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CLEAN SWEEP – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

Clean Sweep by Thomas McKelvey Cleaver
TitleClean Sweep: VIII Fighter Command Against the Luftwaffe, 1942–45
AuthorThomas McKelvey Cleaver
PublisherOsprey Publishing (May 23, 2023)
FormatKindle, Hardcover, Audiobook
Pages464
GenreMilitary Aviation History / World War II History /
Air War
LanguageEnglish
ASIN#B0BLHC79XC

AUTHOR

Thomas McKelvey Clever grew up in Denver, Colorado. At a very young age, aviation history excited his mind and imagination. He would spend his Saturday’s at the public library reading everything he could get his hands on about aviation and WWII history. Later, he joined the U.S. Navy and served

during the Vietnam War as an enlisted soldier in the field of aviation. In 1970 he obtained his own pilots license and has been flying ever since. His passion is the aircraft of WWII, which he had the chance to fly a few over the years. He met many famous WWII pilots and wrote various articles in such publications as: Air Enthusiast Quarterly, Air International, Air Force, Aviation History and Flight Journal magazines.

As an author, Thomas has several “best-selling” titles in the aviation and military history genre, including the best-sellers “The Frozen Choseen: The First Marine Division at the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir” and “MiG Alley: The US Air Force in Korea 1950-53.” He is also a produced screenwriter.

SYNOPSIS

Clean Sweep is a detailed chronological book about the air war in Europe during WWII. The book details the air war mainly as it pertained to the U.S. Army Air-corps, but additionally includes the RAF and the Luftwaffe. It covers some of the great battles and aerial conflicts of the war. It further provides personal accounts by some of the pilots involved in the life and death struggle of aerial combat.

In his book, Thomas Clever describes the fighter and bomber aircraft as they pertain to both sides of the conflict. He provides the reader with a descriptive evolution of aircraft as they were modified and improved to meet the enemy and the mission requirements. He further discusses air battle techniques, operating procedures, and fighter concepts employed by all sides.

No book about WWII would be complete without a discussion of the toll the war took on the people, countries, and soldiers involved. Thomas does discuss the cost of war as it pertains to manpower, economics, resources, and lives. We also get a glimpse at the decision makers and their policies that effected the outcome of the war.

CONCLUSION

Clean Sweep is an excellent book. I thoroughly enjoyed reading and learning more about this great conflict. I especially enjoyed reading some of the personal notes and stories of the pilots; no matter which side they were on. This book was so well written that I felt bad for the young German pilots towards the end of the war. They were thrown into aircraft with minimal training just to become cannon fodder.

When one reads this book, it discusses the toll mainly in aircraft numbers, but one has to realize that each aircraft had a crew compliment. A fighter might only have 1 pilot, but a B-17 has 10 crewmen. When the air battle aftermath is discussed and the reader is told that 60 B-17’s out of 146 were shot down, the reader has to realize that means 600 men; the author seems to gloss over this important aspect at times.

I must admit, some of the stories are very personal and tragic, while others are hard to believe. An example might be: the pilot that tried to bail out but his parachute got caught on the vertical stabilizer of his aircraft and it drug him down to his death; or the pilot that did bail out only to land in his mother’s back yard and then went in to his home to eat pancakes.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book. Clean Sweep is full of great historical characters and stories full of valor and bravery. It also provides the reader a brief glimpse into the lives of the pilots that flew these life-or-death missions.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Thomas McKelvey Cleaver, Osprey Publishing, and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review Clean Sweep: VIII Fighter Command Against the Luftwaffe, 1942–45.

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SMITHY – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

Sir Smithy and the Southern Cross
Sir Smithy and the Southern Cross
TitleSmithy – The Life of Sir Charles Kingsford Smith
Author Ian Mackersey
PublisherSapere Book (November 20, 2022)
FormatKindle, Hardcover, Paperback
Pages533
GenreBiographies of the Air Force / Aviation History
Military Aviation History
LanguageEnglish
ASIN#B0BBGB6TSL

AUTHOR

Ian Mackersey was a New Zealand writer and documentary film producer acclaimed for his deeply researched and revelational biographies.

A former head of film and television production at British Airways in

London, where his documentaries took 24 international awards, Ian Mackersey, TV documentary producer and the author of ten books, including two novels. He began his writing career as a reporter on daily newspapers in New Zealand before going to London to work in Fleet Street and later as a feature writer for Royal Air Force Review, travelling the world reporting on the RAF’s global operations. There followed a year in Hong Kong as night news editor of the South China Morning Post, the editorship, back at the Air Ministry in London, of the RAF’s flying training magazine, Air Clues, and, later, a move to Central Africa.

In April 2015, after a short illness, Ian Mackersey passed away in Auckland. He is survived by three children; David, Paula and Kiri. Should you wish to make contact regarding their father’s work, please email Paula Mackersey here.

