Saturday, December 8, 2018

Merry Christmas, all!


The Lights of Christmas

They twinkle thru pine, tinsel, and globes,
Strands of many tiny colored bulbs—
Crimson, amber, azure, and green:
The lights of the Christmas Tree.

They tremble, flicker, then dance
Over wicks in sculpted wax,
Flames aglow with warmth on the mantle:
The light of Christmas Candles.

It shines thru all times and all ages
Sparking goods works in all places
Even in those who don’t know His Name:
The Light of the Christmas Babe.

Jeff Thomason
12/4/2018

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Book Review - Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession, and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship by Robert Kurson

Pirates have always fascinated me, both the myths created by storytellers and movie makers and the reality that wasn't so violent or glamorous. So little of real pirates and what they did is known, that every new nugget of knowledge is an exciting find.

Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession, and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship by Robert Kurson is a nonfiction account of an actual search and discovery of an obscure pirate and his ship that should be much more famousIt is available as an eBook, Audiobook, and those paper things your grandparents used to read.

The Good


John Banister. I had never heard of John Banister, but this book included so much of his story and character that I'm dying to see a movie about his life. He was a fascinating character, filled with brilliance and contradictions, and lived several exciting adventures that would be perfect for the silver screen.

Background on Treasure Hunting and Searches. The author did an excellent job spelling out the realities of treasure hunting, the lifestyle, the challenges, the sacrifices, and the rare payoffs. I've seen fictional portrayals of all this, but to find out what happens in real life to real people was very interesting.

The Bad

Not a Lot Happened. I enjoyed the story, but it would be hard to turn into a movie without a lot of creative license. While quite a bit happened, not at much as one would expect happened. And a lot of it wasn't unique to this particular incident, but sounded to so many other stories.

Weird "Learned from the Natives" Shoehorned in at the End. The author shoehorned in a single experience about natives using a rock and sticks to change his tire, then made it some major point of learning right at the end. It felt like pandering and trying to make the author sound enlightened and not like an experience he actually learned from. If he really was so impressed with the natives and their ingenuity, he needed to include a lot more examples thruout the book and not some quick, unnecessary side note near the end.

What I Would Like to Have Seen


I wish there had been more to the story.

Overall


Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession, and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship by Robert Kurson is a well written account of a handful of men and a pirate that should be a lot more famous than he is. The story of John Banister, the pirate, was fascinating and would make an incredible film. The story of the discovery of his ship not so much. I give this book 4 out of 5 eReaders.


   

Monday, December 3, 2018

Book Review - Andrew Carnegie by David Nasaw

In college, one of my Economic instructors often referred to Andrew Carnegie and mentioned what he would do. The version he presented made Carnegie out to be a fascinating character I wanted to learn more about.

Andrew Carnegie by David Nasaw is a biographyIt is available as an eBook, Audiobook, and those paper things your grandparents used to read.

The Good


Research. Before he died, Andrew Carnegie started an autobiography which his wife finished and published after his death. A biography considered very authoritative was also published. Apparently both contained a lot of inaccuracies, unverifiable stories, and flat out lies. The author did an excellent job researching the man and explaining what can be verified and what can't.

Portrayal. The author focused on who Carnegie was as much as what he did. Carnegie was quite a paradox preaching one thing while practicing its opposite. He also flipped his opinion on several issues throughout his life. The author also shows him as delusional thinking he had much more influence than he did.

The Bad

Bias. The author has his own opinions and interpretation of history, and makes no attempts to be objective and hide his conclusions. Nor does he leave the reader much room to disagree or draw his own conclusions.

What I Would Like to Have Seen


I wish the author had been more objective.

Overall


Andrew Carnegie by David Nasaw is a well researched biography of an important figure in US and World History. The author presents who the man was as well as what he did. He points out what can and cannot be verified and corrects many errors and purposeful fabrications from previous biographies including Carnegie's own autobiography. Unfortunately, the author has own opinions and interpretation of history, and makes no attempts to be objective and hide his conclusions. That would have been fine in a work of fiction, but not so much in a work of nonfiction. I give this book 4 out of 5 eReaders.