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Library Bookwatch

Volume 15, Number 6 June 2020 Home | LBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Writing/Publishing Shelf American History Shelf
Jobs/Careers Shelf Biography Shelf Native American Studies Shelf
Graphic Novel Shelf Library DVD/Blu-ray Shelf General Fiction Shelf
Western Fiction Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Art Shelf
Philosophy Shelf Music Shelf Autism Shelf
Religion/Spirituality Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf Technology Shelf
Cookbook Shelf Mathematics Shelf Education Shelf
Military Shelf Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf  

Reviewer's Choice

Whatever It Took
Henry Langrehr & Jim DeFelice
William Morrow & Company
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
195 Broadway New York, New York 10007
9780063027428, $27.99, HC, 288pp,

Synopsis: In "Whatever It Took: An American Paratrooper's Extraordinary Memoir of Escape, Survival, and Heroism in the Last Days of World War II" and now at the age of 95, Henry Langrehr is one of the few still living members of the Greatest Generation who shares his experiences in one of the most remarkable World War II stories ever told.

As the Allied Invasion of Normandy launched in the pre-dawn hours of June 6, 1944, Henry was an American paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne who parachuted into occupied France. Surviving heavy anti-aircraft fire, he crashed through the glass roof of a greenhouse in Sainte-Mere-Eglise. While many of the soldiers in his unit died, Henry and other surviving troops valiantly battled enemy tanks to a standstill. Then, on June 29th, Henry was captured by the Nazis. The next phase of his incredible journey was just beginning.

Kept for a week in the outer ring of a death camp, Henry witnessed the Nazis' unspeakable brutality -- the so-called Final Solution, with people marched to their deaths, their bodies discarded like cords of wood. Transported to a work camp, he endured horrors of his own when he was forced to live in unbelievable squalor and labor in a coal mine with other POWs.

Knowing they would be worked to death, he and a friend made a desperate escape. When a German soldier cornered them in a barn, the friend was fatally shot; Henry struggled with the soldier, killing him and taking his gun. Perilously traveling westward toward Allied controlled land on foot, Henry faced the great ethical and moral dilemmas of war firsthand, needing to do whatever it took to survive. Finally, after two weeks behind enemy lines, he found an American unit and was rescued.

Awaiting him at home was Arlene, who, like millions of other American women, went to work in factories and offices to build the armaments Henry and the Allies needed for victory. "Whatever It Took" is her story, too, bringing to life the hopes and fears of those on the home front awaiting their loved ones to return.

A tale of heroism, hope, and survival (and enhanced for the reader with the inclusion of 30 historical photographs), "Whatever It Took" is a timely reminder of the human cost of freedom and a tribute to unbreakable human courage and spirit in the darkest of times.

Critique: A simply fascinating story that although a work of nonfiction, reads with all the emotional impact of a finely crafted novel, "Whatever It Took: An American Paratrooper's Extraordinary Memoir of Escape, Survival, and Heroism in the Last Days of World War II" is an extraordinary and impressively presented military biography that is especially and unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library World War II Military History collections and supplemental studies reading lists. It should be noted for students, academia, military history buffs, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Whatever It Took" is also readily available in a large print paperback edition (9780063040588, $29.99), in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99), and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9781094156835, $29.99, CD).

Editorial Note: Henry Langrehr served in Europe in World War II with the 82nd Airborne Division. He is the recipient of two Bronze Stars, two Purple Hearts, and the French Legion of Honor. After the war, he founded a successful construction company, building schools and other civic structures.

Jim DeFelice is the co-author, with former U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, of the multi-million-copy bestseller American Sniper, the source for Clint Eastwood's film starring Bradley Cooper. His other books include Omar Bradley: General at War; Rangers at Dieppe; and West Like Lightning: The Brief, Legendary Ride of the Pony Express.

The Writing/Publishing Shelf

Creating Confident Writers
Troy Hicks & Andy Schoenborn
W. W. Norton & Company
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110
9780393714166, $27.95, PB, 208pp,

Synopsis: Connecting their classroom experience to research about writing, as well as to framing documents in the field, in the pages of "Creating Confident Writers: For High School, College, and Life" two seasoned writing teachers distill the lessons they've learned about creating confident adolescent and young adult writers.

Troy Hicks and Andy Schoenborn outline a fundamental stance to their approach (to invite, encourage, and celebrate students' writing) that is then echoed in "Creating Confident Writers" three-part structure. There are numerous classroom activities and assignments on topics from creating writing goals to supporting revision, examples of student work, and questions to guide teachers' reflections.

"Creating Confident Writers" is an ideal curriculum textbook for any teacher of writing, from middle school through college. "Creating Confident Writers" invites students and other aspiring writers to try strategies -- and allow students' voices to emerge, while discussing with colleagues how these approaches might work for them, too.

Critique: Enhanced for academia with the inclusion of an eight page listing of References, 10 black-and-white images, and a seven page Index, "Creating Confident Writers: For High School, College, and Life", with its underlying message that writing should be for an audience beyond that of a teacher, and for a purpose beyond that of getting a grade, is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library Writing/Publishing collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists.

Editorial Note: Troy Hicks is a Professor of English and Education at Central Michigan University. He directs both the Chippewa River Writing Project and the Master of Arts in Learning, Design & Technology program. A former middle school teacher, Dr. Hicks is an ISTE Certified Educator and regularly leads workshops related to writing and technology for schools, districts, and professional organizations.

Andy Schoenborn is an author and high school English teacher in Michigan at Mt. Pleasant Public Schools. He's a also the co-facilitator of the monthly #TeachWrite Twitter chat, past president of the Michigan Council of Teachers of English, and a Regional Representative of the Michigan Reading Association. Schoenborn is also a contributing author of Using Technology to Enhance Writing (Solution Tree, 2014) and Continuing the Journey 2 (NCTE, 2018). In November 2019, he was honored with the 2019 Linda Rief Voices from the Middle Award for outstanding publication for his article, "Reclaiming the Arts in English Language Arts". He is a teacher consultant for the Chippewa River Writing Project (NWP) site.

The American History Shelf

Abraham Among The Yankees
William F. Hanna
Southern Illinois University Press
1915 University Press Drive, SIUC Mail Code 6806, Carbondale, IL 62901
9780809337798, $14.50, PB, 118pp,

Synopsis: Filling in a portion of Lincoln's political career that few are aware of, "Abraham among the Yankees: Lincoln's 1848 Visit to Massachusetts" by historian William F. Hanna is uniquely engaging travelogue that details Lincoln's twelve-day trip through Massachusetts as a young, aspiring Illinois politician campaigning for Zachary Taylor -- who was a slaveowner and the Whig candidate for president in 1848.

