Friday, December 23, 2005

Misc : 2005 reading list

The local library has a feature that stores all the books you have read so you can check your reading history.

Looking through this, the ones that were really enjoyed (in no particular order) were:

Under pressure : the final voyage of Submarine S-Five / A.J. Hill.

Excellent read and a prime example if how when there is a will, there's a way.

Rocketman : astronaut Pete Conrad's incredible ride to the moon and beyond / Nancy Conrad and Howard A. Klausner ; introduction by Buzz Aldrin.

Interesting and readable account of one of the real characters of the Apollo era.

The silicon boys and their valley of dreams / David A. Kaplan.

Really good overview of the .dot com boom and bust. Basically, the experts knew as much as the rest of us and they picked as many dogs as success stories.

The fate of Africa : from the hopes of freedom to the heart of despair : a history of fifty years of independence / Martin Meredith.

Excellent read. If you want to know why Bono and company waste their time trying to get read of 3rd world debt, read it. Ultimately a depressing story of how a continent with so much potential ended up bankrupt and in a mess. And a story of self-centered dictators more concerned with their Swiss bank accounts and orgies on the Riviera than their people starving and uneducated at home.

Dr. Space : the life of Wernher von Braun / Bob Ward ; foreword by John Glenn.

Good read, drags in parts. Doesn't really address the Nazi issues and how culpable he was with the treatment of the slave labour forced to build the V1 and v2.

Sinatra : the life / Anthony Summers, and Robbyn Swan.

Excellent read and an insight into his Mob links.

Dancing with cranes : on location with a New Zealand wildlife film-maker / Alison Ballance.

And you thought making wild-life movies was simple and easy. Quite staggering commitment.

A bright shining lie : John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam / Neil Sheehan.

Probably the best overall book on the war. Shows how much the top brass deluded themselves, how the war was screwed from the start and how the real victims were the Vietnamese peasants who were brutalised by both sides.