THE SHIP of DREAMS: The Sinking of THE TITANIC and the end of the Edwardian Era by Gareth Russell

The Ship of Dreams: The Sinking of the Titanic and the End of the Edwardian Era

Gareth Russell has done his research. Uncovering previously unpublished sources and including photographs. Russell tells the story not just of the sinking of the Titanic, but of six well-known and well-heeled passengers and the role they played in history.
He is a gifted writer and puts the event in context with what was going on in the world. Especially the Americans and the British. With the Edwardian Era ending, war on the horizon and changes in the social norms, technology, politics, Irish Home Rule, the class system, this was a major time of change for the world.
We follow the stories of six of those passengers on the Titanic and how their lives changed.  The description of the sinking, minute by minute, the different ways Americans and the British handled the tragedy. Not everyone was chivalrous or brave. And for some that would haunt them for the rest of their lives.
For me personally, this was the best book I have read on the subject. And that was because it was so well researched and written. Myths were shown for what they were. Facts and journals told stories never heard before. The pictures were priceless in creating an image in your head of who these people were and how they behaved.
I would have no problem recommending this book as a definitive look at this point in our history.
Extremely Well Done!
NetGalley/ November 19th, 2019 by Atria Books

BROKE: Hardship and Resilience in a City of Broken Promises by Jodie Adams Kirschner

Broke: Hardship and Resilience in a City of Broken Promises

The author has taken a hard look at the state of affairs in Detroit. Through the voices of seven people whose lives have been changed forever by the mismanagement of the city and its eventual bankruptcy.

I visited Detroit regularly during the late ’80s and through the ’90s. It was a huge, sprawling place and going downtown was heartbreaking. To see block after block of neglected and abandoned homes and businesses.

There is enough blame to go around in this look at how cities are not getting the support they need to provide the services people need to survive and thrive. Everything is broken. The real estate market, the banks, the inept leadership, the lack of state and federal support.

About 40 percent of the city lives below the poverty level. Where is the investment in creating new jobs? How do these opportunists get by with paying $1000 for a foreclosed home and turning around and charging 3 times that in rent? The entire thing is falling apart and who is going to bail them out?

Detroit isn’t the only city in trouble. We just rarely hear anything about the others. The research in this book is very well done!

I appreciate the author bringing this into the light. And I hope people read this and stand up and do the right thing by their fellow human beings.

Highly Recommended Reading!

NetGalley/  November 19th, 2019 by St. Martin’s Press

 

 

 

 

THE GOOD COP by PETER STEINER

The Good Cop

In a world of growing nationalism, a quiet few are determined to resist. This gripping historical mystery explores the darkest days of the early 20th century. 

Peter Steiner has given us a work of Historical Fiction with a lot of truth in the mix.

WWI has been lost. Germany is in chaos and the new government isn’t anything to brag about. Everyone is in some way corrupted. Detective Willi Geismeier has a front-row seat to the rise of Adolph Hitler.

You have Fascism and Communism and violence everywhere. This is a country that needs a leader desperately. Unfortunately, that leader comes in the shape of Adolph Hitler. Everything is politicized and investigations of crimes become impossible.

We also have the viewpoints of Maximillian and his wife, Sophie, a reporter. Together they will fight to stay alive, knowing that things are not going to end well for many.

This was a historical fiction story with a whole lot of truth behind it. It moved fast and I really enjoyed seeing Munich in the 1920s through the eyes of those who were there. Good plot, good characters, and a fast pace. Well Done!

NetGalley Reviews/ Severn House  September 3rd, 2019

 

 

The BeeKeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri

The Beekeeper of Aleppo

The unforgettable love story of a mother blinded by loss and her husband who insists on their survival as they undertake the Syrian refugee trail to Europe.

A beautiful and haunting tale of Syria and the families who lost so much and fought so hard to stay in their home country, only to be driven out by war.

This is the story of Nuri, a beekeeper, and his wife, Afra, who is an artist. They live in the city of Aleppo and their life is a good one. Until war comes. In a bomb strike their lives change forever. They change forever. Afra has seen such horrors, she is now blind. But with the aid of Nuri’s cousin, they escape. 

