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The Seven Mountains of Thomas Merton by Michael Mott

A Minority of Members: Women in the U.S. Congress by Hope. Chamberlin

The Lonely Empress A Biography of Elizabeth of Austria by Joan Haslip

A history of the Czechs by A. H Hermann

Building the earth; by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot

Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

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Member: Schmerguls

CollectionsYour library (5,182)

Reviews5,173 reviews

Tagsbiography (797), 20th century fiction (574), american fiction (374), political history (309), autobiography (256), british fiction (253), war (248), american history (236), historical fiction (191), fiction (188) — see all tags

Cloudstag cloud, author cloud, tag mirror

Recommendations2 recommendations

GroupsAdventure Classics, Aerial Warfare, BBC Radio 3 Listeners, Best of British, Combiners!, E. F. Benson, History at 30,000 feet: The Big Picture, History Fans, History: On learning from and writing history, Iowans who LibraryThingshow all groups

Favorite authorsAmbrose Bierce, Jean-Denis Bredin, D. W. Brogan, Sheila Burnford, John Clive, Tricia Currans-Sheehan, George Dangerfield, Roger Martin du Gard, David Garnett, Alistair Horne, Richard Hough, Roy Jenkins, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., Robert Kee, Robert K. Massie, David McCullough, Willie Morris, John Thomas Noonan, Ludwig von Pastor, David M. Potter, Piers Paul Read, Ole Edvart Rølvaag, Steven Runciman, Thomas Savage, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Michael Shaara, E. B. Sledge, Barbara W. Tuchman, Sigrid Undset, Geoffrey C. Ward, C. V. Wedgwood, P. C. Wren (Shared favorites)

Membership LibraryThing Early Reviewers/Member Giveaway

LocationSioux City

Account typepublic, lifetime

URLs /profile/Schmerguls (profile)
/catalog/Schmerguls (library)

Member sinceJan 21, 2007

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Late in looking over my messages!

Thanks for your greeting of 04/29,

and the same to you whenever applicable.
I don't see where 1969 appears, but it would have been in the mid-90's sometime. I've never changed the default load dates so it much be a "glitch" of some sort. You must be very observant :).

Thanks for you replies of April 1.

Iʻm starting to think that the "No

Reviews" message in mid-page , as

I suspected means only that there

are no reviews BY ME, and the

seemingly contradictory top of

page is correct.
In my message of 03/29: 6:14 pm, I

should have given the titles of the

books I inquired about: They were:

"Oceanic Art". by Nicholas Thomas

and "On the Art of Writing" by

Arthur Quiller-Couch.
Hi, Schmerguls,

I have a technical question. Your profile
lists 5,000 reviews. So, I suppose you
would know about the technology of
accessing them (that is, of another
memberʻs accessing them.)

My wife (screen name: leialoha) reviewed
a Quiller-Couch title and a Nicholas Thomas
title. They show up in "edit book"
format of the bookʻs own page - -
provided one is in her membership.
Looking for them in my own membership
(rolandperkins) I got a "No Reviews"
message,although at the top of the page it says:
"4 Reviews" for the Quiller-Couch item (?!)
Was this the wrong place to look for the
reviews, and does "No Reviews" mean only
that rolandperkins was not a reviewer
of them?
schmerguls -- please pm your email to me. Thanks very much.

Ha! My copy of SJ Bate on Dr. Johnson came in the mail today. It'll take me six months at least to read Bates and Boswell both, but I'll muddle through somehow. Leafing through them, sampling a line or two here and there, both books look really good. I got to finish Tom Holland's Rubicon now. Then I'll get started on Dr. Johnson.

I don't know if you've read Tom Hiney on Raymond Chandler yet. So I've sent you this:

Mr. Hiney's 'Raymond Chandler' is thoroughly researched, highly readable, impeccably sourced. This is warts-and-all biography at its best -- truthful without malice, detailed but not tiresome, empathetic but not hagiographic.

Most of us are mature enough to understand that genius comes with a price, emotional instability being one of the most common. Good readers will come away from this experience knowing that Raymond Chandler was a real human being with faults like the rest of us, who was likable despite his flaws. I was left wishing that I could have met him. Lovers of film noir, fans of the hard-boiled dick and of Philip Marlowe novels in particular, will love this book as they love the novels and the films.

Buy this book with a quart of good bourbon and save them someplace safe. Comes a nice, cold, rainy day, put on your meanest fedora, unplug the phone and curl up in a chair with 'Raymond Chandler'. Then open the bourbon and start reading. Don't answer the door until the book and the bottle are finished.

If anybody asks what you did that day, tell 'em you went to therapy.
I ordered Boswell on Johnson. It arrived just ten minutes ago. I also ordered S.J. Bate and expect that one soon. Thanks for Bate.

I've been meaning to read Boswell for years and never got around to it. Reed Whittemore's little, two-volume set, Pure Lives and Whole Lives, is a history of the development of biographical styles. I read that one 25 years ago. Whittemore is the one who first provoked my interest in Boswell's Johnson. According to Whittemore, Boswell is the first modern, warts-and-all biographer.
If you liked Bates on Sam'l Johnson, you'll like Paul Fussel's Samuel Johnson and the Life of Writing. It made me wanna stand up and cheer. All I've read of Johnson is Fussel and Boswell's Tour of the Hebrides. I've also read Johnson's Trip to the Western Isles. I finally got Boswell's biography of Johnson in two volumes from the Folio Society. It's a used copy I ordered last week that hasn't showed up in my mailbox yet. Now I'll have to get Bates' biography as well.

There's no end to it, really, is there?
The two-volume Library of America set -- I think -- contains just about everything Chandler wrote. I read it all twice, 25 years ago. My problem is I don't remember reading a story called "Trouble Is My Business" but 25 years is a long time, so I'll have to pull the two LOA books down off the top shelf and see once again what's in them.

I DO remember that the early pulp stories were tasty. Of them, my favorite was a thing called "The King in Yellow," about the murder of an egomaniac night-club star, who was a blues trumpet player.

Like you I enjoyed Chandler's early attempts at tough-guy lingo and characterization. He was a genius, no denying it, and it showed from the minute he started to write. He was a little rough in the early days but he got better quick and never lost his touch. Not all the booze in the world could take that away from him.
schmerguls -- "Trouble Is My Business," Chandler.

How much Chandler have you got at home? I've got the two-volume Library of America collection. Please tell me: Does "Trouble Is My Business" have a story in it called "The King in Yellow"?

Let me know, willya?


Not to mention my spell check.
You are so correct. I appreciate the correction. Another instance of my memory failring me. :) I'll make the correction. Thanks.
You have an amazing reading/review record. I'm envious. :)
Pleased to know you found the review informative.
Thanks anyway and thanks for the reply.

I saw your comment to Eastlake, Schmerguls. That happens sometimes, as slickpdx has pointed out.It's happened to me too. Eventually it gets corrected or unglitched.
I liked Power of the Dog. My spouse read it too and she liked it as well even though our tastes almost couldn't be more different. A really good book, that one.
I suffer from the eastlake effect as well as from at least one other by the name of lottpoet - who is ranked 4th despite sharing only 22 fairly common to very common books. Do you know what this is about? Did eastlake reply? Please excuse my curiousity. I read a stale bug collectors thread about the issue and it wasn't very enlightening.
Howdy. I've just read the reviews here for Therese Desqueyroux & am confused. The book you've reviewed sounds like a sequel (Marie, the daughter, is now an adult e.g.)--do you remember if it was one? Wiki mentions that Therese later appeared as a character in other Mauriac books, but that doesn't mean they were sequels . . . Cheers.
I enjoy reading your reviews. You are quite industrious and they go back a long way. I don't have a list of "Greatest History Books". It would make an interesting project. I am sure I could come up with a list of my top 20. Give me your email or I will just post it as a comment.
Bill Rucker
Yes, I was attempting to cut and paste over 100 reviews in one afternoon. I'm new to this site, but love it so far. Gosh, am amazed that someone read this. I'll get it straightened out.

"If anybody would like to see my "Book of the Year" for evey year since 1944 I can very simply furnish such a list to you."

I am interested in receiving a copy of the list.
Hi, thank you for answering my question about "A Chain of Thunder." Oddly enough the book came yesterday and I found your reply today. Again, thank you for your courtesy. Thom

Schmerguls--- Thanks for posting your review of Eugen Weber's "Action Francaise", which has prompted me to add that work to my "WishList". I'm currently reading Weber's "My France: Politics, Culture, Myth", and enjoying it. All The Best, ---"j.a.lesen"
I see you received "A Chain of Thunder" by Shaara,which you didn't request. I did request it, won it and never received it, With the book did you get any contact info for the publisher which I could use to let them know I am still waiting? Thom
Thanks for your interesting reviews.

May I please offer something?

$4 ebooks.

Knowledge is power!
Come see ebooks that teach useful things other people wish they knew how to do.
Like how to purposely forget something. Or how to detect a lie. How to make friends.
And so on!

You can download them to your own computer.

There are more ebooks to come, so please subscribe!

Hello Schmerguls,
I've had your library in Nº1 position from the start but I have also to some extent been following your reviews in my purchases/ reading, for exmaple:
The Romanovs,
Memoirs - Monnet
The Development of Modern France
Wolves in the City
The Bishops Boys
Waters of Kronos
Some Tame Gazelle
Good Bye Mr Chips
Hotel du Lac
I found/ bought/ read all of these from your pages and would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for your contribution.
My best books are the ones I give 5 stars to and there are quite a lot of them as the quality of many recent books is really very high. I'm buying more of them than I will probably ever read.
I combine my reading with my business (I arrived in Spain 25 years ago), family, other commitments etc.etc. but to enjoy what remains of time off, the Mediterranean coast is the best in the world IMHO.
Thank you again for your contribution.
My top 10 list
The Hobbit
Jane Eyre
Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Secret Garden
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold
Sophie's Choice
Northhangar Abbey
The Riddle of the Sands
The Prisoner of Zenda
Bimbos of the Death Sun
The list is a little embarassing because I know you hated some of these books but you did ask. I literally think your library is interesting and enjoyed browsing through it. I'm afraid when it comes down to actually reading books, I don't do well with non-fiction. I like books about nice people having adventures in exotic places and times. I want my historical facts sprinkled into a lot of fluff. I love that you have rated and reviewed so many books. I'm reviewing books as I read them now. I didn't keep records before joining LT but I have tried to record all the books that I remember reading.
I wondered if anyone else is getting
a ,message about "security" -- to the

effect: "Do you want to receive only

the pages that are certified as secure?"

Answering no only causes the message to

be repeated. Answering yes gets me out

of LT and out of Google, through which

I entered -- with the message that they

aren't able to access the requested page.

Who "They" are I don't know. It sounds

like the message doesn't originate in L T,

but I wanted to check to see if this is

happening anywhere else in LT.

Thanks for your kind note. Seems as if every time I read a book from my library, I find that you've been there before me! I don't always agree with your opinions about the many, many books you've read, but I invariably read your capsule reviews and ponder your take on the subject. I'm afraid I'm not much of a list-maker and I can't think even one book that everyone should read. But books I've read recently that I highly recommend include Michael Kazin's American Dreamers: How the Left Changed a Nation, a good survey of a neglected subject, and Daniel Rodgers' Age of Fracture, an insightful examination of the ideas and ideologies that have shaped American politics and economic policy since the 1970s. Most recently, I've been reading works on Asia in the years immediately following WWII: Christopher Bayly & Tim Harper, Forgotten Wars: Freedom and Revolution in Southeast Asia; Ronald Spector, In the Ruins of Empire: The Japanese Surrender and the Battle for Postwar Asia; and John Dower, Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II. The Dower book is especially good and quite a contrast with past histories of the American Occupation of Japan. But then you've probably already read and reviewed it...
Hi! No, unfortunately I haven't read it: that book is just part of my psychotically impossible Wishlist. (When I first arrived at LT it was just a list of books I honestly meant to track down and read, now it's a list of everything I stumble across!) I do know the shock of discovering that someone other than you is aware of a forgotten book - I'm very used to being the only person to have many of my books listed.

Now that you've raised my awareness of The Heiress of Edgremont, I may see if I can find a copy - thanks!


I just read THE LITIGATORS and found it very funny. I don't think that was the intent, but thought it would make a funny movie. But you would be more aware of the probability of anything like that really happening. Anyway, keep writing!
Hi Schmerguls. I don't know if you remember me from Book Nook, but I see you posted a review on Grisham's The Associate. Anyway, good to see you here. I always enjoyed to read your comments about books. I am finishing writing a novel about the invisibility of women in the Catholic Church (fiction, of course:).
Your reviews are fun and personal, and I enjoyed reading. Thanks.
Thanks for the grammar tip, review amended.
Your review of Maria Chapdelaine is very touching. It was one of the first books I read in a belated effort to see Canada from a literary perspective. Snow looms large, but you would also know about that in Sioux City, I suspect.
If there is, I don't know about it. Ask a LT employee via email or post in Talk about LibraryThing.
Go to your library. In the tool bar there is an up/down arrow. Sort by total members.
Hi Schmerguls, I know about the decline in wanting to do anything German: I worked in the library of the Pilgermission St. Chrischona, and they sent around 200 pastors to the USA - until WW I. So some of the synods then founded were German speaking and founded by or with the assistance of 'Chrischona Brethren'. But the connection faded after the 'Great War' and today several Americans come here to see where their ancestors studied - but they don't any German anymore.

I live in Riehen near Basel, but grew up in the cantons of Solothurn and Aargau. My hometown is in the Emmental (did you ever read anything by Jeremias Gotthelf (Die schwarze Spinne, Ueli der Knecht, ...)? That's the part where my ancestors came from.
Oh, by the way, I live in Switzerland. No relatives in Germany.
Hi Schmerguls

Thanks for your welcome in the 'play group'. You have some interesting book titles in your library and we share some interesting ones.

Yes, I do read English books as well. But I haven't read every book in my library; I collect and receive tons of books and most of them I pass on to libraries (like the Frauenbibliothek Riehen who get every book I receive written by a woman). My wife is not so much into books, there she always likes to see me bringing books out of the house ...

Where is Sioux City? And do you read German?
thanks, Schmerguls. me too libraries and, since i can pretty much only do audio now, i also use NLS, a free service, and

i just finished [With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa] and am contemplating reading [D-Day] and [Citizen soldiers] over the next year or so. or possibly [Band of Brothers], although i confess to getting miffed at the 101st's attitude toward the men of Patton's 3rd who helped them out in Bastogne and to do so, also went through one hell of a winter in the Ardennes w/out supplies or proper clothes. my Dad was among them as a 1Lt. medic. i suppose it was one of those pride things on both/all sides.


oh astounding one, how do you keep track of when you played a given book? do you do it via LT or . . . ? i daresay, if i had a library of over 4000 books catalogued, i could afford to be more scrupulous in my choices but i should never be as organized as your good self.

wishing you a peaceful new year full of bookish delights.

i don't suppose you have a photograph of your library in vivo as 'twere?
Hi, Schmerguls --

I just went completely through "Goodbye, Darkness." Now I have to tell you I was wrong about Manchester and Sledge. I didn't find any duplication of Sledge in Manchester. None.

