Friday, August 27, 2010

Rickwood Field: A Century in America's Oldest Ballpark

Rickwood Field: A Century in America's Oldest Ballpark Review

Growing up in Chicago, I had the opportunity to attend many baseball games at two temples of the sport: Comiskey Park, where the Chicago White Sox played, and the venerable Wrigley Field, still home of the Chicago Cubs. Wrigley Field is major league baseball's second oldest park, having been constructed two years after Fenway Park. The thrill in being at these places came not only from watching the game being played, but also in sharing with family and spectators the history that was part of each park. I still recall my father discussing players such as Lefty Grove and Hank Greenberg as we watched athletes from a new generation like Luis Aparicio, Mickey Mantle and Billy Pierce. One of the joys of baseball is the never-ending argument that focuses on the history of the game and the skill of players from generation to generation.

Reading Allen Barra's latest book, I was surprised to learn that the oldest baseball park in America is not a major league stadium, but is instead Rickwood Field, home of the minor league Birmingham Barons. The stadium was constructed in 1910 by industrialist Rick Woodward for ,000, an amount today that probably would not even purchase a skybox for the season. The Barons have relocated to suburban Hoover, Alabama, but Rickwood is presently undergoing restoration and renovation to become a baseball museum. The vast, rich history of this ballpark, as recounted by Barra, will make it a must-see location for any baseball fan.

In the decades between the World Wars, baseball was America's game and fans flocked to see games in minor league ballparks across the nation. Players were not paid the huge salaries that came as a result of free agency, and barnstorming and exhibition games in the off-season were common. In addition, the baseball leagues were segregated into separate leagues for white and black players. Rickwood Field was home to both the Barons and the Black Barons of the Negro National League. It was at Rickwood Field in the spring of 1926 that the Black Lookouts of Chattanooga faced the Black Barons. The Chattanooga pitcher was an impressive young man, and Birmingham offered him 5 a month to pitch for them. Young Satchel Paige was receiving a month from Chattanooga, so the offer was quickly accepted. In Birmingham, the Paige legend began.

Paige was not the only Hall of Famer to play at Rickwood. The list is long and includes Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio and 18-year-old Willie Mays, who played there in 1948 in the last Negro League World Series.

The Birmingham Barons, a farm team of the Chicago White Sox, played their last game at Rickwood in 1987. The stadium remained a facility for high school teams and was the setting for the movies Cobb and Soul of the Game. Local business leaders and fans have raised millions of dollars to maintain Rickwood and turn it into a baseball museum. Barra, while content to note the great history of the park, also gives appropriate mention to the restoration activities and instructs readers how they may join in the effort.

While RICKWOOD FIELD suffers to a small degree from Barra's hyperbole (too many players are the greatest ever, and too many events are unparalleled), he has produced a wonderful literary homage to an era and moment of baseball history that is unlikely to be experienced again. More than the sport is the history of the American South, moving from segregation to integration with sports being a prime factor in that evolution. Barra captures just how far the South --- and America --- has come in the 100 years since Rickwood Field opened its doors.

Rickwood Field: A Century in America's Oldest Ballpark Feature

  • ISBN13: 9780393069334
  • Condition: New
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Rickwood Field: A Century in America's Oldest Ballpark Overview

The extraordinary social history of Rickwood Field is the story of baseball itself, gloriously evoked for the centennial of America’s oldest ballpark. Those fortunate fans who attended Opening Day on August 18, 1910 could not have had the slightest inkling that their brand new stadium would one day be the oldest active professional ballpark in America. Nor could they have possibly imagined how dramatically baseball would transform itself over the course of a century. Back then there were no high-powered agents, no steroids dominating the sports headlines, no gleaming, billion-dollar stadiums with corporate sky boxes that lit up the neon sky. There was only the wood and the raw hide, the mitt and the cap, and the game as it was played a few miles from downtown Birmingham, Alabama.

Allen Barra has journeyed to his native Alabama to capture the glories of a century of baseball lore. In chronicling Rickwood Field’s history, he also tells of segregated baseball and the legendary Negro Leagues while summoning the ghosts of the players themselves —Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Babe Ruth, Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Ted Willians, and Willie Mays — who still haunt baseball’s oldest Cathedral. But Rickwood Field, a place where the Ku Klux Klan once held rallies, has now become a symbol of hope and triumph, a stadium that reflects the evolution of a city where baseball was, for decades, virtually the sole connecting point between blacks and whites.

While other fabled stadiums have yielded to the wrecker’s ball, baseball’s Garden of Eden seems increasingly invulnerable to the ravages of time. Indeed, the manually operated scoreboard still uses numbers painted on metal sheets, and on the right field wall, the Burma Shave sign hangs just as it did when the legendary Black Barons called the stadium their own. Not surprisingly, there is no slick or artificial turf here, only grass – and it’s been trodden by the cleats of greats from Shoeless Joe Jackson to Reggie Jackson. Drawing on extensive interviews, best-selling author Barra evokes a southern city once rife with racial tension where a tattered ballpark was, and resplendently still is, a rare beacon of hope. Both a relic of America’s past and a guidepost for baseball’s future, Rickwood Field follows the evolution of a nation and its pastime through our country’s oldest active ballpark. 58 black-and-white photographs

