifiable resting place or his remains leave us with an enduring mystery.

CONCLUSION

The King’s Painter is a detailed history of 16th Century England, the Monarch Henry VIII and a testimony to the verisimilitude of the portraits painted by Holbein. Moyles book will be popular with those interested in; Hans Holbein the Younger, art history and those who wish to understand Holbein’s work through the context of his life and times. The King’s Painter is an authoritative dive into Hans Holbein’s past. It enlightens those of us who are fortunate to still enjoy the great artists work today. 

The King’s Painter is not a gallery book filled with images of either the artist or his works. Instead, Moyle has produced an academic examination of Hans Holbein, his associations and challenges. Moyles writing is exceptional and she maintains the readers attention with her deft narrative.

The King’s Painter is engaging, entertaining, informative and accomplished. The subject is handled masterfully and is impeccably researched. There are extensive and detailed Notes for each chapter and in addition a short, Selected Bibliography. The King’s Painter proved to be an addictive read.    

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Franny Moyle, Abrams Press, and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review The King’s Painter: The Life of Hans Holbein.

OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR

Turner: The Extraordinary Life and Momentous Times of J.M.W. TurnerBy Franny Moyle
Turner: The Extraordinary Life and Momentous Times of J.M.W. Turner By Franny Moyle

REALATED POST

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Written in bone – Review

Litercurious Book Review

Written in Bone by Sue Black Adult Non-Fiction Book Review
TitleWritten in Bone: Hidden Stories in What We
Leave Behind
AuthorSue Black
PublisherArcade (June 1, 2021)
FormatKindle, Paperback, Hardcover
Pages336
GenreUnabridged Adult Non-Fiction, Biographies
of Scientists, Scientist Biographies, Women’s
Biographies, Biology
LanguageEnglish
ASIN #B08LDYKCGM

#Biographies of Scientists #Biology #Scientist Biographies #Women’s Biographies #Forensic Anthropology #Anatomy #Forensic Science #Forensic Anthropology #Forensics

Dark, mysterious, and enlightening; Written in the Bone is as satisfying as it is truly disturbing; with a shocking personal revelation that comes out of no-where. 

N, Nemo Litercurious.com

AUTHOR

Professor Dame Sue Black DBE, FBA, FRSE, FRCP, FRAI

SYNOPSIS

Written in Bone could be the best non-fiction book you will read this year. A colorful non-fiction dive into the anatomy of crime and all that remains.

Dame Sue Black’s outlines her career as a Forensic Anthropologist (FA) investigating human and non-human remains as well as her work as a professional expert in criminal cases. She cleverly utilizes the skeleton as a roadmap of clinical and not so clinical facts in her investigations. She references historic accounts, such as the one involving Doctor Buck Ruxton who murdered his wife and housekeeper. The investigation that followed utilized some seminal forensic techniques, a number of which are still utilized today by forensic anthropologists.

Black manages to weave scientific fact with legal imperatives against the backdrop of horrific violence that leaves its mark on the bones. A work that is simultaneously chilling and compelling in equal measure. Written in Bone is a skillfully constructed dissection of the human skeleton from zygote [DIPLOID] to birth and on unto death. Black’s book divides the skeleton into three sections beginning with the head, followed by the body, and finally the limbs. She further sub-divides the sections into their constituent parts. Using forensic techniques both new and old, she was a member of an international scientific team that investigated some of the most horrific crimes in our time; including the War Crimes in Bosnia, and the tortures and executions in Syria.

CONCLUSION

Written in Bone is a real life forensic detective account, a tutorial on the human skeleton and a Forensic Anthropologist’s (FA) biography of an incredible career. It is neither dry nor stultifying and contains first-person examples of evil crimes and their terrible tragedies. Written in Bone puts the profession of the FA front and centre instead of in the shadows that the profession once inhabited. There is a consistent message from the author that FA’s should always follow the evidence rather than unsupported assumptions.