I don't know what went wrong in my head. Maybe I read an excerpt from Sledge somewhere years ago and forgot having read it in the interim. What I know for certain is that those two incidents I read of in Sledge were incidents I had read of SOMEWHERE before. I thought they were in Manchester. Now I know they're not, I'm left to wonder where I read of them -- because I KNOW I read of them before.

Or maybe it's Alzheimer's -- or a brain fart. 8-)

I will scan through Darkness and find the comments I've referred to and quote them in a message with page number cites -- not because I'm angry (I'm not) but just to prove my assertion and my memory.

My favorite war memoir -- beyond question -- is Julius Caesar's De Bello Gallico.

My 2nd-place award goes to W.T. (Uncle Billy) Sherman.

My 3rd-place award goes to Saburo Sakai, the Japanese fighter ace, for his "Samurai."

My 1st-place award for best of all war novels goes to Leonard Nason for "Chevrons."
Schmerguls -- Read your review of William Manchester's "Goodbye Darkness." Notice you mention that the quality of the writing gave you cause to ponder how accurate Manchester's account actually is. Hence this note.

I read Manchester 10 or 15 years ago. I just finished reading E.B. Sledge, "With the Old Breed." While reading Sledge's account of the scrap on Peleliu I encountered his story about a fellow Marine pitching pebbles into the hollow skull of a dead Japanese machinegunner. As you may or may not remember, Manchester recounts the same incident in his chapter on Peleliu. Neither Sledge nor Manchester mentions the presence of the other man.

Again: In Manchester's treatment of Okinawa, I recall he tells of being ordered to dig a hole on a ridge in which he and his buddy will spend the night. He says he dug into a nice, ripe, Japanese corpse and -- when he objected, he was repeatedly ordered to keep digging any way. The NCO in charge would not let him move his hole. Finally an officer intervened and he was allowed to move a few feet to one side. Again: Sledge tells the same story in his account of the Okinawa fight. Again: neither Sledge nor Manchester mentions the presence of the other man.

I don't need anyone to tell me that something is wrong there. I just wonder what you think that something may be? I don't know how to tell which man is fibbing about what, but I do feel that two such incidents are enough to call both accounts into question. Who is lying? Why do you think so?

Let me know, please.

Deke Solomon
Yes, It autofilled that way. I thought I had fixed it.
I have just read White's Breach of Faith and I really like your review.
Thanks for the clarification on Nicholas II's ancestry.

I may have gotten the idea that he was a grandson of

Victoria from a review of (or even just a blurb on)

[Miranda Carter]'s book. No doubt thre was some

unwanted effort to "keep it simple" by just

that the 3 monarchs were 3 grandsons of

Victoria. I did learn from Carter that Edward VIII

was an uncle, not a first cousin of

Kaiser wilhelm. She reports a weird episode

in which the nephew (Wilhelm) writes a scolding

letter to the uncle (Edward VII) who was at

that time involved in a gambling-related scandal.

The break between Wilhelm and Edward is shown

as part of a turn away from what Carter (perhaps

exaggeratedly calls a previous "Anglophile" attitude

on Wilhelm's part.

Thank you for the post.....I was not aware that the game was still going. For a while I participated in many of the games and then got involved in the political discussions...should have stuck with the games, far more fun and accomplishes just as much ;>)

Appreciate you letting me know and will make a point of popping in now and again...three years is a long time running.

Will also read through your reviews of Thomas Savage novels. He is one of my favorites. Noticed that we share quite a few books, however, I am certainly not the reviewer that you are. My reviews are done for the Early Reader group and that is about it. Not so good at converting thoughts to paper I guess.

Look forward to poking around in your library for a while ! Again, it was nice of you to send the heads up !
I will try and get something together over the next couple days.
I did my History Degree in the early 90's and I really haven't kept up the reading! I would like to revisit Runciman at some stage and maybe move beyond but a lot of TV comments on the Crusades just make me scream at the TV they just don't seem to understand how things could possibly have happened and have a very one-sided view of things.
"What leads you to think (Thomas Szasz) is dead?"

My source would probably have been an issue of Time, Newsweek

or the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, cursorily scanned.

Whatever gave me the idea I didnʻt r ead the

whle obituary -- if thatʻs what it

was; it may have been some short squib

about the living Szasz which I didnʻt

read through.

I do get these things wrong sometimes --

that is, happen to see a real obituary of

someone I thought had long ago died.

So youʻre probably right.
I became intrigued by your listings on the title listing game, and finally decided to take a look at your library. Though I've always been a reader, I never documented what I was reading and only began my list when I joined LT last October. Having said that, you will understand why I am impressed by the size and thoroughness of your records.
I spent some time looking through your library pages and reading reviews you have written on books we share. Like you, I read a variety of genres, but especially enjoy history and biographies/memoirs. I will definitely look to your lists for reading ideas. . . the "books you should borrow" feature lists 194 books from your library - a good place to start!

Thanks for your response to my connection initiation. I look forward to seeing your listings and comments.
I started my own list of what I had read and what I wanted to read when I was in college getting my English degree at Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI. I remembered many books from when I was in grade school and added those to my list as well. I don't know how many books I have read overtime because I don't number them or keep them in any order, just scrawl in the next book, even books I know that I've already read and keep going. My TBR list is massive and has to be numbered and separated by the first letter of the title so that I can find them and remove them. My physical library has to be divided into genres, alphabetized within the genre by the author's last name, and then the genres have to be alphabetized. I have separate bookshelves for separate subjects.

Started reading [The Black Stallion] to my son and he's loving it. I have a bit of a hard time finding books for him because I liked books that had perhaps less action and more interior thought/character development. We're doing okay, however. He's loving "the Black" as he calls it and the foreign land tales.
We are currently reading Tales from Foreign Lands vol. 1 and 2 by Rev. Joseph Spillman to my son. Can you recommend anymore along those same lines? Additionally my husband would like to read some Evelyn Waugh. What would you recommend he start with?
Hi, turns out we were reading The Talented Mr. Ripley at about the same time, and with similar thoughts. I'm glad to see you've reviewed the sequel, which removes the temptation to read it.
HI - recently two books in a row that I added I found you had reviewed them. I looked at your page and found that we have 60 books in common, which is relatively high. And 4,051 reviews - wow.
Thnaks for the correction on Pete Seegerʻs age.

I was figuring it from his 90th birthday, which for

some reason I put in 2003, when it acutally must

have been in 2009. By the time I heard of

him, he was middle-aged, but the 1919 birth

date makes sense when I stop and think of it,

because I remember hearing that he had been a

Harvard student in the late 1930s, and the

1919 birth date would make him of college

age in the late ʻ30s. His sister Peggy Seeger

(who has a much better voice, but not a better

repertoire), is much younger --about my age,

and I think was in my class at Harvard

1952, but I didnʻt know her. Only met

her once years later.
Your answer of "Nothing" (by Henry Green) in the

"Cool Titles" thread is the best answer to "what are

you reading" since Hamletʻs "Words, Words, words!".

On Bernard Fay, whom you mentioned in another

thread, I remember his History of World war I

being in the university library I worked in. It became

an item on a very long term TBR List. And in my case,

that list exists only in my head not on paper.

Thanks for your comment on my stupid error of saying Sho-gun was set in China...
Oh yes - your reviews are very useful. I try to make notes on each book I've read, too. Otherwise I completely forget what it was about and/or if I liked it! :-p

Keep on reading & reviewing.

Cheers, CMWilson
Hello there Schmerguls,

I added you as an "interesting library" because I saw on Zeitgeist ( that you are one of the top reviewers on LT. Thanks for taking the time to review books - it is very helpful! I read your reviews of books I've read, and you seem to have similar responses to those books as I did (eg They came like Swallows, The Kite Runner, Dog on It). So I wanted to watch what you are reading, and perhaps find some new books to read myself. I like the eclectic nature of your library, too. :-p

Lately I have been reading post-apocalyptic novels, perhaps because I've been going through some hard times. They make me think of the positive in my life! I see you've read some real end-of-the-world classics, such as On the Beach, Alas Babylon. The book that has stuck with me the most of all the end-of-the-world books I've read was "Z for Zachariah" by Robert C. O'Brien. I would recommend that as a thought-provoking read.

Best, CMWilson101
I'm in Dallas, TX
i'm fascinated that you read and reviewed Mein Kampf at 16 and totally astonished that you know when you read it and still have the review. extraordinary! delightful for me. i always want to know more about how, when, why, where people read books than i get from that game. your posts and Roland's are often so gratifying.

and thank you for supplying the word on which you've played in the 'other' silly book game. i have a lot of difficulty with visual scanning so it's often challenging for me to determine on what word someone played. you're a gem!

Thanks for your input. I suppose it's not nearly as bad to have it said of you that you aren't quite as good as another, so long as you are still considered to have written an impressive book or two.

I just finished New York by Edward Rutherfurd and now need to find a shorter one while waiting to receive my next ER selection.

I was glad to read that you liked The Killer Angels so much, as I recently acquired the trilogy written by the Shaaras but haven't yet read it. I won The Final Storm by Jeff Shaara from the March ER batch. I'll have to read it as soon as it comes in since it requires a review.

I heard that Jeff wasn't quite as good as Michael. What do you think?

I just realized that I can't die anytime soon because I have too many books yet to read.


"Arthur M. Winfield" was a personal pen name used by Edward Stratemeyer. That is, works published under this name and "Captain Ralph Bonehill" were the personal writings of Stratemeyer. Other names were often used for his work and/or that of his Stratemeyer Syndicate.

The Winfield name was principally used on the Rover Boys series (30 v, 1899-1926) and the Putnam Hall series (6 v, 1905-1911) plus some magazine stories and these single titles:

The Schooldays of Fred Harley (1897)
The Missing Tin Box (1897)
Poor but Plucky (1897)
By Pluck, Not Luck (1897)
A Young Inventor's Pluck (1901)
Larry Barlow's Ambition (1902)
Mark Dale's Stage Venture (1902)
The Young Bank Clerk (1902)
The Young Bridge Tender (1902)
Bob the Photographer (1902)

Notice that your title is not included in this list of Winfield books. It is also not the name of any story or Stratemeyer book I know of and I make a specialty of him since I collect his works, those of his Syndicate, and I'm writing his biography.

One thought occurs to me. Perhaps you saw some booklet that was effectively a catalog with a chapter from several series, the first of which might have been a Rover Boys or Putnam Hall and hence the name association? Sometimes these catalogs had titles like Best Books for Boys and Girls and a catalog of this type with 32 or 64 pages might seem, to your memory, to be a collection of short stories with the author of the first story being associated with the entire work. This is not entirely wrong since he was the owner of all of the Stratemeyer Syndicate stories and these catalogs were usually limited to just his Syndicate's offerings.

James Keeline
Now I see "The Making of the Atomic Bomb" in your list. I'm happy we agree s to its merits. As a substitute I will offer "Personal Memoirs" by Ulysses S. Grant. Grant's memoir of the Civil War is superbly written.
I am please to make your acquaintance. Five favorites, focusing on books which I did not see in your library:

1. The Making of the Atomic Bomb- Richard Rhodes. An excellent history of the Manhattan Project. Rhodes won the Pulitzer Prize for it.

2. The Last Lion, Volume 1- William Manchester. The first volume of Manchester's biography of Churchill. Understand his formative years and you will understand what drove him as Prime Minister.
3. The Whole Shebang- Timothy Ferris. A little dated, but the best single volume physics, cosmology and astronomy survey for the general reader I have ever run across.
4. Our Kind- Marvin Harris. A wonderfully written one volume anthropology survey.
5. War and Peace- Leo Tolstoy. As big and ambitious as 19th Century novels come. When you finally finish, you'll be sad to part company with his characters.

I believe that my other five star ratings are available to you by clicking the "Ratings" column in my library (on the far right side in my viewing set up).

Would you look at your copy of Stories for Boys and Girls by Arthur Winfield ( and tell me more about it? I am unaware of any "Arthur M. Winfield" (Edward Stratemeyer) book with this title or content (short story collection) so I wonder if it is a case where this should be split off from the main Stratemeyer list.

James Keeline
Hi!! My hometown is Sioux City and after living in other parts of the country during my life, I am now residing in Sioux City again. It's home to me..
I am most interested in your Normandy evaluation of Patton. He was not in charge of the decisive US break through in August 1944 at St.Lo He did however exploit the hole and then swanned almost unopposed to arrive eventually in the Fallaise Gap area where he met the brilliant German rear guard defences. By my reckoning he did nothing spectacular .The same situation highlighted the inexperience of the Canadians and the Polish. I do however, think Patton's finest moments were in relieving the Americans holding the Germans at the Bulge. Also after the war he became most friendly with the NAZI forces. Appreciate your interest in Normandy.Ron
Thanks for the explanation of your numbering system- I admire your discipline and appreciate the nicety of knowing what you read when, but at this point, I could not possibly recover earlier info. It is nice not to be wondering. See you on the silly game fora.

I won't confuse Sioux City and Sioux Falls again.

My wife and I speak English, French, Spanish, Afrikaans and Quechua between us.

Enough about me. Tell me about yourself.

Dear Schmerguls,

I must say I am impressed with the prodigious amount of reading you do! Is it too impertinent (or personal) to ask what you do for a living? Whatever, keep reading and keep reviewing!


Post script: before hitting "submit" I rapidly scrolled through your comments and saw that you are transferring the list of books you have read beginning in 1962. I'll go ahead and post this as a tribute to you, but you needn't worry about a reply!
Hi! No, unfortunately I haven't read any of Harriet Lewis's novels yet; a lot of my books here are novels I would like to read "some day". Your recommendation interests me, though, and I may see if any of Mrs Lewis's books are available to me. I have also put more of her works on my wishlist. (Just what it needed - more books!)

Thanks for dropping by,
Hi Schmerguls,

Thanks for your note on my Hans Kung review. I've edited it to clarify the language.
Hello! Thank you for your comment, which I just read today. "The Tichborne Claimant" is indeed a very impressive book. My reading of it was interrupted when I came to Korea -- I'm about halfway through -- because I could not carry all the books I was reading on the plane. So along with the bulk of my library, it's in storage in the U.S. at the moment, but I plan to have all my belongings shipped here in mid-2011, when I should have a new job as a visiting professor at a Korean university. My contract at the private academy where I'm teaching currently, runs through the end of May 2011.