Excerpt taken in parts from https://www.ianmackersey.com

SYNOPSIS

Smithy (1897–1935) is the unvarnished tale of one of Australia’s most famous aviators. The book tells the life story of the first man to fly across the Pacific Ocean. It begins with Charles’ humble beginnings in a large family that was constantly on the move. A fun loving kid, Charles was always the center of attention; something he carried on with his whole life.

Sir Charles was quite a character! Always on the move and trying to entertain family and friends. He served at Gallipoli during WWI. As a motorcycle runner he was almost blown up by artillery. He transferred into aviation after recovering from his wounds, but got wounded and lost part of his foot during a dogfight. That didn’t matter much to him though, flying was now in his blood.

What follows are the many tales of master airmanship, woes of politics, love and loss, wild flights and crashes (many whiles drunk), and many World Record aviation attempts. Smithy is best known for his transpacific flight, but he accomplished so much more. He had to deal with inner demons that haunted him until his dying day; demons that sometimes left him incapacitated while flying. In a day where aviators flew by the seat of their pants, it is astonishing that he was able to fly across great expanses of water without getting so lost that he couldn’t land.

A true master aviator, Smithy flew an aircraft at night in bad weather and turbulence sitting in chairs that were unattached to the airframe and no seat belts. To make matters worse, there was no lighting in the cockpit so he had to use a flashlight to fly instruments. Some of these flights lasted 36 hours! There was no verbal communication between crew-members due to the engine noise so they attached notes to a broom handle and passed them back and forth to communicate. On one flight, Smithy lost one engine over the ocean, and the other was loosing oil. While in flight, one of the crew-members had to go out on the wing and drain oil from the dead engine and then cross the aircraft to the other wing to pour the oil in the running engine. If he hadn’t accomplished this remarkable feat, they never would have made landfall.

CONCLUSION

This book was truly an inspiration to someone who has been around aviation his whole life. The tales of flying over the ocean through thunderstorms at night with just the rudimentary set of flight instruments in an aircraft with no windows and wicker chairs as pilots seats, still amazes me! As a flight instructor and instrument examiner, I know how hard it is for pilots to accomplish these feats with all the modern equipment we have today.

One of the most hilarious stories was when Smithy had his radio operator and navigator climb into the back of the aircraft so he could make a short-field landing. When he touched down, one of the unfortunate fellows fell through the fabric butt naked on the runway. Smithy unaware of this taxied away and abandoned the poor man out there in front of a massive crowd in nothing but his birthday suit!

The book covers so much more than just the fascinating flights in old cloth and frame aircraft; it also deals with the politics of the times. Not just Australian politics, but world politics; like the time when Smithy got banned from Turkey.

There is so much in this book for an aviation aficionado to delve into. I definitely recommend this book. Ian did a masterful job in his research and writing. I had never heard of Sir Charles Kingsford Smith before I discovered this book, and now I’ll never forget this aviation master and wild character! I had to keep reading merely to see what Smithy would get up to next.

He may have been a womanizer. He may have been an alcoholic, but he was definitely one hell of a pilot!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Ian Mackersey, Sapere Book, and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review Smithy – The Life of Sir Charles Kingsford Smith.

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NOTHING BUT THE NIGHT – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

Nothing But The Night By Greg King & Penny Wilson
Nothing But The Night By Greg King & Penny Wilson
TitleNothing But The Night
AuthorGreg King and Penny Wilson
PublisherSt. Martin’s Press (September 20, 2022)
FormatKindle, Hardcover, and Audiobook
Pages352
GenreTrue Crime, Murder & Mayhem, United States History
LanguageEnglish
ISBN # 978-1250272669

AUTHOR

Greg King is the author of many internationally published works of history, including The Last Voyage of the Andrea Doria. His work has appeared in the Washington PostMajesty MagazineRoyalty Magazine and Royalty Digest. He lives in the Seattle area.

Greg King bio source: Macmillan

Penny Wilson is the author of Lusitania and The Last Voyage of the Andrea Doria with Greg King and several internationally published works of history on late Imperial Russia. Her historical work has appeared in Majesty MagazineAtlantis Magazine, and Royalty Digest. She lives in Southern California with her husband and three Huskies.

Penny Wilson bio source: Macmillan

SYNOPSIS

On 21 May, 1924, 14-year-old Robert “Bobby” Franks was found brutally murdered. Bobby was the son of a millionaire business owner. Although murders were commonplace, Bobby Franks killing was, arguably, the first of its kind for America; its first “thrill killing.”

The two accused, both teenagers, viewed themselves as Übermensch; a phrase meaning Supermen as described by nihilist and philosopher Frederick Nietzsche in his book1 Thus Spake Zarathustra. Übermensch is a term to describe men for whom the normal rules do not apply. The grim truth of the crime was even more vomitus than anyone could ever imagine.

