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Book reviews for "Morgan,_David" sorted by average review score:

Steams Finest Hour
Published in Hardcover by Kalmbach Publishing Company (1959)
Author: David P. Morgan
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David P. Morgan rates the big power that made an impact.
The late David Page Morgan edited TRAINS magazine for more than 35 years and in that time developed a remarkable insight into that most captivating of man's mechanical creations, the steam locomotive. In STEAM'S FINEST HOUR Morgan selects, by region, the locomotives that he feels made significant impacts in the final bittersweet years when steam was fighting for its life against the inrushing tide of dieselization. Includes builder's photos, an action photo and specifications of each locomotive. Superpower teems here - no quaint oldies can be found. Morgan's pen is at its best in the preview and the regional overviews. This book is a must have for lovers of railroading, and particularly the steam locomotive.

Sting of the Scorpion: The Inside Story of the Long Range Desert Group
Published in Hardcover by Sutton Publishing (2001)
Authors: Mike Morgan and David Lloyd Owen
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Intoxicating STING!
This book is the amazing story/history of the LRDG, a WWII special forces unit that would probe the desert waste lands to conduct reconnaissance, pathfinding missions, mapping and survey ops as well as limited direct action missions, against Italian targets of opportunity. The unit also ferried the SAS into operations. This book is fabulously written and structured makes the read quite fast and easy. This story covers the LRDG birth in the desert as long-range patrol unit to the LRDG. It covers the personalities, evolution of the unit; operations, equipment and an inside look at many of the tactics and procedures employed at that time for mobility operations. Excellent book if you would like to see the roots of modern special operations. Well worth the read.

Whips and Whipmaking
Published in Paperback by Cornell Maritime Pr (1972)
Author: David Morgan
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A great view on history and whipmaking techniques
I met Mr. Morgan after owning this book. He is a person who knows what he is talking about, either in printed or first hand information. The general view on such a beautiful craft makes you be aware of the different circumstances which led to different styles and handling. It too, helps you learn much of the basic techniques, such as braiding, paring, cutting, making knots, dee belts and hat straps. You can't make a whip from this book (let's say a finely braided kangaroo whip), but, as he states, much of whipmaking is empyrical; you have to be open-minded and try everything you have at hand to improve your skill, always trying to keep up with excellent quality. Be sure to analyze and understand his formulas for the width of strands and diameter. This is, mostly, what will lead you to good shaped thongs (though balance and appearance, tightness in braiding will be gained gradually). For those who are fond of mathematics, try to see how trygonometry is related to it (I found it out, and helps quite a lot! This does not mean that only engineers can make them, but you understand and learn faster). I'd like to recommend another book, available through, also. It's "How to make whips" by Ron Edwards. Eventhough I own the Australian edition, Cornell Maritime Press has made a great job by editing it for America. Anyway, I think you should buy Morgan's book first, to understand, and appreciate this craft and this book (Edwards') on the right level. Remember, if you bought the latter first, be sure to get this one! One-of-a-kind for your leather library.

Wisdom from the Robber Barons: Enduring Business Lessons from Rockefeller, Morgan, and the First Industrialists
Published in Hardcover by (15 January, 2000)
Authors: George David Smith and Frederick Dalzell
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A Slender Volume of Abundant Value
I really enjoyed reading this book, especially because there are so many quotations included which I had not encountered previously. Smith and Dalzell identify "enduring lessons from Rockefeller, Morgan, and [others among] the first industrialists." The term "Robber Barons" suggests criminal monarchs. No doubt it has some direct relevance to those discussed, at least at some point in their respective business careers. The material is organized as follows: an excellent Introduction ("Why Robber Barons Matter") followed by four chapters (Venturing, Competing, Managing, and Leading). Then there is a handy section called "Chronology: Business and World Events, 1870-1929,'" followed by recommendations for "Further Reading."

