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The second half has a tendency to degenerate into repetitive and awfully superficial chronicle, and doesn't bring the 20's and 30's to life in the same way as the earlier sections--even though there were colorful characters galore available.
(I noticed the same flatness in large sections of Alexander's history of baseball, Our Game. There too he often retreats to mere narrative, and away from insight.)
If you've read the 50 or so better baseball books available, or if you enjoy hearing oft-told tales told once more, this is a pleasant enough way to kill two or three afternoons.
However, this is not a short or an entertaining read by any stretch of the imagination as Alexander's book is decidedly bland in its detailed accounts of seasons past. After detailing McGraw's many outbursts on and off the field, Alexander chronicles McGraw's gambling misdeeds and even possible corruption (to the degree of the 1919 Black Sox). But Alexander does not write with a lot of imagination. His work reads exactly like you might expect a chronological account might: vanilla.
Although I enjoyed reading this book and appreciated all of the facts and research Alexander did on McGraw, I cannot say that this is one of the better baseball books I have read. Still, it remains the only book of any substance on McGraw, so if you want to learn about one of the most important men in the history of baseball, this is your book.
In 1901 he helped formed the American League, then tried to kill the AL in 1902. Why no World Series in 1904? McGraw. Inventor of the Hit-and-run? McGraw. Originator of collarless uniforms? McGraw. First to use Relief specialist in the bullpen? McGraw. First in 3 World Series in a row? McGraw. 4 in a row? McGraw. Only his pupil Casey Stengel has matched McGraw for total pennants. His career placed him in a pennant race NEARLY EVERY YEAR in 5 DECADES! (As Manager 10-1st, 10-2nd, 4-3ed place finishes in 32 years.)
Alexander presents the events of McGraw's life in chronological order- enabling the reader to use 'John McGraw' as a reference book for what happened in baseball in any given year due to the detail provided by Alexander. Charles C. Alexander writes history books about baseball; not mere collections of tales and legends set to prose. His facts are throughly researched and documented. However, even well written history books sometimes become tedious in detail. This book is no exception. Personally, I prefer an overkill of facts to haphazard story telling. Not quite as well written as the masterful 'Ty Cobb' and compelling 'Rogers Hornsby' by Alexander, but still the cream of baseball biographies.
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Anybody who reads this book will appreciate the depth of its coverage. It is a quality designed: a valuable compilation with both doctors and students in mind.
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It commences where volume one left off, near the building of the Metropolitan Tabernacle, where for thirty years Spurgeon heralded the gospel of Christ to thousands. Many aspects of his life are broadly covered, including his literary efforts, the pastors college and other institutions, information regarding his home, his trips to Mentone, France, his numerous afflictions, and the Down-grade controversy. Much of this book is fun and delightful, all of it interesting - at least, to a Spurgeon fan.
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A distinction should be made between the actual story of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and the interpretation of the story, the Carol "canon" (from the word measurement). The story is there for us, unchanged, to be read year after year, but the fit, the measurement of the Carol's meaning is constantly changing. Joe Cusumano provides a creative and inspiring measurement for Dickens' famous tale, as well as placing the original story in the appendix.
While acknowledging the traditional meanings of the story and providing an excellent historical background, Cusumano filters A Christmas Carol through the novel lens of spiritual experiences and Clinical Psychology. Disconcerting as his suggestions are to the standard literary approach, Cusumano in Transforming Scrooge opens the story up to fresh and vital interpretation. It is difficult to envision the 19th Century Father of Christmas, Charles Dickens, as having nightly visitations by the greys and blacks of sci-fi fame, but the parallels between his ghosts and modern accounts of close encounters are startlingly similar. The bright light and chaotic effect of the Ghost of Christmas Past mirrors the kind of psychological experience as recorded in movies such as Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Fire in the Sky.
Ebenezer undoubtedly needed a psycho-spiritual jolt to rock him from his heartless materialism. The use of fantasy literary technique allowed Charles Dickens to condense a complex, long process into a single evening. Alien abduction and Near Death experiences have the same intensive effect. Leaving aside the literal proof or validation of such experiences, Cusumano focuses on their transformative effects, showing how human hearts can be softened when open to the healing imagery of life review, in depth perception of reality and prophetic warning.
