Tag Archives: History

WILDCAT – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

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

AUTHOR

Author John Boessenecker

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

SYNOPSIS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CONCLUSION

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: 4 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

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

OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR

RELATED POSTS

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

RELATED POSTS

SPITFIRE!-REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

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

AUTHOR

Learn more about Dilip Sarkar.

SYNOPSIS

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

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

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

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

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

CONCLUSION

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

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

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

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

Rating: 3 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

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

City of death – review

Litercurious Book Review

City of Death, Scott McEwen & Ephraim Mattos
TitleCity of Death: Humanitarian Warriors In the Battle of Mosul
Author Scott McEwen (#1 Best selling Author of American Sniper) & Ephraim Mattos (Former US Navy SEAL)
PublisherCenter Street, Illustrated edition (October 23, 2018)
Pages 305
GenreHistory of Iraq, Philanthropy & Charity, Iraq War History
LanguageEnglish
ISBN/ASIN1546081828 / B079L5QNM3

#HistoryofIraq #PhilanthropyandCharity #IraqWarHistory

AUTHOR

Scott McEwen (#1 Best selling Author of American Sniper)

Ephraim Mattos (Veteran) United States Navy, Sea, Air, and Land (SEAL)

SYNOPSIS

City of Death by Ephraim Mattos and Scott McEwen is the recollections of Mattos’ time with the Free Burma Rangers (FBRs) in Mosul, Iraq, during April-July 2017.

Ephraim Mattos, a U.S. Navy Seal veteran and deeply spiritual man, becomes disenchanted with the military. Seeking a way to utilize his training and combine it with his spiritual beliefs he decides to invest himself in more philanthropic endeavors by joining the FBR. He wanted to use his skill set to help the FBR in their quest to provide humanitarian aid and record war crimes in high conflict areas of the world. 

The Free Burma Rangers (FBRs) are comprised of an eclectic mix of characters. They are a diverse multi-cultural, multi-denominational dedicated team of men and women. They share a unified mission to provide aid and comfort to those who require it the most in conflict areas of the world. 

Collectively, Mattos and the FBR quickly commingle to form a tight nit team. They unite spiritually, mentally, and emotionally in their commitment to provide medical aid to the Iraqi soldiers and citizens; whilst recording war crimes committed by The Islamic State a.k.a. ISIS/Daesh. The international melange manages to forge close bonds with the Iraqi Army during their efforts to retake Mosul. Although the FBR is mainly there to provide medical aid and comfort to the Iraqi soldiers and the fleeing citizens, they are targeted by ISIS and forced to fight for their own lives. Equipped with worn out AK-47’s and inferior equipment, the FBR continuously expose themselves to enemy fire while trying to evacuate the wounded soldiers and civilians. With bullets flying, bombs exploding and suicide bombers charging, the FBR set about their daily routine business. They witness horrific war crimes, bloody battles, and refugees trying to escape being gunned down by ISIS; victims that include small children. 

In an environment where alms meet arms, the FBR might be the civilians last best hope of help. 

CONCLUSION

City of Death is as gripping as it is gritty. It is action packed from beginning to end. The descriptions of daily life have a visceral intensity not normally present in works of this kind. The Author recreates the chaotic and unpredictable nature of modern urban warfare. The book describes the horror and humanity in the war to retake Mosul from ISIS in 2017. 

City of Death is, at times, deeply disturbing and infinitely inspirational. The synergy of Ephraim Mattos’ graphic reminiscences and Scott McEwen’s stirring prose provide a captivating read for lovers of real-life action adventure and war stories. 

Scott McEwen’s skill in writing top selling literature and his unique style combine to produce a breath taking look at humanitarianism meeting a merciless and unrelenting foe. The result is a deep dive into catastrophic effects on the lives of those souls living in Mosul during April-July 2017. 

City of Death is a compelling and heart breaking look at asymmetric warfare at its worst in the early years of the 21st Century. The climax of the book is unbelievably breath-taking; involving life and death decisions. The account is all the more intense because it was visually documented and is available online.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Scott McEwen and , Ephraim Mattos, and Center Street for affording me the opportunity to review City of the Dead: Humanitarian Warriors In the Battle of Mosul .

