A concise and practical, if peripatetic, single-volume cybersecurity manual.



A brief but comprehensive guide to cybersecurity for the technically unsophisticated. 

Debut author and cybersecurity professional Bjarnason says that he observed, in his capacity as an information-technology worker, a “severe lack of training” regarding online safety on the part of the “average computer user.” He created this manual to provide an accessible introduction for that sizable and vulnerable class. For a brief volume of well under 200 pages, it covers a broad range of subjects, including what to consider when using shared computers and when to use multiple email accounts, as well as more technical topics, such as the distinction between synchronous or asynchronous encryption. Still, the book is clearly aimed at amateurs; at one point, for instance, the author provides a lucid analysis of the different parts of a URL (“a fancy term for a web address”). At the heart of his strategy is rational caution—a “skeptical mindset” that meticulously vets every situation for potential danger but stops short of paranoia. “Critical thinking skills play a pivotal role in your online safety, as you may have noticed already,” he writes. In short: “If you don’t know what it is, don’t touch it.” Overall, Bjarnason employs an informal and even cheeky style: In the service of demonstrating the power of clickbait, for example, he explains that his book’s subtitle is deceptively sensationalistic: “NSA,” in this case, stands for “network secure architecture,” he says, and “CIA” for the “triad” of “confidentiality, integrity, and availability.” In the end, the author largely delivers what he promises—a useful, sensible primer for the uninitiated on an essential and woefully esoteric subject. That said, the book lacks a clear organizational plan, meandering from subject to subject. It also lingers on subjects of limited practical value; for example, a discussion of threat modeling will be all but useless to Bjarnason’s target audience. His prose, though, is consistently transparent, and his expertise is beyond reproach, as he has decades of experience in the IT industry.

A concise and practical, if peripatetic, single-volume cybersecurity manual.

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-73330-683-6

Page Count: 187

Publisher: InfoSecHelp

Review Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2020

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.


A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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