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The Bookwatch

Volume 16, Number 4 April 2021 Home | BW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Computer Shelf Technology Shelf
World History Shelf Biography Shelf  

Reviewer's Choice

Symbols of Patriotism
Laurence L. Cook
Vandamere Press
9780918339843, $19.95, HC, 160pp

Symbols of Patriotism: First Ladies and Daughters of the American Revolution considers the changing role of the Presidential First Lady through the actions of twelve selected women who contributed to the nation. Dr. Laurence L. Cook is a presidential historian and collects memorabilia and facts about the office. His focus on First Ladies and their unusual situation of having no official job outline and no salary follows the different routes these women chose in the course of their duties. Little-known facts and biographical details supplement the outlines of their achievements in a lively overview recommended for all ages.

The Computer Shelf

Computer Graphics Programming in OpenGL with C++, second edition
V. Scott Gordon and John Clevenger
Mercury Learning
22841 Quicksilver Dr., Dulles, VA 20166
9781683926726, $79.95 PB, $51.49 Kindle, 733pp

Computer Graphics Programming in OpenGL with C++ appears in its second updated edition to provide the same key step-by-step instruction on modern 3D graphics shader programming that includes the new OpenGL 4.0 directions for both PC and Mac environments. All techniques include code examples, instructions on installation and best practices, examples for different kinds of 3D applications, and tips for optimizing code. Companion files with codes and examples are included in an accompanying CD packed with information that reinforces the implementation directions in the book, while examples presented in both black and white and color are clear illustrations that leave nothing to wonder about. Any computer reference library strong in Open GL will find this suitable both for beginners and for use as a refresher course.

Game Development Using Python, second edition
James R. Parker
Mercury Learning
22841 Quicksilver Dr., Dulles, VA 20166
9781683926276, $69.95 PB, $39.95 Kindle, 497pp

Game Development Using Python appears in a second updated edition to provide Python developers a specific guide to best uses, and is recommended for those needing a basic overview of game development concepts using this program. Code examples abound, an accompanying disc holds such code plus supporting color figures and references, and chapters focus on the latest Python features applicable to game development approaches. Discussion examples may be as basic as how to devise car controls in a game environment using a keyboard or mouse or switching device, or how to build in randomness for unpredictable results and higher user satisfaction. Backed with math, charts, and discussions of the elements that make for a good game, this user's guide is highly recommended as either a starting point for Python programmers wanting to work with game development, or game developers new to Python.

The Technology Shelf

Mechanical Engineering Exam Prep: Problems and Solutions
L.S. Mayboudi
Mercury Learning
22841 Quicksilver Dr., Dulles, VA 20166
9781683921349, $49.95 PB, $29.95 Kindle, 200pp

Mechanical Engineering Exam Prep: Problems and Solutions packs in over 1500 review questions and answers for a wide range of mechanical engineering exams, from physics and fluid mechanics to engineering drawing and mechanics, heat transfer, and dynamics and control systems. The multiple-choice questions are often accompanied by diagrams and math formulas, discussed in depth in solution guides which illustrate how answers were derived, teaching and reinforcing teaching about mechanical engineering basics. Anyone taking mechanical engineering exams needs this book, which serves as not just a testing manual, but a refresher course with expanded solutions imparting some of the basics of mechanical engineering problem-solving.

A 360-Degree View of IoT Technologies
John Soldatos
Artech House
685 Canton St., Norwood, MA 02062
9781630817527, $139.00 HC, $132.50 Kindle, 254pp

A 360-Degree View of IoT Technologies is a recommended reference for any collection strong in microsystem engineering, and explores the history and future of the IoT application, from wireless sensor networks to AI, cybersecurity, and other system applications. There is a wide range of technologies associated with IoT, which makes this reference an essential key to understanding its foundations and rapidly expanding possibilities; especially as they blend with AI technology. From standards and evaluation to modeling, A 360-Degree View of IoT Technologies provides the kind of wide-ranging discussion needed to bring all these seemingly disparate threads of information together. From development trends and strategies to integration challenges and networking potential, this review is a 'must' for anyone considering IoT's possibilities and applications throughout a range of industries.

Radio Wave Propagation Fundamentals, second edition
Artem Saakian
Artech House
685 Canton St., Norwood, MA 02062
9781630818449, $189.00 HC, $179.55 Kindle, 442pp

The second updated edition of Radio Wave Propagation Fundamentals represents more than the addition of a few new details. It's a completely updated, revamped introduction to the basic principles of electromagnetic wave propagation, and includes new theories about this process, as well as revised real-world applications. It covers all the known mechanisms of ground radio waves and sky waves, supporting its research with statistical descriptions of fluctuations and signal stability challenges and analyzing real conditions using math, charts, and visuals. The result is such a fundamental revision of the original that this book should be considered an essential reference and replacement for its predecessor, and a foundation piece for any engineering collection strong in radio wave technology.

