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The Bookwatch

Volume 13, Number 7 July 2018 Home | BW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Education Shelf Philosophy Shelf
Reference Shelf Technology Shelf Sports Shelf
Military Shelf Social Issues Shelf Cookbook Shelf
Needlecraft Shelf Biography Shelf Political Science Shelf
Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Health/Medicine Shelf  

Reviewer's Choice

Winning Fights
Dr. Phillip Stephens
9781594396007, $18.95

Winning Fights: 12 Proven Principles for Winning on the Street, in the Ring, at Life takes martial arts and conflict management principles, mix them with an examination of the art of warfare as applied to personal experience, and mixes in explanations of principles involved in winning battles over strategies to do so. Dr. Stephens researched combat literature for the last few thousand years to assemble a listing of these basic principles, adding insights from soldiers and military professionals to round out discussions of these twelve core principles. Anyone who would win any kind of struggle needs this thought-provoking survey of why some battles are won and others are lost.

The Education Shelf

Everything You Need for Mathematics Coaching
Maggie B. McGatha,
9781544316987, $36.95

Everything You Need for Mathematics Coaching: Tools, Plans, and a Process That Works for Any Instructional Leader, Grades K-12 packs in nearly a hundred tools both online and in the book for grades K-12, offering a series of plans that will work for any math teacher in any classroom. Critical coaching and teaching actions cover everything from key content knowledge and student engagement processes to encouraging professional learning communities, using coaching cycles to build rapport between teachers and students, and analyzing student work and work protocols. Educators will find it rich with specifics and field-tested tools with proven track records.

The Philosophy Shelf

1984 and Philosophy: Is Resistance Futile?
Ezio DiNucci and Stefan Storrie
Open Court
9780812609791, $19.95

1984 and Philosophy: Is Resistance Futile? joins others in the 'Popular Culture and Philosophy' series that make ongoing connections between different philosophical viewpoints and modern cultural dilemmas and current events. George Orwell's novel 1984 holds renewed interest in modern times, and in this book an international team of philosophers report on different social and political dilemmas and their philosophical connections in reflections that prove philosophy isn't just for the ancients. Modern students and college-level debaters will find this a powerful consideration filled with many contemporary reflections on the past, present and future of 1984's vision.

The Reference Shelf

Mathematical Methods for Physics Using MATLAB & Maple
James R. Claycomb
Mercury Learning
9781683920984, $89.95

Mathematical Methods for Physics Using MATLAB & Maple is designed as a college-level reference to be used by students and professionals in physics and engineering who have completed first-year calculus and physics. Examples of MATLAB and Maple applications are provided for symbolic and numerical calculations in physics, applying many basic concepts to the next step in understanding basic physics topics applicable to mechanics, relativity, and beyond. From a review of ordinary differential equations to complex analysis and principles of electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, and special relativity, this math-based concept guide may be used as either a classroom text or for individual study, and includes a disc of companion files and worksheets supporting the book's contents.

The Technology Shelf

Vertical GaN and SiC Power Devices
Kazuhiro Mochizuki
Artech House
9781630814274, $169.00

Vertical GaN and SiC Power Devices comes from a recognized expert on microwave technology and provides reference readers with a comparison of different power devices and their software and hardware models. Engineers should expect a discussion that incorporates solid state physics as it relates to these devices, chapters packed with discussions of power diodes, fabrication processes, and power-switching devices, and a wealth of charts and equations supporting all technical details. Each chapter offers an in-depth summary that includes extensive references, making this a 'must' reference for any engineering library.

Artech House

Two new reference books are highly recommended works for college-level collections strong in electronics systems ranging from microwave technology to software-designed radio systems, and will appeal to any reference holding for engineers. Terry Edwards' Technologies for RF Systems (9781630814502, $159.00) introduces the concepts and pieces involved in RF engineering and microwave technology, offering engineers tips on design, circuitry, amplification, active electronics arrays, noise figures for cascaded blocks, and more. Equations pack discussions that review practical applications and terms for understanding parameters, expressions, and the fundamentals of RF system operations. The result serves as both a primer and a refresher course. Travis F. Collins,'s Software-Defined Radio for Engineers (9781630814571, $159.00) is written by a team of industry experts and is designed to help engineers learn the software-defined radio concepts and the latest writing designs for real-world applications. It considers wireless techniques, includes discussions of matched filtering, source coding, and transmit techniques for SDR, packs in black and white charts and diagrams of designs and programming tools, and uses different case studies throughout to discuss applications and pros and cons of different approaches. The result is recommended for any collection catering to engineers working in the area of software radio applications and design.

