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Beiträge von Robert Jarvis ...
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Robert Jarvis (jarvis@uni-desa.com) (El Salvador)

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Hawaii
Hawaii
von James A. Michener
  Taschenbuch

1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
1.0 von 5 Sternen What a bore!, 28. Oktober 1999
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Hawaii (Taschenbuch)
I am about to do something I very rarely do. Give up on a book through sheer boredom. I'm 700 pages into the thing, so I feel I've given it every chance! Reading the previous reviews, a reasonable explanation might be that Amazon sent me a different copy of Hawaii than the others received. I doubt it though! The story starts with Michener's usual tedious geological data, followed by a fairy-tale type account of the original settlers, from Bora-Bora, would you believe? The story then leaps to the early 1,800's, introducing us to the first central character. Abner Hale no less! A devout, religious, New Englander. A stubborn, boring, would-be missionary in his teens. This poor wretch lives a long life in Hawaii, using his inadequate & flawed character to the full, converting the local SAVAGES (his word, not mine!) to Christianity. His treatment of his "flock" is devastatingly viscious & bigotted until finally dying alone, in poverty & insane. A well deserved fate if you ask me! There follows long pages on the progess of a boring, but industrious Chinese couple, an equally drab Japanese immigrant, etc.. Where (or perhaps, why?) did he come up with these people? The Hawaiian descendants are little better, bullies, braggarts & bigots almost to a man. In fact, racism & bigotry are underlying themes throughout the book. In my experience, Michener's novels have an unerring tendency to tail off badly into long, dry endings. With a beginning & middle like I have just read, I'm giving up now!


Story of the Titanic: As Told by Its Survivors (Dover Maritime)
Story of the Titanic: As Told by Its Survivors (Dover Maritime)
von Jack Winocour
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 14,74

4.0 von 5 Sternen Compelling accounts of tragedy!, 16. August 1999
This book gives four informative, exciting, compelling accounts of the Titanic tragedy. The Lightholler report, being the only survivor amongst the senior officers & quite liberally mentioned by the other authors, is particularly interesting. The stoic response by the vast majority of obviously doomed male passengers to the prospect of drowning in sub-zero temperature water, as they stood orderly by, or assisted in the loading of women & children in the life-boats, is quite staggering. One of the storytellers has a sad, old-fashioned tendency to describe many of the non-English speaking survivors in very disparaging terms. Indeed, Gracie quite often comes across as annoyingly pompous in his descriptions. On the other hand the short report of the surviving wirelessman is totally unstuffy & hugely readable. The inquiries' treatment of Ismay, the President of Titanic's Company & a survivor against all the odds for single males, is particularly interesting . The book also highlights some of the movie's mistakes, especially the breaking off of the stern section prior to sinking. On the whole a good book & worth buying.


Eye-Deep in Hell: Trench Warfare in World War I
Eye-Deep in Hell: Trench Warfare in World War I
von John Ellis
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 21,49

4.0 von 5 Sternen Moving WW1 study., 7. Juli 1999
Oh dear, oh dear! We can all thank our lucky stars we will never be called to fight in a war like this. Here is an account that vividly & shockingly brings the reader face to face with all the horrors that WW1 soldiers (usually) stoicly accepted as part of their daily existence. This was a war of attrition. The majority of the combatants died whilst never coming face to face with the enemy. The grinding trench warfare routine became the principle enemy. Cloying mud, freezing weather, disease carrying rats, incessant sniping & constant bombardments brought death, wounds & incapacity in a cruel, unforgiving & random manner. The book, whilst brilliantly revealing the day to day soldier's lot, hardly touches the strategic development of the war & it's campaigns. This is not really such an important omission as it would have been in other wartime histories since financial considerations, rather than the static trench warfare, ultimately decided the outcome of this sad conflict. Excellent mix between author's narrative & eye witness reports. Most of the book is devoted to an in-depth insight into all the despair of the physical consequences of the war, particularly moving to me were the soldiers' accounts at the end, that reveal poignantly the lasting & laudable attitudes to comradeship & love for fellow sufferers, that blossomed from such awful, dire circumstances. Highly recommended!


