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WONDERS OF GEOLOGY

AN AERIAL VIEW OF AMERICA'S MOUNTAINS

For the budding geologist—or photographer, or pilot—in the household, a thing of wonder, and an exemplary work of...

A captivating introduction, technical but not difficult, to the rumblings within the Earth that produce the world’s mountains.

Few readers will ever have the experience of flying over Denali/Mount McKinley, fewer still in a 1955 Cessna 180. Pilot, photographer, writer, geologist and medical doctor Collier, the owner of that craft, writes that it has “carried me from Fairbanks to Honduras, from Bangor to Baja.” As he traverses the skies, he has been photographing the geologic features he encounters. This app, excellent in both design and content, performs two main jobs: First, it provides a top-flight portfolio of photographs that look fine on earlier models but that leap off the screen with the retina display of the new iPad; this is no small thing, for Collier is esteemed as a landscape photographer, shooting in both film and digital formats. Second, it takes readers on a rigorous—but not off-putting—tour of geologic basics, beginning with the rock cycle (all rocks are, at some time or another, igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary) and ending with a close look at the various geologic provinces of North America. These range from the Appalachian Highlands of the East to the Basin and Range of the West—and then, of course, the mountains of Alaska, which are a world of their own. The app is accompanied by sound files of Collier commenting on his photographs, as well as animations showing geologic features such as subduction, continental drift and sheet erosion at play. Geology can be notoriously dull, but Collier writes in an easy and encouraging manner (“To begin to know a mountain, you have to look past its exterior shape and see the rocks inside”). Overall, the text is clear and easy to read, though it lacks a bookmarking feature; navigation is accomplished by means of a table of contents, as well as a band of thumbnails at screen bottom. Of added value are the hyperlinked pop-up definitions of geologic terms as they appear (“Sandstone: sedimentary rock composed of quartz, feldspar or other grains with diameters from 0.062 to 2 millimeters”). 

For the budding geologist—or photographer, or pilot—in the household, a thing of wonder, and an exemplary work of feature-rich multimedia publishing.

Pub Date: Dec. 2, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Mikaya Digital

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2012

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KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON

THE OSAGE MURDERS AND THE BIRTH OF THE FBI

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

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Greed, depravity, and serial murder in 1920s Oklahoma.

During that time, enrolled members of the Osage Indian nation were among the wealthiest people per capita in the world. The rich oil fields beneath their reservation brought millions of dollars into the tribe annually, distributed to tribal members holding "headrights" that could not be bought or sold but only inherited. This vast wealth attracted the attention of unscrupulous whites who found ways to divert it to themselves by marrying Osage women or by having Osage declared legally incompetent so the whites could fleece them through the administration of their estates. For some, however, these deceptive tactics were not enough, and a plague of violent death—by shooting, poison, orchestrated automobile accident, and bombing—began to decimate the Osage in what they came to call the "Reign of Terror." Corrupt and incompetent law enforcement and judicial systems ensured that the perpetrators were never found or punished until the young J. Edgar Hoover saw cracking these cases as a means of burnishing the reputation of the newly professionalized FBI. Bestselling New Yorker staff writer Grann (The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession, 2010, etc.) follows Special Agent Tom White and his assistants as they track the killers of one extended Osage family through a closed local culture of greed, bigotry, and lies in pursuit of protection for the survivors and justice for the dead. But he doesn't stop there; relying almost entirely on primary and unpublished sources, the author goes on to expose a web of conspiracy and corruption that extended far wider than even the FBI ever suspected. This page-turner surges forward with the pacing of a true-crime thriller, elevated by Grann's crisp and evocative prose and enhanced by dozens of period photographs.

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Pub Date: April 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-385-53424-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

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The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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