The World History Shelf

Artistes of Colour
Steve Ward, PhD
Modern Vaudeville Press
9781733971270, $25.00, PB, 316pp

Artistes Of Colour: Ethnic Diversity And Representation In The Victorian Circus is highly recommended for performing arts and ethnic history libraries alike, offering a solid study of Victorian-era circus makeup that probes the achievements of notable Victorian-era circus performers of color. From African rope dancers and jugglers to Chinese and Japanese troupes, chapters cover family origins and history, offer extensive quotes from research and source materials, and provide many inspections of circus performing art history.

This history nicely juxtaposes with racial reflections and insights that takes source material writings and analyzes them with an astute eye to outlining the intrinsic racial perceptions in white Victorian society. One example of this approach lies in this analysis of an 1809 journal passage describing the exploits and culture of Indian jugglers. These close inspections of source materials provide a foundation for understanding Victorian prejudices, performing arts history, and the intersections of prejudice and achievement that often layered observations with an intrinsic attitude about other races and cultures.

Fans of circus history as well as those interested in the presence, exploitation, and perception of performers of color in Victorian-era society will find much to appreciate in this well-detailed narration.

Black and white reproductions of advertising and illustrations from the times add visual embellishment key to understanding representations of these people, while the autobiographical sketches of selected key performers gathers much material about their individual histories and achievements. Anyone interested in performing arts history,

Victorian-era cultural interactions and relationships, and ethnic history examinations will find Artistes Of Colour a unique and powerful reference highly recommended for readers who want a scholarly yet spirited approach to circus history and ethnic issues.

The Biography Shelf

Orthodox Theology and Technology
CJS Hayward
CJS Hayward Publications
9798584713522, $7.99 PB, $.99 Kindle, 136pp

Orthodox Theology and Technology: A Profoundly Gifted Autobiography will attract two different kinds of readers: those interested in orthodox theology and its intersection with technology and personal life, and autobiography readers (especially those with some prior familiarity with CJS Hayward's weighty, expansive writings and reflections).

It includes the kind of work that has drawn from prior readers responses of, "When I read it, I was stunned." At a little over a hundred pages, this presentation will prove especially inviting for busy readers with only a cursory interest in Orthodoxy or Hayward. Orthodox Theology and Technology opens with Hayward's musings about his life and work. His retrospective on life is explored in a 'Dear Reader' letter that moves from his teachings about math's simple beauty to how he has struggled "to become more human" in his approaches to (and perception of) life, theology, and everything in-between.

It will immediately become evident to readers that although Hayward's musings are quite accessible, they are also filled with observations that embrace philosophical, psychological, and theological reflection. Thus, they are weighty reading even when they strive for language and descriptions to attract a casual reader. Furthermore, they offer a unique encounter with the kind of mind that most readers encounter only in books written long ago and far away.

Orthodox Theology and Technology is no light collection of life encounters, but a deeply personal inspection of self and the spiritual works that drive relationships with God. Hayward is candid about his admittance of successes and failures in both arenas, as well as the impact of such writings on those who seek wisdom and faith. The effect is, at times, mesmerizing. It's important to note that this survey of Hayward's life focuses on his scholarly and spiritual revelations at different points of his studies. This is no light romp through childhood and adult years, but a thought-provoking examination of the major influences on and developments of his intellectual pursuits.

There is something here for everyone to take away, and the reading is meant to be rewarding to many different kinds of readers. As such, it's a critical discussion of his involvement in mathematics and Orthodoxy that juxtaposes "a mathematician's approach to relating" with broader inspections of college studies, interactions with professors and peers, and the overall contributions of his evolving psyche and scholarly studies on the foundations of life perceptions which translated to his writing a series of books inspecting Orthodoxy's place in his world. This may seem very esoteric, but the book offers a real, live glimpse into such a world of mysticism and brilliance.

Some might deem these discussions wide-ranging ramblings; but for those truly interested in the foundations of Orthodox thinking and the influence of education on the pursuit of God and character, Orthodox Theology and Technology offers a window into how this passion and pursuit evolved against different kinds of obstacles. Readers looking for wonder will find many wonders are to be found in these works.

Anyone with an interest in Orthodoxy in general and Hayward's influences in particular should begin with Orthodox Theology and Technology before pursuing his other works. It is fascinating, providing a foundation for understanding, and a sense of his voice that will prove keys to a better appreciation of his writings.

James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Diane C. Donovan, Editor
Midwest Book Review
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Oregon, WI 53575-1129
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