Book Reviews

The Walker Library: Classical Literature English Literature, The Frankenstein Collection

Posted on February 2, 2017. Filed under: Book Reviews, The Walker Library |

  1. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
  2. 1818 Edition
  3. Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley, A Norton Critical Edition of the 1818 text with Contexts, Nineteenth-Century Responses and Modern Criticism, Edited by J. Paul Hunter. W.W. Norton & Company: New York, 1996 (335pp.) Read 06-28-16 to 09-11-16, Outstanding! Although I had read an 1831 edition 25 years ago or so (see below) and had seen some of the movies as a kid, this marks the beginning of my serious study of the book. The Norton Critical Editions never disappoint! Paperback.
  4. Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley, A Borders Classic. Ann Arbor Media Group: Ann Arbor, MI 2003 (192pp.) Hardback. Received as a gift from my friend and co-worker, Jason Reeves, 2016. This is the 1818 text.
  5. 1831 Edition
  6. Frankenstein or, the Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley, A Signet Classic with an Afterward by Harold Bloom (1963). Signet Classics: New York (first Printing 1963, updated bibliography 1983) 224pp. I first read this edition, and took some notes, in December of 1989. I am re-reading this edition in 2017. This paperback is based on the 1831 edition.
  7. Children’s Editions
  8. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley, Great Illustrated Classics, adapted by Malvina G. Vogel, Illustrations by Pablo Marcos Studio. Baronet Books, Playmore Inc. Publishers: New York, 1993 (239pp.) I purchased this hardback book in 1995 for my children, but, sadly, we never read it. It is wonderfully illustrated on about every other page.
  9. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley, Classics Illustrated No.13, Adapted by Ruth A. Roche and Illustrated by Norman B. Saunders (front cover), Robert H. Webb, and Ann Brewster; Additional material by Karen Wenborn. CCS Books: Newbury, Berkshire, UK 2016 (49pp.) I purchased this Comic Book in late 2016. It has a helpful 6page discussion guide in the back and the illustrations are in color.
  10. Books About Frankenstein and Mary Shelley
  11. Study Guides
  12. CliffsNotes on Shelley’s Frankenstein, by Jeff Coghill. Houghton-Mifflin-Harcourt: Boston, 2001 (88pp.) A helpful guide but it had a few mistakes that should have been edited better. Read 11-29-16 to 12-23-16.
  13. Sparknotes: Frankenstein Mary Shelley. Spark Publishing: New York, 2007 (76pp.) Purchased in late 2016.
  14. Biographies of Mary Shelley
  15. Mary Shelley: Her Life, Her Fiction, Her Monsters by Anne K. Mellor. Routledge: New York, 1988 (276pp.) Read 09-12-16 to 10-13-16, Outstanding! This book was very well written and extremely helpful!
  16. Mary Shelley, by Miranda Seymour. Grove Press: New York, 2000 (655pp.) Began reading 01-26-17.
  17. Criticism and History of the Novel, etc.
  18. Frankenstein: A Cultural History by Susan Tyler Hitchcock. W.W. Norton & Company: New York 2007 (392pp.) Read 10-14-16 to 11-25-16, Outstanding!
  19. Columbia Critical Guides: Mary Shelley- Frankenstein, edited by Berthold Schoene-Harwood. Columbia University Press: New York 2000 (208pp.)
  20. The Endurance of Frankenstein, edited by George Levine and U.C. Knoepflmacher. University of California Press: Berkeley, CA. 1979 (341pp.)
  • Frankenstein Movies
  1. Frankenstein, the Restored Version, produced by Carl Laemmle, Jr. MCA Universal 1931 (1 Hr. 11 Min.) Starring Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, John Boles. Screenplay by Garrett Fort and Francis Edwards Faragoh. Directed by James Whale. I watched this version online in January 2017. I know I had seen at least parts of this movie as a child, but parts did not seem familiar to me. Though a wonderful movie, a classic really, in its own way, I was disappointed in that it did not stick close enough to the novel.
  2. Frankenstein Memorabilia
  3. Frankenstein Movie Poster, matted and framed, December 2016.
  4. A Frankenstein Halloween table decoration, January 2017.
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A Book Review of “First Over There” by Matthew J. Davenport

Posted on December 5, 2016. Filed under: American History, An American Catechism, Book Reviews, The Walker Library |

First Over There: The Attack on Cantigny, America’s First Battle of World War I, by Matthew J. Davenport. St.  Martin’s Press: New York, 2015 (360pp.) Read 10-02-16 to 12-04-16. Outstanding! This is how military history should be written! This is one of the all-time Best military histories I have ever read! Why this book did not win a Pulitzer I don’t know. The author, Davenport, says this is his first book; I certainly hope it is not his last. This is an exquisitely detailed book about the 1st Infantry Division, 28th Regiment in its preparation for, conduct of, and what happened after the Battle of Cantigny, France, May 28-30, 1917. The author covers the big picture of what was going on during the war, the politics, and command level. Then he works himself down to the 1st Division, then the 28th Regiment, and into the individual Rifle Companies, Platoons and Squads. The amount of detail he provides on so many individual soldiers is simply amazing. He writes of this battle at the individual level without leaving out the bigger picture. He does not spare the reader the gory details of battle as he gives graphic accounts of deaths and wounds. He brings you into the suffering of the soldier. Why read this book? We are in the one-hundredth anniversary of World War I and today’s generation knows nothing about this war. We live in a post-American, post-patriotic era. This book may stir the cooling embers of genuine patriotism and love of country. This book should be a movie. The only criticism of the book I could give is that with all of his extensive research, he should have perhaps included more on the German side and he had almost nothing on the French citizens of the town of Cantigny. I highly recommend this book! If you can read only one book on the Great War, read this book during 2017.

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The Library of Freedom:

Posted on November 12, 2016. Filed under: A Theology of Patriotism, American History, An American Catechism, Book Reviews, Culture Matters, Uncategorized |

 

Books, Readings, Movies and Music Celebrating Americanism, Freedom, the Christian Faith, Godly Virtues, and Western Civilization

Introduction: The Great Election of 2016 for the President of the United States is now over and the 45th President will be Donald Trump of New York, a businessman, not a politician. This election will be the subject of studies for the foreseeable future because it was so very different in many ways from all the elections preceding it. Perhaps the strangeness of the election will not be fully known until after the Trump presidency has had a chance to actually do some things that were promised in the campaign.

This election has clearly demonstrated what many of us have known for a long while: this nation is very divided. In my studies as an amateur historian I would say that our nation is more divided than at any time since the 1850’s- 1860’s. The slavery crisis was a complex issue that touched on what it means to be a human being, what the Bible says about slavery, what the Founders thought and wanted, as well as the sheer economics of slavery and the political divide the issue caused including the issue of states’ rights and individual property freedoms. It took the worst war in our history, a war that killed more Americans than any other war, to settle the issue and the lingering issues of race and racism linger still and will likely never go away. But today we are at least just as divided and maybe more so.

The issues that divide us today are just as fundamental as the issue of slavery. Is an unborn baby a human being with rights? Should men be able to marry men and women marry women? What is marriage? What is a family? Can people switch genders and declare themselves a different gender from what they were born with and then force society to recognize them for who and what they are pretending to be? If you have a religious belief that contradicts the liberal sexual mores can you be persecuted and prosecuted by the State and coerced to act against your religion in order to accommodate those with whom you disagree? Do homosexual rights trump religious freedom? Is Islam compatible with any of our western values? What is a nation? Should we not have borders or an official language? Should we purge our history of inconvenient facts because the public’s values have changed?

For the last hundred years or so conservatives and the religious right have slowly surrendered one part of our culture after another despite winning many elections. Our culture is no longer slouching towards Gomorrah, we are going at breakneck speed off the cliff to Gomorrah. And yet we, the religious right and conservatives in general, have just won another election. Sort of. Trump is problematic at best for purebred conservatives.

While political movements, elections, and policies are important, they are just one part of what we must do to reclaim the culture. I would say, boldly even, that the greatest single cause of the decline of our culture is that we have forsaken Christ and His Inspired, Inerrant, Infallible Word. The Church has failed to hold to sound doctrine and failed to pass the faith down to the next generation, and the next, and the next…. We have failed to proclaim the pure gospel and evangelize the lost, failed to claim every part of our culture for the glory of Christ, and failed to lead our world with a consistent and biblical worldview. We have retreated to our Christian ghettos and have been compromised by the world.

Along with the decline in the Church, the next big reason for the fall of our civilization is that we have ceded control of Education to the pagan Left. From the local elementary schools to the school boards, the teachers’ unions, the Teachers’ Colleges and Universities, to the Dept. of Education, our education system is failing and falling short. Our literacy rates are in decline but our athletics are outstanding. The classics are unread, untaught and forsaken but we are computer literate. Americans no longer are even teaching math at university, immigrants are. The Liberal Left and atheists do not and will not, cannot, teach patriotism and moral values anymore. It is now controversial to require students to say the pledge of allegiance, it is not unusual for the Mexican flag to be more prevalent on campus than the American flag and kids cannot sing Christmas carols during Winter Holidays (it used to be called Christmas!)

In short, the American education system is all about keeping children ignorant of the greatness of our country, ignorant of the biblical basis for morals and values, and is more interested in turning out world citizens who cannot think or reason and know not from whence they came, than they are about turning out moral citizens who think critically and cherish their nation’s heritage.

The same can be said for the American entertainment establishment. Gone are the days when sports heroes and movie stars also served in the armed forces and fought in our wars. Today the sports heroes take a knee when the National Anthem is played and the movie stars threaten to move to Canada when their candidate and political party loses an election. One of the biggest Olympic heroes of all time, Bruce Jenner, has made himself a woman. Sort of.

And the News Media, the so-called journalists of our day…are simply disgusting. Useless. Communists. It took an outlaw set of computer hackers, Wikileaks and Anonymous, to break the decisive stories that revealed how crooked the demoncratic party is. They did what the Main Stream Media used to do.

If our government does not address these issues in our education, media, and entertainment systems then all of our political actions and ideals will come to naught.

So what can I do? What can WE do? One tiny thing I am going to do is to promote good books, movies and music that point us in the right direction. If the education system, modern news media and entertainment industry does not promote Americanism, Patriotism, Western Civilization, Virtue and Good Morals, and the Christian Faith, then I WILL. The lists that I will produce are from my personal library and are books/movies/music that I think are important and share a good message that will build up the Church, build up America and Americans, and fight the overwhelming tide of evil that assaults us every day.

I am inviting you to educate and inform yourself through these resources. Certainly we should exchange ideas, discuss the books and the issues. And have fun!

