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The Next President.
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The Next President

Joseph Flynn

ISBN 0553576666
Copyright © 2000
From the Publisher:

"Who's the cat and who's the mouse? J.D. Cade was trained to kill by his country. He did his duty and put the past behind him. Or so he thought. Now someone is using his only son as a pawn to force him to kill again. And this time the target is Franklin Delano Rawley the first African-American on the verge of becoming the president of the United States. In order to spare Rawley's life and save his own son, J.D. must somehow find out who is behind the conspiracy. But his every move is being watched by his blackmailer. He has drawn the attention of a suspicious Secret Service agent. And he has met an old army "friend" working in the Rawley campaign. Just as troubling is J.D.'s attraction to Rawley's beautiful campaign manager. Time is running out. When J.D. finally pulls the trigger, who will live and who will die? Rawley? J.D.'s son? Or J.D. himself? Joseph Flynn defies you to guess the answer in this edge-of-your-seat thriller."

Mr.Wonderful Writes:

For fifty cents I purchased this paperback at the library book sale. I thought it was written by Vince Flynn (who my buddy Rusty made wealthy by promoting his books on his radio show) not Joseph Flynn. There is a reason why this book is ranked in the four hundred thousands by Barnes and Noble. But, it is not a bad book. And, to be fair, it took me over a month to complete because I would fall asleep each night before I had barely finished a single one of its 479 pages. It wasn't a struggle to finish, but as I was reading it, I kept asking myself why the book wasn't more exciting. And I could not come up with an answer. While hardly the 'edge-of-your-seat thriller' as advertised, it was a decent read.

reviewed: October 18th, 2006
Page 309 " ... a torrent of curses under herbreath."

Begun: 08/29/2006   Finished: 10/4/2006 Purchased: June 2006
Where: Friends of the Phoenix Public Library
B&N Net Rank: 417,134

World war: 1939-1945


Military: World War II

Military: Naval

In Harm's Way
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In Harm's Way:
The Sinking of the
USS Indianapolis and
the Extraordinary Story
of Its Survivors

Doug Stanton

ISBN 0312983379
Copyright © 2001
From the Publisher:

"On the night of July 30, 1945, the Navy cruiser USS Indianapolis was torpedoed by a Japanese sub, sending 900 men into the black, churning waters of the Pacific. What happened next was a nightmarish battle for survival. Injured, adrift, clinging to each other and their waterlogged life rafts, the men watched in horror as their crewmates fell victim to catastrophic injuries, exposure, hallucinations, and relentless shark attacks. Worst of all, their last radio S.O.S. had been disregarded by the Navy as a possible prank. When help finally arrived an astonishing five days later, only 317 of the ship's crew were still alive. Meticulously researched, including eyewitness reports from USS Indianapolis survivors, In Harm's Way recounts with frightening accuracy those five harrowing days at sea, and gives readers a moving, unforgettable account of the worst naval disaster at sea in U.S. history."

Mr.Wonderful Writes:

I know what you're thinking ladies, "This is a guy's book and I'm not interested." But, as I read it, I was struck by how many times author Doug Stanton referred to wives, families and the feelings and thoughts of both. I couldn't help but presume that this is one 'war story' a woman might enjoy. Although In Harm's Way begins with an ending of a life by suicide, this book displays the indomitable spirit of the American fighting man. In July of 1945 the heavy cruiser (basically, a thinly armored battleship) U.S.S. Indianapolis left the coast of California bound for the island of Tinian. Near its bow was a large sturdily constructed and firmly anchored wooden crate cradling the atom bomb to be dropped by B-29 Super Fortress high altitude bombers on Hiroshima, Japan. The fissionable material, valued at 300 million dollars (in today's currency), was stored separately. Both were guarded by Marines authorized to shoot to kill. Only once out to sea did Captain Charles Butler McVay III learn that his ship was ferrying some sort of tremendous weapon. McVay was given orders to steam at flank (maximum) speed to their destination in the Marianas Islands. For absolutely no reason were they to deviate from their course. The U.S.S. Indianapolis eventually achieved a speed of a little more than 32 mph (28 knots) and set transit records that still stand today. At Tinian, where their cargo was delicately off-loaded, should the atom bomb they just delivered not result in surrender, preparations continued to be made to land one-half million soldiers on the Japanese mainland. Along with over one thousand other warships of the invasion armada already afloat, on July 26, 1945, the Indy steamed west. Not alerted to the possibility of Japanese submarines in their path, Captain McVay eschewed zigzagging, and in consideration of the damage done to the ship's mechanicals due to their flank speed run to Tinian, steamed towards Leyte in the Philippines at the more usual 17 knots. On July 30th the ship was struck by two of six torpedoes launched at it by an advanced Tamon class Japanese submarine, (whose commander testified after the war that zigzagging was no defense against one-half dozen underwater missiles each packed with 1,210 pounds of high explosives.) Due to the fact the bow was torn open and the jagged hole was serving as a huge water scoop skimming the Pacific into the hull at 20 mph, the Indy and three hundred sailors dove towards the ocean floor in only twelve minutes. In Harm's Way is the final accounting of how these brave sailors (many just boys in their early twenties) dealt with the following five terrifying and shark filled days. The 333-paged hardback includes sixteen pages of black and white photos, maps and diagrams.

