Review: Space Race by Deborah Cadbury

space race the battle to rule the heaves deborah cadbury

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Categories: History, Non-Fiction

The Space Race is an exciting time in history for me, although somehow the implications of the Cold War on its development and how insanely tight the deadlines were completely went over my head until picking this up. All I had really absorbed in school were “cool space things” and a vague notion that this was going on during the Cold War.

Deborah Cadbury writes this incredibly interesting story as a thriller, and you follow both men (von Braun and Korolev) follow their dream of space at great cost, with lots of political and personal dramas, at times lauded as heroes or eyed with suspicion. While this makes for amazing storytelling, I had some issues with the portrayal of Wernher von Braun. Continue reading

Review: Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland, by Patrick Radden Keefe

say nothing patrick radden keefeRating: ★★★★★

Genres: Non-Fiction, History

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In December 1972, Jean McConville was kidnapped from her home, in front of her children, and never seen again. The criminal investigation for this disappearing would unleash several decades later the release of the tapes of Project Belfast, a secret oral archive of the Troubles.

Say Nothing is a fantastic book – and one of the best non-fiction I’ve read all year. You definitely don’t need to be too knowledgeable about the violent conflicts during the Troubles in Northern Ireland to pick this up at all, and this fascinating read has it all: drama, violence, twists, betrayals and so much blood spilled for an ideal. It’s for those reasons a great pick also for people who, like me, are more used to reading fiction. Continue reading

Review: The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century, by Kirk W. Johnson

the feather thief kirk w johnsonRating: ★★★☆☆

Genres: Non-Fiction, True Crime, History

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Okay, this was absolutely a cover-buy. Although I didn’t read this as a physical book, but rather as an audiobook, it’s still so pretty to look at. Also, it said “The Natural History Heist of the Century”, so I was drawn to it. A real-life case of heist? Rare birds? Sign me in.

While the book is meant to be about the heist itself, and the first chapter is really interesting, describing the heist itself, it takes until 40% of the book to go back to the heist itself. In between, the history of those birds is told, which goes from being interesting because of the parallels between Alfred Russel Wallace and his contemporary Charles Darwin, to really boring indeed, because I cannot care less about the misfortunes and successes of Europeans stealing birds from Brazil and other parts of South America. Continue reading