Goats Book Review Thread

SwollenGoat

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May 17, 2013
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The House that Peterbilt
The Fungus

Harry Adam Knight

published 1989


This one has been sitting on a shelf for a while. Bought it some time ago at a library sale and put it up for later. I really have to be in the mood to start on a horror novel and finally,this weekend,I was. Turns out I should have maybe begun this one earlier because it turned out to be great fun and not a little scary........
Its fiction,so,in general terms so I dont drop any spoilers its about an experimental fungus that,to nobodys surprise here,escapes from a lab and begins infecting pretty much every living thing it comes in contact,slowly mutating them into creatures from straight up mushrooms to shambling human looking spore bags of doom............youve got uninfected,the infected,the breakdown of society,the maybe immunes and a host of shit going on in a compact package.........Its a fun,fast read at about 220 pages and it took me maybe 3 or four hours total to get through it..........Id recommend it to anyone into horror in the general sense as it actually covers a lot of ground as far as themes in it and is filled with some grotesque body horror stuff and adventure too.
 
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SwollenGoat

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May 17, 2013
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The House that Peterbilt
"Dead Wake the Last Crossing of the Lusitania"

by Erik Larson

published 2015


This is the second book by Larson that Ive read now [see "The Devil in the White City" post #85] and he has, in that space, become one of my favorite 'popular' non fiction writers. Im a huge fan of the way he constructs his works from the ground up, from the PEOPLE on up. A bit like Lyn McDonald in that way.

Anyway, Dead Wake is, as the subtitle gives away, about the sinking of the Lusitania. The narrative itself begins with the pre voyage trivia of a dozen or more peoples lives as they get ready to set sail on the last crossing, from NY to the UK. From the captain to some seamen who signed on the day before departing after having jumped ship from an old sailing freighter these lives are looked at and detailed in a host of ways and its a brilliant way to get to the tragedy of the whole thing as you KNOW whats going to happen and yet you almost certainly DONT know who, among the huge 'cast', is going to die when that torpedo hits. And so the tension builds as the ship sets sail and you continue to learn about passengers and crew and even the U-20 and its crew and captain and the larger war and a million other things until everything comes together and a single torpedo sends the ship down in less than twenty minutes along with 1200 people, passengers and crew and rich and poor and even three German nationals who were found stowing away........................

This is a brilliant, gripping read and a quick one, despite being some 400 pages. Id suggest it to any WWI armchair fan or even the general reader as its pure, fiction like high drama. Ive got another book by Larson,btw,on the shelf, unread. "In the Garden of Beasts". Im not sure If I should start it now or wait a bit but it sounds like another great read...........
 

Haggis

CHB World Championship People's Champion
May 16, 2013
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19,576
"Dead Wake the Last Crossing of the Lusitania"

by Erik Larson

published 2015


This is the second book by Larson that Ive read now [see "The Devil in the White City" post #85] and he has, in that space, become one of my favorite 'popular' non fiction writers. Im a huge fan of the way he constructs his works from the ground up, from the PEOPLE on up. A bit like Lyn McDonald in that way.

Anyway, Dead Wake is, as the subtitle gives away, about the sinking of the Lusitania. The narrative itself begins with the pre voyage trivia of a dozen or more peoples lives as they get ready to set sail on the last crossing, from NY to the UK. From the captain to some seamen who signed on the day before departing after having jumped ship from an old sailing freighter these lives are looked at and detailed in a host of ways and its a brilliant way to get to the tragedy of the whole thing as you KNOW whats going to happen and yet you almost certainly DONT know who, among the huge 'cast', is going to die when that torpedo hits. And so the tension builds as the ship sets sail and you continue to learn about passengers and crew and even the U-20 and its crew and captain and the larger war and a million other things until everything comes together and a single torpedo sends the ship down in less than twenty minutes along with 1200 people, passengers and crew and rich and poor and even three German nationals who were found stowing away........................