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The Acorn People

The Acorn People Review

Camp Wiggins was not a place for medically sanitized facilities, safety rails, or strict activity schedules. It was a place for memories to be made, accomplishments, and fantasies to be fulfilled. By no means were the handicaps of the teens attending this camp would burden this in any way. The Acorn People, by Ron Jones, tells a story of how a camp of handicap teens grow together and accomplish more than they could ever dream of doing at a camp made for boy scouts. In this true story, Ron Jones, the camp counselor of a group that goes above and beyond the expectations of camp, ables these teens to work together to climb Mountain Lookout, swim for the first time, and then struggle with getting the approval of the camp owner Mr. Bradshaw. Over all, this story was emotionally filled as well as giving you a new look on people not as fortunate as those not handicapped.

The kids in Ron Jones group whom he counseled each were very unique. They all had their different disability as well as something that they were good at. Martin was blind. He was one of the most mobile in the group. He always seemed to have a smile on his face, as well as all the other blind kids at the camp. He always was in motion. Then there was Benny B. Polio had taken both of his legs. He was a speed freak. He could do wheelies and many other things in his wheel chair. Spider was another kid in Ron's cabin. He had no legs or arms. Spider was always alert and loved to talk. He was a so-called "jukebox". Then there was Thomas Stewart. He had muscular sclerosis and weighed about 35 pounds in all. He never talked and you never could tell what he was really thinking. Aaron or "Arid" had no way of the waste in his body to be exerted out of his body. His smell was horrible causing him to not have too many friends, and getting the nickname "Arid". Throughout this story, you saw how each character developed from handicapped boys into outgoing, dream filled young men. This occurs when Thomas actually talks to them for the first time, when Spider shows them all how he's such a great swimmer despite having no limbs, and when Aaron gets crowned King at the dance.

The Acorn People gets its title from a conversation that Benny B. and Ron had. Ron was making a necklace made of nuts because he was feeling extremely stressed out. Ron did not have the job as a counselor because he wanted to work with handicap teens, but he had the job because he needed one. He was not prepared at all to have to change sheets every night from the bed wettings that occurred, or to feed many of them individually. He decided to make this necklace of acorns to express how "nuts" he felt being there. While he was doing this, Benny B. walks over asking him what the necklace was for. At first Ron didn't answer him but then, after constantly being asked by Benny he told him how he felt a little nuts being here and so he thought the necklace to be appropriate. Benny B. responded with saying, "So do we counselor, we all feel a little nutty here! You might want to call us the nut people, yeah, that's a good name for us." After this, Ron's whole group made these necklaces and then eventually made them for the whole camp. The name "The Acorn People" got around the camp quickly.

The kids in this story experienced many new things that they had never been exposed to before. Ron and Dominic (the other counselor) heard an old announcement that was for the boy scouts that said something about climbing Lookout Mountain. Benny B. heard it as well and said to Ron if the boy scouts could climb it then why couldn't they? So eventually the group ends up taking a hike up to the mountain and then stops, looking up at it pondering how they will get up it. Martin steps out and starts up Mountain Lookout, experimenting ways they could possibly get up it. He finally finds a way that would be possible. They would have to scoot up the mountain on their bottoms and Thomas would sit on Ron's lap and Spider on Dominic's. This scene in the book just puts forth a new perspective to the kids in that group. It shows how much, despite their disadvantages, they want to accomplish things that regular kids are able to do.

Throughout this book it shows different instances which state that they aren't different but they are just like those not handicapped. When they had the dance and the boys and girls were dancing together showing emotion for each other it showed this. Who says handicapped people can't have crushes on the opposite sex? I would suggest this book to those that have had experience with those handicapped. They would most likely get the most appreciation out of this book. This book brings forth so much emotion and a new perspective on those handicapped. I have much appreciation for this book and the view it is written from.

-H. Cooper

The Acorn People Overview

The author's experiences as a camp counselor for severely handicapped children.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sail and Rig Tuning

Sail and Rig Tuning Review

Practical, step by step manual with very good illustrations. Use it to study or a reference book when you trim your sails and rigging. Especially rigging is something often overlooked. Just go around a marina and see/feel for yourself. There is at least a knot of speed hidden in your rigging. Also you don't want to get the mast on your head. Do check in the mast before you start, toggles and spreaders must be in good shape. Don't overtension. Highly recommended. I must have bought more than a fair number because I keep giving them away to people who see and like it.

Having sailed my whole life ([...]) doesn't mean that I have all this in my head or that I do know the why of the intuitive trimming of the sails. This book always gives me something to try out on my own or other people's boats. You will be surprised how you can improve even an old sail by systematically using the steps in this book.

Sail and Rig Tuning Feature

  • ISBN13: 9781898660675
  • Condition: New
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Sail and Rig Tuning Overview

"Illustrated Sail & Rig Tuning" ISBN 1 898660 67 0 An uniquely illustrated sailing manual on sail trim and rig tuning both for the racing and cruising yachtsman. 150 descriptive colour illustrations.shows you the art of trimming sails and tuning of rigs for optimum performance. Sail trim and Rig tuning made easy!