reviewed: October 6th, 2006
Begun: 09/13/2006   Finished: 09/21/2006 Purchased: NA
Where: Unknown
B&N Net Rank: 16,388
African American Men

Ethnic Relations

Slim's Table
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Slim's Table:
Race, Respectability,
and Masculinity

Mitchell Duneier

ISBN 0226170314
Copyright © 1994
From the Publisher:

"At the Valois "See Your Food" cafeteria on Chicago's South Side, black and white men gather around formica tables finding companionship over hot coffee and steam-table food. Mitchell Duneier spent four years at Valois writing this moving profile of the black men who congregate at "Slim's table." They take center stage in stories that illuminate a new image of black masculinity and respectability. Duneier introduces us to Slim, a car mechanic living in the ghetto, who shows his concern for Bart, a prejudiced white senior citizen ... "

Mr.Wonderful Writes:

This 192-paged hardback (including mostly un-read footnotes) is a must-read for any White men who haven't had the occasion to regularly hang with middle and lower income Black men. Having recently ended two months working with Frank, a Baby Boomer Black man born in Detroit, I found many of the things he told me during his twenty minute expositions on life 'the way it is' echoed within Slim's Table; Race, Responsibility and Masculinity. For the first one hundred and seventeen pages, the book sensitively chronicals life during the early 1990s inside the majority Black-populated Valois (pronounced 'Valoys') cafeteria on Chicago's South Side. Slim's Table refers to: "Slim a reserved black man, who has lived near the Hyde Park neighborhood for most of his life." From the 'substitute kinship tie', where Slim demonstrates almost brotherly care for the ornery sixty-five-year-old divorced White man Bart (who passes away in the first chapter) to the surprisingly conservative political views emanating from Slim's table by the few men singled out of the twelve hundred daily customers, this book is entertaining, interesting and educational. However, at page one hundred twenty-one, where author Dr. Mitchell Duneier begins to display his Ph.D credentials earned in sociology, the work slows down as it begins to read like a college textbook. If one desires to learn about race relations while delving into the psyche of the middle-aged single Black male, from an author who has put in months of on-site research and has no agenda other than the search for truth and understanding, Slim's Table is an excellent read.

reviewed: September 17th, 2006
Begun: 09/12/2006   Finished: 09/13/2006 Purchased: NA
Where: Unknown
B&N Net Rank: 119,251
United States Navy


Cold War

Dark Waters
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Dark Waters
An Insider's Account of the NR-1, The Cold War's Undercover Nuclear Sub

Lee Vyborny
Don Davis

ISBN 0641667523
Copyright © 2003
From the Publisher:

"Operating alone and unarmed on the bottom of the sea, the U.S. Navy's smallest nuclear-powered submarine is one of its biggest weapons. Tied up at a pier, the boat with the bright orange sail looks absolutely minuscule, innocent and out of place beside its big brothers, the fleet's huge missile-carrying and attack submarines, but it can dive deeper, stay down for a month, and accomplish missions far beyond the capabilities of any of them. The ship has been cloaked in mystery. It wasn't commissioned or given a name, and even today it is hardly known beyond a select fraternity of sailors and scientists. They simply call it the NR-1."

Mr.Wonderful Writes:

I imagine you might be thinking, "This book has got to be even more boring than a book about earthworms! Has Mr.Wonderful lost his mind?" But no, dear readers, I found this non-fiction hardback about a super-secret Cold War sub (never given a name) to be a genuine page-turner. Retired-submariner Lee Vyborny and co-writer Don Davis have done a superb job on Dark Waters. People who read books as regularly as they breathe, will recognize this scenario: You are rushing through an exciting and fascinating work, gobbling up and savoring sentences, paragraphs and pages at an astounding rate. You both cannot wait to finish the book and again wish it never would end. But then, usually before the middle of the tome, the pages begin to drag on and on while the number of words on each seem to have doubled. You are slogging through the margined-marsh known as 'boring book bog'. However, Dark Waters does not slow down at all. I was reading full steam ahead all the way until the final page of 228. Dark Waters is the true story of the U.S. Navy's smallest nuclear powered sub. A sub with wheels on its bottom fitted with Goodyear truck tires. As the costs of this super secret vessel soared (costs which eventually totaled almost 1,000,000,000 in today's dollars) the word came down from its sponsor, Admiral Rickover, to use available technology whenever possible. This boat, which could dive five times as deep as any military sub, was fitted in 1966 with a Sperry MKXV computer overflowing with 12,021 bytes of memory. RAM was so tight on this computer that programmer's not only left off the digits '19' (shades of the 'Y2K' crisis) but also the year digit of '7'. To save weight, the reactor shielding was so thin towards the aft of the ship, it required all personnel to stay clear, even on deck side of that area. Dark Waters is simply an exciting book that recalls the extreme tensions we were faced with during the Cold War. It also reveals the bravery and ingenuity of both American industry and the men of our Armed Services. I can highly recommend this book.