Moving swiftly, Hanna follows Lincoln from town to town, explaining why Lincoln supported a slaveholder and describing one of Lincoln's earliest attempts to appeal to an audience beyond his home territory.

Hanna also provides excellent context on the politics of the era, particularly the question of slavery, both in Massachusetts and nationwide, and he features the people Lincoln met and the cities or towns in which he spoke. Lincoln stumped for Taylor in Worcester, New Bedford, Boston, Lowell, Dorchester, Chelsea, Dedham, Cambridge, and Taunton.

Lincoln gave twelve speeches in eleven days to audiences who responded with everything from catcalls to laughter to applause. Whatever they thought of Lincoln's arguments, those who saw him were impressed by his unusual western style and remembered his style more than the substance of his talks.

Meticulously researched, "Abraham among the Yankees: Lincoln's 1848 Visit to Massachusetts" invites readers to take an East Coast journey with a thirty-nine-year-old Lincoln during election season in 1848 to see how Massachusetts audiences responded to the humorous, informal approach that served Lincoln well during the rest of his political career.

Critique: A unique and impressively informative work of original historical scholarship, "Abraham among the Yankees: Lincoln's 1848 Visit to Massachusetts" is an especially appropriate and recommended addition to personal, community, and academic library 19th Century American History collections in general, and Lincoln Studies curriculum reading lists in particular.

Editorial Note: William F. Hanna is a visiting lecturer at Bridgewater State University and serves as president of the Old Colony History Museum in Taunton, Massachusetts. A past president of the Lincoln Group of Boston, Hanna is also the author of Avon, Massachusetts, 1720 - 1988 and A History of Taunton, Massachusetts.

The Jobs/Careers Shelf

Women of Color in Tech
Susanne Tedrick
c/o Wiley Professional Trade Group
111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774
9781119633488, $24.99, PB, 288pp,

Synopsis: In the pages of "Women of Color in Tech: A Blueprint for Inspiring and Mentoring the Next Generation of Technology Innovators", author Susanne Tedrick seeks to help women of color overcome the obstacles that prevent them from pursuing and staying in tech careers. Contrary to popular belief, tech careers are diverse and fun -- and they go far beyond just coding.

"Women of Color in Tech" reveals that today's tech careers are incredibly dynamic, and aspiring tech workers will learn how soft skills (communication, public speaking, networking) can help anyone to succeed in tech.

"Women of Color in Tech" will guide readers through the process of cultivating strong relationships and building a network that will get you were you want to be. Readers will learn to identify a strong, knowledgeable support network that they can rely on for guidance or mentorship. This step is crucial in getting young women of color into tech careers and keeping them there.

"Women of Color in Tech" is fundamental and instructive with respect to: Building a professional network to get the guidance needed; Finding a mentor who understands personal goals and struggles; Overcoming negativity and stay motivated through difficult times; Identify and develop the hard and soft skills needed to get ahead in tech.

"Women of Color in Tech" will materially help bring to life into a personal vision of a future in tech. With practical advice and inspiring stories, readers will develop the right tools and the right mindset. Whether just considering going into tech or wanting to take a current career to the next level, "Women of Color in Tech" will show how to uncover the resources necessary for success.

Critique: An impressively comprehensive instructional guide and manual, "Women of Color in Tech: A Blueprint for Inspiring and Mentoring the Next Generation of Technology Innovators" is thoroughly 'user friendly' in tone, commentary style, organization and presentation. While unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library collections, it should be noted for the personal and professional reading lists that "Women of Color in Tech" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $16.99).

Editorial Note: Susanne Tedrick is a technical specialist for a Fortune 50 technology company. Fiercely committed to increasing participation of women and people of color in STEM educational and professional opportunities, she is a career mentor for the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) Initiative and a volunteer workshop technical assistant for Black Girls Code, a nonprofit that empowers girls of color to develop in-demand IT skills and prepare for careers in tech. Susanne was awarded the 2018 CompTIA AITP Rising Star of the Year Award, and nominated for the 2019 CompTIA Advancing Women in Technology Mentorship Guide Award, for her dedication to advancing her career and that of others.

The Biography Shelf

Invisible Ink
Guy Stern
Wayne State University Press
4809 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48201-1309
9780814347591, $27.99, HC, 272pp,

Synopsis: "Invisible Ink"is the personal story of Guy Stern's remarkable life. While this is not a Holocaust memoir, Stern makes it quite clear that the horrors of the Holocaust and his remarkable escape from Nazi Germany created the central driving force for the rest of his life.

Stern gives much credit to his father's profound cautionary words, "You have to be like invisible ink. You will leave traces of your existence when, in better times, we can emerge again and show ourselves as the individuals we are." Stern carried these words and their psychological impact for much of his life, shaping himself around them, until his emergence as someone who would be visible to thousands over the years.

"Invisible Ink" is divided into thirteen chapters, each of which marks a pivotal moment in Stern's life. His story begins with Stern's parents-"the two met, or else this chronicle would not have seen the light of day (nor me, for that matter)." Then, in 1933, the Nazis come to power, ushering in a fiery and destructive timeline that Stern recollects by exact dates and calls "the end of [his] childhood and adolescence."

Through a series of fortunate occurrences, Stern immigrated to the United States at the tender age of fifteen. While attending St. Louis University, Stern was drafted into the U.S. Army and soon found himself selected, along with other German-speaking immigrants, for a special military intelligence unit that would come to be known as the Ritchie Boys (named so because their training took place at Ft. Ritchie, MD). Their primary job was to interrogate Nazi prisoners, often on the front lines. Although his family did not survive the war (the details of which the reader is spared), Stern did.

He then he went on to have a long and illustrious career as a scholar, author, husband and father, mentor, decorated veteran, and friend.

"Invisible Ink" is a story that will have a lasting impact as an example of a life lived in hope, strength, and graciousness in times of uncertainty.

Critique: An inherently fascinating and memorable read from beginning to end, "Invisible Ink: A Memoir" will prove to be an enduringly appreciated and prized addition to both community and academic library Contemporary American Biography collections in general, and Jewish Holocaust History supplemental curriculum studies lists in particular. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Invisible Ink: A Memoir" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $15.39).

The Native American Studies Shelf

Chickasaw Removal
Amanda L. Paige, author
Fuller L. Bumpers, author
Daniel F. Littlefield, Jr, author
Chickasaw Press
9781935684008, $34.95, HC, 220pp,

Synopsis: In the early nineteenth century, the Chickasaw Indians were a beleaguered people. Anglo-American settlers were streaming illegally into their homelands east of the Mississippi River. Then, in 1830, the Indian Removal Act forced the Chickasaw Nation, along with other eastern tribes, to remove to Indian Territory, in present-day Oklahoma. "Chickasaw Removal" provides a detailed account of the Chickasaw removal, from their harrowing journey west to their first difficult years in an unfamiliar land.

