Category Archives: Reference Works

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HOLBEIN: Capturing Character – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

Holbein capturing character Ed. Dr Anne Woolett
Holbein: Capturing Character Ed. Anne Woolett et al
TitleHolbein: Capturing Character
EditorDr. Anne Woolett et al
PublisherJ. Paul Getty Museum (October 19, 2021)
FormatHardcover
Page192
GenreIndividual Artistic Monographs, Art Portraits, Calligraphy Guides
LanguageEnglish
ISBN#10/131606067478 / 978-1606067475

EDITOR

Dr. Anne Woollett is curator of paintings at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, California, USA.

SYNOPSIS

HOLBEIN: Capturing Character was edited primarily by Dr. Anne Woolett. Her collaborator’s include: Ulrich Hans BirkmaierAustėia MackelaitėPeter van der Coelen, and John T. Qillen. This work is a comprehensive monograph of the work of Hans Holbein The Younger (1497/98–1543). This compact Gallery Book was published to accompany the exhibition of the 16th Century renaissance Master Hans Holbein The Younger. The exhibitions at the J. Paul Getty Centre on October 19, 2021, – January 9, 2022; and continuing at the Morgan Library & Museum from February 11, 2022, to May 15, 2022. 

HOLBEIN: Capturing Character, although petite at just 9×12 inches, contains a genuine treasure trove of ultra high quality plates that depict:

  •  a selection of Holbein The Younger’s most valued paintings, 
  • blockcutts, 
  • woodcut illuminations,
  • chalk illustrations “Trois Crayons” (three chalks), 
  • oils on panel, 
  • engravings, 
  • jewelry, 
  • hat badges, 
  • medallion designs on paper, 
  • arabesque ornament designs on paper, 
  • silverpoint by Hans Holbein the Elder (1460/70-1524), 
  • designs for a stained glass window, 
  • cartouches
  • paintings from tempera and oil on panel, 
  • oil on canvas, 
  • oil on paper glued to panel, 
  • mixed technique1,  
  • a selection of ornamental lids,
  •  page drafts, 
  • tempera on unprimed canvas, 
  • an example of a rundel portrait, and 
  • studies pen and brown ink, brown and black ash ink wash and highlights of white gouache and black chalk on paper. 

Anne Woolett and her associates have produced a invaluable asset for anyone who wants to study Holbein or those who simply enjoy his amazing talents.  

Each listing is individually numbered and contains essential details relating to the image containing information on:

  • the artist, the subject where available, 
  • the date, the material used, 
  • the dimensions of the original, 
  • its current location, and 
  • the current owner if known.

Hans Holbein was an artist with unsurpassed levels of observation and the ability to translate his vision to oil on panel or many other mediums.

Additional information included in the book are:

  • an impressive Forward that sets the context for the reader
  • a detailed list of Illustration Credits
  • a list of short biographies covering the most notable figures who sat for Holbein
  • a chronology of each of the more significant works
  • an extensive bibliography
  • a list of Lenders to the exhibition, and 
  • acknowledgements 

1(a method originally accredited to Leonardo da Vinci. It involved tempera and oil, called tempera grassa, to try and extend the limitations of the medium. He would use one part egg yolk mixed with one part linseed oil to form the binder for his pigments.)

CONCLUSION

The plates in this work are exquisite in their reproduction being large, high quality, full-color images of the Master’s works. They are accompanied by comprehensive pertinent details relating to each work of art. The Editor and her collaborators excelled at the presentation, format, and underpinned these with exquisite insights to the zeitgeist of the times.  

Holbein: Capturing Character is a catalogue that is engaging, entertaining, informative and an accomplished illumination worthy of the Great Master. The subject is handled masterfully and is impeccably researched. There are extensive and detailed notes for each chapter, and in addition a short comprehensive Bibliography. Holbein: Capturing Character proved to be an addictive read.    

It is often said that a thing of beauty is a joy forever and so it is for this pocket-sized library of perfection. 

Rating: 5 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Editor Dr. Anne Woolett, et al. , J. Paul Getty Museum, and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review HOLBIEN: Capturing Character.