Why do the Robber Barons matter? "During the golden age of industry, running from the midnineteenth century through 1930 or so, the Robber Barons commercialized risky high technologies and figured out how to build radically new organizations from the bottom up. They identified the great entrepreneurial and management issues of the world's first big corporations, and they devised surprisingly durable solutions to the basic business problems of modern civilization." Here are a few of the quotations which caught my eye:

"There could be no progress until enough people could be made dissatisfied -- and this could be done only when they were brought to think beyond the limits to which they were accustomed." (Thomas Edison)

"If you have an idea, that is good. If you also have ideas as to how to work it out, that is better." (Henry Ford)

"Every executive has to recognize sooner or later that he himself cannot do everything that needs to be done. Until he recognizes this, he is only an individual, with an individual's power, but after he recognizes it, he becomes, for the first time, an executive, with control of multiple powers." (Alfred Sloan)

The authors have done an excellent job of selecting and distributing quotations such as these throughout the text. They include their own insightful comments, correlating them with key points previously introduced in their Introduction. Is there a great deal that is "new" in this slender volume? No. Is there much of value to be learned or have reaffirmed? You bet.

Blondie24: Playing at the Edge of Ai (The Morgan Kaufmann Series in Evolutionary Computation)
Published in Unknown Binding by Morgan Kaufmann Pub (E) (2001)
Author: David B., Ph.D. Fogel
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A very interesting and engaging story
In this book the author gives a detailed story of his involvement in the development of the "Blondie24" checkers program, and the story is a very interesting one. The reader not familiar with certain research topics in artificial intelligence such as neural networks and evolutionary programming, will still be able to read the book since the author gives a good intuitive discussion of these topics. If the book inspires a young person to enter the field of artificial intelligence, it has served a noble purpose, even if the author did not intend this as the primary purpose of the book.

The author's main thesis is the value of using concepts of evolutionary programming to bring about the rise of intelligent machines. The author clearly believes that before "HAL-like" machines can be built, researchers must construct computer programs that can teach themselves how to solve problems without any help. Intelligent machines must be creative, and learn and adapt to new circumstances. Traditional research in artificial intelligence has been geared towards building machines that emulate human intelligence, and this will not do in the author's view. The research did not address the true definition and meaning of intelligence, but instead made the goal of creating machines that think and act like humans, whence the famous "Turing test" for machine intelligence. The author completely rejects this test and holds it responsible for bringing about the "AI winter" where no substantive progress was made. "The key to creating truly creative computers", he says, "lies in mimicking nature's process of evolution."

The author though was not comfortable with merely refuting arguments about the Turing test or other strategies for designing intelligent machines. He knows that such argument-counterargument activity will not result in sound approaches to artificial intelligence. Therefore, he sought to construct a working, viable alternative, which produces results that can be checked. Intelligence for the author is based on decision making, such as how to obtain resources, and how to respond to environmental changes by prioritizing goals. "Intelligence is the property that allows living organisms to sense, react to, and learn from their environment in order to adapt their behavior to better promote their survival", he says.

Hence, the author brings in the evolutionary paradigm to artificial intelligence, and to give credence to his view, he attempts to create a program that will learn the game of checkers and then play it well, at least from the standpoint of the checkers game rating system. The book is a very detailed overview of how he and his collaborators went about doing this, the most interesting strategy being the use of neural networks, the topology of which is not set beforehand, but is evolved according to a "survival of the fittest" process. The author, through diagrams, gives the reader a taste of the moves that were made as the program dealt with online checkers games.

The author even gives a dose of the criticism he received from referees when his results were submitted to professional journals, and this gives the book greater appeal from the standpoint of intellectual honesty. Certainly the author and those he worked with have achieved a great deal in the context of building intelligent machines. It remains to be seen whether evolutionary programming can be extended to situations that require even more creativity, such as that of generating new and interesting results in pure mathematics. This is the ultimate test in my view of machine intelligence. It is not immediately obvious how this is to be done in the evolutionary programming or indeed of any other paradigm in artificial intelligence.

