"We are of opinion that instead of letting books grow moldy behind an iron grating, far from the vulgar gaze, it is better to let them wear out by being read." - Jules Verne
Fifteen years reviewing books, audiobooks, graphic novels, movies and music!

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Good Fight: How World War II Was Won by Stephen E. Ambrose



Great book for school age kids

Published in 2001 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Stephen E. Ambrose is perhaps best known as the author of Band of Brothers, the book that inspired the HBO mini-series of the same name. His passion for World War II continues in this book aimed at upper elementary through high school students.


A Kamikaze plane about to hit an American ship
(In the book on page 78)
While there is nothing new in this book, it is a fantastic introduction to the war. All of the major theaters are covered and, perhaps best of all, there is a full page 10" x 10"  picture from the war that show everything from the home front to kamikaze planes to Hitler in a elaborate Nazi rally to Holocaust victims and even more. Those pictures and the little ones scattered on the other pages make the book much more vivid. There are also plenty of pictures of the young men and women that were involved - pictures that make the war seem more real. Throw in Ambrose's mastery of the details and great writing and this is a must have book for any library or grades 5-12 history classroom.

I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: The Good Fight : How World War II Was Won

Reviewed on March 29, 2012.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Inferno (Batman) (audiobook) by Alex Irvine



Okay story, great production

Published in 2009 by GraphicAudio
Multicast performance featuring 26 actors
Duration: Approximately 7 hours.

Batman is called to duty to fight Enfer, a new villain whose name means "Hell" in French. Enfer is skilled with fire and explosives and suffered a transformation similar to that of Joker but his change involved a massive explosion. Enfer is hired to free the inmates of Arkham Asylum by its director, Dr. Crane. His arson burns the asylum and lets dozens of inmates free, including the Joker.

While escaping through Gotham City's sewer system, the Joker accidentally stumbles into a back entrance into the Bat Cave. The Joker assaults Alfred, steals a Bat Suit and the BatMobile and starts a crime wave while pretending to be Batman, turning public opinion against Batman.

Enfer continues to burn the city. He wishes to attract the attention of The Joker in hopes of joining forces. Can Batman stop Enfer and The Joker before his reputation is completely ruined or the city is burnt to a crisp?

As always, GraphicAudio does a top notch job of creating "A Movie In Your Mind" with their production. The characters are well-portrayed, the background music is great (there is a cloying musical "theme" for Enfer's innermost thoughts and memories that helps create a haunting ambience). Throw in the sound effects and you can see why these audiobooks are so popular. 

This story had giant holes.  At one point, there is a giant push to get a DNA sample of the Joker. No one has one. Are we really supposed to believe that no one has taken a sample of it - not the courts, not the Asylum even though the man has been in and out of the system dozens of times- no one, not even Batman? Really??? Not even Batman????

Even worse,  the plot hatched by Crane and Enfer is never quite explained so we never know why Arkham Asylum was burned. The whole story turns on this event and it is a mystery.

But, the old-fashioned radio show format is so well done that plot issues become secondary. It's just entertaining and engrossing.

I rate this audiobook 4 stars out of 5.

This audiobook can be found on Amazon.com here: Inferno.

Reviewed on March 27, 2012.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Berserker (Bersker series #1) (audiobook) by Fred Saberhagen



Published in 1983 by Recorded Books
Narrated by Aaron Lustig and Henry Strozier.
Duration: approximately 6.5 hours
Unabridged

I just stumbled upon Berserker, not realizing that there is an entire series of these books. I'm not terribly surprised, the structure of the first book lends itself to sequel after sequel.

The premise of the book is that giant intelligent killing space machines are out to destroy all of the life they discover. Why? We are never told, but we assume that they are by-products of a long-ended war by a long-forgotten people.


Fred Saberhagen (1930-2007)
Photo by Beth Gwinn

This first volume was written in the late 1960s. The only reason I point this out is that I believe that the 1960s was an especially fertile time for science fiction, especially sci-fi that wanted to discuss big issues and themes. For example, TV's "Star Trek" and "Twilight Zone" are often more than a creepy story or a space alien story - they explore deep themes, such as "What is beauty?" and "What does it mean to be human?". Saberhagen openly explores these themes and more.

