Monday, August 22, 2016

Book Review: The World of North American Indians

The World of North American Indians: Passport to the Past, Michael Stotter, Rosen Central, New York, 2009.

This book is pretty shallow in terms of content, it allows only a couple pages for each subject.  However it does include some craft projects which seem nice.  Of course you are not making authenticate items, but mostly making things out of paper.
This book is more an anthropological description of Indian life from new born to death and how these things are dealt with by various different tribes.  It includes communication, shelter, transportation (horses) and other topics.  However being as brief as it is it is hard to get a full picture. 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Book Review: The Mormons

The Mormons, Jean Kinney Williams, American Religious Experience, Franklin Watts of Grolier Books, New York, 1996.
This book has a picture of the Washington, D.C. temple on its front.  This is a more recent temple and this seems to represent when the book was written.
This book is a brief description of Mormons and their history.  It has some good points, and some errors.  As far as I can tell it was not written by a Mormon.  Someone in the book has penciled through that 15 percent of Mormon families were polygamous and written in 3 percent.  (The actual answer is difficult to come by and depends on the year that is researched.)  Polygamy was really a rare thing over all, but mostly practiced by the leadership of the church so was widely known.  Its practice was also reserved for those who were called upon by church leadership.
However getting away from polygamy, this book describes adequately the coming forth of the Church of Jesus Christ, with Joseph's first vision and his subsequent translating of the Book of Mormon.  It describes the persecution against the church, and explains that this was mostly due to the economic influence of the Mormons.  The book talks of Joseph's murder, with his brother Hyrum.  It further explains the rise of Brigham Young, and the westward trek.  The book talks of the church history in  Utah and statehood in 1896.  I didn't see anything written about the Utah War.  The book does talk of the persecution against the church because of polygamy, that church property was confiscated, and then the church members had to pay the federal government to use their churches and tabernacle.  Also Congress would not seat the individuals elected by Utah because they were polygamous.  They were even weary to seat non-polygamous Mormons.  This resulted in a second proclamation by the church against polygamy.
The book follows the church up through the time of President Hinckley, when the book was written.  It also notes that the church is now international, with a quarter of its members in Latin America.

Book Review: Amazing Native American History

Amazing Native American History, The New York Public Library,: A Book of Answers for Kids, Liz Sonneborn, A Stonesong Press Book, New York, 1999.
This book has some excellent information, but I feel it is a bit too broad to cover everything it tries to cover.  It starts with ancient Indians in the United States, including Mound Builders and cliff dwellings.  It then skips to Mexico and ancient ruins there.  It then goes through different regions of Native Americans and their history.  Unfortunately it skips the mountain region as it skips from the Plains Indians to the Southwest Indians and then the California Indians.  I like to hear about those form the intermountain area.  
My other complaint is the way it is set up, presenting a question and then answering the question.  In fact the best information I gleaned from this book was the side information in boxes.  There I learned of women warriors and artists and city populations and many other fine things.  
This book helps my continuing study of Native Americans but is a bit broad in some areas, and narrow in others. 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Washakie, Utah: Ghost town

Washakie, Utah was named for the Shoshone chief Washakie, however Washakie never lived there.  This town was inhabited by Sagwitch and his people.  It is located off of I-15, in Utah but close to the Idaho border near Plymouth, Utah.  It was a farming community.  Most of the original buildings are now gone.  At one time there was a thriving branch of the  church hear, and in fact a ward at one point, with the first Native American bishop, Moroni Sagwitch.  I was able to get some pictures of the town and the cemetery.  I was looking for the resting place of Sagwitch, but was not successful.  The cemetery was made where he passed away and was buried.  The cemetery is very rustic, but it shows a great deal of pride, especially for those who served in the military.
Cemetery pictures

Washakie ghost town pictures

plaque commemorating a fort which was located near Washakie

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Book Review: Main Battle Tanks

Main Battle tanks, Melissa Abramovitz, Capstone High-Interest Books, Mankato, MN, 2001.
I learned a couple new things about tanks.  The first is that tanks no longer have rifled shells.  For a time all tanks had rifled barrels because the spin on the shell lead to more accurate shooting.  However now accuracy is developed by having finned shells.  The are shot from smooth bored barrels which shoot the ammunition at a higher speed.
I also learned why tanks are called tanks.  During WWI tanks were developed as a way to defeat trench warfare.  When they were first built, the tank was a secret.  Those building them were told they were building water storage devices, and thus the were given the name tank.
I knew tanks had night vision.  However in the Gulf War night vision was used during the day because visibility was low due to oil well fires.
Tanks today are built so they can stay on target even when the tank is moving.
This book is lacking in describing advances in tanks outside of the United States.  It would have been fun to hear about nazi tanks during WWII because they were larger than American tanks.  That said the M1 Abrams model tank is a mean tank, and proved the superior weapon in the Gulf War.