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Extraordinary Swimming For Every Body - a Total Immersion instructional book

Extraordinary Swimming For Every Body - a Total Immersion instructional book Review

As someone who was inspired by Terry Laughlin's first book, I highly recommend this one! I am a former competitive swimmer who now swims for fitness. I was becoming bored with conventional interval-type training, and was looking for new ways to change up my routine with flippers, hand paddles, etc. Terry describes technique training in a refreshing direct way that anyone who wishes to improve their swimming form can understand. I recommend this book to everyone who says to me,"You make swimming look so easy and effortless the way you glide through the water. I wish I could do that!" Finally, someone has articulated what I've intuitively known and was not able to teach or explain.

Extraordinary Swimming For Every Body - a Total Immersion instructional book Overview

A guide to swimming better than you ever imagined! If you've read any Total Immersion book, or have been practicing the TI method via DVD or coached instruction, this book will take you to the next level of understanding, effective practice and readiness to swim better than ever. Extraordinary Swimming for Every Body is for: (1) those who wish to advance beyond TI basics toward the highest levels of skill and mastery; (2) those interested in becoming complete swimmers; or (3) competitive swimmers of any age especially Masters swimmers. It includes our most up-to-date guidance on how to develop and train all four strokes. This book would also be the essential TI text for swimming coaches and teachers and those interested in becoming TI coaches. *All Four Strokes.

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Voyage of the Liberdade

Voyage of the Liberdade Review

Captain Slocum has a unique way of expressing his thoughts and feelings about his sailing adventures and makes readers feel as if they are a part of history as well or you might say a member of his "crew". Very enjoyable and relaxing.

Voyage of the Liberdade Overview

The book has no illustrations or index. Purchasers are entitled to a free trial membership in the General Books Club where they can select from more than a million books without charge. Subjects: Voyages and travels; History / World; Sports

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Boys of Summer

The Boys of Summer Review

Roger Kahn's magnificent portrayal of how the glory and anguish of a very talented, yet flawed baseball team---the Brooklyn Dodgers of the early '50s---became an aging group of men who experienced an inordinate amount of personal travail; and in the process, the reader is made acutely aware of how fleeting fame can be, and above all else, how transitory one's athletic prowess can be. Indeed, we all grow older, but in some cases, the aging process can bring about much pain over the course of just a few years; especially when contrasted to the seemingly endless years of youth and vitality, while playing ball for one of baseball's most storied franchises.

Kahn's compelling look at this wonderful group of ballplayers, whose lives after their playing days ended became something less than a fairy tale for most; in fact, it was filled with an inordinate amount of pain & anguish; almost a metaphor for their seemingly endless degree of post-season futility at the hands of the mighty New York Yankees; it wasn't until 1955, when Dem Bums finally broke that curse, although some of the star players from just a few years earlier had already faded off into the sunset.

Although few teams in baseball history advanced to post season play with such regularity as the Brooklyn Dodgers of the 1950s; yet the results were often a harsh reminder of the frailties of human athletic endeavors. The Dodgers seemed to epitomize the frustration of never seeming to be quite as good as many of their fans hoped they would.

In the final analysis, the harsh realities of retirement brought even a higher degree of personal frustration; even tragedy. Somehow, we are left to appreciate the Boys of Summer for what they represented to America in the 1950s---a uniquely superior group of athletes who always seemed to have the cards stacked against them, even in their post-baseball endeavors.

Kahn's work is timeless; his words are poignant. Whether you're a fan of the game or not, this is a remarkable piece of writing; a true classic, to be appreciated for generations to come.

The Boys of Summer Feature

  • ISBN13: 9780060883966
  • Condition: New
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The Boys of Summer Overview

This is a book about young men who learned to play baseball during the 1930s and 1940s, and then went on to play for one of the most exciting major-league ball clubs ever fielded, the team that broke the color barrier with Jackie Robinson. It is a book by and about a sportswriter who grew up near Ebbets Field, and who had the good fortune in the 1950s to cover the Dodgers for the Herald Tribune. This is a book about what happened to Jackie, Carl Erskine, Pee Wee Reese, and the others when their glory days were behind them. In short, it is a book about America, about fathers and sons, prejudice and courage, triumph and disaster, and told with warmth, humor, wit, candor, and love.

The Boys of Summer Specifications

"At a point in life when one is through with boyhood, but has not yet discovered how to be a man, it was my fortune to travel with the most marvelously appealing of teams." Sentimental because it holds such promise, and bittersweet because that promise is past, the first sentence of this masterpiece of sporting literature, first published in the early '70s, sets its tone. What follows only gets better, deeper, more sentimental, and more bittersweet. The team, of course, is the mid-20th-century Brooklyn Dodgers, the team of Robinson and Snyder and Hodges and Reese, a team of great triumph and historical import composed of men whose fragile lives were filled with dignity and pathos. Roger Kahn, who covered that team for the New York Herald Tribune, makes understandable humans of his heroes as he chronicles the dreams and exploits of their young lives, beautifully intertwining them with his own, then recounts how so many of those sweet dreams curdled as the body of these once shining stars grew rusty with age and battered by experience. It is the rare sports book that cannot be contained by the limitations of its genre; it is equal parts journalism, memoir, social history, and poetry.