Written in Bone manages to convey the reader into the world of the FA in a way never seen before. Hard cold facts meet the warmth of humanity on the frontline of the war on crime. It is accompanied by gallows humor and some slight irreverence for those experts that strayed into the field of FA, and fell flat on their face.

Black’s narrative manages, throughout, to maintain the interest of the reader. She imparts her personality with the imprint. A genuinely remarkable work of non-fiction and definitely one for the true crime community. No true crime library would be complete without a copy of Written in Bone, by Sue Black. 

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank, Professor Dame Sue Black, NetGalley, and Arcade Publishing for affording me the opportunity to review Written in Bone.

OTHER WORK BY THIS AUTHOR

All that Remains by Sue Black Non-Fiction Adult Scientists Biographies Forensic Anthropology
All that Remains by Sue Black Adult Non-Fiction Unabridged Pathology of Forensic Medicine Biographies of Scientists

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The report download below is mentioned in Written in Bone, it contains details of torture and should only be viewed with discretion. This material is NOT suitable for for children. View at your own discretion.

Mutiny On The Spanish Main – Review

Litercurious Book Review

Mutiny on the Spanish Main by angus Konstam book review on Maritime History & Piracy and 18th Century World History
Mutiny on the Spanish Main by Angus Konstam
TitleMutiny on the Spanish Main: HMS Hermione and the Royal Navy’s revenge
AuthorAngus Konstam 
PublisherOsprey Publishing (October 27, 2020)
FormatKindle, Audiobook, Hardcover
Pages320
GenreMaritime History & Piracy, 18th Century World History, Maritime History & Piracy
LanguageEnglish
ASIN/ISBN-10/13B0877CYJ72 /  1472833791 / 978-1472833792

AUTHOR

Angus Konstam 

SYNOPSIS

Mutiny on the Spanish Main is the bloody story of the HMS Hermione; the mutiny, murder, her transfer to the Spanish and subsequent recapture, and the Royal Navy’s never ending search and punishment for the mutineers.

In 1797 the crew of the HMS Hermione mutinied against its officers. They murdered the officers in a cruel and horrific manner. Then the crew stole the ship and fleeing for their lives and turned it over to the Spanish.

Mutiny on the Spanish Main is an in depth study of the causes and ramifications of the mutiny. Angus Konstam provides a look into the Royal Navy’s operating procedures, the lives of the seamen, and the hardships of the times. Life aboard ship was hard and trying. Punishment was severe and sometimes dished out without remorse. Seamen were “conscripted” into service and were basically no more than slaves. Men were stolen from all over and pressed into service. They were guarded at all times on shore to ensure they didn’t escape. Punishment ranged from beatings, to being keel-holed or even hung.

Captain Hugh Pigot, the commander of HMS Hermione, was a cruel and sadistic leader. He routinely dished out severe and arbitrary punishment to his crew. The crew was so distressed by the thought of being punished by the smallest infraction, that when Captain Pigot threatened to lash the last man down from the mast, three of them fell to their death.

The constant beatings, poor treatment, and lack of respect for human dignity finally forced the crew to takes matters into their own hands. What followed was the bloodiest and cruelest mutiny in the British Royal Navy. The Admiralty doggedly pursued the mutineers around the globe to bring them to justice.

CONCLUSION

Mutiny on the Spanish Main is a detailed account of the life and times of British sailors in the Royal Navy in the late 1700’s to early 1800’s. Angus Konstam details the methodology of seamanship, naval battles, politics, and discipline of the times. He provides an in depth look into the Royal Navy, the different types of ships and their primary purpose, the crew compliment, their different missions around the world, and how discipline was enforced aboard ship.

The research into this book is very good. The author provides an accurate look into the history of Naval Warfare and the British Royal Navy. He covers world politics, daily life, class structure, Naval Battles, supplies, disease, different ports, and the running and maintaining of the ships.

Overall, I found this book interesting and informative. I would recommend this read to anyone who has an interest in seamanship, maritime history, or the Royal Navy.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Angus KonstamNetGalley, and Osprey Publishing for affording me the opportunity to review Mutiny on the Spanish Main: HMS Hermione and the Royal Navy’s Revenge.