This is a brilliant, gripping read and a quick one, despite being some 400 pages. Id suggest it to any WWI armchair fan or even the general reader as its pure, fiction like high drama. Ive got another book by Larson,btw,on the shelf, unread. "In the Garden of Beasts". Im not sure If I should start it now or wait a bit but it sounds like another great read...........
You should read "Batavia". Has nothing to do with either of the books you reviewed there, but holy shit, what a true story. And the author tells it well. It's about a Dutch East India Company trading ship that was wrecked on a tiny little bullshit nothing island off the coast of Western Australia in 1629. The ship got stuck on a reef and they couldn't leave, and after that...... holy shit, it turned into a fucking real life horror movie. Nothing supernatural, just some real life Lord of the Flies type shit. Anyway, it's a great read.

:hat
 

SwollenGoat

Deicide
May 17, 2013
63,808
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The House that Peterbilt
You should read "Batavia". Has nothing to do with either of the books you reviewed there, but holy shit, what a true story. And the author tells it well. It's about a Dutch East India Company trading ship that was wrecked on a tiny little bullshit nothing island off the coast of Western Australia in 1629. The ship got stuck on a reef and they couldn't leave, and after that...... holy shit, it turned into a fucking real life horror movie. Nothing supernatural, just some real life Lord of the Flies type shit. Anyway, it's a great read.

:hat
thanks much :cheers

EXACTLY the sort of thing I love..............
 

Haggis

CHB World Championship People's Champion
May 16, 2013
42,608
19,576
thanks much :cheers

EXACTLY the sort of thing I love..............
Yeah there's a lot of historical detail and it is very well researched, but it still reads like a novel. The author is famous in Australia, he is a huge personality and has come up with some great books on under-recognised stories from Australian history. This is his best by far, IMO. I listened to him tell the story on a podcast, at this point the story had been his life for about three years, but his enthusiasm for telling it was great. He went to the site and walked around the island and dived down to the wreck, went to Holland to look through archives of the East India company (with a translator), etc etc. But yeah, it's worth buying from Amazon or whatever. Easily one of the greatest adventure /disaster /true crime books I've ever read. :thumbsup

The island that several hundred crew and passengers were stranded on:



It's like the story of the Mutiny on the Bounty....... except WAY more hardcore. They're still digging up Batavia skeletons all over that little island. :thumbsup

:hat
 
Oct 22, 2012
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848
You should read "Batavia". Has nothing to do with either of the books you reviewed there, but holy shit, what a true story. And the author tells it well. It's about a Dutch East India Company trading ship that was wrecked on a tiny little bullshit nothing island off the coast of Western Australia in 1629. The ship got stuck on a reef and they couldn't leave, and after that...... holy shit, it turned into a fucking real life horror movie. Nothing supernatural, just some real life Lord of the Flies type shit. Anyway, it's a great read.

:hat
A Great, but horrifying read.
 
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Duo

Bosomus Maximus
Jun 14, 2012
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"Dead Wake the Last Crossing of the Lusitania"

by Erik Larson

published 2015


This is the second book by Larson that Ive read now [see "The Devil in the White City" post #85] and he has, in that space, become one of my favorite 'popular' non fiction writers. Im a huge fan of the way he constructs his works from the ground up, from the PEOPLE on up. A bit like Lyn McDonald in that way.

Anyway, Dead Wake is, as the subtitle gives away, about the sinking of the Lusitania. The narrative itself begins with the pre voyage trivia of a dozen or more peoples lives as they get ready to set sail on the last crossing, from NY to the UK. From the captain to some seamen who signed on the day before departing after having jumped ship from an old sailing freighter these lives are looked at and detailed in a host of ways and its a brilliant way to get to the tragedy of the whole thing as you KNOW whats going to happen and yet you almost certainly DONT know who, among the huge 'cast', is going to die when that torpedo hits. And so the tension builds as the ship sets sail and you continue to learn about passengers and crew and even the U-20 and its crew and captain and the larger war and a million other things until everything comes together and a single torpedo sends the ship down in less than twenty minutes along with 1200 people, passengers and crew and rich and poor and even three German nationals who were found stowing away........................

