Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality by Thomas Sowell

We all know the sound bites of claims about the Civil Rights Movement. Thomas Sowell in Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality explains some statistics that refute many of those claims. He lays out his argument pretty well and makes sense most of the time. The epilogue is quite whiny complaining about people misrepresenting his work and sometimes I felt like he was trying to use as many big words as he could to show how awesome and smart he is. Overall, the book is decent and worth reading. There is clear bias making it a good book for high schoolers learning about the Civil Rights era to read and use as an exercise in critical thinking to determine which arguments are valid and which might be logic leaps.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 76
Pages Read in 2019: 20,563
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Some Gave it All by Danny Lane and Mark Bowser

Danny Lane came home from his year in Vietnam in 1969 with two purple hearts, a whole bunch of other medals for his bravery and heroism, and PTSD. In 2006, he ended up with swelling in the brain that held him in a flashback for several months. Some Gave it All is his story both of his year fighting for ground and losing it again in an increasingly unpopular war and his fight against the PTSD that held him forty years later. It is told in a casual way as if he was sitting in front of you describing everything right to your face rather than in a book. It could use some light editing as some words were misspelled and tenses occasionally changed even within the same sentence (though that could be a style choice given the conversational manner of the book; either way I didn’t like it and found it distracting). I recommend this book to mature teens and adults interested in the Vietnam War (note that there are graphic descriptions of injuries and death and many curse words, though most have *s in place of some of the letters).

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 75
Pages Read in 2019: 20,393
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Filed under Non-Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron

Give Me Tomorrow by Patrick K. O’Donnell

Give Me Tomorrow tells the story of the very brave George Company and their actions in the first few months of the Korean War. There are lots of quotes from the men who lived through it. It can be graphic and a little confusing at times, but that’s just how war is. I am concerned by a very glaring error near the beginning of the Kindle version. It says Pearl Harbor was attacked on JUNE 7, 1941. That error made me trust all other details given in the book a little less. I recommend reading it to older teens and adults who are interested in the Korean War.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 74
Pages Read in 2019: 20,163
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Filed under History, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron

Start-up Nation by Dan Senor and Saul Singer

Start-up Nation attempts to determine why Israel has more start-ups per capita that anyone else. I don’t think the authors truly answered the question other than, possibly, mandatory service in the military and the networking and skills that come with that. They tended to ramble and repeated themselves a lot. It really boiled down to Israel is amazing and can do pretty much nothing wrong, Arab nations surrounding Israel do basically nothing right, and military service (and maybe immigration, though that argument was poorly made) works. I only recommend reading this book if you truly feel the need. It’s not really worth the time.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 73
Pages Read in 2019: 19,873
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Filed under Non-Fiction, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron

Children of the Great Depression by Russell Freedman

Full of stunning pictures taken during the 30s, Children of the Great Depression tells the story of (mostly) poor children and their plight during the worst economic downturn in American history. It is short, but still packed with information. I recommend it to kids who are studying the Great Depression.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 72
Pages Read in 2019: 19,565
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Filed under History, Reason: Pre-Reading for Adrian

Breaking Free by Rachel Jeffs

I knew Warren Jeffs was an awful person, but I never realized just how crazy and controlling he is to those inside the FLDS church. Rachel Jeffs, one of Warren Jeffs’ daughters, is one of the lucky ones. She found the strength to get out. Breaking Free documents what she went through at the hand of her father and how she finally was able to leave. It reads pretty fast and is quite interesting. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys memoirs or is interested in what life is like in a cult.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 71
Pages Read in 2019: 19,447
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Filed under Memoir, Reason: LitHub Bingo

Becoming by Michelle Obama

The story of Michelle Obama’s life is told in Becoming in a way that sucks the reader in and helps you to understand how she was feeling at the time and why she did what she did. While I did not vote for her husband, I do have a new appreciation for the Obamas, and especially for Michelle as a woman, wife, and mother, having read her book. I recommend Becoming to anyone interested in knowing where Michelle Obama came from and what life in the White House can be like for a first lady who isn’t too fond of politics.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 70
Pages Read in 2019: 19,130
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Filed under Annual Wrap-Up, Memoir, Reason: LitHub Bingo