Great to see you again! Thank you for visiting us here at Litercurious. We appreciate your patronage and look forward to providing you with the best experience possible on each and every visit. Feel free to suggest any books you would like reviewed through our contact link. We look forward to you next visit. Feel free to share our posts on social media.

Butch Cassidy – Review

Litercurious Book Review

TitleButch Cassidy, The True Story of an American Outlaw
AuthorCharles Leerhsen
PublisherSimon & Schuster; Illustrated edition (July 14, 2020)
FormatKindle, Audiobook, Hardcover, Paperback, Audio CD
Pages / File311 / 19515 KB
LanguageEnglish
GenreHistorical, Biography
ASIN / ISBN 10/13B07Z44M3D1 / 1501117483 / 978-1501117480  

AUTHOR

Find out about Charles Leerhsen here.

SYNOPSIS

Butch Cassidy, The Story of an American Outlaw is a historical look into the one of the Wild West’s most notorious outlaws. The book covers Robert Leroy Parker’s origins thru his infamous career and eventual death.

Robert, aka Butch, was born into a Mormon family in Utah. He grew up in poverty, but was said to be a charismatic soul. Born on Friday the 13th of April, 1866 as the first born to Maximilian and Ann Parker. During his early years, his father was gone a lot working a variety of jobs to support the growing family. This left Robert largely unsupervised; he had a dozen younger siblings that needed looking after.

Robert was a natural showman and incredibly intelligent. He organized kiddie rodeos, built rafts and gave rides. He got some chickens drunk for the amusement of his family, etc. As an outlaw, he planned his robberies and escapes with precision and engineering. He pioneered the relay escape…..he would station fresh horses along his escape route, so he and the gang would be able to transition to fresh mounts and outrun any possie.

As Robert began his working career, he bounced between outlawing and cowboying. He was such a charismatic man, that ranch owners stood by him even though they knew he was an outlaw. Butch never stole from the people he worked for nor the patrons in any bank or on a train. He only wanted the money from the big companies and the Banks.

As Butch’s notoriety grew, it became increasingly dangerous to remain in the United States. Eventually, he had to move to South America where he went straight for several years. Circumstances forced him to try again at outlawing, but he and Sundance paid the ultimate price in the end.

CONCLUSION

Overall, I enjoyed Butch Cassidy, The Story of an American Outlaw. The historical look into the American West was fascinating and intriguing. Charles Leerhsen obviously did a lot of research for this book. He covers Butch’s life in detail and brings the notorious character to life.

Some of the distractions, I found, were the authors liberties. The book is interposed with innuendo and the authors guesses. I prefer my historical books to be factual and backed by proofs, not supposition. The whole line of Butch’s supposed sexuality was a great distractor for me. Also, the constant comparing of the real life of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid with the movie version did not add anything but pages.

If you can filter out all the unnecessary movie comparisons, the innuendos, the authors liberties; then this is a great book. The actual historical and factual information contained within the pages is an eye-opening experience into life in the Historical West.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Charles Leerhsen, Netgalley, and Simon & Schuster for affording me the opportunity to review Butch Cassidy, The Story of an American Outlaw.

The Moth and the Mountain – Review

Litercurious Book Review

TitleThe Moth and the Mountain: A True Story of
Love, War, and Everest
AuthorEd Caesar
PublisherAvid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster
(November 17, 2020)
FormatKindle, Audiobook, Hardcover, MP3 CD
Pages / File288 / 17784 KB
LanguageEnglish
GenreThriller, Suspense, Drama
ISBN 10/131501143379/ 978-1501143373

AUTHOR

Find out about Ed Ceaser here.

SYNOPSIS

The Moth and the Mountain: A True Story of Love, War, and Everest is the story of a troubled WWI veteran and his trek to find solace and meaning in his life. Maurice Wilson survived the war to end all wars, but not un-scathed. He was wounded in a horrific battle in France. Even though his physical wounds healed, his mental injuries could not be healed as easily. Maurice went through marriages, and traveled, looked for solace in different religions and beliefs.