OTHER WORKS FROM J. PAUL GETTY MUSEUM

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RIVERS – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

Rivers: From Mountain Streams to City Riverbanks by Claudia Martin. A picture book.
Rivers From Mountain Streams To City Riverbanks
TITLERIVERS: From Mountain Streams to City Riverbanks
AUTHORClaudia Martin
PUBLISHERAmber Books (October 5, 2021)
FORMATHardcover
PAGES224
GENRETravel, Reference, Adventure
LANGUAGEEnglish
ISBN 10/131838861025 / 978-1838861025

AUTHOR

Claudia Martin has worked in book publishing for 17 years. She is the author of several books and websites for children and young people. Her favorite subjects are history, current affairs and technology.

SYNOPSIS

Rivers by Claudia Martin is a visual catalogue of rivers and riverbanks across the globe. It covers such diverse locations as: North, Central, and South America; the Caribbean; Europe; Africa; the Middle East; Asia; and Oceania.

There are 225 totally immersive images in Rivers. It is a beautiful collection of plates with a perfect accompaniment of a precise but informative narrative. The images are mesmerizing and stimulating.

Images such as the commingling of the Blue Nile and the White Nile I found distinctly captivating. The Colorado River in Arizona with its adobe canyon walls and the azure blue of the river bend is an exciting image. The raging waters of the Iguazu River in Brazil with as many as 300 waterfalls surging over the Parana Plateau is especially intriguing and beautiful. The Thames in Great Britain lined with its iconic and historic riverbanks complete with Tower Bridge and shadowed by the White Tower is particularly special to me.

CONCLUSION

Martin has been a prolific writer for almost twenty years, and Rivers could be her pinnacle work. It has pages upon pages of glorious high quality, full color plates that feed the eye and fill the mind. It is a book that you can return to again and again and still enjoy it as much as you did the first time that you opened it. 

There are a number of images that are conspicuous especially because of their excellence that will remain with me long after I close the book. I highly recommend Rivers. Order a copy, but be prepared to never stop looking at it.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Claudia Martin, NetGalley, Amber Books and for affording me the opportunity to review Rivers: From Mountain Streams to City Riverbanks.

OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR

FREE TO READ ON KINDLE UNLIMITED

COUNTRY JUMPER IN HONDURAS Claudia Dobson-Largie. Travel, adventure. #ChildrenslatinAmericanhistory

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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.

CANADA – Review

Litercurious Book Review

TitleCanada: Visual Explorer Guide Series
AuthorNorah Myers
Publisher Amber Books
FormatFlexibound
Page224
GenreTravel, Reference, Adventure
LanguageEnglish
ISBN #981782749608

AUTHOR

Norah Myers grew up in Winnipeg and has lived in Toronto and London. Having returned to her hometown, she can most often be found on a Pilates machine.

Biography from Amber Books website.

SYNOPSIS

Canada part of the Amber Books Explorer Guide series is fundamentally a visual atlas; set out in 200 ultra-high definition, color, full-page 6 by 4 inch spread photographs. Whilst diminutive for a book of its kind, Canada would be a perfect book suitable for displaying on your desk or library. It could just as easily be carried in your pocket or bag.

This illustrated gallery encompasses the width and breadth of the nation detailing its vast array of unique environments and wildlife habitats. The visuals include both natural and urban images. Presented in landscape format that provides a superior viewing experience. Each section has a short clearly transcribed description and brief additional historic information about the location of the presented plate to each province and territory.

Canada covers many aspects that make the country an extraordinary place to live or visit. Myers has included information about: the local culture, national history, wildlife, unique culture, and even that most Canadian of foods known as poutine.

CONCLUSION

The exterior visage of Myers illustrated book of Canada was simply breath-taking. It engenders a very real sense of anticipation and a genuine frisson of excitement as the prospective reader.

I found my initial expectations were not entirely met. My initial visceral anticipation that was engendered by the cover quickly became jaded. I expected there would be an abundance of wildlife images, but I was disappointed. Almost 80% of the images were of cities, architecture, bridges, and in one case an image of an apartment buildings post boxes. Whilst I was disappointed, I still adored the wildlife and nature photography. 

