Emery's 2016 Reading Challenge log

Annual Reading Challenge

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Re: Emery's 2016 Reading Challenge log

Postby Whiterook » Sun Jul 31, 2016 7:07 pm

Book #5

Rendezvous With Destiny. History Of The 101St Airborne Division
by Leonard Rapport

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At 830 pages, this was a long read. Chock full of maps and illustrations, it was a fascination look inside the history of one of the iconic American Paratroop divisions. It is a great resource for Lock 'N Load Tactics, Heroes of Normandy (formerly, Band of Heroes) scenarios.

New York Times review: "For sheer adventure few writers of fiction surpass this real-life, name-and-date story of men bound together in a combat outfit."

“The 101st Airborne Division, which was activated on August 16, 1942, at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana, has no history, but it has a rendezvous with destiny…” Maj.-Gen. William Lee commanding officer 1942.

“In 1942, the 82nd Infantry Division at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana, was split in two. One of the new divisions began intense preparations and training for a surprise landing on the Nazi-occupied European continent. The location was Normandy, France; the date was June 6, 1944; and the division was the 101st Airborne: the legendary "band of brothers."

“This is the story of that division’s heroic performance on D-Day, and right up to the Allied victory in Europe. Filled with historic images, many never before published, it is also a tribute to the fallen men of the 101st--the artists and athletes, scientists and mathematicians, architects and builders whose sacrifice secured the future but left the human race much diminished. Theirs is an accomplishment well-known but rarely so dramatically depicted: Here is the 101st landing on Utah Beach, coming in by parachute, or glider, or from the sea. Stirring words and pictures capture the landing, linking the Utah and Omaha beachheads; the divisions breaking of the German drive to the coast; and their brilliant stand at Bastogne; a refusal to yield so famously summed up in the commanders reply to a German call for surrender: "Nuts."”-Mark Bando.
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Re: Emery's 2016 Reading Challenge log

Postby Whiterook » Sun Jul 31, 2016 7:12 pm

Book #6

Interstellar: The Official Movie Novelization
by Greg Keyes

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This is the official movie novelization to the film by Christopher Nolan. Interstellar chronicles the adventures of a group of explorers who make use of a newly discovered wormhole to surpass the limitations on human space travel and conquer the vast distances involved in an interstellar voyage. I'd seen the movie several times at the cinema, and then bought the DVD. It's incredibly deep, and the book actually helped me figure out some loose ends and concepts! Great read.
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Re: Emery's 2016 Reading Challenge log

Postby Frank » Sat Aug 06, 2016 2:11 pm

That is the good thing about a book, it quite often does explain things better than a film.
"Some believe that it is only great power that can hold evil in check.But that is not what I have found, it is the small everyday acts of normal folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love."
Gandalf the Grey

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Re: Emery's 2016 Reading Challenge log

Postby Whiterook » Mon Oct 24, 2016 10:11 pm

Book 7

PT 109: An American Epic of War, Survival, and the Destiny of John F. Kennedy
by William Doyle

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I really enjoyed this read! I actually read the Robert Donovan version many years ago. This one was different on several levels....mainly with filling in gaps I'd never known before.

The extraordinary World War II story of shipwreck and survival that paved John F. Kennedy's path to power – hailed as a “breathtaking account” by James Patterson, “masterfully written” by historian Douglas Brinkley, and “the finest book” ever written on the subject by Lt. Commander William Liebenow, the man who rescued JFK and the PT 109 crew in August 1943.

In the early morning darkness of August 2, 1943, during a chaotic nighttime skirmish amid the Solomon Islands, the Japanese destroyer Amagiri barreled through thick fog and struck the U.S. Navy's motor torpedo boat PT 109, splitting the craft nearly in half and killing two American sailors instantly. The sea erupted in flames as the 109's skipper, John F. Kennedy, and the ten surviving crewmen under his command desperately clung to the sinking wreckage; 1,200 feet of ink-black, shark-infested water loomed beneath. "All hands lost," came the reports back to the Americans' base: no rescue was coming for the men of PT 109. Their desperate ordeal was just beginning—so too was one of the most remarkable tales of World War II, one whose astonishing afterlife would culminate two decades later in the White House.