Dubbed “the crime of the century,” the court case proved to reveal more than the details of a crime, but introduced America to a sickening new criminal trend; the thrill killers! In the dock were the two accused: 18-year-old Richard “Dick” Loeb and 19-year-old Nathan “Babe” Leopold Junior.

Richard Loeb was the son of a wealthy lawyer who became a senior executive at Sears, Roebuck & Company. He was handsome, well-healed, charming and liked by his peers. Next to Loeb sat his co-conspirator, Nathan Leopold Jr. In contrast to Loeb, Leopold was described as “sinister.” He was once admired for his prodigious intelligence and yet he appeared to some of his cohorts to be “peculiar” because of his haughty attitude and aloof nature; preferring book-learning to social situations. 

Due to the nature of the crime, the two teenagers faced a charge of murder in the first degree. Their legal counsel was the highly esteemed defense attorney, 67-year-old, Clarence Darrow Esquire. Who was arguably the most feared attorney in America at the time. 

Their case was infamous for being the first recognized case of a ‘thrill kill.’ It was also noteworthy due to the fact that it was extensively planned and coordinated for the sole purpose of committing the ‘perfect’ crime and escaping subsequent justice. You can probably appreciate by now that the latter part of the plan failed, or we would not be here analyzing it today. A crime committed not by the usual suspects, but exceptional because of the social status of the individuals, their education and their religious/national identity.

The horrendous crime that Leopold and Loeb committed was so complex, notorious and shocking to the world, that it inspired Alfred Hitchcock to write the 1948 movie Rope starring James Stewart.

CONCLUSION

In a carefully crafted narrative, King and Wilson breathe new life into an old case of murder and mayhem with this, their latest literary masterpiece. Nothing But The Night is a high quality detailed accounting of ‘the murder of the century,’ as it was labeled at the time. The authors provide an unocculted view into the devious nature of the two murderers covering how they conspired together to kill without risk of capture. They guide us through the comprehensive, elaborate, and intricate planning that preceded the crime; to the actual murder, their eventual apprehension and their subsequent trial.

The trial is the end of the book, but the beginning of the conundrum. It is a view into the minds of men who believe that they were outside the norm, superior in every way, exceptional, special and entitled. They believed they held dominion over the life of their chosen, hapless victim.

King and Wilson avoid the trap of focusing on the deviancy of the two men, Leopold and Loeb. Hints of sexual indiscretion are implied but not explicit. Some things are obvious without reference, and this technique adds to the power of the work overall.

There are some books that one reads and discards without a second thought, and then there are others that resonate with us. Well, this is a work that you will contemplate for some time. You will find yourself dwelling on some aspect of the story, and weeks or months later still remember the contents and imagery of this book.

Nothing But The Night is written with consummate skill and unrivaled clarity. It is an exceptional work of its kind, and an absolute must have for true crime aficionados, students of psychology, law, or criminal justice.

If you enjoyed todays review and would like to see more of the same subject matter please like, comment and subscribe for more content.

1Nietzsche F. Thomas Common (trans.), New York: The Modern Library Press, 2017 (1883–5).

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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By Daniel Medwed

LOST AT SEA – Review

Litercurious Book Review

Lost at Sea – John Wukovits
TitleLost at Sea
AuthorJohn Wukovits
PublisherDutton Caliber (May 16, 2023)
FormatKindle, Audiobook, Hardcover
Pages‎432 pages
GenreBiographies of World War II, Military & Spies Biographies, WWII Biographies
LanguageEnglish
ASIN#B0B9WKFWT7

AUTHOR

John Wukovits has a detailed biography on his website: https://johnwukovits.com/about-the-author

SYNOPSIS

Lost at Sea is an epic journey of the human spirit, the will to survive and faith!

In October, 1942, eight men took off from Hawaii in a B-17D Flying Fortress bound for Canton Island; its first stop enroute to the South Pacific. The plane never arrived. Having drifted off course by hundreds of miles, the plane and crew were hopelessly lost. As with Emilia Earhart, the crew became frantic and the plane was low on gas. With no other option the pilot, Captain Cherry, was forced to ditch at sea.

It is a testament to Captain Cherry’s piloting skills, that he was capable of landing the aircraft on a rolling ocean without it coming apart and killing everyone instantly. The eight people onboard were able to escape the sinking plane and mount three life rafts. What followed was a twenty-four day struggle for survival adrift a vast ocean.

On board the aircraft was WWI most famous aviator and flying Ace Eddie Rickenbacker. He was accompanied by John Bartek, Wiliam Cherry, John De Angelis, Alexander Kaczmarczyk, James Reynolds, and James Whittaker. Unfortunately, only seven would survive the ordeal.

