History

Book reviews on books dealing with history.

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    "ERIC II: The Encyclopedia of Roman Imperial Coins" is the most comprehensive, colorful, and detailed single volume exploration of Roman coins ever written. Rasiel Suarez, longtime coin collector and history buff, has assembled information for over 60,000 Roman coins, complete with colored photographs, individual coin descriptions, histories of individual emperors, and details about Roman coin production. This rich array of information makes this 1,500 page encyclopedia the most thorough study of Roman coins ever published.

    "White Gold Railroad" is the story of a private, industrial, three-foot narrow gauge railroad that began in 1922 and continues today. The book’s title refers to the raw gypsum the railroad carried over a twenty-six mile track from the quarry to the processing plant. The book provides a thorough look into the importance of railroads to American industry as illustrated by one small railroad in Southern California. Anyone interested in railroads will find "White Gold Railroad" the perfect read. Charles O’Herin intended to create a book that would “give railroad hobbyists, enthusiasts, and historians equal consideration of their interests” and he has succeeded. Every facet of the railroad is explored from its creators, to its technical detail, its role in industry, and how it has adapted over nearly a century while still performing the original role intended. The vintage photographs and the thorough commentary make the sounds of steam engines, train whistles, and men pounding railroad spikes come to life on the page.

    The powerful quilts of Harriet Powers (1837-1910), a former Athens, Georgia slave, continue to capture our imagination today. Her two-known creations, the Bible Quilt and the Pictorial Quilt, have independently survived since stitched more than a century ago. Over the years, thousands of museum visitors to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston have stood transfixed viewing her artwork. Powers' two quilts are arguably the most well-known and cited coverings in American quilt history. "This I Accomplish" by author Kyra E. Hicks tells the entire, dramatic story of how these two quilts, one of which initially sold for $5, were coveted, cared for, and cherished for decades in private homes before emerging as priceless, national treasures.

    Searching for a sense of understanding and a hope for future prevention, author Jonathan Maxwell explores the different officials of the Holocaust, giving an extensive background of each. He investigates mental defects, childhood occurrences, and family situations of these horrific leaders and identifies the "desk murderers" (those who did not directly kill, but gave orders to kill). "Murderous Intellectuals" provides a concentrated look at the events that took place, as Maxwell attempts to identify the key causes of the mass murders in an effort to prevent future Holocausts.

    "Railroad 1869: Along the Historic Union Pacific," by author Eugene Arundel Miller with photographs by Arundel C. Hull, William H. Jackson and others vividly portray the desolate plains and rugged Utah canyons, the colorful construction camps and short-lived towns along the way. Present day readers can "travel" across Nebraska, Wyoming, and Utah, envision and relive the challenges and adventures faced by the builders which includes; desolate terrain, lawlessness, and colorful lifestyles of construction camps, and the race to meet the Central Pacific Railroad at Promontory Summit.

    This scholarly exploration of hypnotism's history traces the roots of hypnotism from ancient times to the start of the modern era. John C. Hughes, the author of "The Illustrated History of Hypnotism," is the Research Editor for the Journal of Hypnotism and is internationally known as an authority of the history of hypnotism. This classic book is a major contribution to the literature of hypnosis and will be used as a source book and reference volume for many years to come.

    "More Than a Memory" edited by Victor Volkman, defines how modern warfare affects the lives of those who lived it, and how it affected their families when they returned from war. The men who have contributed to this volume each have played a part in Viet Nam, whether as medic, air cavalry, recon, forward observer, or just plain grunt. In writing about their experiences, in fictionalizing them to create a framework for meaning, or through poetry to capture the full drama, the veterans try to understand and release the pain they felt, witnessed, and too often buried. Through these diverse voices, readers come to understand the collective truth of the Viet Nam experience.

    Taking the Sea by Dennis Powers: Book Review

    Author Dennis Powers returns to the maritime world he has so frequently written about with such compelling power. In "Taking the Sea," Powers explores a nearly forgotten part of sea-faring history. From early beginnings when the poor followed sinking ships to enrich their lives a little, to the golden age of Wreckers following the Civil War, and on into the early twentieth century when steamships and schooners ruled transportation, Powers tells the tales of shipwrecks and the fearless, or at times, mercenary men who came to their rescue and received their share of what was saved.

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