Monday, April 23, 2018

Review of "Cripple Creek! A Quick History of the World’s Greatest Gold Camp," by Leland Feitz

Review of
Cripple Creek! A Quick History of the World’s Greatest Gold Camp, by Leland Feitz

Five out of five stars
 For many towns in the west, the discovery of a minable resource led to rapid growth and years as a town with both sin and high-level culture. However, with no other economic base such as manufacturing, once the veins of ore played out, the city declined almost as rapidly as it sprouted and grew. Cripple Creek is one such town and this book is a brief history of the city.
 At the height of the mining years, Cripple Creek had a population over 10,000 people and in the 1970s the population dropped under 500. That is when this book was published, so it ends on a note of describing what was nearly a ghost town. However, with legalized gambling, a refurbished core and an expanding and versatile tourist industry, the population is back over 1,000.
 The site of the last great gold rush in Colorado, Cripple Creek is a town that lived fast, hard and with a lot of history packed into a few years. The location of some of the worst labor strife in the country, at separate times the Colorado governor called out the National Guard to protect the striking miners and then with the goal to break the miner’s union.
 Published as a pamphlet to be sold as a tourist souvenir, this book is an excellent brief history of a town that became a city, a poor town and now a town with increasing wealth again.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Review of "The Walking Dead, Volume 24: Life and Death," by Robert Kirkman et. al.

Review of
The Walking Dead, Volume 24: Life and Death, by Robert Kirkman et. al. ISBN 9781632154026

Five out of five stars
 This series is so very well done, not only are the creators unafraid to kill off major characters, they also do not hesitate to have the survivors express raw, brutal human traits. In many ways, the greatest threat to Rick and his band of survivors is not the undead, but other bands of survivors led by ruthless people that do not hesitate to kill large numbers of the living in order to advance their position in what remains of society.
 In this episode, the social groups that Rick leads has made contact with the band known as “the whisperers,” living people that wear skins of the undead so that they can roam among them as long as they do not speak loudly. The leader of the whisperers is a female that is called Alpha and her daughter was a guest of Rick’s band for some time, until Alpha came for her and she departed. Rick’s son Carl then left to search for her and was captured.
 In one of the villages, a failed previous leader tries to mount a coup, is captured and must be punished. It is time for a fair and rejoicing among Rick’s people, yet great danger lurks from the group led by Alpha. The story closes with Rick returning from getting Carl from the Alpha group and then discovering the grisly remnants of the message that Alpha left for Rick. It is a cliff-hanger that suitably ends with the statement, “Rick, what do we do now?”
 The cynicism of the authors serves them well as they do not portray the survivors as noble creatures, but as brutal, ruthless people that carry on the human traditions of tribalism and war.

Review of "Gettysburg, A Souvenir of the National Park"

Review of
Gettysburg, A Souvenir of the National Park

Five out of five stars
 Given the immense differences in resources in men and material, it was never really possible for the Confederate States to achieve a decisive military victory over the Union forces. The best that the Confederacy could hope for was to reach a stalemate where the Lincoln administration would agree to a peace treaty that would accept the existence of the second American nation. Two years into the American Civil War, the battle of Gettysburg was decisive, not in the sense of a great victory, but from that point on, the lack of an outright victory meant that Lee and the other Confederate commanders were from that point on generally on the defensive.
 This pamphlet is a description of the national park that was created at the site of this titanic battle between armies of men from the same country. It is very well put together, with colorful images of the statues, monuments and the terrain of the area. Looking at pictures from behind a statue on the high ground, it is easy to understand why being in possession of a hill was of such military advantage.
 No pamphlet can provide in-depth coverage of such a decisive event, yet this one contains enough so that the reader understands why the Battle of Gettysburg made the conclusion of the war inevitable.