Saberhagen bounces around from one episode in humankind's struggle against these machines to another, giving the reader (in my case, listener) a bit of the flavor of the struggle as a whole. There are minor battles, major battles, backroom political struggles, stories of prisoners, accidental encounters and attempts to make peace. All stories are told by an alien historian in short story format. Some characters overlap from story to story but many do not.

Abuse of power, treason, forgiveness, revenge and what it means to be human are themes that Saberhagen explores. The quality of the stories vary. The first one is particularly weak in my opinion, so don't let it deter you from continuing on.

The audiobook is well read, with Aaron Lustig and Henry Strozier sharing the work - one acts as the historian narrator that introduces each short story while the other reads the main body of the book.

This audiobook can be found on Amazon.com here: Berserker #1 by Fred Saberhagen.

Reviewed on October 26, 2007

I rate this audiobook 4 stars out of 5.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Presidents from Wilson to Obama (P.I.G. Series) by Steven F. Hayward



An entertaining read and a great way to rate the presidents

Published in 2012 by Regnery Publishing, Inc.

First and foremost, the latest entry in the P.I.G. series is a great read. Steven Hayward is to be commended for making what could have been a very stale read into an entertaining read - he has a light touch.

Secondly, how sad is it that grading presidents by how well they "preserve, protect, and defend" the constitution is a unique idea?

Hayward begins with a look at what the founders wrote about the office of the president and compares that to the modern presidency. He then looks at the presidency in the 19th century and how most presidents took the restrictions of the Constitution very seriously.

As Hayward proceeds to grade the 17 presidents we have had from 1913 until the present on an A to F scale (just like in school) he gives a thumbnail sketch of each president with the major issues of the election and/or his time in office, where he diverged from the Constitution (or supported it) and how the Supreme Court justices he appointed fared by way of the Constitution as well.

Each president gets about 8-12 pages per term in office and the text includes sidebar boxes with recommended readings, great quotes and interesting factoids. The overall grade is presented on the first page of each president's particular chapter and the last page explains how it was arrived at.


Richard Nixon, president from 1969-1974
So, what did I think? I agreed with the great majority of the grades given, although there were some I would have been a little tougher on or a little easier on (a C+ vs. a C- type of thing). I very much disagreed with the C+ for Richard Nixon - and not because of Watergate (although Hayward largely excuses it with the "the other guys did it, too!" defense) . The growth of the regulatory bureaucracy under Nixon was incredible - according to a factoid on page 173 it grew by 121% under Nixon. Throw in federal wage and price controls and I don't see how you can give Nixon the C+ that Hayward does.

But, that is just one grade out of 17 (and even that chapter was interesting). This is a book that I am going to keep handy for those great online political debates. Nothing like a great Warren G. Harding quote like this one: "There is not a menace in the world today like that of growing public indebtedness and mounting public expenditure" to get a little discussion going in this election year, huh?

I rate this book 5 stars out of 5.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Presidents from Wilson to Obama.

Reviewed on March 23, 2012.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Girl Next Door (Carter Ross #3) by Brad Parks



Entertaining Mystery

Published by Minotaur Books on March 12, 2012.

Brad Parks. Photo by James N. Lum.
Carter Ross is a good reporter on the staff of a struggling newspaper in Newark, New Jersey. When a delivery person for his paper is killed in a hit and run accident, Ross decides to do a little human interest piece for the paper. But, as he starts to interview her friends and family for the background material some things just do not add up. Throw in the insistent claims from her sister that she was murdered and the strange behavior of his paper's publisher and Ross gets curious and starts to do some digging of his own. Of course, things do not go smoothly and Ross gets involved in all sorts of dangerous (and embarrassing) situations.

Ross is a likeable character and his cast of friends and colleagues that fill the book make this a very entertaining read. This is not a dark,  gritty, hard-edged novel although the mystery is plenty convoluted and quite satisfying. I have not read Brad Parks before and I will certainly keep an eye out for his other books.

I rate this mystery 4 stars out of 5.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: The Girl Next Door.

Reviewed on March 17, 2012.

David Farragut and the Great Naval Blockade (The History of the Civil War Series)by Russell Shorto

David Farragut in 1858
Solid history for grade 5 and above.


