Monday, February 27, 2023

Review: Let My People Know: The Incredible Story of Middle East Peace—and What Lies Ahead

Let My People Know: The Incredible Story of Middle East Peace—and What Lies AheadLet My People Know: The Incredible Story of Middle East Peace—and What Lies Ahead by Aryeh Lightstone
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was disappointed by this book. I heard the author on a podcast and thought he and the book sounded interesting. I really wanted to like it; I am pro-Israel; I think the Abraham Accords are a tremendous, historical achievement. But the book itself doesn’t really work. The author violates one of the core principles of good writing: show me, don’t tell me. Lightstone tells us a lot of what happened in the buildup towards and the execution of the Abraham Accords but the account lacks punch, drama, or intensity. We are told how ecstatic and thrilled the author and everyone around him is, but it’s hard for the reader to get that themselves from the text (though it is there when one considers the historical accomplished of the accords). There are just too many platitudes, hyperbole, and grandiose proclamations.

The author repeatedly expresses his gratitude in the book; his wonder and excitement at playing a role in this historical process; his thanks for those that helped me be there and be a part of things: from Ambassador Friedman to Kushner and even Trump. That’s all well and good; gratitude is important. But that’s not what the book sells itself as. This is far more memoir than account of how the accords came to be or why they are so important.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Review: Persepolis Rising

Persepolis Rising (The Expanse, #7)Persepolis Rising by James S.A. Corey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This series continues to be one of my favorites. Each volume adds to the story, to the characters. It surprises, while also sticking with what makes it great. After #6, I didn't know where the story would go; I was worried it get stale, but the authors juggle things up here to make it feel fresh again. This sets up what I assume will be the story arc for the last novels in the series.

While the last book felt much more intimate, this was more sweeping. How does the crew of Rocinante do with others, not only amongst themselves? How do they evolve to the next stage? If the last novel had a theme focused on forgiveness, the leitmotif of this novel is power: what drives it and what opposes it.

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Thursday, February 09, 2023

Review: A Pastime of their Own: The Story of Negro League Baseball

A Pastime of their Own:  The Story of Negro League BaseballA Pastime of their Own: The Story of Negro League Baseball by Louis Moore
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a well-presented and concise history of Negro League Baseball. It's only 12 lectures, about 6 hours, but it covers the development, growth, and downfall of the different leagues. Starting with the growth of baseball after the Civil War and emancipation, Moore tells the story of the development and difficult growth of Black baseball through the players, owners, and teams that were essential to the history. I didn't realize how many different Negro leagues there were. I would have liked another lecture on the post-integration downfall; this is covered very quickly in the lecture on integration but it felt like there was more to be said about what happens after integration. I think any fan of baseball will learn a lot about an important part of the history of baseball and America in these lectures.

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Wednesday, February 01, 2023

Review: Philosophy, Sport and the Pandemic

Philosophy, Sport and the PandemicPhilosophy, Sport and the Pandemic by Jeffrey P Fry
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My review of this book is published on the Nordic Sport Science Forum.

There are some excellent chapters in this new anthology on sport and the pandemic, but my overall assessment of the volume is mixed. There are some issues with it that prevent me from recommending this work without qualification.

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