Tag Archives: Non-Fiction

THE KING’S PAINTER – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

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

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

AUTHOR

Granny Moyle Author of The King’s Painter Author Section

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

SYNOPSIS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CONCLUSION

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

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

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

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

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

OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR

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

REALATED POST

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

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

Mutiny On The Spanish Main – Review

Litercurious Book Review

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

AUTHOR

Angus Konstam 

SYNOPSIS

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

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

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

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

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

CONCLUSION

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

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

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

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

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

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

DOES YOUR DOG SPEAK HEBREW? – review

Litercurious Book Review

Does Your Dog Speak Hebrew by Ellen Bari
TitleDoes Your Dog Speak Hebrew: A Book of Animal sounds Series: Very First Board Books
AuthorEllen Bari
IllustratorHolly Clifton-Brown
PublisherKar-Ben Publishing ® (September 1, 2020)
FormatUnabridged Audiobook also available on Board
Book, Kindle
TimeOne minute and twenty-six minutes (Board book
& Kindle versions 14 Pages)
GenreChildren’s Animal book, Children’s Language Book
Language English and Hebrew
ISBN#10/131541560892 / 978-1541560895

AUTHOR

Ellen Bari has created award-winning museum exhibits and programs for clients including The Children’s Museum of Manhattan, Sesame Workshop, PBS, Nickelodeon and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. Ellen, a fluent Hebrew speaker, lived in Israel and enjoys writing about a variety of Jewish topics. She lives in New York.

ILLUSTRATOR

Holly Clifton-Brown was born in London and attended Chelsea School of Art, Media, and Design and Bristol UWE Faculty of Art, Media and Design, where she attained a B.A. in Illustration. Her work has been exhibited at The London Transport Museum. She is the author and illustrator of Annie Hoot and the Knitting Extravaganza and has illustrated other picture books including Big Bouffant and Big Birthday.

SYNOPSIS

Does Your Dog Speak Hebrew? Is the most recent offering from the acclaimed Children’s literature author Ellen Bari. This book is meant for parents of very young children who wish to ensure they begin learning Hebrew linguistically as soon as possible. Research supports the proposition that in order to increase the success of learning multiple languages is best started as early in a child’s life as possible. As you would anticipate from a book directed towards 1-4 years of age, pre-school and up, the content is purposefully short, simple and repetitive. This is no accident but is done purposefully in order to hold the child’s attention and through repetition improve their retention of the story and thus the nuances of the language.

The narration delivered by Holly Clifton-Brown provides a concise and clear delivered in an accurate manner and accent free.

I am reviewing the audiobook version and so I am unable to comment on the illustrations beyond stating that if the front page is anything to go by the images will be every bit as exciting and interesting as the narration and the dialogue.

CONCLUSION

Does Your Dog Speak Hebrew? Is fun for the child and the parent. What better gift to give your child than a better understanding of the world through the languages we speak. I enjoyed it and I am completely confident that you and your children will to.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to thank Ellen Bari, NetGalley and Kar-Ben Publishing ® & Lerner Audiobooks for affording me the opportunity to review: Does Your Dog Speak Hebrew?

OTHER WORK BY THIS AUTHOR

Jenny loves to jump. But when jumping gets her in trouble, she decides to retire her pogo stick. Then her school decides to hold a fundraising fair, and she discovers that her skill can be used for a good cause.

The Tattered Prayer Book, winner of The Mom’s Choice Award, is a gentle introduction to the Holocaust for children ages 6-10. Ruthie discovers a secret about her father while looking through a box of mementos from “the old country.” As her father tells his surprising story, Ruthie learns a slice of Jewish history and the circumstances under which the family fled Nazi Germany. A burnt prayer book taken in secret from a destroyed synagogue after Kristallnacht offers solace to a young boy at the most difficult time in his life.

SIMILAR CHILDREN’S BOOKS

WE THOUGHT WE KNEW YOU – Review

Litercurious Book Review

Header Image for We Thought We Knew You a True Crime Audiobook By M. William Phelps.
TitleWe Thought We Knew You: A Terrifying True
Story of Secret, Betrayal, Deception, and Murder
AuthorM. William Phelps
NarratorDanny Campbell
PublisherTantor Audio (29 December, 2020)
FormatUnabridged Audiobook also available in
Kindle, Hardback
Time9 Hours 48 Minutes
GenreTrue Crime, Biographies of Murder & Mayhem
LanguageEnglish
ASIN #B08QLK4YL1

AUTHOR

M. WILLIAM PHELPS

SYNOPSIS

We Thought We Knew You is a book written by the prolific true crime writer and investigative journalist, M. William Phelps.