CONCLUSION

Lost at Sea is a very good book! John’s unrelenting research into this incident is evident in his writing. He takes the reader alongside Eddie Rickenbacker on his sojourn through life. The reader actually feels as if he is sitting right next to Eddie as he his racing his car around the track, or sitting in an open cockpit WWI fighter earning his Medal of Honor. The reader is right there with Eddie and those men crammed in little rubber rafts drifting on the Pacific Ocean. I literally got hot, hungry and thirsty just reading about their trials and tribulations.

Lost at Sea is a book for every aviation enthusiast. Anyone who has flown an aircraft over the ocean outside the sight of land can definitely sympathize with those men. I heartily recommend this book. It will certainly keep the reader engrossed and captivated.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank John Wukovits, Dutton Caliber, and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review Lost at Sea.

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THE RED MARKET – REVIEW

Litercurious.com

Audio & Book Reviews Site. Why watch when you can read?

The Red Market - Scott Carney
TitleThe Red Market: On the Trail of the World’s
Organ Brokers, Bone Thieves, Blood Farmers,
and Child Traffickers
AuthorScott Carney
PublisherHarper Collins e-books; Illustrated edition
(May 31, 2011)
FormatKindle, Hardcover, Audiobook
Page272
GenreAnatomy, Physician & Patient Medical Ethics,
Business Ethics
LanguageEnglish
ASINASIN : B004FEF6OW

A trade that exists on the boundaries of what is considered ethical, moral and legal. Scott Carney’s investigation exposes the inequity and abuse of the current systems as they relate to the market in human genetic material that include whole body sales of adults, children and babies. Litercurious.com

AUTHOR

Scott Carney is an investigative journalist, author and anthropologist, as well as the creative talent behind of such notable works as: The Enlightenment Trap, What Doesn’t Kill Us’, The Wedge and The Vortex.

SYNOPSIS

For more than a century, graves have turned up empty across the Indian countryside; the bodies sold abroad as anatomical skeletons. Until recently the trade was so extensive that just about every classroom skeleton in America is rumored to have come from India.

The Red Market is a look at the contemporary markets for human sourced materials and their uses. It examines the cultural, sociological, moral and ethical aspects of an increasing market in everything from human organs to humans themselves; and everything in-between. Carney reflects on the disparity and inequity of the trade in human genetic materials and the methods used by ‘richer’ nations to harvest from the poorest people.

Carney initiates a sobering self-appraisal of the financial worth of his own body on the Red Market. He shares with us that the value of his physical being is approximately a quarter of a million US Dollars. From his skeleton to his plasma and from his corneas to his heart, he calculates the possible income from the sale of his body. He explains why the ‘Red Market’ is booming across the world; a trade that Carney estimates to be calculated in billions of dollars.

Carney addresses the critical nature of the many people who are unable to receive donated organs in the West. Due to legal hurdles, these people often travel to such diverse locations as India or China to exploit the poverty of those nations citizens. Through middle men who tend to make the greatest financial profit from every transaction, they purchase their organs on the ‘Red Market.’ The huge demand for human sourced materials combined with the wealth that can be earned, encourages the unscrupulous and the criminal element. Thus ensuring the donor receives the lowest possible amount of compensation; often without appropriate post-care support.

Whilst most procurements are abhorrent, the sales are more often than not legal and sanctioned due to the implicit moral argument that it is to save human life. Any hint of criminal activity is concealed from the glare of publicity behind a veil of altruistic propaganda. Carney notes that Western attitudes to such things as organ donations for transplants create an unhealthy one-way market. Flesh donations only move up the social classes and never down in an inherently inequitable system. Carney opines that the donors are doubly disadvantaged. There is no benefit to the donor beyond a small financial incentive, and they face only disadvantages as a result of their misguided altruism.

The Red Market is essentially a peak behind the hidden world of organs and human genetic materials donations and the trade in children internationally. A trade that exists on the boundaries of what is considered ethical, moral and legal. Scott Carney’s investigation exposes the inequity and abuse of the current systems as they relate to the market in human genetic material that include whole body sales of adults, children and babies.

CONCLUSION

I realize many may be unaware that a human genetic source market exists or possess any knowledge of just how lucrative a business it is. If you are healthy, you probably never even consider it at all; unless you have a friend, family member or an associate with a condition that requires medical intervention. We never think about the significant life challenges that might ensue for the donor and their family. It prompts the question, in my mind, of what are the limits of responsibility that the recipient has to the donor. The laws that prevent the recipient from knowing who provided their life-extending genetic material, also prevents appropriate post-operative care for the donor.

There are some who are awaiting for the alternatives known as xenotransplantation; transplanted organs that come from animals rather than from humans. One thing seems apparent, with the increasing aging population, the demand for a vast range of human based medical interventions is likely to expand. In any economy, scarcity drives the price and according to Carney the current system only benefits those with significant resources; to the detriment of those least likely to benefit from the trade.

