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Hero or Villain?

ANDREW THE GREAT: The Heroic Story of Andrew Jackson That “They Don’t Want You to Know” Written by MS King  

This book, as the title implies, is not a traditional retelling of the life and times of Andrew Jackson. The author is not a historian. He is an investigative journalist with a penchant for uncovering inaccuracies and misconceptions widely accepted by the public. King carefully traces the origins of the American Revolution as an important prelude to how the Republic came to be and the influencers behind its foundation. He names the major players in the Federalist Party like Alexander Hamilton and John Adams as well as the opposing, Democratic-Republicans like Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, who believed in limited government and states’ rights.

Andrew Jackson grew up as a self-educated orphan who would rail about the powerful interests like the Rothschild bank in Europe that would greatly influence the role of the central bank and its early failures in the United States.

The author is a firm believer that a person’s actions and role in history should not be judged by the standards and morals of the present. Consequently, King points out that though Jackson owned slaves and trapped Native Americans, he also recruited blacks and Native Americans to fight alongside him in The Battle of New Orleans and paid them equally.

Jackson also foresaw the importance of eliminating Spain and English control of Florida and the Mississippi River trade. King gives a fascinating account of Jackson’s struggles with the news media, his enemies and his personal struggle to maintain individual rights and avoid global entanglements.

The book contains lots of illustrations of contemporary reports, drawings, and speeches. I would recommend this book as a highly readable and informative account for students and the general public. While it does not qualify as an objective, unbiased resource, it certainly contributes to a healthy discussion of Andrew Jackson and the period in which he lived.

Barbara Ann Mojica

LittleMissHistory.com

Let’s Visit New York!

Hey Kids, Let’s Visit New York City

Written by Teresa Mills


Mills has written a travel guide that performs a dual purpose. Families who are planning a vacation or move to The Big Apple are provided a comprehensive introduction to the history, culture, and entertainment highlights that will appeal to young visitors and this just under one hundred page book can also serve as a reference for a classroom report on New York City.
Iconic architecture like the Empire State building, the Chrysler Building, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Flatiron Building are featured. Historical landmarks like The Statue of Liberty and Intrepid Sea Air & Space Museum are explored and explained. The book features recent additions to the NYC landscape like the 911 Memorial and Museum. Who can forget the tree lighting ceremony at Rockefeller City? Mills talks about Rockefeller Center and the Top of the Rock. She takes us on a walk through Central Park and Times Square and reminisces about the history of Broadway and some of its famous productions. The City is a big place and after a day of shopping along Canal Street, one will eventually need to jump on the New York subway and visit Grand Central Station. Visitors to New York City will want to take a tour or eat in one of the many ethnic neighborhoods like Little Italy or Chinatown. Perhaps a trip over the Brooklyn Bridge might entice visitors to try one of the famous Coney Island hot dogs.
Mills has it all covered, the culture, the entertainment, and the history wrapped up in an easy to read guide for middle-grade, young adult and adult members of the family. Highly recommended for any prospective visitor to the Big Apple.

To find out more about The State of Liberty and Intrepid Sea Air & Space Museum, check out my Little Miss HISTORY book series at:

http://www.LittleMissHISTORY.com

Barbara Ann Mojica

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50 Events from World War I

World War I in 50 Events

Written by James Weber

The author has taken a chronological/event-based approach to narrating the events of World War I. This book is divided into four main sections. The introduction discusses the groundwork leading to the outbreak of work going back to the end of the Franco-Prussian War and the enmity between France and Germany. It continues to the Battle of Mons. The next section picks up with the Russians suffering defeat at Tannenberg and ends with the British initiating military conscription. Section Three shows the tide of war changing as the Allies become actively engaged in Caporetto and concludes with the Turkish losing at Megiddo. The last section covers events from the Central Powers collapse and surrender to the signing of The Treaty of Versailles. Unfortunately, the severe terms of the peace treaty lay the groundwork for simmering tensions, the rise of dictators, and the conflicts leading up to World War II.

Each event is discussed in a few pages. Weber singles out the most important issues, including photos of battle scenes and portraits of the important players. The text is set in large font, although the illustrations are rather small. While the information is not extensive on any one particular topic, the author manages to create a rather detailed, easy to read reference study. I would recommend the book to history buffs, middle and high school students and home school parents who wish to learn about the topic.