OTHER BOOKS BY SCOTT MCEWEN

A TALENT TO DECEIVE – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

A Talent To Deceive by William Morris
TitleA Talent to Deceive: The Search for the Real
Killer of the Lindbergh Baby
AuthorWilliam Norris
PublisherCamCat Publishing, LLC (July 7, 2020)
FormatUnabridged Audiobook
Time11 hours and 52 minutes
GenreMurder True Crime
LanguageEnglish
ASIN # B08BQKX1NW

AUTHOR

William Norris

SYNOPSIS

A Talent to Deceive, by William Norris, focuses on the kidnapping of Charles Augustus Lindbergh Junior on the evening of March 1st, 1932. He was the son of the renowned aviator Charles Augustus Lindbergh Senior; the first person to fly across the Atlantic non-stop. Norris’ work is an in-depth and skillful investigation using a diverse range of contemporary sources. He seeks to enlighten us to the facts, opinions, and contemporaneous evidence he discovered through his extensive research. What he discovers has convinced him there was a miscarriage of justice.

If you are familiar with the case then buckle up because your preconceptions are about to be shaken in an avalanche of newly discovered information. Forget about what you thought you knew, try to put aside your biases and open yourself up to Norris’ detailed version of the events. 

On a Spring evening 98 years ago, 20 month old Charles Lindbergh Jr. was kidnapped and murdered. Eventually, the perpetrator was tracked, tried and executed; at least that is what we thought. Norris reopens the case with a comprehensive breakdown of the people and events that led to the disappearance and subsequent death of the Lindbergh baby. He leaves no stone unturned, and his research indicates a miscarriage of justice took place and the wrong man was tried and executed. He delves into the characters surrounding the investigation and how they influenced the outcome; including how Charles Lindbergh Sr. took over the case. Norris makes a compelling case that the “Crime of the Century” still remains unsolved.

CONCLUSION

A Talent to Deceive begins as a non-fiction true crime drama but quickly evolves into a political psycho-drama with twists and turns, strong personalities and secrets. There is much to commend in A Talent To Deceive, not the least of these is the in-depth and detailed research undertaken by the author. His innate skill and deft prose are always engaging and entertaining. Norris manages to encourage the reader to empathize with the events that took place almost one hundred years ago. He quickly draws the reader into the historic case in such away that it affects you emotionally, intellectually, and psychologically. It is easy for the reader to become completely invested in Norris’ version of events. It is only with distance and hindsight that a dispassionate analysis is possible; even then a reader may still feel uneasy as to the events in those days so very long ago. 

If this is the first time you have come across the Lindbergh case, you can expect a real feast of information. Norris writes with conviction and clearly feels strongly about both the crime and the alleged unsafe-conviction. Most of all, he expresses his deep unease with regard to the motivations of the key players; including Charles Lindbergh Sr. and the State actors that conspired with, or for, Charles Lindbergh Sr.

A Talent to Deceive will live in your memory long after you have read it and certainly would stand a second or even a third read. This book is a must have for the avid true crime community and a special addition to the real crime aficionado’s library. 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank William Norris, NetGalley, and CamCat Publishing LLC. for affording me the opportunity to review A Talent to Deceive: The Search for the Real Killer of the Lindbergh Baby.

OTHER WORK BY THIS AUTHOR

Willful Misconduct by William Norris
Willful Misconduct by William Norris

Sol Invictus – Review

Litercurious Book Review

TitleSol Invictus (book 2 “Eye of Ra” series)
AuthorBen Gartner
PublisherCrescent Vista Press (February 1, 2021)
FormatKindle, Paperback
Pages / File300 / 3901 KB
LanguageEnglish
GenreChildren’s Historical Fiction
ISBN 10/13173415523X/ 978-1734155235

AUTHOR

Find out about Ben Gartner and The Eye of Ra series here.

SYNOPSIS

Sol Invictus is the second book in the Eye of Ra series. It continues the adventures of its two main characters Sarah and John.

Sarah and John are pre-teens that are transported through time to the ancient Roman frontier. There they must unite the Roman Emperor Caesar Constantius with an enemy to save the time line and return home. This proves to be a difficult task since his enemy, the Alemanni teen Crocus, was made a slave after the Emperors soldiers killed his father. Crocus hated the Romans and only wanted revenge for his father death.

Sarah and John go through a lot of death-defying adventures to accomplish their task and return home. They fight in the arena, go on the run from the Romans, are turned into slaves, fight wild wolves and much more. The odds seem insurmountable, but they must endure if they ever want to get back to their own time and family.