When my library finally arrives, I'll resume a number of books I had in progress when I moved here at the end of May 2010, including "The Tichborne Claimant." Fortunately I have a good memory!

I do read French and Spanish passably at newspaper level, and keep meaning to put the time in to improve to literary level in both languages. It is a project for my senior scholar years! I want to brush up my meager German, too, and to revive my interest in Russian and Latin, which I studied in school. I would love to develop a reading ability in Portuguese, Italian, and Dutch as well. Since coming to Korea, I have learned the "hangul" alphabet, but that is it so far. I think that learning to read Korean well would be quite challenging.

My interest in languages is mainly a reading interest, but of course when I retire to Latin America, my shaky spoken Spanish should improve quite a bit.

Do not be afraid of reading "The Canterbury Tales" in Middle English! It is not as difficult as you might think. The huge Penguin edition contains vocabulary footnotes on each page, an exhaustive introduction and endnotes, and a complete glossary in back. It offers everything you need to navigate this great work successfully, and Chaucer in Middle English has a flavor all its own that you should not miss.

You must be the only person I have come across who has read a Charles Reade novel. I read your review of "It Is Never Too Late to Mend" with great interest. I agree that the prison scenes are not fun to read, but partly for that reason, I found them passionate and powerful. It is an oddly assorted book.
Schmerguls, My top 10 list started as part of a list of 25, which grew to 34 the last time I updated it, which was two years ago. Some books further down the list that are not household names: The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles, The Death of Virgil by Hermann Broch, The Conservationist by Nadine Gordimer, and The Makioka Sisters by Junichiro Tanizaki. If I did another update I would probably add The Sea by John Banville.

Yukio Mishima was a fascinating and controversial character whose works touch on disparate themes. His first novel, Confessions of a Mask, was autobiographical about growing up as a homosexual in wartime Japan. In The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea he depicts the sense of shame, resentment and isolation of the post-war generation of Japanese. The Temple of the Golden Pavilion is about a man's confrontation with perfect beauty. Perhaps his most famous work is The Sea of Fertility, a quartet of novels on mystical and nationalistic themes. Having failed in his attempt at a political coup, he committed suicide when he completed the final volume. Any of these works would be a good place to start, depending on your particular interests. Even though I don't care for his politics, I enjoy his writing style.

My LT list of "favorite authors," by the way, isn't a systematic list--just ones it occurred to me to flag as I came to them. Likewise with whatever books are in my "favorites" collection.

My interest in military history quickly became focused on the American Civil War to the point where I was writing articles and giving lectures myself. I'm not that well-read on military history in general. I could probably list a dozen or so favorite Civil War books if you are interested, but it wouldn't include anything published in the last dozen years. I abandoned the field for two reasons. It was becoming a pursuit of military minutiae of no real value, and it was pulling me into a circle of enthusiasts whose views on politics and race were not those with which I wish to be associated.

About six months ago, when my niece decided to major in literature, I made a couple of lists for her that might interest you, but they are much too long to post here. If you send my your e-mail address in a private message, I'll be happy to send them to you. I'll do likewise to take you up on your offer of the list of yearly favorites.
To respond in more detail to your earlier questions:

I discovered the Modern Library list in 1999. I had gone through several reading phases of about a decade each, most recently military history, and was ready for a change. I thought of myself as well-read, but when I saw that I had read only 16 books on the list, I made it a challenge to read the rest. This took about 5 years, during which I also found and read from other lists of recommendations.

I drew up a list of favorites a few years ago. Here are the top 10 from that list. I am sure there would be changes if I did it now. They are very conventional choices, so I'm sure I don't need to include the authors' names: 1. War and Peace, 2. The Sound and the Fury, 3. Sons and Lovers, 4. Anna Karenina, 5. Lolita, 6. The Master and Margarita, 7. The Magic Mountain, 8. Crime and Punishment, 9. Tom Jones, 10. Vanity Fair.
I will send a full reply to you later because I am on the road right now, but, yes, I have read the Modern Library 100. It was what started my current interest in literature.
The only book of hers I have read is Sexing The Cherry, which I found delightful. Plus, it is short.
Hi. There is a new book out on Washington. The book is called Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow. I bought it last week. It has received great reviews.

What do you do?
Hi Schmerguls. What I find interesting in your library are your books on American History and your biography's. I am a Computer Analyst and live in Phoenix Arizona. I love this site. It is nice being able to talk to people who love to read as much as I do.
Hi Schmerguls:

Thanks for the note on [St. Ives] being
Stevenson>Quiler-Couch. Interesting,.In fact, I
didn't know that [St. Iv es] was originally unfinished.
I suppose this was not a case of
completing a very recent novel; it must
have been taken on long after Stevenson's death.

The mystery novel I was mentioning, on the
other hand, carried a publisher's blurb
that said "Few will be able to tell where
___ (the original author) leaves off and
"Q" begins. So it was probably some-
one of the 30s or 20s at the earliest.

But thanks.
Thanks for your comments. I, also, found your list of books very similar to mine. I have read the majority of the books listed, but my collection also includes quite a few I am collecting for a legacy to my two sons. They are both book collectors and some day I hope they will cherish my library and enjoy many of the books I have read over the years.
Hi, D - my latest, BOOKLOVER, is now out - on Amazon too. Hope you'll consider it. Best, Tim
I also found A Bright Shining Lie superior to the Arnheiter Affair. His A Fiery Peace in a Cold War is on par or nearly so with A Bright Shining Lie.
Hi, I'm getting a package ready for Margo Chesebro and have a few books I can include for her to pass along to you, if you're interested, otherwise no worries. The first two are quick reads.

*The Arnheiter Affair by Neil Sheehan. About the USN's removal of Marcus Arnheiter from command of the USS Vance in 1966. A real life Queeg. The usual highly competent writing from Sheehan. Apparently the book was pulled from circulation, I found at in an antique store.

*Tour of Duty by John Dos Passos. Collection of his WWII correspondence from Life magazine. Some interesting articles on the logistics in the Pacific. I'll read anything by Dos Passos (just started on his Three Soldiers.) Found this at the annual U of IL library sale for a buck.

*Why Survive? Being Old in America by Robert Neil Butler. Pulitzer Prize General Non-fiction winner 1976. Can't say this is really all that well written, has a tendency towards digression, but is highly informative. Might hold interest for someone that was more aware of the issues and politics at the time it was released.

Hello, I'm from Poland. Just started cataloguing the books I've read. I think it'll take me a while to get the thing done.
I thought that Moore's book was very good, as well. I would suggest the following books. They give broad perspectives of the war from different points of view.

1. Toczek, David M.
The Battle of Ap Bac, Vietnam: They Did Everything but Learn from It.

This is an account of a battle that took place, in 1963(?) before the US became 'officially' involved in the war in 1965. The events in the battle are the events of the war in microcosm.

2. Sheehan, Neil
A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam.

Vann was an advisor to the ARVN in the early days of the war (and at Ap Bac). He later left the military and retruned to Vietnam with a civilian program, CORDS, I believe. The war is told through Vann's life. He is someone the higher ups should have listened to.

3. Laurence, John
The Cat from Hue: A Vietnam War Story

Laurence was a reporter for CBS. I like the viewpoint from which Laurence saw the war. As a journalist he was supposed to stay neutral, but during some close calls he found himself involved in the peripherals of combat. If you go to CSPANs Booknotes you can watch in interview of Laurence by Brian Lamb.

If you are interested in the histories of specific events, I would recommend any of the books by Keith Nolan. For example, The Battle for Hue is about the fighting in Hue during the TET Offensive in 1968.

I will certainly read Unfinished Desires and let you know what I think. First up is Every Last One by Anna Quindlan. I got it as an Early Reviewers pick so feel obligated to read that first. It is so far a quick read.
Hello again...its "R" from Goodreads! I am thinking of reading Unfinished Desires from my h u g e pile of TBRs. I saw your review!
My mom and her sisters went to a Catholic boarding school in Maryland about 1930 or so when their mother died in child birth so I was drawn to buy this book. Mom has been gone 2 1/2 years so I shall see if some of the adventures in it reminds me of her tales. For some reason I am surprised we share 85 books in common! I only average about 40 books a year. Small change compared to many of my message board friends!
Good review of the Robespierre book. I picked up Paris in the Terror at a thirft store and read it in January, and found Robespierre among my daughter's things. I really think the editor has done a good job. After getting a handle on the chrnonology of his life (only 6 years with the Revolution) to actually read what R. wrote, the contradition between his strong opposition to the death penalty and then sanctioning killing the king in such strong terms, the view of "bread" for the people....then later the excerpts from several points in time of those writing about him later. Between the 2 books I feel ready to read an overall long and good book on the French Revolution.
I have uploaded a cover for Grenville M. Dodge: Soldier, Politician, Railroad Pioneer by Stanley Hirshson. This cover is from the original 1967 Indiana University Press hardcover edition.
One thing I should have mentioned is that the book only contains the "remembered" portions of the poems. You'll have to look elsewhere to find the complete poems.

You Know These Lines was published in 1935. I acquired it because I already had most of the author's other books. There are two parts to the book. In the first part, the author provides the bibliographical information of the first printing of 100 poems he believed most Americans in 1935 would know. I list the titles of the first ten below:

All Quiet along the Potomac by Beers
The American Flag by Drake
An American in Europe by Van Dyke
Annabel Lee by Poe
Antony and Cleopatra by Lytle
The Arrow and the Song by Longfellow
Ballad of the Tempest by Fields
Barbara Frietchie by Whittier
The Barefoot Boy by Whittier
The Battlefield by Bryant

Here is the bibliographical information the author provided for the poem The Purple Cow

In the second part of the book, the author lists famous lines from 42 poems, providing only the identifying lines, the author, and the dates and titles of the works in which the poems were published. An example:

Fog Carl Sandburg
"The fog comes
on little cat feet"
In: Chicago Poems, 1916

There was no Table of Contents, but the author did provide a comprehensive index.

You can pick up a copy of the book for less than ten dollars on

I'll be out all day, and will answer any other questions tomorrow.


I happened on your review of Tuchman's book on Stilwell by Tuchman. I think your perception is good and balanced. My we have a lot of books in common, but of course you have a lot more. Actually, retired, I aquired most of those we share in the past 2 years and have read most of them. I also have a collection of first lady book to complement my first lady doll collection.

I am 76 and know that if I live long enough my eyesight will fail. While by then everything may be on line I think I will start collecting audio books in several formats (so prevelant in thrift stores now) and several pieces of playback equipment which may then be obsolete.

I unfortunately have never been to Versailles. I was cleaning up the section on France at the bookshop I work at and just happened to see it there. Since I can't afford real travel, I have to do it vicariously. I've never heard of the visit you mentioned, but I'm always interested in learning new things.
Thank you very much for your prompt and rather detailed reply to my inquiry. I shall most probably order MacMillan's book, but I am less sure about "Empire of Liberty". I read its review in 'The New York Review of Books' and was not very impressed. I am currently reading Edmund Morris' "Theodore Rex" and am absolutely hooked! It seems that you were pleased as well, given that you gave it five stars. What I am very much impressed by is, to be honest, the extraordinary depth of your library! Here's to a long and mutually fruitful correspondence!
I was born and raised in Switzerland but these days almost all the books I read are in English. I noticed that you have an impressive number of books on U.S. history. Could you share your thoughts about Gordon Wood's "Empire of Liberty" and Margaret MacMillan's "Nixon and Mao"? I am thinking about buying these two volumes and would be interested to hear from somebody who might have read them. Many thanks in advance!
The Fountainhead and Shogun, the first because it changed my life, the second because it is perhaps the best story I've ever read.
St. John's has some of the kind of people you talk about. But the difference is that they are the outsiders - the exception, rather than the norm. Since one would be foolish to come to St. John's for job training or likely admission into graduate school, most students are only there to read and learn.

If St. John's excites you, you should find about the various programs they offer for post-graduates, such as Saturday or summer seminars. There's even a 1/2-year Graduate Institute program, at both the Annapolis and Santa Fe campuses.

Your point about grades is a good one. It seems to me most people, if they thought about it, would say they grade based on that rationale. The problem is that then the grading system loses much of its meaning. It would be like if you could only grade books with three categories, Good, OK, or Bad. When I saw that you graded a book Good - or, analogously, 5 stars - I wouldn't know whether you liked it, loved it - or whether it was the greatest book you had ever read. I'm exaggerating, but I do value the granularity provided by using all of the stars frequently - and the ability to say that, out of all the books I've ever read, only 2 have earned 5 stars.
Thanks for passing on to me the explanation
from Sonya.

It implies I could list the books somewhwere
other than "My Library" or "Wish List" -- or elsewhere
PLUS those(?)

I don't understand where that would be, but I'm
grateful forgetting some administration-derived data on
On your question about the "Members w/ Your Books" category:

I don't understand it either!

Maybe I'm not the right one to ask about this, because of my
weakness in the technical part of LT. Tim, or somebody in the
administration might have the answer -- based on how this
feature works in general.

It surprised me more when, until recently, there were TWO members
listed for me under this "Member w/ Your books" heading. I can almost
understand the "None at all" designation, better than: Two: no more
and no less. Those 2 were one of whom I've forgotten the name,
and one named Palladiana. Pallaldiana, with 13 "shared Books",
was in the same range as you and I for the "Shared Books stat.
Maybe the "No Shared Books" designation is just a catch-all
for "too many to list" ? I notice, too that Palladiana's profile
page doesn't have this "Members with Your Books" category.

But my attitude on how this works is kind of manual and pre-computer
era I understand there is a problem about space for "storage" of
data, but it isn't the same problem I grew up with in pre-Computer

So I'll be browsing through certain profiles to see if I can get an
idea of what is supposed to happen in regard to this stat. If you
find out anything about how it works in general, please let me know.
Thanks for your message.

What surprised me was that there were even as many as 15 that we "shared"; that is more than average in these comparisons that I've s een with mine and other libraries.

The ones that I actually own are exactly 2/3 of the "shared ones. 5 of mine are just "Wish List" items: Beatty on JM Curley, Sereny on Speer, Barzun, C.S. Lewis and Fadiman. Right now the Wish List items outnumber the actually owned ones, so I'm rushing some owned items into the list, to make it a predominantly "MY Library" list. Realistically I'm not likely to acquire any of the Wish List items. Even Barzun I would probably eventually obtain from the public library.

