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Book reviews for "Bobrick,_Benson" sorted by average review score:

East of the Sun: The Epic Conquest & Tragic History of Siberia
Published in Hardcover by DIANE Publishing Co (1992)
Author: Benson Bobrick
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remarkable journey through a tragic history
Bobrick does an excellent job of tracking the long-suffering of Siberia and its peoples through many centuries. He also brings to life in vivid detail the adventures of some of the early explorers who journeyed with good or bad motives through that vast region. Some of the expeditions ended in the death for most if not all of those in the party, while other expeditions met with success through miraculous circumstances under the worst conditions.

The plight of the indigenous throughout it all makes the heart
want to cry out in protest. It certainly is a tragic history.

How the East was won
There are a lot of parallels between the conquest of Siberia by Russia and the taming of the American West. For starters, there is the way each country treated the indigenous population as it conquered them. Compared to your avearge Cossack, George Armstrong Custer was a weeping humanitarian. This book follows the epic history of Siberia from the sixteenth century through the Bolshevik revolution that turned the countryside into a massive prison colony. Bobrick is an excellent storyteller and his history is as entertaining as it is informative.

East of the Sun the Conquest and Settlem
Published in Hardcover by Trafalgar Square ()
Author: Benson Bobrick
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From conquest to GULag - What a book!
If you want to know about Siberia and its history, this is really the book to go for!

You'll get a very clear picture of the Russian expantion to the East as well as the epiq stories of bold and daring people who made the first expeditions into this hostile and giant land. They were true heroes, although many of them became so much against their will and like so many other heroes, many of them never came back home.

This is not another story about the camps in Siberia. The camps are described and Bobrick does that very well, but the true value of this book is the time before World War 1. Further, it is very well written and you'll loose your nights sleep, once you get started!

Highly recommended!

Knotted Tongues: Stuttering in History and the Quest for a Cure
Published in Hardcover by Simon & Schuster (April, 1995)
Author: Benson Bobrick
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Historical look at stuttering
This book looks at the history of stuttering and its treatment from long ago to the present. As someone who stuttering I appreciated the author's thoroughness in researching the treatment processes used in the past and comparing them to the present.

It seems to be an axiom in my field of speech pathology that most speech/language therapists are able to deal with the mechanics of speech and language well enough but can't communicate effectively. Most speakers and writers in the field are unbearable communicators who wouldn't recognize an interesting sentence (rather than a nerve deadening dose of academic jargon) if it leapt up and bit them on their private parts (I would like to use a more colorful term but this is a family site).
Thankfully, Bobrick knows how to write quite well. This is a fascinating (and highly readable) survey of stuttering in history. It should be on the shelf of everyone who works with stutterers.

Bobrick, a stutterer himself, writes a fascinating historical overview of both the famous stutterers in history (Greek orator Demosthenes, Winston Churchill, Nai Bevan) and reviews the "cures" on offer through the ages. I am similarly afflicted and found the book fascinating. My good friend Jon bought it for me after a low point in my life when I did jury service. My oath took the best part of 25 minutes and my fellow jurors elected me foreman. The verdict was real edge-of-your-seat stuff.

Angel in the Whirlwind: The Triumph of the American Revolution
Published in Hardcover by Simon & Schuster (July, 1997)
Author: Benson Bobrick
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Very enjoyable history of the American Revolution
Angel in the Whirlwind is a one-volume narrative history of the American Revolution. Although not as quickly paced as Bobrick's earlier works on Russia, "Angel" is well-written and quite enjoyable. I was particularly impressed by the effort to provide background and context for the events of 1775-1783: the first 20% of the book gives information on life in the colonies and the evolving (i.e., deteriorating) relationship between Britain and the future US. The first shots at Lexington green don't appear in the book until page 117 (of 495).

All the characters and events one would expect are here. I have two quibbles with the presentation: (1) It would have been nice to see more discussion of why the British gave up after Yorktown; and (2) (as with almost every book of this type published today) More maps are needed!

