Near Future Examination Of Toxic Femininity. Did I grab you with that title? Well, as it turns out, one of the more interesting lasting features of this book is, in fact, its look at feminism and how even here, noble ideals can be perverted. But the setup to get to that particular moment – and its resultant *need* for Book 2 of this nascent series – is at least as compelling, showing two women from such divergent cultures – one “enlightened” Western, the other “repressed” Muslim – and how women truly live in each, for worse – and for better – and with all of the resultant struggles within each system. The action is intense and at times literally explosive, and the chase for the almost Osama Bin Laden type terrorist looming in the background is easily reminiscent of many of the Vince Flynn written Mitch Rapp thrillers. Overall a pretty solidly written tale that brings enough “new”/ “different” to the genre to be refreshing, without deviating so much from genre standards as to be alienating. Very much recommended.
This review of The Syndicate Spy by Brittany Butler was originally written on March 21, 2023.
(Mostly) Solid Examination Of History And Current Events. This is a fairly well documented – nearly 100 pages of its 400 are bibliography, *in addition to* at least a few paragraphs of footnotes at the end of every chapter – examination of both the history and current events of why both commercial and military control of the oceans is so important to human advancement. Some of the facts presented are truly mind-boggling, such as the sheer size of the Maersk Madrid – a ship used as a recurring case study, where if its full load of possible shipping containers were transported in a standard 2-high rail configuration, the train just to load this singular ship would stretch for *78 miles*. Others are more “standard fare” for most anyone who knows anything about the history of ocean travel or oceanography. Still, the book is current through March 2021, which is remarkable considering that I acquired this ARC in early June 2021. A must-read on a wide variety of issues from the complexities of modern logistics to the root cause and practical implications of modern military struggles to even the loss of American manufacturing jobs and the rise of Donald Trump, this book shows how control of the oceans has impacted all of these topics and many, many more. Really the only more “YMMV” section is the emphasis on global warming/ global cooling / climate change/ whatever they’re calling it these days alarmism in the final section, but even here there are enough actual facts to warrant close examination. Very much recommended.
This review of To Rule The Waves by Bruce Jones was originally written on July 20, 2021.
Fact Gusher. This is one of those history/ anthropology books that gives a LOT of facts very rapidly, without any real critical examination of the central thesis. For a book showing *how* asphalt has been used throughout human history, it is quite good – O’Reilly shows from the earliest human records that we have been using asphalt pretty much since we’ve been using anything else, including its critical role in Egyptian mummification and even Noah’s Ark. For a book trying to make a case of *why* asphalt has been used so extensively… again, it never really examines the central thesis or really makes any kind of solid case here. Which is why I had to deduct a star. Indeed, many of the areas O’Reilly claims that asphalt was a driving factor can be more easily – and completely – explained with factors other than this particular material. Without negating that this particular tool was indeed useful and in at least some cases genuinely necessary for the execution of the events as history records them happening. Still, a truly fascinating read showing the far longer history and much more varied uses of this substance that many modern readers hardly give a second thought. Very much recommended.
This review of Asphalt by Kenneth O’Reilly was originally written on April 23, 2021.