The Chickasaw removal began in 1837, a few years after the departures of the Choctaws and Creeks. In their gripping account of the Chickasaws' forced trek, authors Amanda L. Paige, Fuller L. Bumpers, and Daniel F. Littlefield, Jr., collaboratively describe the array of characters the Chickasaws came across, including missionaries, whiskey peddlers, profiteering government agents, and contractors, some of whom purchased and distributed rations they knew would go rancid before the removing parties passed by their way stations.

Although several histories have spotlighted the politics and events of the Removal Era, "Chickasaw Removal" offers a unique illumination of the "whole business" of removal, including details of the places where the Chickasaws camped, bought supplies, sought medical attention, and buried their dead. The story continues on into Indian Territory, where the Chickasaws faced a new set of obstacles but eventually persevered to become the strong and successful nation they are today.

Critique: A meticulously detailed and documented history, "Chickasaw Removal" is enhanced for academia with the inclusion of illustrations, a four page Bibliography and a twelve page Index. Impressively informative and exceptionally well organized and presented, "Chickasaw Removal" must be considered a core and critically important addition to community, college, and university library Native American History collections in general, and Chickasaw supplemental studies lists in particular. It should be noted for students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Chickasaw Removal" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781935684763, $24.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).

Editorial Note: Associated with the Sequoyah Research Center at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock,, Amanda L. Paige, is a historian, author, archivist, researcher, and museum specialist.

An attorney from Batesville, Arkansas, Fuller L. Bumpers, is a writer and historian specializing in Native American issues.

The Director of the Sequoyah Research Center at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock, Daniel F. Littlefield Jr. is the author of numerous books including A Biobibliography of Native American Writers, 1772-1924.

The Graphic Novel Shelf

Chickasaw Adventures: The Complete Collection
Jen Murvin Edwards, author
Tom Lyle, illustrator
White Dog Press
c/o Chickasaw Press
9781935684794, $34.95, HC, 248pp,

Synopsis: Johnny thinks he will never understand Grandfather's pride in their Native American heritage. What is so special about being Chickasaw anyway? But then a powerful and mysterious force gives Johnny the gift of time travel, which takes him back to important moments in Chickasaw history.

Readers will enjoy following Johnny as he journeys into the past, discovering the unconquerable spirit of his ancestors, and at last learn what it means to be Chickasaw.

"Chickasaw Adventures: The Complete Collection" combines seven published Chickasaw Adventures comic books with five previously unreleased issues to create a unique, epic graphic novel that brings the history and culture of the Chickasaw people to life.

Critique: An inherently fascinating and fully entertaining read from cover to cover, "Chickasaw Adventures: The Complete Collection", although a work of fiction, accurately draws from authentic Native American history and tradition. While a very special and unreservedly recommended addition to school and community library Graphic Novel collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Chickasaw Adventures: The Complete Collection" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781935684800, $24.95).

Editorial Note: The collection features artwork by Marvel and DC comics veteran Tom Lyle. As readers follow Johnny on his journey through essential scenes of Native American history and culture, they will also encounter words and names in the Chickasaw language, which are defined in the glossary included at the end.

The Library DVD/Blu-ray Shelf

Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears
Acorn Media
c/o RLJ Entertainment
$24.99 DVD or Blu-ray

Available in both DVD and Blu-ray formats, Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears is an all-new, mystery-adventure featuring a seductive, glamorous, debonair female sleuth, and the first new installment in the "Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries" series since 2015. In this feature-length saga, Phryne Fisher (played by Essie Davis) ventures to 1929 Jerusalem and rescues a Bedouin girl who was held captive after a village massacre. When a man claiming to have information for the girl is shot, leaving only a pendant, Miss Fisher joins forces with detective Jack Robinson to uncover buried secrets of war, hidden tombs, and a horrific curse. A sensational, thrilling mystery sure to appeal to connoisseurs of the genre, Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears is highly recommended for both personal public library collections. Bonus materials include a Q&A with the cast and crew, a behind-the-scenes featurette, and a fifty-minute interview with Essie Davis. 102 min. plus bonus material, SDH subtitles.

The General Fiction Shelf

American Follies
Norman Lock
Bellevue Literary Press
c/o NYU School of Medicine
550 First Ave., OBV A612, New York, NY 10016
9781942658481, $16.99, PB, 288pp,

Synopsis: Ellen Finch is former stenographer to Henry James and recalls her time as an assistant to Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, heroes of America's woman suffrage movement, and her friendship with the diminutive Margaret, one of P. T. Barnum's circus "eccentrics".

But when her infant son is kidnapped by the Klan, Ellen, Margaret, and the two formidable suffragists travel aboard Barnum's train from New York to Memphis to rescue the baby from certain death at the fiery cross.

Critique: "American Follies" by author Norman Lock is a an original, inherently fascinating, and superbly crafted novel that deftly explores the roots of the women's rights movement, its relationship to the fight for racial justice, and its reverberations in the politics of today. An absorbing and memorable read from first page to last, "American Follies" is an especially recommended addition to both community and academic library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "American Follies" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

The Western Fiction Shelf

Gun Barrel Justice
P. McCormac
Linford Western Library
Ulverscroft Large Print (USA), Inc.
PO Box 1230, West Seneca, NY 14224-1230
9781444844108, $21.49, PB, Large Print, 312pp,

Synopsis: Jason Connor, is a wandering preacher who is also very good with a gun. When he stumbles across a wagon and its dead occupants, he decides he must deliver the only survivor, a young boy, to his aunt and uncle -- but not before shooting his way through the gang responsible for the murders. And the trouble is not over yet. When he discovers the scene of a double lynching, Connor is set on a collision course with the killers of what turns out to be the boy's uncle and cousin.

Critique: A western novel that has more sudden death twists and turns that a Colorado River rapids, "Gun Barrel Justice" by P. McCormac fully lives up to the promise of its title. A simple riveting read from beginning to unexpected ending, this large print edition of "Gun Barrell Justice" will prove to be an especially prized addition to personal reading lists and community library Western Fiction collections.

From The Vineyards Of Hell
Harry Jay Thorn
Linford Western Library
c/o Ulverscroft Large Print (USA), Inc.
PO Box 1230, West Seneca, NY 14224-1230
9781444842760, $21.49, PB, Large Print, 280pp,

Synopsis: When Texan and ex-lawman Captain Joshua Beaufort is captured by Union troops during the Civil War, he is given a choice -- help to end the war on their terms, or spend the rest of it in a prisoner-of-war camp. Persuaded that it's in his best interests to cooperate, he rides in the company of young Corporal Benbow to his home state of Texas - back to his old love, his old friends, and enemies both old and new. His task: to bring eliminate a gun runner named Buford Post, a man who is protected by notorious his own small army of gunslingers and a crooked sheriff.

