Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Alex Haley's Queen - Alex Haley & David Stevens

The Story of an American Family

Once in every generation, there is a landmark book that adds a new richness to all our lives. 
For millions of people of all colors, that book was Alex Haley's Roots. Roots was an instant success, winning a Pulitzer Prize and spawning the most-watched miniseries in television history. 
Alex Haley's legacy has had as great an impact on American families as any story in the twentieth century.

Now, from the author of Roots, comes Alex Haley's Queen - the saga of his father's family.
Lovers of sweeping generational epics will find much to rejoice in here. Once again, this is a personal saga, but one played out against the broad canvas of American history. 
The story begins in Ireland, where Haley's white great-great-grandfather, James Jackson, Sr., is born. 
From there we travel with Jackson to Nashville, where he meets Andrew Jackson, the future president of the United States. 
The two men become business partners, and James Jackson makes his fortune. 
He establishes his grand plantation, The Forks of Cypress, in Alabama, while Andrew ascends to the White House, and the rumblings that will explode into the Civil War gather force.

James's son Jass Jackson inherits the plantation just as the genteel, well-ordered antebellum world begins to crumble. 
His adolescent attraction to the beautiful and strongwilled slave named Easter blossoms into a powerful and lasting love, and from their passionate union comes Queen - the heroine of the tale, Alex Haley's grandmother.

This is history at its most compelling - from the Irish sod to the settlement of the South; from the Trail of Tears to the battlefield at Manassas; from the agonies of slavery to the tribulations of freedom - all rendered with the eye for telling detail and the sense of historical significance that readers have come to expect of Haley. 
In this, his final book, Alex Haley has created a truly multicultural family saga, the capstone to one of the great, classic American stories.

The television miniseries of Alex Haley's Queen electrified and engrossed a nation. 
But that was only part of the picture; here now is the whole story, fleshed out in all its vivid detail and human drama - the journey of an American family as only Alex Haley could tell it.
[Book Description Source: Inside Book Jacket]

Goodreads Rating - 4.21 out of 5 (2543 Ratings ,104 Reviews -As on Dec 27 2017)
My Rating  3.5 out of 5
My Comments:
Very picturesque and dramatic description  about the lives of slaves and slave owners in southern states of America during 1800s. Though the book is titled Queen after the author Alex Haley's grandmother, I found  the story of his great grandfather and great-great grandfather the Jacksons more gripping and interesting.

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Thursday, December 21, 2017

Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Defoe

Fleeing from pirates, Robinson Crusoe is swept ashore in a storm, with only a knife, a box of tobacco, a pipe and the will to survive .
Robinson Crusoe is the saga of a man alone: a man who overcomes self-pity and despair to reconstruct his life. 
In his journal he chronicles his daily battle to stay alive, as he conquers isolation, fashions shelter and clothes, first encounters another human being and fights off cannibals and mutineers. 
With Robinson Crusoe, Defoe wrote what is regarded as the first English novel, and created one of the most popular and enduring myths in literature. 
But above all, it is a brilliant narrative, depicting Crusoe's transformation from a terrified survivor to the self-sufficient master of his island.
[Book Description Source: ]
Goodreads Rating - 3.66 out of 5 (202,379 Ratings ,4,836 Reviews -As on Dec 21 2017)
My Rating  3 out of 5
My Comments:
Written quite realistically , gives a feeling of true story which it is not
Interesting in some places. Long drawn out and plainly boring in other places. 
Though one should remember that this book was written almost 200 years ago in 1719 and has been quite popular since then. 
Can't judge it by present day standards.

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Saturday, December 16, 2017

Data Science for Business - Foster Provost & Tom Fawcett

What You Need to Know About Data Mining and Data-Analytic Thinking
Written by renowned data science experts Foster Provost and Tom Fawcett, Data Science for Business introduces the fundamental principles of data science, and walks you through the "data-analytic thinking" necessary for extracting useful knowledge and business value from the data you collect.
This guide also helps you understand the many data-mining techniques in use today.
Based on an MBA course Provost has taught at New York University over the past ten years, Data Science for Business provides examples of real-world business problems to illustrate these principles. 
You’ll not only learn how to improve communication between business stakeholders and data scientists, but also how participate intelligently in your company’s data science projects. 
You’ll also discover how to think data-analytically, and fully appreciate how data science methods can support business decision-making.
  • Understand how data science fits in your organization—and how you can use it for competitive advantage
  • Treat data as a business asset that requires careful investment if you’re to gain real value
  • Approach business problems data-analytically, using the data-mining process to gather good data in the most appropriate way
  • Learn general concepts for actually extracting knowledge from data
  • Apply data science principles when interviewing data science job candidates
[Book Description Source: ]

Goodreads Rating - 4.17 out of 5 ( 932 Ratings ,67 Reviews   - As on Dec 14 2017)
My Rating  4 out of 5
My Comments:
This book is an excellent Executive Guide on Data Science. Written in a fairly non-technical manner focusing more on business perspective rather than deep technicalities. Serves as a very good introduction to Data Science..

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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Sherlock Holmes FAQ by Dave Thompson

All That's Left to Know About the World's Greatest Private Detective 
The Sherlock Holmes FAQ is a one-stop guide to over a centurys worth of mystery, mayhem, and most of all, deduction. 
Digging deep inside the manifold worlds of Sherlock Holmes, the FAQ is a dramatic and detailed digest of the Baker Street sleuth in all of his many guises, as TV and radio star, movie phenomenon, and, of course, literary giant. 
Chapters investigate his predecessors and his successors, and discuss the influence that Holmes has had not only on other writers, but on real-life police procedures as well. 
The London that he perambulated in deerstalker and cloak is laid bare, plus the life and other fascinations of Holmes creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, are mapped out in all their foggy, darkened atmosphere. 
We meet giant hounds and fearful foes, common crooks and misdirected souls. 
Ghosts appear in these pages, and vampires, too and more puzzles, conundrums, and mysteries than any mortal detective could ever hope to solve. 
But Holmes, as we shall see, was no mere mortal. 
And Sherlock Holmes FAQ is the story of his immortality.

[Book Description Source: ]

Goodreads Rating - 3.46 out of 5 (28 Ratings , 7 Reviews  - As on Dec 6 2017)
My Rating  3 out of 5
My Comments:
Will be a great addition in the library of a Sherlock Holmes fan. Lots of interesting trivia. Beware of the spoilers though if you have not read any of the 56 short stories and 4 novels featuring Sherlock Holmes.

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