Thursday, May 21, 2009
Book Reviews

What can I say? Reviews are a great excuse to get free books. My first book review appeared in the Newport News, Va., Daily Press.

My next two reviews were published on the genealogy section of my web site, The In Search of Your Asian Roots review was later revised and republished in the Winter 2000 issue of the FGS Forum, a magazine published by the Federation of Genealogical Societies.

More recently, I began using a Web site called LibraryThing to catalog my book, film, and music collection; then I joined its Early Reviewer program. Since then, I have begun putting book reviews on both LibraryThing as well as my blog, Notes from the Abyss review.

Notes from the Abyss/
Letters to a Young Journalist

Samuel G. Freedman opened the way for me to begin a career as an author by admitting me into his book writing seminar at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 1997. My project in that class led to my first book, Upheaval from the Abyss: Ocean Floor Mapping and the Earth Science Revolution. I had a chance to repay him somewhat for what he done for me as a teacher and mentor by reviewing his sixth book.

Review: Letters to a Young Journalist


Battle for the Southern Frontier

The first book I committed to review as part of the LibraryThing Early Reviewer program was Mike Bunn and Clay Williams's part history, part travel guide, Battle for the Southern Frontier: The Creek War and the War of 1812.

The book is an indispensible work for anyone interested in the history of the southeastern United States, or in the events leading up to the War of 1812. It provides a concise overview of the history of the conflict as well as a description of historical sites of significance to the conflicts.

Review: Battle for the Southern Frontier
In Search of Your Asian Roots

This is a review of a book on the history of the more common Chinese surnames. In using the book I learned one important lesson, when looking up a name make sure you know the difference in the way that Cantonese and Mandarin words are romanized.

In Search of Your Asian Roots: Genealogical Research on Chinese Surnames


Tracking the Yellow Peril

This is a review of a book on the Chinese Exclusion Acts and the strategies adopted by Chinese immigrants and their families to circumvent them.

The book opened my eyes to the racism behind many U.S. immigration laws, inspiring both a sense of revulsion toward the hypocrisy and bigotry that still pervades the immigration debate today as well as a sense of admiration for the ways in which aspiring Americans beat the system.

Tracking the "Yellow Peril": The INS and Chinese Immigrants in the Midwest

Newport News, Va., Daily Press
The greatest chillers ever

A review of several books on exploration of the Antarctic published in the January 10, 1999 edition of the Newport News, Va., Daily Press:

The greatest chillers ever: Polar exploration mushes ahead in these releases