Recent Reviews for J.S. Bradford
Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder--Book Review (Article) - 6/30/2015 6:09:31 AM|
I always enjoy your insightful reviews. I have never read Little House on the Prairie or even watched the TV series. I prefer stories like Dancing with Wolves, better. On the other hand, on a long trip with my grandmother driving 90 miles an hour across the prairie in my high-powered Olds Toronado, she related the story of taking three months by ox drawn wagon to move from Arkansas to North Dakota, staying in farmers yards.
I recently, after 22 years, completed my autobiography, or mine might have languished like Laura Ingalls Wilder's. I'm certainly glad that Wilder had her daughter to encourage her and do fine editing, and Pamela Smith Hill who would later pick up her manuscript and finally, get it published.
What Makes Sammy Run?--Book Review (Article) - 5/27/2015 6:15:08 AM
It's great to see great older novels like this being reviewed under today's terms. Kudos.
The Hollywood Writers' Wars--Book Review (Article) - 4/23/2015 7:02:05 AM
Thank you for the detailed history of the era. I find people in general, and some writers here, very concerned about the way things are going in this country of the world. I have to remind them that it is nothing like what happened in the 1930s and 1940s when the world was on the brink of collapse over ideological insanity.
I think the writers and artists of all kinds, by their very nature, tend to be leaning liberal by pushing the envelope and taking risks that conservative society either looks down upon or is frightened of. But it sells. Vampires and zombies don't exist and never have. But the public pays big money to be scared by vampires and zombies that are found everywhere in the media these days.
So our political ideologies paraded in fiction in a way that there are starkly contrasting good guys and bad guys. Like the real ones… The terrorists. The serial killers. The dictators. And the greedy bastards… We know they are. Society has always blamed the messenger and somehow, failed to see the root cause.
I'm sure glad writers like Rod Sterling and George Orwell were not included for their outlandish satire in the black days of McCarthyism.
Backstory 2--Book Review (Article) - 1/26/2015 5:06:11 AM
Screenplay writers probably don't get the credit they deserve what they do, sometimes on short notice. I've never written a screenplay, and probably never will, but I'm sure this will would be enlightening for anyone interested in screenplay writing.
The Devil in Massachusetts--Book Review (Article) - 12/14/2014 8:40:38 AM
I had never read about the Salem witch trials before, so I thank you very much for your detailed description from Marion Starkey's book.
I agree with you about today's irrational beliefs held by so many people of strong religious faith. What with the news media sensationalizing and focusing on every little problem that some people take to heart as happening to everyone and creating an unnatural fear, and others passionately fomenting that fear with policies and programs, we are in danger of doing something as stupid as those closeted people did in colonial America.
Interesting to note that they had indentured servants and slaves and thought of them as useful tools for their purpose, perfectly all right in their Puritan faith. Times haven't changed much with all the wage slaves out there.
Stonewalled--Book Review (Article) - 11/21/2014 6:58:09 AM
Sharyl Attkisson isn't the only one stifled by the powers that be. It happens to nearly everyone who tries to do the right thing in the face of powerful or political opposition. From what little you wrote, she appears to be one of these reporters trying to uncover conspiracies. Quite often I find that media is very active in creating conspiracies by chasing theories that are preposterous, at best. For some reason, when they are repeated often enough, people begin to believe them.
Perhaps she should get awards for her writing, or her contributions to the art of journalism, but I find that honorary doctorates are publicity getters for institutions. Having earned a doctorate the hard way by sidelining my career for three years to spend frustrating days in libraries not finding what I needed, I find someone who gets a "doctorate" because they are lucky, successful, or rich, not really deserving.
On the other hand, if she goes back to school for 3 to 4 years to get a doctorate, I won't mind. If she gets one on the Internet from a diploma mill, I will.
Sons of Wichita--Book Review (Article) - 11/7/2014 6:20:28 AM
Thank you for your revelations here about the Koch brothers. I believe, based on what you've written, there is much more. I would be interested in how they treat their employees and the human failings because wealth seems always to bring out the worst in people.
I once had a famous entrepreneur and innovator visit me in my modest home. He gave me some literature about a wild conspiracy theory and declared that he was a John Birch society member. He left me with the impression that he was a nutcase and that all of his money had gone to his head. Later, I was invited to his home where about 20 family members (mostly hangers on and not productive) were present for Christmas celebrations. His daughter, still a hippie and a liberal in her 40s, was present. We were all asked to watch home movies that he had taken years earlier. Several of the films depicted the daughter and were about as close to child pornography as you could get. I don't think a single family member, except perhaps, the daughter herself, would ever speak up about what he had done. They were probably afraid of being cut off from the money.
