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Mark Castner has commented on (5) products.

The Great War 1914-18 by Spencer C. Tucker
The Great War 1914-18

Mark Castner, April 23, 2012

If you're interested in the First World War but can't remember much from those high school history classes, this may be the book for you. Tucker concentrates on the What rather than the Why. He covers the armies, the battles, the strategies, but he leaves most of the politics to other authors. In the last two chapters he gives a good summary of the effects of the war on the peoples and countries involved, and he explains how The Great War led to the Second World War. The book is concise and readable but also scholarly; the interested reader can follow up on the hundreds of footnotes and references.
After reading Tucker's book, you will be ready to delve more deeply into those aspects of the war that interest you.
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The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr
The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains

Mark Castner, February 19, 2012

If you're short on time for reading, jump right to chapter seven - The Juggler's Brain. This is the heart of Carr's argument. Don't be put off by the seemingly one-sided argument in the first two thirds of the chapter. Carr tries to balance the argument in the last one third, though rather weakly. His conclusion is clear.
If you're hooked on web browsing and know you disagree with Carr, read the book anyway. He will make you think, something we don't do enough of these days.
And before your read this book, try The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood by James Gleick. Carr's book will then hold more meaning and you will meet many of the same characters who have been important to the development of human thought.
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The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood by James Gleick
The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood

Mark Castner, January 30, 2012

_The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood_. Dry as the title may sound, this is James Gleick who can catch you up in a subject that you never imagined you would be interested in.

So often today we hear the phrase "information overload." But what is information? Can you define it? Gleick starts with seemingly simple examples of how information is transmitted from one point or person to another, then he leads us through the development of the formal theory of information.

There was a time when the telegraph was considered instantaneous communication. But it was quickly overshadowed by the telephone. Gleick has a dozen more examples and he ends of course with the Internet, Google searches, Twitter, and the like.

I picked up the book because my brother loaned it to me, though I never thought I would finish it. It quickly became a book that I kept coming back to until it was done. If you are interested in how and why technology of all types helps to shape the human world, this is the book for you. And when you are finished, try Nicholas Carr's new book, _The Shallows_. He will explain how technology and information flow reshape the human brain.

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Richter's Scale: Measure of an Earthquake, Measure of a Man by Susan Elizabeth Hough
Richter's Scale: Measure of an Earthquake, Measure of a Man

Mark Castner, January 8, 2012

We've all heard about the Richter scale for measuring earthquakes but few of us know much about Charles Richter. Whether you love or hate science, you'll like this biography of the man behind the earthquake scale. In his public life he knew and worked with most of the great Earth scientists of his time. In his private life he was a practicing nudist and he married a talented and interesting woman. His is a great story and Susan Hough tells it very well.
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Richter's Scale: Measure of an Earthquake, Measure of a Man by Susan Elizabeth Hough
Richter's Scale: Measure of an Earthquake, Measure of a Man

Mark Castner, January 2, 2010

You don't need to be a scientist to appreciate Susan Hough's wit, charm, and writing. She captures the fascinating story of one of the most famous scientific figures of 20th century America, for the scientist and non-scientist alike.
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