Touched with Fire: The Land War in the South Pacific
Touched with Fire: The Land War in the South Pacific
von Eric M. Bergerud
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 18,99

1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Detailed, but dis-jointed!, 28. Juni 1999
This book is detailed, well researched, nicely balanced between narrative & quotes. Indeed, it is a very full account of all the elements that went into producing the hell that was WW2 in the South Pacific. Problem to me was the decision to deal with these elements in a sort of dry, encyclopedic manner. The Author really covers everything, including artillery, drugs, hospital facilities, furlough, morale, religion, terrain, tobacco, transport, weapons, etc., etc., but deals with them as separate situations. This approach is extremely thorough. It also reveals the "blood & guts" horrors, & difficulties of combat in that theatre of war. Sadly, I feel it hinders the reader in following the actual progress & development of the campaign. The short "calander" of events at the end is no compensation. This book is fine for folk who know the history of the South Pacific Campaign & want to flesh out the details. Not too satisfactory for those readers starting at scratch!


The Baraboo Guards: A Novel of the American Civil War
The Baraboo Guards: A Novel of the American Civil War
von John K. Driscoll
  Taschenbuch

4.0 von 5 Sternen An excellent piece of military fiction!, 5. Juni 1999
A successful novel in my opinion, must first & foremost, create a desire in the reader to know the trials, tribulations & ultimate fate of the main characters. In this book the reader truly cares! The book enjoys a good number of larger than life characters who suffer unbelieveably cruel adventures, with varying degrees of fortitude, that enthrall the reader more & more as the book develops. One hundred innocent souls are cajoled by the jingoism of the local politicians in Sauk County, Wisconsin, to volunteer to go niaively off to a far-away war in which they had little idea of the motives for the same, & even less idea of the savagery they would ultimately be exposed to. Innocence is often the first casualty of war & the battle of First Bull Run quickly kills off the innocence of the Baraboo Guards. Their development from raw recruit to seasoned veteran is hard & wearisomely achieved. At each charnal house battle, characters who are dear to the readers' heart inexorably bite the dust. As battles commenced I found myself crossing my fingers to protect those I had become most endeared to. To no avail! The book is historically accurate in all aspects. The uniforms, equipment used, etc. The timing & circumstances of the civil war battles. Action is rousing & clearly related. Wounds are painfully described & deaths keenly felt. I found the slightly thin love affair that runs through the book, a little unsatisfactory, but I'm probably being too much of a nit-picker. This book moves along at a cracking pace. Whilst not exactly a joy to read, it is certainly a worthwhile & rewarding experience. I heartily congratulate the author & unhesitatingly recommend the book.


Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates (Harvest Book)
Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates (Harvest Book)
von David Cordingly
  Taschenbuch

4.0 von 5 Sternen Lightweight history but very enjoyable!, 26. Mai 1999
This is a well researched & factual account of the lives & times of pirates. The historical facts throughout, are nicely compared to the popular illusions we all draw when considering pirates in particular, or in general. A romantic life, this was not! Extremely few lived to enjoy the product of their nefarious activities on the high seas. In fact very few avoided coming to a sticky end on the gibbet, or on the deck of their ship. It's clear that the crime of piracy in the late 17th. early 18th. century, rarely paid. The book abounds with details of the principle characters that are both interesting & surprising. Perhaps the difference between two of the most well remembered & recognised pirates, Blackbeard & Captain Kidd, is a good example of the contrasts that are so neatly drawn in this book. Whilst Teach (Blackbeard) went about his business in true pirate fashion; cruelly, ruthlessly, fighting to the death & with no decency or honour. Captain Kidd, was proven guilty of only one murder (he killed one of his own crew in a fit of temper, by hitting him over the head with a heavy wooden bucket) & maintained until his final moments that his conviction for piracy was just a pure misunderstanding. This book is lightweight enough for anyone to enjoy & detailed enough for those wishing to study the subject in some depth.