Critique: Another hell-bent-for leather ripping good novel by Harry Jay Thorn, "From The Vineyards Of Hell" is one compulsive page turner of a read from cover to cover. This large print edition of "From The Vineyards Of Hell" should be on the personal reading list of every dedicated western novel fan and will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to community library Western Fiction collections.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

The Pursuit of the Pankera
Robert A. Heinlein
CAEZIK SF & Fantasy
c/o Arc Manor LLC
9781647100018, $29.99, HC, 503pp,

Synopsis: "The Pursuit of the Pankera" by Robert Heinlein (July 7, 1907 - May 8, 1988) is one of the most audacious experiments ever done in science fiction.

Heinlein wrote "The Number of the Beast", which was published in 1980. In the book Zeb, Deety, Hilda and Jake are ambushed by the alien "Black Hats" and barely escape with their lives on a specially configured vehicle (the Gay Deceiver) which can travel along various planes of existence, allowing them to visit parallel universes.

However, unknown to most fans, Heinlein had already written a "parallel" novel about the four characters and parallel universes in 1977. He effectively wrote two parallel novels about parallel universes. The novels share the same start, but as soon as the Gay Deceiver is used to transport them to a parallel universe, each book transports them to a totally different parallel world.

From that point on the plot lines diverge completely. While "The Number of the Beast" morphs into something very different, more representative of later Heinlein works, "The Pursuit of the Pankera" remains on target with a much more traditional Heinleinesque storyline and ending, reminiscent of his earlier works.

"The Pursuit of the Pankera" was never published and there have been many competing theories as to why (including significant copyright issues in 1977). Over time the manuscript was largely forgotten but survived in fragments. A recent re-examination of these fragments, however, made it clear that put together in the right order they constituted the complete novel.

And here it finally is: Robert A. Heinlein's audacious experiment. A fitting farewell from one of the most inventive science fiction writers to have ever lived: a parallel novel about parallel universes as well as a great adventure pitting the forces of good versus evil only the way Heinlein could do.

Critique: An absolutely essential and 'must read' novel for the legions of Robert Heinlein fans, "The Pursuit of the Pankera: A Parallel Novel About Parallel Universes" is an extraordinary work of science fiction and a welcome addition to both community and academic library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Pursuit of the Pankera: A Parallel Novel About Parallel Universes" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: This edition of "The Pursuit of the Pankera: A Parallel Novel About Parallel Universes" is enhanced for Heinlein fans and academia with the inclusion of an informative introduction by David Weber, an American science fiction and fantasy author who has written several science-fiction and fantasy books series, who is best known for his Honor Harrington science-fiction series.

Starborn and Godsons
Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, Steven Barnes
Baen Books
PO Box 1188, Wake Forest NC 27588
9781982124489, $25.00, HC, 416pp,

Synopsis: Avalon was thriving. The cold sleep colonists from Earth had settled on a verdant, livable world. The fast and cunning predators humans named "grendels" were under control, and the mainland outposts well established. Avalon's new mainland hydroelectric power station was nearly complete, and when on-line would compensate for the nuclear power systems lost in the Grendel Wars. Humans would have power, and with power came the ability to make all the necessities for life. They would survive.

They would not survive as a space faring people.

What they were losing faster than they knew was the ability to get into space. But unbeknownst to the planet-bound humans, something was moving out there in the stars, decelerating at a rate impossible for a natural object. And its destination was Avalon. The most probable origin was Earth's Solar System.

"Starborn & Godsons" is about first contact between the human Starborn and the self-named Godsons who followed on, between the first generation of Avalon born humans and their descendants, and between humans and the almost ineffably alien species native to their new world.

Critique: An inherently entertaining science fiction saga co-written by two legendary SF authors, Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, along with experienced novelist Steven Barnes, "Starborn & Godsons" is part of their 'Heorot' series and will prove to be an enormously popular addition to community, college, and university library Science Fiction & Fantasy collections. A 'must read' for the legions of Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, and Steven Barnes fans, it should be noted for personal lists that "Starborn & Godsons" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

The Art Shelf

Philip Guston Now
Harry Cooper, et al.
National Gallery of Art
c/o Distributed Art Publishers
155 Sixth Avenue, 2nd floor, New York, NY 10013-1507
9781942884569, $60.00, HC, 280pp,

Synopsis: Largely self-taught by studying Renaissance painters in reproduction, the Walter and Louise Arensberg's modern art collection, and the Mexican muralism of Orozco and Siqueiros, Philip Guston (June 27, 1913 - June 7, 1980) has perhaps more than any other figure in recent memory given contemporary artists permission to break the rules and paint what, and how, they want. His nonlinear career, embrace of "high" and "low" sources, and constant aesthetic reinvention defy easy categorization, and his 1968 figurative turn is one of 20th-century art's most legendary conversion narratives.

In his own words: "I was feeling split, schizophrenic. The war, what was happening in America, the brutality of the world. What kind of man am I, sitting at home, reading magazines, going into a frustrated fury about everything and then going into my studio to adjust a red to a blue?"

And so Guston's cross-hatched abstractions gave way to large, cartoonlike canvases populated by lumpy, lugubrious figures and personal symbols in a palette of meaty pinks. That Guston continued mining this vein for the rest of his life (despite initial bewilderment from his peers) reinforced his reputation as an artist's artist; he has become hugely influential as contemporary art has followed Guston into its own antic figurative turn.

Published to accompany the first retrospective museum exhibition of Guston's career in 15 years, "Philip Guston Now" includes a definitive chronology reflecting many new discoveries. It highlights the voices of artists of our day who have been inspired by the full range of his work including Tacita Dean, Peter Fischli, Trenton Doyle Hancock, William Kentridge, Glenn Ligon, David Reed, Dana Schutz, Amy Sillman, Art Spiegelman and Rirkrit Tiravanija.

Informative essays trace the influences, interests and evolution of this singular force in modern and contemporary art -- including a close look at the 1960s and '70s, when Guston gradually abandoned abstraction, returning to the figure and to current history but with a personal voice, by turns comic and apocalyptic, that resonates today more than ever.

Critique: A beautifully produced coffee-table style volume, "Philip Guston Now" is a fitting and impressively informative survey and analysis of a remarkable artist, his life and his work. Enhanced with the inclusion of a two page Selected Bibliography, fourteen pages of Notes, and an eight page Index, "Philip Guston Now" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library Contemporary Art History collections in general, and Philip Guston supplemental studies lists in particular.