Published in 1991 by Silver Burdett Press
119 pages of text. 9 pages of timelines, sources and and index at the end.

This book is part of a larger series (The History of the Civil War Series). It is very readable with a good balance of national history versus the biography of David Farragut.

Farragut joined the United States Navy at age 9 in 1810, fought against the Barbary Pirates and in the War of 1812. Until the Civil War, Farragut was known as an great officer, the kind of officer that sailors were glad to work under, but also the kind of officer that just missed doing something great. He was not sent to "open" Japan with Matthew Perry. He tried to get involved in the Mexican War but the fighting in Veracruz was over by the time his ship arrived.

When the Civil War began, it was assumed that Farragut would go with the Confederacy. After all, he was born in Tennessee, he lived in Norfolk, Virginia and his wife was also a Southerner. But, Farragut was a U.S. Navy man so he moved to New York and soon found himself in charge of the blockade of the Gulf states (from Texas to Florida).

Farragut's ships took New Orleans and Mobile, Alabama. Both conquests involved a great deal of clever strategy and a lot of nerve. While his ships were going through a mine field (called torpedoes in Civil War times), his men were scared and stopped moving forward into Mobile Bay. Farragut yelled out, "Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!" and on they went to victory.

Due to health issues, Farragut headed home to New York. He became the first person in American history to become a vice-admiral and in 1866 he became the first admiral. Farragut died in 1870. The date of his funeral was a national holiday and 10,000 soldiers and sailors marched in the funeral procession, led by President Grant.

This book is a solid introduction to the role of the Navy in the Civil War as well as being an great little biography of Farragut. The maps are simple and the maps of the Battles of New Orleans and Mobile Bay are excellent. Lots of pictures help to tell the story.

I rate this biography 4 stars out of 5.

Reviewed on March 17, 2012.

Black Like Me (audiobook) by John Howard Griffin



Extraordinarily Powerful As An Audiobook Experience

Published in December 2011 by AudioGO
Read by Ray Childs
Duration: approximately 7 hours.

In 1959, John Howard Griffin (1920-1980), an author and journalist decided to go check out the serious rumblings of the Civil Rights movement for himself. Griffin was white and he decided to medically darken his skin (and smooth out the rough spots with dye and shave his head) and go as a black man. His plan was to see if things truly were different on the other side of the color line.

The book is a novelization of his experiences (meaning things were edited and re-arranged to make the story work better) and it starts with him pitching his idea to a publisher and his family. Once he gets funding and permission from his family (after a lot of serious talk about how dangerous this could be) Griffin heads off to New Orleans for his medical treatments. He picks New Orleans because of its more liberal racial attitudes, figuring that it would be easier for him to learn the new rules and expectations (if there were any) in a more forgiving environment. He tours the city, both black and white areas as a white man and once his transformation is complete he makes the same trips as a black man.

John Howard Griffin (left) and Sterling. Photo by Don Rutledge.
Griffin discovers that the world was indeed a different place for a black man in the south in 1959. He was denied entry to most places. He was routinely given what he called the "hate stare" by complete strangers, and had great difficulty with the basics of life such as getting something to drink and finding a restroom. He was coached in the basics by a shoeshine man named Sterling that he had befriended as a white customer. Sterling was astounded by the change and fearful for Griffin's life if he was ever found out. But, Sterling's lessons become the first real introduction that Griffin and the readers get to the differences between life as a black man and life as a white man.

Griffin spends quite a bit of time in New Orleans and details a lot of inequities in housing, eateries, stores, hotels and so on. In fact, just about the only place that gives Griffin an even break is a Catholic book store. Griffin decides to travel to Mississippi to visit an area that had had a recent lynching.  He also hitchhiked across Alabama, visited Atlanta. He experiences city life, rural life and everywhere there is the pervasive presence of racism. Griffin's prose is oftentimes moving. He commented at the beginning of the book that this book was written quickly and not very polished. Griffin completely underestimated the power of his writing - it may have been quick, but it was very well done.