I found the nature images together with the written narrative satisfying. I still enjoyed the overall viewing and reading experience. Amber Books are renowned for publications of this kind. They always produce memorable picture books and despite some small distractions, Canada is still a very memorable work. 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Norah Myers, NetGalley and Amber Books for affording me the opportunity to review Canada from their Explorer Guide Series.

MORE FROM THE EXPLORER GUIDE SERIES

See more information on the Aber Books Site.

OUR OTHER REVIEWS OF AMBER BOOKS

ELEPHANTS – Review

Litercurious Book Reviews

TitleElephant: Stunning Photographs of the World’s
Biggest Land Mammals
AuthorTom Jackson
PublisherAmber Books
FormatHardcover
GenreNature, Science, Reference
Pages 224 Pages / 175 photos
LanguageEnglish
ISBN #9781782749660

AUTHOR

Tom Jackson is a leading natural history writer based in the United Kingdom. As an author and contributor he has worked on more than 60 books. A zoology graduate from the University of Bristol, he has also worked as a zookeeper and in safari parks in Zimbabwe.

SYNOPSIS

Tom Jackson is the author of Elephants. He created a bright, bold and resplendently illustrated gallery of the species Elephas Maximus. His work is a snap-shot of the worlds largest land mammal. It is bristling with a huge array of simply beguiling, double and single full page spreads. The photographs are full color, ultrahigh definition of the African and Indian Elephants in their natural habitats. Among the images are pictures of the animals at the various stages of maturation. Bulls, cows, and calfs are depicted alone and in family groups and herds.

The stunning photographs are accompanied by short informative passages relating to the photograph and the elephants. There are some interesting factoids scattered throughout the book in bite sized pieces for your entertainment. You can expect to increase your knowledge of the species and the subspecies; from the African bush Elephants to the Asian pygmy variety. You will learn how the elephants reproduce, feed, hunt, rear their calfs and defend their herds.

CONCLUSION

Elephants, by Tom Jackson is a breath taking collection of the very best nature photography you will see. The images have managed to capture the very soul of the animal. I found it profoundly touching knowing that they face such serious threats from poachers, who hunt them for their ivory.

Jackson managed to infect me with his passion for this subject. His work is thought provoking and challenging at times. He clearly has a great respect for these most majestic of all land animals. He is very concerned about their future. His short annotations compliment completely the 175 vivid images.

Although the concept of the book is simply delivered, the profundity of the contents will continue to fill your dreams long after you have closed the book.

My favorite images in the book were of the calfs. They have to be seen to be believed. They are so touching, as to warm even the coldest heart. They are the very definition of adorable.

SPECIAL MENTION

Amber Books are the monarchs of nature photography publications. Elephants, by Tom Jackson is another stupendous offering from this esteemed publishing house. Quality comes as standard with Amber Books and they always produce a superior product. So it was no surprise to me, having reviewed several of their earlier publications, that Elephants continues their sterling work.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Tom Jackson, NetGalley and Amber Books for affording me the opportunity to review Elephants.

OTHER WORK BY THIS AUTHOR

HORSES – Review

Litercurious Book Review

TitleHorses
AuthorPaula Hammond
PublisherAmber Books (September 1, 2020)
FormatHardcover
Pages224
GenreEquine
LanguageEnglish
ISBN 10/131838860177 / 978-1838860172

AUTHOR

Paula Hammond is a prolific writer with an extensive catalogue of successful publications. Her catalogue includes an extensive range of subjects and topics. Her central recurring themes are nature and science; they are her passion.

Hammond began her career as an editor. Since then she has worked as a publisher, educational consultant, copy-writer, ghost-writer, author, and journalist. To date, Paula has written over 50 fiction and non-fiction books for publishers such as Harper Collins, Marshall Cavendish, Scholastic, and World Book. She also writes regular columns and features for a variety of news-stand magazines and journals.

SYNOPSIS

Horses is 224 pages of sheer pleasurable reading for those who appreciate the equine species. Inside this exquisitely illustrated catalogue you will find a myriad of horse breeds. No horse was left behind in this testament to the animal and its noble continence. Most breeds are included from the Appaloosa and the Palomino, to the Konik and the Potok. Horses is a celebration of the many types of equine to be found globally.