The authors on your "Favorites" List that I most admire are mostly historians: Dangerfield, Runciman, Sc Schlesinger, Tuchman, Wedgwood, et al., although I'm not an expert on any of these. Beatty's [Rascal King] became a Wish List item because it's about my native area, which is Greater Boston

I had no intention of joining this site until I read your review of "Trinity" by "Leon Uris". In all likelihood, with the exception of this one time, I will not utilize this site. I am compelled to tell you that you are a moron. I feel sorry for someone who is such a prude that they cannot get beyond obscenities when reading a novel. To do so, you will miss out being able to appreciate a plethora of brilliant literature. I will not review any works you have liked, as it may dissuade me from wanting to read them. How can I possibly appreciate your opinion on anything. Enjoy your Christian literature but be careful, I believe the word "damn" may pop up once in a while.
For anyone else reading this, if you want to read a brilliant work of historical fiction about the plight of the Irish, read TRINITY.
The Impending Crisis is a great book, and its completion by Don Fehrenbacher is one of the great examples of scholarly generosity that I know of. Fittingly, Fehrenbacher's own last book, The Slaveholding Republic, was also completed by one of his students, Ward McAffee.
Hi, Schmerguls,
It looks like we have quite a bit of overlap in taste. I read your review of Glover Moore's The Missouri Controversy, and wanted to let you know that it has been updated. I published The Missouri Compromise and its Aftermath: Slavery and the Meaning of America in 2007, to pretty enthusiastic reviews. Anyone who has read the Moore is pretty well guaranteed to find it interesting.

Rob Forbes
I have only read her "Old New York" and "Ethan Frome". I think that the mental anguish that I suffered from reading "Ethan Frome" truly set me off her for many, many years. I have just this past year or so read Wharton's "Old New York" and believe you me, I checked it out carefully before I did read it.
But there is something fascinating about "Ethan Frome" that makes it linger in the back of your mind forever, I believe. I am 62 and it has been so very many years ago that I first read it as a teen and while I certainly have not committed it to memory, I can close my eyes and still "see" certain parts of this particular book. It, to this day remains one of the most "jaw dropping" I have ever read.
Thank you so very much for your reply. I appreciate our conversation.
Hello Schmerguls;
I just read your review of "Summer" by Edith Wharton. I copied it just in case you wanted to refresh your memory. Hope you don't mind.

"1385 Summer, by Edith Wharton (read 17 Apr 1976) This book is laid in western Massachusetts, as is Ethan Frome (which I read Sept 6, 1948) but does not have the impact I still vividly recall Ethan Frome had on me. The account of life the central female character had in her simpler earlier life seems grossly overdrawn, although supposedly it is not. I found the story distasteful, though Wharton writes like a great. But the story repels."

I've not read this one yet, but I have read "Ethan Frome" a few times. And I don't know why. I think it is well written but it is just a very different book and the images it leaves in one's mind are somewhat harrowing.
But I wondered; was the impact "Ethan Frome" had on you rather shocking? I found the entire book to be like that and I think that my jaw literally dropped on many more than one occasion each time I read it.
Thank you; I was just kind of interested.

I actually liked The Power Of One. A friend told me it was a young person's book. I thought the writing was very easy to follow and made the 500 plus pages fly by. I am not at all interested in boxing but did find the hisotical stuff incorporated in this book very interesting. We will be discussing this book at my book club on Friday night!
My friend also told me the author is 79 and is enormously popular author in Australia. There is a sequel to this book but it is not available in the States!
I just know I read losts of Helen MacInnes back 45 years ago or so in my Mary Stewart,Crystal Cave phase as a kid!
I just wanted to comment on your book#2158 about the African farm. My daughter,a senior English major at Rutgers/New Bruswick just finished this book. I found this a funny because I just read The Power of One for my book club. Both books about South Africa.
I think your review of Terry by Sen. George McGovern was very cruel and uncalled for. Calling her children 'bastards' is bad enough, but to say that you would have given up on her long before her father did is just plain insensitive. Terry McGovern suffered from a disease and in the end, she died of it. What if Terry had been your child? Would you have still made such references to children born out of wedlock, or given up on her when she needed you the most? I think it's obvious you suffer from a disease more deadly than poor Terry McGovern did - the disease of having no compassion for your fellow man. I pity you.
Pretty much anything I read as a girl needed to include a dog or a horse, preferably both!
Hello! Your library is very interesting, especially the books on WW1 and british parliamentary history. I am not German, but British. I live in south-western Germany with my German wife and children. I know where the Sauerland is.
Hello, Schmerguls. Sorry for the delay in acknowledging your post. I'm somewhat awed by the scope of your collection, especially because it represents only books you've read. How do you keep track of the ones you have't read? Besides the attraction of a well read community, LT primarily offers me a means of keeping track of the books I own -- read or not.
Sorry, I don't have the book (it's on my wish-list).

Hey! My daughter the English major has a review on libray thing of The Guernsey Literary book. She is shoney!
Hold Fast Your Dreams

(Louise Driscoll)

Hold fast your dreams!
Within your heart
Keep one still, secret spot
Where dreams may go,
And, sheltered so,
May thrive and grow
Where doubt and fear are not.
O keep a place apart,
Within you heart,
For little dreams to go!

Think still of lovely things that are not true.
Let wish and magic work at will in you.
Be sometimes blind to sorrow. Make believe!
Forget the calm that lies
In disillusioned eyes.
Though we all know that we must die,
Yet you and I
May walk like gods and be
Even now at home in immortality.

We see so many ugly things -
Deceits and wrongs and quarrelings;
We know, alas! we know
How quickly fade
The color in the west,
The bloom upon the flower,
The bloom upon the breast
And youth's blind hour.
A place apart
Where little dreams may go,
May thrive and grow,
Hold fast - hold fast your dreams!
My wife mentioned the number of history books you have read including those which hit my interest which is WW2. Have you ever been able to read why the beach-bombing airforces on D Day dropped above the cloud cover by radar? Did any air force boffin ever comment that for an enterprise of this kind it would have been crucial for the force to consider a descent to low level and reduce the fortifications and obstacles in the water?
I also wonder why so few American novels use the invasions of Canada in 1812-1815 as backgrounds for novels.
The best book I have read this year is The Man Who Loved China. Bern
God bless you for sending all that great information! My husband also reads non-stop, particularly military history and books about religions. We are most grateful for your taking the trouble to pass this is much appreciated!
I keep a brief record of each book (including the duds!) but what a collection you must have! I would love to know what you selected for 'best book of the year' in the past, if that is not too nosy.
Three books I have enjoyed immensely in the past few months were:
"An Audience of Chairs" by Joan Clark
"Star of the Sea" by Joseph O'Connor
"Rumours of a Hurricane" by Tim Lott
What are some of your extraordinary reads?
No, unfortunately I cannot find a way around reading all the reviews to pick out those with five stars.
Do you alternate fiction and non-fiction as you read? Do you read consecutive books by the same author or do you opt for a complete change?
Do you use your public library?
harrietgate in Canada
Very interesting reviews you have posted. I'm the founder of Upublica (, a free online publishing service - just started. I would be very happy to see your book reviews (and other stuff) on the site. You could use it as an alternative platform to share your thoughts. If interested all you need to do is register and you can start publishing.

Thomas Vieth, London
My profile:
Hi, Schmerguls! Seeing [The Midnight Assassin] on your list I knew you must be an Iowan. Susan Glaspell has been one of my heroes for some time, but was surprised to find a recent book based on her story. I had no idea it was an actual murder as basis. You might enjoy [Postville], which chronicles the problems of the kosher meat processors in Postville.
You're probably right. I was just thinking that if I read say, 100 books a year, then 50 yrs would only be 5,000, right? So okay, I was an ENGLISH major, and was always a bit math-phobic, so ... No, I don't have a list of all-time favorite books. I always seem to most enjoy the book I'm reading at the moment. If I don't enjoy it, I usually don't even finish it. Life's too short, ya know? Right now I'm reading a really good Montana memoir by Mary Clearman Blew called ALL BUT THE WALTZ. Memoirs have become my favorite genre in the past 5-6 years, not just because I'm writing my own, but because I've become more curious about real lives, real people. But I still like a good novel now and then too. My favorite recently is OLIVE KITTEREDGE, which won the 2009 Pulitzer. Terrific book, and Olive is a character you'll remember. - Tim
Was just looking at your review of OLD JULES. I remember reading it when I was in high school and just devouring it. Boy was that a long time ago. I sometimes wonder how many thousands of books I have read in the past 60-some years. Maybe even hundreds of thousands. This LT thing is really fun, ain't it? But I really need to get back to my own writing soon. I think I have maybe one more book to write before I retire to just reading. Best, Tim
Thanks for your recommendation and review of Admirals in Collision. I have posted the cover for your convenience
Hey, Schmer - I just read/reviewed Doug Stanton's brand new book, HORSE SOLDIERS, about Special Forces in Afghanistan in Oct-Dec 2001. As a military history buff, you might enjoy it. I had a personal interest in it, as my brothers and I went to high school with his parents. It was reviewed on front page of NYTimes Book Review yesterday - a good review at that, so I think Doug has another bestseller on his hands. It's already in the top fifty books on Amazon. And if you're interested in something a bit "lighter" from the Cold War, there's always my SOLDIER BOY. My offer still stands. Keep reading. - Tim
Hi, How are you?

I obviously do not check up on this web site a whole lot and do not recall seeing your message.

I liked it a lot. I have quite a few books on the old progressives and I enjoy their battles. I got the book after reading a book on Earl Warren. Warren thought this guy shot the moon so I got a book on him. A real progressive and you can see his influence on Earl Warren.

Sorry for the late comment.

Hi,Thanks for the comments on my page!!!
Meet you soon after updating my library!!!
I have uploaded a cover for Death of an Army: The Siege of Kut, 1915–1916 by Ronald Millar.
I have uploaded a cover for Guerrilla Warrior: The Early Life of John J. Pershing by Donald Smythe.
Dear Schmerguls,
You are, of course, quite right about the date of Pius XII's last consistory. I blundered on page 480 of 'Keepers of the Keys of Heaven' in dating it to 1956 - unwise reliance on an over-used memory I suspect, when I should have double checked. I shall correct it in future editions. Very many thanks for pointing this out. All best wishes, Roger Collins
Sorry for taking so long to reply. I got your email and list. It was quite a good read. There were a number of books I've read and enjoyed greatly, and many others I've added to my ever-increasing list of things to read. Thanks very much for sharing it with me. I look forward to reading more of it.
Great! Looking forward to interesting conversation at 30,000 Feet!

I saw your note on AlcottAcres' page and thought I'd pop over. While I've read no where near the number you have, I too love biography. If you run across these you might find them worth your time: The Sweetheart of the Silent Majority (on P Schlafly) by Felsenthal, A Severe Mercy by Van Auken (friend of CS Lewis surprised/horrified that he became a Christian), and something by John Polluck, my fav biographer. Of Polluck's works my favorite is A Foreign Devil in China by Nelson Bell, father of Ruth Bell Graham (Mrs Billy), missionary to China. I liked his Wilberforce bio a lot too. The latter reads more like a textbook while the style of Foreign Devil is much more engaging.

I intend to come back and pick up a few of your repeat authors in your biography tag and try some. Love the library!

PS The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom and The Assisi Underground by Alexander Ramati also came to mind as I read through some of your tag groups, both about WWII heroes (my opinion) smuggling Jews out of hostile territory. Right on the heels of those came remembrances of two other men's story, perhaps all the more meaningful to me as I've had the pleasure of meeting them: When Hell was in Session by Jeremiah Denton and Scars and Stripes Forever by Capt Red McDaniels.
And one to grow on :) (yeah, right, you say ;), Evidence Not Seen by Darlene Deiber Rose (wwii, POW in the pacific theater).
Think I found somebody worse than Bellow - Thomas Pynchon. Just slogged through Gravity's Rainbow. There might be an interesting plot in there somewhere. Too much work for too little payoff.
Not at all sure why the message refused to post. Annoying when that happens.

‘Aurélien Arkadiusz’
I deleted the two books that I had listed by Morris Willie and relisted them as it should be with Willie Morris as the editor. I discovered Willie Morris about 15 years ago and he immediately became one of my favorite authors. Morris was indeed a wunderkind becoming the youngest ever editor of Harper's magazine and collecting some of the best authors/journalists to write for him at Harper's. For a white boy from Mississippi he led the way for civil rights before there was a national movement. One of the journalists that wrote for him was Marshall Frady. Marshall wrote authentic literature about the south capturing southern scenes and people better than anyone I know except for Faulkner and Twain.
Hi there, Schmerguls, from Autumnal New Zealand

I'm afraid *(
Hello and thank you for your note. What I find most interesting in your library is the plethera of reviews. For example, I am looking for a bio of Sir Adm. Jacky Fisher. With one in mind I looked through your library and found another but you wrote a poor review so I will stick with my original (by a contemparary, Sir Adm. Reginald Bacon), very helpful. Also my next read "The Ottoman Centuries" came from a positive review of yours.
"Joker One" was an Early Reviewers hand out thus all the reviews. As my review stated, it's best value was as a boots on the ground narrative without geopoloitical overtones.
I have no newsletter but on my profile there is a connection to my 50 Book Challenge thread.
Thank you for your open library and detailed reviews. You are a valuable asset to LibraryThing
You are the first comment I have had on LibraryThing. No, I have not read the books I post. I have been attempting to organize my book for many years and previously used index cards. I was shamed to going on line and when I found LibraryThing I thought it was just the thing. My goal is twofold: (1) To actually find out what I have, and (2) to be able to find them again. One always has the fantasy that one will one day have time to read them. It is normally my winter project. As to the "Back Forty" as it was called, I was one of the few folks in Mingo not present, most who were claimed to be in the kitchen. Ed Parker for whom the gathering was called is a friend of mine and left before the sexual improprieties began. Although they did attempt to have him charged with accepting gifts in an amount more than allowed by law. I have always thought they should have had an annual event, but not to be. If your son is working out of Marshalltown, I probably know him. The public defender's office is currently positioning themselves to take over the felony docket state wide thereby squeezing out us private attorneys. We're not very happy about it.
Your review of Byrd's Alone reminded me what a fantastic book it is. I will probably re-read it now. One thing though, you mention it was on Dick Dabny's List of 100 Books. I can't find that list anywhere on-line. Is there anyway you could send me a link to it or tell me how to find it elsewhere?
I would appreciate it.
Hello...imagine my surprise when surfing through this huge sight and seeing who else read some of the books in my library and I see a name from 'Favorite "Fiction!!!!!(I have only just started adding books at a friends insistance).
When I got my Mom's books from her room in the "home" after she died Paris Underground was there. Inside was the original booklet review from Book Of The Month Club in 1944. I am under the impression that it was a true story. At one time I remember finding an article about her death searching NY Times obits or something...its been 5 or 6 years since I read the book and can't remember.
meenmom714 frequent lurker at "FF"
P.S... I started to read Prouty's "Homeport" and had a hard time getting through it and as a matter of fact, never finished it so it is with hesitation that I start Stella Dallas...but never say never.

