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The Bookwatch

Volume 12, Number 11 November 2017 Home | BW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Agriculture Shelf Technology Shelf
Antiques/Collectibles Shelf Gardening Shelf Architecture Shelf
Needlecraft Shelf Beer/Wine/Spirits Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf
Comix/Graphic Novel Shelf Fiction Shelf  

Reviewer's Choice

The Forgotten Genius of Oliver Heaviside
Basil Mahon
Prometheus Books
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228-2197
9781633883314, $26.00,

The Forgotten Genius of Oliver Heaviside: A Maverick of Electrical Science tells of a pioneer in electrical science in the early 1920s whose contributions led to advancements in communications and modern electrical engineering. Despite the fact that his name is seldom mentioned in modern science circles, his ideas formed the foundation to many electrical science concepts, and the story of his life and achievements is finally given the recognition it deserves in a book that is packed with important details. No science holding should be without this biography, which also presents a discussion of the evolution of electrical engineering as a science.

The Agriculture Shelf

This Blessed Earth
Ted Genoways
W. W. Norton & Company
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110
9780393292572, $26.95,

This Blessed Earth: A Year in the Life of an American Family Farm follows a family through a year of farm life from fall to fall, moving beyond more studied and intellectual assessments of family farms to get at the nuts and bolts of small-scale production. When the Hammond family inherited 50 cows, 50 sows, and 300 acres, they entered into serious farming and also absorbed the realities of weather, yields, crop prices, profits, climate change, changing trade policy impacts on crops, and much more than they'd bargained for. Their revelations and experiences form the foundation of more than a personal memoir about farming to consider the bigger picture of traditional farming operations and the many challenges they face. Anyone interested in farming challenges who wants a combination of personal and political perspective will relish this survey's multifaceted approach.

The Technology Shelf

Understanding GIS: An ArcGIS Pro Project Workbook, third edition
David Smith,
ESRI Press
380 New York Street, Redlands, CA 92378-8100
9781589484832, $79.99,

The updated third edition of Understanding GIS: An ArcGIS Pro Project Workbook is the only GIS reference to cover the step-by-step creation of a GIS project from start to finish, and comes packed with charts, instructions on making calculations and using data, opening and using project tools, making parameters for real-world models, and more. Exercises, step-by-step directions, color photos and GIS examples throughout, and discussions of data preparation for different kinds of projects make this reference a powerful recommendation for any ArcGIS newcomers who wants to get up and running with a workbook packed not just with information, but step-by-step processes and common connections to real-world applications.

The Antiques/Collectibles Shelf

Miller's Antiques Encyclopedia, fifth edition
Judith Miller, Editor
Miller's/Mitchell Beazley
c/o Octopus Publishing
236 Park Avenue, New York NY 10017
9781784723651, $55.00,

The fifth edition of Miller's Antiques Encyclopedia is a fully updated reference that was first published in 1998 to much acclaim, and updates values, definitions, and information on antiques and collectibles for both professional dealers and general-interest collectors. Seeking to cover all areas of traditional collecting, readers can expect discussions about furniture, glassware, jewelry, art, sporting memorabilia and more, all presented in an encyclopedia format organized by main subject, subdivided by type, and cross-referenced for other areas of interest. An international team of some 40 consultants and writers contributed to this discussion, which includes good-sized, clear color photos throughout, color sidebars of key facts, and histories about each piece's introduction and design. This extensive all-in-one reference is especially recommended as a library pick for any patron looking at any aspect of general collecting.

The Gardening Shelf

Worms at Work
Crystal Stevens
New Society Publishers
PO Box 189, Gabriola Island, BC, Canada, V0R 1X0
9780865718401, $19.99,

Worms at Work: Harnessing the Awesome Power of Worms with Vermiculture and Vermicomposting belongs in science and gardening collections alike, as well as many a culinary collection, as it provides gardeners with a guide to making better soil using worms. Newcomers to the concept of making sure soil is rich for plant growth may be surprised at this notion of worm management, but it's long been a staple of organic gardening and farming methods. Here, it's covered in a basic primer that's easy to understand and filled with basic knowledge about fertilizing a garden and encouraging worm health. Newcomers to organic gardening must have this easy survey which avoids the usual confusion inherent in a topic too often given only a chapter in a more complex overview of gardening approaches.

The Architecture Shelf

Essential Sustainable Home Design
Chris Magwood
New Society Publishers
PO Box 189, Gabriola Island, BC, Canada, V0R 1X0
9780865718500, $39.99,

Essential Sustainable Home Design: A Complete Guide to Goals, Options, and the Design Process provides a step-by-step guide to help builders work through the process of designing and construction a sustainable structure, and is recommended for home builders who want an overview of key ideas and basic guidelines combined with the mechanics of putting a project together. From materials and systems options to basic building science applications and logistics, locating alternative materials, and understanding how home systems work, this is a 'must' for those who have some basic home building or construction savvy who want insights on concrete sustainable approaches.

