Sunday Book Reviews – 9/23/18

Bookshelf books, photo by Alien Motives

The Tenth Fleet by Ladislas Farago (1962, Ivan Obolensky)

The worst thing that can be said about this book is that it’s somewhat outdated.  With the declassification of material about military and spy operations from the WWII era, some of the analysis incorporated into the book has been demonstrated to be mistaken.

 That’s to be considered for all history books, though, and is the reason they’re revised.  What matters here is that the facts as presented are all correct, and the result is a stirring, fairly comprehensive accounting of the efforts of the Allied forces in striking back against and eventually defeating the German U-boat fleet which had ruled the Atlantic Ocean.

The reader is presented with an overview of the situation facing the Allied forces in the beginning of the book, and then given a chronologically-arranged, systematic set of events both on individual ships and in the intelligence offices which detail the shifting tide of the war.

Farago was a professional military historian who had written a number of successful prior books, which gave him progressively greater access to sources as his reputation grew within military circles.  Shortly after this book he produced a similar retrospective on the Pacific fleet, then moved to the biography of Patton which served as source material for the George C. Scott movie and is arguably his best known work today.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl : Squirrel Meets World by Shannon and Dean Hale (2017, Marvel Press)

The target age range for this novel is children aged 9 through 12.  It succeeds for that age bracket, with a lively variant reimagining of the origin of the Marvel super hero cult favorite.

The book is filled with references and jokes designed as a nod and a tip of the hat to people (kids or the adults reading along with them) who are already familiar with Marvel characters like Iron Man, Rocket Raccoon, Black Widow and Winter Soldier.  Rather than distract, they add to the validity of the story’s setting.

The decision to present some of the chapters as a series of text messages disrupts the narrative flow, but the effect is minimized because the perspective shifts from chapter to chapter anyway.  

At its heart, however, the story is a very basic “coming of age” piece.  It moves in every direction one would expect, and delivers competently.   For a child of the appropriate age, particularly a girl child, this book should be both safe to read and should keep their interest.

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About AlienMotives 1991 Articles
Ex-Navy Reactor Operator turned bookseller. Father of an amazing girl and husband to an amazing wife. Tired of willful political blindness, but never tired of politics. Hopeful for the future.