Category Archives: Biography

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.

STOLEN – Review

LITERCURIOUS BOOK REVIEW

Title Stolen: Five Free Boys Kidnapped Into Slavery
and Their Astonishing Odyssey Home
Author Richard Bell
Publisher 37 Ink (October 15, 2019)
Format Kindle, Hardcover, audiobook         
Page 247     
GenreBlack and African American History, Biographies & Memoirs, Black & American African Studies, African American Studies
Language English     
ISBN # 1501169432     

AUTHOR

Richard Bell is the author of Stolen. He currently teaches Early American History at the University of Maryland.

TARGET AUDIENCE

In a word; humanity.

SYNOPSIS

The time is 1825, the place Philadelphia, North America, and a small group of free black boys are about to be kidnapped. They are about to be transported as slaves to serve the needs and wants of a slave hungry South and its human Grissom for the Cotton Kingdom Mill. The real story, however, relates to the titanic strengths and fortitude exhibited by the 5 boys placed in the untenable excruciating predicament of having lived free and taken as slaves under the threat of violence. Despite the seemingly overwhelming odds, the boys seek ways to escape their bondage and return home. To discover if they manage to escape and the consequences of the events affecting their lives you will have to read it yourself. At its worst, this is one example of mans’ inhumanity to man. At its best, this is a call to the resilience of spirit and the power of unity in the face of extremes of privation and enormous adversity.

CONCLUSION

Masterfully written, flawlessly researched, and a tale of 5 free men abducted and taken on a journey of epic proportions. This is a work for our times; lest we forget. I cannot recommend this book enough.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

My sincere thanks go to: NetGalley, and 37 Ink for affording me the opportunity to review “Stolen.”

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

SPOOKS AND KNOCKERS UNCENSORED IS CURRENTLY FREE TO READ on KindleUnlimited

The Story of Jane Goodall – Review

Litercurious book Review

TitleThe Story of Jane Goodall: A Biography Book
for New Readers
Author/IllustratorSusan B. Katz / Lindsay Dale-Scott
PublisherRockridge Press (May 5, 2020)
FormatKindle, Paperback
Page67
LanguageEnglish
ASINB0875MRZ6C

AUTHOR

Susan B. Katz is a Board Certified Educator with a quarter century of experience, an award winning bilingual author, and a popular speaker. When not writing, she can be found working as the executive director of ConnectingAuthors.org, a national nonprofit organization that brings authors and illustrators into schools. Susan also enjoys an active social life. You can read more about her here: http://susankatzbooks.com

WHO IS THE TARGET AUDIENCE?

Children 6 to 8 years old will enjoy reading this publication.

SYNOPSIS

The Story of Jane Goodall is a child orientated biography. It’s an attractive and informative revelation about the leading light in conservation. The Story of Jane Goodall describes her life, passions, studies and her meteoric rise professionally, socially and educationally. Her name is synonymous with the study of chimpanzees and the conservation of their habitat. Inspirational throughout, The Story of Jane Goodall is a must read for any child whose parent wants to impress upon them the importance of a life long commitment and conservation.

Dame Jane Morris Goodall DBE., formerly Baroness Jane van Lawick-Goodall, is world renowned for her study of social and family interactions of wild chimpanzees. Over 60 years of studying primates have established her as the worlds leading authority on chimpanzees. She also founded the Jane Goodall Institute and the Roots & Shoots programme. She was named a UN Messenger of Peace in April 2002.

As the title makes clear, The Story of Jane Goodall describes the life of Dame Jane Goodall. It takes us through the evolution of Jane. From her formative years as a young girl in England through her life experiences and the fortunate accident that ushered her to become a woman of letters. Katz’s relates the ups and the downs of Jane Goodall’s life and experiences. Through her skilled writing Katz relates Jane’s enthusiasm for her subject.

Katz does a great job describing Janes’s life. She goes into detail such as: the type of books that Jane loved to read as a child, her ambitions to travel to Africa and her love of animals. She describes how Jane got her job in Gombe, Kenya with Dr. Louis Leakey Ph.D., an archaeologist and paleontologist. Katz relates how working with the notable Leakey led Jane to earn her Ph.D., in ethology. She went to Newman College, Cambridge and became the eighth person to be allowed to read for her doctoral thesis before having been awarded either a graduate or post graduate degree.

CONCLUSION

The Story of Jane Goodall is a refreshing new take on an old genre; that of the biography. Katz’s years spent as a teacher are obvious from the outset. Her prose is written with children in mind, and yet speaking as an adult, I enjoyed the simplicity and the clarity of her writing style. It is fun and enjoyable throughout.

The illustrations contained within the pages are delightful. They are age appropriate, colorful and fun. Lindsay Dale-Scott did an excellent job telling the story through pictures. I especially liked the way she put faces with the names of Jane’s chimpanzees. I thoroughly enjoyed her art work.