Black Indian: Bill Pickett: Rodeo Star

Proudly Red and Black: Stories of African and Native Americans, William Loren Katz and Paula A. Franklin, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, New York, 1993.
Bill Pickett: Rodeo Star
I had heard of Bill Pickett because one of the featured individuals in the Legends of the West set of stamps released by the U.S. Post Office, however the picture initially used was that of his brother rather than Bill Pickett.  Both versions were released.  However I didn’t know much of him.  Again Pickett has been identified more as an African American, however his father was African American, White and Cherokee.  His mother was also a blend, Black, Mexican, White and Indian.  Bill Picket is most known for bull-dogging.  He initially bull-dogged biting the lip of the steer.  However he let this go over time.  It is because of him that bull-dogging is part of rodeos.  He also performed in a wild west show, The 101 Ranch Wild West Show.  This was the Miller ranch hands performing in the off season, but it was popular and traveled through out America and South America.  With the advent of motion pictures, wild west shows became less popular.  However Pickett also performed in early movies, including the movie “The Bull-Dogger.”  Others who made this jump were Buck Jones, Hoot Gibson, Will Rogers and  Tom Mix.  Bill Pickett died and is buried on the Miller Ranch.  He was kicked in the head while he was trying to rope a bronco. 

Chapter Review: I Did not Kill Armstrong: The story of Edwin Howard Armstrong: Radio Pioneer

Dreamers and Deceivers: True Stories of the Heroes and Villains Who Made America, Glenn Beck with Kevin Balfe, Threshold Editions, Mercury Radio Arts, New York, 2014.

“I Did Not Kill Armstrong”: The War of Wills in the Early Days of Radio.
Edwin Howard Armstrong was a genius.  Radio was his passion, that and heights.  But it was radio where he made his mark.  He developed an oscillation system which advanced radio.  This used putting the sound through the radio many times to increase the sound.  It worked.  He was using however an Audion tube, Which was the invention of another party, Lee DeForest. 
Armstong shared his invention with David Sarnoff of the American Marconi Company.  This company would eventually evolve into RCA.  Armstrong helped solve many problems with reception and sound, which resulted in RCA being able to sell hundreds of thousands of radios.  However he also became embroiled in legal issues.  DeForest claimed he was the inventor of radio. 
When WWI started, Armstrong loaned his patents to the military, and volunteered himself.  He was a major and helped greatly with communications.  DeForest also helped the war effort, if he was paid. 
After the war the court case went through the courts all the way to the Supreme Court, who ruled for DeForest. 

However by this time, Armstrong was developing the next thing, FM radio.  This was an attempt to make radio more clear, and less subject to environmental conditions.   He was successful.  He developed radio which was much clearer.  At this time he worked for  Sarnoff and RCA.  When the idea was introduced, which Sarnoff had requested several years earlier, it was an obvious success.  FM Radio was much clearer with less interference from the elements.  However, Sarnoff had gone the way of AM radio.  There were hundreds of thousands of people listening to, and networks producing to AM radio.  Sarnoff suggested putting FM aside.  This was not acceptable to Armstrong.  At this time they split company, Armstrong being kicked out of his office within a day. 
Now Armstrong plowed ahead on his own, with only the support of his wife, and developed a network of FM stations on the east coast.  In the meantime, Sarnoff tied Armstrong up in court in legal battle after legal battle, and claimed RCA was the legal owner of FM radio.  WWII was a reprieve, as both Sarnoff and Armstrong participated in the war effort.  However the legal battles continued after the war.  Sarnoff at one point offered $1,000,000 to buy Armstrong out, but this wouldn’t even pay for the equipment. Sarnoff, in court, later denied ever making such an offer. When Sarnoff could not win, he lobbied the FCC to change the frequency of the FM signal, and overnight all the FM radios were obsolete.   
Armstrong finally gave in, and began smashing his awards, as the tyrants would never let him be.  His wife was struck in this episode, and he never saw her again.  Two months later he jumped out of his apartment to his death.  Upon hearing this, Sarnoff instinctively said, “I did not kill Armstrong.”  (He must have felt guilty.)  Armstrong’s name is enshrined by the International Telecommunication Union.