The Philosophy Shelf

Avengers Infinity Saga and Philosophy
Robert Arp & Heather L. Rivera, editors
Open Court Publishing Company
70 East Lake Street, Suite 800, Chicago, IL 60601
9780812694857, $19.95, PB, 256pp,

Synopsis: Collaboratively compiled and co-edited by Robert Arp and Heather Rivera, "Avengers Infinity Saga and Philosophy" is comprised of essays in which philosophers explore the momentous issues and the fascinating puzzles raised by Marvel's compelling series of movies.

"Avengers Infinity Saga and Philosophy" address such questions as: Where or not the Thanos snap truly an answer to overpopulation and famine, or is it simply indefensible mass murder on a cosmic scale; Are the Avengers who try to stop Thanos dishing out justice or merely fighting a man who is himself just?; Captain America or Tony Stark -- which leader holds the key to a civilized society?; Dr. Strange claims to sees 14,000,605 possible futures, in one of which Thanos is defeated. What does this tell us about the true nature of reality?; Sometimes your best just isn't enough. How can we cope with inevitability?

Then there are such issues as: How can the Soul Stone and the Binding of Isaac by Abraham help us understand the Infinity War saga?; Is Thanos a utilitarian? And if so, is his utilitarian calculus logically sound?; Would it be possible for a group like the Avengers to amass enormous power to fight for humankind, without themselves becoming a corrupt ruling class?; Can the past Nebula shooting the future Nebula cause her to cease to exist? Can you change the future by communicating with yourself or your family in the past?; Can Thanos be seen as the epitome of non-self-serving behavior, or is Thanos masking his own egoism with the lie that his altruistic mission is to bring the universe into balance?; Does Thanos show us the danger of living by an absolute moral compass, which allows us to see only what we believe to be "the right" with no variations or nuances?

Critique: As fun and entertaining a read as it is thoughtful and thought-provoking, "Avengers Infinity Saga and Philosophy" will have immense appeal for the legions of Marvel Universe fans and philosophy students. With thirty-one deftly crafted essays being thematically organized into six distinctive sections (The Snap; Time Travel; Ethics; Death; Thanos; Character), as well as the inclusion of a six page Bibliography, a six page listing of the contributors and their credentials, and a four page Index, "Avengers Infinity Saga and Philosophy" is certain to be an enduringly popular addition to personal, community, college, and university library Philosophy & Science Fiction collections and supplemental curriculum studies reading lists.

The Music Shelf

Nashville's Songwriting Sweethearts
Bobbie Malone & Bill C. Malone
University of Oklahoma Press
2800 Venture Drive, Norman, OK 73069
9780806164861, $24.95, HC, 232pp,

Synopsis: Country music and popular music fans might not know the names of Boudleaux and Felice Bryant, but they will most certainly know their music! Arriving in Nashville in 1950, the song writing duo became the first full-time independent songwriters in that musical city. In the course of their long careers, they created classic hits that pushed the boundaries of country music into the realms of pop and rock. Songs like "Bye Bye Love," "All I Have to Do Is Dream," "Love Hurts," and "Rocky Top" inspired young musicians everywhere. Here, for the first time, is a complete biography of Nashville's power songwriting couple.

In "Nashville's Songwriting Sweethearts: The Boudleaux and Felice Bryant Story", authors Bobbie Malone and Bill C. Malone informatively recount how Boudleaux and Felice, married in 1945, began their partnership as itinerant musicians living in a trailer home and writing their first songs together. In Nashville the couple had to deal with racism, classism, and in Felice's case, sexism. Yet through hard work and business acumen (and a dose of good luck) they overcame these obstacles and rose to national prominence.

By the late 1990s, the Bryants had written as many as 6,000 songs and had sold more than 350 million copies worldwide. They were inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1972, and in 1991 they became members of the Country Music Hall of Fame -- a rare occurrence for songwriters who were not also performers. In 1982 their composition "Rocky Top" was adopted as one of the official state songs of Tennessee.

The Bryants were lucky enough to arrive in the right place at the right time. Their emergence in the early fifties coincided with the rise of Nashville as Music City, USA. And their prolific collaboration with the Everly Brothers, beginning in 1957, sparked a fusion between country and pop music that endures to this day.

Critique: Wonderfully informative, expertly organized and presented, "Nashville's Songwriting Sweethearts: The Boudleaux and Felice Bryant Story" is a 'must read' for the legions of country and popular music fans. Certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to both community and academic library American Music History and Contemporary American Biography collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Nashville's Songwriting Sweethearts: The Boudleaux and Felice Bryant Story" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $21.23).

Editorial Note: Bill C. Malone is Professor Emeritus of History at Tulane University. He is also the author of numerous books on country music history. His doctoral dissertation was published in 1968 as Country Music, U.S.A. and has subsequently seen print in three revised editions. Malone received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1984 and Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for American Music in 2008. He currently resides in Madison, Wisconsin, where he hosts a weekly country music radio show.

The Autism Shelf

Safeguarding Your Child with Autism
Jack Scott, et al.
Woodbine House
6510 Bells Mill Road, Bethesda, MD 20817
9781606130056, $24.95, PB, 330pp,

Synopsis: The focus in "Safeguarding Your Child with Autism: Strategies and Tools to Reduce Risks" is on preventing unintentional injuries to children, teens, and your adults with autism because there is a much higher rate of preventable injuries to people with autism compared to their typically developing peers.

Deficits in communication and comprehension, as well as certain dangerous behaviors and fixations can have devastating consequences (poisonings, burns, falls, injuries from vehicular collisions, drowning). Collaboratively written by a team of five experts on autism, "Safeguarding Your Child with Autism" offers ways to reduce hazards and teach skills to help people with autism negotiate the world safely, and cover:

Models for child safety include: Caregiver surveillance approach; Root cause analysis of close calls; Behavior Analytic Approach to determine the reason behind a specific behavior; The Haddon Matrix which is a prevention planning tool.

Instructional approaches include: Visual supports; Social Stories; Prompts & reinforcement; Role-play; Modeling; Behavioral Skills Training; and Direct Teaching.

Specific strategies for major risks are considered including: Barriers; Supervision; Pedestrian safety skills; Water safety skills; Family action plan; IEP; Behavior assessment; Bullying prevention; Protective gear for sports; Hazards removal from environment.

Also considered are the roll of devices and technology, as well as collaboration with law enforcement and first responders. monitoring and preventing elopement and wandering tendencies -- this last of which can create very dangerous, unsupervised environments and can lead to unintentional injuries.

Critique: Expertly written, organized and presented, "Safeguarding Your Child with Autism: Strategies and Tools to Reduce Risks" is not only critically essential reading for parents of autistic children, but is unreservedly recommended as a supplemental studies text book for college and universities curriculums in Autism.

Editorial Note: The team of collaborators for "Safeguarding Your Child with Autism: Strategies and Tools to Reduce Risks" include: Jack Scott (Associate Professor in the Department of Exceptional Student Education at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) and the Executive Director of the FAU Center for Autism and Related Disabilities); Bairbre Flood (who is the Principal of the Potential School at the Arc of Palm Beach Country in Riviera Beach, Florida); Dennis Debbaudt (who is the parent of a young man who has autism, an author, a law enforcement trainer, and a producer of autism safety training videos and curriculum for law enforcement and first response agencies); Kyle D. Bennett (Associate Professor in Special Education at Florida International University -- his work focuses on preparing teachers and related services providers to educate students with disabilities); Toby Honsberger (who is the Executive Director at The Learning Academy at The Els Center of Excellence, which is a school for students on the autism spectrum in Jupiter, Florida).

The Religion/Spirituality Shelf

Bible Stories For All Without the Dogma
Kenneth E. Walsh
Independently Published
9780999156568, $18.95, PB, 226pp,

Synopsis: Compiled with commentary by Kenneth Walsk, "Bible Stories For All Without the Dogma: A Part of Cultural Literacy" is comprised of key Bible stories that are presented concisely without a religious pitch.

"Bible Stories For All Without the Dogma" presents 32 key stories, themes, and universal life issues which are described simply -- along with the evolution of humans, the impact of farming on religion, and topics such as travel, trade, slavery, concubines, law, government, taxes, weapons, warfare, tribute, and the culinary and cultural practices in the ancient Near East.

Essentially, "Bible Stories For All Without the Dogma" covers what happened before the events in the Bible stories and what was happening in the nearby civilizations to provide a context for the stories.

With the United States, Canada, and Europe increasingly becoming a population of "Nones" (unchurched adults who identify with no religion), a growing number of people seek to understand the Biblical stories and their influence in Western culture without subjecting themselves to religious dogma. A 2015 Pew Research Center poll found 34% of millennials (those born after 1980) identified themselves as religious nones.

Bible illiteracy was recently underscored in a major, nationwide newspaper. Perhaps more, well-informed writers might avoid the embarrassment of the Wall Street Journal. On March 29, 2018 the Journal incorrectly quoted Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, saying Moses brought water from Iraq. He had actually noted that Moses brought water from a rock. Netanyahu was referring to the story of Moses striking a rock with his staff to draw water from a rock for the Israelites who were wandering in the Sinai Desert. Moses was nowhere near today's Iraq and never was. The published story had passed three staffers uncorrected.

Critique: An absolutely absorbing, engagingly articulate, impressively informative, expertly written, organized and presented study, "Bible Stories For All Without the Dogma: A Part of Cultural Literacy" is unique and an extraordinarily 'reader friendly' in tone, commentary, and style. While especially and unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Biblical Studies collections and supplemental curriculum lists, it should be noted for seminary students, clergy, academicians, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Bible Stories For All Without the Dogma: A Part of Cultural Literacy" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).

Editorial Note: Ken Walsh has taught the Old Testament for 14 years in a tuition-free, Jesuit, inner-city middle school for boys from low-income families. Typically, fewer than five percent of the students were Catholic; and, while most claimed to be Christian, fewer than half attended church. Some practiced no religion. Some attended a mosque. While he initially taught the Old Testament stories from a historical perspective so as not to offend anyone, he gradually added universal lessons. Upon his retirement he decided to write a Bible stories book for all based on his classroom experience and additional research.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Unnatural Companions
Island Press
2000 M St NW Suite 650, Washington, DC 20036
9781610919708, $28.00, HC, 280pp,

Synopsis: Dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, and other species have become an essential part of more families than ever before -- in North America today, pets outnumber people! Pet owners are drawn to their animal companions through an innate desire to connect with other species. But there is a dark side to our domestic connection with animal life: the pet industry is contributing to a global conservation crisis for wildlife -- often without the knowledge of pet owners.

In "Unnatural Companions: Rethinking Our Love of Pets in an Age of Wildlife Extinction", science journalist and dedicated environmentalist Peter Christie issues a call to action for all pet owners. If we hope to reverse the alarming trend of wildlife decline, pet owners must acknowledge the pets-versus-conservation dilemma and concede that our well-fed and sheltered cats too often prey on small backyard wildlife and seemingly harmless reptiles released into the wild might be the next destructive invasive species. We want our pets to eat nutritionally healthy food, but how does the designer food we feed them impact the environment?

"Unnatural Companions" is a cautionary tale to responsible pet owners about why we must change the ways we love and care for our pets. It concludes with the positive message that the small changes we make at home can foster better practices within the pet industry that will ultimately benefit our pets' wild brethren.

Critique: Exceptionally well written and impressively informative, "Unnatural Companions: Rethinking Our Love of Pets in an Age of Wildlife Extinction" is a timely and unreservedly recommended addition to both community and academic library Contemporary Environmental Issues collections in general, and Endangered Species and Nature Conservation supplemental studies reading lists in particular. It should be noted for students, academia, concerned pet owners, environmental activists, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Unnatural Companions" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).

Editorial Note: Peter Christie is a Canadian science journalist, pet owner, and author who writes frequently about conservation. He is a national Science in Society Journalism Award winner whose stories and features have appeared in The Globe and Mail, Maclean's, On Nature, Canadian Geographic, The Ottawa Citizen, The Vancouver Sun, The Edmonton Journal, and The Montreal Gazette. He is also the author of science books for children and young adults. Additionally, Christie has worked as a science communications consultant for the World Wildlife Fund, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, the Royal Society of Canada, the Boreal Songbird Initiative, and the Canadian Climate Forum.

The Technology Shelf

Microwave and Millimeter-Wave Vacuum Electron Devices
A. S. Gilmour, Jr.
Artech House
685 Canton Street, Norwood, MA 02062
9781650817282, $179.00, HC, 950pp,

Synopsis: Written by an internationally recognized as an expert on the subject of microwave (MW) tubes, "Microwave and Millimeter-Wave Vacuum Electron Devices: Inductive Output Tubes, Klystrons, Traveling-Wave Tubes, Magnetrons, Crossed-Field Amplifiers, and Gyrotrons" presents and describes the many types of microwave tubes, and despite competition from solid-state devices (those using GaN, SiC, et cetera), which continue to be used widely and find new applications in defense, communications, medical, and industrial drying. Helix traveling wave tubes (TWTs), as well as coupled cavity TWTs are covered. Klystrons, and how they work, are described, along with the physics behind it and examples of devices and their uses.

Also, vacuum electron devices are explained in detail and examines the harsh environment that must exist in tubes if they are to operate properly. The secondary emission process and its role in the operation of crossed-field devices is also discussed.