The Story of Jane Goodall is a tiny gem; enlightening, informative, compelling and concise. Large enough to satisfy and short enough to read in an hour or two. The timeline is interspersed through the chapters and easy to follow. Included are many memory retention tools and quizzes. I loved this book, and you will too.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

SPECIAL MENTION – ILLUSTRATOR

Lindsay Dale-Scott is an accomplished illustrator and designer. She studied Graphic Design and Illustration at Columbus College of Art and Design. An animal lover herself, she she earned an award for her advertising campaign for the sloth sanctuary of Costa Rica. She says, “I have always been an artist ever since I could hold a crayon, drawing on walls and just creating.” Her works are not just on books, she also creates greeting cards for American Greetings. If you would like to learn more about Lindsay Dale-Scott, her web site is here and you can follow her on Instagram here.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Susan B. Katz, NetGalley and Rockridge Press for affording me the opportunity to review The Story of Jane Goodall: A Biography Book for New Readers.

LITERCURIOUS CHILD FRIENDLY JOKE

Q. Why isn’t a Koala bear a real bear?

A. Because he isn’t Koalafied.

SIMILAR BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR

These books are currently free to read on KindleUnlimited

STEPHEN AND MATILDA’S CIVIL WAR – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

TitleStephen and Matilda’s Civil War:
Cousins of Anarchy
AuthorMatthew Lewis
PublisherPen & Sword History (4 Nov. 2019)
FormatKindle, Hardcover
Pages280
Language:English
ISBN # 10 / 131526718332 / 978-1526718334

AUTHOR

Matthew Lewis was born in England. He obtained a law degree, but history has always been his passion. He has authored numerous historical books, both fiction and non-fiction. You can find his blog here, his Facebook page here, his Goodreads page here, and his Twitter page here.

WHO IS THE TARGET AUDIENCE?

This book is best suited for historians, students of medieval history or anyone who enjoys learning about the English ancient ruling class.

SYNOPSIS

Stephen and Matilda’s Civil War is the tale of two cousins fight over the throne of England. King Henry I died in 1135 and had no legitimate male heir. His only legitimate son, William Adelin, drowned in the “White Ship” disaster in 1120. His only other legitimate child was Empress Matilda, a female. No female had ever ruled England at this time, but Henry I wanted her to reign after him. Unfortunately for Matilda she was in Anjou at the time of her father’s death. Her first cousin Stephen of Blois rushed in and usurped the crown in her absence. This led to The Anarchy (civil-war) that endured nearly two decades.

Matthew Lewis composes a compelling tale of a tumultuous time in English history. His research and writing ability are evident throughout the book. He delves into the chaos of the time and brings to light the suffering of all those involved. The war ebbs and flows back and forth with no one really seeming to get the upper hand. The external and internal conflicts surrounding this event in history are too numerous to comprehend, but Matthew does an excellent job. He uses personal accounts, quotes, and even a few images to help the reader try to understand the complexities of the times.

 CONCLUSION

Stephen and Matilda’s Civil War is an exceptionally researched historic look at The Anarchy. The author is able to describe in detail the look and feel of the era, as if you were standing there observing it in real time. The battles, both political and literal are played out across the pages of this manuscript. A great read for anyone who is interested in medieval England.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Matthew Lewis, NetGalley, and Pen & Sword History for affording me the opportunity to review Stephen and Matilda’s Civil War: Cousins of Anarchy.


DANGEROUS SHALLOWS -REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

TitleDangerous Shallows: In Search of The
Ghost Ships of Cape Cod
AuthorEric Takakjian & Randall Peffer
PublisherLyons Press (January 24, 2020)
FormatPaperback, Kindle
Pages272
Language:English
ISBN # 10 / 131493042300 / 978-1493042302

AUTHORS

Find out more about Eric Takakjian on his linkedin page here. He can be found on Boston Sea Rovers here. Finally you can find some information on Eric at Doug Grad Literary Agency, Inc. here.

You can find some information on Randall at Doug Grad Literary Agency, Inc. here. Randall Peffer gives a 90 second video biography here.

WHO IS THE TARGET AUDIENCE

This book is for everyone. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a sailor, a diver, a history buff, an adventurer, or you just like a good thriller; this book has it all.

SYNOPSIS

Dangerous Shallows: In Search of The Ghost Ships of Cape Cod is a superbly written book that grips the reader from the very onset. Eric Takakjian takes the reader from the earliest of times in relation to diving techniques to modern mixed gasses. He intersperses his experiences with spellbinding tales of sunken ships and the events that led up to their tragic fates.

Eric explains in terms that are easy to understand all of the intricacies of diving and especially deep diving. He guides us through the uses of mixed gas to get to exceptionally deep wrecks and the troubles associated with each dive. He brings into view the price of miscalculation and bad circumstance and the lethal effects associated with deep diving. Intermixed is his own journey as a USCG crewman through his marriage and operating his own dive company while looking for those “virgin” wrecks.