It is a long and hard journey they must now go on. Now they are refugees. Looked down on and taken advantage of. Nuri is suffering from PTSD and only wants to find a place to raise his bees and be safe. They can never go back. All they have is memories of a home that will never be theirs again.

This is a story of human strength and compassion. A real story of the horrors of war in
Syria and the real people who are dying and suffering for a reason we don’t really understand. Nuri and Afra may never see Syria again, but can they find their way back to each other?

This is a book you need to read. It’s not pretty and it’s very sad, but it’s honest and I cried and was very grateful to have read it.

Very Well Done!

NetGalley/ August 27th, 2019 by Ballantine Books

 

The Undertaker’s Assistant by Amanda Skenandore

The Undertaker's Assistant

“The dead can’t hurt you. Only the living can.” 

Effie Jones, once a slave, escaped a place she can not even remember as a child.
Found outside of a Union camp and taken in as a ward for an army surgeon. The Captain and his wife taught her to read and write, also how to forget her past and how to embalm bodies.

Effie’s feelings are buried so deep she appears cold and unfeeling. Leaving Indiana and returning to the last place she remembers, New Orleans, she quickly finds employment in the Re-Construction Era, 11 years after the Civil War, with an undertaker who needs her. He is a tortured drunk and Effie does all the work.

Effie maintains a distance from the other ladies at the boarding house. Not interested in anything but work and saving money. A chance meeting with a creole young lady has her learning to be comfortable with society and going to political meetings.

Things around the South are very volatile between the races and not a lot has changed for the better. After a confrontation, Effie begins to have flashes of painful memories of a holding pen and other slaves. She decides to find out who she is and where she came from.

This was a hard book to read. Not a part of our past I am proud of but these stories need to be told. I can’t imagine not knowing something as basic as your own last name. The trials and heartbreak Effie went through only made her stronger.

An exceptionally well-told tale!

NetGalley/July 30th, 2019 by Kensington Publishing Corporation

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TRUTH WORTH TELLING by SCOTT PELLEY

Truth Worth Telling

An inspiring memoir from the front lines of history by award-winning 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley.

Don’t ask the meaning of life. Life is asking, what’s the meaning of you?

Journalist, Scott Pelley, is someone I have always respected. And counted on to give us the news and the story behind the news. The Truth.
Scott gives us true accounts of people changed forever by the events like The World Trade Center bombing, 9/11, fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq.
I found his telling of his own and others experiences on 9/11 to be difficult to read. The book is raw and unforgettable. Pelley has a writing style that is equal to his reporting style and that made this both a heartbreaking read and a profound one.
Free Speech and what it means for the people. Why it is the most important thing at all times and especially at this moment in history. A Free Press is part of the checks and balances that we must have in a democracy.
For readers who believe values matter and truth is worth telling, Pelley writes, “I have written this book for you.”  Scott Pelley
NetGalley/ Harlequin Hanover May 21, 2019

ASSAD OR WE BURN THE COUNTRY by SAM DAGHER

Assad, or We Burn the Country: How One Family's Lust for Power Destroyed Syria

From a Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalist specializing in the Middle East, this groundbreaking account of the Syrian Civil War reveals the never-before-published true story of a 21st-century humanitarian disaster.

Finally a real account of what is going on in Syria! And from a Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalist who specializes in the Middle East. A never before heard boots on the ground look at the Syrian Civil War that is killing the country.

In 2011, President Bashar al-Assad, decided to address the Arab Spring-type protests in Syria with crushing violence on his own people. There would be no uprising here. Instead, there would be a long war that so far has killed almost 500,000 and as citizens flee, terrorist groups came in and suddenly we had an enormous refugee issue. His response went against the advice of his friend Manaf Tlass, commander of the army. 

Dagher uses his own observations and experiences in Damascus and has interviewed many on both sides of this war. Including Tlass. Everything he says rings true. The campaign waged by Basheer has turned the country and the entire region into chaos.

This book could not be more timely. Dagher has shown us what evil looks like and how easily it can be ignored by the world. There is so much false information out there and this book clears it all up very nicely.

Keep bringing us the truth and great journalism!

NetGalley/ May 28th 2019 by Little, Brown and Company