Whilst the subject is sometimes grim, disturbing and alarming, I am still delighted that I took the time to read it. There is a lot to digest here, and I took a long time before producing this review. The weight of the subject lays heavy on your heart and it is a struggle to remain objective and dispassionate. You may find The Red Market a challenging page turner. However, I expect the real-life stories will touch you and remain with you long after you have put the book away.

If you enjoy reading The Red Market, I strongly recommend you equally consider reading The Organ Thieves by Chip Jones. Although the two publications cover many of same ethical dilemmas, they approach the subjects from very different time frames and stand-points. The Organ Thieves provides a broader historic perspective on the topic. It is invaluable in advancing an understanding of the ethical complexities of the subject handed down from the past to the present day.

Read our review of The Organ Thieves here.

The Organ Thieves by Chip Jones

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Scott Carney, Harper Collins, and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review The Red Market: On the Trail of the World’s Organ Brokers, Bone Thieves, Blood Farmers, and Child Traffickers.

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American Demon – Review

Litercurious Book Review

American Demon by Daniel Stashower
American Demon by Daniel Stashower
TitleAmerican Demon: Eliot Ness and the Hunt for
America’s Jack the Ripper
AuthorDaniel Stashower
PublisherMinotaur Books (September 6, 2022)
FormatKindle, Hardback, Audiobook
Pages352
GenreTrue Crime, Serial Killers True Accounts
LanguageEnglish
ISBN #978-1250041166

Quote:

It could equally have been called the Beast of Kingsbury Run, Cleveland. AKA Cleveland’s Torso Killer Quote: “Slays in the same manner as Jack the Ripper.”  Loc 57. Page number in this book unavailable.

AUTHOR

Daniel Stashower is an acclaimed biographer and narrative historian and winner of the Edgar, Agatha, and Anthony awards, as well as the Raymond Chandler Fulbright Fellowship in Detective Fiction. His work has appeared in The New York TimesThe Washington PostSmithsonian Magazine

Excerpt taken from Amazon.

SYNOPSIS

American Demon is written by the highly regarded biographer and historian Daniel Stashower. In this his most recent publication Stashower documents the life, times, and cases of the eponymous Detective Eliot Ness. American Demon focuses on Ness’ most notable cases: The Cleveland Torso Killer, Al Capone and one that got away; the aptly labeled, American Demon.

Daniel used a diverse range of research resources that included: Eliot Ness’ original Manuscripts and the Library of Congress Manuscript Division; as well as books, magazines and journals. Written in a biographical style, Stashower catalogues Ness’ meteoric rise from his humble beginnings as the youngest son of an immigrant family, through his education in law enforcement and to his involvement with some of America’s most ignominious and memorable cases. 

CONCLUSION

American Demon by Daniel Stashower, is an interesting historical account of the trials, successes, and tribulations of Eliot Ness’ many high profile criminal investigations. 

Stashower’s narrative is easy to read, informative, expertly researched and concise. It was not the monograph I was expecting, but a compendium of Ness’ cases across his career. It was remarkably interesting learning about his various cases; some of which I was unacquainted with. 

There is much to discover in this notable work. If you find the accounts discussed in this tome worthy of further research, Stashower  provides an extensive bibliography for your reference.

I highly recommend American Demon: Eliot Ness and the Hunt for America’s Jack the Ripper.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Daniel Stashower, Minotaur Books, and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review American Demon: Eliot Ness and the Hunt for America’s Jack the Ripper.

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RESCUE BELOW ZERO – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

TitleRescue Below Zero (Kindle Unlimited)
AuthorIan Mackersey 
PublisherSapere Books (October 23, 2022)
FormatKindle, Hardcover, Paperback
Pages175 pages
GenreDisaster Relief / Aviation History / Arctic & Antarctica
History
LanguageEnglish
ASIN#B0B7JCDXC1

AUTHOR

Ian Mackersey was a New Zealand writer and documentary film producer acclaimed for his deeply researched and revelational biographies.

A former head of film and television production at British Airways in London, where his documentaries took 24 international awards, Ian Mackersey is an ex-pilot, journalist, magazine editor, TV documentary producer and the author of ten books, including two novels. He began his writing career as a reporter on daily newspapers in New Zealand before going to London to work in Fleet Street and later as a feature writer for Royal Air Force Review, travelling the world reporting on the RAF’s global operations. There followed a year in Hong Kong as night news editor of the South China Morning Post, the editorship, back at the Air Ministry in London, of the RAF’s flying training magazine, Air Clues, and, later, a move to Central Africa.

In April 2015, after a short illness, Ian Mackersey passed away in Auckland. He is survived by three children; David, Paula and Kiri. Should you wish to make contact regarding their father’s work, please email Paula Mackersey here.