I. History: the Record of Freedom and Oppression, Greatness in Western Civilization

     A. General Histories of America: Here are some general histories of America that I have either found to be outstanding or look very promising with good, strong recommendations.

  1. A History of the American People, by Paul Johnson. HarperCollinsPublishers: New York, 1997 (1088pp.) Johnson is British and the book was originally published in Britain. This is an outstanding, conservative view of the history of America. I would say that if you could read one volume on the history of America, read this book!
  2. Modern Times: The World from the Twenties to the Eighties, by Paul Johnson. Harper&Row Publishers: New York, 1983 (817pp.) While this is a world history, it deals a lot with America and her impact on the world, so I am including it here as a companion volume to the one above. I have read this big book twice it’s so good! Even though it is now a bit out of date, if you want to read a great, conservative account of most of the twentieth-century, this is the book.
  3. The Growth of the American Republic, Volume One, sixth edition, by Samuel Eliot Morison, Henry Steele Commager and William E. Leuchtenburg. Oxford University Press: New York, 1969 (921pp.) The original edition of this classic came out in 1930. Volume Two, seventh edition, 1980 (923pp.) I read these two classics back in 2000 over about 5 months- that fast for such a large work indicates how much I enjoyed these books! The authors tell the story of America in a rich, invigorating manner.
  4. America, The Last Best Hope Volume I:From the Age of Discovery To a World at War by William J. Bennett. Nelson Current: Nashville, TN 2006 (673pp.) The portions of this book I have read are outstanding! Volume II: From a World at War to the Triumph of Freedom 1914-1989 Thomas Nelson: Nashville, 2007 (592pp.) This two volume set may be better in some ways than the previous set listed above because Bennett does deal with some modern trends in American History that are liberal and deconstructive. Bennett takes on controversial subjects like Columbus and sets the Liberals straight! If you can afford the time for a big 2 Volume history of America, go to Dr. Bennett.
  5. A Patriot’s History of the United States From Columbus’s Great Discovery to the War on Terror, by Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen. Sentinel: New York, 2004 (928pp.) I have read parts of this book and am quite impressed! It seems that it started out as a one volume work but the following volumes have been added. A Patriot’s History of the Modern World From America’s Exceptional Ascent to the Atomic Bomb: 1898-1945, Larry Schweikart and Dave Dougherty. 2012 (490pp.) A Patriot’s History of the Modern World Vol.II From the Cold War to the Age of Entitlement: 1945-2012 by Schweikart and Dougherty. 2013 (671pp.)
  6. The Americans: The Colonial Experience by Daniel J. Boorstin. Vintage Books: New York, 1958 (434pp.) This is an outstanding three book series that takes a series of connected snapshots to lay out the history of this great nation. This is not your normal, straight chronological history; Boorstin’s writing is unique and scintillating. The Americans: The National Experience. 1965 (517pp.) The Americans: The Democratic Experience. 1973 (717pp.) This inexpensive paperback set would be a great addition to any family’s library. The way Boorstin writes and organizes his book is that you can open it to any chapter at random, read it, and feel good about your country and learn a lot. You do not have to read it all the way through, first to last, although that is certainly the recommended way.
  7. The Oxford History of the American People, volume I: Prehistory to 1789, Samuel Eliot Morison. Mentor: New York, 1972 (422pp.) Volume II: 1789 Through Reconstruction. (540pp.) Volume III: 1869 to the Death of John F. Kennedy 1963. (521pp.) Morison is one of my all-time favorite authors and this series is outstanding. I also have the one volume, hardback edition which can still be purchased: The Oxford History of the American People, Oxford University Press: New York, 1965 (1151pp.) Morison is an old school conservative who is a delight to read. By conservative I do not mean a partisan, rather, an accurate historian who is passionate about our story and seeks to tell it with grace and dignity.
  8. B. Discovering the Americas: Stories of Adventure, Courage & Greatness: Every American should get to know Christopher Columbus. He has fallen out of favor these days and is blamed for the near extermination of the Native Americans, Indians, and Aboriginal Peoples. I believe that we should celebrate Columbus and his great accomplishments as he had a great faith in God, a sense of divine calling in his life, and he was the most courageous and talented mariner in our American story. Simply put, if Columbus had not persevered in his quest, which was a religious quest, America would not be here.

The study of Columbus does have a particular relevance to our lives today in that he was seeking a way to deal with the problem of Islam in his day. That’s right, Columbus did NOT just sail west because it was there, he did not set out on his journey simply for fame, glory, and riches. He believed God had called him to this task in order to enrich the Spanish Crown and fund a Crusade to reconquer the Holy Land from the Muslims and open new trading routes since the Muslims had blocked the direct route. Along the way he discovered a New World.

  1. The Log of Christopher Columbus, translated by Robert H. Fuson. International Marine Publishing Company: Camden, Maine 1987 (252pp.) An excellent prime source that demonstrates his faith in God and personal courage.
  2. The Four Voyages of Christopher Columbus, Edited and translated by J.M. Cohen. Penguin Books: New York, 1969 (320pp.) This book is an Excellent prime source and contemporary account. This is an inexpensive paperback and should be in every American’s home!
  3. Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem, Carol Delaney. Free Press: New York, 2011 (319pp.) An excellent biography that sheds much light on the religious motives of Columbus. If you can’t read Morison’s lengthy biography of Columbus, read this one!
  4. Admiral of the Ocean Sea, A Life of Christopher Columbus, by Admiral Samuel Eliot Morison. Little, Brown and Company: Boston, 1942 (680pp.) This Pulitzer Prize winner is one of my top biographies. If you could only read one book on Columbus, read this one.
  5. The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus, Two Volumes in One, by Washington Irving. Cosimo Classics: New York, 2011, originally published in 1893, (489pp., 515pp. respectively). Did you catch the author’s name? Yes, that Washington Irving, the famous 19th century author of The Last of the Mohicans, and The Deerslayer. One Great American writing about another. While I have not read this massive 2 volume biography yet, this classic promises greatness. Morison does quote from Irving several times in his books, but there are some inaccuracies in the book that Morison ferrets out.
  6. The European Discovery of America: The Southern Voyages A.D.1492-1616, by Dr. Samuel Eliot Morison. Oxford University Press: New York, 1974 (758pp.) This outstanding book tells the stories of the brave, the cruel, the greedy, and the amazing men who led other men in the very dangerous journeys of early trans-Atlantic sailing to the Americas. The book focuses on Columbus, Magellan, and Drake but includes others. These men should be revered as heroes by every American, but, sadly, their stories have fallen on hard times to our great loss.
  7. The European Discovery of America: The Northern Voyages A.D. 500-1600, by Admiral Samuel Eliot Morison. Oxford University Press: New York, 1971 (712 pp.) This Harvard Professor and U.S. Navy Admiral begins his story with ancient myths of islands and lands west of Gibraltar and the English Isles and then covers in detail the great mariners like Leif Ericsson, John Cabot, Jacques Cartier and Sir Walter Raleigh. These great men, and the adventures they pursued, should be common knowledge today, but have, sadly, been long forgotten. In my lifetime the only men that come close to these heroes are the astronauts of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs which also are now nearly forgotten.
  8. B. Conquering and Colonizing the Americas
  9. Of Plymouth Plantation: Bradford’s History of the Plymouth Settlement 1608-1650, by Governor William Bradford. The Vision Forum, Inc.: San Antonio, TX 1998. Originally published 1856 after being lost and in private possession for over two-hundred years. This edition updated into modern English in 1909 by Harold Paget. (353pp.) I have read this book twice and believe that every American should read this book! Condensed, paperback editions are available.
  10. Love and Hate in Jamestown: John Smith, Pocahontas, and the Heart of a New Nation, by David A. Price. Alfred A. Knopf: New York, 2003 (305pp.) This outstanding book needs to be read in conjunction with Plymouth Plantation listed above. The two books give you both sides of the founding of this great country- a search for wealth and adventure as well as a search for freedom to worship.
  11. A Land as God Made It: Jamestown and the Birth of America, by James Horn. Basic Books: New York, 2005 (337pp.) Jamestown is so important that a second book is worthy of your reading.
  12. Captain John Smith: Jamestown and the Birth of the American Dream, Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.: Hoboken, New Jersey, 2006 (274pp.) To understand, love, and appreciate America you must read biographies of the great men and women who founded and built this great country. John Smith was a great man, and here is a worthy biography.
  13. John Winthrop: America’s Forgotten Founding Father, by Francis J. Bremer. Oxford University Press: New York, 2003 (478pp.) Surely Winthrop deserves the title of a Founding Father, and this biography brings back this forgotten giant of our history.
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Review of: The Martian, by Andy Weir

Posted on December 6, 2015. Filed under: Book Reviews, Movie Reviews, Science Fiction |

The Martian, by Andy Weir. Broadway Books: BROADWAYBOOKS.COM 2014 (387pp.) My son Jeremy ordered this book for me as we were walking out of the theater after watching the movie version, The Martian, starring Matt Damon. The movie and the book will be in my all time favorites list, probably top 10. This book was difficult as it is filled with scientific data and formulas, gear and technical terms. But that is absolutely what makes this book as powerful as it is! This is a modern day Robinson Crusoe…on Mars! Yeah, I love me some space opera and military sci fi with lots of aliens and space battles, but the best sci fi is believable and near enough to our time to make it seem achievable. In twenty years from today, 2015, the things written by Weir may be happening! While the book is laced with profanity and presents pretty much an atheistic worldview, the story is a good, positive, can do, pro-America, pro-NASA story of human suffering, ingenuity, and overcoming all obstacles with heroic efforts from a huge cast of supporting characters, including the communist Chinese. This book is simply outstanding! I highly Recommend.