Drawing on original interviews with the last living links to the events, previously untapped Japanese wartime archives, and a wealth of archival documents from the Kennedy Library, including a lost first-hand account by JFK himself, bestselling author William Doyle has crafted a thrilling and definitive account of the sinking of PT 109 and its shipwrecked crew's heroics. Equally fascinating is the story's second act, in which Doyle explores in new detail how this extraordinary episode shaped Kennedy's character and fate, proving instrumental to achieving his presidential ambitions: "Without PT 109, there never would have been a President John F. Kennedy," declared JFK aide David Powers.

Featuring castaways on a deserted island, a spy network of Solomon Island natives, an Australian coast watcher hidden on the side of a volcano, an S.O.S. note carved into a coconut, and a daring rescue attempt led by Kennedy's fellow American PT boats, PT 109 is an unforgettable American epic of war and destiny.
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Re: Emery's 2016 Reading Challenge log

Postby Whiterook » Mon Oct 24, 2016 10:14 pm

An interesting aside to the PT 109 book was learning that John F. Kennedy used to go to Boston's New England Baptist Hospital for his back problems. That's where my wife just had her knee replacement surgery! I couldn't help but think of that fact while I was there with her.
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Re: Emery's 2016 Reading Challenge log

Postby Whiterook » Mon Oct 24, 2016 10:25 pm

Book 8

Star Trek: Vanguard (series)
Vanguard #1: Harbinger (Star Trek: The Original Series)

by David Mack

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It's been a long tome since I read a Star Trek book! What appealed to me was, after seeing the latest Star Trek movie at the cinema, my interest was again peaked and I needed more!!! This series takes place right at the start of the TOS. That being said, and also being different than when I used to read Trek books is.... the characters in my mind are from the re-imagined films (e.g., Chris Pine, Zac Quinto, etc.) instead of Shatner, Nimoy, etc. It's just where my mind is, right now!

Returning from its historic first voyage to the edge of the galaxy, the damaged USS Enterprise journeys through the Taurus Reach, a vast and little-known region of space in which a new starbase has been unexpectedly established. Puzzled by the Federation's interest in an area so far from its borders and so near the xenophobic Tholian Assembly, Captain James T. Kirk orders the Enterprise to put in for repairs at the new space station: Starbase 47, also known as Vanguard.
As Kirk ponders the mystery of the enormous base, he begins to suspect that there is much more to Vanguard than meets the eye. It's a suspicion shared by the Tholians, the Orions, and the Klingon Empire, each of whom believes that there are less than benign motives behind the Federation's sudden and unexplained desire to explore and colonize the Taurus Reach.
But when a calamity deep within the Reach threatens to compromise Starfleet's continued presence in the region, Kirk, Spock, and several key specialists from the Enterprise must assist Vanguard's crew in investigating the cause of the disaster and containing the damage. In the process, they learn the true purpose behind the creation of Vanguard, and what the outcome of its mission may mean for life throughout that part of the galaxy.
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Re: Emery's 2016 Reading Challenge log

Postby Whiterook » Mon Oct 24, 2016 10:27 pm

Book 9

Star Trek
Vanguard #2: Summon the Thunder (Star Trek: The Original Series)


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The Taurus Reach: a remote interstellar expanse that holds a very old and potentially cataclysmic secret, the truth of which is feared by the Tholians, coveted by the Klingons, and dubiously guarded by the Federation. At the center of this intrigue is Vanguard, a Federation starbase populated by an eclectic mix of Starfleet officers and civilians, whose lives are forever altered as they explore the layers of mystery surrounding the Reach and steadily peel them away...one after another.