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Monday, August 16, 2010

Death in the Long Grass

Death in the Long Grass Review

Conrad, Nabokov, O'Connor, Wells--oh, bosh and phoeey! For real excitement on paper, read "Death in the Long Grass" by big-game hunter Peter Hathaway Capstick, adventure writer extraordinaire and man of up-close-and-personal, hairbreadth escapes from savage death many times over.

I personally met Mr. Capstick when I was assigned to interview him about his third and newest book (at the time), for our now-defunct local afternoon newspaper. He was a great interview, knowing how to answer questions and extend information for a great story of my own on paper. In preparation for the interview I bought all three of his books out at the time and had read the first one prior to meeting him. He personalized his autograph on his first book and signed the other two. The first is now a pricey collector's item.

You see, Peter Hathaway Capstick is up there in the Great Hall of Fame of adventure writers with the likes of Ernest Hemingway. For a person who loathes hunting and especially the thought of sport hunting like the big game animals of Africa, I actually enjoyed his first three books, which I read one after the other.

It's been over 20 years since I read those books or thought about them; however, one of my students recently asked for a book about the 10 most dangerous animals in Africa for his research project. I gave him what the library had, but they were not enough. Then I thought about Capstick's books and brought "Death in the Long Grass," the perfect book!

After he returned it, I started flipping through the pages, then just turned to page one and read Capstick's first book again. It's still an exciting read. First, his explanation why big game hunting is not a cruel sport rings so true. His description of what elephants do to humans who disturb them is a worst case scenario of human torture. After an elephant mucks up a body under his big feet, rolls him with its knees, and stirs him with his tusks, only to do the routine again, the body is rendered a jellied mess, or as Capstick describes it: "Results are most impressive."

So, the big question always is, according to Capstick: Which of the big game animals is the MOST dangerous? His answer is simple but complicated: What is the terrain? What is the weather? Day or night? Feeding conditions? In other words, the most dangerous game is determined by time and circumstance, not the animal itself, although its nature is part of the equation.

But read all the chapters, each devoted to a different animal, and the one that springs out (pardon the pun) as the most dangerous is the leopard. Other cats use the fear tactic of the roar, but the leopard is totally silent. If it is wounded and not killed, Capstick makes it obvious that this wounded beast is now THE most dangerous animal of all. In one hunt a wounded leopard in turn wounded five professional hunters before the animal was taken down. Each man was heavily armed.

Capstick most disliked the alligator. He once saw a seven foot gator kill a 500 pound hippo. When the hippo stuck its snout into the water for a drink, the alligator snapped on and the tug of life began. Eventually, the gator pulled the hippo under, drowned it, and ate it.

The rhinoceros is the most thick-headed and stupid. The scene of the rhino head-butting an abandoned railroad car left in his territory is the stuff of pratfall comedies. He head-butted all day long.

Capstick makes a fascinating comment toward the end and one which summarizes the big-game animals of Africa: "I don't know another hunter who doesn't--even if quietly--share my affection for the spotted hyena. The wild savagery of the animal's song is to me the symphony of the beauty, the horror, and the reality of life and death in the long grass, finally and at last, the truth" (285).

Capstick died from complications of heart surgery in 1996, long after his legacy was firmly established.

Death in the Long Grass Feature

  • ISBN13: 9780312186135
  • Condition: New
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Death in the Long Grass Overview

Few men can say they have known Africa as Peter Hathaway Capstick has know it-- leading safaris through lion country; tracking man-eating leopards along tangled jungle paths; running for cover as fear-maddened elephants stampede in all directions. And of the few who have known this dangerous way of life, fewer still can recount their adventures with the flair of this former professional hunter-turned-writer.

Based on Capstick's own experiences and the personal accounts of his colleagues, Death in the Long Grass portrays the great killers of the African bush-- not only the lion, leopard, and elephant, but the primitive rhino and the crocodile waiting for its unsuspecting prey, the titanic hippo and the Cape buffalo charging like an express train out of control. Capstick was a born raconteur whose colorful descriptions and eye for exciting, authentic detail bring us face to face with some of the most ferocious killers in the world-- underrated killers like the surprisingly brave and cunning hyena, silent killers such as the lightning-fast black mamba snake, collective killers like the wild dog. Readers can lean back in a chair, sip a tall, iced drink, and revel in the kinds of stories Hemingway and Ruark used to hear in hotel bars from Nairobi to Johannesburg, as veteran hunters would tell of what they heard beyond the campfire and saw through the sights of an express rifle.

As thrilling as any novel, as taut and exciting as any adventure story, Death in the Long Grass takes us deep into the heart of darkness to view the Africa that few people have ever seen.

Death in the Long Grass Specifications

Hook-and-bullet adventures had by tough guys such as Teddy Roosevelt and Papa Hemingway may be out of favor in these times of eco-awareness, but Peter Hathaway Capstick's account of big-game hunting in Africa remains a classic. With humor, grace, and supreme tension, Capstick takes the reader on safari, eloquently stating his case for blood sport while portraying the intensity of the hunt.