Dangerous Shallows covers a myriad of different vessels and reasons for their current predicaments. The wrecks that Eric explores cover centuries of accidents, war, and depression. He takes the time to relate to the reader exactly what he sees and feels as he dives the wrecks. While swimming over the wrecks, he takes the reader back in time and makes the reader feel as if they are there for each vessel’s demise. The reader can feel the panic, the elation, the fear, or the determination of the people associated with each vessel.

Included within the book are the stories of his own trials and tribulations. He talks about the hardships keeping “virgin” wreck locations secret and the betrayal of “friends” who want to use his work for their own gains. He explains the research he, his wife, and friends undertake to locate and find each lost vessel. Eric describes the dangers each particular dive has; from currents, to sharks, to visibility issues, to the “bends.”

The author interfuses pictures and illustrations throughout the book. The color and black and white photos enhance the readers perceptions of the boats and the wrecks. Some of the photos are historic as are the schematics.

CONCLUSION

This book is thrilling, mysterious, and intriguing. Even if you don’t know much about diving and especially deep diving, this book easily explains the terms and conditions. The stories of the individual wrecks are told in vivid detail.  The reader can easily feel as if they are right there with him on this journey of discovery. I heartily recommend this book for everyone.

AKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Eric Takakjian and Randall Peffer, NetGalley, and Lyons Press for affording me the opportunity to review Dangerous Shallows: In Search of the Ghost Ships of Cape Cod.

I HATE EVERYTHING – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

TitleI Hate Everything: A Day in the Life of a Teacher
AuthorRobert Lantana
PublisherDog Ear Publishing (October 18, 2019)
FormatPaperback
Pages102
LanguageEnglish
ISBN #-10 / #-131457571196 / 978-1457571190

educate (v.) mid-15c., educaten, “bring up (children), to train,” from Latin educatus, past participle of educare “bring up, rear, educate”

From Etymonline “Educate” Douglas Harper 2001-2020 https://www.etymonline.com/word/educate

AUTHOR

Robert Lantana has a dozen years of teaching in the dark denizens of education we like to call schools. During his time as an instructor, he seems to have acquired the attitude that all is lost in the current system of education. He produced this satire depicting the trials and tribulations of a day in the life of a teacher.

TARGET AUDIENCE

Teachers, Student Teachers, Students, Parent & Teacher Association, and scholars over 18 years of age may find this tome interesting.

SYNOPSIS

I Hate Everything: A Day in the Life of a Teacher is an no holds barred discourse on the profession from the point of view of a working educator. It is a funny, raw, vulgar, expletive filled rant against the experience of teaching in a modern-day academic institution.

The book begins with cutting humor and a bitter irony that comes to characterize the book by the end. The individual chapters include the express reason that he hates everything; capitalized for emphasis. The humor quickly becomes sidelined with his loss of hope and motivation. The disparaging opinion of the tutor’s allegations leaves the reader in no doubt as to his frustrations. His antipathy quickly becomes palpable.

Initially funny with reckless abandon and an utter lack of finesse, the atmosphere quickly changes and becomes terminally depressing and lacking in any kind of positive appeal. Phrases used to describe those in his care like “psychotic zombie monkeys” or as a “self-absorbed, reality-warped generation” line the pages. The disparaging remarks continue and are qualified towards the end the book with the comment “we aren’t educating the future. We are herding cattle.”

You have to dig deep on occasion to find the humanity that this character is left with. Despite the constant unending whinging on about his loss of faith and hope in a broken system; some passages showed he entered the profession with positive aspirations, goals, and a genuine love for imparting knowledge to willing and able students. Lantana describes the dulling of his initial enthusiasm as it slowly eroded over time due to poor pay, disrespect from the school body and the administration. The long hours with little thanks combined with trying to teach the unteachable whilst protecting the academically motivated continue to skew his mindset in a negative direction.

You could be forgiven for thinking that Lantana couldn’t give a damn about the young people under his tutelage. However, woven through the pages is a small voice which shows just how much he cares for the institution and its charges. He is concerned enough to write a book to expose to the world the problems of todays academia. His expressed concern about his scholars not having enough to eat, lacking home based leadership and basic social skills more than prompt the reader to understand his earlier desperation.

CONCLUSION

If you enjoy dark humor mixed with witty irony and raw unfiltered opinions and language that would make a sailor blush, I think you might just appreciate this. I know that many in the Western teaching profession will see similarities in their own working conditions and will sympathize with the author and his experiences.

I found this book to be a mixed bag of dark humor and the desperate cry of a solitary instructor who has lost all hope of improving an impossible situation.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Robert Lantana, NetGalley, and Dog Ear Publishing for affording me the opportunity to review I Hate Everything: A Day in the Life of a Teacher.