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A Reading Diary. American History, Military History

Posted on November 9, 2015. Filed under: American History, Book Reviews, The American Civil War, The Walker Library |

III. History
A. American History
a. Early 19th Century
1. Jortner, Adam. The Gods of Prophetstown, The Battle of Tippecanoe and the Holy War for the American Frontier. Oxford University Press: New York, 2012 (310pp.) Read 3-8 to 5-17-14. This book goes into great detail of the lives of William H. Harrison (Maj. Gen. and President) and Tenskwatawa (The Prophet of the Shawnee), brother of Tecumseh and the religious/political revival led by Tenskwatawa and the trans-Indian movement and the political early life of Harrison. The first half of the book is a hard, tough, read but the last 1/3 is worth the work. A total of just a few pages on the actual battle of Tippecanoe but the study of Indian/US relations, the religion comparisons are fascinating. This book is a wonderful study of early American politics that lets you know they were thoroughly crooked and corrupt back then as well as today.
2. Clark, Thomas D. and John D.W. Guice. The Old Southwest 1795-1830, Frontiers in Conflict. University of Oklahoma Press: Norman, OK 1989 (University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque) 335pp. Read 06-23-15 to 08-25-15. This was a very good general history of the Old Southwest that covered inter-related topics. I found the book a bit tedious at times, other times quite a lively read, but all in all, a very profitable read about an area of our nation and our past that I knew next to nothing about. I read this book as a result of reading Remini’s book on the Battle of New Orleans a few months back (see below) needing some more background to Andrew Jackson and the region. I am very glad to have read this book but could only recommend it to someone who had a special interest in that region or time period; not for the general reader. Like the book immediately above, The Gods of Prophetstown, this book covers a LOT of information about our relations to the Indian nations, including the Trail of Tears.
b. Founding 18th Century
1. Olasky, Marvin. Fighting for Liberty and Virtue: Political and Cultural Wars in Eighteenth-Century America. Regnery: Washington D.C. 1995 (316pp.) This eye-opening, fantastic book was read 09-08-14 to 09-30-14. Wow! I had no idea how corrupt and immoral the British were at that time and how that played into the Revolution.
c. Colonies
d. Discovery
1. Morison, Samuel Eliot. The European Discovery of America: The Southern Voyages A.D. 1492-1616. Oxford University Press: New York, 1974, (758p.) I purchased this book in 2000 and began reading it but never completed it. I restarted the book again in Nov.2013 and finished in 03-06-15. This book was somewhat of a difficult read as it is not just long but quite detailed. But Professor Morison (he was a US Navy Admiral and with a Ph.D. he was a professor at Harvard) writes with excitement that comes with having sailed many of the same routes that he writes about. So when he writes about Columbus he writes not just as a scholar but as a sailor who has made the same journey in a small ship. When he writes about Magellan, he writes as one who has sailed a ship through the Straits named for Magellan. When he writes of Drake on the California coast he writes as one who personally sailed the coast looking for the bay Drake put in to. Where I struggled in the book was with the lesser known explorers. At any rate, I am glad I have read it and plan on reading volume one of this set, The Northern Voyages in the future. The two things I was amazed at as I read this book were the frequency with which the Explorers were punished and imprisoned by the kings when they returned home. Morison makes much of this. The other thing I found amazing was the casualty rate of roughly 25% of all the mariners who set out on these voyages never made it home. These are stories of tremendous courage. It is the story of Western Civilization at its finest. While I cannot recommend this book for the general reader, it is an excellent book for those with an interest in sailing and in the Age of Discovery.
2. Delaney, Carol. Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem. Free Press: New York, 2011 (319pp.) Read 03-28-15 to 05-08-15. This was an amazing book that rocked my understanding of Columbus! I had previously read Samuel Eliot Morison’s Pulitzer Prize winning biography of Columbus, Admiral of the Ocean Sea, and IT was fantastic. That book and Roland Bainton’s biography of Martin Luther are my two top biographies of all time (and I just don’t read many biographies). But now, I must add Delaney’s work as being of equal in merit to Admiral Morison’s. Morison’s book surprised me about 8-9 years ago as I saw clearly that Columbus was a man of great faith, not just a nominal Catholic. And then I read Fuson’s edition of the Log of Christopher Columbus and again, the faith of Columbus shone brightly. What Delaney does, however, is to tie it all together and show that Columbus’ faith gave him a grand vision of sailing West to get to the East, in order to gain great wealth for Spain so that Ferdinand and Isabella could afford to raise an army and go on a Crusade to take Jerusalem back from the muslims and usher in the 2nd Coming of Christ. Delaney proves her point time and again using Columbus’ own writings to show his motivations. From my previous studies of Columbus I thought that his sailing west to get to the east was simply due to the blockade of trade by the muslims, but that is only part of the motivation. None of this was taught me in high school or college history, or even in seminary/graduate school. I highly recommend this book, even to the point of saying if you could read either Morison or Delaney, I would recommend Delaney.
3. Duggard, Martin. The Last Voyage of Columbus. Little, Brown and Company: New York, 2005 (294pp.) Read from 5-9-15 to 6-17-15. This is a very good, popular book on the 4th and final voyage to the New World by Columbus. Although it is written in a popular style, having read Morison and Delaney, I can definitely tell that Duggard knows his stuff. He included many details the others left out. By focusing on the 4th voyage Duggard is able to include those details and present what amounts to an amazing adventure story! The last chapter is outstanding as he tells what happened to all the key players later, and, most important, he tells the story of how Amerigo Vespucci got the credit for discovering the New World and Columbus was basically forgotten for about 300 years! I highly recommend!
e. Black History/Slavery
1. Northup, Solomon. Twelve Years a Slave. Dover Publications: Mineola, NY 1970 (336pp.). Originally published 1853. Read 02-16-15 to 02-24-15. This is an amazing personal account of the life of a free black man from New York who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in the 1840’s to 1850’s. This is a real page turner, hard to put down. This book absolutely is must reading for every American! Wow! In the last year a movie was made off of this book, which I have not seen, but now must see.
f.
B. Military History
a. The War of 1812
1. The Burning of Washington, The British Invasion of 1814, by Anthony S. Pitch. Bluejacket Books: Annapolis, MD 1998 (298pp.). Read from Aug.24 to Sept.11, 2014 for the 200th anniversary of the burning of Washington DC. This is an outstanding, well-written book that is incredibly detailed and uses a ton of first hand, primary sources. The book is very fast paced and is an easy read despite the details covered. This was an eye-opening book for me! I highly recommend!
2. The Naval War of 1812 Modern Library-War by Theodore Roosevelt. The Modern Library: New York, 1999 (308pp. but I only made it to p.182). Originally published in 1882 when he was 23 yrs. old. I purchased this book 04-20-2000 and tried reading it 05-19-14 to 12-12-14 but simply could not finish it! I had read a couple of other of Roosevelt’s books and enjoyed them immensely, but this book is a very technical, extremely well researched doctoral thesis style book that analyzes all the minutia of the naval side of the War of 1812. The book is filled with technical, naval language and examines the primary sources in detail. One highlight of the book is Roosevelt’s detailed analysis of the primary and secondary sources. He critiques and praises various authors for their accuracy and fairness. I really wanted to read this book…but I just had to set it aside and move on.
3. Rising Up From Indian Country: The Battle of Fort Dearborn and the Birth of Chicago, by Ann Durkin Keating. The University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 2012 (294pp.) Read 12-12-14 to 01-10-15. This wonderful book gives the personal stories of several families and individuals who settled Chicago in the earliest days, when it was a trading post in Indian country, and tells the story of the Battle, not the Massacre, of Ft. Dearborn. In this meticulously well researched book Durkin explains the intricacies of the mixing of the races in the early 19th century Old Northwest and the impact of the War of 1812 on all concerned. This was really a fantastic book! Her closing chapters were amazing as she followed up on what happened after the war to the Indians, the Traders, the soldiers and the families. The last chapter was outstanding as she showed the relevance of the past for the present in Chicago. Really a Very good book!
4. The War of 1812 In the Old Northwest by Alec R. Gilpin. Michigan State University Press: East Lansing, MI 1958 (Introduction for the Bicentennial Edition by Brian Leigh Dunnigan, 2012) 286pp. Read 01-14-15 to 02-25-15. The Introduction to this excellent book by Dunnigan was especially helpful in explaining what Gilpin’s intentions were. The author was not trying to analyze or explain the war, he was giving a straightforward account of the war in the Old Northwest. However, what I found in the reading of the book is that he subtly did explain a lot of the war. First of all, Gilpin definitely took the side of Governor/General William Hull, one of the major scapegoats of the war under the Madison administration. Gilpin convinced me that Hull was given an impossible task and was not given the much needed support or command structure that was needed to accomplish his assignment. Most books I have read on the War of 1812 do look down on Hull, but clearly he should Not have been convicted. This book demonstrates the nearly useless roles of the militia, how the Indians were used by both sides to their own detriment and how crucial a well-established logistics plan is for maintaining an army. This was a very good book but absolutely needed about 30 maps to make sense of all the troop movements. The book gets a little confusing with all the different units, commanders, and Forts, and maps would help clear it all up. I recommend this book for those with a serious interest in the Old Northwest, the War of 1812 or US relations with the Indians.
5. The Battle of New Orleans: Andrew Jackson and America’s First Military Victory by Robert V. Remini. Viking: New York, 1999 (226pp.) Read 02-26-15 to 03-28-15. This was an outstanding book that was very enlightening to me. All my life I had heard of the great, but meaningless, victory won by Jackson at New Orleans after the peace treaty of Ghent had been signed. But never had I heard that the treaty was not in effect until after voted on by the US Senate over a month after Jackson’s victory. Jackson and the rag-tag thrown together army/navy defeated one of the most experienced British units that had fought in Europe against Napoleon. Remini’s point, that the battle became a major source of unification in America after so many dismal defeats in the War of 1812 and that the Battle was celebrated for decades, until supplanted by the Civil War, is a crucial and convincing point. Remini’s portrayal of Jackson again goes counter to most of what I have read in the past which painted Jackson in somewhat of a negative light. Jackson was a LEADER who commanded the respect of those he was around. This book definitely makes me want to read Remini’s massive 3 volume biography of Jackson.
6. A Very Brilliant Affair, The Battle of Queenston Heights, by Robert Malcomson. Naval Institute Press: Annapolis, MD. 2003 (328pp.) Read 04-23-15 to 05-13-15. This excellent study of the first land battle mounted from New York into Canada in the War of 1812 is military history at its finest. The first chapters give us the political and military situation leading up to the war and details about the major leaders. The details that the author gets into with supplies, equipment and training are amazing! I had to just shake my head as he describes the Americans going into battle in utter chaos and with no good plan or rehearsal for a night river crossing with raw recruits. This proves the old adage true, you go to war with the army you have, not the army you wish you had. Excellent read! Why, oh why, does not Hollywood make movies of these excellent bits of history?
7. Strange Fatality, The Battle of Stoney Creek, 1813, by James E. Elliott. Robin Brass Studio: Canada, 2009 (311pp.) Read 05-19-15 to 06-22-15. This is an excellent book, this is history as it should be written! The emphasis in this book is that Leadership matters! Elliott gives us a well written, detailed look at everything that led up to the battle and backgrounds to all the key players as well as many smaller figures who were there, making the book very personable. Generals to sergeants to privates to civilians, the author covers all their stories well. He shows how weakness in key leaders led to an almost disaster for the British/Canadians but the weaknesses of the Americans rescued defeat from the jaws of victory. This was a huge disaster for the Americans due to political appointments to the army, lack of leadership and training. The author was exceedingly fair to both sides. Including in an appendix the story of the battle as it was remembered later and the effort to raise a memorial was excellent! That was a nice touch that really capped off a wonderful book. .
8. Struggle for the Gulf Borderlands, The Creek War and the Battle of New Orleans 1812-1815, by Frank Lawrence Owsley Jr. The University of Alabama Press: Tuscaloosa, Alabama 1981 (255pp.) Read 08-26-15 to 10-10-15. This is an outstanding book that told a story I had never heard before. Oh, I had heard of the Creek War, and I think in some John Wayne movie somewhere I had heard of Ft. Mims, but I just never realized this was all the Southern part of the War of 1812. This book is incredibly well researched and well written yet concise. I also learned more about the pirates Laffite than I had ever known. Highly recommend for the military history buff, or the true southerners who want to know their story. A great book for Indian-White relations history as well.
b. World War II
1. The Capture of Attu, compiled by Lt. Robert J. Mitchell with Sewell T. Tyng and Cpt. Nelson L. Drummond, Jr. University of Nebraska Press: Lincoln, NB. 2000. Originally published in 1944 by the U.S. Army’s Infantry Journal and sold to US Servicemen for a quarter, it was also distributed by Military Intelligence to help soldiers prepare for battle with the Japanese. This book is a Classic in military history. I purchased this book in September 2001…just prior to 9/11. This book tells the story of the last time a foreign invader attacked American soil, until Sept. 11, 2001. In reading some of the stories from the war in Afghanistan, I would say that The Capture of Attu needs to be read again by our military. I am sending this book to my son, SSGT Luke Walker, 1/501 (Geronimo!) in the 4th Bde. of the 25th Division, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Anchorage, Alaska. They do very little training in the mountains of Alaska, and never in the Aleutians. Read in 2014.
c. World War I
1. Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War, by Max Hastings. Alfred A. Knopf: New York, 2013 (628pp.) Read 08-27-14 to 10-07-14. This is THE Go To book for the beginning of WWI (with the possible exception of Barbara Tuchman’ book). Very readable, thorough and wide ranging Hastings covers the historical backgrounds and cultural issues of the main combatants, the political and economic realities as well as the military issues and combat. Uses a vast array of primary source material. Highly Recommend.
2. The Dawn Patrol (movie). Directed by Edmund Goulding, starring Errol Flynn, David Niven, Basil Rathbone. Warner Bros. 1938 (103min). http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0030044/ This was an outstanding movie! I have heard of this movie all my life but only purchased it recently, in honor of the 100th anniversary of WWI. Watched it with Luke and Dawn. This movie alludes to another war coming a few times, and since it was released in 1938 it makes sense. It shows the despair and hopelessness of WWI and the stresses of command as a series of commanders experience the same fruitless orders that lead to senseless death of romantic, courageous, young flyers. I highly recommend!
d.