Hammond presents a detailed record of the lifecycle of the horse from foal all the way to adulthood. She explains the different terms used to describe young horses such as a foal, a filly, and a colt. She goes on to explain to the reader the different terms for adult horses such as mare, gelding, and stallion. She further explains the unique differences between classifying the animals as horses, ponies, or miniature horses. The author references the different colors used to describe horses such as buckskin, chestnut, roan, paint, and many others. Equine care is also covered. It includes general care, grooming, and related welfare considerations. She includes anatomical illustrations of the animal for greater understanding.

Horses gives a brief description of individual breeds with their specific differences. It describes the anatomy of the horse from its frog to its flank, from its nose to its tail. The book details the duties best suited for each breed; from draft horse to show horses. There are numerous pictures of horses in their individual occupations: show horses, draft horses, ceremonial horses, steeple chase, polo, racing, and many more. Hammond also dedicates a brief portion of the book to the few remaining wild horse herds around the globe.

Hammond includes the history of some of the breeds. She gives a historic perspective on the link between humanity and the species. This includes the past and present-day domestication of equines internationally. She explains how selective breeding is applied in-order-to produce breeds with characteristics that are-seen-as valuable.

The photographs are full, double, and half page spreads of the highest quality, definition, and color. Horses is truly a thing of beauty and will be a joy forever in your collection of equine related literature.

CONCLUSION

Overall, a very nice book. I was ecstatic to be given the opportunity to read and review another of Paula Hammond’s nature-based publications. I recently read and reviewed her Tigers book. You can see that review here. You may also find our review of Beautiful Horses, by Liz Wright you can see it here.

Horses, by Paula Hammond is a stunningly illustrated, beautifully narrated and skillfully written work. Containing 200 high definition, highly colored, rich, photographs that paint an evocative image of the species. So powerful in fact, that you can almost smell the leather, sweat, and soil that is so familiar to horse lovers everywhere.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Paula Hammond, NetGalley and Amber Books for affording me the opportunity to review Horses.

OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR

THE AUTHOR’S CHECKLIST – Review

Litercurious Book Review

TitleThe Author’s Checklist: An Agents Guide to
Developing and Editing Your Manuscript
AuthorElizabeth K. Kracht
PublisherNew World Library (Febuary 4, 2020)
FormatKindle, Paperback, Audiobook
GenreAuthorship, Non-fiction Writing reference,
Fiction Writing Reference
Pages240
LanguageEnglish
ASIN #B083TPCNSF

AUTHOR

Elizabeth K. Kracht, is the writer of The Author’s Checklist. She is currently a literary agent with Kimberly Cameron & Associates and she is a freelance editor. You can read more about her here.

SYNOPSIS

The Author’s Checklist is Elizabeth’s Kracht’s debut publication. It is a monograph on the subject of improving your success when approaching an agent with your precious draft. The purpose is to help you increase the likely-hood of your work being accepted by avoiding the most common pitfalls.

The Author’s Checklist is meant to be utilized as a reference for aspiring writers wishing to become published authors through the traditional publishing route. 

The book’s format is purposefully set out in an alphabetic manner in order to allow users to skip through to the most important sections for the end-user. I found it to be eminently practical as a reference and I am confident that a new or unpublished author would find it an intensive course of what not to do. The sections have a checklist with practical suggestions to enhance your writing. The Conclusion and associated Appendix A and B contain: Query Letter and Synopsis Examples.

The fact that Kracht has a long history of experience both as a literary agent and a freelance editor instills confidence in her valuable opinions. It is a handy and helpful guide for all those looking for professional advice on the many aspects of getting published.

CONCLUSION

The Author’s Checklist is clear, concise and would be a valuable addition to any prospective author’s library. It sensibly delivered, and has practical guidance for novice author’s taking their first steps into the world of traditional publishing.