Somewhere along the way he got the idea of climbing Mt Everest…alone. A man of determination, he learned how to fly, trained himself relentlessly, and started to procure supplies needed for his adventure. His plan was to fly to Everest, land on the lower slopes and climb to the summit. The authorities had other plans for him and worked tirelessly to prevent his trip. Maurice, however, sidestepped their attempts and just as doggedly continued his trek clandestinely.   

Maurice did make it to Everest, but to learn how and what happened, you will need to read the book.

CONCLUSION

The Moth and the Mountain: A True Story of Love, War, and Everest is a very good book. The author does a fantastic job describing the times, politics, and environment of the day. His descriptions of the horrendous battles leave little doubt as to the mental strain those young men endured, and later suffered from.

The author obviously researched his subject well and it is evident in the script how much he admires Maurice.

Overall, I found the book entertaining, thought provoking, and intriguing. The struggles that Maurice went through in life and his pursuit of Everest are inspiring. To overcome his post traumatic disorder, challenge himself, and embark on such a dramatic enterprise is awe inspiring.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in history, aviation, soldiers, or who will appreciate the inspiration that this man brings.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Ed Ceaser, NetGalley, and Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster for affording me the opportunity to review The Moth and the Mountain: A True Story of Love, War, and Everest.

EPIC SOLITUDE – Review

LITERCURIOUS BOOK REVIEW

TitleEpic Solitude
AuthorKatherine Keith
PublisherBlackstone Publishing; Unabridged Ed.,
(Feb. 4 2020)
FormatKindle, Hardcover, MP3 CD, and Audiobook     
Page280
LanguageEnglish     
ISBN #/ASIN #9781538557044 / B07XJ8165Y     

‘Iditarod, the thousand-mile dogsled race across Alaska.’

Katherine Keith (2020); Blackstone Publishing; (Feb. 4 2020).

AUTHOR

Find the Author’s webpage here & here.  You can also find Katherine Keith on: Instagram at katherine.keith; Facebook at EpicSolitude; or on Twitter @KatKeith

TARGET AUDIENCE

I would say that this work has a universal appeal.

SYNOPSIS

Katherine Keith is epic and so is her manuscript. In a world where people breakdown or have a conniption-fit if their phone runs out of power there are others; extraordinary, resilient, talented, survivors that put the rest of us to shame. Whilst most of us consider we have had a bad day if we miss a phone call or a connection at the airport; this woman deals with exceptional challenges and never fails to meet them head on.

Katherine takes us on a journey from her most formative years as an adolescent and on to her 20’s. Partly forgotten memories emerge and create dissonance that she combats through the implementation of superhuman physical challenges. She tries to rein in her early experiences against the back drop of mountains, wild rivers, and valleys.

At 21 years old Katherine moved to Alaska and performed several jobs before finding her reason to remain. Happiness is fleeting, and an accident leads her to dig deep and change her circumstance. Coping with deep-seated loss, she seeks to drive away the overwhelming sadness with training; ultimately competing in the Iron Man Race and in several triathlons. Practical problems require practical solutions and we are there along for the ride as Keith uses academia to elevate herself substantially, economically, and psychologically. She endures through pilot training and engine malfunctions to earn her private pilot certificate.

One cannot help but feel inadequate for all that this woman achieves through sheer brute determination and personal application. Set against all the trials and tribulations is Keith’s passion for the wilderness and its solitude. In the wilds facing down the elements, living on the edge, and racing across the environment you feel she is the freest.

Interspersed through the book are Keith’s recollections of her Endurance Dog Sled Races. These races include: the Yukon Quest, the Iditarod, the Kobuk 400, and the Kuskokwim 300. They occurred during a period that spanned from 2012 to 2017 set against numerous and increasingly destructive personal experiences.