CONCLUSION

Sol Invictus is an action-packed adventure into ancient Roman times. Mixed with a little history and a lot of imagination this book has it all for a young reader. There are ancient sword and shield battles, arena fighting with wild animals, chases through rough mountainous country, the defeat of capture and slavery, and the joy of friendship and camaraderie. This book has plenty to keep a young reader enthralled.

My only criticism is the constant referral to the first book in this series. My OCD wanted me to stop reading this book and start at the beginning of the series. Sol Invictus is a strong book and can stand on its own without the constant reminder of the previous book. If you can get past this little inconvenience, then you will truly enjoy this story.

My final thoughts on this book are: it is a great read. It has a lot of action and suspense, there are times of joy and sorrow, but overall, I’m glad I read it. Now, I must go get the first book, so I can appease my OCD.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

I would like to thank Ben Gartner, NetGalley, and Crescent Vista Press for affording me the opportunity to review Sol Invictus.

The Hunt For History – review

A LITERCURIOUS BOOK REVIEW

TitleTHE HUNT FOR HISTORY
AuthorsNathan Raab / Luke Barr
PublisherScribner (March 10, 2020)
FormatKindle, Hardcover, Audiobook     
Page272     
LanguageEnglish     
ISBN #10 /#131501198904  / 978-1501198908     

WHO ARE THE AUTHORS?

Nathan Raab is the Principal of The Raab Collection and an established author. Mr. Raab is a familiar presence in the international media scene and has appeared in several broadcasts, in magazines and periodicals, and online.

Nathan has worked with the Library of Congress, the British Library, and many others. He has advised the descendants of many notable historical figures on the treasures that they have inherited. The Raab Collection has handled manuscripts and artifacts from a rich and diverse range of luminaries. Some of these esteemed historical figures are; Thomas Jefferson, Ronald Reagan, Dwight D. Eisenhower, F. Scott Fitzgerald, James K. Polk, William Henry Harrison, Andrew Jackson, Gerald Ford, Signers of the Declaration of Independence, senior leadership in the Civil War, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Luke Barr is a New York Times bestselling author and was a features editor. He is known for his titles Ritz & Escoffier and his bestseller Provence, 1970. He worked as an editor at Travel + Leisure magazine. Luke now lives with his wife and their two daughters in Brooklyn. 

WHO IS THIS FOR?

The Hunt for History is a cross between a real-life detective story and an Easter Egg Hunt. It is a risky business and the find can sometimes be valued in excess of six figures. If you enjoy the thrill of the chase, the drama of the reveal, or relish the trip through the adventure of the hunt you will love this text. Any history buff, collector of ephemera, antiquarian, museum curator, or student of history will be guaranteed to enjoy and appreciate the skill, hard work, and commitment employed by this family of literary sleuths. Those who are aficionados of fictional characters such as: Sherlock Holmes, Indiana Jones, or Hercule Poirot then this true-life detective story will most certainly fascinate, entertain, and enthrall.

The Raab’s have much to teach their contemporaries about maintaining humanity and ethics in business practice. Nathan Raab goes to great pains to clarify that it is not just the monetary rewards that are important but the legacy that they help hand down to history through their discoveries. The Raab Collection’s ethics seem to be a distinct characteristic that separates the Raab’s from their competition, and it is why the monied class approach them repeatedly to sell, value or auction their family jewels.

SYNOPSIS

The Hunt for History will inevitably be compared to the Raiders of the Lost Ark and for very good reason.

These antiquarian detectives don’t hunt down criminals or solve murders; no, they solve puzzles far more complex than any thought up by the great mystery writers of the past. Their story is every bit as exciting and intense as a Sherlock Holmes tale.

Truth being stranger than fiction; this family of ‘detectives’ are far more skilled, intelligent, analytical, and intuitive than any of their fictional counterparts. Nathan Raab asserts that his success is due in part to the ‘Blink’ moment and a skill impossible to cultivate except through practical experience and the passage of time. These qualities include a detailed and working knowledge of a foreign language (in Nathan’s case that language is French) a good grounding in law, as well as a keen manuscript hunting mentality. It’s these traits that Raab confirms are the key personal characteristics that make the family business so successful. 