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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Kilimanjaro - a trekking guide to Africa's highest mountain, 3rd: (includes Mt Meru and city guides to Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Moshi and Marangu) ... Trekking Guide to Africa's Highest Mountain)

Kilimanjaro - a trekking guide to Africa's highest mountain, 3rd: (includes Mt Meru and city guides to Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Moshi and Marangu) ... Trekking Guide to Africa's Highest Mountain) Review

We bought this book in prep for a Kilimanjaro hike and safari to follow. We did quite an extensive search online and called a couple of travel agencies to look into packages for us. We wanted to make this as much of a cultural trip also, not just a U.S. company with U.S. guides telling us what they might happen to know about the place for an outrageous price. We also didn't want to get a company that is dirt cheap but doesn't have anyone that can tell you about the culture and history of Kili, the Serengeti, etc. I think the book gives you a good idea of what Africa, Tanzania and Kilimanjaro as well as the wildlife in the area is like. We have yet to take our trip, but from all the research we've done, this seems the most comprehensive, and is quite good if you are an information geek like I am. Otherwise, you can pick the parts out that you want and it is still a very good resource book for any small amount of information you might need. Fodor's Africa was horrible compared to this book. Don't get Fodors. Go to Barnes and Noble and review it quickly in the store and you will surely agree.

Kilimanjaro - a trekking guide to Africa's highest mountain, 3rd: (includes Mt Meru and city guides to Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Moshi and Marangu) ... Trekking Guide to Africa's Highest Mountain) Feature

  • ISBN13: 9781905864249
  • Condition: New
  • Notes: BUY WITH CONFIDENCE, Over one million books sold! 98% Positive feedback. Compare our books, prices and service to the competition. 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed

Kilimanjaro - a trekking guide to Africa's highest mountain, 3rd: (includes Mt Meru and city guides to Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Moshi and Marangu) ... Trekking Guide to Africa's Highest Mountain) Overview

At 19,341ft Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest mountain. Yet with no mountaineering skills necessary to reach the summit, even non-climbers can experience the thrill of climbing one of the world’s greatest peaks. Taking you from the dusty plains of East Africa through jungle and moorland to the glacier -clad summit, this is one of the most beautiful and challenging treks there is.


  • Comprehensive trail guide and maps to the six major routes: Machame, Marangu, Rongai (Loitokitok), Lemosho, Shira and Umbwe – by a writer who’s climbed them all
  • City guides – Where to stay, eat and what to see en route to Kili in:  Dar es Salaam,  Nairobi, Arusha, Moshi and Marangu
  • Planning your trip and booking a trek  when to go, what to take, how to book your trek: extensive reviews of trekking agencies
  • Mount Meru – a popular pre-Kilimanjaro trek
  • Background information Comprehensive history, geology, climate, flora and fauna, plus cultural information on the Chagga people
  • Health and safety on Kilimanjaro
  • Green trekking – minimizing your impact
  • Porters’ rights – how you can help

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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Associated Press Guide to Photojournalism (Associated Press Handbooks)

Associated Press Guide to Photojournalism (Associated Press Handbooks) Review

I liked this book because it was stories told by photojournalists, giving examples versus a "textbook" approach. It showed that the resourcefulness, perseverence and creativity of photojournalists is what makes them successful, not necessarily following specific guidelines that cannot work in every situation. Very entertaining read.

Associated Press Guide to Photojournalism (Associated Press Handbooks) Feature

  • ISBN13: 9780071363877
  • Condition: New
  • Notes: BUY WITH CONFIDENCE, Over one million books sold! 98% Positive feedback. Compare our books, prices and service to the competition. 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed

Associated Press Guide to Photojournalism (Associated Press Handbooks) Overview

Written by noted AP photographer and photoeditor Brian Horton, this is an insider's manual to one of the most glamorous and exciting media professions. Emphasizing the creative process behind the photojournalist's art, Brian Horton draws upon his three decades of experience, as well as the experiences of other award-winning photojournalists, to instruct readers in the secrets of snapping memorable news photos every time. With the help of more than 100 photographs from the AP archives, he analyzes what constitutes successful news photos of every type, including portraits, tableaux, sports shots, battlefield scenes, and more, as well as offering tips on how to develop a style of your own.

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Friday, August 13, 2010

On Thin Ice: Breakdowns, Whiteouts, and Survival on the World's Deadliest Roads

On Thin Ice: Breakdowns, Whiteouts, and Survival on the World's Deadliest Roads Review

Loved the book - brought back memories of my own much more limited truck-driving experiences with whiteouts, wolves, cold temperatures, Yellowknife NWT, and below-zero temperatures. On the other hand, I've never driven a truck over lake ice, and after reading Rowland's book, have no intention of doing so. I'm CHICKEN! Also haven't done on-road repairs, 18-speeds (only 13), and driving 1,900 miles in a day. (My record is only 900.) On the other hand, I've also been fortunate enough to experience incredible scenery traveling the Alaskan and Dalton highways. Was particularly interesting to learn how they build and maintain ice roads over water. Great reading!

