RogerBW's Blog

Cinderella Ate My Daughter, Peggy Orenstein 20 January 2017

2011 non-fiction. Orenstein breaks down various elements of the pink-princess culture as marketed to young girls.

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Rivethead, Ben Hamper 30 November 2016 - 1 comment

1991 autobiography. Hamper writes about his life working on the GM factory floor in Flint, Michigan.

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Project Orion, George Dyson 24 November 2016

2002 non-fiction: George Dyson, son of Freeman, recounts what can be told of the history of Project Orion, a plan to propel spacecraft with nuclear explosions.

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Unsolved London Murders, The 1920s and 1930s, Jonathan Oates 05 October 2016 - 2 comments

2009 non-fiction. Oates recounts the twenty cases in London during these two decades which were treated as murder, but never solved.

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The Chemical History of a Candle, Michael Faraday 16 May 2016

1861 non-fiction, popular science, transcriptions of early Royal Institution Christmas Lectures; Faraday starts from the basics of combustion and goes on to the frontiers of nineteenth-century chemistry.

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The Science of Everyday Life, Marty Jopson 15 April 2016

2015 non-fiction, popular science; short pieces introduce the scientific explanations for commonplace oddities.

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Team Rodent, Carl Hiaasen 07 February 2016

1998, short pieces on the effects of Disney on Florida and other places.

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Kick Ass, Carl Hiaasen 19 December 2015

1999 collected newspaper columns, written from 1985 onwards. Hiaasen gets his teeth into issues of local politics, corruption, finance and wildlife preservation, often all at once.

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Falling Upwards, Richard Holmes 29 November 2015 - 1 comment

2013 non-fiction, an informal history of the rise and fall (sorry) of the man-carrying balloon.

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The Box, Marc Levinson 17 November 2015 - 4 comments

2008 non-fiction, an informal history of the shipping container. Until the Second World War, almost all non-bulk freight was breakbulk, loaded one piece at a time into a ship's hold. Fifty years later, pretty much everything long-distance was going in containers. How did the change come about?

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Fly Navy: The View from the Cockpit 1945-2000, Charles Manning 02 July 2015

2000 non-fiction, a collection of anecdotes by officers of the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm.

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Nuclear Weapons: Principles, Effects and Survivability, Charles S. Grace 31 May 2015 - 1 comment

1994 non-fiction, volume 10 of the Brassey's New Battlefield Weapons Systems and Technology series. A practical primer on the design and operation of nuclear weapons, their effects, and their simulation.

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Windscale 1957, Lorna Arnold 29 May 2015

1995 non-fiction. In October 1957, the core of Windscale's Pile 1 caught fire, burned for three days, and spread radioactive contamination across what was then Cumberland. This is the official history of the incident and its aftermath.

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A Distant Mirror, Barbara Tuchman 05 March 2015 - 2 comments

1978, popular history. Tuchman recounts the history of France and some nearby countries in the latter part of the Fourteenth Century, with particular focus on the nobleman Enguerrand de Coucy.

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I Think You'll Find It's A Bit More Complicated Than That, Ben Goldacre 06 February 2015

2014; a collection of Ben Goldacre's short writing, mostly for the Guardian.

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In the Land of Invented Languages, Arika Okrent 29 November 2014 - 5 comments

2009: Okrent examines the history of invented languages, and in particular the rare instances that weren't immediately forgotten.

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Bad Pharma, Ben Goldacre 18 November 2014

Ben Goldacre explains at length how pretty much everything about drug research and selection is rotten.

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What If?, Randall Munroe 03 November 2014

The author of the webcomic xkcd works out back-of-the-envelope answers to odd scientific questions.

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Save the Cat!, Blake Snyder 31 October 2014

This highly influential book on screenwriting lays out a standard structure to which all saleable scripts should conform.

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Chickenhawk, Robert Mason 25 October 2014 - 6 comments

Robert Mason flew Hueys for a year in Vietnam. This is his story.

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One Hundred Days, Admiral Sandy Woodward and Patrick Robinson 16 July 2014 - 2 comments

In 1982 Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands; a Royal Navy task group was sent to take them back. This is the memoir of the task group's commander.

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I Was A Stranger, John Hackett 21 June 2014 - 2 comments

In September 1944, then-Brigadier John Hackett commanded the 4th Parachute Brigade during Operation Market Garden. He was wounded at Arnhem and captured, and spent several months hiding with members of the Dutch underground.

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Rebuilding the Royal Navy, D. K. Brown and George Moore 10 May 2014

In 1945, Britain had a large and often hastily-constructed fleet which was clearly close to obsolete, and very little money with which to update it. This is the story of what happened next.

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Fateful Choices, Ian Kershaw 15 March 2014

Kershaw examines ten choices made during the years 1940-1941 that, in his opinion, substantially affected the course of the Second World War.

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Operation Mincemeat, Ben Macintyre 25 February 2014

This is the story of the well-known deception operation in the Second World War: dropping a dead fake courier into the sea near Spain, in the hope that his deceptive paperwork would be taken seriously by the Germans and misdirect them as to the location of Allied landings in the Mediterranean.

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