Category Archives: Non-Fiction

God’s Jury by Cullen Murphy

God’s Jury tells about the Inquisition and how it has affected the modern world. There was a lot of excellent information about the Spanish, Roman, and even American Inquisitions. The author, however, tended to meander and one paragraph would be about the 1500s and the next would be about something in recent history with no transition in between. Sometimes the parallels drawn didn’t quite make sense. I would have preferred more of the history. I do recommend the book, however, to anyone interested in the Inquisition.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 1
Pages Read in 2018: 332
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Non-Fiction, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron

God’s Battalions by Rodney Stark

God’s Battalions takes the view that the Crusaders were completely justified after being pushed so hard by the terrible Muslims who were invading their territory. The chapters where the author stuck to facts and what happened on the various Crusades were very good. The chapters attempting to prove his thesis were not. He’d “prove” his point by grabbing onto one single thing that didn’t necessarily prove what he was trying to prove (for example, the Muslims were “backward” because they did not like to use wheeled things like carts as the Europeans did, but instead stuck to the camels they were already familiar with – making it clear that camels were far inferior to carts). Often he stated that most historians say one thing, but this one single historian says this other thing and so obviously the one is correct (because what they said agrees with his thesis) and all the rest are wrong. There are many logical fallacies throughout the book. I actually had my 16-year-old son read this book as a critical thinking exercise, finding the problems with it. For that, it is an excellent resource. Otherwise, I wouldn’t recommend it.

2 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 166
Pages Read in 2017: 44,742
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Pre-reading for Cameron for This School Year

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The Feud That Sparked the Renaissance by Paul Robert Walker

Filippo Brunelleschi and Lorenzo Ghiberti were Italian artists in the early 1400s. They were rivals, they competed for the same jobs, and sometimes they worked together. Their art marks the beginning of the Renaissance. The Feud That Sparked the Renaissance was often textbooky and I occasionally found my eyes to be glazing over as I read. But I learned so incredibly much. I’ve never been particularly into art so so much of it was new to me. I recommend reading this book to anyone interested in art and the early Renaissance.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 163
Pages Read in 2017: 44,095
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Pre-reading for Cameron for This School Year

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One Nation by Ben Carson

One Nation is a lot of rambling about how we need to fix America. The anecdotes don’t always make sense in the context of the chapter. Some of the facts (and understanding of scientific concepts) are just plain wrong. He claims to be moderate, but clearly is not. While I do agree with quite a bit of what he wrote, I found his “action items” to be lacking and it ended up being more of a giant whine than anything else. I could only take the book in small doses. I don’t particularly recommend reading it.

2 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 157
Pages Read in 2017: 42,452
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: A to Z Authors (C)

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Please Stop Laughing at Me by Jodee Blanco

Jodee Blanco was bullied through about half of her school years. She was told kids will be kids and that there was something wrong with her. Years later, she went to her high school reunion and discovered, like many bullies, her tormentors had no idea that what they did was a big deal or how it had affected her. Please Stop Laughing at Me is Jodee’s story. It’s sometimes shocking, but also sometimes familiar. It’s a huge reminder that our actions affect others, and often in ways we never realize. I recommend this book for anyone who has children or deals with kids on a regular basis.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 133
Pages Read in 2017: 36,342
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Birthstone Bookology (P in SAPPHIRE)

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Harry Truman’s Excellent Adventure by Matthew Algeo

Shortly after he left office, Harry and Bess Truman went on a road trip in their 1953 Chrysler New Yorker from Missouri to DC to New York and back to Missouri. Harry Truman’s Excellent Adventure is part chronicle of that trip, part biography about Truman, and part commentary on how the places the Trumans visited have changed in the over 50 years that have passed since. Packed with information and anecdotes that any Truman fan will appreciate, I highly recommend this book!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 121
Pages Read in 2017: 33,308
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Birthstone Bookology (H in SAPPHIRE)

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Filed under Biography, Non-Fiction

The Emerald Mile by Kevin Fedarko

I read The Emerald Mile because it’s my best friend’s favorite book. I’ve never been to the Grand Canyon and I’ve never seen the Colorado River. This book, in telling the story of The Emerald Mile’s incredible speed run of 1983, is a love story about the river. I was quite pleasantly surprised at how interesting the story was to me and how beautiful and descriptive the writing. I recommend The Emerald Mile to anyone who loves our earth and, especially, the Colorado River.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 120
Pages Read in 2017: 33,019
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Birthstone Bookology (E in PERIDOT)

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