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A Reading Diary, Science Fiction

Posted on November 9, 2015. Filed under: Book Reviews, Science Fiction, The Walker Library |

  1. Fiction
  2. Science Fiction/Fantasy
  3. Hard SF/Military- Ian Douglas
  4. Douglas, Ian. Star Corpsman: Blood Star. Harper/Voyager: New York, 2012 (355pp.) Read in 2013.
  5. Douglas, Ian. Star Corpsman II: Abyss Deep. 2013, (373pp.) Read May 2014.
  6. Douglas, Ian. Star Carrier IV, Deep Space. Harper/Voyager: New York, 2013 (355pp.) Read May 5-15-14 to 5-25-14.
  7. Douglas, Ian. The Heritage Trilogy, Book 1: Semper Mars. EOS: New York, 1998 (376pp.) This is the second time I have read this fantastic book (04-26-15 to 04-28-15). This is one of my favorite books/series because it is so believable in the area of technology. Obviously he got the timing of things wrong, written 1998, but the general flow of the technology is very believable. The military/political action is also outstanding and very believable. The obvious failure for me as a Christian is the main premise of the book that man was “created” by aliens. Still, the “first contact” aspect of the book is outstanding as well. This book is what S-F should be!
  8. The Heritage Trilogy, Book 2: Luna Marine. 1990 (402pp.) This is the second time I have read this book (04-29-15 to 04-30-15) and is one of my favorites as a part of this trilogy. I find the science part of the book to be quite believable although I disagree with the atheistic “we are made by aliens” subtext which is not quite explicit but certainly is being put forward.
  9. The Heritage Trilogy, Book 3: Europa Strike. 2000 (483pp.) Read 2nd time 05-01-15 to 05-04-15. This closes out one of the best S-F trilogies around in a very believable military SF story that shows the progression of science in the future.
  10. Star Carrier V, Dark Matter. Harper/Voyager: New York, 2014 (370pp.) Read 07-25-16 to 08-01-16. This is another good, solid book in the series by Douglas that combines Military SF with Hard SF and touches of philosophy. One of the ongoing themes in the series is the White Covenant, an Anti-religious political pact that forces people to keep their religion to themselves, no evangelizing. By the end of this book, that philosophy is starting to crumble in an interesting way. This book includes a lot more real science and scientific theory.
  11. Military SF- David Weber
    1. Honor Harrington series, On Basilisk Station.
    2. Honorverse series, Manticore Ascendant I: A Call to Duty by David Weber and Timothy Zahn. Baen: Riverdale, NT 2014 (384pp) Read 11-13-16 to 11-17-16. Another Outstanding book in the Weber corpus! This book definitely has shades and themes hearkening back to On Basilisk Station. Introducing a new hero, Travis Long, and going back in time to the beginning of the rise of Manticore before the discovery of the junction. The book tells the story of young Travis Long who joins the navy to get away from an unhappy home life and no future. He finds disappointment with the navy but then finds his life and home there as well. He seeks to live a life of hard work and integrity when all those around him just want to cheat and get by. The politics of Manticore are in the forefront of this novel, as always in the Honor Harrington series, and it is those who want to do the right thing against the liberals who always want more power but don’t like the military. And of course there are some bad guys thrown in, and lots of action.
  12. Hard SF/Military- James A. Corey “The Expanse” series
    1. Leviathan Wakes. Orbit: New York, 2011 (561pp.) Read in early 2013. A very good read, definitely kept my interest. Very realistic descriptions of solar system travel and colonization, business and government complexities with racism. The racism was interesting in that it was people from the inner planets hating Earthers and people from the Outer Planets hating the Inner Planets, etc. I did not really like the alien concept though, but I did like the detective angle.
    2. Caliban’s War. Orbit: New York, 2012 (595pp.) Read in late 2013. Same as above. The military angle and battles are pretty good, but, again, the alien is a bit too weird for me.
    3. Abbadon’s Gate. 2013 (539pp.) Read 06-02-15 to 06-08-15. This one was the best of the three so far in that the alien is now more understandable and it makes sense. The author uses religion quite skillfully in this book, which is a rarity for SF writers. There was a theme of vengeance and redemption/forgiveness. The military angle in this book was quite good with very realistic zero g fight scenes. This is a good series which I will keep up with, but not greatness.
  13. Hard SF/Military- Ben Bova
  14. Grand Tour#1 Powersat. TOR: New York, 2005 (424pp.) 2013.
  15. Grand Tour#2 Privateers. TOR: New York, 1985 (383pp.) 2013.
  16. Grand Tour#3 Empire Builders. TOR: New York, 1993 (406pp.) 2013.
  17. Grand Tour #4 Mars. Bantam: New York, 1992 (549) 2013.
  18. Grand Tour #5 Moonrise. AVON: New York, 1996 (543pp.) 2014.
  19. Grand Tour #6 Moonwar. AVON Books: New York 1998 (501pp.) 2014.
  20. Grand Tour #7 Return to Mars. EOS: New York, 1999 (543pp) March 2014.
  21. Grand Tour #8 The Precipice. TOR: New York, 2001 (422pp.) April 2014.
  22. Grand Tour #9 Jupiter. TOR: New York, 2001 (389pp.) April 2014. One of the best books ever to show the tension between religion and science! Fantastic!
  23. Grand Tour #10 The Rock Rats. TOR: New York, 2002 (384pp.) May 2014.
  24. Grand Tour #11 The Silent War. TOR: New York, 2004 (410pp.) May 2014.
  25. Grand Tour #12 The Aftermath. TOR: New York, 2007 (396pp.) Read May-June 2014.
  26. Grand Tour #13 Saturn. TOR: New York, 2004 (470pp.) Read April 2015. This is a clever book about politics set inside a colony ship bound for Saturn where the thousands of colonists are to choose their government. Bova is showing how the corrupt and evil ideologies of communism, liberalism and fascism vie for power and hinder the science of the trip to Saturn.
  27. Grand Tour #14 Leviathans of Jupiter. TOR: New York, 2011 (500pp.) Read May 2015. Bova returns us to Jupiter to investigate the intelligent Leviathans of Jupiter in another clever story to demonstrate how science can be corrupted by traditionalism and personal hubris. There is this dominant theme in Bova’s series of revealing the enemies of science from every corner. There is an interesting character study or two in the book, especially that of “Dorn”.
  28. Hard SF/Military SF John Ringo
    1. Troy Rising series, Live Free or Die. Baen Publishing Enterprises: Riverdale, NY 2010 (551pp.) Read for the 2nd time 06-25-15 to 06-29-15. This may be my favorite SF series ever! This is in the First Contact Genre but is so much more. The author’s main purpose is stated in the title and he is speaking to our time every bit as much as he is speaking his vision for the future. This book charts an economic view of free enterprise and a political view of realistic conservatism. The main character, Tyler Vernon, is a fairly average guy who sees an opportunity, seizes the day, and forces his vision on the solar system. This book mocks liberalism from front to back. The book excels in its realistic approach to a first contact event and shows that the galaxy is not necessarily a safe place. This is a classic. Volume one of a trilogy so far.
    2. Troy Rising Series, Citadel. Baen Publishing: Riverdale, NY 2011 (522pp.) Read 06-29-15 to 07-02-15. As good as the first volume in this series was, this one is even better! Again there is serious presentation of economics and politics during war, but the character development is also strong with additional heroes/heroines
    3. Troy Rising Series, The Hot Gate. Baen Publishing: Riverdale, NY 2011 (528pp.) Read 2nd time 07-02-15 to 07-04-15. This series gets better with each book! Seriously, this might be my favorite SF series of all time. The economics and politics of this book are right on target without sounding “preachy”. He is showing the realities of war fighting. “The only thing worse than war is loss of liberty,” p.206.
    4. Black Tide Rising series, vol.1, Under A Graveyard Sky. Baen: 2013 (479pp.) Read 07-04-15 to 07-06-15. This is a good Apocalyptic/Zombie series that combines some good, believable, science with excellent survival instruction/action. It is Hollywooded up somewhat as some of the action sequences are simply NOT realistic. Characterization is good as Ringo focuses on the two teenage daughters of the main protagonist, Steve Smith. It was a weird twist to have our hero as a naturalized US citizen from Australia who was a Para and currently an American History HS teacher. The survival at sea motif is unique and really works. A very good read, but not a classic like the Troy Rising