This is a brilliant, gripping read and a quick one, despite being some 400 pages. Id suggest it to any WWI armchair fan or even the general reader as its pure, fiction like high drama. Ive got another book by Larson,btw,on the shelf, unread. "In the Garden of Beasts". Im not sure If I should start it now or wait a bit but it sounds like another great read...........
I grew up obsessed with the Lusitania, borrowing and reading Colin Simpson's sensational conspiracy book about it from the library. Later, I read Ballard's 1995 analysis of the explosion and sinking that concluded a combination of coal dust with the ship's design was responsible for a single torpedo being able to detonate and sink it in 18 minutes.

The Lusitania is a subject which can never be properly or effectively dramatized like the Titanic, it must be read about. There is intrigue there.

Eerie photograph showing her steaming past the Old Head of Kinsale at the approximate location where she would later be sunk before shocked picnic goers expecting a scenic view of the liner's majestic passage. (Some passengers attempted to swim for the shore which seemed closer than it was but quickly discovered just how long a distance a ten mile swim was. At this point in time, only two men had managed to swim across the English Channel. Survivors did report surprise that the water wasn't as cold as they expected at 52F/11C. In this situation, life jackets saved lives if their wearers knew how to put them on properly.):

 

SwollenGoat

Deicide
May 17, 2013
63,808
23,072
The House that Peterbilt
I grew up obsessed with the Lusitania, borrowing and reading Colin Simpson's sensational conspiracy book about it from the library. Later, I read Ballard's 1995 analysis of the explosion and sinking that concluded a combination of coal dust with the ship's design was responsible for a single torpedo being able to detonate and sink it in 18 minutes.

The Lusitania is a subject which can never be properly or effectively dramatized like the Titanic, it must be read about. There is intrigue there.

Eerie photograph showing her steaming past the Old Head of Kinsale at the approximate location where she would later be sunk before shocked picnic goers expecting a scenic view of the liner's majestic passage. (Some passengers attempted to swim for the shore which seemed closer than it was but quickly discovered just how long a distance a ten mile swim was. At this point in time, only two men had managed to swim across the English Channel. Survivors did report surprise that the water wasn't as cold as they expected at 52F/11C. In this situation, life jackets saved lives if their wearers knew how to put them on properly.):

you should love this book,in that case

it actually addresses the whole 'coal dust' idea and many others as it pulls together the threads..............

I think,at this point,all the actual sinking mechanics 'conspiracies' are over..........I remember them as well,as a kid............the ammunition cargo always being a favorite of writers looking for something more than a torpedo.................but there is still the rather open question of a POLITICAL 'conspiracy' of sorts that allowed this to happen................
 
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Duo

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you should love this book,in that case

it actually addresses the whole 'coal dust' idea and many others as it pulls together the threads..............

I think,at this point,all the actual sinking mechanics 'conspiracies' are over..........I remember them as well,as a kid............the ammunition cargo always being a favorite of writers looking for something more than a torpedo.................but there is still the rather open question of a POLITICAL 'conspiracy' of sorts that allowed this to happen................
Right, which is why Ballard's conclusions supply an effective bookend to Simpson's yellow journalism hypothesis. Churchill died in 1964. Simpson couldn't very well publish his book while Sir Winston was alive, or still being memorialized, but by 1972 the moment was ripe for generating controversy to sell books. Then there was this little article:

https://www.americanheritage.com/who-sank-lusitania

Ultimately, what Ballard wrote was that the proof of what truly caused that double explosion was scattered all over around them on the seabed floor around the wreck (always a popular if treacherous diving site, like the Britannic).

The underlying inference for those who hate both Churchill (then First Lord of the Admiralty) and FDR (then Assistant US SECNAV) is that they conspired between themselves from their high offices to bring about TWO world wars, where Hitler only occupied high office for one of them. (Plausible to some, but I refuse to work myself into a frenzy over this. I grew up with the perspective that Leopold Berchtold's incompetence as the Joint Foreign Minister of Austria-Hungary fanned the flames of the Serbian crisis into a European war, that if he knew what he was doing, he could have calmed things down in July 1914.)
 