Excerpt taken in parts from https://www.ianmackersey.com

SYNOPSIS

Rescue Below Zero is the true story of survival in the middle of the Greenland ice-cap. 700 miles from the North Pole, seven crewmembers and five passengers fight for theirs lives after their aircraft crashes on a resupply mission. Ill-equipped for the harsh environment, the twelve castaways must try to stay alive until help can arrive.

On September 16th, 1952, Hastings 492 with 12 people on board plunged into the deep snow atop the Greenland ice Cap at over 8,000 feet. After a brief plow through the snow, the aircraft came to a silent stop. Luckily they were within sight of the British North Greenland Expedition that was there for scientific research. Although they crashed near the expedition, it still took hours of dogging thru the snow to reach the survivors. What followed was an excruciating wait for a rescue. Stuck in the broken plane for days on end, the survivors fight the elements, boredom, and injuries to stay alive.

While rescuers try to come up with a plan, the weather is quickly turning to winter. Soon it will be impossible to send in a rescue team to pick up the survivors. Planning and preparation must account for trying to land on the snow covered ice cap and takeoff again. An ingenious plan is developed to utilize smaller planes with skis and jet assisted packs for takeoff. Will this never-before type of rescue work? Will the planes be able to make the journey to the crash site and back on the limited fuel capacity? Will the rocket packs, that have to be installed after landing, even work? Will the planes get stuck in the ever deepening snow? Can the survivors and the injured live long enough for help to arrive? How much longer can they fight the cold, the frostbite, and the never ending wind?

CONCLUSION

Ian Mackersey has delivered an exceptional masterpiece with Rescue Below Zero. It is meticulously researched and written. It is obvious Ian loves his subject material. He keeps the reader riveted to the story and the “what happens next.”

Rescue Below Zero is an intriguing tale about extreme survival. The true-life story brings to light the fight between harshest environments and the human spirit in the struggle for life.

I truly enjoyed this book and the detailed account presented by Ian Mackersey. I have been associated with aviation my entire life and love to read any books on the subject. Ian really did a superb job with this one. He keeps the reader riveted and entertained. He captures the spirit of exploration and the humanity in desperate conditions. I highly recommend this book to everyone.

Now, I am reading Smithy: The Life of Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, also by Ian Mackeresy. A review will follow shortly, but I must say this is another exceptional book by a gifted author.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Ian Mackersey , Sapere Books, and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review Rescue Below Zero.

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THE MAN WHO INVENTED MOTION PICTURES – REVIEW

Litercurious.com

The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures by Paul Fischer
The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures by Paul Fischer
TitleThe Man Who Invented Motion Pictures: A True
Tale of Obsession, Murder, and the Movies
AuthorPaul Fischer
PublisherSimon & Schuster (April 19, 2022)
FormatKindle, Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook, Audio CD
Genre19th Century World History, Arts & Photography,
Biographies, Memoirs of Abductions, Kidnappings
and Missing Persons
Pages406
LanguageEnglish
ISBN #1982114827

AUTHOR

Paul Fischer is the esteemed author and screenwriter of this most magnificent literary masterpiece: The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures. Fischer’s first non-fiction book, A Kim Jong Il Production was transliterated into almost twenty languages and voted Best Book of 2015

by the National Public Radio (NPR). His work has appeared in such august publications as The Guardian Newspaper, The Los Angeles Times, and the New York Times. He also wrote a screenplay adaption called The Body which premiered on Hulu during 2018.

SYNOPSIS

Louis Le Prince could have been as famous as Thomas Edison but for a mystery that has occluded his achievements from history.

At mid-day on Tuesday, September 16, 1890, Louis Aimé Augustin Le Prince was saying au revoir to his older brother and his niece at the train station in Dijon. Little did they know they would never meet again. Louis was on the very cusp of consolidating his decades long passion of creating realistic moving pictures and was about to disappear along with his belongings. He left a grieving widow, family and friends with a conundrum seemingly without end.

According to the author, Le Prince was working on a machine capable of creating motion pictures. Other innovators and entrepreneurs were endeavoring to be the first to claim the prestigious title of inventing the first reliable working cine camera. However, Le Prince’s technological innovation was decade’s in advance of his closest competitor. Lamentably, his hard-fought competitive advantage would disappear with him leaving behind only a few of his amazing inventions; some of which were utilized in modern cinematography until the digital revolution rendered them obsolete.

Paul Fisher provides a chronological essay into the development of moving pictures. He discusses the visionaries that tried to invent the motion camera and the circumstances surrounding Louise’s disappearance. Did Thomas Edison have him murdered, as Le Prince’s widow claimed, just so Edison could steal his patents? Was his disappearance more sinister, or did he just get tired of everything and walk away from his family and life?

CONCLUSION

The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures is a truly epic narrative with wide appeal. It is as educational as it is thrilling whilst inspiring and edifying in equal proportions. Paul Fischer’s manuscript is a lively and compelling read for those who enjoy a thrilling mystery. Additionally so, for those who enjoy photography and would value learning more about the key characters at the most revolutionary time in cinematic photography.

