Category Archives: Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron

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

On Hitler’s Mountain by Irmgard A. Hunt

The author grew up during World War II in Berchtesgaden, right in the shadow of Hitler up on his mountain. Her family were typical Germans who supported Hitler because of how much he helped the German economy. On Hitler’s Mountain tells the story of her childhood as well as examines how normal, good people could allow the rise of Hitler to happen unchecked. I recommend this book to people interested in World War II.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 64
Pages Read in 2019: 17,212
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Filed under Memoir, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron

The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan

The Worst Hard Time is packed with information about the dust bowl. It focuses on several people so everything is presented in story form making it very enjoyable to read. It is well-researched with extensive notes and sources. I didn’t know much about the dust bowl before I read it, but after reading it, I feel like I know quite a bit. I recommend this book to late teens and up learning about or interested in that part of US history.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 58
Pages Read in 2019: 15,615
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Filed under Non-Fiction, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron

1984 by George Orwell

1984 is one of those books with themes that continually appear in pop culture and everyone, whether they’ve read it or not, know the basics of how it goes. There’s Big Brother and the Thought Police and the constant fear that you’ll be picked up and just vanish because you said something in your sleep or made a face that was construed as being anti-Party. The main character, Winston, realizes that history keeps getting rewritten (he works in the department where they do just that after all) and that things aren’t what the government claims. The only problem is pretty much everyone else seems to buy into it all, and if they don’t they no longer exist (and never existed). Some things in the book are frightening when you look around and see shades of them in real life (don’t believe what you see and hear… only I tell you the truth). The gaslighting is amazing. If anyone wonders what gaslighting is, reading 1984 should help them understand. The end is rather depressing and give a bleak outlook on what a society like the one portrayed would do to free thinkers. I highly recommend reading it to older teens and up.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 55
Pages Read in 2019: 14,783
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Filed under Classic, Dystopian, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron, Reason: Well-Educated Mind Challenge

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

All Quiet on the Western Front is a rather intense depiction of World War I. It is told from the viewpoint of a young German soldier. It goes deep into his psyche as he comes to grips with the loss of his friends, killing people who only are his enemy because someone above him said so, and what the point of war is at all. It is sometimes hard to read as the descriptions can be graphic, but they also seem honest. The book really makes you think about war and what it does to the individuals who do the fighting (it is definitely not pro-war). I highly recommend it to older teens and up learning about World War I.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 51
Pages Read in 2019: 13,186
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Filed under Realistic Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron