Saturday, August 30, 2014

Fables: The Mean Seasons

This volume starts out with two stories from Bigby's time serving in World War II, and a couple of the missions he helps a group of allied soldiers complete. The problem is, working so closely together, Bigby must use his magical abilities to save their lives. They know he is not a mundy, which goes against the Fabletown charter. Will the soldiers survive the war and the Fables? The story also continues with the year after the the Adversary attempts to invade Fabletown. Snow gives birth in this volume, with very exciting results.

Not everything in Fabletown is going well. Boy Blue has gone missing, and there is a mysterious killer murdering Fables. Great effort is made to learn who is committing these vile acts. Will they be able to track down the killer before all the Fables are gone? We also learn how successful Prince Charming, Beauty, and Beast are at running Fabletown. They discover running everything is not as simple as they thought it would be. Cinderella's role in Fabletown is revealed, and turns out to be more important and interesting than many Fables realize.

This is the fifth collected volume in the Fables series. It moves the individual and overall stories along in a decent way. There is a lot going on in this book, but it is very important to the series. Quite a few major plot points are revealed. This book is a reminder that not everything turns out perfectly in fairy tales. It highlights very well that life and choices can be painful even for princesses, kings, and magical creatures.

I highly recommend reading this book and the rest of the Fables series.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Sir Gawain And The Green Knight

It is Christmas in King Arthur's court. The whole court is celebrating the holiday when an unknown knight enters the hall. He is large, and dressed in bright green clothes. He presents a holiday challenge to all the knights in the court. He will allow anyone to give him one blow to the neck with an axe. In exchange, they must allow him to do the same to them in a year and a day. Sir Gawain rises to the challenge. He discovers there is more to this challenge than he originally thought. This is the story of his terrifying adventures as he fulfills this challenge.

Another great version of an Arthurian legend. I easily became immersed in the tale. Sir Gawain's adventures and tests of his chivalry and honor draw you in. I liked this version of the tale and Sir Gawain. It showed his human side, and his struggles to live up to the codes of a knight. Although the Green Knight issues strange, and perhaps sinister challenges, he is not as creepy as the cover. The cover looks like a horror story, and it is not.

The alliterative verse is wonderfully displayed here, and helps to engage you in the tale. One of my favorite features of this edition was that the poem was in Middle English on one side, and in the recently translated English on the other. I had great fun trying to read the Middle English. If you like, try reading it aloud. The rhythm of the poem adds a lot to the tale.

If you like Arthurian tales, I recommend reading this book. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Trapped Under The Sea

Boston used to be known for having one of the dirtiest harbors in America. In the 1990's, work began on a treatment plant that would help clean up the harbor. Poor decisions and disagreements on how to proceed endangered the project. A team of five commercial divers was sent down into the dark, airless, ten mile long tunnel under the sea in an effort to save the project. Not all of them came back alive. Swidey examines how these divers died, and what the decisions were that caused their deaths.

The book begins by introducing the project, and the deaths of some of the divers. It then goes back to explain in more detail who the divers were, how the project came about, and how the divers died. Using interviews from the divers, their family, and people in charge of the project Swidey is able to give first hand accounts about the project and what happened to the divers. He also uses documents to provide details and facts to relate just how dangerous this mission was. I liked how clear the author was about where the sources for the book came from.

Trapped Under The Sea is the chilling account of corporate greed. Corners are cut, and trust is placed with those that will save the company money. Anyone that voices concern over the dangers the workers are in, is silenced. It was surprising to me to learn all the different people that knew how dangerous this project was, yet they still allowed these men to go in the tunnel. This true story is a reminder that worker safety is still a huge issue that needs to be addressed.

While reading, it seemed almost incredible that this was a real story. It tragically is. The writing was easy to understand, and quite gripping. Because of the way the events are introduced, you know how it must end. Yet, I found myself hoping the divers would somehow find a way to survive. I think it only increased the tension of the events having an idea about what was going to happen. I had not heard about this tragedy before, but I was easily able to follow the events in the book.

I read this book as an ebook on my Nook. There were no issues with reading it that way or with the diagrams that were included in the book.

I recommend reading this book.

**I received a free copy of this book from Blogging For Books to review**

*Receiving a free copy of the book does not change my review. It simply provides me with a book earlier than I would have gotten to it or would not have heard about otherwise.