The design of collectors for linear-beam tubes, including power dissipation and power recovery, are explored. Discussions of important noise sources and techniques that can be used to minimize their effects are also included. Presented in full color, "Microwave and Millimeter-Wave Vacuum Electron Devices" contains a balance of practical and theoretical material so that those new to microwave tubes as well as experienced microwave tube technicians, engineers, and managers can benefit from its use.

Critique: Expertly written, organized and presented, "Microwave and Millimeter-Wave Vacuum Electron Devices: Inductive Output Tubes, Klystrons, Traveling-Wave Tubes, Magnetrons, Crossed-Field Amplifiers, and Gyrotrons" by A. S. Gilmour Jr. is an ideal textbook and unreservedly recommended as a key addition to college and university library Microwave Technology collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists. It should be noted for students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Microwave and Millimeter-Wave Vacuum Electron Devices" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $179.00).

The Cookbook Shelf

The Happy Planet: Cookbook Recipes for Life
Dana Karic
Balboa Press
c/o Hay House, Inc.
PO Box 5100, Carlsbad, CA 92018-5100
9781982230968, $34.95, PB, 124pp,

Synopsis: Compiled by Dana Karic, "The Happy Planet: Recipes for Life" is a deftly organized and presented cookbook filled from cover to cover with vegan and vegetarian recipes -- and a lot of recipes for life!

"The Happy Planet: Recipes for Life" offers a unique take on food, life, family, friends, work, and self-care. This compendium of recipes has an underlying message that is all about loving yourself and being flexible and free with yourself. As in life, freedom, love, peace, joy, and discovery also rule in the kitchen.

Kitchen cooks will readily discover many interesting recipes and many interesting life recipes in this unique volume. Browsers utilizing "The Happy Planet: Recipes for Life" to create menus will also find themselves enjoying the inspirational quotes as well. It is a relaxed read to dip in and out with and meant to not only to be read -- but to be experienced!

Critique: Expertly organized and presented, "The Happy Planet: Recipes for Life" is an ideal and highly recommended culinary and life-style resource that will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to family and community library cookbook collections. It should be noted for personal reading and culinary reference lists that "The Happy Planet: Recipes for Life" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).

Editorial Note: Dana Karic is a multimedia artist who creates music, books and art, and enjoys writing creative, fun, inspiring books. She is also a philanthropist and lover of this world and all the things in it. Her books help people open up their creativity, relax, discover and enjoy themselves. She also maintains a web site at

The Mathematics Shelf

Modelling with Ordinary Differential Equations
Alfio Borzi
CRC Press
6000 NW Broken Sound Parkway NW, Suite 300, Boca Raton, FL 33487
9780815392613, $130.00, HC, 404pp,

Synopsis: "Modelling with Ordinary Differential Equations: A Comprehensive Approach" by Alfio Borzi provides the reader with a broad and self-contained introduction to the mathematical tools necessary to investigate and apply ODE models.

"Modelling with Ordinary Differential Equations" starts by establishing the existence of solutions in various settings and analyzing their stability properties. The next step is to illustrate modelling issues arising in the calculus of variation and optimal control theory that are of interest in many applications. This discussion is continued with an introduction to inverse problems governed by ODE models and to differential games.

"Modelling with Ordinary Differential Equations" is completed with an illustration of stochastic differential equations and the development of neural networks to solve ODE systems. Many numerical methods are presented to solve the classes of problems discussed in this volume.

"Modelling with Ordinary Differential Equations" provides: Insight into rigorous mathematical issues concerning various topics, while discussing many different models of interest in different disciplines (biology, chemistry, economics, medicine, physics, social sciences, etc.); Is suitable for undergraduate and graduate students and as an introduction for researchers in engineering and the sciences; Is accompanied by codes which allow the reader to apply the numerical methods discussed in this book in those cases where analytical solutions are not available.

Critique: Expertly written, organized and presented, "Modelling with Ordinary Differential Equations: A Comprehensive Approach" is an ideal textbook for college and university Numerical Analysis & Scientific Computing currciulums. While unreservedly recommended as a critically important addition to academic library collections, it should be noted for students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Modelling with Ordinary Differential Equations: A Comprehensive Approach" is also readily available in a digital book format (eTextbook, $104.00).

Editorial Note: Alfio Borzi is the Professor and Chair of Scientific Computing at the Institute for Mathematics of the University of Wrzburg, Germany. He served as Research Officer at the University of Oxford (UK) and as an Assistant Professor at the University of Graz (Austria) where he completed his Habilitation and was appointed as Associate Professor. Since 2011 he has been Professor of Scientific Computing at University of Wrzburg. Alfio Borzi is also the author of 3 mathematics books and numerous articles in journals. The main topics of his research and teaching activities are modelling and numerical analysis, optimal control theory and scientific computing. He is member of the editorial board for the SIAM Journal on
Scientific Computing and for SIAM Review.

The Education Shelf

Design Thinking in Play
Alyssa Gallagher & Kami Thordarson
1703 North Beauregard Street, Alexandria, VA 22311-1714
9781416628859, $31.95, PB, 166pp,

Synopsis: With the publication of "Design Thinking in Play: An Action Guide for Educators", authors Alyssa Gallagher and Kami Thordarson offer educators a practical guide for navigating design thinking's invigorating challenges and reaping its considerable rewards. They dig deep into the five-stage design thinking process, highlighting risk factors and recommending specific steps to keep you moving forward.

The 25 downloadable and reproducible tools comprising "Design Thinking in Play: An Action Guide for Educators" provide prompts and supports that will help you and your team: Identify change opportunities; Dig deeper into complex problems; Analyze topics to isolate specific challenges; Connect with and solve for user needs; Apply what you've learned about users to design challenges; Maximize brainstorming power; Create and employ solution prototypes: Pitch solutions and secure buy-in from stakeholders: Organize and analyze user feedback; Map out a solution's specific actions and resource requirements.

"Design Thinking in Play" is an essential instructional resource for education leaders who are tired of waiting for someone else to solve their problems and ready to take action, have fun, and leverage collective insight to figure out what will really work for their school, their colleagues, and their students.

Critique: Thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "Design Thinking in Play: An Action Guide for Educators" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to school district, college, and university library Education Administration collections and supplemental curriculum reading lists. It should be noted for in-service training purposes that "Design Thinking in Play: An Action Guide for Educators" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $30.35).

Editorial Note: Alyssa Gallagheris an experienced public school educator, school and district administrator, facilitator, and educational consultant. She has successfully led school leadership teams through the process of using design thinking to solve wicked problems, launched strategic plans using design thinking, and coached leaders (at all levels of an organization) to embrace the habits and mindsets of designers to lead more creatively.