    5. To Sail A Darkling Sea. Baen: 2014 (507pp.) Read 07-08-15 to 07-11-15. An excellent sequel to the first volume with great character development and action.
    6. Islands of Rage & Hope. Baen:2014 (521pp.) Read 08-09-15 to 08-12-15. Good fun reading with continuing character development.
  29. Hard SF, Autumn Kalquist
    1. Fractured Era series, Better World, by Autumn Kalquist. Diapason Publishing: 2015 (141pp.) Read on 10-03-15. This novella has some good ideas, combining a dystopia with some hope for a new world and lots of adventure. This is a prequel to a pre-existing series. The problem with this book, however, is that the writing style is for adolescents (young adult) and does not come close to including enough detail. The plots include an 18 year old who is so distraught over looking for hope and purpose that she attempts suicide but is rescued by a friend. Another plot is that she is a lesbian and this is kind of a coming of age/coming out novel and her lesbianism is a major problem as her society must have healthy babies born to reproduce their losses. The paganism in the book is feeble and is becoming too common in SF writings (see Jack Campbell’s Lost Fleet series). The basic ideas and storyline are sound so I might go for a second book. Also this book is listed as a novella, so the full sized books in the series might have more of the details I think it needs. All in all, I cannot recommend this book.
  30. Hard SF Andy Weir
    1. The Martian, by Andy Weir. Broadway Books: BROADWAYBOOKS.COM 2014 (387pp.) Jeremy ordered this book for me as we were walking out of the theater after watching the movie version, The Martian, starring Matt Damon. The movie and the book will be in my all time favorites list, probably top 10. This book was difficult as it is filled with scientific data and formulas, gear and technical terms. But that is absolutely what makes this book as powerful as it is! This is a modern day Robinson Crusoe…on Mars! Yeah, I love me some space opera and military sci fi with lots of aliens and space battles, but the best sci fi is believable and near enough to our time to make it seem achievable. In twenty years from today, 2015, the things written by Weir may be happening! While the book is laced with profanity and presents pretty much an atheistic worldview, the story is a good, positive, can do, pro-America story of human suffering and overcoming all obstacles with heroic efforts from a huge cast of supporting characters, including the communist Chinese. This book is simply outstanding! I highly Recommend.
  31. Military SF Tom Kratman
    1. Carrera series vol.1: A Desert Called Peace. Baen: Riverdale, NY 2007 (975pp.) Read 07-23-15 to 07-29-15. This is my first Kratman book, and I am hooked. This was outstanding! The science fiction part of the story is in the background, and is good, and essential for the story, but the military/political/social conflict on this new world takes place in a time period of about equal technology to early 21st century Earth. The main ideas presented in this well told story revolve around America’s response to 9/11 and the societal/economic/military conflict with islam in the 21st Kratman, an Army veteran (LTC in rank) critiques the U.S. military and politics through his writing of this SF story that takes place 500 years from now. And he does a thorough, and searing job of it! I love this guy! He is not subtle. You know exactly what he is critiquing. This book, and presumably the series, will rate up there with John Ringo’s Troy Rising series and David Webber’s Honor Harrington series.
    2. Carrera series vol.2: 2007 (920pp.) Read 08-19-15 to 09-05-15. This is an outstanding sequel to A Desert Called Peace! Kratman carries on with the story of how Carrera builds his army, navy and airforce and fights the muslims, and anyone who gets in the way, for revenge for their terror attack that killed his family. The message he is sending our culture today is that if we want to win in this war we have to actually fight and we must wage total war without remorse. It is interesting that he does find some muslims as allies in his fight. Our political class and military NEED to read these two books! I can see this series expanding to the point where they gain space flight and go back to earth, or…change the story up and tell about what is going on back on earth.
    3. Carrera Series vol.3, The Lotus Eaters. 2010 (496pp. hardback). Read 10-12-15 to 10-15-15. Outstanding! This may be the best book in the series yet! In this book Carrera leads a war against narco-terror groups, and faces betrayal from within, and counters the aggression of another state. However, the real story is that this book is Kratman’s political manifesto, calling for a timocracy, a democratic republic where only the military and veterans have the right to vote and lead. His political excursions under the name of Jorge Mendoza throughout the book are clear statements pointing to the kind of state Kratman wants. Furthermore, Kratman engages the background science fiction story more in this book detailing the corruption and cultural failures of old Earth. His critiques of our society are spot on; his prophetic voice of where our present civilization is heading is more than plausible, I would say it prescient. Because of his forcefulness and deliberateness in his storyline and the many excurses he includes, this book seriously raises the bar on all the conservative, military SF guys (Ringo, Weber, Drake, Campbell, etc.) Perhaps Carrera is not as loveable as Honor Harrington, but his message is loud and clear.
    4. Carrera Series vol.4, The Amazon Legion. 2011 (593pp.) Read March 2016. Another outstanding work by Kratman, this time focusing on how to wage war with guerillas tactics. The book is a little bit out of sequence with the following books however. His emphasis on using homosexuals in a separate unit is bizarre. I just do not think there are enough homosexuals who are patriotic enough to do this.
    5. Carrera Series vol.5, Come and Take Them. 2013 (798pp.) Read April 2016. This series keeps getting better. Usually sequels start to get old, but not with Carrera! Again, this guy’s philosophy of war needs to be taken seriously!
    6. Carrera Series, vol.6, The Rods and Axe. 2014 (671pp.) Read May 2016. Here the war gets into the defensive phase, so Kratman gives his defensive strategy. Outstanding yet again.
  32. Military SF, Jay Allan
    1. Marines: Crimson Worlds I, System7 Publishing: 2012 (229pp.) Read 01-28-16 to 02-02-16. The plot and writing style were so similar to the Marko Kloos novels listed below that I thought it was the same author using a different name, but they are different people. The setting of a future dystopia is very good and the account of all the training that goes into make a future warrior is outstanding. The way the author explains what the ships and crew have to go through because they do NOT have inertia dampening is unique and believable, no other author does it like this. The character development within the novel is good and the storyline definitely got my attention so I have continued to read this series. This is a good “B” grade SF novel.
    2. The Cost of Victory: Crimson Worlds II. 2012 (258pp.) Read 03-01-16 to 03-17-16. This book solidifies with me that this author is worth reading, the 2nd in the series loses nothing and in fact gains.
    3. A Little Rebellion: Crimson Worlds III. 2013 (346pp.) Read 03-30-16 to 04-06-16. Another very good follow on book in the series.
    4. The First Imperium: Crimson Worlds IV. 2013 (274pp.) Read 04-07-16 to 04-12-16. While I am enjoying the story and the plot is getting thicker, I am doubting the use of the ground forces against the aliens who are not biological and therefore have no use for an earthlike planet. The aliens should just nuke the planet it seems to me; therefore, I see a weakness in the plot in order to give more action to the star players.
    5. The Line Must Hold: Crimson Worlds V. 2013 (288pp.) Read 05-10-16 to 05-17-16. Again, the plot and characters are enough for me to keep on reading; I am invested in the characters now and must see it through the end. Other than the halfway stupid aliens the storyline is good.
    6. To Hell’s Heart: Crimson Worlds VI. 2013 (308pp.) Read 09-15-16 to 09-21-16. The plot gets thicker and some favorite characters get killed off again.
    7. The Shadow Legions: Crimson Worlds VII. 2014 (287pp.) Read 10-12-16 to 10-25-16. The plot is still going very strong with some very good twists. I am invested here so I am going to read to the end I guess.

            