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Tales Of Beedle The Bard

The Tales Of Beedle The Bard is a collection of fairy tales from the world of Harry Potter. In the seventh book: Harry Potter And The Deathly Hollows, we learn how children of wizards grow up hearing these stories. This edition was newly translated by Hermoine Granger from the original edition Dumbledore bequeathed her in his will. There are also extensive notes after each story from Albus Dumbledore. These five tales from the wizard world will delight readers, and some will remind them of tales from the muggle world they grew up with.

This is a marvelous collection of tales! Anyone who enjoys fairy tales will like this book. The stories do not directly relate to the characters in the Harry Potter series, but it does give you a taste of that world. The commentary from Dumbledore does refer to some characters in the series, and gives us more background information. It is not necessary to read the commentary to understand the tales, but if you are a fan of Harry Potter, I strongly recommend doing so. Dumbledore's snarky comments are fun to read.

I greatly enjoyed reading this book. There are morals in all the tales as you would expect to find in classic fairy tales or fables. For short stories, there is a surprising amount of depth to them. The book is a delightful collection of tales, that can be read even if you have never read Harry Potter.

If you like fairy tales, I highly recommend reading this book.

This was the third book the Bookworms read together. I picked this book for us to read. It is fun for all ages, and works well for boys and girls. Here are the Bookworms' thoughts on the book, there are some spoilers:

Q&A With The Bookworms Book Club

How many stars out of 5 would you give this book?

Paige 4 1/2 stars
Alejandro 5 stars

What was your favorite story?

Alejandro I had two. The Three Brothers. I liked that one because it is about being wise and not showing off. My other favorite was Babbity Rabbity because it is funny. I liked how they tricked the king into thinking he could do magic, and he couldn't do the last trick. I think it would be fun to really do magic.
Paige I liked The Three Brothers the best. I liked how they did it in the movie. It was really cool to be able to see it.

What was your least favorite tale?

Both The Warlock's Hairy Heart.
Paige I didn't like it because he stabbed the girl in the breast. I thought he was a mean old crook. He thought he was unstoppable because he didn't have a heart. Love makes you powerful.
Alejandro I didn't like it because he killed himself and the girl. I don't like that.

Did you read Dumbledore's notes after each story?

Alejandro Yes. I thought they were funny to read.
Paige No, I didn't read the notes this time.

Thank you Alejandro and Paige for reading and reviewing this book with me. I look forward to our next book.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Renfield: A Tale Of Madness

This graphic novel focuses on the character Renfield From Dracula, while he is in the asylum. The events of Dracula are told from Renfield's perspective. Renfield thinks he has it all figured out. The more lives a person consumes, the more powerful they will become. He is thrown into the asylum when he tries to share this knowledge with people. As events progress, he has a special awareness of the vampire Dracula.

I had been looking forward to this book, as Dracula is one of my favorite books. Renfield is an intriguing character, I was looking forward to learning more about him. Although I appreciated that Reed tried to keep Renfield the same as in the original Stoker novel, it seemed to lack the power of the original story. There was nothing new added to this character. No deeper understanding of who the character of Renfield is, and what drove him to madness.

The writing was inconsistent. There were a lot of spelling and grammatical errors. It detracted from the story. Reed's writing style was not similar to the parts of Stoker's Dracula that were included in the story. I would have liked more compatibility between the two authors styles to make this book more compelling. As a fan of Dracula, I found this book disappointing.

I would recommend reading a different book.

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Golem And The Jinni

Chava is a golem made from clay and magic. A man has commissioned her from a rabbi that dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. Her master dies at sea while traveling with her to America. She must find a way to survive among humans in New York. Ahmad is a jinni that was trapped in a bottle by a Bedouin wizard. He is released from his bottle by a tinsmith in Manhattan, who had no idea a jinni would emerge from the flask. Ahmad must also try to fit into this human world. When Chava and Ahmad meet, they instantly know the other is not human. Each is shocked and immediately intrigued by the other. They are drawn to the non-human nature that they each possess.

I thought The Golem And The Jinni was absolutely captivating. The use of myths from different cultures to describe the difficulties of immigrating to a new country was fascinating. The writing pulled me in, and I could not put the book down. There were enough elements of folklore to keep the part of me that loves fairy tales and myths happy, but that is not all this book is. It touches on issues people face when moving to a new country, it delves into relationships, and discusses moral issues.

This was one of my favorite books this year. From the beautiful writing to the rich characters, I was completely drawn in. The story combines folklore with history, which is a favorite combination of mine. Wecker does an amazing job connecting the different elements of her story. It was refreshing to read such an original tale. I am looking forward to reading more books from this author.