I am filled with admiration for Katherine Keith’s ability to get up again and again and continue fighting. She is all the more exceptional as she was also a single parent with all the responsibility that brings.

Her spiritual beliefs she found to be irreplaceable. When times were at their worst, she gained solace in their tenants. We are left in no doubt that without her core beliefs she would have had to struggle even harder to survive.

CONCLUSION

I have no reluctance in recommending this book to you. Katherine Keith’s tale is genuinely epic, as is the woman herself. After all the adversity, grief, heartache, misery and misfortune Katherine has never given up on her goals. She is currently working her way to climb 7 Summits in 3 years.

They are as follows:

  • Mt. Everest
  • Aconcagua
  • Denali
  • Kilimanjaro
  • Mt. Elbrus
  • Vinson Massi
  • Carsten Pyramid
  • Puncak Jaya [AKA Mt. Koscuiuszko]

When she isn’t planning the next adventure, she can be found working in her company with John Baker, owners of Remote Solutions, LLC based in the town of Kotzebue, Alaska. They provide the community with essential project management support and design tailored for remote communities.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

My sincere thanks go out to: NetGalley, the Author, Katherine Keith, Blackstone Publishing (2020) for affording me the opportunity to review; Epic Solitude.

WOLVES AT THE DOOR – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

TitleWolves at the Door: The True Story of America’s
Greatest Female Spy
AuthorJudith Pearson
PublisherLyons Press (May 13, 2008)
FormatKindle, Audiobook, Paperback, Hardcover
Pages288
LanguageEnglish
AudienceHistorians, People who like suspense and thrillers
ISBN # 10/13159921072X / 978-1599210728

AUTHOR

Judith Pearson is a remarkable woman. She graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in French and English. She continued her post graduate studies in Psychology. She is the founder of Courage Concepts, an organization dedicated to cultivating courage in women and girls. In 2012 she was an International Book Award Finalist for It’s Just Hair: 20 Essential Life Lessons. After her breast cancer diagnosis, she founded A2ndAct.org, an organization that supports and celebrates women survivors of all kinds of cancer. She is still very active conducting keynotes and workshops, not to mention writing. She currently lives in Phoenix (that just seems fitting).

SYNOPSIS

Wolves at the Door: The True Story of America’s Greatest Female Spy is the true tale of Virginia Hall. Virginia lost her leg as a young woman in a hunting accident. Virginia always wanted to work for the Foreign Service. In 1929, at the age of only twenty-three, she applied for a consular position with the State Department. She finally received a job as a clerk with the State Department in 1931. She was told that because of her amputation, she was unfit to be a Consular.

At the outbreak of WWII, she enlisted in the Services Sanitaires de l’Armée, a Red Cross type of organization. She drove an ambulance outside of Paris. After France capitulated, she made her way back to England. On the way she had a chance encounter with George Bellows. He provided her with names and places in London that would eventually change her life forever.

Vera Atkins, an acquaintance of Bellow’s, met Virginia at a party in London. Unbeknownst to Virginia at the time, she was recruiting for the “Inter-Services Research Bureau.” This is where Virginia was enticed to work for the British as a spy. She attended a compressed spy training program; learning how to do such things as making bombs and planting explosives. Her leg was not seen as a detriment but a plus as most people wouldn’t think a one-legged woman is a spy.

Virginia went to France where worked tirelessly recruiting for the resistance, sabotaging German supply lines, and creating havoc whenever and wherever she could. She became such a thorn in the Germans side that they actively hunted her and offered rewards for her capture. She was forced to move constantly to stay ahead of the German spy’s that were tracking her. England tried to get her to return as the dangers were too great. She continued fighting for France. Eventually, the Gestapo forced her to flee for her life by making a perilous journey over the Pyrenees Mountains; not an easy feat for a woman with one leg.

Back in England she was assigned to the OSS. They sent Virginia back to France disguised as an old woman. Her limp accentuated the disguise. Virginia continued her work against the Germans until the end of WWII.

