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The Bookwatch

Volume 15, Number 7 July 2020 Home | BW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Philosophy Shelf Computer Shelf
Technology Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf  

Reviewer's Choice

The Backpack
Brandon S. Hultink
Quill Driver Books
2006 South Mary, Fresno, CA 93721
9781610353519, $16.95 PB, $8.99 Kindle, 180pp,

The Backpack: A Wounded Police Officer's Struggle with the Burden All Cops Share comes from a former police officer who chronicles his move from depression over physical and emotional assaults at work to faith in God and recovery. While his first-person story is personal, it details many levels of depression and pain that are part of the police officer's job, from participation in enforcement teams and community programs to police work that starts out exciting, but exposes officers to traumas and difficult situations that most ordinary people never experience. From shootouts to confrontations both with others and within, The Backpack is a memoir that provides a riveting personal story that is thoroughly engrossing, educational, and inspirational.

The Philosophy Shelf

Avengers Infinity Saga and Philosophy
Heather L. Rivera and Robert Arp, Editors
Open Court Publishing Company
70 East Lake Street, Suite 800, Chicago, IL 60601
9780812694857, $19.95, PB, 256pp,

Avengers Infinity Saga and Philosophy: Go for the Head adds volume 131 to the Popular Culture and Philosophy series edited by George A. Reisch, and gathers nearly forty philosophers under one cover, fans of the Marvel comic universe, who consider stories from the two Avengers films: Infinity War and Endgame. These discussions link both modern and traditional philosophical observations with Avengers themes in a way that will interest modern readers with a prior affinity for the Avengers universe. Discussions refer to characters, themes, and philosophical conundrums and will prove especially lively choices for classroom discussions linking popular cultural icons to philosophical observations of life. Very highly recommended as debate and discussion material for audiences interested in the Avengers, whose prior familiarity and fascination will involve them in contemporary philosophy's relevance.

The Computer Shelf

Artificial Intelligence and Expert Systems
I. Gupta & G. Nagpal
Mercury Learning
c/o Stylus Publishing, Inc.
22883 Quicksilver Drive, Sterling, VA 20166-2012
9781683925071, $49.95 PB, $41.95 Kindle, 412pp,

Artificial Intelligence and Expert Systems surveys modern applications of artificial intelligence in problem-solving, providing an introduction to different AI endeavors, engineering, networks, and applications that will be perfect for college-level students new to the topic. This introduction to artificial intelligence covers a range of developments and knowledge applications, discussing the difference between intelligence and knowledge and covering the advantages and disadvantages of collecting and using information in an AI application environment. Charts, graphs, programming processes and errors, and calculations provide beginners with an excellent foundation for understanding AIs and their potentials.

Angular and Machine Learning Pocket Primer
O. Campesato
Mercury Learning
c/o Stylus Publishing, Inc.
22883 Quicksilver Drive, Sterling, VA 20166-2012
9781683924708, $39.95 PB, $34.08 Kindle,

The Angular and Machine Learning Pocket Primer joins others in the Pocket Primer series to introduce newcomers to basics. Here the topic revolves around machine learning concepts and Angular applications, reviewing popular machine learning classifiers, providing code samples and figures, and surveying Angular applications and concepts. From forms and services and UI controls to classifiers and Angular concepts, this pocket primer packs in technical explanations, equations, discussions of different forms, and basic machine learning concepts that are key to understanding the foundation theories and applications in machine learning environments. College-level students who want to get up to speed quickly will find this primer essential reading.

The Technology Shelf

Microwave and Millimeter-Wave Vacuum Electron Devices
A.S. Gilmour, Jr.
Artech House
685 Canton Street, Norwood, MA 02062
9781630817282, $179.00 HC, $158.19 Kindle, 950pp,

Microwave and Millimeter-Wave Vacuum Electron Devices comes from an international expert on the subject of microwave tubes and their many current applications in military, communication, medicine, and other industries. Among its technical insights are discussions of secondary emission processes and their applications, tube design, performance and power specs, usage history such as with magnetrons, and the science behind different devices and microwave operations. Color graphs and charts abound and illustrate forces and processes, each chapter concludes with an extensive list of references, and the book provides the depth and level of technical insight appropriate both for student review and professional refresher courses. This is a weighty coverage that builds a foundation of microwave knowledge as it surveys millimeter-wave devices, and will interest a wide audience, from students to those involved in the microwave field.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Baen Books
PO Box 1188, Wake Forest NC 27588

David Boop edits Straight Outta Dodge City (9781982124366, $16.00), a 'weird Western' collection of short stories that pairs supernatural and ghostly elements with fantasy and intrigue designed to rewrite the nature and feel of the typical Western setting. Monsters, ghosts, supernatural beings, dinosaurs, and more appear in short stories by such notable names as horror writer Joe R. Lansdale, fantasy and sci-fi writer Mercedes Lackey, timeslip adventure writer Harry Turtledove, and many more. The stories are diverse, interesting, and hard to easily define, but always engrossing and startling in their plots and contentions. Hank Davis and Christopher Ruocchio edit Overruled (9781982124502, $16.00), gathering short stories by Larry Niven, Arthur C. Clarke, and more modern names like Larry Correia as it presents sci-fi and fantasy stories revolving around lawyers and legal themes. From alien worlds to defending a computer program accused of murder, these diverse scenarios tied by the legal profession make for intriguing scenarios that are hard to put down.

James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Diane C. Donovan, Editor
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937

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