This edition includes an epilogue written for the 2nd edition of the book printed in 1977. The epilogue details the dangers suffered by Griffin after the publication of Black Like Me in 1961 and his usefulness as an intermediary between white and black members of communities throughout the U.S. However, the epilogue does not end on a hopeful note as Griffin is quite frustrated with the slow pace of racial reconciliation in America. He died in 1980 so we do not know what he would have thought about how things have gone in the last 30 years.

The audiobook reader, Ray Childs, does a masterful job with dialects, creating new voices (voices of different races and different sexes from different regions - all done perfectly). He reads the text with great effect and helps to make many poignant scenes even more profound.

With the exception of just a few minutes of the description of Atlanta (not being from Atlanta, I found the recital of African American neighborhoods and the lengthy listing of their community leaders a bit dry) this is a moving book that pulls the listener in and keeps the listener listening.

I rate this book 5 stars out of 5.

This audiobook can be found on Amazon.com here: Black Like Me.

Reviewed on May 17, 2012.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America (audiobook) by Mark R. Levin


Much more intellectual than I expected

Published in 2012 by Simon & Schuster Audio.
Read by Adam Grupper and the author, Mark R. Levin.
Duration: Approximately 8 hours.

Over the years I have listened to Levin's radio show from time to time (he used to be carried in my city) and what I always remember from that show is Levin's frequent bombastic outbursts, a kind of manufactured rage that was meant to punctuate his points but lost their punch as I realized that he wasn't just getting angry over some particularly egregious issue, but he was angry over all of them.

But, I have listened to three of his audiobooks and find them to be much better than his radio show. The first one I listened to (Men in Black) was just for a goof and I was surprised to find that it was pretty solid and the next one (Liberty and Tyranny) was even better. This one was an intellectually robust look at the major philosophers who have espoused tyrannical forms of governments disguised as perfect societies (utopias) and the major philosophers who have countered those arguments by advocating freedom. This is not an attack book (you know the type - this politician said this outrageous thing, this one said that). Rather, it is firmly rooted in these classic works and generally lets the reader do the job of making those connections.

Mark R. Levin
The works that promise a perfect society but actually advocate tyranny (the people are only given a perfect society by giving all of their rights to the state) are Plato's Republic, Thomas More's Utopia, Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan and Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto. There are references to several others, but the main arguments to counter the utopian visions come from John Locke, Charles Montesquieu and Alexis de Tocqueville.

Mark R. Levin handles the narration with the opening and closing of the book. Levin is a capable reader, but I think it was wise to let Adam Grupper read the rest of the book. The book is quote-laden and Grupper's reading style is simply better for the carefully detailed points that Levin makes throughout.

I rate this audiobook 5 stars out of 5.

Reviewed on March 15, 2012.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Socrates in 90 Minutes (audiobook) by Paul Strathern


Very enjoyable short listen

Published by Blackstone Audio in 2009.
Read by Robert Whitfield
Duration: 90 minutes

Socrates (469-399 B.C.)
This unabridged lecture on Socrates covers all of the major aspects of the life of the famed Ancient Greek philosopher including his personal life, his military career (he served with distinction as a hoplite, the Athenian equivalent of a buck private), the sordid story of his execution by the government of Athens, his influences, who he influenced, his impact, both good and bad, on Western society and more. Throw in the entertaining (and surprisingly approachable considering it is about philosophy) text and the great delivery by narrator Robert Whitfield and this short little audiobook is a well worth listen.

I rate this audiobook 5 stars out of 5.

Reviewed on March 11, 2012.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Hard Knocks by Howie Carr



Ultra-gritty crime novel

Published  in 2012 by Forge Books.

Hard Knocks is among the grittiest of gritty crime novels. It is set in Boston and in ex-cop turned private investigator Jack Reilly's world, everything is ran by a political machine, the mafia or both. Everyone is on the take, it's just that some people get caught and others are a bit luckier or smoother.

Jack Reilly is not like his brother, an unlucky small time mafia wannabe who rotates in and out of prison. But, he's retired (with a "disability") after he was tainted as being the mayor's bag man who picked up bribes. Reilly is quite clear that he was not a bag man (except when no one else could do it) but he did a lot of work for the mayor as the man who could dig up dirt on anyone and make sure it made it into the right hands - a wife, a reporter, a political opponent.