On Thin Ice: Breakdowns, Whiteouts, and Survival on the World's Deadliest Roads Feature

  • ISBN13: 9781401323684
  • Condition: New
  • Notes: BUY WITH CONFIDENCE, Over one million books sold! 98% Positive feedback. Compare our books, prices and service to the competition. 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed

On Thin Ice: Breakdowns, Whiteouts, and Survival on the World's Deadliest Roads Overview

You've watched him battle the odds on History's Ice Road Truckers. Now read Hugh "The Polar Bear" Roland's own storm-by-storm account of surviving and conquering the infamous ice roads of the Arctic. Join Hugh in the front seat of his truck as he shares his most chilling, adrenaline-fueled tales of the world's most dangerous job.

Every year, a fleet of truckers travels beyond the northern equatorial line to the Arctic Circle, battling subzero temperatures and perilous conditions. Though treacherous, it is a region heavily endowed with natural resources. Locating this abundance of natural gas, conflict-free diamonds, and gold is relatively easy; extracting and transporting these goods is another matter entirely. The elite truckers chosen to deliver materials vital to these efforts spend two months traveling distances greater than Western Europe on naturally formed roads of ice that is only sixteen inches thick.

It is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world.

For more than twenty years, Hugh Rowland has survived the ice roads like none other. Each year when the temperature plummets, Rowland leaves his family in Vancouver, Canada, to drive 1,900 miles to Yellowknife, where he will begin his odyssey. Facing the threat of perilous avalanches, hundred-foot cliffs, and the ever-present danger of cracking through the ice, Hugh must push himself to the limit. The payoff is sweet, but Rowland isn't in it just for the money; he is driven by the camaraderie, the call to adventure, and the chance to battle the odds year after year.

From the first snowstorm to the final thaw, On Thin Ice traces the history of ice road trucking, chronicles Rowland's preparation for the trek, and follows him through his perilous journey along the infamous ice roads. Take a ride with Rowland as he recounts tales of epic breakdowns and breathtaking heroism that are just a daily part of the job. In this classic battle of man and machine versus cruelest nature, only the strong will survive to see their payday, their families, and the chance to do it all over again . . . on thin ice.


"You've never experienced winter until you've lived through one in the far north. It starts in October and doesn't let up until mid-April. The temperatures drop to minus 70, with winds blowing 60 miles an hour. At that temperature, you throw a pot of boiling water or coffee into the air and it will instantly vaporize and turn into snow. It's cold as hell, but it's also full of riches: silver, gold, uranium, diamonds, and oil worth tens of billions of dollars. Locating these treasures in the frozen tundra is the easy part. Getting them out of the ground and bringing them from the frozen wasteland to civilization is a lot tougher. That's my job."
--From Ice Road Truckers

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hidden Mickeys: A Field Guide to Walt Disney World's Best Kept Secrets

Hidden Mickeys: A Field Guide to Walt Disney World's Best Kept Secrets Review

My seven-year old daughter discovered this book and once she realized what Hidden Mickeys were, she was determined to read every section that was related to any park or hotel that we might be utilizing in our upcoming trip to WDW...and then find all those Hidden Mickeys. Thankfully, she didn't make us go to other hotels! I guess we'll save those chapters for future trips.

This book really gave us a fresh, new outlook on our latest visit to WDW. We have already seen and done a lot of what there is to do at WDW (although it doesn't keep us from going back), but after appreciating the concept of Hidden Mickeys, our little girl was even willing to ride rides that previously scared her (e.g., Pirates of the Carribean) because those rides had Hidden Mickeys in them. Go figure! In this book, there are hints and then there are sections that tell you right where to find them. It's up to you how challenging you want the "hunt" to be. She was determined not to look at the outright details, but to rely strictly on the hints. We even had to ride the Epcot/Mexico boat ride TWICE because she thought she had missed one -- ha!

We carried this book around WDW for three full days and had a great time with it. If you think you have seen all there is to see at WDW but you keep going back for more anyway, get a copy of this book and you will suddenly gain an appreciation for the details that the folks at Disney put into their properties. Almost makes you appreciate the cost of entry (almost!). Before you know it, the whole family will be finding Hidden Mickeys, including some that probably were not even intended to be there!

Hidden Mickeys: A Field Guide to Walt Disney World's Best Kept Secrets Overview

There’s a special new way to enjoy Walt Disney World and this book is your guide. Find nearly 400 "Hidden Mickeys"--images of Mickey Mouse cleverly hidden in WDW's theme parks, restaurants, hotels, and other areas by Disney's designers.

Hunting for Hidden Mickeys has escalated into a bona fide vacation mission for many WDW fans. This first guidebook on the subject adds to the fun by turning the search into organized scavenger hunts, complete with clues, hints, points to be scored, and places to tally them. There’s a hunt for each of the major theme parks, plus one for the public areas of the resort hotels and one for all the rest of WDW.

An Index to Mickey's Hiding Places lets visitors who prefer a less competitive approach look for the Main Mouse wherever they find themselves in Mickey’s magical realm. And those who need more help spotting him will find full descriptions of each Hidden Mickey in a separate section of the book.

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Football Scouting Methods

Football Scouting Methods Review

This book caused quite a stir back in 2004 or 2005 when it was mentioned in the media. The author is Steve Belichick the father of Bill Belichick the head coach of the New England Patriots. Steve was a noted scout and coach in his own right back several decades ago. This book was one of the first that I know of that attempted to codify some of the thinking and thought processes that go into scouting football.

