Non-Fiction

Book reviews on non-fiction books.

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    The need for "educational reform" has once again returned to our national discourse--especially in light of the Federal Education Department's current "Race to the Top" initiative. However, despite many years of federal, state and local legislative mandates and school reform initiatives, remarkably few substantive changes have occurred within the standard public school classroom. Classes of 25 students, seated at desks, in rows, in rooms that are often too small, under the direction of an individual teacher contine to be the norm. The time for an honest re-examination of failed "outside-in/top down" educational reform policies is beyond urgent. Hank Warren is passionate about the "calling" of teaching. "It Simply Must Be Said" focuses on the issues facing education from the perspictive of an active public school teacher via a collection of observations, experiences, stories, and recommendations from 34 years in teaching. Throughout the book Hank addresses serious concerns with humor and relevant tales of actual events.

    "All About Clean Energy," authored by retired rocket engineer Edward Hujsak, is targeted specifically to gifted teen agers, as a project reference book, as well as an assist in determining what career choice would be most rewarding in a rapidly growing industrial area. The first chapter is a review of Earth s climate behavior over hundreds of thousands of years, and discusses how the present situation is anomalous and due to human activity. Subsequent chapters examine photovoltaic energy, (terrestrial and space based), solar thermal, geothermal, wind, tides, hydro, ocean currents, nuclear fission, nuclear fusion research, biofuels. The final chapter is concerned with conservation measures, describes the smart grid and forecasts obsoletion of the internal combustion engine.

    Readers of "From Crisis to Recovery" by author George W. Doherty will: * Learn how the community and individuals respond to recover from disasters. * Identify activities in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from disasters. * Perform strategic planning and explain how it is helpful in mitigating and responding to disasters, critical incidents and other crises. * Understand the mental health services provided to people affected by disasters, critical incidents and other crises. * Understand the stages of disaster recovery and how resilience affects each stage. * Learn the signs and symptoms of disaster induced stress and emotional trauma and how resilience mitigates outcomes.

    "Angels in the Wilderness" is the first-person account of how author Amy Racina survived for four days and nights, both legs badly broken, in a remote valley in California's Sierra Nevada mountains after a sixty-foot fall during a solo hiking trip. Battling pain, fear and exhaustion, she pulled herself along with her hands, and refused to give up even when her chances of salvation were remote. The book chronicles her miraculous rescue, and describes her dramatic airlift out of the canyon, swinging helplessly from two straps, dangling fearfully beneath a helicopter high above the ravine where she had lain.

    " There Are Two Types of People in This World Among Other Things" by author Uche Nwakudu is a collection of essays and commentaries on social, political and contemporary issues written with a tinge of euphuistic, witty, and imaginative aplomb. The topics range from politics, government, war and conflict to poverty, religion, racism and marriage. The book raises some pertinent and interesting questions and attempts to answer them from an insightful, contemplative, and commonsensical standpoint. Who created God? Do God and Jesus come from the same place? Is America s demise near? Why has Osama Bin Laden vowed to destroy America? Why may he succeed? What motivates the terrorist? Is marriage a good thing? What makes a marriage work? The book is loaded with ideas and notions intended to give vent to the contemplative mind and lift the closed and narrow minded out from the morass of age-old institutional thinking.

    "Artificial Imagination" by Kalpanik S. mixes technology and art together into a fascinating and philosophical combination. The book follows one high- tech immigrant's journey through United States as he graduates from University of California and ventures from Silicon Valley to Seattle, Nashville and back to California in a quest for his dream job and his search for a place which accepts him, a place he could call home. The story is purportedly narrated by an artificial intelligence program with the ability to simulate human creativity, sense of humor and spirit of adventure. Technology is all brain, no heart, all cold logic, and no warm soul, or is it? This gem of a book reminds us that technology could not exist were it not for boundless creativity, and it does this in such a way as to also remind us that without that very same creativity, there would be no art, no literature.

    Cults, Conspiracies and Secret Societies

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