I highly recommend reading this book.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Flash And Bones

At the Charlotte Motor Speedway fans are gathering for a big race. A body is found in a barrel of asphalt at the Speedway. A NASCAR crew member approaches Dr. Brennan, asking her to examine the body. His theory is that the body is that of an aspiring racer named Cindi or her boyfriend Cale. Both went missing about twelve years ago. As Dr. Brennan works, she discovers a possible coverup. As people connected to the case go missing she must figure out what is happening at the race track.

This is the fourteenth book in the Temperance Brennan series(The book series the television show Bones is based off of). Although I like this series, I did not care for this book. I thought there was way too much focus on NASCAR, even for a book that has a mystery involving it. All the information about racing distracted from the mystery. It made it so I could not engage with the story, and did not care about what happened to the characters.

Flash And Bones was not on the same level as other books in the series. There seemed to be less of the actual work Brennan does, and there was less focus on the mystery portion of the plot. It easily could have been a book in a different series if the character names were changed. With a long series that keeps the same main character, I want to feel like the main character is an integral part of the book. I did not feel that when reading this book.

It was not the best book in the series. It was predictable and dull. Not what I would expect from this series. Even if you are a fan, you could probably skip this book, and it would not make a difference. I would recommend reading a different book.

Monday, August 18, 2014

American Jezebel: The Uncommon Life Of Anne Hutchinson, The Woman Who Defied The Puritans

Anne Hutchinson was accused of heresy and sedition by forty male judges of the Massachusetts general court in 1638. She was banished from the colony for behaving in an uncomely way for one of her sex. Anne defended herself well, but it was not enough to convince them. She was a problem for the Puritans, as she advocated for women's rights, freedom to meet and discuss issues, and for religious freedom. She is an important early figure for these movements in America.

The book begins with her trial, and then returns to her early life to help the reader understand how Anne developed the ideas that would later get her into trouble. We learn details about her family and her marriage. The goal of the author(who is one of Anne Hutchinson's descendants) was to portray her not as a raging feminist, religious fanatic, or a woman making trouble. But to bring understanding to the different roles Anne had, and the complexity of this woman. LaPlante certainly provided more information about Anne. I did like learning more about her life, and what motivated her to stand up to the authorities.

I did think the information could have been presented in a clearer way. Some of the details and arguments were repeated. I usually like having access to the sources an author uses, but there were copious amounts of theological arguments, trial records, and personal correspondence that were not broken down into what was necessary for the understanding of the reader. It could make it difficult to follow at some points. I liked learning more about Anne Hutchinson and the time period. I would have liked the book more if it had been presented a little differently.

If you are really interested in Anne Hutchinson I would recommend trying this book. If you have not read anything else about her, I would try reading a different book.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Mara Jade: By The Emperor's Hand

Mara Jade is the beautiful, intelligent, and deadly assassin employed by Emperor Palpatine. She secretly goes by the Emperor's Hand. Her true role in the Empire is known only by a few people the Emperor has trusted with the information. Most people think she is a simple dancer kept for entertainment, never dreaming what her true role is. Mara Jade is able to complete her missions with skill that keeps her in the Emperor's favor. She rarely fails a mission, but when she does there are dire consequences in her life. When the Emperor dies, she decides to fulfill the last missions he has given her, no matter the cost to her personally.

Mara Jade is my favorite character in the Star Wars universe, so I was happy to find a graphic novel all about her. This volume gives us some of her back story before we meet her in The Thrawn trilogy. It also connects to The Thrawn trilogy by showing us the vision the Emperor sent Mara before he died and the order to kill Luke Skywalker.

I enjoyed learning more about Mara Jade. While she is able to use the force, she often relies on regular abilities that she has developed. The skill and cunning she uses in her missions and to protect others makes her an interesting character to read about. I also like that she is not a flat character. She has loyalty to the Emperor, yet she is not evil. She is determined to fulfill her missions even though she has little to gain from doing so. It was great to get another glimpse of this awesome character.

This was another great contribution to the Star Wars universe by Timothy Zahn. I always enjoy the books he writes in this world. There is always plenty of action that you would expect from a Star Wars story, but he also develops his characters in a very pleasing way. I never want to stop reading when I have one of his books. I was ecstatic that he gave us more of Mara's story.

