A History of Pi – Petr Beckmann



A History of Pi

Petr Beckman

©1971, The Golem Press

1993 Ed. Barnes &Noble, Inc

ISBN  0-88029-418-3

Rating: 1 of 5  I will not finish reading this book.

I think this is a poorly written book.  His history is uneven. He often makes statements that I think demand explanation, and his explanations are weak (kind of like this sentence).  I do not follow his proofs.  Much of this may be due to a lack of definitions.  The figures do not help, because he refers to them in unclear (or even misleading) ways.  I think the editor had no understanding of the topic.  The editor was out of this league.

The author shows that this topic has the potential for an interesting book.  However, this is not it.  I have many other books to read, and will stop wasting my time on this one – right now.

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Newton’s Clock – Ivars Peterson

Newton’s Clock: Chaos in the Solar System

Ivars Peterson

W.H.Freeman and Company, New York

ISBN 0-717-2396-4

QB351.P48 1993

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.

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Gosnell: The Untold Story of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer

Cover Image - Gosnell: The Untold Story Gosnell: the Untold Story of America’s Most Prolific Killer

Ann McElhinny and Philip McAllen

Regney Publishing


ISBN 978-1-62157-455-2

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.

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The Global War on Christians by John L. Allen, Jr.

The Global War on Christians: Dispatches from the front lines of Anti-Christian Persecution
John L. Allen, Jr

Book Cover: Global War on Christians
Rating: 5/5
Publication Date: 2013.
Crown Publishing Group (Random House), New York,

Format: Epub version, 278 pages.
eISBN: 978-0-7704-3736-7





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.

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The Ohio Frontier by R. Douglas Hurt

Indiana University Press, The Ohio FrontierThe Ohio Frontier:Crucible of the Old Northwest, 1720–1830

R. Douglas Hurt

rating: 4/5

Series: A History of the Trans-Appalachian Frontier

Publication date: 3/25/2009

Format: paper 6×9, 440 pages, 23 b&w photos
ISBN: 978-0-253-21212-2




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

Book Cover: 1635: Papal Stakes

1635: The Papal Stakes
by Eric Flint and Charles E. Gannon

Series: Ring of Fire Series by Eric Flint

Publisher: Baen Books

Published: 2012

648 Pages

rating: 5/5

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