I would have liked greater elaboration in some sections, but the limited length may have influenced the verbosity of the finished work.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Elizabeth K. Kracht, NetGalley, and New World Library for affording me the opportunity to review The Author’s Checklist: An Agents Guide to Developing and Editing Your Manuscript.

OTHER WORK BY THIS AUTHOR

50 SUCCESSFUL HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL ESSAYS – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

Title50 Successful Harvard Medical School Essays
Author(s)Staff of the Harvard Crimson
PublisherSt. Martin’s Griffin (8 June, 2020
FormatKindle, Paperback
Pages240
LanguageEnglish
ISBN# 10/131250244471 / 978-1250244475

AUTHOR

The Harvard Crimson is a non-profit student run newspaper at Harvard University. You can find out more about it here.

WHO IS THE TARGET AUDIENCE?

Applicants for pre-eminent Medical School Universities.

SYNOPSIS

The “Personal Statement” has been an intrinsic part of the British Ivy league universities since the late 1980s. Their purpose was to separate the hard empirical scores presented in examination results from the candidates soft character traits. Those traits form an important part of the selection process for medical school. These soft characteristics include the candidates experiences, motivations, and suitability to train in the medical field.

The Medical Profession requires particular requirements. The prospective student must have a combination of technical and scientific knowledge; as well as being personable, approachable, compassionate and have fine interpersonal communication skills.

Admission boards use the personal statement in addition to the applicants grade point averages to asses their level of maturity, communication skills and their critical thinking ability.

Prospective applicants often make the critical mistake of misunderstanding the importance of their personal statement. It is part of the wider selection metrics; such as their past academic performance, reference letter or personal interview. Yet the personal statement forms arguably their best opportunity to make a winning impression. This is where 50 Successful Harvard Medical School Essays becomes an excellent resource for those wishing to create effective applications that could give them the key to acceptance into the hallowed halls of medical school academia.

50 Successful Harvard Medical School Essays can enhance the likelihood of success through improvements to your personal statement preparation. The Staff of the Harvard Crimson provides the reader with 50 real-world examples of previously successful applicants. They highlight the myriad of key traits that the medical school selection committee will be looking for, such as:

Motivation

Empathy

Honesty

Enthusiasm

Commitment

Humor

Perseverance

Compassion

Emotional Stability

Each of the 50 essays has an analysis with helpful recommendations and explanations of the qualities that hold the greatest value to the selection committee. 50 Successful Harvard Medical School Essays will provide an advantage in your application process. I was happy to see that the editors made it clear that the process gives students with lower MCAT grades access to top medical schools. 50 Successful Harvard Medical School Essays does this by alerting the prospective applicant to the importance of a well-rounded character; educationally, socially, emotionally and psychologically. These traits are required to face the rigors of the medical school assault course.

CONCLUSION

50 Successful Harvard Medical School Essays is filled with important advice for anyone wishing to enhance their probability of receiving a placement offer at a leading medical institution. It provides practical guidance on how to approach a personal statement in order to make the best impression and showcase the desired characteristics universities are looking for.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank The Staff of the Harvard Crimson, NetGalley, and St. Martin’s Griffin for affording me the opportunity to review 50 Successful Harvard Medical School Essays.

TIGERS – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

TitleTigers: Stunning Photographs of the World’s
Biggest Cats (Animals) 
AuthorPaula Hammond
PublisherAmber Books Ltd (14 Mar. 2020)
FormatHardcover
Page224
LanguageEnglish
ISBN# 10/131782749659 / 978-1782749653

AUTHOR

Paula Hammond has worked as a publisher, copy-writer, ghost-writer, author, and journalist. She has written over 50 fiction and non-fiction books as well as sponsored resources, comics, poetry and scripts for DVDs and CD-ROMS. Clients include Harper Collins, Marshall Cavendish, Scholastic, World Book, Disney, Betty Crocker, and the BBC. She also contributes to a wide variety of news-stand magazines and journals. A selection of her publications can be viewed on Amazon and Pinterest (WriterPaula).

WHO IS THE TARGET AUDIENCE?

This work has broad appeal for all those who are interested by the wildest of wildlife.