If you like Star Wars you should read this book.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Orphan Train

Vivian Daly is a ninety-one year old woman living a quiet life in Maine. She agrees to let seventeen year old Molly Ayer do her community service hours cleaning out her attic. Molly is not thrilled about this assignment, but it keeps her out of juvenile detention. It also convinces her foster parents to let her stay with them, for now. While going through the many trunks and boxes in the attic, Vivian tells Molly about her past as a young Irish immigrant and being orphaned in New York City. She also talks about her experiences being part of one of the orphan trains out west. Molly is shocked to learn that Vivian has not had an easy life, and starts to discover parallels to her own life. Sharing their stories might help them both discover what they are looking for.

At first I was concerned with the character perspectives being so different, and from different time periods. I usually do not care for this, because I find it pulls me from the story. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the two view points worked really well together. I did find myself preferring Vivian's story about her past, but I did find both characters stories to be engaging.

I was pleased that this book got a lot of attention because it portrays an interesting part of American history. I was surprised to learn how many people had not heard of the orphan trains before. I like it when a book brings new attention to an historical event. It is a quick read, but is a gripping story that lets you feel the emotions of the story rather than telling you what to think and feel.

If you are a fan of historical fiction, I recommend this book.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Simple Thai Food

In Simple Thai Food, you will learn to make the Thai dishes you love to eat. The author: Leela Punyaratabandhu shares her favorite classic Thai recipes. Some are family recipes, and others are for dishes you will find in restaurants or at a street vendor. She has tested them to make certain they can be made at home. Any fan of Thai food will find something to make them happy in this cookbook.

I love Thai food, so I was thrilled to get a chance to cook some of these recipes. I was not disappointed. I have already made several dishes from this cookbook, and I am looking forward to many more delicious meals. The flavors were quite good. There are recipes at varying skill levels, and they differ in the amount of time and effort needed to cook the recipe. Do not be intimidated if there are a lot of steps or ingredients for some of the recipes. Once you get the hang of it, it goes smoothly, and it is worth it in the end!

Chicken, Water Morning Glory, and Satay Sauce on Rice

This was the first dish I tried, and I loved it! I made my own Satay Sauce from a recipe also found in this book. I replaced the Water Morning Glory with Broccoli Florets, as that was an option in the recipe. I replaced it only because it was easier for me to find the Broccoli. I would love to try it with the Water Morning Glory a different time. The flavor was wonderful, and the dish was a hit!

I also made Beef Green Curry with Thai Eggplants, but did not get a picture this time. The only change I made was using regular Eggplant instead of Thai Eggplants. Again, because of availability. It was really good, and the leftovers were even better the next day. I will make this one again.

One of my favorite features in this cookbook are the recipes for different sauces, curry pastes, and curry powders. I like being able to make my own sauce and spice mixes so I know exactly how much sugar or salt is in them, and what all the ingredients actually are. This made me very happy. I also liked that there are alternatives for some ingredients that might be harder to find. There is information about where to find ingredients both in markets and online.

My only issue with this cookbook was there are not very many pictures in it. There are a few, and the few that are there look great, and add to the appeal of the dishes. I think it would be very beneficial in a cookbook that is trying to make people aware of a more authentic version of a food to have pictures so readers will know how it should look.

I am looking forward to trying a lot of recipes in this book, but some of them at the top of my list are: Coconut-Galangal Chicken Soup, Pork in Spicy Dressing with Iced Broccoli Stems, Sweet Dry Curry of Pork and Long Beans, Mango and Sweet Coconut Sticky Rice, and Green Papaya Salad.

If you like Thai food, I recommend trying this cookbook.

**I received a free copy of this book to review from Blogging For Books**

*Receiving a free copy does not change my review. It simply provides me with a book I would not have heard about otherwise, or gotten to read as soon.

Monday, August 11, 2014

The History Of The Kings Of Britain

Monmouth traces the history of the British realm from the alleged founding by Brutus to the arrival of the Saxons about two thousand years later. Included in this history are legendary figures such as: Lear, Lud, Cymbeline, Merlin, and King Arthur. Monmouth writes what the kings were known for, the wars they were part of, and their lineage.

Monmouth's history is a interesting combination of myth and fact. While many of the details seem mythic, there is likely some truth to some of the claims made about the various kings he writes about. Some of the more interesting tales were how Brutus is suppose to be descended from Aeneas(Trojan hero descended from Aphrodite and Prince Anchises), connecting the Britons to the Greeks and to a goddess. There are giants and dragons that some of the kings encounter. There is a whole section about King Arthur. Monmouth's passion for the Arthur legend comes through as he relates his version of the Arthurian tale.