Originally teams were allowed a certain number of visits in order to scout the opposition. Steve Belichick was a master at this skill and always found small ways to give his teams an advantage. His skills were passed onto his son Bill who developed an even keener eye for scouting opponents tendencies, strengths, and weaknesses.

Today teams of course exchange game film, input data into a computer database and study that content instead of exchanging visits. The basic things they watch for however are still the same although the exact formations and play types change every decade of course. None the less the original questions and points of study that are outlined in this book were influential in their hey day and still of relevance today in concept.

Since the media mentioned this book it has become a hard to find commodity and has become something of a collectors item. I have an old copy that I keep in my football library. The schemes and diagrams are somewhat outdated (e.g. defense examples include a wide tackle six, split six, stacked 6-2, 5-3, and an eagle 5-4 type of alignment. Offense examples include T formations and Winged T alignments) but the basic thought process is still relevant even today.

Reading this book will give you a good sense of the details that coaches zeroed in on back then and what Steve probably taught Bill as a young man many years ago.

EDIT NOTE Nov. 2008

Since I wrote this review I see the book has fortunately been re-published and is now available for a reasonable price. I see I also accidentally referred to Steve's son Bill as "Brian" in one location but correctly as Bill in two other locations. A senior moment to which some of you can probably relate...I corrected it above.

Here is the table of contents for those interested:

1. A case for specialization in scouting
2. Preparations for scouting
3. What is expected of the scout
4. Worksheet forms and terminology
5. How to recognize the defense
6. Scouting the defense
7. Defensive analysis
8. Scouting the offense
9. Offensive analysis
10. The final report
11. Self-scouting and post game analysis
12. Tip offs

Two other older books I am aware of on scouting are George Allen's work "How to Scout Football" published in 1953 when he was still with Whittier College and Robert MacKenzie's book "Football Scouting" from 1955.

Keep in mind the terminology and examples in all these books are dated now by four or five decades.

Football Scouting Methods Overview

"Considered the bible of scouting techniques" according to the Los Angeles Times, Football Scouting Methods explains the basic scouting strategies and insights of author Steve Belichick. He was widely viewed as the ablest football scout of his time and coached at the U.S. Naval Academy for 33 years; his son is New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, a three-time Super Bowl winner.

When Steve Belichick died in November 2005, the New York Times headline cited him as "Coach Who Wrote the Book on Scouting," and quoted Houston Texans General Manager Charley Casserly calling Football Scouting Methods "the best book on scouting he had ever read." Joe Bellino, Navy's Heisman Trophy winner in 1960, told the Times that Steve Belichick "was a genius. On Monday nights, he would give us his scouting reports, and even though we were playing powerhouses, I always felt we were prepared because he found a way for us to win."

In recent years Football Scouting Methods has been one of the top ten most sought out-of-print books; used copies have been quite scarce. This reissue edition makes the original 1962 text available once again in exact facsimile.

The book covers how to scout opponents, recognize defenses, analyze offenses, discover "tip-offs" that reveal the opponent's plays, compose a useful report, self-scout, and conduct postgame analysis.

"Steve Belichick taught many younger men how to scout and how to watch film and how to prepare their teams for the next week's game," David Halberstam noted in the Washington Post, and his best student was his own son Bill Belichick, "one of whose greatest skills as a coach to this day remains his ability to analyze other teams, figuring out both their strengths and their vulnerabilities, and shrewdly deciding how to take away from them that which they most want to do."

When CBS asked Bill Belichick to name his favorite book, he replied "Well, I've got to go with my dad's. Football Scouting Methods. I'd have to go with that."

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Monday, August 9, 2010

The Traditional Bowyer's Bible, Volume 2

The Traditional Bowyer's Bible, Volume 2 Review

(This review pertains to the first three volumes as a whole. I do not own the new 4th volume ... yet.)

The Traditional Bowyer's Bible can be reviewed fairly briefly.

On the pro side:

- The authors are traditional archery experts.
- The content is wide-ranging, covering longbows, recurves, flatbows, backed bows, composite bows, takedowns, asymmetrical bows, arrows, nocks, fletching, backings, finishing, tools, etc. Virtually every bow type is represented and from every area of the world and from ancient history to the present day.
- The books contain original material, such as information on hysterisis.
- The content covers basics to very advanced topics.
- Though the authors express individual preferences here and there(bow types, woods, etc.), taken as a whole the material is quite neutral and fact-based.
- Design is emphasized as much as construction, perhaps more so. I'd go further and say the intent of the series is to teach foundational material and definitely not to present simple how-to instructions. I've made bows using these books, but see comments below, too.
- There is very little throw-away material, here meaning text that preaches to the choir about the virtues of traditional archery.

On the con side:

- The material is topically organized (e.g., design, tillering, woods). While that's terrific for the topic, it isn't the best for the step-by-step how-do-I-make-a-bow reader. You really have to read the bulk of the material to put it together.
- These may not be the best books for someone just starting out in traditional archery. The authors presume basic knowledge of archery and terminology. A newcomer, unless extraordinarily enthusiastic, will be overwhelmed.
- There's a lot of line drawing illustrations. I would prefer photos.
- The multiple volume approach isn't really necessary, given the size of each, drives up the price of the total, and I would like to see the series published in a single volume.