Mary Yoder is dead at sixty.

It is July of 2015 and Mrs M. Yoder, a previously healthy married woman with one son, has just collapsed and died in great pain and discomfort. An autopsy reveals the terrible truth that Mary has been murdered.

Means, motive and opportunity are key indicators used by police to determine the suspicion of an individual suspected in the involvement of a crime. It was no different in the case of the murder of Mrs, Yoder. The family and those closest to her were the first to come under scrutiny. Her long time husband Bill, her son Adam, and his former girl-friend Kaitlyn (Katie) Conley formed the triad of characters under investigation. Quickly, the focus falls upon one of the three suspects.

The suspects are:

Kaitlyn Conley is an attractive, vivacious, and popular woman and the former girlfriend of Mary Yoder’s son. Following an acrimonious split, Katie continues to work at the Yoder’s family owned chiropractor’s office. Kaitlyn had suffered from a contentious relationship with Adam from which she continued to harbored unrequited rage. She has a history of rage combined with instability when it came to dealing with rejection in relationships.

Adam Yoder is a conscientious and hard working young man who in the time running up to Mary Yoder’s death had some verbal disagreements with his mother. These disagreements placed him in the purview of the investigation.

Then there was Bob Yoder, Mary’s long suffering husband. Could he have murdered his wife in such a brutal and heinous way?

Could it all be so simple? Could there be another more motivated killer on the loose? Or does this murder boil down to someone motivated by a combination of lust, control, and selfish greed?

In court, the Defense appears to be winning the case. With conflicting motives and the nimble mindedness of the Defense Team, they outmaneuver the Prosecution.

Then a Cyber Crime Forensic Expert comes to the aid of the prosecution council. A man who sifts through the hidden evidence and constructs an irrefutable truth based in cold, hard facts from meta-data. The true motive is revealed. Through a jigsaw like puzzle, the jury of their peers must decide who is to blame beyond any reasonable doubt.

So who did it in the end? The quickest and easiest way to discover the culprit, is to listen to it for yourself.

Happily, you can read We Thought We knew You for free on Kindle Unlimited. See link at the bottom of the page.

NARRATOR

We Thought We Knew You, was narrated by Danny Campbell.

I am sorry to say that I am not a fan of Campbell’s narration of this work. I found his flat diction, devoid of any intonation or fluidity to be below average. This combined with this his labored breathing was profoundly disquieting. His diction became a considerable distraction from the well formed prose of Phelps. The lack of vocal range, timpani, or any color created an uninspiring transition between characters. His lack of vocal range and labored breathing definitely had a negative impact upon my enjoyment of the audiobook.

CONCLUSION

We Thought We Knew You by M. William Phelps is not the best of his work. There were a number of times where I found some repetition. The tendency to transcend between one time and another proved to be a little disorientating. Despite that, I enjoyed Phelps unraveling of the conundrum that is: We Thought We Knew You.

One of the reasons that Phelps is a successful writer is he sincerely cares about the victims of the crimes he reports. His success cannot simply be attributed to his excellent skills in writing or his investigative methods. There is a palpable sense of anger and frustration that his subjects have been callously killed. This is borne out by the consistent pattern of his writing style in that he always has the victim as the fulcrum of the story. He consistently regales us with the minutiae of the victims daily lives and their hopes, dreams and vulnerabilities. He paints them in flesh and blood terms as they once were through the written word. This to me, this is what make M. William Phelps work stand out. In the world of true crime, he stands alone and unique in his defense of those who can no longer defend themselves.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

AS OF MARCH, 2021 THIS EBOOK IS FREE TO READ ON Kindle Unlimited

Now you can decided for yourself what you think, Simply click here to visit the page

SELECTION OF WORKS FROM THIS AUTHOR

See more from this author here.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank M. William Phelps, NetGalley, and Tantor Audio for affording me the opportunity to review We Thought We Knew You.

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.