The Sports Shelf

Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills, ninth edition
The Mountaineers
Mountaineers Books
9781680510041, $34.95

Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills appears in its ninth updated edition to maintain its position as a classic mountaineering guide. It covers all the basics of planning a serious mountaineering expedition; from rappelling techniques and climbing under different conditions from snow to big wall climbing to navigation and rescue operations. Why the need for updated editions? Because new equipment and techniques affect mountaineering developments and options, and this survey, vetted by a team of over 30 expert mountaineers and climbing instructors, incorporates all the latest technology and studies. Add 400 illustrations (many new to this edition) for a winning 'bible' that should be required reading before any serious mountain-climbing expedition is assembled.

The Complete Book of Sea Kayaking, sixth edition
Derek C. Hutchinson
9781493024230, $26.95

The Complete Book of Sea Kayaking appears in its sixth updated edition to provide readers with an update to a guide which first appeared in 1976 and which has received regular updates since. This is the 40th anniversary of its original appearance, and it's been completely updated to include new sea kayaking developments by Wayne Horodowich, Hutchinson's friend and the founder of the University of Sea Kayaking. Included in this survey are considerations of what causes capsizing, how to handle waves, negotiating surf conditions, navigating, and more. No sports reference collection, particularly those appealing to water enthusiasts in general and kayakers in particular, should be without this guide, which comes packed with color illustrations and specific how-to instructions throughout.

The Military Shelf

Operation Medusa
Major-General (Ret'd) David Fraser and Brian Hanington
McClelland & Stewart
9780771039300, $24.00

Operation Medusa: The Furious Battle That Saved Afghanistan from the Taliban is a 'must have' military reference for any collection strong in accounts of the Afghanistan war, and documents the battle of Panjwayi, the major moment where 'Operation Medusa' saw its pivotal change take place. In 2008, author David Fraser was the Canadian general in charge of the joint military command in Kandahar Province; but despite his experience and familiarity with the region and battle tactics, he wasn't prepared for what happened. His account of fifteen days of bloody fighting is explicit, stark, and reviews the experience and consequences of a world-changing military operation. No military collection should be without this powerful survey.

The Social Issues Shelf

The Power of Context
Daniel R. Stalder
Prometheus Books
9781633884014, $26.00

The Power of Context: How to Manage Our Bias and Improve Our Understanding of Others considers values systems, judgment calls, and how bias creeps into lives and social interactions to create misunderstandings. Social science and psychology readers alike receive a collection of examples of how bias enters into social interactions, its damaging effects, and how prejudices build from individual experience to permeate worldviews and social observation processes. His narrowed focus on context and its confusing aspects makes for a thought-provoking examination that's hard to put down.

The Cookbook Shelf

Dirty Gourmet
Aimee Trudeau,
Mountaineers Books
9781680511291, $24.95

Dirty Gourmet: Food for Your Outdoor Adventures is for foodies who want to make great food a part of the outdoors adventure. The title began as a blog and website when three friends shared their knowledge of backcountry cooking through workshops and easy recipes. This cookbook offers several unexpected pluses in comparison with the usual 'campfire cookbook': fresh ingredients are emphasized, an international culinary approach is presented, and meals from appetizers and snacks to dinners and drinks include options for vegans and vegetarians as well as meat-eaters. The result is a fine gathering of extraordinary cookout options that any level of cook can easily achieve.

The Needlecraft Shelf

Stash Statement
Kelly Young
That Patchwork Place
c/o Martingale & Company
9781604688818, $23.99

Stash Statement: Make the Most of Your Fabrics with Easy Improv Quilts introduces the idea of and teaches structured improvisation when using stash fabrics to produce unique quilts, and teaches three basic methods for sewing together different shapes, strips, and small fabric scraps to create new scrappy results. The basics of mixing colors, patterns, and scraps are imparted in some twelve approaches to mix and match stash quilting that encourages improvisation and creative quilting.

