Category Archives: Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron

The War That Made America by Fred Anderson

Covering the French and Indian War and the aftermath, The War That Made America makes the case that without the British win over the French and then the application of taxes on the colonists to help pay England’s war debt, the US would never have become an independent country. The narrative is interesting and usually keeps the attention focused. I had never thought about the reason for the Stamp (and other) Acts being directly related to the aftermath of the French and Indian War before. I recommend this book to anyone interested in or studying the French and Indian War.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 96
Pages Read in 2018: 22,320
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under History, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron

Mozart: A Life by Paul Johnson

First, the good. Mozart: A Life is pretty short, but packed with analysis of Mozart’s music and some information about his life. The author clearly absolutely loves Mozart and his works. His passion comes through in the writing. You can’t help but really like Mozart, too, while reading it. But, then there’s the not so good. Even though the title indicates the book is a biography of Mozart, it is really more about his works. The author’s intense love of Mozart makes it so you would think he was practically a saint. Anything negative was glossed over. The writing was rather dull most of the time. I would not recommend this book if you want to know about Mozart the person, but it is good if you want to read about his works.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 92
Pages Read in 2018: 21,414
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Biography, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron

Why Dinosaurs Matter by Kenneth Lacovara

Like all TED Books, Why Dinosaurs Matter is meant to be read quickly while also being packed full of information. Dinosaurs have always fascinated people and this book takes you on a brief tour of some dinosaurs, including Dreadnoughtus which was discovered by the author. It details what happened after the meteor hit in the Gulf of Mexico and then relates why learning about dinosaurs, and what happened to them, is important to us now. I recommend this book to anyone interested in dinosaurs.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 89
Pages Read in 2018: 20,922
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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

The Slave Dancer by Paula Fox

Jessie is kidnapped and put on a slave ship. His job is to play his fife to make the slaves dance to keep them healthy on the trip to Cuba.

The Slave Dancer shows what life on an illegal slaver in the mid-1800s was like both for the crew and the slaves. It’s well-written and hold your attention well. I highly recommend it to middle school age kids and up.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 86
Pages Read in 2018: 20,269
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Historical Fiction, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron, Reason: Pre-Reading for Fritz

The Republic of Pirates by Colin Woodard

The Golden Age of Piracy produced legends like Bellamy and Blackbeard. It only lasted a few years and ended in some dramatic pirate ends. The Republic of Pirates somehow managed to make that exciting time boring. I learned a lot and liked that conversations and everything described came from actual records. But it was so boring. The book is extremely well-researched with copious endnotes. If there is nothing else on the subject to read, it’s good enough, but be aware that it is no page-turner.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 84
Pages Read in 2018: 20,037
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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

Blood on the River by Elisa Carbone

When Samuel Collier was twelve, he came to the brand new James Town colony as a servant to Captain John Smith. Blood on the River is his story. The story covers just before he came to the New World through the Starving Time (though he was at Point Comfort and so did not experience those terrible months the way those who stayed in James Town did). There is a slight bias toward the colonists causing most of the problems with the Natives. I enjoyed this book a lot and recommend it to middle grade age kids interested in the founding of Jamestown.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 80
Pages Read in 2018: 19,033
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Historical Fiction, Middle Grades, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron

The King’s Fifth by Scott O’Dell

A young mapmaker, Esteban de Sandoval, joins Captain Mendoza on his quest to find gold in the 1500s in the New World. With the gold hidden where no one will ever find it and Captain Mendoza dead, Esteban finds himself on trial for murder, which he denies, and for not giving the king his fifth of the gold, which he admits.

I guess I am just not a Scott O’Dell fan. This is the second book I have read by him and I didn’t care for either of them. The parts of The King’s Fifth that describe the courtroom and the trial are quite interesting, but everything else, which is most of the book, is rather boring. Even a description of a battle with an Indian tribe drags. I kind of wanted the conquistadors to die right then so the book would be over. I liked the premise and how the book went back and forth between what happened finding the gold and what happened in the courtroom. It was just the storytelling that I didn’t enjoy. If there is nothing else available, this book is good enough, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to read it.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 78
Pages Read in 2018: 18,545
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Historical Fiction, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron, Reason: Pre-Reading for Fritz