Kami Thordarson has worked in many roles as a public educator, from classroom teacher to professional development and curriculum designer. She enjoys engaging students and teachers with learning experiences that focus on authenticity and relevance. Kami is involved with the design thinking movement in K - 12 education; in her current role as an administrator, she works to lead a district in integrating not only technology but also innovative practices that fully move students into more personalized learning experiences.

The Military Shelf

The River Battles
Mark Zuehlke
Douglas & McIntyre
c/o Harbour Publishing
PO Box 219, Madeira Park, BC, Canada, V0N 2H0
9781771622356, $37.95, HC, 480pp,

Synopsis: In late September 1944, the Emilia-Romagna plain before I Canadian Corps stretched to the far horizon. It was a a deceptively wide-open space where the tanks could run free. Throughout British Eighth Army, hopes ran high that once it entered the plain, the Germans could be driven from Italy. As soon as the advance began, however, the plain's true nature was revealed: the land was criss-crossed by rivers, canals and drainage ditches over which all the bridges had been demolished by the Germans.

With higher command urging haste, the Canadians entered a long and nightmarish series of battles to win crossings over each waterway, whose high banks provided the Germans with perfect defensive positions. Early fall rains caused rivers to spill their banks and transformed the countryside into the worst quagmire the soldiers had ever seen.

More than five months of battle followed, with weeks of hard fighting required to advance from one river to the next. Each month, conditions only worsened, and the casualty rates rose appallingly. As their comrades fell one by one, most soldiers sought merely to survive. Doing that much required every measure of stamina, courage and fighting skill they possessed.

The fifth and final Canadian Battle Series volume set in Italy, "The River Battles: Canada's Final Campaign in World War II Italy "The River Battles: Canada's Final Campaign in World War II Italy" by Mark Zuehlke tells the story of this campaign's last and hardest months. In riveting detail and with his trademark "you-are-there" style, Zuehlke shines a light on this forgotten chapter of Canada's World War II experience.

Critique: Exceedingly detailed, impressively comprehensive, exceptionally informed and informative, "The River Battles: Canada's Final Campaign in World War II Italy" is an inherently compelling read and a simply outstanding contribution to the growing library of World War II histories. Enhanced for academia with the inclusion of a seven page Bibliography, twenty-six pages of Notes, a four page Index of Formations, Units, and Corps, and a nine page General Index, "The River Battles" is unequivocally and unreservedly recommended for personal, community and academic library World War II collections and supplemental studies reading lists.

The Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf

The Female Gaze
Alicia Malone
Mango Publishing
9781633538375, $15.99, HC, 236pp,

Synopsis: There are movies created with a female perspective. Women have been making movies since the very beginning of cinema. "The Female Gaze: Essential Movies Made by Women" by Alicia Malone comprises of a list detailing the essential movies from the past and present made by women. It also delves into what the female perspective gives to each of the films.

A collection of fascinating biographies under one cover, "The Female Gaze" showcases brilliantly talented and accomplished women filmmakers that include both world renowned and obscure filmmakers who have shaped the film industry in ways rarely fully acknowledged.

"The Female Gaze" features the accomplishments of numerous women in film such as Dorothy Arzner, Ida Lupino, Kathryn Bigelow, Lady Bird's Greta Gerwig and more. It includes the lives of these women and the struggles they faced carving a place for themselves in the film industry. It reveals ow these women's unique voices shaped the films they made and influenced all the film world.

Of special note is an essential list of movies made by women, as well as multiple mini-essays written by a variety of diverse female film critics, about a woman or a movie made by women that they love.

Critique: Impressively comprehensive and exceptionally well organized and presented, "The Female Gaze: Essential Movies Made by Women" is basically an instructive guidebook for movie lovers who appreciate a feminist perspective on the women who made movies. While recommended as an essential and core addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library Film History collections in general, and Movie Directory Biographies supplemental studies lists in particular. It should be noted for film buffs, film students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Female Gaze: Essential Movies Made by Women" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).

Editorial Note: A film reporter, author, and dedicated movie buff, Alicia Malone is a host on Turner Classic Movies, FilmStruck, The FilmStruck Podcast, and a film correspondent for Fandango.

The Animated Peter Lorre
Matthew Hahn
BearManor Media
9781629334608, $40.00, HC, 414pp,

Synopsis: In the 1940s, no movie show was complete without a cartoon, and no cartoon was complete without an established character like Bugs Bunny or a caricature of a celebrity like Jimmy Durante. This tradition continues today in TV shows like The Simpsons (1989).

Peter Lorre is perhaps the most frequently animated movie star of all time. Actors love to play him, and animators love to draw him. He has been voiced by Mel Blanc, Paul Frees, Daws Butler, Maurice LaMarche, Rob Paulsen, and Frank Welker. Creators include Tex Avery, Friz Freleng, Robert McKimson, Robert Clampett, Michael Maltese, William Hanna, Joseph Barbera, Tim Burton, Steven Spielberg, and Tom Ruegger.

Compiled by Matthew Hahn, "The Animated Peter Lorre" is comprised of more than 700 instances of animated cartoons using Lorre's face or voice or both. Often cast as a mad scientist or a hunchbacked assistant, Lorre has also been seen as a pig, a duck, a fish, a mole, a fox, a toad, a chameleon, a maggot, a weevil, a ghost, an evil spirit, a monster, a robot, a cyborg, a lamp, and the cereal mascot Boo Berry.

His animated avatar has played opposite Mr. Magoo, Beany and Cecil, Bozo the Clown, Snagglepuss, Dick Tracy, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Scooby-Doo, Mighty Mouse, Milton the Monster, Secret Squirrel, The Beatles, Tiny Toons, Chip 'n Dale, Duckman, The Flintstones, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Count Duckula, Yu-Gi-Oh, Animaniacs, The Tick, Timon & Pumbaa, Duck Dodgers, Mega Man, Crash Bandicoot, and Harvey Birdman.

He has appeared movies that include Aladdin (1992), Corpse Bride (2005), The Brave Little Toaster (1987), Stingray (1964), Family Guy (1999), Robot Chicken (2005), Mighty Magiswords (2015), and The Ren & Stimpy Show (1991).

"The Animated Peter Lorre" includes all known instances of the animated Peter Lorre in theatrical cartoons, TV shows, commercials, video games, and more, including abandoned projects, coincidences, connections, and apocrypha.

Critique: Enhanced for Peter Lorre fans, as well as academia, "The Animated Peter Lorre" includes a six page Bibliography, four pages of Notes, and a fourteen page Index -- making it an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to community, college, and university library Popular Culture, Animation History, and Theatre/Cinema/TV collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of animation history students, classic movie enthusiasts, gamers, pop culture and history buffs, as well as the legions of Peter Lorre fans that "The Animated Peter Lorre" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781629334592, $30.00).

James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Diane C. Donovan, Editor
Midwest Book Review
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Oregon, WI 53575-1129
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