Yes, weird but true...have not read any of Strachey's works yet. Became interested in him after reading some V. Woolf bios so went for his bio first. As stated before, plan on reading Queen Victoria once I am done. Still on Volume One The Unknown Years.
Two of my favorite "old" fiction books, which I see we do not share on Member lists are "Kingsblood Royal" by Sinclair Lewis (1947)...could not put it down. The other one which I enjoyed is called "Mr. Adam" by Pat Frank (1946). Mr. Adam is the only man left on earth, after an experiment gone wrong, who can father children. Carried this story in my head for a while and tried to get friends to read it (no takers) and even wanted my husband to change the name of his band to "Mr. Adam", again no interest!
I see that you read and reviewed my all time favorite non-fiction, "Our Hearts Were Young & Gay". Have read this book several times and laughed out loud each time. The visuals I had in my mind have stayed with me. Gave it to my 18 year old niece to read and for some reason she was "not amused"! Oh well, to each his own!

Have a great Day!
Hello...I am reading the 2 volume biography on Strachey right now and have Queen Victoria waiting in the wings. Have not read any of his works yet but am enjoying the bio. Am finding that subject's brother James was not in agreement with author on some of the things he wrote about which makes me take all with a grain of salt but I am enjoying the book(s). Interesting charachter Strachey was.
Thanks for your review.



Works of Sigrid Undset which I've read include
Saga of Saints
Four Stories
Ida Elisabeth
Return to the Future
The Longest Years
Sigurd and His Brave Companions
Happy Times in Norway
True and Untrue and Other Norse Tales
Images in a Mirror
Madame Dorothea

I have all the books except Saga of Saints.

American, of course.
I've read The World, the Flesh, and Fr. Smith and Vespers in Vienna, but I couldn't tell you when! We share Sigrid Undset as a favorite author. Two of my favorite books by her are The Master of Hestviken and Ida Elisabeth. What are your favorites?
I see you have a Bruce Marshall book, Yellow Tapers for Paris, which I've not heard of before...and I have Father Hilary's Holiday - a unique book on LT, at least so far. I'm surprised no one has it yet.
You are a prolific reader and reviewer. I'm going to try your theory of reviewing -- putting down impressions immediately after reading.
Oh no I too thought it to be just as you describe, however as I entering the books from my shelves I started to mark those that I actually remember reading with the one star as a personal note to myself. As I go through and linger on a page I very often amend the "star system" by the addition of extra stars. Have you read Rebecca Fraser's Charlotte Bronte and Her Family?

Thanks for the Antonia White list. When I start reading her, I'll definitely go in order.
Hi Schmerguls,

I enjoyed browsing through your library. It's a fun resource and an impressive list. I think it's wonderful you've been keeping track of this for so long. I'm only a little under 4000 books behind you. ;) My "read" tag tells me I've read 363 books (but I imagine there are duplicates in there.) That is about 27% of my non-children's books, and that percentage is dropping because I keep reading library books instead of ones I own, and yet I keep buying them 8}. I started keeping a list in high school, the first book I put on my notebook paper was Brave New World which I read over my holiday break in December 1990. And I kept using that crumbled-up piece of paper for several years, just clipping on a new sheet as needed - each book written down with whatever pen or marker I had on hand - before I finally started using a computer list. I still have that list in box somewhere.

I read your review of Antonia White's The Lost Traveller, which I recently acquired, but haven't had a chance to read yet. What are the names of the second and third books of the trilogy?

LT has a place to enter the year of first publication. Go to the page of a work, scroll down to the Common Knowledge section, where it lists things like "Canonical title", "Blurbers" etc.. you can see the date field there.
Schmerguls, question. Do you have ready access to, or any interest in, updating the year the book was published at the same time your entering reviews? One thing I really miss about LT is no information about the year of publication. Sometimes I read your reviews and have only the date you read the book, and wonder if the book was published that year, or 40 years before, there is no way to tell without looking it up on Amazon (even that doesn't always work since they list later reprints). If you don't want to bother with it I understand, there are a lot of blank spaces in the common knowledge database.
We do, quite a few of my favorite authors will be Australian, and I have little interest in the Northern Hemisphere mainstream.
Twickenham is south west of London in the UK. It is a leafy suburb near the River Thames (and currently very cold!) It is a pleasure to befriend you and keep up the reviews.


I am just doing some research on World War II novels for my own novel which I am writing, and I kept coming across your reviews. Can I say thank you and congratulations on posting such frank and interesting reviews - and I am unbelievably impressed at the sheer number. It's people like you that make LibraryThing such a fab place to be.
I live in New Braunfels, Texas ( near San Antonio). I have really enjoyed this website. I have become a book junkie that past couple of years.
Hi, so nice to hear from you. The book you mention is by another writer, who spells her name differently. I only have the one book out, Conceit, which is a novel set in 17th-century England. If you have a moment, check my website

cheers, Mary
I am definitely an Obama supporter. It saddens me to see the number of people still supporting McCain. One would think America has had enough already.

Glad you liked the review, but I can't take credit for it. The credit goes to the book collector, Harry B. Smith, and the writer, Charles Dickens. I can, however, take credit for cataloging Charles Lamb's library on Library Thing.

Jerry Morris
Hello Schmerguls.
Not that Anne Perry writes with the sharpest pencil in the box, but just in case you really aren't aware, the "No Graves As Yet" is only the 1st volume in a 5 volume treatment of WWI. Beginning with the second volume you get the lice and mud and friendships formed of shared experiences. And the mystery, of course, deepens.


Just read your comment in Another Silly Game. I write reviews, but as I tend to be wordy, I frequently wait until I can distill my thoughts. I use tags as a memory jog for my books.

I enjoy your book selections and your comments about the books and the forum. We share a great many books. I'm always glad to see your name on a post.

Berton is good, but I haven't read any of the books you've got at the Sioux City Public Library - though I'd hazard to guess that either The Arctic Grail or Prisoners of the North will be good. That is if you like exploratory history. I'd only read his books on Vimy, the building of the trans-continental railway in Canada, and an overview history of the Canadian efforts in the two World Wars.
Hi, thanks for this :) Yes, I know, I am still adding data, I want to tidy it up a bit before offering it an unsuspecting public ! I have quite a few items that I need to enter manually, and want to make sure the bibliographic data is complete and correct. But hope to finish in 2-3 weeks, all being well !
I'm on Manhattan Island, US of A
I read with interest your review of Erdrich's Love Medicine, because that's rather the same view I take of another Indian-writing-about-Indians book, Reservation Blues, which is on my 14yo son's multicultural lit. book list. I'm trying to get it taken off...but what to suggest in its place?

What I'd like to read, and have him & the class read would be a book about the good things to do with being Indian -- not all the worst things! Ideally fiction, and something with humor, would be the icing on the cake.

By the way, we have some good books in common, don't we.
Hi again,

I'm afraid that this 10 digit and 13 digit ISBN is a whole other issue. Up to January 2007 books only had a 10-digit ISBN. Since then, they have also had a 13-digit ISBN. So the same edition of a book now has 2 ISBNS. Confusing? Yep.
See this url for a brief explanation:

When trying to decide which is the ISBN for the book you have, the other place to check is the back of the title page. This gives the publisher information and usually will distinguish between the hardback (cased) edition and the paperback edition. It is not common practice to show both the US and the UK ISBNS on the same book.

Hi there,

You asked why many books have 2 ISBNs. In fact many books can have more than 2 such numbers. An ISBN uniquely identifies a specific edition of a book, Therefore, a hardback and paperback of the same title will have different ISBNS. If there is an American edition and an UK edition, then these too will have different ISBNs. So straightaway, one title can have 4 ISBNs. If there is a change of publisher then that will add a different ISBN etc.

The ISBN to be used when listing a book should be the one appropriate to that edition. Usually, this may be found on the back cover or dust jacket.

Hope this helps,
You ask about Dubuque on the Mississippi. The author, Fr. Wilkie, is a professor emeriti at the college where I am a librarian, Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa. He is also a generous benefactor to the library.
Your reviews are interesting. People don’t often note the morals of the characters now, and I think it’s a sign (as if one needed such a subtle sign) something has been lost.

Will you eventually provide "date read" for all your books?
Thanks for the list. I was having some e-mail problems last week but think that's past.

Yes, please put on your list. Thank you.
Hi Schmerguls! Thanks for your note. Here are a few recommendations:

The Candy Bombers by Andrei Cherni... about the Berlin Airlift and development Cold War containment policy. Highly readable at several levels (human interest and geopolitics)

The Universe in the Mirror by Robert Zimmerman..... about the development of the Hubble Space Telescope

The Training Ground by Martin Dugard.... about U.S.-Mexican War and the future Civil War leaders who first saw battle then as young officers

The North River by Pete Hamill... predictable yet well written, charming story about a troubled physician in Depression era NYC.

The Power Makers by Maury Klein... history of technology and American industrialization story (have not read yet but after a quick skim seems like a great read)

What are you reading now?
I don't what they call folks like us (bibliophiles? Serial reader/reviewers?) but it's always great to come across someone with a similar passion.

> my theory being that if one spends hours reading a book one should also spend a few minutes noting what one thought of the book.

That is exactly how I feel as well. It's what motivates me when I don't know what to write in a review - I just spent 8+ hours with this author, is there nothing that I can say about it? If not than I should probably stop reading entirely.

> As of now, I have commented on every book I have read since 1989

I'm impressed by your reading quantity but also quality. Serious history books are not like reading fiction, a lot more mental energy and time.

> I have kept track of the date I finished a book since 1944

That is unusual and certainly a lot more interesting than a list of every TV show or movie watched - no one does that of course, but it shows how significant books are. Just think of all the time other people spent watching TV during those years, probably with no memory of it, while you have a list and memories to recall.

My list starts in 2005 and I hope to keep it going for the rest of my life. Thanks for putting you comments online, I've found some hidden gems and will continue to come back and browse through from time to time.
Hi again - just wondering if you know that General Wesley Clark was a member of the '66 class, graduating lst in the class. His political stance is of great interest and some dissent among their classmates. Still enjoying your library.
I recently saw your reference to the Long Gray Line by Rick Atkinson, the story of the class of 1966 at West Point. My husband was in that class, so we are very familiar with the classmates featured and with Rick Atkinson, who attended many of the class reunions. Do you have a West Point connection? Go Army...
Hey Schmerguls, I noticed your Alistair MacLean reading and thought I'd suggest Force 10 from Navarone, a very good sequel if the idea of the tidal wave from a burst damn wiping out a whole Panzer division excites you (does me!). I also remember loving The Satan Bug, but avoid Partisans at all costs: worst novel I've ever read.
I did not realize initially, that when I wrote in the "review section" that this was public; I was really just writing notes to myself and now I use "private comments for my notes", but maybe I should do both. It is amazing how the commonality of agreeing strongly about one book, "Expensive People" for example, does not translate into a more universal opinion on books. I have now purchased the amazonkindle which I love and have been selecting my books from the kindle list. The last five I have enjoyed greatly: John Caldigate, The Twilight Saga, Wives and daughters. I am thinking Mary Barton is next. linda wilson
Thank you very much for your interesting set of reviews. They've resulted in yet another visit to Amazon.
I also like with your 1/2 star - 1 star reviews that incidentally confirm my feeling that John Irving and Maria Doria Russell are a serious waste of shelf space.
Dear Schmerguls --

Many thanks for your prompt reply. We had the opportunity this past weekend to see/hear the games between your Cubbies and the Nationals here in Washington, D.C. Notwithstanding that the Nats took two out of three, the Cubs looked solid -- might go far in this year's NL Central.

I have no idea whether "Sign" still is being published, but I remember seeing a copy at Mass when I was a kid, and I filled out a subscription form -- much to the great annoyance of my father. We took it for several years. I haven't seen it in a long time, or I'd probably subscribe to it again -- much, doubtless, to the annoyance of my wife.

I'm reading Belloc's "How The Reformation Happened." I think you might find it interesting. Belloc frankly acknowledges that his assessment of the Reformation lies outside conventional history. Indeed, he states that he writes to correct the serious miscomprehensions, which had become commonplace. Anyway, it would not surprise me to discover that Carroll Quigley was a Belloc fan. In any event, I'll let you know when I finish "The Catholic Church and History," which is more strictly apologetic (from what I can see after about 25 pp or so). I have "Characters of the Reformation" on my list to get, and I think I might well take more active steps to get it after I finish "How The Reformation Happened." My recollection of "Richelieu" is that it was dense when I read it many years ago, but I've read more widely on the subject since then, so it might be clearer to me now.

My father always swore by Chesterton, too, and I have a collection of Chesterton essays. I tried to get my younger daughter, Maeve, to read the Fr. Brown mysteries when she was in a mystery phase, but I never got far with it, although the book is on her shelf somewhere.

I've got about 40-50 more books in the past month, mostly on Irish and English history, and I still ahve a hundred or more U.S. history I have not got round to entering yet. You might be hearing more from me as I get these into LT.

Again, many thanks and best regards,

Barry Wiegand
Washington, D.C.
Dear Schmerguls --

Greetings from Washington, D.C. (You are not being drafted, however, or at least not for the military services). I greatly enjoy reading your monthly account of books previously read. I hope you will keep sending them to me.

Actually, I'm writing to solicit your opinion of Hilaire Belloc. Years ago, I read his biography of Richelieu, and I recall my father speaking of him well. Of late, I had seen several of his works on the Church, the Reformation, and had caught a newspaper or magazine article (in The Economist, I believe, which mentioned him favorably). Anyway, I found a couple of his books on Amazon in hard over (there very available in paperback, but I'm trying buy hard covers if I can). I had known him as vaguely as an English apologist (notwithstanding his French birth) for the Church, but I'm reading "How The Reformation Happened," and "The Catholic Church and History." Sadly, I can think of only about four persons I know, who would know him, my father, you, Romanus, and The Economist, and I can't ask The Economist, so I'll put the question to you.

It appears to me you have achieved much progress in cataloging books, being in the area of 4400. I don't recall us being that far apart, number-wise, so I'm guessing you must have been working on it a lot the past few months.

Best regards,

Barry Wiegand
Washington, D.C.
I agree with you completely regarding "expensive people". I wrote almost the exact same review in my private comments, and then read yours since I was so surprised that that the average rating was 3.5 stars and I gave only one! Linda Wilson
I am impressed with your history lists. I also notice that you have a number of Jon Hassler books. I think that Grand Opening was one of his best.
I would also recommend the books by Keith Nolan. I have read several and found them to be very informative and general good reads. What I like about his books is that he doesn't try to deal with the entire war, just specific operations.

A few months ago I read 'An Enormous Crime'. It deals with the never ending controversy surrounding missing Vietnam War POWs. It is not a sensationalistic book, like some on this topic can be. One of the authors is former Congressman who had worked on this issue while in the House. 'An Enormous Crime' provides a lot of food for thought.

