Saturday, August 28, 2010

Book "Lee" by John Perry

About the book: It's no surprise that Robert E. Lee graduated second in his class from West Point. His four years there were marked by exemplary conduct and nary a demerit. He went on to become one of the most successful generals of the Confederate army during the American Civil War, inspiring his troops with his unselfish character and devotion to duty. Lee's string of victories earned him praise on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line. He was admired for his tactical success in battle, and even after surrendering to Ulysses S. Grant at the Appomatox court house, his example of conduct for thousands of ex-Confederates made him a legend. After the war, he assumed the presidency of Washington College and devoted the remainder of his life to setting an example of conduct. He remains one of the most distinguished military heroes of all time.

About the Author: New York Times best selling author John Perry was the fifth generation of his family to be born in Greensburg, Kentucky. He grew up in Houston, where he played basketball, ran track, and starred in musical productions. After serving in the army he attended Vanderbilt University in Nashville and University College, Oxford, England. John graduated cum laude from Vanderbilt with a BA in English and a minor in piano, then tried to figure out how to earn a living with them.
He began his career in Houston as an advertising copywriter and radio producer, winning several national awards for creative excellence. His interest in music took him to Nashville, where he co-founded American Network Radio Productions and worked with country music greats including Garth Brooks, Dolly Parton, Larry Gatlin, Kathy Mattea, and Tanya Tucker.
An advertising project in Nashville introduced John to the world of books. A bookstore chain he had done radio spots for commissioned him to write dust jacket copy for their publishing division. Then, they requested a ghostwritten foreword. One thing led to another, and over the next several years John made the transition to full-time author.
Today John divides his time between books of his own and collaborations with a variety of writers and public figures. His biographies of Sergeant Alvin York and of Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver were CBA Award finalists. His biography of Mary Custis (Mrs. Robert E.) Lee, Lady of Arlington, was nominated for the Lincoln Prize for books about the Civil War era.
In the spring of 2010, his co-authored novel Letters to God, written with Patrick Doughtie and based on Patrick's feature film, debuted at #7 on The New York Times Best Seller List.
John is represented by literary agents Wolgemuth & Associates, Orlando.

My Review: For some, a traitor. For others, a hero. For me, an american dedicated above all to his state Virginia. A son, a husband and a father worried with his family. Through seventeen chapters John Perry describes the character of Robert Lee with details, showing his earlier years, the building of his responsible character after he saw his own father leaving the family. That is what triggered the making of a gentleman. He meets Mary, that would be his wife. After graduating second on his class from West Point, he worked in many different projects as an engineer officer and starting moving up in the military's rank. He volunteered in his first battle task at the Mexican War, when he was considered to be the best soldier in the front by General Scott. When time came that North and South were disputing over many questions, including slavery, he was under great conflict, but his loyalty for his state prevailed. We was invited to command the Confederate's Army during american Civil War and was one of the most successful ones.
His example of conduct is the best legacy that we have from him.
Author's style makes the reading very pleasant. If you like a serious biography written based on serious research, this book is for you.

This book was written by John Perry in 2010 and published by Thomas Nelson and they were kind enough to send me a copy for reviewing through their Thomas Nelson Book Review Bloggers Program. If you are reading this review, feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts.
It took me about 8 hours to finish this book. 

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Book "Great Parents, Lousy Lovers" by Dr. Gary Smalley & Ted Cunningham

About the Book: You love your kids . . . but where did the intimacy go? 
From changing diapers to playing chauffeur, it’s easy to spend so much time and energy on your kids that at the end of a long, exhausting day, you have nothing left for your spouse. Too often, being a great parent comes at the expense of having a great marriage.
In Great Parents, Lousy Lovers, relationship experts Dr. Gary Smalley and Ted Cunningham, authors of From Anger to Intimacy, show you that it is possible to be a great parent and a great lover. This book will help you and your spouse to begin reinvesting in your marriage—not just your children—because the best foundation for great parenting is a happy, healthy marriage.
Filled with wit, wisdom, and practical advice, Great Parents, Lousy Lovers will help you move from a frustrating, fatiguing, out-of-balance, kid-centered marriage to a strong, life-giving, fulfilling, couple-centered relationship.

About the Authors: 
Dr. Gary Smalley - Gary Smalley is one of the country's best known authors and speakers on family relationships. He is the author and coauthor of 16 best-selling, award-winning books along with several popular films and videos. He has spent over 30 years learning, teaching, and counseling. Gary has personally interviewed hundreds of singles and couples and has surveyed thousands of people at his seminars, asking two questions: what is it that strengthens your relationships and what weakens them? Gary's books combined have sold over 5 million copies. Many of them have even been translated into various languages. "The Blessing" and "The Two Sides of Love" have won the Gold Medallion Award for excellence in literature. "The Language of Love" won the Angel Award as the best contribution to family life. All other titles have been top-five finalists for the Gold Medallion Award.

In the last 30 years, Gary has spoken to over 2 million people in live conferences. He has been presenting his live two-day workshop, "Love Is a Decision," once a month for the last 20 years. Television audiences all over the world have viewed his award-winning infomercial, "Hidden Keys to Loving Relationships." Several versions of the infomercial--first with Dick Clark, then with John Tesh and Connie Sellecca, and also with Frank and Kathie Lee Gifford--have been aired. This 18-videotape series has sold over 4 million tapes.
Gary Smalley has appeared on national television programs such as "Oprah," "Larry King Live," "Extra," "The Today Show," and "Sally Jessy Raphael," as well as numerous national radio programs. Gary has been featured on hundreds of regional and local television and radio programs across the United States.
Gary and his wife, Norma, have been married for 40 years and live in Branson, Missouri. They have three children, Kari, Greg, and Michael, and six grandchildren.

