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Non-Fiction Book Reviews

Listed below are our most recent book reviews for Non-Fiction books. To view additional book reviews, choose a subcategory from the list on the left.

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A Great and Glorious Adventure: a History of the Hundred Years War and the Birth of Renaissance England

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Corrigan, Gordon(2014)Recently Added Review
A Great and Glorious Adventure: a History of the Hundred Years War and the Birth of Renaissance England

For most of us, the Hundred Years War was a strange block of time with battles, names and literature (Shakespeare, anyone?). The Royal families of England believed they had claims to the throne of France and, indeed, controlled a large chunk of France through various dynastic connections. What historians reckon as being the first and last battles were over a century apart; there were long breaks due to truces, exhaustion, and running out of cash. All the people we remember are here: the Black Prince, Henry V, and of course, Joan the Maid, as well as, the mud and gore of Medieval Warfare. Gordon Corrigan has made sense of the confusion of events, which was for him the making of modern England.

Reviewed by John C., Main Library

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Waterloo: Wellington, Napoleon, and the Battle that Saved Europe

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Corrigan, Gordon(2014)Recently Added Review
Waterloo: Wellington, Napoleon, and the Battle that Saved Europe

Much ink has already been spilled about the battle of Waterloo (think Stendahl’s The Charterhouse of Parma) so why one more. Well why not? Gerard Corrigan a retired British Army officer and military writer gives us his sometimes iconoclastic and refreshing view of this last great battle of the Napoleonic Wars. The major fighting actually took place below the hamlet of Mont St Jean several miles south of Waterloo. The Allied forces under Wellington were an amalgamation of British, Dutch, German and Belgium troops. Additionally there was the Prussian Army looking to avenge the humiliations of previous years. Facing them were the French and the remnants of their allies. It would be a bloody and messy affair, a “near run thing” as Wellington may have said.

Reviewed by John C., Main Library

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American General: the Life and Times of William Tecumseh Sherman

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Eisenhower, John S. D.(2014)Recently Added Review
American General: the Life and Times of William Tecumseh Sherman

American General is another retelling of the life of a most complicated man William T. Sherman (see also Fierce Patriot by Robert O’Connell). The author of this work, John S. D. Eisenhower has carved a niche as a military historian and come out from the shadow of his famous father. This is his final work. As Eisenhower points out Sherman was a man of many contradictions who had a real affection for the people of the South although the people in Georgia and the Carolinas may have a different view. This reviewer has read several biographies of Sherman but finds Eisenhower brings his own unique perspective to the General’s life.

Reviewed by John C., Main Library

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The Wild Truth

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McCandless, Carine(2014)Recently Added Review
The Wild Truth

Jon Krakauer’s book Into the Wild tells the story of Chris McCandless, a young adventurer who died while attempting to survive in the Alaskan wilderness; now his sister Carine tells the rest of the story – why Chris went into Alaska. Chris and Carine were born while their father was still married to another woman with whom he had 6 children. They grew up in an incredibly dysfunctional and abusive home. Carine was hesitant to share this side of their story, but now she wants to share the whole truth about who Chris was and why he felt compelled to push himself to the limits. This compelling memoir fills in some of the gaps in Chris’s story, but it is also a tribute to the unconditional love between siblings.

Reviewed by Jessica B., Mint Hill Branch

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How To Catch a Frog

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Ross, Heather(2014)Recently Added Review
How To Catch a Frog

Author Heather Ross puts the fun in dysfunctional as she shares the story of her childhood in rural Vermont. With her twin sister, Ross endured living in a perpetual state of poverty in a succession of ruined houses. Their unstable mother addicted to alcohol and chain smoking, chose to spend their little money on her addiction, rather than feed, clothe and adequately house her girls. Ross chooses to focus on lessons learned, DYI survival and endurance, rather than on the hopelessness of never having enough, while cousins lived almost next door in abundance. Ross takes us through a gamut of emotions, from abandonment to true love in this collection of intimate essays as she works her way up to success in love and life.

Reviewed by Annette N., Independence Regional

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