Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Review of "Images of Modern America: Cedar Rapids," Mark Stoffer Hunter and Caitlin Treece

Review of
Images of Modern America: Cedar Rapids, Mark Stoffer Hunter and Caitlin Treece ISBN 9781467111805

Five out of five stars
As a lifelong resident of the Cedar Rapids, Iowa area, most of the references were familiar to me. In fact, they caused many memories to be revisited. The book contains a series of color images with extensive explanatory captions, which are needed.
 The entries are generally grouped by subject, for example those in industry, churches, schools, parks, arts, retail and restaurants. There is a powerful theme of dramatic change, the downtown area was once a vibrant shopping experience, the majority of the large stores are now gone. Cedar Rapids was once a significant industrial center, many, if not most of those businesses are now also gone, or at minimum dramatically restructured.
 Yet, the city survives and thrives, for there are new and different businesses moving into the area, the spirit of entrepreneurship is still a powerful force in the city. As can be seen from the images with newer dates.

Review of "Perske: Pencil Portraits 1971-1990," drawings by Martha Perske

Review of
Perske: Pencil Portraits 1971-1990, drawings by Martha Perske 0687050804

Five out of five stars
 This book contains some of the most detailed artwork you will ever see, and all of it done with pencil only. Most of the subjects are people with various forms of disabilities and there are times when you must look closely to realize that the image is a drawing and not a black-and-white photo.
 Two of the most memorable images are on pages 102 and 103. The image on page 102 is of two young people and both are smiling. The teeth of the person on the right are so detailed that you can discern the uneven length and different structures of them. On page 103 you can see the realistic folds, ruffles and wrinkles of the clothing of the three girls along with the sheen of their hair.
The people are depicted doing simple and ordinary tasks, most of the time in a normal manner. Sometimes they require either mechanical or human assistance.

Review of "Iron Man: The Cal Ripken, Jr. Story," by Harvey Rosenfeld

Review of
Iron Man: The Cal Ripken, Jr. Story, by Harvey Rosenfeld, ISBN 0312135246

Five out of five stars
 Since this book was written and published after the end of the 1994 season, it does not include the final chapters on Ripken’s career, which ended in 2001. When his consecutive game streak ended, it was at 2,632, over 500 more than that of the legendary Gehrig. Even more amazing is that the next highest streak after that is 1,307 by Everett Scott. It is often said that a record will never be broken, only to have it fall. If I was forced to bet on an unbreakable record, it would be that of Ripken.
 This book is a chronicle of the life of Cal Ripken, Jr. up through the 1994 season. While there is some personal information outside of baseball, the vast majority of the content is about his life in baseball. Given that his father Cal Ripken Sr. was both a coach and a manager for the Orioles while junior played and his brother Billy also played for the Orioles while junior did, there is some personal information about that as well.
 This is generally a history of Ripken’s accomplishments and is written in the old style of sports books, where there is no attempt to “humanize” the athlete Ripken. There is some dirt expressed about him, but it is nothing more than a light dusting. The reader cannot help but be impressed by Ripken’s work ethic. To play the number of consecutive games and at times number of consecutive innings he did, there is no question that there were games when he was in significant pain, yet still crossed the foul lines into the action.
 While limited in historical completeness, this is still a good book about a player that is deservedly a legend. He got to the park, suited up and played the game very well at one of the most difficult and strenuous positions on the baseball field.