Scrooge is revolutionized both from within and without in A Christmas Carol. Transforming Scrooge compares Scrooge's experience to that of one undergoing counselling. Releasing repression, built up pockets of energetic resistance located in the chakra points, according to Kundalini yoga, allowed Scrooge to change from being "as solitary as an oyster" into being "the Father of Tiny Tim." Cusumano, using a variety of therapeutic metaphors, shows how the release might take place in us modern Scrooges.
Released from the bondage of blockage, Scrooge discovered the roots of his own miserliness in the abuse that he suffered as a child at the hands of his perfectionistic father. Uncovering his own pain, he was prepared for the prophetic statement of the Ghost of the Future who predicted the social effects of child hatred on society. "Beware of Want and Ignorance!" is a mantra for the new millennium, as much as for the Industrial Revolution. The way we treat the child is the litmus test of our society; the havoc we inherit through street gangs, thugs and dictators is the price we pay for our treatment of the innocent.
The Goodnews of A Christmas Carol is that doom is not inevitable but that an openness to the spiritual and psychological experiences of healing can sponge away the death knell of our insensitivity. As Cusumano says, "Dickens was letting us know that this is not really just a Christmas Story. More importantly, it is an Easter Story, one of resurrection." The measure of A Christmas Carol for our lives is the extent to which we participate in this heart opening resurrection. Transforming Scrooge by Joe Cusumano speaks to the heart from the heart of that message.
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McMoneagle (a long-time soldier and then science-researcher) in his second book has improved on his writing of complex material without sounding like a military report. So it's more readable even in the more densely-informative areas, and extremely readable in certain others that are darn-interesting. The outline of topic-date-prediction is more organized/logical than anything I've seen done in the psi arena, but I actually found this less pleasing. I think had the book been done in a more narrative fashion it might have made it less practical, and less referenceable, but more fun... easier reading for the general public. I suppose it is up to readers to decide what they prefer. McMoneagle is, as anybody who knows him or has even met him would vouch for, one of the most practical, logical (not to mention brilliant) human beings around. So, it's his book, he did it his way.
Some of his predictions have proven out; others have not. Some predictions seem vague, while others are very specific. Some others, even at the point where they might happen, are likely to require historical perspective to get the real facts. Most of his personal interest seems to be about humanity. In other words, I think he was a lot less interested in the sound-bite "volcano erupts by Tuesday!" approach to predictions than he was the questions "What is our world going to be like? What will we be like?" Sometimes that includes quite specific descriptions, and sometimes it's a general commentary on changes or tendencies.
The author does a nice job in talking about psi, time, some related difficulties and more. If I were going to read a book by anybody about psychic predictions, it'd be McMoneagle, since he's so far the only person who's demonstrated accurate, under-controls, in-public/gov't/military/science-lab remote viewing -- including of future events. Since he's one of the only people with actual credentials in the Anomalous Cognition field, his work deserves being approached with respect, whether or not this particular book is as exciting for most as his other two.
For those into cultural anthropology the book is fascinating. He talks a lot about life in the future; a different manner of living (from how we'll eat to the kind of physical structures our culture will favor), and many other things. Even if you take the psychic equation out of it, the book is good food-for-thought and discussion-group-inspiring. Which as even Joe would say, until one gets feedback on the facts is all it can be.
One thing -- Joe covers from now out until a certain point in time, and then jumps to much farther in the future. There is a large gap there. Given the changes from one part to the other, what he does NOT say but I got the impression of, was that at some point the planet is going to lose an awful lot of people and have some massive changes in culture and perhaps even physicality. Like I said, he doesn't really spell this out, but thinking about what he does say would kind of lead to this conclusion. I wasn't sure why he did that. Maybe it was just limited space.
I think if you are interested in psychic work and/or psychic predictions/prophecy, this is a good book to have. The author's a real-world expert, and there is tons of material here. If you are more interested in personal psychic development, I recommend Remote Viewing Secrets instead. If you would just like an interesting book that contains both narrative autobiographical story and intriguing psychic sessions and some hands-on advice, Mind Trek is a very good introduction.
Like all Joe's books, you might believe in psychic ability or not, you might like the book or not, but there is no disputing his intelligence, his down to earth, no-nonsense approach, and his intriguing ability to conceptualize a lot about aspects of reality most people just never consider. In the end, other than being an thought-provoking read (which is enough on its own merits), I suppose the primary value of this book will have to be proven the same way its contents will -- from considerably into the future, looking back.
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My son & I ARE having lots of fun with Fun With String.