There are two that I highly recommend:

A Bright Shinning Lie by Neil Sheehan and The Cat From Hue by John Laurence

Both of these books give a good sense of the frustration that was the Vietnam War.

I would also recommend watching the John Laurence interview at C-Span's BookTV website

What other 'must reads' can you suggest?

Hello again :)

I've only read one Maeve Binchy book, and that was Night of Rain and Stars. It's not for those who like fast-paced, "exciting" novels... but if you don't mind a slow-ish, sweet read that delves into the lives of several characters, you might enjoy it.

I chose it because it was about Greece, and I'm a sucker for all things Greek. ^_~
Hello :)

I just read your review of Sharpe's Trafalgar (I read it as I posted my review).

I was just amused that your thoughts on the book were so similar to my own, so I thought I would drop by and mention it.

Sorry for the out-of-the-blue, random post! ^_~
Thanks for the message. It should be painless to determine which 2 out of the 19 books in my library you haven't read. Just click on my profile, then "see library." I'm on a Modern Library mission, so to speak, so I enter books in LT only after I review them. Cheers,
One further clarification of Longitude comments--I greatly oversimplified because you have to take into consideration your latitude when calculating how far west you've gone (I should have said for argument's sake that you are travelling west of London but are down at the equator doing that westerly travel--as you move toward the poles, each time zone you pass is going to be less than 1000 miles and you would have to use a chart--which they had--to figure that out more accurately). I hope I haven't muddied the waters further BUT the invention of a pocket watch that could keep very accurate time, even at sea during all kinds of bad weather, ship rolling, etc. was ONE of the most important maritime achievements in the eighteenth century and obviously I believe in understatement!!
You wrote:
2837 Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time, by Dava Sobel (read 15 Feb 1996) This is a slight book telling how the problem of determining longitude was solved. Unfortunately the book does not tell why an accurate clock can determine longitude. If a boat goes slow what good will an accurate clock do? I guess I am dumb. But it is sad to read a whole book--albeit a small 180-page one--and not come to understand how longitude can be determined by an accurate timekeeper. I am afraid my reading this book was a waste of time. The hero of the book is John Harrison, who eventually collected the 20,000 pound prize for figuring out how to determine longitude at sea. ( )

My response to you:
Man at the time of Harrison (and I would assume much earlier than that) knew it took the earth 24 hours to make one revolution--and also that the sun rises in the east, sets in the west) . Let's say you go slowly (or very fast--it matters not) going due west from London for 1 week or two weeks. You "shoot the sun" or basically know when high noon is--then you check your accurate watch whose time was set to London time and note that it is not reading 12 o'clock high noon. In fact, you will very quickly see how many hours different it is. Let's say for argument's sake it says 6pm (since we are going west, London will see high noon before we do). So we have gone 6 of the 24 one-hour time zones west of London. They also had a very accurate idea of the size of the earth. One time zone very roughly equals 1000 miles (the circumference around the equator is approx 24,000 miles). So, if we are six time zones away we have gone rought 6000 miles or 1/4 the way around the world--guess we must have been going pretty fast. But the number of weeks to get to that point doesn't matter. It could have taken us six months but we still have only gone 6000 miles (or 6 time zones away). Now, before this they DID have to guess how fast they were going and for how long at that speed to approximate how far west (or east if such was the case). With an "accurate time piece" they could predict much more accurately their longitude (latitude was easier--you could tell by your angle to the north star if in the northern hemisphere, a different star if you were in the southern hemishpere).
OK, has this helped at all (I teach math and chemistry at the high school level and have taught the gifted kids also).
Bruce Dressel
near Richmond, VA
Hello, did you receive a reply from Zosimus as to why he chose that moniker? The name "Zozimus" is well-known here in Dublin.
The Freckles book is one of the Big Little Books I have in my collection, only discovered in the last year few years. I love it. Did you read a lot of the Big Little Books when you were a boy?
Well, the reviews are original with me. Before LibraryThing, I had a home book database of my library that took me many years to set up. When LT came along, I just transcribed the database info and reviews to LT. Now I do them simultaneously. But you're right, many times I would pick up a book I hadn't touched for decades, and have no clue what it was about or what I thought. So usually, I would re-read those. Now it's not an issue; I keep pretty much up-to-date with reviews.
Re: The Burgess List

Only 15 :-(
(Re: Bomber and Kingsley Amis)

Do you know, I don't know what Amis' other 9 books of the 20thC were. However, Anthony Burgess also listed Bomber in his Best of 20thC book list - only he had another 98:
Well, I am not going to live forever either, but I plan on being 100, more or less genetically programmed for it. I am scarily at nearly the halfway point now.
I have the lists, but one list is enough for me. I started that 1001 to read before you die, but was overwhelmed. After the Pulitzers I think I will just be random.
My reading time is limited due to real life things like work, kids, hosting trivia at a bar, occasional standup comedy gigs, and working with local theatre (where my youngest son performs occasionally)and volunteering at the soup kitchen. Of course I always carry a book for those spare moments in the car.
Thanks for your input, hope you enjoy the holidays in what ever way you choose.
gosh, I hate to say this, but you read quite a few before I was even born.
What did you think of [The Road]? I was disappointed after all the hype.
I started reading the Pulitzers in May, although of course I had read a few already over the years. So I have read 21. Of course I have read 83 books since April, I don't read just the Pulitzers. I am reading [Independence Day] and [So Big] right now. Then I think I am going to read some brain candy through the holidays. If I survive then I can get back to the list.
Some of them aren't as easy to come by as others, so I am still trying to get a copy of Interpreter of Maladies.
I am curious. Are you reading some other list of books now or just random?
I saw in one of your reviews that you read Pulitzers. Have you read them all? That is what I am currently working on. I need Interpreter of Maladies to finish up from 2000 forward and I need 3 more to finish up the 90's. I am kind of skipping around as I get them from a swapping site.
Your copy had a slightly different name (it didn't include "an American adventure" in it), so it wasn't automatically attached to the other copies. I just combined them together, you now share it with 21 other members! See the book page here
Well I don't read anywhere near the non-fiction you do -- my poor brain needs the filtering of fiction -- but we have read alot of the same fiction and I enjoy your reviews -- they get right to the point unflinchingly (I don't always agree though -- you've trashed some of my favorite novels! ;)) Happy reading. Jen
There is indeed still a statue of George Frisbie Hoar in front of Worcester's City Hall. From the city's website: "It depicts George Frisbie Hoar, who served the city in the Massachusetts legislature and the U.S. Congress. A long-rime associate of General Charles Devens (the subject of another D.C. French statue at Lincoln Square), the Senator is shown seated in his senatorial chair, his jacket, books and papers casually about. Tablets on the sides of the pedestal are in storage, having been vandalized on several occasions. Look closely at the Senator's temples and you will discover the tiny holes for securing old-fashioned spectacles. They were stolen so many times, the city decided not to replace them in 1945, and the good Senator has been without them ever since. A bronze tablet commemorating the Massachusetts Republican Party (1854), which the Senator helped to found, is mounted on the bench facing Main Street."

I also found a few photos of the statue here. I had not heard of the books about him, but it seems likely that Worcester's library would have them. Thanks for the recommendation. I'll keep checking out your reviews. I've been reminded of yet more history books to read from browsing your lists.
Hi, I'm the other owner of "Hike Into the Sun." Bernie Fitzpatrick is a second- or third-cousin: I grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, and my mom was part of one of the Irish families there that all tie into one another. :7)

- Will Enestvedt
Hi thanks for replying. 'Little Dorrit' is next on my Dickens TBR list as well - and like you I'm not sure when that will be.

Bye JudyB

I've just read your 'The Old Curiosity Shop' review which I enjoyed reading. I notice that 'Dombey and Son' is in your list of unread Dickens - I would thoroughly recommend it - it's one of my favourites.

Best wishes

Schmerguls, I do keep track of books I've read at another site. I've kept reading notebooks since I was fifteen years old (over forty years ago), so I am slowly going through them and adding all the ones that I noted as 'completed'. That list is now up to 3,000+ and I have between ten and fifteen years to go. I will guess that of the 8,500 or so books I have in my physical library (my LibraryThing list includes about a thousand videos, so subtract those from my total), I have read more than half, perhaps as much as sixty percent. Many of the others I have partially read, but I don't include those on my 'Complete List'. Also, I have read many books that I don't physically own -- they are not listed here at LT, but some of them are included at the other site.

You have a very interesting library. I will enjoy looking through it more carefully.
Sounds like you are just as much of a "list" reader as I am! It is nice to meet another reader who keeps track of books read. I used to list titles read every couple of months, so they were not in exact order. But I started keeping them in order a few years ago and find it a more satisfying method. I don't list the date I finished in my book notebook, but I've recently started adding the date on my LT library.

You may enjoy It lets you adopt existing lists or create your own lists of books (or movies, or travel destinations, etc.) and then keeps track of your reading progress. I have about 60 lists going (under the same "ggchickapee" user name), most of them reading lists, and find it very satisfying. :)

Hmmmmmmmm . . . I wonder if there is a LT group for compulsive list readers? I joined the "Prize Winners" group thinking that they would be as obsessive as me about reading prize winning books, but they seem to be mostly interested in tracking long- and short-list nominees and predicting the winners, rather than reading all the winners and discussing.

Happy reading! And listing!
Hi -- Thanks for your comment -- I tried to edit it (The Water's Lovely), but couldn't get it to work... I figured once someone clicked on the title, the author would come up. I'll try to go back later on and fix it!
My review of Bugliosi's book is a little out of date. I promised I'd update as I go and I haven't. I'm through the first chapter with time-tagged history of events on the day of the shooting and the following three days, and now am into critical discussion of the evidence. It's pretty good, although I suspect Case Closed covers most of the same material.

I'm about a third of the way through it, and would have to say I recommend it. The discussion is rational, and he's not afraid to point out where conspiracy theorists are lying or stretching the truth. He's also not afraid to acknowledge that in the heat of the moment, people remember things differently, so having some inconsistent stories is expected.

It's not been nearly the slog through tedium I thought it would be. Vince can actually write pretty well.If you're not intimidated by the size, I'd give it a go.
Dear Schmerguls --

This is a P.S. -- please do include me on your monthly list of reviews or comments, which you referred to in your latest. I should be most interested to read those. Thanks,

Dear Schmerguls --

Thank you for your recent comment. We late-18th century, west-of-Ireland peasants find computer technology a touch challenging, if useful for cataloging books beyond the file-card method. This morning, I resolved to reply to your latest, as I hope I now am doing, but I was baffled for a while by the methodology, which refused to take me to a place where I could write a reply. I also seemed to have lost a comment from a LibraryThinger who said he is priest who teaches at a midwestern university. Eventually -- and I stress the "eventualness" I discovered that I was not signed in. Now, I hope that I am and that this reaches you.

This being Saturday morning the 21st, all the world here is in Harry-Potter mania. My daughters are eagerly awaiting their special delivery of the newest book, which they pre-ordered -- it's supposed to be here by Federal Express courier delivery sometime before noon. Last night, they both went to some place in Silver Spring, Md., where the entire street had been kitted out as an alley from the Harry Potter series, and they waited until 12:01 a.m., so that one of their friends could buy the newest book -- this, after making her swear that she would not reveal to them what happened in the book, as she read it on the way home. I just told my younger daughter that we were going to bathe one of the dogs this afternoon, and she replied that she was doing nothing until she had read the new book -- which hasn't arrived yet -- TWICE. We went out to dinner Thursday evening, and my daughters played a Harry Potter version of 20 questions about the most obscure of characters from the first six books. Last week, we watched all the first several Harry Potter movies in preparation for the release of the newest film, which my elder went to see at a special premiere at the movie theatre in Chinatown, which began at 12:01 a.m., too. That was on a Wednesday or Thursday, I believe -- at a minute past midnight, I have trouble keeping the days straight. By Saturday evening, both of them had seen the movie at least twice, and I went with my younger daughter to see it at the old Uptown theater. You might well recall the place from your days in Washington, D.C. It remains there still on Connecticut Avenue, N.W., a block or so below Porter Street, N.W. I believe it to be the last "giant" or even full-size movie theatre left in Washington, D.C., so we try to catch the epic films there. I have a hard time getting my children to understand the importance of air-conditioning to the evolution of social mores in Washington, D.C. When I explain that once everybody went to movie theatres all the time for the air-conditioning as much, or more, as for the film -- and that this was when my father went to school here, at about the same time you did -- they look at me as if I were talking about living in caves and eating freshly killed raw Mastodon meat.

I found it most interesting that your internet name is your old cat. We had a cat that we inherited when its keeper, our next door neighbor, had to move and couldn't take the cat with him. This was a while ago, and when my elder daughter was distressed, she would sit with the cat on her lap, stroking the creature, and sucking her thumb. Sadly, after a year or so, the cat ran off and has never been seen since. My wife doesn't like cats, so I have secretly suspected her, as do my friends on the police force. But, the cat's name remains our password for nearly all of our different computer sites, so she lives on in memory. We since have got two dogs, one from the pound, and one from a breeder of Irish Blue or Kerry Blue terriers, and both are much more reliable. My wife likes dogs, fortunately for them.

Well, I hope that Iowa is surviving Harry Potter mania, or that it hasn't hit your community as severely as it has here. But, Washington has always been fond of passing mania, and it is the silly season here. Actually, I find Washington to be at its best, in many respects, during the summer, because so many of the annoying folk have left town to go on important vacations. That, I suspect, has always been the salvation of the republic, just as I imagine air-conditioning in Washington to be a source of decline in republican (small R) virtue.

Best regards,

Barry Wiegand

P.S., I noted your previous comment about the late unpleasantness in southeast Asia. My family (obviously pre-wife and children) felt much the same way, probably for much the same reasons. In keeping with previous generations' Tammany traditions, my father was a ward captain for the party in the Newark, N.J., area, all through my youth. In addition to attending semi-annual booksales, the other major yearly event of my childhood was the part primary, which New Jersey then held annually. Those were pre-computer days, of course, so we had boxes of file cards for every registered voter in the precincts and ward. I'm not ready yet for internet campaigning, I'm afraid.
The more unfortunate, then, that the myth seems to persist in the brains of writers who manage to get published without anyone involved in the editorial process catching the mistake.

As for the book you mention, I'm afraid that I'm unfamiliar with it. Thank you for the reference, though; I'll be checking it out.
Dear Schmerguls --

Although it is barely noon on Saturday, all or my folk at home, wives, children, and dogs, either have gone back to bed, or remain as yet unawakened. With a bit of quiet here on the weekend, I thought to reply to your latest. By the way, I think your last was signed "Dewie." Is that you?