SYNOPSIS

Tigers is more of a photographic folio of the Tiger species than a scientific examination of that big cat. That said, it does not detract from the sheer beauty of this hardcover. It might be more accurate to call it a gallery book.

This monograph is an extravaganza of large, oversized, full color, high quality, photographs. Some of the plates are accompanied by tracts describing aspects of this most noble of the cat species. I was so taken with the subject that I found myself repeatedly flicking through the pages again and again.

The presentation was concise consisting of the following:

Introduction

Tiger Species

Tiger Habitats

Hunting for Food

Tiger Cubs

Credits

CONCLUSION

Paula Hammond has produced a delightful work of photographic art. It is woven together with interesting tidbits of relevant and related information about the deadliest, most intelligent and magnificent animal that we share the planet with. “A thing of beauty is a joy forever,” describes Hammond’s book perfectly. If you love big cats, appreciate beautiful pictures or find the Tiger species interesting, then this is a must have book.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Paula Hammond, NetGalley, and Amber Books Ltd for affording me the opportunity to review Tigers: Stunning Photographs of the World’s Biggest Cats (Animals) .

AGENTS OF INFLUENCE – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

TitleAgents of Influence                          
AuthorHenry Hemming                        
PublisherPublic Affairs (October 8, 2019)     
FormatPaperback, Kindle, Hardcover, Audiobook & CD       
Page400     
LanguageEnglish     
ISBN# 10 / 131541742141 / 978-1541742147     

“Foreign influence is truly the Grecian horse to a republic. We cannot be too careful to exclude its influence.”

Alexander Hamilton
(1757-1804) American statesman, Secretary of the Treasury
Pacificus, No. 6, July 17, 1793.
 

AUTHOR

The author of Agents of Influence is Henry Hemming. You can find more information about him and his other publications here.

WHO IS THE TARGET AUDIENCE?

I recommend this monograph to those with a general interest in military history and anyone with a particular interest in the asymmetric warfare of World War II.

SYNOPSIS

Agents of Influence is the true story of a British Intelligence team tasked with swaying a reluctant United States of America (USA) to join with Great Britain against the Axis Powers in WWII.

The central character, William (Bill) Stevenson is drawn into the murky world of undercover intelligence operations or a “war by other means.” He was assigned by the British Military Intelligence Agency (MI6) with the task of organizing a hand picked elite team of operatives to work behind the scenes influencing the U.S. populations opinions surrounding their role in the war. To this day His operation is considered to have been the most successful covert action ever to have taken place on U.S. soil. Spectacular in its scope, eye waveringly expensive in terms of cost and promethean in its use of an intelligence campaign, William’s enterprise is one of the greatest examples of mass population influence in modern history.

Hemming has us accompany Stevenson during the dark days of the 1940s following the tragedy of the evacuation from the beaches of Dunkirk. In June of 1940 the U.S. population had no interest in becoming embroiled in the war across the “pond.” Through William and his teams influence, the national opinion slowly changed. Within a year and half, the attack on Pearl Harbor propelled the U.S. into World War II.

Hemming’s Agents of Influence unrolls the characters and the methods, including “fake news,” that changed the history of the world and the ultimate outcome of the war. He explains the British motivation behind the occult actions employed. He takes us on the ship with Stephenson and the wealth of a nation from across the Atlantic. From there he describes how Bill Stephenson uses his considerable talents to assemble an effective team, integrates them into U.S. society and begins his influence operations behind the scenes. That is just the beginning.

CONCLUSION

Agents of Influence is so outrageous that it seems too unbelievable to be true, and yet it happened. Put simply, it is one of those manuscripts that you find yourself carrying around so that you don’t miss an opportunity to read what happens next. I have just discovered a new favorite author. The next step is to get my hands on one or two of the five other works that Hemming has written. This is a superb read; but don’t take my word for it, go out and get a copy and discover for yourself the pleasure of a Henry Hemming volume. This is the first 5 star review of the year.

Written with academic prowess, scholarly skill, intensively researched, extensively referenced and reads as a compelling novel, Hemming has created a genuine winner.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Henry Hemming, NetGalley, and Public Affairs for affording me the opportunity to review Agents of Influence.