Power corrupts. Absolute power, corrupts absolutely. The Koch brothers, and many others of their ilk, are sucking the life and vitality out of the country and creating class differences that are so great that only a revolution (hopefully bloodless) can correct. It was done before in the early 1900s when the robber barons were brought down. It can probably and should be done again today because our very earth is being destroyed by the greed of unbridled "free" enterprise and consumption.
Shakespeare's Secret Messiah--Book Review (Article) - 9/14/2014 8:15:49 AM
nice book review!
Shakespeare's Secret Messiah--Book Review (Article) - 9/9/2014 6:55:03 AM
Although I've not read Atwill, I find his ideas quite fascinating, as well as your review of Shakespeare's Secret Messiah. Quite intriguing as well.
Max Brand, the Big Westerner--Book Review (Article) - 7/29/2014 7:40:01 AM
enjoyed reading your interesting review
Max Brand, the Big Westerner--Book Review (Article) - 7/28/2014 6:26:04 AM
I have never heard of Frederick Faust, but I'm not an avid reader and if you use so many pen names, that maybe the reason. A German father explains his ability to write with discipline and high productivity even while drinking heavily. An Irish mother explains his drinking habit as well as his desire to write classical poetry.
I certainly hope that movies and novels will get beyond pulp, but it is helpful because most of the viewing public (they don't read anymore) seems to preferably the inane over classical. All one has to do is visit the sci-fi channel to view a bunch of junk movies about ridiculous monsters inhabiting our minds.
Thanks for the enlightenment. By the way, one of my favorite movies is Pulp Fiction.
The Communist--Book Review (Article) - 7/7/2014 2:10:59 AM
enjoyed the read
The Pulp Jungle--Book Review (Article) - 4/10/2014 6:52:55 AM
Thanks with a history lesson. Always thought that pulp fiction was that junk that was readily available in the 50s in paperback form. I even thought that paperbacks were common in the 30s and before.
While I have read a bit of Hemingway, I've always shied away from what I would call "B" literature because I don't read much and didn't want to waste my time reading for a pastime like so many, including my grandmother, and, to a lesser degree, my mother and sister. So I never read pulp and that has probably influenced my writing. I have, however seeing a lot of B movies that give me an idea of what pulp fiction is along with occasional comic books with bullshit stories repeated over and over.
Duty--Book Review (Article) - 3/16/2014 7:25:18 AM
Gates certainly has served in the thick of things. His experiences will provide a good backdrop for those that may have in the future. We can learn a lot from history. Since much of this history is is very recent, it proves that our times are more turbulent, if not as deadly as earlier times that were more brutal less controversial.
I'm sure it's a good read for those in military matters. I did note that you did not give your own opinion about the book, but relayed this content very well.
Raylan--Book Review (Article) - 3/14/2014 11:45:44 PM
interesting read, enjoyed the review
Caesar's Messiah--Book Review (Article) - 1/25/2014 11:05:03 AM
While I don't often put much stock in conspiracy theories or wild suppositions, the fact that the Gospels appeared some 300 years after the accepted birth of Jesus and the writers were already long dead, the idea that the Romans would try to use propaganda to grant the Jewish dissidents their wish, makes a lot of sense.
We are learning more about history, and history that was covered up by myth and on purpose by the powerful all the time. Only time will tell…
Thanks for this review bringing more light on Joseph Atwill's study.
The Frackers--Book Review (Article) - 12/23/2013 7:20:22 AM
A book that needed to be written and I'm glad you reviewed it. On a cold day like this with my gas furnace running all day long, I am grateful for cheap, plentiful natural gas. On the other hand, this same cheap energy source is slowing investment in renewable sources that may prove very detrimental in the long run.
The biggest concern I have with fracking is the long-term affect on groundwater of the chemicals and other pollutants in the fracturing fluid. Promises of containment are only promises, not reality. Methane release will be small compared to methane release from the melting permafrost in the Arctic. By continuing to rely on fossil fuel we are moving ever more close to a "tipping point" where natural methane release will cause drastic climate change that will be impossible to overcome and much of the life on the planet will die.
History has shown us that short run riches have often left us with long-term problems that cost way more to solve than the riches they produced.