During the past ten days or so, I have been busy updating my catalogue on LT, and I believe I have added four more books that we have in common, as our number has increased to 156. Frankly, considering that we seem to share quite a few interests and have, somewhat at least similar backgrounds, I'm actually a little surprised we don't have more books in common. Anyway, the newest four that I've added that we share are:

(1) The Vatican and its role in world affairs
(2) America's Black Congressmen
(3) Yanks: the Epic Story of the American Army in World War I
(4) A People’s History of the Supreme Court

Except for America's Black Congressmen (and women, actually), I got the other three quite recently at the Leesburg book sale in Virginia. The Black Congressmen book I got some time ago, and although it's been sitting near the computer, I don't know why I hadn't entered before. I mark each book as I enter it, so I'll know not to do so a second time, and I thought I had entered this one, but, for some reason, I had not. Usually, I enter books pretty quickly after getting them, and then I have the bulk of my library, which I'm entering as I go along.

Today, I'm working on books I fell inadvertent heir to, when one of our parish priests retired and went back to the Old Country. He left a touch precipitously -- perhaps a dramatic decline in health, as he was quite elderly. He'd been a pastor at another church, but had taken up residence after retiring. A seminary buddy of his had been our pastor for 25+ years, and invited him to reside at the rectory -- then the new/old priest immediately had to have something like a quintuple by-pass. He recovered from that, although didn't stop smoking, and was at the parish for several years before leaving suddenly to go back to Ireland. (He was my children's favorite priest, largely, I think, because he appeared very forgetful during what now is Confession; personally, I think it was something of an act.) We've been very fortunate generally to have a traditional four-priest parish for a long time after there have been very few left elsewhere -- although, most of our priests have not been curates, but have other responsibilities with the Archdiocese, and are "in residence." (For some reason I can't fully fathom, we now seem to designate curates as "Parochial Vicars.") In any event, when Father departed, he left behind a giant library, with no plans to take it with him, and few plans for its disposition. More by misadventure than anything else, the job of getting 47 boxes of books out of the rectory fell to me. For quite some time they were in the living room and basement. I ultimately managed to sell quite a few to a used religious book store, and put most of the rest in the annual Sodality rummage sale. But, I kept a few for myself. The proceeds (except the Sodality donations) went to our local parochial school library -- I'm on the school board and my kids went there, the younger just having finished 8th grade. Fr. Sheehan appears to have had an absorbing interest in Bible History, scriptural exegesis, pre-Gregorian & early liturgical rites, and classical Roman history.

I'm now reading "Christianizing the Roman Empire," which I thought would be fascinating, but sadly is quite dense. A really interesting subject, but hard to follow the presentation. It's by Ramsay MacMullen. I'm also working my way through "The Execution of Officer Becker: The murder of a gambler, the trial of a cop, and the birth of organized crime." It's about the NYC police, Tammany Hall, and the Manhattan Democratic party, which would pretty much cover what my family were involved with in those days (with the exception of the Church, of course -- although we didn't have any priests, just Tammany Democratic politicians and police.) Happily, I haven't come across the names of any of my kin in the book yet, nor anybody who is nameless, but who could be identified as a relative.

Anyway, thanks again for keeping up the conversation. I see the Cubs are doing well. I acquired two Cub starters for my rotisserie or fantasy baseball team, who had been doing brilliantly, but have been torched since I got them. Best regards,

Barry Wiegand
Hi future reviewer (and sorry for the late response :-),

You can sign up for Early Reviewers here! After that be sure to request advance copies from the list -- we will be releasing a big batch today or tomorrow -- stay tuned. More at my blog post and the Early Reviewers Group.

If you sign up for the program, you are still an Early Reviewer, whether or not you join the LT group. Hope that clears things up -- I know it's sometimes confusing, so feel free to ask more questions.

Take care,
Cliff (Tim's intern/chauffeur)

FYI: we only ship to American and Canadian mailing addresses at the moment -- logistical and legal stuff, unfortunately -- but this may change at some point.
Paul Gagnon! Hollaaaaaaaaaa
Dear Schmerguls --

Many apologies for the lengthy delay in responding to your most recent missive. Your comment regarding The American Catholic was extremely interesting to me, and it certainly suggests how much the Church has changed in the post-Conciliar age. Recently, I had occasion to buy at a book sale -- about which more later -- a Penguin biography of Pope John XXIII by Thomas Cahill. As you doubtless know, Cahill has written several volumes in a series he calls "The Hinges of History," which the Pope John XXIII book lists as including "How The Irish Saved Civilisation," "The Gifts Of The Jews," "Desire Of The Everlasting Hills." I believe since then, the list has expanded to include a book on the Greeks about Wine Dark Seas. The first 50 or so pages of the Pope John XXIII biography is an exposition of Papal History, which really is quite a remarkable screed. I had read some or all of the other Cahill books without fully grasping that the author had the sort of views expressed in his biography of Pope John XXIII.

As to book sales, when other normal children were celebrating Christmas, or their birthdays, my family observed the spring and fall College Women's used book sales, the first in one Newark, N.J., exurb (mine), and the other in another similar town nearby. My father practically counted the days until the sales started, and we spent most evenings and both weekend days at these sales for the two weeks they lasted. Many years later, my father still can't imagine that I wouldn't want to go to a book sale, regardless of where it is. As his life-long ambition was to see the New York Giants baseball team in spring training, when my father retired, my mother and he bought a condominium in Scottsdale, Ariz., to which he repairs each year after the Georgetown-Seton Hall basketball game in January, staying through Easter. There is a giant yearly book sale in Phoenix in early February, which my father begins mentioning to me in October to press me to commit to visiting him in Arizona for the sale's weekend. I make it about every other year -- this year, my Dad was quite perturbed because I had a conflicting engagement that weekend, my daughter's Confirmation. Notwithstanding my father's generally Traditionalist Catholic character, I had the impression that he couldn't entirely understand why I didn't skip the Confirmation -- after all, there was a huge book sale three-quarters of the way across the country.

Last fall, we had to pop up to my brother's home in Syracuse, N.Y., because there was reputedly a great book sale in Ithaca -- just 90 minutes away by car, after the plane trip to Syracuse. So, this past weekend, when the book sale was merely in Leesburg, Va., it went without saying that I would skip spending my birthday with my wife and children and pop out to Dad's house in Warrenton, Va., Friday evening, so we could be up early and drive 60 minutes by car to that book sale. (I should note that I don't drive a car, and hate riding in one for more than 10 minutes; I consider it roughly akin to a dentist using an old slow-speed drill without anaesthesia. I feel the same way about flying.)

My father's view is that all sensible folk get in line really, really early for book sales to be able to rush the door when it opens. Consequently, we have to get there well before opening to be among the opening rush lest somehow somebody get to see a book before us. Thus, in Phoenix, we arrive before 5:30 a.m. to get in at 9:00. The Leesburg book sale historically has been in a school building with limited entrance. So, although this year's sale was at a different venue, we still arrived early enough almost to beat the dawn. Imagine my shock, then, when we arrived to find that 90% of the books were strewn around in boxes out-of-doors, with no organization whatsoever, and no door to a book room to rush early, so no need to arrive hours before opening. Except, that one had to go through all boxes, rather than just going to the history section or the biography wing. But, the counterbalancing grace was that all hard-covers were a buck, and all paperbacks were 50 cents. Because nobody ever sorted the books, nobody ever priced them individually, either. After many hours of canvassing all of the tables of books, poring through dozens of self-help tomes and pulp novels, I ended up getting three boxes worth of decent history volumes. The Cahill book was one. Another that I got, which I recommend you look at, was Michael Lind's "Vietnam The Necessary War: A Reinterpretation of America's Most Disastrous Military Conflict." It's quite worth reading, regardless of your view of the Late Unpleasantness in Southeast Asia. In many respects, it's particularly timely in view of the second, current unpleasantness in the Middle East. (I note that Professor Quigley often used to expound on why modern students incorrectly use the phrase "Middle East" to refer to what he contended historically was called the "Near East." With due respect to the late professor, I think that Iraq might be far enough east to justify the phrase Middle East, despite Dr. Quigley's explanation.)

Anyway, here are two books that you might find interesting reading, both of which have serious potential for infuriating their readers. Although, I must say that while each book is likely to infuriate one type of reader, it's also likely to draw approval from another type of reader -- except that, the second book is likely to engender exactly the opposite reactions from the same two classes of readers.

I apologize again for the delay in replying. Sadly, I've been extremely busy at work and with family. I've hardly had any time to update my library here. But, I hope that will change soon.

Best regards,

Barry Wiegand
Regarding the work 'Destiny' in my catalog: it isn't a book, rather, it is a jazz recording by Fred Anderson, a legendary Chicago tenor saxophonist and long-time proprietor of the Velvet Lounge.
Dear Schmerguls --

This is a second p.s.: I just noticed that you wrote the previous reply at about 6:15 a.m., EASTERN time, which I have to imagine means some even more especially unGodly hour in the morning out in Iowa. As my beloved children would say, What's Up With That? I saw that another reply was just in the 7-8:00 a.m. Eastern time. I'd really like to be half so literate at that hour as you appear to me -- so, probably would the judges before whom I appear. Also, I noticed a couple of mis-edited sentences with undeleted errant words in one or my of my previous replies. I apologize for that.

Second, until I read your reply, it never occurred to me that Carroll Quigley had his own Wikipedia entry, so I read it. I had not been aware that a book got published by him on the Anglo-American Establishment. His biographer does not seem to have known of the posthumous publication of his Weapons Systems work (in interrupted progress). I had known Dr. Quigley was a favourite of various conspiracists -- and he himself was a great afficianado of conspiracism. Quite beyond his suspicions about the Round Table groups, he was a great devotee of conspiratorial explanations for things. This always struck me as a touch at odds with his equally devoted search for grand historical analytical frameworks, but very much in keeping with his similarly devoted view that he knew things nobody else did.

Last, somewhere at the end of Tragedy and Hope, Professor Quigley has an extended disquisition on the intellectual and theological tradition of the early Catholic Church, which I always have found most convincing (and, therefore, by virtue of being so convincing, of course, I unhumbly regard it as brilliant). Appropos of the Wikipedia biography's observation that Dr. Quigley rejected Platonic dualism, this analysis of Roman Catholicism posits that the Church regularly found itself confronted with a choice between two seemingly antithetical points of theology and invariably elected to eschew a clear choice, but opted for both, e.g.: Is Christ man or God; is man saved by Grace or Works. Whatever chapter(s) of T&H has/have this analysis, they're well worth reading. These chapter(s) contain/contains many others of what I think are the best of Professor Quigley's often remarkable insights. Along with the beginning chapters through, "The Buffer Fringe," these make T&H especially stimulating. If you read the introduction though, you also get a real feel for some of the other qualities that Dr. Quigley possessed, which came through strongly in personal encounters.

Sorry again for the long P.P.S.

Best regards,

Barry Wiegand
Dear Schmerguls –

I'm afraid that my late-18th century west-of-Ireland peasant qualities caused me to botch this badly. I think that I wrote the entire message below, and then somehow posted it to my own site, instead of yours. I'm trying to fix this. So, here's my mesage:

Thanks for your reply. I believe Professor Quigley’s 1300-page book is: “Tragedy and Hope: a history of the world in our time.” It essentially begins in 1914. He also had started to work on another book, which was published posthumously after a graduate student edited/finished it, “Weapons Systems and Political Stability.” I recall it to be very lengthy, too. Dr. Quigley used “Tragedy and Hope” as the text for his survey course when I took it as a sophomore. As you will see in Evolution of Civilisations,” Dr. Quigley advocated an empirical, scientific approach to historical research. As a result, he was especially keen on organizing schemes of analytical classification, which is the essence of Evolution of Civilisations. For weal or woe, what Professor Quigley deemed empirically-driven analytical paradigms often led him to conclusions greatly at odds with conventional historians. That’s the essence of Tragedy and Hope. Much of the book’s value lies in reading the first 150 pages, which summarizes Dr. Quigley’s heterodox analysis of history and civilisation before 1914, and the last 150 pages, which recounts why Dr. Quigley’s superior, unorthodox analytical schemes reveal much more important things than others have recognized. Although the book expounds on many things between its first and its last 150 total pages, a plan to read these 300 pages makes the book less daunting. My suspicion is that Dr. Quigley considered his heterodox views to be the best evidence of how much more he knew and understood about everything than anybody else. That struck me as key to his pedagogy and personality. Of course, I had him as a professor toward the end of his career, but I have always believed that reading Professor Quigley amply rewarded the effort. Very sadly, he died before he could very far along in his weapons systems book. Even what he did get down on paper showed extraordinary potential that this would have been a singular work if completed. As to Quigley’s theory about the events leading up to WWII, it’s a prototypical Quigleyesque view. It’s not actually all that different in type – if not content – than A.J.P. Taylor’s explication of the origins of WWII. I suspect that if Quigley and Taylor could have been kept together in a room without anybody getting arrested or the furniture being broken, they probably had a great deal in common. Regardless, such an encounter would have been great theatre.

The U.S. Attorney’s office in Washington, D.C., is within the U.S. Department of Justice. Unlike all of the other U.S. Attorney’s Offices in the rest of the country, we handle both “state” and federal prosecutions. The District of Columbia has no real equivalent of a state’s attorney, D.A., or county prosecutor handling crimes against state law – as distinct from a U.S. Attorney handling crimes against federal law – because it is not a state. Although there is a District of Columbia code, which is the equivalent of a state code, from roughly the District’s inception until the 1970s, both U.S. Code and D.C. Code crimes were prosecuted by a United States Attorney in the federal court in Washington, D.C. Our office was then, and still mostly now is, sui generis because we combine in one entity the “state” and federal prosecutorial that would be split between two sovereigns in Iowa or anywhere else in the U.S. (except maybe Guam or the Virgin Islands – I’m not sure). In the 1970s, Congress created a Superior Court of the District of Columbia to function as the equivalent of a “state” court and to try offenses against the D.C. Code. Nevertheless, our U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C., still handles all of the “garden variety” thefts, murders, robberies, or burglaries, etc., that a D.A. would prosecute in Iowa (and that I imagine you probably tried during your career on the bench). Is it fair to think that the District Court on which you were a judge is a court of general jurisdiction in Iowa. These terms vary slightly from place to place: in Maryland, for example, the court of general criminal and civil jurisdiction is the Circuit Court, while the District Court is not, but I think I know of other states where these titles cover the exact opposite jurisdictional arrangements.

I do not know the persons whose names you mentioned, except that there was a Professor Weidenbruch (sp?) at Georgetown Law when I was there. I did not take his course, so I could be wrong in thinking that he taught tax. At one time I worked here with a woman who was an AUSA, who I believe was then this professor’s daughter-in-law, but I don’t think that’s the case any more.