  1. Military SF, Marko Kloos
    1. Terms of Enlistment. 47North: Seattle, WA 2014 (334pp.) Read 08-20-15 to 08-22-15. This is a good start to a promising series. Definitely not up to the level of Weber, Ringo or Drake, but a good read nonetheless. This is a dystopic/military/space opera/First Contact Genre that has believable characters, realistic futuristic equipment and a fine knowledge of military training, etc. It is occasionally Hollywooded up. I will follow this author and see what comes next.
    2. Lines of Departure. 2014 (315pp.) Read 09-08-15 to 09-13-15. This is a worthy sequel to Terms of Enlistment and adds a whole lot of character development and plot twists. Rarely have I started a new author from the “B” list and really enjoyed it, this is an exception. I really like the combination of Military S/F with dystopia and First Contact tossed in. The aliens are bit over the top but that’s ok so far. He has me hooked now! The main plot underneath the alien invasion is that the civilization is crumbling and there are some in the military who stand up and resist tyranny, risking it all. This is encouraging, but also very complex considering the state of the people back home. He is showing the end state of a high tech welfare state system and that there are no good options. The trip home to visit his mother was reminiscent of Thomas Wolfe’s writing from the 1930’s and the Great Depression. Very sad and moving.
  2. Military SF, Jack Campbell
    1. The Lost Fleet #1 Dauntless. Ace Books: New York, 2006 (293pp.) Read 09-21-15 to 09-23-15. This is a good, B grade, SF story that is worth the read and I will begin to read the series. This does Not rise to the level of Ringo, Weber, Douglass, or Kratman though he seems to pattern himself after Weber’s Honor Harrington character. One of the main themes of the book is Leadership. He does include some small technical detail that other writers avoid- he includes the difficulty of fighting space battles with time lag in the information chain. The other authors tend to all overcome time lag due to distance with their technology but Campbell keeps the time lag real as they fight over light hours and light minutes and light seconds. I like also that he is addressing what a free society can lose after fighting a century long war as standards are relaxed, morals are compromised and we become like our enemy. With the deaths of leaders over and over again, institutional knowledge dies with them and tactics as well as discipline must be renewed. Geary is presented as a “Christ figure” to an exntent and the psychological battles get old and tedious. He introduces enough mystery along the way to keep me asking for more and gives me hope for the series.
    2. The Lost Fleet: ACE Books: New York, 2007 (295pp.) Read 10-03-15 to 10-05-15. This a good “B” grade SF series that has an excellent plot and side stories, but stiff, wooden characters and dialog. There is not much character development going to happen here. The action is good, and Campbell does outshine some of the “A” list authors in his handling of space warfare. I will continue to read the series, but the stiff characters may wear me out eventually.
    3. The Lost Fleet: Courageous, by Jack Campbell. 2008 (299pp.) Read 11-13-15 to 11-15-15. Another decent “B” grade SF novel. The dialogue and characterization are dragging me down. I hope to read the whole series, however, as the basics of the story are good and the hints at aliens are tantalizing. One does hope the Lost Fleet gets home eventually.
    4. The Lost Fleet: Valiant, The Lost Fleet: Relentless, and The Lost Fleet: Victorious, by Jack Campbell. ACE Books: New York, 2008 (284pp.), 2009 (320pp.) and 2010 (331pp.) respectively. I can truthfully say that this series grows on you and gets better the more you read. The characterization improves with each book; the characters are now seeming to be real people and carry on real conversations. While Campbell’s battle sequences get some things right, he is the Best so far at using real distances and times in space, he is inconsistent. He gets that it takes days to set up battles that involve light hours of distances, and that it takes a fraction of a second to fight it out as the ships close, but then he has the ships maneuvering and re-engaging too fast. Another weakness is in the total lack of a staff for the commanders. These flaws, while serious, do not detract much from the story line which is always full of surprises. I can definitely recommend the series!
    5. The Lost Fleet- Beyond the Frontier, Dreadnought, by Jack Campbell. ACE Books: New York, 2011 (368pp.) This book continues the new theme of the unknowable aliens, the enigma race and also continues a theme of the plot to get rid of Black Jack Geary by his own people, this time the government. Another nail-biter ending!
  3. Classics
    1. Jules Verne. From the Earth to the Moon and Round the Moon. Nelson Doubleday, Inc.: Garden City, NY. Originally published in France 1865 and 1870 (279pp. total). I purchased these books decades ago and I don’t think I ever read them, although I do believe I had the Classics Illustrated comic book edition and read them as a child. These two novels are included in Verne’s Voyages Extraordinairs series of books that featured geographical and scientific studies which include Five Weeks in a Balloon, Around the World in Eighty Days, Journey to the Center of the Earth, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, In Search of the Castaways, Mysterious Island, and many others. The Moon books begin in a way that makes me think he is writing a parody of the United States and its obsession with war immediately after the Civil War. Verne does discuss many of the theories current for the day that discuss how to leave earth orbit, reach the moon, and what the moon is like. To the modern day reader it is laughable and ridiculous because we have been to the Moon now. Selenians is the name for the alleged moon people and the most overused word in the book is “savant”. And yet, the book worked for me, it was a good read, and fun. We must realize that this was a serious effort to describe what might happen on a trip to the moon, but about 150 years ago! This book is rightfully a Classic and a forerunner of modern Science Fiction. I would say that this book is required reading for the serious S-F fan who wants to discover the genre’s roots.
    2. A Journey to the Center of the Earth, illustrated by Lars Hokanson, afterword by James Hynes. The Readers’ Digest Association: Pleasantville, NY. Originally published in France in 1864 (280pp.) This was the third in the series of geographical novels in Verne’s Voyages Extraordinaires series. I have read this book before, I think maybe even twice before, and I had the Classics Illustrated comic book as well. Also I saw the original movie starring Pat Boone from 1959 but I have not seen the recent movie of 2008 starring Brendan Frasier. The book has the same problems as From the Earth to the Moon, and the same strengths. He discusses the theories of geology and the geologic column and fossils current for his day which all sound so far away from our science. There are several obvious faults in the story that have nothing to do with science, such as the many months of food they carried on their backs along with all the guns, tools, and instruments. You have to just look past these obvious flaws and relax and enjoy the wonder of the story. The psychology of the story is also remarkable in that the characters include a manic-depressive- Harry, and the eccentric Professor along with the extremely laconic Hans. This is a Classic and a must read for the S-F fans who want to learn of the founding of their favorite genre. This is also a good way to introduce children in the pre-teen to early teen age groups to the Classics and S-F.
    3. Isaac Asimov. The Bicentenial Man and Other Stories, Doubleday & Company, Inc.: Garden City, NY 1976 (211pp.) I purchased this book from the Science Fiction Book Club back in 1979 and I may have read 1-2 stories from it, but if so, I never read the entire book. I finally read it 11-30 to12-24-15. Back in my youth, Asimov was one of my favorites; today I much prefer other authors. However, this book was a joy to read and the light hearted stories manage to examine important issues, usually following the Robot theme. The Bicentennial Man was a great movie with Robin Williams, and the short story was truly great and deserves classic status as it examines the question, What does it mean to be human? It does foretell the future in that there is a gradual melding of the human with the machine, and the machines are taking on human characteristics. There are some mysteries and dramas in this book that use S-F as the setting. If you want to get a glimpse of classic S-F and become acquainted with Asimov this may be the book for you. I highly recommend!
  4. Fantasy/Alternative Universe
  5. M. Stirling “The Change Series”

(1). Lord of Mountains. ROC: New York, 2012 (430pp.) Read May 2014.

  1. SF Mysteries/Jack McDevitt
    1. ACE Books: New York, 2013 (389pp.) Read 05-13-15 to 05-14-15. In this book McDevitt returns to the Priscilla Hutchins story after retiring her in his last book. Now, realizing he had a good thing going with “Hutch”, he takes us back to her beginning as a cadet in interstellar pilot school where she gets her license to fly and encounters one mystery/disaster after another in a series of just a few short months. If you are looking for Hard SF with a lot of technical details, this is not for you. My one criticism of McDevitt’s writing is that he makes flying an interstellar waaayyyy tooooo easy. These ships have a one person crew, the pilot, and she can go to sleep, play games, read, etc. the ships fly themselves with their AIs. That criticism being said, what McDevitt does offer are good mysteries and plots with character studies set in the future. In this book he sets up the career of Hutch and gives us much more of the political background for her place in time. It sounds remarkably like today with political cynicism, terror plots, and budget fights. I am a loyal fan and will continue reading the Priscilla Hutchins novels eagerly.
    2. The Hercules Text, by Jack McDevitt. ACE Books: New York, 1986 but greatly updated in 2015, (353pp.) Read 10-15-15 to 10-19-15. Outstanding! One of the best SF novels I have ever read! This is very different from McDevitt’s other novels in that he is writing in the First Contact genre. McDevitt examines the First Contact scenario from how it impacts those who make the contact. He looks at their professional lives, personal lives, politics, military, health, and RELIGION. This is the best handling of religion by a SF author, even better than Ben Bova. Very thoughtful well rounded book and an exciting read! Highly recommend!
    3. Coming Home, by Jack McDevitt. ACE Books: New York, 2014 (356pp.) Read 11-08-16 to 11-11-16. Another Very Good mystery by Jack McDevitt with some odd twists in dealing with historical artifacts from my day!
  2. End of the World/Prepper
  3. Boyd Craven
    1. Devil Dog: Out of the Dark. 2016 (245pp.) Read 10-04-16 to 10-08-16. An acceptable effort at a story from after TEOTWAWKI. The theme is a good guy who is somewhat broken takes care of others while fighting gangs of bad guys. I may continue the series.
  4. Classics
  5. Frankenstein, or, the Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley, 1818, A Norton Critical Edition, Edited by J. Paul Hunter. W.W. Norton&Company: London, 1996 (339 pp., text pp.2-156; critical 157-339.) Read 06-28-16 to 09-11-16. I read the novel many years ago and perhaps the Classics Illustrated comic book as a child and I remember the movie vaguely. But this is the first time I have studied the novel. This is the beginning of the Science Fiction genre but it is so much more than a good, scary story. The Critical section of the Norton Critical Edition was generally very helpful in understanding the various layers of the book and I now see it in a totally different light. I highly recommend this edition! The book definitely deserves its Classic status.
  6. Mary Shelley: Her Life, Her Fiction, Her Monsters by Anne K. Mellor. Routledge: London, 1988 (276pp.) Read 09-12-16 to 10-13-16. This was an outstanding biography combined with literary criticism of Shelley’s works. I found the book to be very helpful and mostly understandable. Mary Shelley lived a messed up life and it comes out clearly in her writings. It was sad, really. The depth of understanding that is woven throughout Frankenstein is amazing considering she wrote it when she was 18 years old. I definitely want more of this kind of book whenever I read a classic!
  7. Frankenstein, A Cultural History, by Susan Tyler Hitchcock. W.W. Norton & Company: New York, 2007 (392pp.) Read 10-14-16 to 11-25-16. Outstanding! This book absolutely confirms how important a work was Shelley’s Frankenstein. This book was Very thorough in tracing all of the cultural impact of Frankenstein for the last 200 years. A case can be made for the book being one of the top most influential novels of all time. From sales popularity the book was not that big of a deal in the 1800s and certainly not from a literary critic’s view either. But it did make it to the stage quickly and then, a hundred years later, it took off like a rocket as the science caught up with the novel and the multiplied the value of the novel. Now its place is secure in the canon of Western Literature and the ideas will always remain with us.
  8. Mysteries/Thrillers

Historical Fiction

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A Reading Diary, Religion, Theology, etc.

Posted on November 9, 2015. Filed under: Book Reviews, The Walker Library, Theological Issues |

