Newton’s Clock: Chaos in the Solar System
W.H.Freeman and Company, New York
Rating: 5 of 5 This book gave me a new appreciation for difficulty of the many-body problem, and what insights are possible. It gave me a new respect for those people who pursue those difficult problems.
One of the opportunities I have during retirement is to revisit my library, to reread books I have enjoyed in the past, and to read some of the books I bought, but never got around to reading. This is one of those books I’ve had for a long time, possibly over 20 years, but never read. Now I wish I had read it much earlier. I’d like to have read it while in graduate school. However it was not yet available, indeed much of the work discussed, had not been accomplished yet.
Gosnell: the Untold Story of America’s Most Prolific Killer
Ann McElhinny and Philip McAllen
Rating: 5/5 Must read, A well written book on an important topic.
Gosnell describes the legal case developed against Kermit Gosnell of Philadelphia. His crimes were discovered, not through normal diligence and regulation of the State Healthcare Bureaucracy, but through a drug investigation. Gosnell knew that he was above and exempt from the rules. He could ignore rules and regulations, and could ignore the Law, as he had done for more than 40 years.
The Global War on Christians: Dispatches from the front lines of Anti-Christian Persecution
John L. Allen, Jr
Publication Date: 2013.
Crown Publishing Group (Random House), New York,
Format: Epub version, 278 pages.
It appears that our nation is beginning a period of religious persecution, as our government begins taking on itself to direct what the Church can and cannot do, and some groups blame Christians for all our social problems. It becomes important to understand that persecution occurs throughout the world and often in extreme forms.
Allen reports some of the statistics of the present persecutions. However, these seem to very by orders of magnitude. The numbers of those persecuted are understandably not readily reported by local sources. He uses a poor/broad definition of “Christian” (not that I have a better one) using those who are self-identified as Christians. You may question whether, on a per capita basis, Jews, or some loosely Christian sects, suffer more persecution, but the numbers involved make Christians the most persecuted.
R. Douglas Hurt
Series: A History of the Trans-Appalachian Frontier
Publication date: 3/25/2009
Format: paper 6×9, 440 pages, 23 b&w photos
I grew up in New York, a great state to be from, and emigrated to Ohio after college, where I found a job. I did not have the benefit of learning Ohio history in elementary school. With the bicentennial of the war of 1812, I have learned that there was considerable action on the Ohio frontier. This resurrected the nagging feeling that I needed to start filling in the gaps in my knowledge of Ohio history, and early 19th century American history. A bit of searching lead me to this book. While it has not filled in all the holes, it has helped considerably, and I recommend this to anyone seeking to learn more of this period. Continue reading
1635: The Papal Stakes
by Eric Flint and Charles E. Gannon
Series: Ring of Fire Series by Eric Flint
Publisher: Baen Books
I have enjoyed reading the novels from the 1632 Ring of Fire series. It is kind of a Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur Court series, but set in the turbulent time of the 30 Years War. A West Virginia town is plunged into the middle of the 30 years war. They have to adapt to the times, but more importantly, the times have to adapt to them. It is a time with traditions that tend toward the medieval, but is transitioning to the modern world with the Americas, Printing Press, Reformation. I’ve been listening to a set of tapes on the Late Middle Ages, where the lecturer concludes that the “Modern” Period has only just begun, in the late 19th early 20th century. This appears to be short sighted. My inclination is to place the beginning of the modern period much earlier than that, before the “Glorious Revolution”, and perhaps exactly at the time of the 30 Years War.
It seems like I’ve been waiting a long time for this book [Nearly 6 yrs?]. Papal Stakes continues where Cannon Law left off, covering May-August of 1635 in Italy. It continues from the Pope’s escape from siege, and Frank and Giovanna Stones’ imprisonment. It has two slightly connected story lines, the protection and defense of the Pope, and the rescue of Frank and Giovanna. Continue reading
Fire with Fire
by Charles E. Gannon
Publisher: Baen Books
series: yes? First book?
I recommend this book. This story makes extensive use of the hero’s acute perception to successfully step through mine fields. It reminds me of Ender’s Game, which I read so long ago that I don’t remember much about it except that I enjoyed it immensely and its on my list of important SF books. It is not quite up to that level, but is an enjoyable read nevertheless.
This is a “First Contact” story. After a successful first contact with a less developed race, Earth is invited to join an interplanetary federation. But first, Earth must be accepted by the various factions of the alliance.
The intriguing technology of the story is “cryosleep”. It is used to kidnap the hero into the future, about 13 years, where he is shanghaied into the initial first contact mission.