reviewed: September 11th, 2006

Begun: 09/04/2006   Finished: 09/06/2006 Purchased: Dec. 12, 2005
B&N Net Rank: 4,993

The Earth Moved

The Earth Moved
On the Remarkable
Achievements of Earthworms

Amy Stewart

ISBN 1565124685
Copyright © 2004
From the Publisher:

The Earth Moved has moved reviewers across the country. In witty, offbeat style, Amy Stewart takes us on a subterranean adventure and introduces us to our planet's most important gatekeeper: the humble earthworm. It's true that the earthworm is small, spineless, and blind, but its effect on the ecosystem is profound, moving Charles Darwin to devote his last years to studying its remarkable attributes and achievements. "

Mr.Wonderful Writes:

Yet another book whose hype far outweighs its heft. But really, how exciting can a book about earthworms be? A chapter that did bring me to the edge of my seat, was one that described the search for the giant Palouse earthworm of southeastern Washington State. One hasn't been seen for twenty years and is feared to be extinct. I couldn't help thinking, "How would they know? These things live far underground in Jimmy Hoffa territory." The worm grows as long as three feet, and get this, to protect itself, it releases a mucus that smells like ... lilies. This Driloleirus americanus  would find life easy at any graveyard with one  of its functions to provide mourners with a lovely fragrance. You could almost say that visitors would be smelling the ghosts of the dead. There are hundreds of species of worms and each of them sprout the sex organs of both female and male. No wonder they are all blind. Some varieties eat table scraps, newspapers, leaves, pine needles, but never any meat or meat by-products. Some simply digest the microscopic organisms living in the soil. They have no lungs and breathe through their skins. And contrary to what I thought prior to completing this 206-paged large-fonted book, worms aren't always beneficial for all situations. In example, author Amy Stewart discovered that stowaway European worms dropped in the Minnesota forest have begun to kill new growth. This is because at night millions of worms pull into their tunnels the fallen leaves and debris that for centuries had hidden and sheltered the very young trees and shrubs from the vegetarian wildlife. Without the protection provided by the thick natural occurring debris, the ruminants consume not only all the groundcover, but all the baby trees that require decades to mature from a green-budded shoot into a young buck's rubbing post. Finally there are experiments afoot that may use millions of worms to change the sewage of our cities (of which only 5% is solid matter) into vermicompost (worm castings) that, after much sanitizing and de-stinking, can be re-used as fertilizer for growing food we eat. Anyone who delights in backyard gardening or creating first class compost will find The Earth Moved, fascinating.

reviewed: September 1, 2006
Begun: 08/29/2006   Finished: 08/31/2006 Purchased: April 2006
Where: Daedalus Books
B&N Net Rank: 167,115
Science Fiction
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Jack McDevitt

ISBN 0441013295
Published 2005
Return to Top
From the Publisher:

"Thousands of years after an entire colony mysteriously disappears, antiquities dealer Alex Benedict comes into possession of a cup that seems to be from the Seeker, one of the colony's ships. Investigating the provenance of the cup, Alex and his assistant Chase follow a deadly trail to the Seeker-strangely adrift in a system barren of habitable worlds. But their discovery raises more questions than it answers, drawing Alex and Chase into the very heart of danger."

Mr.Wonderful Writes:

Another delightful work from Mr. McDevitt. This 360-paged hardback keeps the reader running and wondering throughout its entire length. The action begins with a cup imprinted bearing the logo of an almost mythical ship that departed Earth 9,000 years prior to colonize a still unknown planet. Was the cup real or just a trinket picked up at duty-free spaceport store? The action is seen through the eyes of the beautiful Chase Kolpath the assistant to world renowned for-profit archaeologist Alex Benedict. And as any 'assistant' realizes, Chase bears the brunt of the workload. Author Jack McDevitt does a great job of creating an entirely believable female, and the best part is that there are no wild and detailed scenes involving coitus. (However, once again, in our highly evolved  and enlightened  future, sexual intercourse holds about as much significance as Barbra Streisand's latest retirement tour.) In Seeker you'll be taunted by mystery, beat up by bad people of both sexes and, by means of quantum travel, visit light-years-distant planets, dark holes and brown dwarfs. Finally, you will shrink in horror and disgust at the Mutes, the only other sapient humanoids in the known universe, an NBA-tall race that communicates via telepathy ... and can effortlessly read our minds.

reviewed: August 31, 2006
Begun: 08/23/2006   Finished: 08/29/2006 Purchased: July 2006
B&N Net Rank: 52,774

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