Alamo (Bison Book S)
Alamo (Bison Book S)
von John Myers
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 9,53

5.0 von 5 Sternen All action account!, 7. Mai 1999
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Alamo (Bison Book S) (Taschenbuch)
Most people are aware of the history of the Alamo. This book gives us some in-depth background of the incredible story of how a group of a little over one hundred men, chose certain death, instead of surrender, or retreat, in front of a hopeless situation. More incredible still, is the fact that only nine of the Alamo defenders (curiously, all of Mexican origin!) were actually born in Texas! How were these passions created? The book is short & always to the point. Myers deals with the social & historical factors that drove the action in a logical, simple & interesting way. The central characters are beautifully developed. The reader actually cares about their welfare & ultimate fate. So important in holding one's attention. The whole account runs logically & unfussily to the momentous final conclusion. Here too, the author does not disappoint. The battle scenes are rousing, all-action & the tactics, weaponry, etc., are clearly described. Throughout, Myers is very careful to differenciate between known fact & heresay. He shows great impartiality too, between the Mexican & American positions. All in all, I would have no hesitation in recommending this book to both serious & occasional military history readers. Totally entertaining!


The Twelve Caesars (Penguin Classics)
The Twelve Caesars (Penguin Classics)
von Michael Grant
  Taschenbuch

5.0 von 5 Sternen Absolute power house!, 30. April 1999
Power corrupts & absolute power corrupts absolutely. Look no further than this book for the evidence! Marvelous account of the lives of twelve men who thrust themselves, or were themselves thrust, to the head of one of the most powerful empires the world has ever seen. The joy of this account is the freshness of the story-telling. Graves brings Seutonius' words to life & it's hard to believe we are reading history that was written at the time of Christ. It's a newsy, pacy & sort of quirky report on some of the most despotic crack-pots that ever had control of the frightening power over life & death & were least equipped to apply it justly. From the ruthless Julius Caesar to the nutty Caligula, the incidental personal details of these characters will stay with you longer than the general history of the major events. Loved it! Don't even think of not reading this book!


Crazy Horse and Custer: The Parallel Lives of Two American Warriors
Crazy Horse and Custer: The Parallel Lives of Two American Warriors
von Stephen E. Ambrose
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 16,60

4.0 von 5 Sternen Must read, entertaining history!, 30. April 1999
I really enjoyed this book! In my opinion, much better than his WW2 book, "Band of Brothers" I am unfamiliar with US western history & this account left me wanting to know more. Ambrose deals with both central characters with an admirable objectivity. Rare in this type of "comparative" history. The war & battle sequences are described in a clear & exciting manner. The heavier political, social, historical developments are presented without detracting from the entertaining & fast moving account. Ambrose has a tendency towards a delivery that is occasionally too melodramatic & an over useage of colloquial language that seems slightly inappropriate for a serious history. Over all I found the book very well researched, gripping & an absolute delight to read. Highly recommended for lovers of military history. Deduct one star rating for the inclusion of the worst, smallest & almost uninterpretable maps I have encountered in print. Why did you let this happen Mr. Ambrose?


Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West
von Dee Brown
  Taschenbuch

2 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Shabby heritage!, 16. April 1999
Wow! As a Brit., I will never let another American preach to me about the evils of colonialism & prejudice. Compare the plight of the Canadian Indians with that of the US Indians & one can clearly see the blackest offenders. This book traces a shabby heritage of Americans practicing genocide, largely on the basis of what the 19th century whites believed was their "divine right" to own a whole continent. A book that's well written, thoughtful, exciting, shocking, shameful & very highly recommended.


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