The Needlecraft Shelf

Martingale & Company
19021 - 120th Avenue NE, Suite 102, Bothell, WA 98011

Two fine new additions to this series are top picks for quilters at all levels of expertise, offering specific focus and discussions that lend to quilting new projects. Katja Marek's Distinctive Dresdens (9781604688528, $26.99) presents nearly thirty blocks in six sample projects and shows how Dresdens can be done either via sewing machine or hand, using English paper piecing. Both processes are covered in a colorful survey of piecing techniques that are specific to Dresden patterns and which translate to unique, beautiful productions. Karen M. Burns compiles the blocks in I Love Star Blocks: 16 Quilts from an All-Time Favorite Block (9781604688566, $24.99) which come from a number of quilt designers who use start blocks in both traditional and innovative, new ways. This makes the book accessible to all quilters who want to learn about star blocks and how to incorporate them into a project. Color photos supplement patterns, materials lists, cutting instructions, and assembly specifics.

The Beer/Wine/Spirits Shelf

Fever-Tree: The Art of Mixing
Fever Tree
Mitchell Beazley
c/o Octopus Publishing
236 Park Avenue, New York NY 10017
9781784721893, $20.00,

Fever-Tree: The Art of Mixing Simple Long Drinks & Cocktails from the World's Leading Bars packs in over 125 long drink and cocktail recipes unique to Fever-Tree, created by the world's top bartenders. This means that the concoctions won't have common to other recipe collections, but offers many unique drinks based on classic and contemporary recipes that pair mixers with botanicals. From a Panacea with rum, lemon juice, honey, various bitters and Ginger Beer to Lemon Berry Fever made with vodka, blackcurrent liqueur, lemonade and lemon peel, this cocktail book offers a spirited collection to any who want to know more about cocktails.

Session Beers
Jennifer Talley
Brewers Publications
9781938469417, $19.95, PB,

Session Beers: Brewing for Flavor and Balance is for any interested in brewing beer, whether professional or novice, and features over twenty session beer recipes along with discussions of session beer making. These are beers of moderate strength which are lower in alcohol and higher in flavor, attracting craft brewers who adapted stronger classic beers to the added benefit of more flavor and less alcoholic impact. Brewers receive recipes, discussions of how to obtain beer balance, and will appreciate the many insights into breweries known for producing session beers.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Wild Horse Country
David Philipps
W. W. Norton & Company
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110
9780393247138, $27.95,

Wild Horse Country: The History, Myth, and Future of the Mustang follows the history of wild horses in America and threats to the wild mustang's continued existence, following all aspects of the mustang as a horse, an American icon, and an animal which has long been persecuted because of their population and special management issues. The dysfunctional system of rounding up wild horses and maintaining them in non-wild holding centers in the Midwest only exists because wildlife managers, government agencies, ranchers, and wild horse advocates can't agree on what to do with them. This history traces the roots and fundamentals of these conflicts and provides a powerful survey key to understanding the background and current plight of the wild mustang in a wide-reaching survey highly recommended for any wildlife or equine collection.

The Comix/Graphic Novel Shelf

Kirby 100
Jon B. Cooke & John Morrow, Editors
TwoMorrows Publishing
10407 Bedfordtown Drive, Raleigh, NC 27614
9781605490786, $34.95,

Kirby 100 gathers black and white and color cartoon panels from some of the top modern comics artists today, creating a celebration of comic illustrator great Jack Kirby as it celebrates his centennial anniversary. Over two hundred pages in full color gathers tribute artwork, memories, discussions of Jack Kirby's lasting influence in the comic illustration and pop culture worlds, and provide moving stories and insights that even some Kirby fans may not know. Anyone with more than a casual interest in Jack Kirby as well as many a newcomer to his name will find Kirby 100 a keepsake edition that gathers material supporting the extent of his lasting impact on cartooning and comics.

The Fiction Shelf

13 Months in Vietnam
Bill Kroger
Black Rose Writing
PO Box 1540, Castroville, TX 78009
9781612969268, $17.95 PB, $6.99 Kindle,

The majority of Vietnam stories take place mid-war after the fighting has begun. Relatively few start in the early phases of the war, when soldiers were professional Army enlistees who viewed themselves differently, and whose experiences were substantially dissimilar from soldiers who followed in their footsteps. 13 Months in Vietnam reveals those early years as it follows a squadron who travels the country in 1963, before the major shooting begins. The first thing to note is that because of this pre-war story, the action is quite different than the usual Vietnam-era saga. Although it is penned by an enlisted soldier who spent 13 months in Vietnam traveling from Saigon to near the North Vietnam border, and is thus based on true events, it also incorporates a sense of place, people, and social and political perspectives which are quite different from the typical in-country story line. Readers who seek a gritty, first-person perspective that fully embraces the evolutionary growth of boys to men under battle conditions, and who want a better-rounded view of the culture and experiences of Vietnam than battle scenes alone, will find 13 Months in Vietnam more than fits the bill for a thought-provoking, extraordinary survey of responsibilities, worries, and the culture and social atmosphere of 1960s Saigon.

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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