The book dragged in some spots, but it is worth continuing on to learn about some of these legendary figures. The mythical aspects of the story bothers some people, as it claims to be a history book, but I think if you read it with an open mind you will be able to appreciate Monmouth's account. Read it as you would a saga or a myth where the lines between history and myth are blurred, and you will enjoy the more fantastical elements that are included.

Fans of old legends and myths will find things to enjoy in this book. I recommend giving it a try.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Walking Dead: Miles Behind Us

Rick Grimes is trying to keep a group of survivors of the zombie apocalypse alive. They are trying to find a safe place, but nothing lasts for very long. After safety, the biggest concern is finding food for everyone. They must scavenge what they can from homes, stores, or in the wild. The group has left Atlanta after some great losses. They discover a small farm which has been kept running by Hershel Greene. Rick's group soon discovers that the Greene family has a secret which has the potential to harm everyone. Things heat up as differences in the groups cause them to clash.

This is the second volume in The Walking Dead graphic novels series. Through flashbacks, this volume fills in some of the gaps in the first volume Days Gone Bye. This was big to me because the first book moved so quickly I was left wondering about a lot of things. This one started to give vague answers to a few of my questions.

I was still left wanting more character development and better dialogue. I realize it is difficult to completely develop all the characters by the second volume(particularly when many die before too long), but I want more from this series. Many of the characters sound the same, and also look the same. I was hoping some distinct voices would begin to emerge as the story progressed. This also makes it hard to examine how they are reacting to these events when everything seems so rushed. There is little gradual development, and mostly extreme reactions so far. I hope to see some depth to future books, so I will continue with the series for now.

If you like zombie stories or The Walking Dead give it a try. Otherwise, you probably won't like it.

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Buccaneers

Nan and Jinny St George seem like they have it all. They are wealthy young women, and they are fortunate enough to be pretty too. The problem is: they are new money. They cannot secure the position, invitations, or marriage proposals they desire. Nan's new governess takes pity on them, and introduces them to some leading families in England. This opens doors for them that were firmly closed in America. When the girls meet some high ranking British aristocrats everything seems perfect for them. They discover romances with aristocrats are not the fairy tale they thought it would be.

Edith Wharton only wrote part of this book. She died before she could complete it. Marion Mainwaring finished the story. The problem with this is, it is often difficult to know if the author would have written the book the same way, unless there are extensive notes they wrote about their ideas. About two thirds of the book was suppose to be written by Wharton. Manwaring did make changes to some points to make it fit the rest of the story. The problem was there was a difference in writing styles, and you could tell while reading the book.

I liked the overall idea of the story. Rich American girls marrying for titles, and aristocrats marrying commoners for the money these girls would give them. It was an interesting setting to examine political and romantic issues. The presentation of the story left something to be desired, but that just might be because of the author's death and another person finishing it. Part way through the book there is an abrupt change in focus. The beginning focuses on Nan, her family, and friends. Towards the middle there is a shift to it mostly being about Nan. I wish it had stayed a little more balanced. While not my favorite period piece, I liked the issues it brings up. I wish Wharton had been able to finish the book.

If you are a fan of Edith Wharton or interested in period pieces, I would recommend trying this book.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


Mary Roach approaches another almost taboo topic in her book Gulp. Many people examine our food and where it comes from, but Roach explores how we eat it, and why we can eat it. Starting with smells and working her way down the alimentary canal we learn all about our insides. She approaches questions such as: why doesn't our stomach digest itself? When have we eaten too much, and what will happen? And, did constipation kill Elvis, and could it kill us?

I expected to enjoy this book, but I found it lacking. I appreciate Roach's attempts to bring humor to topics many feel uncomfortable with, but it seemed that there was too much effort in this book. I was hoping a better balance between scientific facts and shocking and funny stories for each topic. There was too much emphasis on the shock value of some stories, and not enough scientific information for my taste. With the greater emphasis on stories, the different topics in the book seemed unconnected.

I did not engage with this book, and was rather disappointed after enjoying her book Stiff: The Curious Lives Of Human Cadavers. In Stiff, humor was used to open readers up to what could be a difficult and taboo topic. Here, I felt it was all humor and that I learned little beyond a few odd facts. If you have not read Roach's books before, I would start with a different book. Read this only if you are a great fan, or have a great interest in the topic.

I would recommend reading one of her other books.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Twelve Years A Slave

Solomon Northup was a freeman that was born and raised in New York. In 1841 he was drugged and kidnapped. He was illegally sold into slavery down south far from his family and friends. He endures horrifying events as a slave. He is finally rescued when he manages to send a letter to friends in the north, who come help him escape life as a slave. This is his memoir of his twelve years as a slave.

