27 July 2011

Review: The Return of Sherlock Holmes

The Return of Sherlock Holmes
The Return of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another great collection of Sherlock Holmes short mysteries. These shorts are where Sherlock really gets to shine because the story is neat and compact and because Sherlock is a master observer he is able to notice the details and put together what happened without the need of hiding what it is he's discovered from the reader for long.

This volume comes after Sherlock Holmes had died battling Moriarty in the last collection. Thankfully for us, the fans of the day were too attached to Holmes to let him go, and finally Doyle acquiesced and gave the people what they wanted, more Sherlock Holmes! What I've said about previous Holmes stories holds true here. We get fun and interesting mysteries, but more importantly to me you get to see and understand the people of turn of the century Britain in a way that no dusty history book would ever be able to provide. These books are a great cultural treasure.

I definitely recommend people read the Sherlock Holmes collections, preferably in order, though that isn't absolutely required. So far so good. Now on to the Hound of the Baskervilles!

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13 July 2011

Review: Signing Their Lives Away

Signing Their Lives AwaySigning Their Lives Away by Joseph D'Agnese

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a very fun book to read for me as a student of the Revolutionary War. It gives an average of 3 small pages to each and every signer of the Declaration of Independence, and shines a light into the lives of the men who signed that great document. The book is humorous and sometimes a little irreverent, but its such an easy and entertaining read that almost anyone would be able to enjoy it.

At a time like now where our government is increasingly out of touch with the average American and is coming to resemble the tyrannical British government of the 1770s it is a great reminder to see how these men valued freedom and were willing to risk their fortunes, families and very lives in standing for what is right.

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