Duo

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Jun 14, 2012
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"The Rough Riders"

by Theodore Roosevelt

published 1899



Half adventure tale,half political propaganda and half ego driven self promotion this book should be on the list of everyone who wants to really get into american history and politics as it was seen by the people at the time it was unfolding. TR was a larger than life hurricane of a man and the book is little different. It,of course,tells the tale of his involvement in the Spanish American War in Cuba and it helps paint a picture of the war as the average man of the time would have seen it...through a filter of yellow journalism,war as adventure stories and personal anecdotes that helped confirm the United States opinion of itself as the beacon of hope and freedom while violently securing new colonies.

The book itself reads a bit like a boys adventure tale. It begins with the briefest of political sketches,centering,of course,on TRs opinions and almost immediately leaves it behind to get into the romantic business of putting together the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry Regiment which was mustered in the midwest,at a time when it was the home of cowboys and cattlemen and the last echoes of the frontier. Needless to say,the men included a host of colorful characters and misfits but they were tough and they were volunteers and they knew how to ride because they were bred to it. Of course they fought mostly on foot and in the thick vegetation of Cuba but even that didn't slow them down when it came to it.

TR was,originally,second in command but,in a bit of a a fortunate accident of history,he was promoted to command when the original colonel was promoted up the chain after the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry Regiments first action. TR was,therefore,in charge when the regiment fought its most famous battle,the Battle of San Juan Hill.

While a bit sanitized,a bit overtly propagandistic and a bit to self promotional,the book is a classic. It still manages to tell a rousing tale of what would have been an obscure battle in an obscure war had it not been for TR being there with enough background and other info to fill out a nice afternoons read. At only 200 or so pages [in the paperback I have] its a quick,fun,interesting look into turn of the last century america and the growing legend of TR,one of the last of the giants.
And this is the result of that book as it impacted the next POTUS election campaign, an iconic political cartoon. McKinley's advisors figured they'd dispose of TR by putting him out of the way on the VP shelf. I think this demonstrates what would have happened if McKinley had served out his second term. TR would have easily won the 1904 election to replace McKinley, then served two terms before stepping down in 1912 to be replaced. The question here is whether his replacement in 1913 would have been Taft or Wilson. My guess is Wilson, since Taft wanted to be Chief Justice instead of POTUS. Since Melville Fuller died in 1910, I believe TR would have then nominated his best friend Taft to become the new Chief Justice and that he would have been approved by acclimation, then serving on the Court for the next 20 years.




I knew one of the last 1,000 veterans of the Spanish American War, a participant on San Juan Hill. He was in the hospital where I worked after graduating high school, and he said, "First of all, we didn't charge up it, we walked up it. And it was foolish, like all wars are foolish." He trashed any notions of heroism or romanticism about it.
 

Duo

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You are a new England intellectual that over reads. But you are also a redneck, and you've taught us that rednecks can't read so...are you sure you understand these books?
I think maybe Im a new englander wearing a redneck costume................. :conf

that said,new england is filled with rednecks................new england rednecks tend to have books though,unlike proper florida rednecks



'understanding' is a matter of degree anyway..............the more ya read,the more ya understand as the bits and pieces fall into their proper places...........

sometimes I think Im on the edge of grasping the big,hidden picture...............sometimes I am stunned by the depths of my own ignorance
Goat moved to Florida from New England, where I moved from Florida to rural New England at a relatively early age. What outsiders to both regions need to understand is how ingrained libraries and books and literature are to the blood of New Englanders in a way that isn't necessarily true for Floridians.

I have AD/HD, so my reading capacity is somewhat compromised. I also try to keep in mind Woodrow Wilson's (such a scholar that he read by kerosene lamps even after electricity came in) caution that "He who reads everything can digest nothing."
 
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SwollenGoat

Deicide
May 17, 2013
63,808
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The House that Peterbilt
I knew one of the last 1,000 veterans of the Spanish American War, a participant on San Juan Hill. He was in the hospital where I worked after graduating high school, and he said, "First of all, we didn't charge up it, we walked up it. And it was foolish, like all wars are foolish." He trashed any notions of heroism or romanticism about it.
thats awesome
 
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