A personal quest for the deeper meaning of AI
An absorbing and enchanting tale of a personal quest for the deeper meaning of AI: the discovery of how intelligence itself arises. Fogel seizes the challenge by capturing the evolutionary process and shaping it to breed a checkers expert from an artificial neural net. Scientists, humanists, and artists will appreciate his inspiring wit and clarity of thought in narrating the growth of Blondie24, a synthetic sentience born inside a desktop PC.

a MUST read
Blondie24 is an amazing book. Never before have I read a book that has been so informative, enjoyable, and thought provoking. The most amazing thing about this book, is you do not need to be an AI or Compiter Science P.HD to understand it. Fogel writes in a clear and enjoyably flowing manner, avoiding technical jargon which often bogs down a reader unfamiliar with the specific subject. He makes AI accesible! He explains using real world examples whats involved. The book is his story. The story of how and why he decided to use AI to develope an intelligent checkers program. Is it possible for a computer program to learn checkers by itself with only a minimal explantion of the rules? To teach itself how to win? To get good enough to beat a human expert without any prior instruction of technique, or sample games to learn from? Essentially Blondie24 is about Fogels journey of discovery. I found myself not wanting to stop reading as the book progressed. You read on excitedly following his progress from month to month, actually spurring him on. This book was so good, I actually wanted his efforts to succeed. I wanted the checkers program to be good enough to beat a human expert. I have never read a science book before where I found myself 'digging' for the machine to win. But Blondie24 is no tech reference. It's a story. A true story.
If you have an interest in Science or even Science fiction! you should read this book. You will not be disappointed. Fogel gives a fascinating introduction to Artifical intelligence. Why have we not created 'HAL' from the movie '2001' yet? Perhaps we are tackling the problem the wrong way he suggests. Blondie24 is a 'learning computer' which tries to tackle AI the right way.
If your a Science major, or someone studying AI, you also will not be disappointed. Fogel goes into sufficient detail explaining the backround and idea to evolutionary computation (genetic algorithms). He also explains Neural networks, and how they are used in AI and indeed the computer industry. As I say, if you are not a science major you will still have no problem grasping these principals as they are explained so beautifully.
Read this book. Enjoy it. Its a marvellous story charting one of the greatest successes in the field of modern AI.

Complete Idiot's Guide to Near-Death Experiences
Published in Paperback by Alpha Books (21 January, 2000)
Authors: P. M. H. Atwater, David H. Morgan, and Alpha Group
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Lot of Information , but...
Although there is a wealth of information provided in this book, it's jumps all over the map in it's presentation, and never really takes a stand on the validity of near death experiences.

The near-death experience is so interesting. I was quite amazed at the children's NDE's since I don't think that they would fabricate any stories. One particular story that I referenced in my book, There Is Eternal Life For Animals, talked about a girl seeing her former deceased dogs in heaven.

New Information
The Complete IDIOT'S Guide To Near-Death Experiences by P.M.H. Atwater with David H. Morgan is a must-have for everyone who is interested in the spiritual aspect of death, as well as in the latest developments of our knowledge of spiritual reality. It can be regarded as a easy-to-read encyclopedia on death and afterlife matters. One account about a near-death experience has been titled "Hold on to Your Socks for This One," and the same title can be applied to many of the other survival stories -- all of them are great reads. At the same time, they are classified in a way that expands our understanding of the afterlife. For instance, the authors analyze the differences of how children describe their journeys beyond in comparison to adults. As children are not conditioned by any religious concepts, in their reports darkness isn't always evil. Many children have reported about "the darkness that knows," describing being cradled in a womb-like darkness. The authors recall that light is not always God's light as well. As we know, word "Lucifer" means "light bearer" to begin with. In other words, our dualistic picture of the universe as a battlefield of light and darkness doesn't always hold up. Since the 60's researchers have come across cases of survivors who wanted to report the hellish kind of journeys they experienced. Yet for quite a long time these accounts were suppressed because of the belief that only bad people like murderers go to hell. Regrettably, studies don't confirm it. It is still not quite clear why in near-death situations some people like family oriented community activists found themselves in hell and others in heaven. The belief that a near-death experience produces only positive changes -- needs to undergo a profound revision as well. Some experiencers feed their egos; some change to the extent of alienation; some become difficult to live with... It was high time to reveal more facts about the afterlife and this book definitely leaves us with a considerable amount of new information. In addition, this book gives us an excellent 'further reading' list, a good glossary of pertinent words that otherwise may be confusing and hard to understand, a list of websites and 'get in touch' list of research organizations.

There is one more thing that makes this book special -- its positive energy in spite of its morbid subject. It seems to stem from the authors' liberating intention to be truthful and a profound knowledge of their subject. It was a pleasure to read this book.