Barbara Ann Mojica
Author of the Little Miss HISTORY Book Series

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Winter War

Winter War

What do you enjoy most about Winter? Perhaps it is sitting in front of a cozy fire with a book as the snow is falling outside or heading outdoors for skiing or ice skating. Winter offers lots of possibilities for recreation, but it also creates hardships for those attempting to carry out day to day tasks and responsibilities.

 

Most of us know winter weather killed as many or more soldiers in the American Revolutionary War and Civil War as died in battle. Fewer have ever heard of “The Winter War” that took place in 1939-40. In the Fall of 1939 the Soviets demanded that the Finns move back their border 25 kilometers from Leningrad and grant them a 30-year lease on Hanko Peninsula to allow the Soviets to build a naval base there. In return the Soviets offered Finland a worthless piece of land in the Karelian wilderness. When the Finns refused, the Russians massed one million troops on the border. On November 26, the Russians staged a fake shelling of the Russian town of Manila, blaming the Finns and demanding an apology. The ploy was unsuccessful. Four days later, 450,000 Soviet troops crossed the border met by 180,000 Finnish troops. Marshal Carl Gustav Mannerheim marched his troops in formation to a fixed line across the Karelian Isthmus. The Soviets under Marshal Kiril Meretskov did not anticipate much resistance and lack necessary winter supplies. Russian soldiers wearing dark uniforms that stood out against the snow proved to be easy targets. Finnish sniper Corporal Simo Hayha killed more than 500 Soviets using white camouflage and skis. This strategy of “motti” tactics employed fast moving light infantry to encircle and destroy isolated units. Working in four-man teams, the Finns jammed the tracks of Soviet tanks with logs and then used Molotov cocktails to detonate fuel supplies, resulting in the destruction of more than 2000 tanks.

As the New Year dawned in January 1940, Colonel Hjalmar Siilasvuo broke up the Russian enemy lines, killing 17,500 Soviets while losing only 250 Finns. Enraged at the defeat, Stalin relieved Meretskov with Timonshenko and beefed up troop units along the Mannerheim line at the beginning of February. The Allied Forces offered Finland 135,000 men if they could cross through Norway and Sweden, but Hitler threatened to invade if they crossed into Sweden. By March 6, Finland was forced to sue for peace. Six days later, the Peace of Moscow Treaty forced Finland to cede the Karelia, a part of Salla, four islands in the Baltic, the Kalastajansaarento Peninsula, and a lease on the Hanko Peninsula. Twelve per cent of Finns lived in these areas. They had to choose whether to become Soviet citizens or relocate.

But “Winter War” proved costly for the Soviets. They had lost 126,875 soldiers with twice that number captured. The Finns lost 26,662 soldiers with approximately 40,000 wounded. In the long run, the poor performance of the Soviet troops in the “Winter War” led Hitler to assume Stalin could easily be defeated, a costly strategical error. The Finns, on the other hand, proved a worthy opponent. Later in June,1941, the Finns resumed fighting independently alongside the Allied Forces.

No one expected the tiny country of Finland to stand up to the Soviet army, the largest military force in the world at that time. Mother Nature played a decisive role when the winter of 1939 turned out to be one of the coldest winters in the history books.

Barbara Ann Mojica, Author of the The Little Miss HISTORY BOOK SERIES

http://www.LittleMissHISTORY.com

Pictures used under public domain.

How Santa Changed

Santa has gone through some changes!

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the title of this book but was immediately drawn in by the nostalgic illustrations. It turns out that the plot of the book revolves around the changes that took place from the time Santa was a young man to the present.

In the beginning, young Santa, a magical elf, made and delivered all the toys himself with the help of one moose. As cities sprang up and the population grew, Santa could not pull his heavier sleigh with one moose. As the story continues, the reader learns how Santa came to rely on a team of reindeer, how he moved farther north, and the need to have additional helpers. Mrs. Claus even learned to bake, and Santa’s slim shape evolved to the fat, jolly character of today. Recommended for children and adults as a read aloud or holiday bedtime story.

The illustrations in the book are beautifully done, even if the rhymes are sometimes a bit off.

Barbara Ann Mojica

LittleMissHistory.com

Check out the book and get a preview here.

Electrifying America-From Thomas Edison to Climate Change

Electrifying America: From Thomas Edison to Climate Change

Written by I. David Rosenstein

The author is an engineer and lawyer who has spent more than forty years in the industry. Rosenstein begins his story in the mid-nineteenth century. He reminds readers that everyday tasks were time-consuming, back-breaking tasks before the advent of electricity. Soon electricity would transform life in the home, on the farm, in the office, in the factory, and on construction sites. Before that energy could be utilized, someone needed to invent the electric light bulb.