This work will enjoy broad appeal and a diverse reader base. Those that will find this book appealing will be: students and aficionados of photography and motion pictures; true crime and mystery readers; students of modern history during the Industrial Golden Age; and everyone who appreciates a well-written non-fiction book with a cast of compelling characters.

I highly recommend The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures by Paul Fischer. It is a comprehensively researched investigation into the life and times of one of the greatest industrial pioneers. Fischer blows away the mists of time and reveals how anyone of us could be just one journey away from missing our destiny.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
First motion picture – Roundhay Garden, Leeds, UK- Louis Le Prince
Second Motion picture- Traffic crossing Leeds bridge, UK – Louis Le Prince

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Paul Fischer, Simon & Schuster, and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures: A True Tale of Obsession, Murder, and the Movies.

OTHER WORK BY THIS AUTHOR

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One Giant Leap – Review

Litercurious Book Review

One Giant Leap - Ben Gartner
TitleOne Giant Leap
AuthorBen Gartner
PublisherCrescent Vista Press (February 21, 2023)
FormatKindle, Hardcover
Pages304
GenreChildren’s Action & Adventure / Children’s Sci-Fi /
Children’s Dystopian / Children’s Survival Story
LanguageEnglish
ASIN#B0BHRDBKZ2

AUTHOR

To find out more about Ben Gartner and what he is up too, check out his website here.

SYNOPSIS

Written mainly through the eyes of Fin, the teenage main character, One Giant Leap is his story. He starts by talking about how he is drifting through space with a leak in his suit and water from his cooling system seeping around his face and mouth. He knows he is about to die drifting forever in the dark void, but then he goes back in time and tells the story of just how and why he ended up in this particular predicament.

Four teenage kids, Fin, David, Kal and Mae, win the ultimate worldwide competition and the grand prize: an all expenses paid trip into outer space!

After all of the physicals, psychological assessments and training; Fin, David, Kal and Mae are on their way to the International Space Station (ISS). Mission plan: stop and resupply the ISS, then move on to the Gateway outpost orbiting the moon to drop off two astronauts, and then slingshot around the moon and head back to earth.

After visiting the ISS the four kids move back into their launch vehicle, Aether, to await the adults; then BAM! The whole space station is turned topsy turvey and sent spinning out of orbit. With holes in the space station, air leaking out and the whole thing spinning uncontrollably the kids are on their own. Separated from the flight crew and their guardians, the kids have to work together and think fast to save themselves and hopefully, the adults.

Will they make it? Can they save themselves? What about the adults trapped on the ISS slowly falling out of orbit to burn up in Earths atmosphere? How long can the astronauts survive on the ISS with all of the oxygen slowly leaking out into space? Can Fin, David, Kal and Mae save themselves? Can they save the adults? Can Mae even fly a spaceship? Will Fin’s body drift forever in the cold dark void of space?

CONCLUSION

One Giant Leap is Space Camp (1986) meets Gravity (2013). It is an intriguing tale of heroism, overcoming insurmountable odds, faith and courage. Ben Gartner has once again written a story that ignites the imagination and fuels the passion.

It is obvious that Ben did a lot of research for this book. The story plot is solid and the characters are well rounded and established. The interplay between each character is stable and believable. There is plenty of suspense, thrills, sorrow, excitement, danger and mystery in the story to keep the reader riveted to the book.

I not only enjoyed the story, but I really enjoyed all the little tidbits of education that is strewn throughout the book. Ben includes a section at the end that separates the facts from fiction and a glossary. He discusses future space missions and mentions some of the important milestones in space exploration. This book is not only enthralling, but it is educational as well. I highly recommend this book to young and old alike.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Ben Gartner and Crescent Vista Press for affording me the opportunity to review One Giant Leap.

OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR

ARTEMISIA GENTILESCHI: Illuminating Women Artists – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

Artemisia Gentileschi Sheila Barker
Artemisia Gentileschi Sheila Barker
TitleArtemisia Gentileschi (Illuminating Women Artists)
AuthorDoctor Sheila Barker Ph.D
PublisherGetty Publications (February 15, 2022)
FormatHardcover
Pages144
GenreIndividual Artist Monographs / Art History (Books)
Women’s Biographies
LanguageEnglish
ISBN 10/131606067338 / 978-1606067338

AUTHOR

Holding a PhD in art history from Columbia University, Sheila Barker works at one of the leading Digital Humanities laboratories for the exploration of Renaissance history: The Medici Archive Project, a non-profit that is based in the USA but

carries out its work in Florence. There, in 2010, Doctor Barker founded the world’s first archival research program dedicated to women artists, which was recently given an award by the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women for the “Best digital scholarship, new media, or web -based project of 2014.” In addition to publishing on women artists of the 16th-19th centuries, she has published on Poussin, Michelangelo, plagues and art, early modern news circulation, Urban VIII, Maria de’ Medici, and the contributions of Medici women to pharmacy and medical science.