Howards End (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics,)
Published in Paperback by Penguin USA (Paper) (03 April, 2000)
Authors: E. M. Forster and David A. A. Lodge
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A Question of Class
Howards End is a realistic picture of Edwardian England, blemishes and all. Forster successfully depicted the environment of his society few authors could. Forster raises moral questions about what the upper class' social and economic responsibilities are to the lower classes. The method of showing opposing viewpoints (help the less fortunate vs. leave them be) between the Schlegel and the Wilcox families works well. He also questions the double standard at that time in England for infidelity. The upper class males were faultless in affairs, while the lower class females were scarred negatively for life. For the males, the affair was the satisfaction of desires and meant parting of some money. For females, the affairs were a way of life, nothing more, and they couldn't even improve their station in society. They were marked as prostitutes, while Mr. Wilcox actually suffered no real personal damage, other than a deservedly begrudging wife for the short term.

I can't help but ask how much has society really changed? The book is still relevant today, not only that, it's a good read. The dialogue is even realistic and touching. Forster's prose flows smoothly, and the reader immediately starts to appreciate it after a few pages. Human nature, snobbery, the struggle of the classes, and family affairs really haven't changed that much since 1910. Forster clearly didn't know what to do about these problems anymore than we do today. Asking his country to face their problems, rather than ignore them, which was what was being done, was a start.

Gourmet dining.
The film is dessert. The novel is a thoroughly satisfying meal. The movie is beautifully photographed, faithfully captures the dialogue, and it even gets the comic moments right. But it can't do more than hint at the pleasures of "the real thing."

Every page of the book offers, not just lush landscapes, but ideas worth arguing about. It reminds us that people's actions are bubbles on the surface, the outward and visible signs of events that take place deep within their interior worlds. What's astonishing about this story is how thoroughly it plumbs those worlds. Like Faulkner and Virginia Woolf, Forster has the power to take us way down into the lives of his main characters. We witness what they are becoming, moment by moment. And brooding over the whole story is the wordless, intuitive influence of Ruth Wilcox (the Vanessa Redgrave character) and the power of her love for family and home.

A hugely enjoyable book that demands to be read again and again.

Howard's End - My favourite!
On reading the book reviews already on-line, I just had to reply. I have recently read Howard's End for the second time and I have watched the film numerously. It is absolutely fabulous! I have read other novels by E.M. Forster but for me Howard's End is simply the best. Forster's characterization is second to none, describing the Schlegels, Wilcoxes and the Basts with such heart-breaking realism and affinity with human nature. The British countryside is described lovingly yet realistically by highlighting the creeping industrialization. I do not think it is 'dull and cold' or that the characters are 'unlikeable and irritating.'In my opinion they are realistic and likeable if you accept them to be human beings, having both their good and bad points, but I would hope that the good points shine through. Yes, Charles Wilcox is incredibly arrogant and irritating, but these characters all combine to make an excellent plot and a heart -renchingly sad but not a 'happy' ending. Ofcourse we all have our favourites and Margaret Schlegel is mine. Rather predictibly so, but I admire her strength, ability to compromise, tenderness, spiritual connectedness, clear sightedness and individuality. Over-all I think Howard's End is a wonderful read every time!

Basic Training: A Fundamental Guide to Fitness for Men
Published in Hardcover by St. Martin's Press (1998)
Authors: Jon Giswold, David Morgan, and Ken Roberts
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so so book
(+) Most of the photography is very nice and the exercise intructions are very detailed and easy to understand. There are some funny/strange pictures-text layouts such as one where the left page contains information about acne and the right page has a picture of a guy's back and rear.

(-) However, I found the coverage of diet and nutrition to be almost non-existant. The pages containing information about spas and body piercing could be better utilized with more practical information.

(-) At times the personal approach of the book produces text that are just way too verbose such as this excerpt about rowing: "When I think of rowing I think of a crew paddling on the Potomac River, or kayak on the Colorado River, or a rowboat in Central Park . During the spring and fall I venture up to Central Park and get into a rowboat and paddle around the lake for an hour or so. It looks good, but I tell you it is a workout." Doy! Not only verbose but obvious.

* Overall, it's a very good book on barbell/dumbbell/equipment-free exercises. But this book shouldn't be a guy's only guide on fitness.

