Book Reviews

Drive-by Book Reviews

Here are my evaluations of my latest reading adventures:
The Lost Continent by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Edgar Rice Burroughs fantasy about what would happen if the Western Hemisphere had cut itself off completely from the rest of the world. In short, Europe is a shambles, dominated and enslaved by an African civilization, and in the process of being liberated by the enlightened Chinese.
Rapid Rating Fun read, really too short to adequately examine such a fascinating scenario.
Fatherland by Rober Harris

Another in the “what-if” genre. It’s the early sixties, twenty years after Germany won the Second World War. A German detective investigates a murder which leads him and an American journalist to some horrifying discoveries–all on the eve of an official visit from President Kennedy to Adolph Hitler.
Rapid Rating This one grabbed my attention and kept it until the end.
Grenadiers by Kurt Meyer

I think the first book on World War Two I have read that is written from the perspective of a German. Kurt Meyer (nicknamed Panzermeyer) was the commander of a German motorized unit, and saw action in Poland, Holland, the Balklands, Russia, and France. He was captured by the Canadians(!), tried and convicted for war-crimes, sentenced to death, then remanded to prison in Canada, before finally being acquitted. He spends little time on his thoughts about Hitler (at one time appearing to justify the invasion of Poland, but often complaining about foolish military decisions). He is most concerned about the treatment of his fellow SS soldiers after the war.
Rapid Rating Fascinating read, especially for history buffs wanting to know “how the other side thinks”.
What I Saw in America by G.K. Chesterton

This is Chesterton’s often humorous, always insightful account of his travels in the US in the 1920’s. It is marred only by his misguided treatment of Henry Ford’s anti-semitism. Chesterton did not live long enough to see how wrong he was. Ford did.
Rapid Rating Chesterton is always worth the read, whether or not you agree with him.
I Can See the Shore my Michael Dawson

Author of Growing Up Yanomamo (see my full review here), Dawson once again regales us with amazing tales of his life as a missionary on the Venezuelan Amazon. He skillfully weaves humor and tragedy, defeat and triumph in his account of his life on the “front lines” of missionary work.
Rapid Rating If you are at all interested in missions–especially among indigenous peoples–you need to read both of Dawson’s books.
Huckleberry Finished by Livia J. Washburn

The tourist agent specializing is “literary tours” is caught up in a mystery on a steamboat outside of Mark Twain’s hometown of Hannibal, MO.
Rapid Rating Solid mystery writing, mixed with numerous references to Twain, his life, and his works.
The Sword by Bryan M. Liftin

This is the first in Liftin’s “Chiveis Trilogy”. The premis is intriguing: a post-apocalyptic world that functions in a more-or-less medieval economy. Christianity has been lost for centuries, but is rediscovered by a warrior/scholar and his romantic interest.
The execution leaves a little to be desired. There are times when the writing seems choppy, as a general rule the good people get saved and the bad people don’t (with one notable exception), and the way some of the characters come to their (correct) theological conclusions is unconvincing. On several occasions I found myself repeating a line my own editor wrote upon the conversion of one of the characters in an early manuscript of the Missionary Max series: That was way too easy!
Rapid Rating Despite the drawbacks, I found myself curious to read the second book in the series.

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The Astonishing Adventures of Missionary Max, Parts 1, 2 and 3 are now available for Kindle and Nook!

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