In the aftermath of Harbinger, Commodore Diego Reyes commands Vanguard while waging an intensely personal struggle, tasked to uncover the true significance of the Taurus Reach while simultaneously concealing that mission from his fellow officers -- and even his closest friends. As the Daedalus-class U.S.S. Lovell brings some of Starfleet's keenest technical minds to help, the U.S.S. Endeavour makes a find that could shed further light on the enigmatic meta-genome that has captured the Federation's interest -- if its crew survives the discovery....

Deep within the Taurus Reach, an ancient and powerful alien mind has awakened prematurely from aeons of hibernation, alerted to the upstart civilizations now daring to encroach upon the worlds in her care. With the stakes for all sides escalating rapidly, the alien lashes out with deadly force against the interlopers, propelling the Vanguard crew on a desperate race to understand the nature of the attacker, and to prevent the Taurus Reach from becoming a war zone.
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Re: Emery's 2016 Reading Challenge log

Postby Frank » Fri Oct 28, 2016 2:59 pm

White Rook wrote:Book 7

PT 109: An American Epic of War, Survival, and the Destiny of John F. Kennedy
by William Doyle

PT 109.jpg

I really enjoyed this read! I actually read the Robert Donovan version many years ago. This one was different on several levels....mainly with filling in gaps I'd never known before.

The extraordinary World War II story of shipwreck and survival that paved John F. Kennedy's path to power – hailed as a “breathtaking account” by James Patterson, “masterfully written” by historian Douglas Brinkley, and “the finest book” ever written on the subject by Lt. Commander William Liebenow, the man who rescued JFK and the PT 109 crew in August 1943.

In the early morning darkness of August 2, 1943, during a chaotic nighttime skirmish amid the Solomon Islands, the Japanese destroyer Amagiri barreled through thick fog and struck the U.S. Navy's motor torpedo boat PT 109, splitting the craft nearly in half and killing two American sailors instantly. The sea erupted in flames as the 109's skipper, John F. Kennedy, and the ten surviving crewmen under his command desperately clung to the sinking wreckage; 1,200 feet of ink-black, shark-infested water loomed beneath. "All hands lost," came the reports back to the Americans' base: no rescue was coming for the men of PT 109. Their desperate ordeal was just beginning—so too was one of the most remarkable tales of World War II, one whose astonishing afterlife would culminate two decades later in the White House.

Drawing on original interviews with the last living links to the events, previously untapped Japanese wartime archives, and a wealth of archival documents from the Kennedy Library, including a lost first-hand account by JFK himself, bestselling author William Doyle has crafted a thrilling and definitive account of the sinking of PT 109 and its shipwrecked crew's heroics. Equally fascinating is the story's second act, in which Doyle explores in new detail how this extraordinary episode shaped Kennedy's character and fate, proving instrumental to achieving his presidential ambitions: "Without PT 109, there never would have been a President John F. Kennedy," declared JFK aide David Powers.

Featuring castaways on a deserted island, a spy network of Solomon Island natives, an Australian coast watcher hidden on the side of a volcano, an S.O.S. note carved into a coconut, and a daring rescue attempt led by Kennedy's fellow American PT boats, PT 109 is an unforgettable American epic of war and destiny.


Sounds a fascinating read, JFK is one of the 20th centuries icons and this sounds a good look at what what helped shape him
"Some believe that it is only great power that can hold evil in check.But that is not what I have found, it is the small everyday acts of normal folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love."
Gandalf the Grey

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Re: Emery's 2016 Reading Challenge log

Postby Whiterook » Tue Dec 06, 2016 8:17 pm

Book 10

Dean and Me: A Love Story
by Jerry Lewis, James Kaplan

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This was truly, a joy to read, and beautiful...while also being quite haunting, now that Dean is gone. There was so much I did not know about two men (entertainers) I thought I knew. The account really shows how each man really had a lot of insecurities...at ties crippling...which surprised me, as both were/are so gregarious and passionate in life. They completed each other in ways show business will forever be blessed by; but more important in the great scheme of things is, they completed each other.