I appreciated the great effort Solomon Northup makes to make it clear that he is writing his own experiences, and does not claim that his experience is the same as everyone else who lived as a slave. In fact, I found his memoir to be quite unique among slave narratives that I have read. I had never read a book or memoir about a man who was born free in the northern United States, who was kidnapped and sold into slavery, and managed to regain his freedom.

One of the many aspects that is different from other narratives is that he uses real names, which does not happen very often in slave narratives. Because of fugitive slave laws, many slaves that escaped and wrote about their experiences were afraid of being captured and returned to slavery if people were able to figure out who they were. They were also reluctant to endanger those that had helped them in any way. I would be interested in learning if there were any consequences to Solomon for using actual names.

I thought it was written in a very clear and concise way, Solomon makes clear the physical as well as the psychological horrors of being a slave. He is careful to point out when he is repeating information that is told to him, and he does not know for certain the truth of it. It was a moving and horrifying book to read. It was a very powerful account about one man's experiences as a slave in the United States.

I have not yet seen the movie that recently came out about this book, but I hope to see it soon. I am pleased that it brought new attention to this book, as it is an important book to read about slavery in the United States. I had not heard about it until recently, and am glad that it was brought to my attention.

I recommend reading this book.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Fables: March Of The Wooden Soldiers

Starting with one of the special focus stories: The Last Castle which tells of the last escapes from the homelands to the mundy world. After learning the fate of many noble fables, we return to current events where a shocking event is taking place. Little Red Riding Hood walks through a gate that was thought to be closed. No one has managed this in many years. Instant strife strikes the Fables community as some rejoice in Red Riding Hood making it through, while Bigby wonders just how she managed such a feat. Can Bigby prove his suspicions in time? All of this happens as Prince Charming is in the middle of his campaign to become the new mayor of Fabletown.

This is the fourth book in the Fables series. There are a lot of dramatic events in this one. We learn the fate of several major characters such as: Red Riding Hood, Robin Hood, Tam Lin, Boy Blue, and more. There are some suprising events with Snow, BigBy, and Red Rose that readers of the series will not want to miss. 

March Of The Wooden Soldiers is a very good edition to the series. I loved the back stories about what happened before many of the Fables made it to the Mundy world. I also like the personal conflicts that arise leading to great character development. This volume clearly illustrates why I love this series. It ties the previous volumes together while developing new plot points that you are eager to find out how it turns out. It is a very satisfying continuation of the Fables series.

I highly recommend reading this book.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Hans And Rudolph

Hans And Rudolph is the compelling story of two men during World War II. Hans Alexander is a German Jew who escapes Nazi Germany to England. He joins the British army and fights in the war. He becomes part of the team investigating war crimes. Hans tracks down Nazi war criminals including Rudolph Hoess, the Kommandant of Auschwitz. The book also examines how Rudolph becomes the Kommandant of Auschwitz, and how he developed a system for mass extermination of Jews.

I received a free copy from Simon & Schuster to participate in the Goodreads History Book Club discussion*. I was happy to receive a copy of the book and participate in the discussion on Goodreads, I had recently heard about this book and wanted to read it. This was a really good book to read as a group. I liked discussing different view points with people, and learning what they pulled out of the book. Also, the background information some people brought to the discussion was amazing!

The introduction of the book immediately pulled me in. Tomas Harding wanted to learn more about his Uncle Hans, who the family claimed brought in the Kommandant of Auschwitz: Rudolph Hoess. I found it a fascinating motivation for the writing this book. I was a little surprised to feel like it took a good part of the book for me to really get who Hans was. It seemed we learned a lot about Rudolph right away.

For me, this book was more about the questions that often get asked about history, and in this case, the Holocaust. What motivates people to certain actions? How much did people really know about what was happening? Where is the line that you will not cross? It was also a good reminder to be aware of yourself and how you are thinking about things and voting.

I think this was an important perspective to add to the histories and memoirs about the Holocaust. It was a different way of examining some of the events and the questions that arise from them. I had not read a book about anyone from the war crimes investigation team before, and I found that to be very interesting. It brought up a lot of things I would like to know more about, such as: how the teams were formed, how were the members of the teams chosen, how many people did they bring to justice, and many other questions. It was an interesting book, and does not take very long to read.

If you are interested in the Holocaust I would recommend reading this book.

*Winning a copy of this book does not change my review. It merely provides me with a copy to read sooner than I would have otherwise gotten to it, or makes me aware of a book I would not have heard about otherwise.