A good read, I wish there were more maps!
This book was a good overview of the American Revolutionary period. The chapter on colonial society was one of the finest I ever read. The author gives a great narrative of the battles and sometimes, I could not put it down. I think that several more maps would have helped to give the readers more of an immediate sense of things, but I know the author wanted to tell the story. I felt it was a little difficult to determine the action of things without them though. I was especially impressed with the author's ability to undo a lot of the elementary school jargon concerning the men and women of the time. It is nice to know that Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and the other fathers and mothers had issues to work through too. It accents a point I tell my students - that people in the grand span of time have not changed a whole lot - that they dealt with good, evil, and all the personality whoopla. Bobrick's ability to see the revolution through the leaders and the common person really is the genious of this book. It was a time that tried men's souls and they were at a loss sometimes to do something. The other genious of the work is how the author showed how they worked through their problems and finished the job. A lot of people cannot do that today. A great read.

Great summary of the situation faced by Washington.
If you like history and don't know all that much about the revolutionary period, this book provides a great summary of the major events, the key commanders and includes many excerps from their actual correspondence. Through the correspondence and description of events, you can begin to understand and really appreciate the, at times, hopeless situation Washington faced. Between the pettiness and incompetence of some of his senior commanders (political generals), a Congress with no true authority to levy taxes to feed and pay his army and numerically superior British forces, you can really appreciate how truly astounding it was that the Revolution turned out as it did. We were fortunate as Washington was truly the right man at the right moment in history, with the right disposition, nerve and a high level of intelligence. Many people don't know much about the man, much less about the issues he faced. Reading this book will make you pause to think about a truly great man and how divine Providence may have played such a remarkable role in the establishment of our country.

East of the Sun: The Epic Conquest and Tragic History of Siberia
Published in Paperback by Owlet (October, 1993)
Author: Benson Bobrick
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Siberian epic
A pity that this book is out of print. A very intersting survey of the conquest of Siberia. Chilly and chilling even in its writing. No real glorious epic here although lots of gumption and bravery tales of the daring folks that settled Siberia. Just a tale of woe, but a woe that built a nation. Also a few questions about the mentality of a people still little known who forged itself in such hardship and near animalistic conditions. A must read to understand the influence of Siberia in today's Russia. One objection, many editing errors that cost it a star.

Easy reading of a broad subject
I found this book in the bargain section for $5 and now see it is out of print. What a shame. The book covers the hisotry of Siberia from pre-history to modern times. Perhaps the most interesting chapters cover the exploration of Siberia by Bering in the late 18th C. - this epic conquest pales the Lewis and Clark expedition in scope and time and is writen with such vivid description it would make a wonderfull movie. For these few chapters alone this book is worth seeking out. Overall a very intersting book covering a very broad topic

The Land of Sables and Gulags
Siberia evokes a host of mental images for any Westerner, most of them negative. Bobrick goes completely beyond the superficial "Gulag" images to reveal a vast and romantic land. He masterfully tells the story of how Russian pioneers battled the Khan tribes to conquer this weird country, river by river, valley by valley. Disasters abounded - particularly the near-extermination of the sable - but Siberia also gave us epic stories of exploration, culminating in the journeys of the great Danish explorer, Bering. Bobrick is as adept at telling their story as he is the stories of the settlers, many of them exiles or convicts, and their new life. There are also chapters devoted to "Russian America," i.e. Alaska, and other Pacific escapades such as the San Francisco base. We learn of border clashes with the Chinese over the Amur, and, later, the Russo-Japanese War, in which the Trans-Siberian railway played a pivotal role. Finally, Bobrick reveals in unflinching detail the Gulag system. This book is pure adventure and is surely deserves to be reissued.

Wide As the Waters : The Story of the English Bible and the Revolution It Inspired
Published in Hardcover by Simon & Schuster (11 April, 2001)
Author: Benson Bobrick
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Interesting Look at the Creation of the Bible in English
Wide as the Waters (The Story of the English Bible and the Revolution It Inspired), by Benson Bobrick, tells the three century story of the translantion of the Bible in English from Wycliffe to the King James version. It is a fascinating journey full of both noble and horrible characters and, generally, violent and restless times as, eventually, all of society is changed and many traditions are uprooted forever. The author builds a case (only partially successful) for the English translation of the Bible as one of the main progenitors for this revolutionary time, as opposed to merely a product of this time period. This chicken and egg argument, though, should not distract the reader from the pleasure of soaking into this slice of history. The book does flag somewhat in the last quarter as the creation of the King James bible does not have the drama of some of the story that has gone before (particulary the Wycliffe and, later, the Henry VIII bibles). An interesting piece of pop and religious history.