Thomas Edison already possessed a long list of inventions before tackling electricity. His work with the telegraph, telephone and phonograph had great potential. Unfortunately, Edison was a lot better at inventing than implementing his ideas in the business world. The fatal flaw in Edison’s direct current could be found in its limited ability to deliver electricity at any distance from a dynamo.

Nicholas Tesla had left his native Hungary to work with Edison in his lab. Edison’s insistence on using direct current led to a break when Tesla failed to convince him to consider using alternating current. Tesla left in 1885 to work independently. George Westinghouse had been experimenting with transformers to increase the voltage of alternating current over greater distances from dynamos. Westinghouse invited Tesla to use his facilities to develop a motor to use his system in factories and businesses. During the 1880’s and 1890’s, the two competing systems of AC and DC battled for supremacy in “The War of the Electric Current.”

After presenting the early history, Rosenstein moves on the powerful monopolies of the 1920’s, and the Golden Age of Electricity after World War II when the world turned back to business development on the home front. He talks about the failures of the industry in the Great Blackout in the Northeast in 1965 and traces the crises of the Oil Embargo of 1973 and the difficulties in California during the 90’s.

By the end of the 1900’s retail electric companies had begun to access electricity through a system of independent suppliers. Then the author discusses recent history and the issues leading up to climate control and the Paris accord. He ends the book by stating his opinion that a reconsideration of the concept of energy supply responding to public sentiments will likely lead to substantial changes in the future.

This story is an interesting study written by an expert in the field in layman’s terms. The concise book contains less than 150 pages and is easy to follow. Students who have an interest in history, electrical engineering and inventions would find this book a good resource. Recommended for anyone age ten or older.

Barbara Ann Mojica
LittleMissHistory.com

 

EGYPTIAN MYTHOLOGY FOR ALL

Egyptian Mythology: A Fascinating Guide to Understanding the Gods, Goddesses, Monsters, and Mortals

Written by Matt Clayton

The author has written a series of books of ancient societal mythologies. In this book, he sets out to explore the Fertile Crescent, and ancient Egypt, in particular. Part One focuses on the myths associated with Isis, Osiris, Seth, and Horus. Clayton narrates in the third person, interspersed with imaginary dialogue between the gods. He moves on to the most popular creation stories. Clayton next weaves together how the gods and humans came to interact with each other.

In Part Two the author zeroes in on the darker sides of Egyptian religion discussing gods who inflicted chaos upon the world, specifically Apep the snake, and Seth the god of war and confusion. Part Three is the section focusing on what we know of the history of Egypt and the mortals who interacted with the gods to change it. Readers learn about Chancellor Imhotep and how he assisted the king in uniting Egypt. Clayton explores Amenhotep IV and the chaos that ensued over Ra and Aten, the sun gods. Then the story evolves to the reign of Ramesses and his struggles against the Hittite enemy. Finally, the reader is brought to the final stages of the Egyptian empire under Cleopatra and Roman rule.

Clayton packs a lot of information into this volume of fewer than one hundred pages. The author has done a good job in constructing an easy to follow narration of thousands of years of myth and history. Perfect choice for adults who would like a taste of the subject as well as for middle-grade students studying Egyptian history.


Barbara Ann Mojica

Naval Disaster Cover Up

The True Story of the Greatest US Naval Disaster: USS Indianapolis American History

Written by Patrick Spencer

This book is a fictional reenactment of the true story of what happened to the USS Indianapolis in July, 1945, and the trial of its captain, Charles McVay. The cruiser has just completed a mission that was even secret to her captain and crew and was on her way back to base in the Philippines. On a foggy night, she is torpedoed by a Japanese submarine under the command of Hashimoto. In a matter of minutes, the American ship sank below the black waters taking 300 of her crew with her. Some eight or nine hundred men, many burned and injured, were floating in the shark infested seas. It would be five days until they were spotted by air, and by that time less than half remained.

The most important part of this story is why was the ship was never reported missing, and how could the captain who has acted so valiantly to keep his men alive be charged with disobedience and negligence in the loss of his ship. This trial had a serious impact on the captain’s career and later life. What is even more astonishing is that it was not until a sixth grader named Hunter Scott decided to research the McVay trial that the true story became known. What was the mission of the USS Indianapolis and why was its disappearance never reported? Spencer’s reenactment of the tragedy allows the reader to experience the full range of emotions associated with this tragedy.

Recommended for readers age ten and older, particularly those interested in American history and politics.