CONCLUSION

Wolves at the Door: The True Story of America’s Greatest Female Spy is a very good book. It details the life of Virginia Hall and her contributions to the war effort. Virginia is a remarkable woman with a dedication and drives that far exceeds the average man.

Judith Pearson does an excellent job of describing the events, the feelings, and the suspense that Virginia endured. The story is remarkable in its own right, but Judith brings an element to the tale that makes this a must-read book. Full of danger, suspense, intrigue, and sorrow; this story is one that must be told. An extraordinary woman in a dangerous time, Virginia Hall is a heroine for all times.

I heartily recommend this book to everyone.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Norman 2 – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

TitleNorman 2: The True Story of a Possessed Doll’s Revenge
AuthorSteven Lancaster
PublisherLlewellyn Publications (September 8, 2020)
FormatKindle, Paperback
Pages264
LanguageEnglish
ASIN#B0841637W9

AUTHOR

Stephen Lancaster is a self-proclaimed phenomenologist and has been involved in the field of paranormal research since 1997. In 2010 he became an author; chronicling his experiences investigating the paranormal.

WHO IS THE TARGET AUDIENCE?

The target audience for this publication is all those who have an interest in the paranormal and horror stories.

SYNOPSIS

Norman 2 is the sequel to Norman: The Doll That Needed to Be Locked Away. The earlier publication introduced Norman, a doll that the author and his wife discovered in a store. An ominous comment from the store owner piqued Lancaster’s interest, and he bought the doll and took it home. All too quickly, Stephen Lancaster claims, Norman began performing for his new audience. Almost immediately, sinister occurrences began to take place that forced him to utilize cameras to capture footage of the paranormal happenings. The author claims to have extensive footage relating to the possessed doll. The Lancaster’s lives become a nightmare that escalated exponentially over time. Eventually provoking the author to place the doll in a vacant room in an attempt to assuage the temper of Norman the doll. 

It is now two years later and Norman 2 continues the haunting tale. As the saying goes, sensational claims require sensational proof and that seems to be where the wheels come of this project. I am only too aware that paranormal investigators claim that their methods are based in science but that just isn’t so. The scientific method requires a number of things: for example, the experiment is repeatable producing the same result. In addition, it must be possible for your peers to replicate the same experiment and attempt to prove your theory wrong. In the paranormal world it is impossible to find irrefutable proof derived from the scientific method.

In Norman 2 Lancaster attempts to prove with visual evidence the voracity of his claims. I remain skeptical as I felt the events described fell short of proof of paranormal occurrences.

Lancaster recounts various disturbing situations including a seemingly spontaneous fire claimed to have been created by Norman in its room. There are instances of exaggerations or sensational claims that reduce, rather than increase the probity of the claims. The telling of the story reminded me of the over elaboration of a bad liar. I came to the uncomfortable conclusion that I was being lied to.

CONCLUSION

Throughout the book there were examples of repetition, misspellings and an amateurish writing style. This devalued the trope almost as much as the outlandish claims themselves. The work could have been far more concise and measured. I found myself being less subjective in part due to the lack of skilled writing, language, grammar, and vocabulary. 

If the family are so afraid of the doll it seems odd that they should wish to continue to house it in their home. Is the doll inhabited by a restless spirit, a demon, or the soul of a dead child? That question I leave for you to decide.

I am aware the force of my review may indicate I do not enjoy the entertainment value of paranormal entertainment shows and literature. I am intrigued with the subject and have been since I read The Amityville Horror as a child. I consumed the book in less than 24 hours, not stopping to sleep until I finished it. 

Incidentally, I do enjoy reading publications on the paranormal, especially when they are well written, balanced, and subjective. I enjoy paranormal literature that present the claims and evidence that leave it for me to decide if the claims carry any weight or not.

This is simply my opinion and you have your own and that is why I recommend you read the first book and then decide if you would like reading Norman 2

Rating: 2 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Steven Lancaster, NetGalley and Llewellyn Publications for affording me the opportunity to review Norman 2: The True Story of a Possessed Doll’s Revenge.

OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR

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