Reilly gets dragged into a case by Bucky,  a lock-picking friend of his brother from prison who discovered a lot of information and incriminating paperwork about local mafia types and political big shots while he was breaking into safe deposit boxes during a bank heist. Bucky doesn't know what to do with it and is scared that the powers that be on both sides of the law will be gunning for him. Turns out Bucky was right - he is killed in the street right after talking with Reilly and now Reilly feels an obligation to do something about it. He really has no choice since Bucky has dropped it all in the mail for safekeeping and Reilly knows he won't be safe once he receives it.

Soon enough, everyone is gunning for Reilly while he figures out what he can do with these secrets before he ends up dead like Bucky.

Hard Knocks is gritty, but the unrelenting dark nature of the book eventually wore me down - Boston became a place to be endured, not a place to live. I had a hard time getting behind Jack Reilly as well. On the whole, the book is too dark and too despairing for my tastes. I have to give this one 3 of 5 stars.


This book can be found on Amazon.com here: Hard Knocks by Howie Carr.

Reviewed on March 9, 2012.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Event: A Novel by David L. Golemon



Borrows heavily from movies and TV, decent action.

Event is not a bad book, per se, but I kept on thinking, "I've seen this before."

The book introduces a secret government agency called the Event Group which investigates historical legends, paranormal activity, UFO sightings, etc. They are sort of an X-Files, Men in Black and Delta Force rolled into one. The Event Group collects items of historical significance and studies them to plan for future disasters. They also keep these items secret.

 Why?

I was never quite clear as to why Noah's Ark, the existence of King Arthur, or the arrival of the Vikings in the Americas in the 800s were state secrets. Plus, comments such as the Event Group not wanting to give King Arthur's body to the Brits because it belongs to "the world" seem silly when the Event Group is just storing Arthur in a vast underground base in Nevada. They are not sharing any of this information with anyone - they are just hording it. The Event Group reminded me of Spielberg's Nazis in "Indiana Jones" that were always searching for relics of power.

There are aliens and their story seems to be a combination of Independence Day, Aliens and Tremors.

The characters were okay and the action was mostly good, but, for me, the story never quite gelled. I kept wondering why Noah's Ark was a state secret and the rest of the story broke down from there. To use a Bible analogy (in honor of Noah and his hidden-away Ark) - that was the story's "feet of clay."

I rate this book 2 stars out of 5.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: Event: A Novel.

Reviewed on November 9, 2007.

Undaunted Courage : Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson and the Opening of the American West (abridged) (audiobook) by Stephen E. Ambrose



Wonderful, just wonderful.

Published by Simon and Schuster Audio
Read by Cotter Smith
Duration: 4.5 hours 
Abridged

A family friend gave me the abridged audio version of this book that has been on my "to read" list for years. I'd never quite gotten around to it but, boy, am I glad I finally did.
Meriwether Lewis (1774-1809)

In Ambrose's hands the story of the Lewis & Clark expedition is lifted from the stale and stilted pages of the history textbooks and it becomes an exciting narrative - full of adventure, wonder and tons of hard work.


Ambrose is a gifted writer. I am reminded of the David McCullough quote: "No harm's done to history by making it something someone would want to read." No danger of that with Ambrose. Not only has he read everything there is to be found on the topic but has traveled the route several times.


William Clark (1770-1838)

Cotter Smith did a great job of reading the text and keeping up with its lively prose (with the single exception of mis-pronouncing the capital city of South Dakota - he called it Pierre, like the French name, but they proudly pronounce it "peer".) Stephen Ambrose himself handled the intro and conclusion.

I can't wait to pass on this audiobook to someone else.

I rate this audiobook 5 out of 5 stars.

This audiobook can be found on Amazon.com here: Undaunted Courage by Stephen E. Ambrose.

Reviewed November 9, 2007.

When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals (abridged) (audiobook)by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson



Read by David Ackroyd
Duration: 3 hours, 5 minutes (abridged)

Strengths:

When Elephants Weep is full of moving anecdotes concerning animals and the possibility of them having emotions. It is a pleasant listen and usually not "over the top" in its preachiness. It was well read by narrator David Ackroyd. The authors make a compelling, if not scientifically rigorous argument for animal emotions.