Raab takes the reader along on a number of historically important quests for irreplaceable artifact and manuscripts. He describes how his father trained him and how his experiences developed the necessary skills that were essential to search for invaluable artifacts from times long past. Some treasure troves he discovered are so important that they would make even the hardest archivists salivate. Together this family has saved documents that eluded generations of sleuths, in one case they linked a lost document to the Rosetta Stone story.

The Raab family’s dogged determination and intellect often lead to official, personal, and historically significant artifacts and personal property of some of the history’s greatest players being found. They have discovered historic scripts from Kings, presidents and other notables. Although the hunt brings rich rewards financially, this isn’t the sole motivation for the Raab family. This family cares in every sense of the word in the legacy that is often attached to many of the items they manage to recover for posterity.

There is a genuine sense of empathy expressed at the relinquishment of unique and historically important items by those who have owned the various ‘objet d’arts’ over many generations; in one particular case spanning some 400 years. Most of all, it is the chase that will keep you turning the pages as it did for me. I was beguiled by each and every detail of the various reveals. The reader gets a real sense of the ups and downs emotionally and otherwise of the family’s commitment to finding and acquiring important antiquated collectibles.

Raab recounts the family’s investment in time, money, and effort in seeking out elusive historic treasures. The journey is a long one. The excitement grows as one incredible find is usurped by another then another, and they get more extraordinary with each turn of the page.

CONCLUSION

Put simply, this volume is a rip-roaring tale. If you read no other book in 2020, I highly recommend this one. As a book reviewer, I have only given 3 books a 5-star rating this year, and one of them goes to this work.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

My sincere thanks go to: Nathan Raab and Luke Barr, NetGalley, and the publisher, Scribner for affording me the opportunity to review The Hunt For History.

FURTHER READING

You can find manuscripts they have for sale here: https://www.raabcollection.com/buy

The Raab Collection provide a PDF advice guide for those elite families who hold valuable items. Download it here or visit their site: https://www.raabcollection.com/selling

The Story of the Wright Brothers – Review

Litercurious Book Review

TitleThe Story of the Wright Brothers
AuthorAnnette Whipple
PublisherRockridge Press (July 28, 2020)
FormatKindle / Paperback
Pages / File68 / 3011KB
LanguageEnglish
GenreChildren’s Historical Biographies
ISBN 10/13164739239X / 978-1647392390

AUTHOR

Find out about Annette Whipple here.

SYNOPSIS

The Story of the Wright Brothers is a condensed children’s book about the first two men to fly a heavier than air vehicle. It provides a quick glimpse into the surrounding political turmoil in America during their early years. She also tells children how people lived without electricity, indoor plumbing, and telephones. 

The book covers the family dynamics, siblings, and the constant moving. Through it all Orville and Wilber were not just brothers but best friends. They did a lot of reading, tinkering, and learning. The boys were fascinated with flight from a very early age. Due to some injuries and sickness their dream of attending college never materialized. The boys started working together and continued with their fascination of flight. They built gliders and eventually an airplane. They pioneered many flying techniques, including “wing warping”.

Orville and Wilber not only invented the airplane, but they were also the first flight instructors. They taught the Army how to fly and many more. They were more than inventors; they were pioneers, adventurers and daredevils.

CONCLUSION

As someone who hails from a family of pilots, I love any books about the origins of flight. Annette does a great job condensing this epic tale into something for children. She discusses the four forces of flight in a manner easily understood. Aerodynamics is a very complex subject matter when you think of all the forces that act on an airfoil at different speeds and temperatures. She includes a glossary at the end which is wonderful. The illustrations were appropriate and very well drawn.

The Story of the Wright Brothers is a comprehensive tale of the two most important men in aviation. I find it amazing that Annette could write such a good book in children’s terms. There is so much information covering their lives, trails and tribulations. Annette cuts through all of that and brings the important aspects to life for young readers. 

As Certified Flight Instructor Instruments (CFII) and professional helicopter pilot, I can say that did enjoy this book. It is very basic, but it is intended for very young children. Of course there are a lot of books that go into much more detail, but as an introduction for children this book is great.

I was working at an airport while attending college and I actually met a pilot who had his original license signed by one of the Wright brothers. This book reminded me of the awe I felt as I looked upon the signature of one of the original inventors and flight instructors.  

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

ILLUSTRATOR

To learn more about Alessandra Santelli click here.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to I thank Annette Whipple, Netgalley, and Rockridge Press for affording me opportunity to review The Story of the Wright Brothers.

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.