I kept waiting to see what the breakup was all about. Though it is covered, it is still a bit of a mystery....and come to find out, it was the same for the two men themselves. Thank God they found their way back to one another.

It shed an interesting view on post-WWII life in America, and the world. And what their act meant to national healing; though it wasn't all peaches and cream overseas, when they went to England and were treated rather roughly by some malcontents in the audience. It would seem that the Lend-Lease program that saved Britain was later the cause for much angst and anger by the British.

The book also shown and interesting spotlight on the Mob, which owned significant portions of the nightclub life in the 40's and 50's of when Martin & Lewis were starting and conquered the scene of showbiz. Though there is no denying the 'tough guy' nature of the organization, working as an entertainer in these nightclubs meant having to 'deal' with these folks....and most surprising to me was, the relationships between the entertainers and the Organization 9both out of necessity,but also mutual respect). In many instances, it put not only a human face on the toughies, but also showed some exhibited their own strange brand of honor and friendship with Dean and Jerry....and Frank, and Sammy, and Bing, and....

I didn't know one slip on a wet spot on stage during a show Jerry did for friends, later in his career, resulted in debilitating back pain from a spinal column chip, and fiber growth in the injury. It drove the poor man to near suicide, and thank God he didn't follow through. The narcs he was on tuned into a bad thing, which he conquered somehow.

I didn't know Dean was such a huge Westerns fan (TV, books, and movies), and it makes me look at hos Western movies with an new eye! I also didn't know he was into comic books.

The last years of Deans life were both bittersweet to me, to quite sad. The man suffered. But Jerry poignantly shows he was Cool right to the end.

The book had moments where it seemed more like Jerry was talking to you, in his living room, and just reliving old times. The writing was that intimate...which is what made it a joy to read. I loved the book, and I know I'll read it again.

From Goodreads:
They were the unlikeliest of pairs — a handsome crooner and a skinny monkey, an Italian from Steubenville, Ohio, and a Jew from Newark, N.J..

Before they teamed up, Dean Martin seemed destined for a mediocre career as a nightclub singer, and Jerry Lewis was dressing up as Carmen Miranda and miming records on stage. But the moment they got together, something clicked—something miraculous—and audiences saw it at once.

Before long, they were as big as Elvis or the Beatles would be after them, creating hysteria wherever they went and grabbing an unprecedented hold over every entertainment outlet of the era: radio, television, movies, stage shows, and nightclubs. Martin and Lewis were a national craze, an American institution. The millions (and the women) flowed in, seemingly without end—and then, on July 24, 1956, ten years from the day when the two men joined forces, it all ended.

After that traumatic day, the two wouldn’t speak again for twenty years. And while both went on to forge triumphant individual careers—Martin as a movie and television star, recording artist, and nightclub luminary (and charter member of the Rat Pack); Lewis as the groundbreaking writer, producer, director, and star of a series of hugely successful movie comedies—their parting left a hole in the national psyche, as well as in each man’s heart.

In a memoir by turns moving, tragic, and hilarious, Jerry Lewis recounts with crystal clarity every step of a fifty-year friendship, from the springtime, 1945 afternoon when the two vibrant young performers destined to conquer the world together met on Broadway and Fifty-fourth Street, to their tragic final encounter in the 1990s, when Lewis and his wife ran into Dean Martin, a broken and haunted old man.

In Dean and Me, Jerry Lewis makes a convincing case for Dean Martin as one of the great — and most underrated — comic talents of our era. But what comes across most powerfully in this definitive memoir is the depth of love Lewis felt, and still feels, for his partner, and which his partner felt for him: truly a love to last for all time.
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Re: Emery's 2016 Reading Challenge log

Postby Frank » Fri Dec 09, 2016 3:09 pm

Martin and Lewis had a brief moment of popularity here but never hit the heights that they did in the US. Some comedy is pretty universal but others do not seem to travel.
"Some believe that it is only great power that can hold evil in check.But that is not what I have found, it is the small everyday acts of normal folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love."
Gandalf the Grey


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