I. Religious Books
A. Theology
a. Biblical Theology
1. Vincent, Milton. A Gospel Primer for Christians. Focus Publishing, 2008 (97pp.) This is an outstanding, life-changing book. This book is at the core of the Gospel Centered movement. Read this for Care Group Leader training at Christ the Redeemer Church, Bret Rogers, Teaching Elder, White Settlement, TX. April 2014.
2. Roberts, Vaughan. God’s Big Picture, Tracing the Storyline of the Bible. IVP Books: Downers Grove, Ill. 2002 (170pp.) Read this book as part of Care Group Leader training at Christ the Redeemer Church, April-May 2014. This book is written at a fairly simple level, high school level, but is profound and exciting. Amazing! Why did I not have this stuff 30 years ago!?
3. Dever, Mark. What Does God Want of Us Anyway? Crossway: Wheaton, IL. 2010 (127pp.) Read 01-26-15 to 02-03-15. This is a fantastic, concise book that explains the main idea of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation. This book tells the gospel story from Creation to the Apocalypse. Much like Vaughan’s above. Highly recommend! (Where was this stuff 40 years ago???)
b. Systematic Theology/Bible Doctrine
1. General Works-Systematic Theology Texts
(1). Concise Theology, A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs, by J.I. Packer. Tyndale House Publishers: Wheaton, IL. 1993 (267pp.) Read 12-11-14 to 05-27-15. This is an outstanding introduction to systematic theology, the doctrines the Bible teaches, done in a devotional style that can bless the average layman or minister equally. Packer packs a lot into this Concise Theology in bite sized chunks of 2-4 pages per topic (and the pages are small). I read this book over the last 6 months as a daily devotional 1-2 chapters at a time. Packer explains the big theological terms in simple ways and shows the biblical basis for each doctrine. He is gracious yet firm when he covers controversial areas such as hell and he does present some alternative views other than his own Reformed Anglican; but you always know where he stands! I highly recommend this book for those who may know Bible stories but need to know what the Bible actually teaches.
(2). Christian Beliefs, Twenty Basics Every Christian Should Know, by
Wayne A. Grudem, edited by Eliot Grudem. Zondervan: Grand Rapids, MI.
2005 (159pp.) 06-12-15 to 07-14-15. This is an outstanding, concise, intro-
duction to Bible doctrines. This is largely a serious condensation of
Grudem’s earlier books but the editing is excellent, making this a wonderful
beginner book for a recent convert or someone just beginning to get excited
about Bible doctrine. I highly recommend!
2. Doctrine of Revelation/Inspiration/Inerrancy
(1). Scripture Alone, The Evangelical Doctrine, by R. C. Sproul. P&R: Phillipsburg, NJ 2005 (210pp.) Read 05-12-14 to 09-17-14. This is a very good book that covers the doctrine and history of Inerrancy and the doctrine of Revelation. It has its difficult parts as one chapter gets a bit into philosophy that may scare away the average reader. Highly Recommend!
(2). Truth&Power, The Place of Scripture in the Christian Life by J.I. Packer. Inter-Varsity Press: Downers Grove, IL. 1996 (191pp.) Read 09-20-14 to 10-27-14 but had begun it the first time 03-28-03. This book is a compilation of a few of Packer’s works but turns into a very strong book that covers much of what Sproul covered in Scripture Alone but from the British perspective. It too has its philosophical and historical aspects but also covers the doctrine and its practical use very thoroughly.
(3). Taking God at His Word, by Kevin DeYoung. Crossway: Wheaton, IL. 2014 (138pp.) Read 11-28-14 to 12-12-14. This is an OUTSTANDING, Concise yet thorough examination of the doctrine of the Word of God. I highly recommend!
(4). Thy Word Is Truth, by E.J. Young. The Banner of Truth Trust: Carlisle, PA; William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. :Grand Rapids, MI 1957 (280pp.) Read 09-18-14 to 04-21-15 ( I read a couple of other books on this topic while reading this one- see above). This was an outstanding book, the classic in this topic of the doctrine of inspiration and inerrancy. This was not an easy read by any means. Dr. Young’s arguments are very precise with multiple biblical texts exegeted for each point. He discusses in depth the arguments from the other side and tears them apart. You could make a charge that he is somewhat repetitive but it is more likely that he is just being careful to be understood and to dissect every aspect of the topic. If you want a book that covers this topic in detail, and you have the patience for it, this is THE book. This may be a bit over the heads of many, but if you are willing to work hard, this book will be a serious blessing to you. Although it was written almost 60 years ago, it is extremely relevant to the discussion today. The arguments of the age do not change at their core, just the dressing changes.
(5). Knowing Scripture, Revised Edition. R.C. Sproul. IVP Books: Downers Grove, IL 2009, original edition 1977 (I read the original edition many years ago). (152pp.) Read 05-09-15 to 06-09-15. This is an excellent though brief introduction to both the doctrine of Scripture and to Hermeneutics for laymen. The book is really designed to instruct readers in how to interpret the Bible and Sproul does a very good job! This is a challenging read for most laymen I would think. It would be excellent if done as a part of a Bible Study group. Outstanding!
(6). God’s Inerrant Word: An International Symposium on the Trustworthiness of Scripture, John Warwick Montgomery, editor. Bethany House Publishers: Minneapolis, Minnesota 1978 (288pp.) Partially read in 1998; read again, complete, 06-18-15 to 08-07-15. This is an outstanding book, especially considering that it is an anthology with multiple authors. This very thoroughly covers the subject. Sproul’s last chapter is particularly great! Highly recommend but this is, at times, some pretty deep stuff!
3. Doctrine of the Person of Christ
(1). The Message of the Person of Christ, the Bible Speaks Today, by Robert Letham. Inter-Varsity Press: Downers Grove, IL 2013 (261pp.) Read 12-11-14 to 01-14-15. This is an Outstanding survey of many Scripture Texts from Genesis to Revelation that teach us about the Person of Christ. Sound and solid theology but highly readable. I highly recommend!
4. Doctrine of the Holy Spirit
(1). Names of the Holy Spirit by Ray Pritchard. Moody Press: Chicago, 1995 (214pp.) Read as a daily devotion 04-14-15 to 09-25-15. This is an excellent biblical study of the names of the Holy Spirit from Genesis to Revelation. Despite the fact that this is a devotional book, he covers a lot of biblical ground and thoroughly explains and applies the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. I highly recommend!
5.
c. Historical Theology
B. Christian Living/Basic Discipleship
a. Basic Christianity-Discipleship
1. Basic Christianity by John Stott. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company: Grand Rapids, MI 2008 (originally 1958) (174pp.) Read for the Third time 11-13-14 to 12-15-14. Outstanding! A classic! A great beginner book.
2. The Keys To Spiritual Growth by John MacArthur. Crossway Books: Wheaton, IL 1991 (191pp.) Read 12-20-14 to 01-20-15. This is an outstanding book for the new believer or the believer who needs a heavy dose of the basics. Great tool for discipleship.
b.
C. Bible Commentaries
a. Old Testament
1. Tyndale Old Testament Commentary Vol.23B: Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, by David W. Baker. Inter-Varsity Press: Leicester, England 1988. “Habakkuk” pp.41-77. Read for the Redeemer Church sermon series by Dan Hilmer, June-July 2014.
2. The Minor Prophets, Volume 2, Micah-Malachi, by James Montgomery Boice. Baker Books: Grand Rapids, MI. 1986, “Habakkuk”, pp.387-434. Read June-July, 2014.
3. The Bible Speaks Today, The Message of Zechariah, by Barry G. Webb. InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove, IL 2003 (186pp.) Read 06-01-15 to 07-21-15. This is an outstanding, gospel centered, conservative commentary that is perfect for devotions or sermon prep. Webb really helped me understand Zechariah, which is not the easiest of the minor-prophets to grasp. Highly recommend! Read in preparation for a sermon series on Zechariah by Pastor Bret Rogers at Redeemer Church, Fort Worth, Aug. 2015.
4. Fries, Micah; Rummage, Stephen; Gallaty, Robby. Christ-Centered Exposition, Exalting Jesus in Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi. Holman Reference: Nashville, TN 2015 (pp.79-195). Read July-August 2015. Outstanding! Nice, perfect, organized sermons, very good!
5. Hill, Andrew E. Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi. IVP Academic: Downers Grove, IL 2012 (368pp., “Zechariah”, pp.103-273). Read 08-22-15 to 10-03-15. This was an outstanding commentary!
6. Gregory, Bryan R. The Gospel According to the Old Testament series, Longing for God in an Age of Discouragement, The Gospel According to Zechariah. P&R Publishing: Phillipsburg, NJ, 2010 (264pp.) Read 10-06-15 to 11-05-15. This is an outstanding expositional commentary! Highly recommend!
b. New Testament
D. Apologetics
a. Classical
b. Evidence
c. General
d. Issues
1. Johnson, Phillip E. Darwin on Trial. Regnery Gateway: Washington D.C. 1991 (195pp.) Read 10-02 to 11-04-14. Started many times, 09-29-00, 06-17-01, 03-11-04, 09-21-07. This is a very important book, but, sadly, the cult of Darwinism still predominates our society 23 years later. The book does require a lot of knowledge of biology, but the author’s arguments are outstanding!
2. Ibid. Reason in the Balance: The Case Against Naturalism in Science, Law & Education. Inter-Varsity Press: Downers Grove, IL. 1995 (245pp.) Purchased 10-02-95; read 11-12-14 to 12-10-14. Outstanding!
E.

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The Walker Library, A Reading Diary

Posted on October 17, 2015. Filed under: Book Reviews, Daily Journey, The Walker Library, Theological Issues |