My mother, who grew up in the north shore Chicago area, was a Cubs fan. She was also not Catholic. Although she never hid either trait, you can see that neither made much impression on the rest of us. Nevertheless, I have great respect for each view. Indeed, on our cable system in Washington, D.C., we actually get WGN these days so I watch the occasional Cub game. (I’m sure they play White Sox games, too, but even though I understand the Chicago Irish to root for the south side team, I am too anti- (and ante-) modern to acknowledge the American League – just a jumped up Triple A league to me.) I’m also in a Rotisserie baseball league, and I have had a number of cubs – including Aramis Ramirez last year and Carlos Zambrano his best year. I recall clearly the Cubs playing the Giants in about 1989, for the NL pennant, I believe – a good outcome for my father and me; not so much for my mother (or you, I’m sure). I seem to recall that the Cubs’s Triple A team is in Iowa, and I’m pretty sure that the Giants had a low-A club in Iowa for some years in the 80s or 90s (1980s or 90s, I mean). Wasn’t it Clinton? Being an easterner with no sense of geography, is that anywhere near you? My father speaks fondly and often of Carl Hubbell. If you think about both Bobby Feller’s and Carl Hubbell’s careers, they share a great deal in common, although little about their pitching was similar. Anyway, the careers were both long, but they new when to stop before they went on too long. This note proves that I don’t, but I’ll stop anyway. Best regards,

Barry Wiegand

P.S.: Are you familiar with an institution called, The Teaching Company? It's at:

If you write at my e-mail address above, I will indicate how you can hear a couple of the courses I have bought. I believe that what they offer is something that would interest you, if by chance you are not yet aware of the firm. I think. Sorry
Dear Schmerguls --

Thanks for your reply; I personally prefer extended ones, so you need not worry that yours was long. I apologize for not replying sooner, but my father, brother, and I went to Philadelphia to see the Phils and Giants play this past weekend. (I've also been preparing for an oral argument in the D.C. Court of Appeals tomorrow morning.)

As former New York City folk (and from a Tammany family), the Wiegands remain fanatical Giants fans. My brother is a retired police officer, now working in Syracuse as a bank investigator. My father and late mother here moved to an exurb outside Washington (Warrenton, Va.) to be near their granddaughters, Ciara and Maeve. But, we still follow the Giants obsessively. Indeed, my family don't acknowledge any of this silliness about some move to San Francisco -- our official view is that the New York Giants are just on a long road trip west, and we eagerly await their return to the Polo Grounds. Really, besides my father, who said we're not Irish?

Dangerfield's deft turn of phrase makes the Strange Death of Liberal England makes one of the best works of history I've ever read. The epigrammatic characterizations -- such as his words about Brooke -- are timeless. I haven't read the book in some time, but I remember at least one example, even still, in words along the line of: if a particular individual had served his King and country half so well as he served his party, he would not have been left naked to his biographers. I also recall Dangerfield to be about the first author I read who put in proper perspective the Irish Unionist, anti-Home Rule agitation in Great Britain in the Edwardian era, and who recognized that it verged not only on mutiny, but on a challenge to the whole idea of civilian control of the military. Even most Irish Nationalist historians don't go as far as Dangerfield did in The Strange Death, nor are they so explicit in their description of what was at stake. Although The Damnable Question is excellent, I still think the Strange Death is Dangerfield's finest authorial hour.

I was ignorant of Dangerfield's biography of Chancellor Livingston, so I'm glad you mentioned it. Among other things, my library reflects a strong bent toward antiquarian legal volumes, and particularly equity and chancery practice. Thus, Dangerfield's Livingston biography is something I hope to lay hands upon straight away.

At Georgetown as an undergraduate, I took my degree at the School of Foreign Service, but I went to work for a mass transit trade newspaper here in Washington, D.C., afterward. That led to a job with a contract management firm that won a bid to create and operate bus systems throughout Saudi Arabia. I was there from the late seventies through the middle eighties, and I ended up responsible for demobilizing and repatriating the operation when the contract wound up. I was then young, single, and dramatically overpaid with huge amounts of vacation time and subsidized travel. I lived in Thailand when not in Saudi Arabia. As it happens, I long had an interest in Thai history, and wrote my senior thesis at Georgetown on an especially obscure aspect of it.

To the best of my knowledge, Dr. Jaeger no longer was teaching at Georgetown when I was an undergraduate -- unless he was at the law school. I didn't got to law school until many years after my undergraduate career, by which time Dr. Jaeger was not at the law school either (if he ever was). Two professors still at Georgetown from the time of your studies, and who had taught my father on the GI bill after WWII, were Warren Giles and Carroll Quigley. Long before I ever thought to go to Georgetown, my father used to tell me "Quigley" stories. He retired after my senior year, and only taught one course the second semester of my senior year. I am especially honored to be able to say that I got Quigley's last A, as he only gave out one in that class. Of course, the class was the History of Victorian England, so I had a leg up. I'd never have got an A in Quigley's Development of Civilisations course, which is the one my father took. (As a sophomore, I took the descendant of that class, also, and got a C+. Fortunately it was a large class, and Quigley didn't remember me when I was in his Victorian class as a senior. Actually, he didn't remember me even when I got him to autograph his out-of-print book, The Evolution of Civilisations, which he kindly sold me.)

Quigley was a fascinating man, although a bit of an egoist -- rather more than a bit, actually. But, he had good grounds for it. He was a remarkably original thinker, a rarity in historians, I believe. His book, the Evolution of Civilisations, although pedantic at times, is well worth perusing. If you can get hold of it, it will repay greatly the time spent reading it.

Fortunately for you the reader, before this gets longer, I must take a phone call from a friend who is a lawyer in California. We went to night law school together, and he was an Assistant U.S. Attorney here, too, before returning to the other coast. He also is a Giant fan, but of the wrong (San Francisco) sort. The follies of youth.

Best regards,

Barry Wiegand
Re Zosimus

Dear Schmerguls,
Zosimus was one of the last pagan historians and author of Historia Nova written ca. 450 - 503AD.

Dear Schmerguls --

Thanks for your fascinating reply. I hope I'm sending this reply correctly, as the computer got me here by some mysterious process I neither understand nor have seen before.

Anyway, I graduated from the Georgetown Law School in 1989, by which time it had moved to New Jersey Avenue, N.W., where it is today, except that it's several times the size it was when I went there. Back then, the law center had only one building. Now, I believe it has at least three others, each one as big or larger than the original building. I had a pretty fair gap between graduating from Georgetown's Foreign Service School in 1976 and enrolling at the law center nearly a decade later.

Wiegand, of course, generally is a German name. As far as I know, almost all of the Wiegands in America originate from southern Germany (defined to encompass the German Habsburg realms, too). It has been suggested to me, however, that our particular branch of the Wiegands, who came here as Von Wiegands, once had a name like McGuigan. The theory is that Mc and Von are similar patronymic prefixes, and Uigan and Wiegand sound similar, making allowances for accent. This could make sense if these McGuigans left Ireland during one of the Flights of the Wild Geese and settled in the Catholic lands of southern Germany. Certainly, some of my Wiegand ancestors in America emphasized their Gaelic heritage rather than a Teutonic background.

Because of my grandfather's connection to Al Smith, I grew up hearing quite a bit about him from relations who remembered him personally, and I have a great deal of what has been written about him and a lot of Smith memorabilia. My great-grandfather was a Tammany fixture, and some of his descendants followed in his Irish Catholic Democrat footsteps (or at least that's how I think of them). My father was a ward captain near Newark, N.J., when I was growing up. In any event, my great-grandfather died long before I was born, so I would never had the chance to ask him if Al Smith was part Italian. When I first started reading Smith biographies, however, one or more of the books suggested or stated that Al Smith was substantially Italian. I asked my sainted grand Aunt May about it (my great grandfather's maiden daughter). Her response was just short of flaying me alive with a dull butter knife. But, she was one of the prime proponents of the view that the Wiegands were Irish, rather than German, so I can't vouch for the accuracy of her views on the subject.

Leaving those New York City roots aside, I moved from the metropolitan NYC area to Washington, D.C., when I went to Georgetown as an undergraduate in the early 1970s. Although afterward I lived and worked overseas for some years, I eventually returned here and got a Georgetown law degree at nights. Through all that time we have lived in southeast Washington, D.C., although on the border between northeast and southeast -- literally, the other side of my street is northeast Washington. RFK stadium is due east of the Capitol building, out East Capitol Street, about 21 blocks, and we live almost halfway between the two, right by Lincoln Park. The new Washington Nationals baseball team plays there, but this is their last year, as they move in 2008 to a newly built stadium almost due south of the Capitol.

Since we moved here in 1984, my father, too, has abandoned the metropolitan NYC area of northern New Jersey, and he now lives in exurban Virginia in Warrenton. It's from him that I get my interest in books. He has an extensive library himself, and I got him a LibraryThing membership for Christmas, but he hasn't begun entering his books, yet.

Of books I have read or re-read recently, the things I've enjoyed the most seem to be ones that we share -- I'm fond of A.J.P. Taylor and George Dangerfield, in particular The Strange Death of Liberal England. On Irish history, I subscribe to a book club scheme through Kenny's book shop in Galway, and I've picked up a couple of things by J.C. Beckett and J.G. Simms of late, which were well-written and insightful. But, not many authors can match Dangerfield, Taylor, or Wedgwood for their grace of style and superior prose -- H.A.L. Fisher is in their class. I suppose. Not in this class of writing, but fascinating -- most of it anyway -- is American Catholic by Charles Morris.

I see from one of your comments above that in late January you were putting into LibraryThing the entire list of books you ever have read. I also notice you have something like 4400 books entered. How much further do you have to go? Also, where were you a District Judge?

Best regards and enjoy the Decoration Day holiday!

Barry Wiegand

P.S., sorry for the length of this reply-reply. Once I get started, I tend to go on forever.
Dear Schmerguls --

Thank you for your post regarding the number of books only we share. I think that group is interesting, but I found even more interesting the wide-range of subjects on which we have books in common beyond just the two of us. I'm not wholly sure what either point means, but I'm glad to know that even though the weighted percentages of share books aren't high, that there's somebody else out there with many similar interests. It's particularly striking, to me, because very few of our books in common are Library of American series. Most of the persons who share a high number of books with me do so because they have nearly all of the LOA series, as I do. But the books we have in common actually are on subjects rather than being from a series.

I live in Washington, D.C., city proper about halfway between the Capitol and the old RFK ballpark. My great grandfather roomed with Al Smith in Albany, and I have a long-standing interest in Irish History, central European history, and military history (generally). I think that covers much of our common volumes. Thanks again for your comment. (I apologize for not getting back to you sooner, but I didn't look at my LibraryThing site for about a week because I was busy at home and work.)

Best regards,

Barry Wiegand
Thank you for the recommendation of this collection. Like others, I've only read "The Monkey's Paw," which has been anthologized very often.
Dear Schmerguls,

You have an impressive collection, and, on top of that, you have read the whole of Mann and Pastor (59 volumes in my editions). I admire you, as I never managed, well, not the whole, as I "flew" over the parts that I was not researching. With such extensive reading, there is no much left to suggest. The only thing that comes now to mind is perhaps Duchesne's "Origins of the temporal sovereignty" - it was important in its time, and it will complete the beginnings of Mann's history.

I have seen that you have an English version of Zweig's "Fouche" - I thought that it was never published in English. Could you check for me the accuracy of the bibliographical information, as I will try to find it? Thanks.
As a short story, I enjoyed "Vain Oblations," but my primary interest is in classic ghost stories, and this piece, while certainly horrific, doesn't fall into that category. However, there is another story in the collection, "On the Staircase," which is definitely ghostly.
I found it in a used bookstore, and it looked like it had some supernatural content. As the price was reasonable, I took a chance on it. In fact, I'll take a break from a Mrs. Beeton biography that I'm in the midst of and read it now.
I really enjoy reading 18th and 19th century authors, both popular and obscure. I stumbled upon Louis Mulhbach (Clara Mundt), in a used bookstore in Cleveland, Kays.
I guess it was about 1968 or so. As far as I know, her books are not available in our public library system.

I moderate two mystery book groups and one 'gaslight classics' for my local libary and bookstore. I really don't have a love for modern writers, except mysteries, so I just escape to the writers of the past.
bob burke
I am ashamed to say that 'Vain Oblations' is still in my TBR mountain.
Thanks for commenting on my grammar error. I really didn't think anyone was paying attention. The book suggestion was a bit much. I was simply distracted at work. It happens.

I fixed the error. Thanks
Thanks for your reply to mine. I agree with you for the most part. There are exceptions. Page Smith is fantastic and he wrote a two volume book on John Adams 45 years ago. Douglas Freeman wrote a four volume book on R.E. Lee in the 1930's that was exceptional as well. All in all, the new authors are pretty good. Beschloss is enjoyable.

My favorite author is Robert Caro. The three books he has written on LBJ combined with his pulitzer prize winning book on Robert Moses are simply amazing.

In second place are so many including Remini, McCullough, Chernow, Jessup (wrote a great book on Eliju Root), Morris (except his book on Reagan), early Ambrose (his books on Ike), Martin Gilbert (Churchill books), and others.

If the life is interesting enough, I find that it is hard to mess up a biography. That being said, I can imagine that the other books on Webster that you have read do not cut it, yet his life was interesting.

In any event, your collection is great on bio's and WWII and I have gone through it carefully and orderd 10 books that looked interesting.

Thanks for the reply

21 years of commuting to New York City each day from Connecticut has given me the opportunity to read over 330 political and military biographies.

I see that I have some catching up to do.

If you have the time, I would like to ask one question.

I see you have a lot of older books. Do you see the quality of biographies today better, worse, or the same as say 60, 50, 40 years ago?

Great Library!!
Do you have a secret for reading so many books e.g speed reading? How much time do you devote to reading each day? I have practiced law for 30 years and have to admit that sometimes when I return home it is hard to pick up a book.
I see we both read Big Trouble. That is still one of the best books I've read. It really gave me a feel for the era. I believe Lukas committed suicide shortly after the book was published.
Thanks so much. I read the Rockefeller book several years ago and really enjoyed it. By the way, I am enjoying White's bio of Coolidge. Thanks for the recommendation.
Thanks so much. I actually bought the White one so I will read that first and then maybe go on to the other. Have you read the recent biography of Alexander Hamilton? It has been recommended to me.
Thanks very much. Which would you recommend if I only want to read one.
I don't remember which book you had that lead me to believe you might hav an interest in Arizona. You are welcomte to visit our group anytime. thanks cappi
Can you recommend a biography of Calvin Coolidge?
I have a record of every book I have ever read completely. I am putting the whole list in. I am only up to 1962 and have thousands yet to enter. It is fun to see when I enter a title how many others have the same title. I am now retired, after 28 years of general practice and 23 years of district court judging.
You have an absolutely fascinating "biography" section. How does your personality survive? (!)
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