Hooked--Book Review (Article) - 12/13/2013 10:08:20 AM
Lionel Richie long ago talked about writing songs with a hook. When I look back at some of those songs that I danced as in a trance in my youth, I realize that they were very repetitious and hypnotic, not really very good at all. The greatest songs out there were long narratives with little repetition and a great story to tell--without a hook.
I believe the same is true of storytelling and novel writing. Commercial writers of Edgerton's ilk crank out formula stories and novels guaranteed to hook addicted readers of their particular genre with the same story, reformulated, over and over again. Classic works, on the other hand, come along infrequently and break the mold. I guess that's why I didn't get past the first chapter of Melville's Moby Dick. There was no hook to catch me.
As usual, a fine review. Keep them coming…
Thank You for Your Service--Book Review (Article) - 12/3/2013 12:14:06 PM
Thank You for Your Service--Book Review (Article) - 11/28/2013 8:57:28 AM
I'm so glad that Finkel did the research and wrote the book. There is nothing like first-hand accounts to make a subject come to life. A friend that I've known some time recently confessed to me of his trauma from Vietnam. When he described what he did and how he couldn't watch the movie, "We Were Soldiers," because he was there, it was easy to see why he was so troubled and had gone through three marriages. By sharing with me, he was releasing some of those demons.
It makes me sick to see former President Bush out hunting with disabled veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. It seems like a token for the thousands that were maimed, both mentally and physically by that unnecessary war.
An important review and an essential book. Thank you.
Killing Jesus--Book Review (Article) - 11/4/2013 9:51:24 AM
The only non-Biblical reference to Jesus is in Roman/Jewish historian Josephus's work; it's very brief and often criticized as a forgery. If Jesus was the revolutionary leader O'Reilly claims he was, Josephus would've given him more than a few sentences. Josephus was known to overwork the most pedestrian topics. Also, lots of people called themselves "the son of God" so that's not evidence. The "historian" who wrote O'Reilly's book was obviously using religious sources. O'Reilly noticed his pal Glenn Beck seems to have a sideline publishing "mysteries" he didn't write himself, making a hefty profit. O'Reilly has also written a "Killing" series with his version of the Kennedy and Lincoln assassinations. O'Reilly is a self-described bloviator, and no one should take him seriously.
Killing Jesus--Book Review (Article) - 10/23/2013 8:13:06 AM
Anything about Jesus is a money maker, ask Mel Gibson and countless others who have profited from the insatiable appetite of the faithful. You didn't mention O'Reilly's part in authorship. I read recently the famous authors often don't write their books, but lend their book selling names to books written by others.
Joseph Atwill, who is the author of a book entitled 'Caesar's Messiah: The Roman Conspiracy to Invent Jesus', asserts that the story of Jesus was fabricated by the Romans to appease the troublesome poor's need for a savior.
The Lost Civilization Enigma -- Book Review (Article) - 9/28/2013 8:48:41 AM
I have so little time to read books, but this one is of great interest to me. Having traveled in scientific circles, I know that the status quo always wants to protect their territory and that “amateurs” are usually not included in their refereed journals.
On the other hand, as Philip Coppens has described, amateurs have continually added to the historic and prehistoric knowledge of our existence. That's why I enjoy watching the History Channel where new discoveries are continually being revealed.
Of course there are fakes by people who wish to gain fame or fortune by misleading a gullible public. As you stated, time will tell and usually fakes will be revealed, or, sometimes found to be something else even more enlightening. I firmly believe that human civilization is at least 12,000 years old. Civilizations have a definite pattern of self-destruction and that amount of time, combined with geologic and climate change, can cover or hide even vast sites, as yet undiscovered.
Why Does The World Exist?--Book Review (Article) - 8/24/2013 5:45:37 PM
Obviously Nothingness exists, why else would the famous rock band who shall remain nameless sing about "making love out of nothing at all"? Seriously, though, I'm joking. Your clever ending is a fine cherry on the cake of this erudite, recondite run through the litany of legends interviewed in this book. I agree with Ronald that this is a well-written and descriptive review. Makes one wonder whether there might not be something in this nothingness. But then...
Why Does The World Exist?--Book Review (Article) - 7/25/2013 7:33:18 AM
Jim Holt has taken on a monumental task and apparently, according to your review, done considerable research using both historical philosophers and thinkers along with current intellectuals to try to come up with the answer to his question.
Your review is very well written and descriptive. I certainly will consider, “Why Does the World Exist?, for future reading.