Source: Excerpt taken from: Dr. Sheila Barker LinkedIn profile.

SYNOPSIS

Artemisia Gentileschi (Illuminating Women Artists) is a laudatory, panegyric on the life and times of this remarkably talented Baroque artist. This biographical monograph is the second book of the sub-series of Illuminating Women Artist: Renaissance and Baroque, by Sheila Barker. In Artemisia Gentileschi, Barker has produced an authoritative account of the artist that is appropriate for knowledgeable art enthusiasts and those with an academic interest.

Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1654) was the protégé and daughter of the illustrious and prolific artist, sculpture, architect, designer and internationally renowned Renaissance painter, Orazio Lomi Gentileschi (1563–1639). Artemisia was especially renowned in her time for her ability to paint complex large-scale compositions, as well as her ability to mix exquisite blues; considered a valuable skill during the period. Her skills and artistic abilities were appreciated at home, in Italy, and internationally; in such diverse locations as Florence, Rome, Venice, Naples, and London. Her works convey a strong pictorial intelligence; with technical expertise equally as powerful as some of her male contemporaries. In recent times, Artemisia is becoming popular among collectors as new examples of her work are being discovered, increasing her oeuvre.

Artemisia Gentileschi is written as a comprehensive, detailed, historic, biographical, chronology of the life, times, travels, and work of this little known artist. Barker details the numerous challenges, tragedies and successes of this renaissance female. The imprint is grandiose in its span and breadth, detailing this International Baroque artist’s life and work. The publication is illustrated throughout with the highest-quality plates that depict many of Artemisia’s most notable works.

Barker details the artist, her attributed works, and her documented international travels during her life from her formative years through her active professional period. She discusses Artemisia’s commission for Urban VIII, Maria de’Medici in Venice, her later works and even her private life; finally, culminating in an account of Artemisia’s mysterious death and the search to find her final resting place.

CONCLUSION

Artemisia Gentileschi by Doctor Barker is an intricate and detailed analysis and expertly crafted eulogistic work on this much maligned female artist. Barker shines a light in this biographical account of the newly discovered archival finds.

My first impression of Artemisia Gentileschi: Illuminating Women Artists, is that the entire package is of the highest quality. Exceptional plates commingle in unity with the learned prose; accompanied by a comprehensive range of supportive content, references, image credits, a list of manuscripts and detailed bibliographical material. There is a subtle balance between the stunning imagery depicted by the large vibrant and dynamic images of Artemisia’s original works; works that stand as a testament to her unique and exceptional talents.

I’m mesmerized by the large, full color plates of her oversized and detailed paintings. The plates depicting numerous technically exceptional scenes executed with the grace and ease of an expert.

It seems, at times, that each consecutive plate exuded a greater level of technical excellence than the last. I’m struck by the diversity of subjects, poses, color harmony and hues combining to present powerful visual narratives that thrill the eyes and stir the senses. The imagery is not limited to the work of Artemisia, but is accompanied by examples of her contemporaries that include both Renaissance and Baroque Masters such as: her father Orizio; Van Dyck; Coppola, (a personal favorite I share with Artemisia) and Caravaggio.

Artemisia Gentileschi contains a plethora of dense and concise information. My favorite section discusses the opinions of her peers about her work. In the section entitled ‘Mizia,’ the author delves deeper into the observations and opinions of Artemisia’s burgeoning latent talents that were self-evident to her mature peers. I particularly enjoyed the section titled ‘Aquiring Skills,’ where the author introduces us to the opinions of other contemporary artists of her first foray into design; even though she was not yet a teenager.

This work is an exceptional piece of writing and as such will only really be appreciated by an elite few. Those who will find it most edifying are likely to be: art connoisseurs, art historians, art aficionados, art collectors, conservators, librarians, art graduates, students studying advanced degrees, historians, and archivists. In addition to these professionals, private artists may also enjoy the rewards of owning a copy. Artemisia Gentileschi is exceptional in every way and it along with the Illuminating Women Artist series is absolutely irreplaceable as a reference in any quality library.

Artemisia Gentileschi‘s biography by Sheila Barker Ph.D., has inspired me to read and research her work in greater detail. I discovered that a Gallery exhibition was recently held, posthumously, in her honor. It is pleasing to read that, at last, Artemisia’s first exhibition opened to some acclaim. It is a well deserved accolade that was long overdue; and at least the tiny portion of her attributed works were being openly acknowledged in recognition of her stellar achievements.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Doctor Sheila Barker Ph.D, Getty Publications, and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review Artemisia Gentileschi (Illuminating Women Artists).

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