The cons are nits, however. This book series provides an extremely comprehensive view of traditional archery and is a must-have on the bookshelf of anyone interested in the topic.

The Traditional Bowyer's Bible, Volume 2 Feature

  • ISBN13: 9781585740864
  • Condition: New
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The Traditional Bowyer's Bible, Volume 2 Overview

The second volume in The Traditional Bowyer's Bible series covers ancient European bows, Eastern Woodland bows, recurves, strings, steel points, quivers, and much more.

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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Get Your Captain's License, Fourth Edition

Get Your Captain's License, Fourth Edition Review

This book contains the same questions as the CG NMC website, but having it in print and separated into sections is very useful; most questions will come from the CFR, however, getting exposed and memorizing a few saves a lot of time on test day. Ground tackle, deck tackle, stability & gryo error well covered. Also contains the full-color guide to running lights, w/ bullet comparison btwen INT & INL ROTR. The CD is a little quarky, b/c it incoroporates a lot of celestial nav problems and MODU questions...w/out a way to filter out...but ROTR questions spot-on.

Get Your Captain's License, Fourth Edition Overview

Know you’ll pass before you take the exam.

If you are planning to take paying passengers on your boat or you want to save money on your insurance, you’ll need to pass the U.S. Coast Guard captain’s ratings exams. Get Your Captain’s License is the quickest, easiest, and least expensive way to prepare for these tests. This complete study tool includes:
  • The six-passenger “Six-Pack,” Master and Mate Inland, Master and Mate Near Coastal, and Sail/Auxiliary Sail Endorsement
  • 400 pages of tutorials on seamanship and navigation
  • PEARSoft’s new and improved interactive CD-ROM with all 14,000 questions and answers in the USCG database
With its essential advice and unlimited opportunities for exam practice, this book is your sure course to passing the tests and securing your license.

Please note: CD-ROM is compatible with PC only.

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Saturday, August 7, 2010

Rough Ride: Behind the Wheel With a Pro Cyclist

Rough Ride: Behind the Wheel With a Pro Cyclist Review

This book is written by an idealistic Irish national champion who thought to make a career of himself as a professional cyclist. What he found out is that system as it exists uses up its riders like disposable cameras. He had ambitions of glory or at least success, only to find that his talent is common in the pro ranks. What he describes is what it takes to exist as a professional cyclist - the wear and tear on the body and the pounding on the psyche. Hired as a domestique, his job is to support the big guns, the stars. Yet he is compensated on his own personal racing results, which are earned only when he is released from his supporting duties. For lesser riders like him, doping is the logical and even professional way of being able to perform. His transgressions are minor - caffeine suppositories, and trial use of speed, which he discards as just too *visible*. Eventually he drops out of cycling as he transitions into another line of work, sports reporting. His message is that it is the system that is broken - open knowledge of which events are not dope-controlled, the compensation system that expects riders to sacrifice their own results to those of the team, yet get paid on the basis of their criterium results. Most of all it is the code of silence that keeps all the riders mum and reinforces the idea that there is no alternative.
He speaks from the point of view of the average rider. While he is tight with the Irish greats of his day (Tour de France winner Stephen Roche and TdF points winner Sean Kelly), he can't and doesn't speak of them beyond his personal experiences from sharing hotel rooms, training rides and personal relationships. If you are looking for a tell-all book about the greats of the Tour de France, you will not find it here. This is his story, no one else's. It's not a comprehensive book about sports doping or even doping in the professional peleton. What made his story notorious in its time was the fact that he dared to speak of it at all. His transgressions were minor but his story ostracized him from his cycling generation for years.

He updated the booking in 2005, when he ventured back into that world, albeit as a journalist rather than a rider. Things had changed yet stayed the same. His point of view is tainted now, in that he sees doping everywhere, just in a more sophisticated form than in his day.

This book is interesting not so much for the details but for the pressures on the riders to perform and to do anything/everything that the others must do. You and I have long commutes and sedentary lives that are required by our jobs; they have different job constraints that are just as binding, only theirs will kill them sooner. What a life! Thanks, Paul, for letting us see this life from your point of view.

Rough Ride: Behind the Wheel With a Pro Cyclist Feature

  • ISBN13: 9780224080170
  • Condition: New
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Rough Ride: Behind the Wheel With a Pro Cyclist Overview

Paul Kimmage's boyhood dreams were of cycling glory—wearing the yellow jersey, cycling the Tour de France, and becoming a national hero. He knew it wouldn't come easy, but he was prepared to put in the work—he spent his teenage years cycling an average of 400 miles per week. The dedication began to pay off. As an amateur, he represented his country and finished sixth in the World Championships. In 1986 he turned professional, and reality hit. He soon discovered it was not about glory and courage, nor about training or dedication. It was about grueling defeats, complete and utter exhaustion, and drugs—not drugs that would ensure victory, but drugs that would allow you to finish the race. Paul Kimmage left the sport to write this powerful and frank account that breaks the code of silence surrounding the issue of drugs in sport. An eye-opening exposé and a heartbreaking lament, this is a book that anyone interested in any sport should read. This updated edition includes the story of Kimmage's 2006 return to the Tour as well as a moving section on the life and death of an old teammate.

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