OK I'll admit it. I bought this book primarily because of the photography. I only gave this book a 4 as opposed to a 5 because It would have been nice to see the faces on some of these specimens Being a woman I have more than a soft spot for well built men. And there are plenty is this book! I can sympathize with the distaste of some of the reviewers on this board. The book does seem to be aimed primarily at gays. But once you get over any aversion of looking at fully naked men. You can appreciate David Morgan's terrific photography simply for its aethetic component without seeing it as intrusive. Further the workouts are very useful and practical and with the rare exception the author didn't steer the reader to thousands of dollars worth of gym equipment. These excecises could be done at home. That being said the book is really written for the "everyman" (or woman) who just wants to get in shape not necessarily look like a model. The writing is simple (but not purile) it lacks the patronizing tone of many fitness magazines and books. I would recomend the book to everyone out there!

Excellent place to begin.
As a college student who had never really taken a whole lot of interest in his body, I decided that I needed to start working out so that I could improve my health. My health course got me started, so I began to look for a "guidebook" that would be of assistance as I'm not really familiar with all of the aspects of weight training.

Although I was a little skeptical when I first got this book, I began to read it and realized that there is a LOT of helpful information packed into it. The illustrations are all very tasteful and well done, if not a little overabundant.

If you're looking for a place to start for your overall health, this is where to turn. If you want something more advanced, I'd recommend a book tailored more to exercise alone, as this book attempts and succeeds at being "a guy's manual to his own body."

Weather: Nature Company Discoveries Library (Nature Company Discoveries Library)
Published in Hardcover by Time Life (1999)
Authors: David Edtellyard, David Ellyard, Sally Morgan, Time-Life Books, and Discoveries Library
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Anything you wanted to know about weather!
This book has wonderful photos of every type of weather from clouds, sun dogs, rainbows, hail, freezing rain, and on and on. Each description is only a page long and includes a photograph. It's easy to understand and doesn't get into too much detail. My 6 year old, although she didn't understand the text, got this book out of the library and liked it so much she wanted a copy of her own -- she loved looking at the different photos. And as an adult, I had to agree with her, it's great just to thumb through as well as read the specifics.

Very cool and informative Weather Guide
It has been said "people complain about the weather but never do anything about it." Perhaps that's because they don't know much about it. This book will help you learn more about our weather. I was looking for a book that explained about various weather phenomenon and came across it. I loved it not only because of the pictures and descriptions in the last chapter on various weather types (different kinds of fogs, clouds, storms, precipitation, optical effects, etc), but also for lost of other information covered in the book, but also because the book's other chapters also contained so much excellent information. Subjects like Understanding the Weather (which covers the atmosphere, sources of weather, global wind patterns and different kinds of winds, frontal systems, etc.), Forecasting the Weather (obviously that has never been an exact science!), Changing the Weather, and also a secion on different climates and how humankind and animals adapt.

There are lots of pictures and diagrams in this book which help to explain key weather concepts. One day I will force myself to read this book cover to cover instead of getting sidetracked at all the gorgeous illustrations and pictures in this book, every time I pick it up to read it.

How Does Weather Work?
I love this book all about weather, how it occurs, what makes our planet hum. It has helped me read the sky far more clearly & understand daily forecasts. It is filled with gorgeous photographs & easily interpreted diagrams. I never knew there were so many forms of fog!

America a Narrative History (Regular)
Published in Paperback by W.W. Norton & Company (2000)
Authors: Morgan S. Thomas and David Emory Shi
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Reads like a text book
I was dissappointed with the book. There's no in depth discussion on any event. It just reads on and states facts like those in High School text books. Didn't capture me at all.

An impressive study and an easy read
A huge book that traces the history of America from pre-Columbus through present day. Although considered by many to be a "text book" for study, it is not written in that format. It reads easily and clearly. It is non-biased and informative. The pictures are helpful. It's the first book on American history that I have been able to finish. Although expensive, I think that every book collection should have a copy and it is an essential part of any history collection.

THE BOOK for any AP US History exam
My AP US History class used this book as its textbook. Statistics speak for themselves: anyone who read and studied the book got a 5! It is one of the most comprehensive texts in American history ever published. George Tindall, the primary author, is a wonderful and knowledgable man who I have met in Chapel Hill,NC. An excellent buy!

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