Ted Cunningham - Ted Cunningham is the founding pastor of Woodland Hills Family Church in Branson, Missouri. He is the co-founder of Two Ignite and co-creator of Ted is a speaker with the Smalley Relationship Center and has co-authored three books with Dr. Gary Smalley: The Language of Sex, From Anger to Intimacy and As Long As We Both Shall Live. He has been a guest on Focus on the Family, Life Today and Moody Radio. Ted met his wife Amy on a blind date at Liberty University and determined to marry her that night. Although he didn’t ask her that night, she said "yes" to his proposal a year later. Now married for 13 years, they both love taking road trip sand boating on Table Rock Lake with their 2 kids, Corynn (6) and Carson (4). Ted is a graduate of Liberty University and Dallas Theological Seminary. He is a bandwagon Chicago Cubs fan, although he won’t admit that again until they are in the playoffs.

My Review: We all deal with this issue of problems in marriage. The question is, how do we respond? Dr. Gary Smalley and Ted Cunningham give us some insights on the problems they faced and analyzed during years of counseling in their church and the result is this wonderful book. It is very well written, easy reading and funny. They describe using simple words all common issues that happen in a daily basis with a marriage couple with kids. Through 20 chapters they suggest very well defined roles, behaviors and attitudes that will help us turning our kid-centered home into couple-centered home and they could not stress more how important this change is for the kids. They go over the importance of laughing together, fighting together as a team, taking care of insecurities and enjoying great sex.
Definitely this is a book I would recommend to any couple that already have children or intent to have any in the future. It is a great asset to your permanent library. It is really easy reading. It took me about 8 hours to read the entire book.

This book was written by Dr. Gary Smalley and Ted Cunningham in 2010. It was published by Tyndale Publisher House also in 2010 and they were kind enough to send me a copy for reviewing through their blogger book review program. If you are reading this review, feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Book "Saint Francis" by Robert West

About the Book: Christian Encounters, a series of biographies from Thomas Nelson Publishers, highlights important lives from all ages and areas of the Church. Some are familiar faces. Others are unexpected guests. But all, through their relationships, struggles, prayers, and desires, uniquely illuminate our shared experience.
He’s more than just a statue of the saint in the neighbor’s garden surrounded by adoring animals. As a wealthy young man, Francis was a member of the “brat pack” of his day, wearing bright clothing, hanging out with rich friends, engaging in street brawls, and partying. After a dream in which God called him into service, Francis abandoned all his rights and possessions and began preaching simplicity and poverty, relying on God's providence rather than worldly goods. In this Christian Encounters biography, read about this patron saint of animals who so delighted in God’s works that he once preached a sermon to a flock of birds.

About the Author: Robert West grew up in Indiana, but he and his wife, Helen, have raised their three sons in Southern California. Formerly Director of Theater at Pepperdine University in Malibu, Robert moved into the film Industry, becoming a Director of Development and Story Editor active in the production of several films including Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Robert is a versatile writer, with credits ranging from historical fiction and liturgical drama to radio commercials, in addition to his children's adventure series coming out with ZonderKidz in early 2008. He is also an actor, performing in theater productions, classical concerts and churches throughout the area.

My Review: The author did a magnificent research, digging deeply into the life of our Saint Francis. He uses mainly data from the first biographer (1230), Thomas of Celano and on top of that he does a lot of speculations on what might have been Saint Francis' life. Sometimes too much speculation might be a little dangerous, but it does not seem that the author deviated too much from the reality, or at least his speculations does not compromise the overall character he is trying to describe.
Through 18 chapters, Robert West guide us to that old city of Assisi, where our young Francis, a merchant's son, does not seem to be in the path of the church. More like a dreamer, he lives in fine clothes and in worldly pleasures. He dreams of being a knight. In a quest to fight against Perugia, he is captured and placed into a dungeon for almost a year. When he comes back to Assisi he is gravely ill.
After recovering, he starts questioning himself over his life and after a dream, the process of his conversion takes place. He starts preaching poverty and simplicity and starts rebuilding churches. Others start following him and he decided to ask the pope to establish an order recognized by the Vatican. His best friend, Clare, also join his lifestyle and soon many others joined her informally establishing the women's version of his order. A third order for married couples follow suite. The narration of his last days and his first miracles is very touching.

Author's style makes the reading very pleasant. If you like a serious biography written based on serious research and some speculation, this book is for you.
This book was written by Robert West in 2010 and published by Thomas Nelson and they were kind enough to send me a copy for reviewing through their Thomas Nelson Book Review Bloggers Program. If you are reading this review, feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Book "The Afghan" by Frederick Forsyth

In the process of remaking our blog to a brand new domain, the archived post has been transferred to:

Monday, August 9, 2010

Book "The Kon-Tiki Expedition" by Thor Heyerdahl

In the process of remaking our blog to a brand new domain, the archived post has been transferred to:

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Balance of July

During July I read and reviewed the following:

- "To Those Who Suffer" by Sean Nolan
- "Healer" by Linda Windsor
- "The Witness" by Josh McDowell
- "Cast of Characters - Common People In The Hands Of An Uncommon God" by Max Lucado

July was a "vacation" month... August I will be back to normal (hopefully).