Perseverance through Great Difficulties
Wide as the Waters is the fascinating story of the struggle to produce a Bible in the English language during the Reformation era. Short biographies of John Wycliffe, William Tyndale, Miles Coverdale, are impressive because they show the strength and determination these men had. They were literally taking their lives in their hands when they dared to challenge the official Church's doctrinal line. Parallel translations included in the text demonstrate how profound doctrinal differences between Catholic and Protestant could develop over the translation (or mistranslation) of a word or two. Bobrick provides some fascinating material on the men who worked on the various translations, not only those already well known but also on the hitherto almost anonymous, such as the committee members who created the Authorized or King James Version of 1611.

As the struggle for an English Bible continued, the notion of challenging the Official Version of things spread from religious to governmental matters, and the push to reform the English Church led to the push to reform English government. That, in turn, led to the American push to end English control over the colonies. That insight alone makes the book well worth the price.

Excellent History Regardless Of Specific Faith
"Wide As The Waters", could easily be classified as a book about the evolution of The English Bible, and by extension a discussion exclusively of The Christian Faith. This presumption would greatly decrease the potential audience, and do a disservice to a remarkably readable and scholarly dissertation upon the events that produced what many consider the finest version of this book. This is not simply an explanation about The King James Bible and those that did the necessary translation. It is a sweeping view of the history of The Bible, its misuse as a political defense and weapon, and the centuries it took to bring the work to fruition. Contrary to what many believe, The King James Bible was not the first Bible in English, it was not the second, fifth, or even the tenth. Bibles that preceded it were produced in dozens of editions preceding the King James. The story of those who brought this remarkable product of scholarship to its fruition is nothing short of astounding. Whether or not your Faith coincides with The Bible, or whether you enjoy excellent dispassionate History, this book is a brilliant work, penned by the inspired Historian Benson Bobrick.

The variety of interests that sought to produce the definitive English translation was a varied group. There were Kings, Queens, Popes, and dozens of others that would eventually contribute to the final product. At one point The Catholic Church was so fragmented that it had no less than 3 Popes claiming St. Peter's Throne simultaneously. These same people in power either encouraged or caused the martyrdom of men like John Wycliffe, William Tyndale, and Miles Coverdale. Henry VIII, Edward IV, Mary Tudor, and Elizabeth I, were just some of the memorable monarchs in the drama.

The greatest impact was the knowledge that was taken from the obscurity of languages known only be a few, who often would interpret the writings for their own agenda. No longer would The Bible be the hostage of Church Monopoly; it would finally be in the hands for which it was intended. While this event promoted the massive increase in books and printing, it also gave rise to individual interpretation that eventually leads to The Reformation. It will also bring to an end the Divine Right Of Kings, and other events of major Historical import.

Anyone who has looked at comparisons between the varieties of English Bibles can see how easily meaning can be changed, how entire concepts can be altered. The Author does a wonderful job of supplying enough examples of the issues the original translators faced without making the reading obscure. He demonstrates the importance of what text was to be used, Latin, Latin Vulgate, Ancient Greek, Hebrew, or Aramaic. He makes clear that rarely would any two people make identical translations whether due to style or personal agenda. It forces readers to ponder just what would be read if the ancient texts were read as intended. Instead we read a book that has been revised and edited extensively.

One portion that I greatly enjoyed were the familiar passages that the Author highlighted as some of the great English Prose that has been written. Like Shakespeare's words they remain so familiar to the ear though written in the 14th Century.

This is a remarkable work that virtually anyone can enjoy.

East of the Sun: The Conquest and Settlement of Siberia
Published in Paperback by Arrow (A Division of Random House Group) (25 October, 1993)
Author: Benson Bobrick
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Fearful Majesty: The Life and Reign of Ivan the Terrible
Published in Paperback by Paragon House (November, 1989)
Author: Benson Bobrick
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Labyrinths of Iron, a History of the World's Subways: A History of the World's Subways
Published in Hardcover by Newsweek Books (August, 1981)
Author: Benson Bobrick
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Labyrinths of Iron: Subways in History, Myth, Art, Technology, and War
Published in Paperback by William Morrow & Co (September, 1986)
Author: Benson Bobrick
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