The Biography Shelf

Calamity Jane
D.J. Herda
c/o The Globe Pequot Press
97812493031948, $17.95

Many books have been written about Calamity Jane; but many readers of women's biographies and history will find that Calamity Jane: The Life and Legend of Martha Jane Cannary is a livelier, more readable narrative than most. It explores her early life as a street urchin who was an orphan by age twelve and who became a single mother of two who took any job she could to survive. The popular image is of Calamity Jane as a ribald legend; but this attention to detailing her home life, motivations, and her rise to fame offers a more multifaceted perception of Calamity Jane than most histories, crafting an engaging discussion that is filled with historical references tempered by a dynamic tone during its solid attention to detail.

The Political Science Shelf

After the Fact
Nathan Bomey
Prometheus Books
9781633883772, $25.00

After the Fact: The Erosion of Truth and the Inevitable Rise of Donald Trump comes from an award-winning journalist who maintains that Trump is not the source of the current war on truth; but the result of an ongoing erosion of media, political, and social forces alike. When viewed from this vantage point, Trump represents the outcome, not the source, of spin, distortion, and deception on all fronts. As chapters document the shifting acceptance of lies and stretches of the truth and the failure of critical thinking in America, they consider how the misinformation age really began and how it threatens core democratic processes in a hard-hitting book that should be on the shelves of any political and social thinker.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

A Hymn Before Battle
John Ringo
Baen Books
9781481483261, $16.00

A Hymn Before Battle tells of a universe in which Terrans are considered backwards, humanity winds up in a battle with three worlds to look after, and allies are dubious. This military sci-fi read is fast-paced and engrossing, offering genre readers a satisfyingly unpredictable story of alien/human alliances gone awry in the process of a battle that's impossible to predict.

Baen Books

Two new Baen sci-fi titles are recommended picks for science fiction fans who enjoy interesting plots, good, solid writing, and stories that stand alone as powerful creations. Steve White and Charles E. Gannon's Oblivion (9781481483254, $16.00) joins the prequel Extremis and takes place after the war with the alien Arduans has ended. Aliens and humans are allies now; but one warrior caste of the Arduans refuses to quit, and wages a battle against this new alliance using a new deadly weapon from yet another alien race. Sci-fi readers will find this story vivid and well-detailed in both military strategy and its approach to new alliances and deadly new dangers born of them. Kevin J. Anderson and Sarah A. Hoyt's Uncharted: Lewis and Clark in Arcane America (9781481483239, $25.00) tells of a very different kind of 1803: one in which young Meriwether Lewis attends a lecture given by a old wizard Benjamin Franklin, which is interrupted by the attack of a creature that might be a dragon. In this alternative America where Haley's Comet was destroyed by magic and isolated the nation from the world, magic is real, history is different, and everything of myth and legend has entered the realm of reality. This exceptional alternative magical history will especially engage readers who like Orson Scott Card's 'Prentice Alvin' series and similar re-imaginings of a world that only teeters on the edge of the familiar. Both are engaging books that offer twists and turns that are hard to predict and satisfyingly different.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

The Headache Healer's Handbook
Jan Mundo, CMSC, CMT
New World Library
9781608685134, $18.95

Author Jan Mundo has been healing headaches for over forty years; but she never planned on becoming a healer. Her work on her own spirituality led to a hidden talent that has only blossomed, as she's relieved headaches both in her own body and in those of others. Lest readers think this is an autobiography of her spiritual growth and healing process, it should be noted that here she organizes her healing strategies into a program with step-by-step instructions others can employ for success. The result is a holistic self-care guide that addresses prevention as well as relief, highly recommended for any headache sufferer who wants relief.

The PMA Method
Faisal Abdalla
c/o Octopus Books
9781912023370, $19.99

The PMA Method: 14 Days to a Stronger, Healthier, Happier You comes from a Nike trainer who here pairs diet and fitness objectives, creating a program he calls Positive Mental Attitude (PMA). The all-in-one book includes recipes for healthier versions of favorite foods, kitchen tips, and workouts that are accompanied by step-by-step color visuals which nicely supplement a weekly training regimen. The result is an uplifting approach to health that should gain a wide audience of readers seeking more than an exercise guide alone could offer.

James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Diane C. Donovan, Editor
Midwest Book Review
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