Religion and Philosophy
I. ChristianTheology
A. Biblical Theology
1. Vincent, Milton. A Gospel Primer for Christians. Focus Publishing, 2008 (97pp.) This is an outstanding, life-changing book. This book is at the core of the Gospel Centered movement. Read this for Care Group Leader training at Christ the Redeemer Church, Bret Rogers, Teaching Elder, White Settlement, TX. April 2014.
2. Roberts, Vaughan. God’s Big Picture, Tracing the Storyline of the Bible. IVP Books: Downers Grove, Ill. 2002 (170pp.) Read this book as part of Care Group Leader training at Christ the Redeemer Church, April-May 2014. This book is written at a fairly simple level, high school level, but is profound and exciting. Amazing! Why did I not have this stuff 30 years ago!?
3. Dever, Mark. What Does God Want of Us Anyway? Crossway: Wheaton, IL. 2010 (127pp.) Read 01-26-15 to 02-03-15. This is a fantastic, concise book that explains the main idea of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation. This book tells the gospel story from Creation to the Apocalypse. Much like Vaughan’s above. Highly recommend! (Where was this stuff 40 years ago???)
B. Systematic Theology/Bible Doctrine
1. General Works-Systematic Theology Texts
(1). Concise Theology, A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs, by J.I. Packer. Tyndale House Publishers: Wheaton, IL. 1993 (267pp.) Read 12-11-14 to 05-27-15. This is an outstanding introduction to systematic theology, the doctrines the Bible teaches, done in a devotional style that can bless the average layman or minister equally. Packer packs a lot into this Concise Theology in bite sized chunks of 2-4 pages per topic (and the pages are small). I read this book over the last 6 months as a daily devotional 1-2 chapters at a time. Packer explains the big theological terms in simple ways and shows the biblical basis for each doctrine. He is gracious yet firm when he covers controversial areas such as hell and he does present some alternative views other than his own Reformed Anglican; but you always know where he stands! I highly recommend this book for those who may know Bible stories but need to know what the Bible actually teaches.
(2). Christian Beliefs, Twenty Basics Every Christian Should Know, by
Wayne A. Grudem, edited by Eliot Grudem. Zondervan: Grand Rapids, MI.
2005 (159pp.) 06-12-15 to 07-14-15. This is an outstanding, concise, intro-
duction to Bible doctrines. This is largely a serious condensation of
Grudem’s earlier books but the editing is excellent, making this a wonderful
beginner book for a recent convert or someone just beginning to get excited
about Bible doctrine. I highly recommend!
2. Doctrine of Revelation/Inspiration/Inerrancy
(1). Scripture Alone, The Evangelical Doctrine, by R. C. Sproul. P&R: Phillipsburg, NJ 2005 (210pp.) Read 05-12-14 to 09-17-14. This is a very good book that covers the doctrine and history of Inerrancy and the doctrine of Revelation. It has its difficult parts as one chapter gets a bit into philosophy that may scare away the average reader. Highly Recommend!
(2). Truth&Power, The Place of Scripture in the Christian Life by J.I. Packer. Inter-Varsity Press: Downers Grove, IL. 1996 (191pp.) Read 09-20-14 to 10-27-14 but had begun it the first time 03-28-03. This book is a compilation of a few of Packer’s works but turns into a very strong book that covers much of what Sproul covered in Scripture Alone but from the British perspective. It too has its philosophical and historical aspects but also covers the doctrine and its practical use very thoroughly.
(3). Taking God at His Word, by Kevin DeYoung. Crossway: Wheaton, IL. 2014 (138pp.) Read 11-28-14 to 12-12-14. This is an OUTSTANDING, Concise yet thorough examination of the doctrine of the Word of God. I highly recommend!
(4). Thy Word Is Truth, by E.J. Young. The Banner of Truth Trust: Carlisle, PA; William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. :Grand Rapids, MI 1957 (280pp.) Read 09-18-14 to 04-21-15 ( I read a couple of other books on this topic while reading this one- see above). This was an outstanding book, the classic in this topic of the doctrine of inspiration and inerrancy. This was not an easy read by any means. Dr. Young’s arguments are very precise with multiple biblical texts exegeted for each point. He discusses in depth the arguments from the other side and tears them apart. You could make a charge that he is somewhat repetitive but it is more likely that he is just being careful to be understood and to dissect every aspect of the topic. If you want a book that covers this topic in detail, and you have the patience for it, this is THE book. This may be a bit over the heads of many, but if you are willing to work hard, this book will be a serious blessing to you. Although it was written almost 60 years ago, it is extremely relevant to the discussion today. The arguments of the age do not change at their core, just the dressing changes.
(5). Knowing Scripture, Revised Edition. R.C. Sproul. IVP Books: Downers Grove, IL 2009, original edition 1977 (I read the original edition many years ago). (152pp.) Read 05-09-15 to 06-09-15. This is an excellent though brief introduction to both the doctrine of Scripture and to Hermeneutics for laymen. The book is really designed to instruct readers in how to interpret the Bible and Sproul does a very good job! This is a challenging read for most laymen I would think. It would be excellent if done as a part of a Bible Study group. Outstanding!
(6). God’s Inerrant Word: An International Symposium on the Trustworthiness of Scripture, John Warwick Montgomery, editor. Bethany House Publishers: Minneapolis, Minnesota 1978 (288pp.) Partially read in 1998; read again, complete, 06-18-15 to 08-07-15. This is an outstanding book, especially considering that it is an anthology with multiple authors. This very thoroughly covers the subject. Sproul’s last chapter is particularly great! Highly recommend but this is, at times, some pretty deep stuff!
3. Doctrine of the Person of Christ
(1). The Message of the Person of Christ, the Bible Speaks Today, by Robert Letham. Inter-Varsity Press: Downers Grove, IL 2013 (261pp.) Read 12-11-14 to 01-14-15. This is an Outstanding survey of many Scripture Texts from Genesis to Revelation that teach us about the Person of Christ. Sound and solid theology but highly readable. I highly recommend!
4. Doctrine of the Holy Spirit
(1). Names of the Holy Spirit by Ray Pritchard. Moody Press: Chicago, 1995 (214pp.) Read as a daily devotion 04-14-15 to 09-25-15. This is an excellent biblical study of the names of the Holy Spirit from Genesis to Revelation. Despite the fact that this is a devotional book, he covers a lot of biblical ground and thoroughly explains and applies the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. I highly recommend!
5.
C. Historical Theology
II. Christian Living/Basic Discipleship
A. Basic Christianity-Discipleship
1. Basic Christianity by John Stott. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company: Grand Rapids, MI 2008 (originally 1958) (174pp.) Read for the Third time 11-13-14 to 12-15-14. Outstanding! A classic! A great beginner book.
2. The Keys To Spiritual Growth by John MacArthur. Crossway Books: Wheaton, IL 1991 (191pp.) Read 12-20-14 to 01-20-15. This is an outstanding book for the new believer or the believer who needs a heavy dose of the basics. Great tool for discipleship.
III. Bible Commentaries
A. Old Testament
1. Tyndale Old Testament Commentary Vol.23B: Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, by David W. Baker. Inter-Varsity Press: Leicester, England 1988. “Habakkuk” pp.41-77. Read for the Redeemer Church sermon series by Dan Hilmer, June-July 2014.
2. The Minor Prophets, Volume 2, Micah-Malachi, by James Montgomery Boice. Baker Books: Grand Rapids, MI. 1986, “Habakkuk”, pp.387-434. Read June-July, 2014. Very good sermons!
3. The Bible Speaks Today, The Message of Zechariah, by Barry G. Webb. InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove, IL 2003 (186pp.) Read 06-01-15 to 07-21-15. This is an outstanding, gospel centered, conservative commentary that is perfect for devotions or sermon prep. Webb really helped me understand Zechariah, which is not the easiest of the minor-prophets to grasp. Highly recommend! Read in preparation for a sermon series on Zechariah by Pastor Bret Rogers at Redeemer Church, Fort Worth, Aug. 2015.
4. Fries, Micah; Rummage, Stephen; Gallaty, Robby. Christ-Centered Exposition, Exalting Jesus in Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi. Holman Reference: Nashville, TN 2015 (pp.79-195). Read July-August 2015. Outstanding! Nice, perfect, organized sermons, very good!
5. Hill, Andrew E. Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi. IVP Academic: Downers Grove, IL 2012 (368pp., “Zechariah”, pp.103-273). Read 08-22-15 to 10-03-15. This was an outstanding commentary!
B. New Testament
IV. Apologetics
A. Classical
B. Evidence
C. General
D. Issues
1. Johnson, Phillip E. Darwin on Trial. Regnery Gateway: Washington D.C. 1991 (195pp.) Read 10-02 to 11-04-14. Started many times, 09-29-00, 06-17-01, 03-11-04, 09-21-07. This is a very important book, but, sadly, the cult of Darwinism still predominates our society 23 years later. The book does require a lot of knowledge of biology, but the author’s arguments are outstanding!
2. Ibid. Reason in the Balance: The Case Against Naturalism in Science, Law & Education. Inter-Varsity Press: Downers Grove, IL. 1995 (245pp.) Purchased 10-02-95; read 11-12-14 to 12-10-14. Outstanding!
E.

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Review of David Levering Lewis’ “God’s Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570-1215

Posted on August 1, 2015. Filed under: Book Reviews, Church History |

 Lewis, David Levering. God’s Crucible, Islam and the Making of Europe, 570-1215. W.W. Norton: New York, 2008 (473pp.) Read 05-19-15 to 07-31-15. This was an exceptionally difficult book, and, frankly, I am surprised I finished it.

First of all it is a difficult subject- muslim/arab history is very convoluted and the names of people and places and a totally different dating scheme is all very foreign to me. Secondly, Lewis’ writing style was difficult; it just did not flow well and seemed to go back and forth a lot. Nonetheless, this is an important book and I take his points well. And it was painful.

Lewis’ main idea is that the rise and flourishing of islam when Rome had fallen, and Europe was barbaric, provided the impetus through Spain, to kick Europe out of barbarism. If Spain had not been captured by islam, Europe would have stayed in the Dark Ages for centuries longer than they did. Lewis is mostly fair to both sides (Muslim and Christian) but he did seem to me to be very Islamic friendly. He not only clearly demonstrates the superiority of Islamic culture vis-à-vis European but he relishes in the fact. He seems to gleefully describe the horrible outrages of medieval Christians in their ignorance, poverty, and brutality, but he seems to express sadness when he fairly reports the times of failure and brutality of muslims.

He worked on this book before and after 9/11 and in his Acknowledgements admits that 9/11 forced him to change some things. I believe that he sees the horrible side of islam now, and by pointing back to the high culture of islam in its early days, particularly in Spain where, in his opinion, the musims, Jews, and Christians got along well, and he is pointing to that period and place and calling all sides to “just get along”. This point, I disagree with.

I cannot recommend this book to the average reader, but if you have a love for medieval history, or, like me, seriously want to get a grasp on the history of Islamic relations with the West, then this will be a good book- but tough.

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Brief Review of Samuel Eliot Morison’s “The European Discovery of America: The Southern Voyages”

Posted on March 7, 2015. Filed under: Book Reviews |

1. Morison, Samuel Eliot. The European Discovery of America: The Southern Voyages A.D. 1492-1616. Oxford University Press: New York, 1974, (758p.) http://www.amazon.com/European-Discovery-America-D-1492-1616/dp/0195082729/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1425743247&sr=1-2&keywords=the+european+discovery+of+america+morison

I purchased this book in 2000 and began reading it but never completed it. I restarted the book again in Nov.2013 and finished in 03-06-15. This book was somewhat of a difficult read as it is not just long but quite detailed. But Professor Morison (he was a US Navy Admiral and with a Ph.D. he was a professor at Harvard) writes with excitement that comes with having sailed many of the same routes that he writes about. So when he writes about Columbus he writes not just as a scholar but as a sailor who has made the same journey in a small ship. When he writes about Magellan, he writes as one who has sailed a ship through the Straits named for Magellan. When he writes of Drake on the California coast he writes as one who personally sailed the coast looking for the bay Drake put in to.

Where I struggled in the book was with the lesser known explorers. At any rate, I am glad I have read it and plan on reading volume one of this set, The Northern Voyages in the future. The two things I was amazed at as I read this book was the frequency with which the Explorers were punished and imprisoned by the kings when they returned home. Morison makes much of this. The other thing I found amazing was the casualty rate of roughly 25% of all the mariners who set out on these voyages never made it home.

Another area of the book that was fascinating was the descriptions of the various native tribes encountered along the way. I know that for the past 40 years or so it has become fashionable to bemoan Columbus’ discovery because of what it did to the Indians, but, seriously, when you read the stories of the encounters with the natives of America you realize that most of the cultures were even worse than the Europeans. Torture and cannibalism, extreme sexual promiscuity including incest were common.

In looking at the future of our culture, if we do not blow ourselves up, and if the Lord tarries, our Solar System beckons. The riches of the asteroid belt await, the wonders of Mars are calling us. Will we, like our ancestors, have the courage and wherewithal to boldly go where no man has gone before? Will we accept the costs and casualties that Charles V and Philip II did?

These are stories of tremendous courage as well as depravity. It is the story of Western Civilization at its finest and worst. I choose to emphasize the good as does Morison. While I cannot recommend this book for the general reader, it is an excellent book for those with an interest in sailing and in the Age of Discovery.

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