Weaknesses:

The authors are continually preaching against scientists who do not believe that animals have emotions and may even doubt that animals can even feel pain. However, they rarely point out the scientists or the studies that espouse this view. It felt like a straw man argument after a while. They also fail to cite any work that backs their claims besides convincing rhetoric.

In the end, it was a convincing, mostly entertaining book that was a lot more entertaining and pleasant than a PETA brochure, but without much more actual content than such a brochure.

I rate this audiobook 3 stars out of 5.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: When Elephants Weep.

Reviewed November 9, 2007.

Frida Kahlo: 1907-1954: Pain and Passion by Andrea Kettenmann



A wonderful introduction to Kahlo (a review of the English translation)

Frida Kahlo with Diego Rivera in 1932
If you saw the Selma Hayek movie on the life of Frida Kahlo and want to know a bit more, this book is a wonderful introduction to her professional life. In fact, the movie and this book complement one another quite nicely, since the movie tended to focus on her personal life.

Andrea Kettenmann's book follows the life of Kahlo and does a great job of explaining the symbolism of Kahlo's work as it pertained to her personal life, her health setbacks and her political beliefs. In my opinoin, the intensely personal nature of her work is what makes her such a compelling artist. She was especially good at depicting her pain, both psychic and physical. This book goes a long way to explaining many of her works.

There are 93 illustrations in this book and most of them are of her paintings. Also includes a couple of photographs of Diego Rivera's works that included images of Kahlo.

This is a small book (less than 100 pages), but it packs a whole lot of punch and is very effective as an introduction to this fascinating artist.

I rate this book 5 stars out of 5.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: Frida Kahlo: 1907-1954: Pain and Passion.

Reviewed on November 9, 2007.

African Kingdoms (Great Ages of Man Series) by Basil Davidson and the editors of Time-Life Books



Strong history, only limited by the fact that the book itself is practically an antique

At the time of this review, this book is 41 years old. It was published in 1966 by Time-Life books as part of a series of books entitled "The Great Ages of Man."

Of course, several of the photos of contemporary Africa are now hopelessly outdated (but you can choose to look at the book itself as a piece of history and look at those pictures as photographic evidence of historical Africa) and any references to contemporary Africa are not accurate - no mention of any of the tragedies that continent has witnessed over the last 25 years - starvation, genocide, AIDS, etc.

Fortunately, those references are few and far between. Mostly this is a well-written, accessible history that taught me more than the half-dozen or so textbooks that I read in college as part of my coursework.

Its greatest strength is in detailing the civilizations that were built from roughly 1000-1600 AD in West Africa. It does a great job of comparing them with the European explorers that were just beginning to investigate the African coastline in search of trade. Cultural comparisons are also made. So-called "strange" and "barbaric" African customs of the day look pretty run-of-the-mill when compared with the activities of their European and Middle Eastern neighbors.

Beautiful pictures and illustrations round out the book. I would love to see this book updated and re-issued for the the 21st century.

I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: African Kingdoms.

Reviewed on November 22, 2007.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

With Bowie Knives & Pistols: Morgan's Raid in Indiana by David L. Taylor


Confederate Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan

Nice history of Indiana's "moment" in the Civil War

Published in 1993 by TaylorMade WRITE

From July 8-13, 1863, Indiana became the focus of attention in the Civil War. Despite the massive losses incurred by the Confederacy from the surrender of Vicksburg on July 4, 1863 and the Battle of Gettysburg on July 1-3, the Confederacy still had enough life to mount an invasion into the North (albeit small) and it caused a first-rate scare throughout the Midwest.

"With Bowie Knives and Pistols": Morgan's Raid in Indiana is a good, detailed history of the Indiana portion of the raid (it continued on into Ohio). Taylor starts with a short general biography of Morgan and his famed cavalry unit. Taylor also describes the situation in the Kentucky theater of war and explains the logic behind Morgan's raid and why he went against his orders to carry the war into Indiana and Ohio.

What could be a tedious read is actually told in a lively manner filled with lots of local stories about the raid as they cut across southern Indiana. A must read for any Hoosier Civil War buff.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: With Bowie Knives and Pistols.

I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars.

Reviewed on March 1, 2012.