Smoky Mountain Family Historian

Thursday, August 27, 2015

History & Me History & Me. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2015.

This contains several activities designed to increase reading comprehension and writing skills using activities based on history. The "She's So Cool" section contains activities based on women's biography. The "American Heroes" section uses important figures from American history as a basis for the activities. All the subjects are U.S. Presidents in the "Presidential Potpourri" section. Barack Obama, the current president, is one of those included. My personal favorite section, because of my interest in genealogy, is the one on "Tracing Your Roots." While it is a good starting point for pre-teens interested in learning about their family history, the charts are not very adequate. The four sections were taken from other publications with the same titles as the sections. This review is based on an advance e-galley provided by the publisher through NetGalley for review purposes.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Swedes in Canada

Barr, Elinor. Swedes in Canada: Invisible Immigrants. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2015.

Swedes in Canada: Invisible Immigrants is a very detailed and well-researched look at persons of Swedish descent who live in Canada. The book touches on the Swedish influence in many sectors of Canadian life. The appendices are useful for persons researching family history as there are place and people lists. The end notes would probably be more valuable as footnotes since many of them further describe things in the text. The bibliography is extensive. In the advance review e-galley, the index had not yet been compiled but there was a place marker for it. Recommended for academic collections with an interest in Swedes and for genealogical collections which serve areas with high concentrations of Swedish researchers. This review is based on an e-galley received by the publisher through NetGalley for review purposes.


Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Lasting Love

Begg, Alistair. Lasting Love: How to Avoid Marital Failure. Chicago: Moody, 2015.

Alistair Begg's book on marriage has been around for about eighteen years and is being re-released by Moody Publishers in 2015. My hopes that it was a new edition were shattered when I ran across a reference to it being the 1990s. The latest works cited in the bibliography are from 1996. Much of the advice Begg provides to couples is still valid; however, it is a shame that the content has not been updated and that he has failed to draw from more recent authors such as Gary Thomas and Timothy Keller. Although the advice is sound, I feel that some of the concepts will not be heeded by today's generation without a slightly different approach to the argument. The book has a study guide written by James S. Bell, Jr. which can be used by couples or by groups studying the book. It would probably be quite helpful in many premarital counseling situations. The foreward to the book was written by Howard Hendricks. It seems a new foreward by someone who is at the forefront of today's Christian leaders would have been a good addition to the book. This review is based on an advance readers e-galley provided by the publisher through NetGalley for review purposes.


The Hog's Back Mystery

Crofts, Freeman Wills. The Hog's Back Mystery. Scottsdale, Ariz.: Poisoned Pen Press, 2015.

When a doctor and a nurse go missing, it's up to Inspector French to solve the case. It soon becomes apparent that both were likely killed, but where are the bodies? Suspicion runs to members of the doctor's household, to the doctor's partner, and to other persons connected with them. When another person goes missing, clues such as blood and dirt begin to surface. It's a complex mystery requiring the use of logic from the Golden Age of Mysteries that is certain to delight fans of the genre. An advance review copy was received from the publisher Poisoned Pen Press via NetGalley in exchange for a review.


Friday, June 26, 2015

Leisure and Spirituality

Heintzman, Paul. Leisure and Sprituality: Biblical, Historical, and Contemporary Perspectives. (Engaging Culture). Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2015.

In this well-written book based upon his doctoral dissertation, Paul Heintzman explores the concept of leisure throughout history, particularly as viewed by the Judeo-Christian community. He begins by exploring the views of leisure in today's society. He then takes a look at its history. He then explores what the Bible teaches about the concept of leisure. He then explores the changing concepts of leisure and work and the Biblical view of work. He then takes a look at how Christians have approached leisure. Finally he looks at the importance of leisure in one's spiritual life. Heintzman has done his research, yet his volume remains accessible to both the seminarian and educated laymen in the church who are interested in the subject. The volume is well-documented and well-indexed.This book is likely to be the authoritative work in this field for some time to come. Highly recommended. This review is based on an electronic copy of the book received by the publisher through NetGalley for review purposes.


Sunday, June 21, 2015

Father's Day & Church Camp

2015 is my first Father's Day without my father alive. As I began to reflect on Father's Days in the past, I realized that church camp played a big role in how these were celebrated.

For many years, our church camp was located about four miles from our home. Even before I was old enough to attend church camp, I was attending the Sunday evening service at the church camp because our church cancelled its evening services so we could attend. Our Wednesday evening services were also often cancelled so we could attend the Galilean service which was an evening chapel service by the lakeside.

When I was old enough to attend, my week of church camp often began on Father's Day. The family would pack me up after morning services and get me to the church camp so I could have a good choice of bunks. Mom and Dad would stay with me until after the evening vesper service and then they would head home.

Later the camp moved to the campus of a Bible college outside of Senatobia, Mississippi. By the time I was 15 and had my drivers license, I began working at the church camp. My official title was "Canteen Manager." I often performed other duties as well. Needless to say, I was still leaving for church camp after church on Father's Day even though senior high week had passed.

When I was in college, I traveled on one of the music teams that went to various church camps. At this point, I wasn't even home for Father's Day. I had to call instead. We usually traveled to camps in Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Tennessee, and Mississippi. We also attended a denominational convention each year wherever it was located.

After my undergraduate college years, I only worked in church camp a couple of times. I went as a counselor/dorm mom and teacher for my church one year, and I was the dean of a camp one year when I worked in children's ministry at a church. (I think that camp probably began on Father's Day too!)

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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Death in Salem

Kuhns, Eleanor. Death in Salem. New York: Minotaur Books, 2015.

Will Rees is called upon to investigate the stabbing of a Salem shipping magnate named Boothe in this work of historical fiction. Soon other murders follow. Rees follows leads that take him into Salem's tunnels, into the shady part of town called Black Cat, and to other areas. He must also determine if smuggling had a role in the deaths. The novel is a bit conversation-heavy and did not maintain my interest well. Sentences seemed choppy instead of well-constructed, adding to the problems. I suspect that some readers will enjoy this more than I did. Persons who have read the earlier installments in the series might also appreciate it more. The review is based on an advance reader's e-galley provided by the publisher through NetGalley for review purposes.


Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Second Street Station

Levy, Lawrence H. Second Street Station. New York: Crown, 2015.

Mary Handley, an out-of-work sweat shop employee, is hired as the first female detective by the New York Police department when Charles Goodrich is murdered. The plot includes a "who's who" of the 19th century with Thomas Edison, J. P. Morgan, Nikola Tesla, and George Westinghouse being important in the plot. Even the Pembertons of Atlanta Coca-Cola fame make appearances. Despite the implausibility of the plot, it was entertaining, at least after the opening few chapters, and kept me interested in the outcome. Many of the minor characters seemed to be a little more fully developed than the Mary herself was. Historical mystery fans who enjoy real-life characters inserted in the plot will enjoy this one. This review is based on an advance uncorrected proof e-galley provided by the publisher through NetGalley for review purposes.