June 27, 2008

Book Review - Wind Power

Wind Power: Renewable Energy for Home, Farm, and Business
Completely Revised and Expanded Ed.
Paul Gipe
TJ 820 .G57 2004

This book surveys the entire field of wind energy. It addresses how individuals and businesses can select, buy and install a wind turbine system safely. This is the third edition of this title, originally begun in the early 1980's, but the structure remains the same. Gipe begins by explaining the terminology and functions of wind power systems and how to compare them. He then discusses how wind power can be used and discusses the details of evaluating a potential site. He discusses the potential output of wind power systems, including both scientific considerations and economic ramifications. Several chapters discuss evaluating wind power technology and selecting and purchasing a cost-effective system. Gipe evaluates the pros and cons of connecting with other utilities, particularly water, as well as going "off the grid." He then focuses on practical considerations of choosing a site, installing, and maintaining the system. Extensive appendices provide energy and power conversion charts, wind maps, comparisons of small wind turbines, listings of manufacturers and organizations who provide information on wind power, glossaries, and a bibliography. This book discusses not only the theory and potential uses of wind energy, but is full of practical information for those who want to use it to power their own homes or businesses.

June 26, 2008

Book Review - Dealing with Your Anger

Dealing with Your Anger: Self-Help Solutions for Men
Frank Donovan
BF 575 .A5 D66 2001

Donovan offers suggestions to help men recognize the signals of anger and control anger outbursts, especially those that result in violence. He focuses on practical tools that help control and change behaviors caused by anger as well as to learn to heal emotionally. In the first part of the book, Donovan focuses on dealing with anger, particularly defining and identifying it. In the second part, he begins to examine what causes men to get angry and how to deflate some of the emotional causes. Third, he suggests ways to prevent, release and control anger responses as well as how to recognize approaching anger. Finally, he proposes healthy and productive ways to channel anger and its associated emotions. Although written as a self-help guide for men, the anecdotes and case studies that are used to illustrate the points throughout this book are equally useful for women, whether struggling with their own anger issues or seeking to understand a man in their life.

June 25, 2008

Book Review - Environmental History of Water

Environmental History of Water - Global views on community water supply and sanitation
Petri S. Juuti, Tapio S. Katko, and Keikki S. Vuorinen
TD 215 .E585 2007

This book is really a social history of water and its role in civilizations. The first part describes early irrigation systems as well as water supply innovations in Greece, Rome, and early Europe. The second part moves the discussion into the early modern era. During this time, sanitation became a concern and water supplies had to be controlled and in many cases, urbanized. The third part discusses the role of water in the modern era. While historical concerns about infrastructure, sanitation, and sufficient supply have not gone away, new concerns about water conservation, environmental cleanliness, and geopolitical fights over sufficient water supply have further complicated this picture. This is an interesting book which includes case studies from around the world.

Book Review - The Military Family

The Military Family: A Practice Guide for Human Service Providers
ed by James A. Martin, Leora N. Rosen, and Linette R. Sparacino
UB 403 .M54 2000

This is a textbook intended for care givers who work with military families. This compilation provides background on the culture and demands of the military, and brings out issues and concerns which are specific to military families. The first section discusses the culture and conditions of military families. Special attention is given here to Guard and Reserve personnel, junior enlisted families, and the role of senior officer's spouses. The second section addresses some of the unique characteristics of military family life, particularly wartime and separation during deployment. The third section raises family advocacy issues that are particularly applicable in military families, discussing abuse issues and new parenthood. The fourth section focuses on the effects of military life on children of all ages. This is an essential guide for care giving professionals who work with military personnel. It is written in an academic, but not technical style, making it accessible to interested general readers as well.

June 24, 2008

Book Review - Igniting Gen B and Gen V

Igniting Gen B & Gen V: The New Rules of Engagement for Boomers, Veterans, and Other Long-Termers on the Job
Nancy S. Alrichs
HF 5549.5 L66 A35 2007

As the millenial generation begins to enter the workforce in significant numbers, considerable effort is being given to discussions of how they operate and how to best engage them. Alrichs' book however, is the beginning of what this blogger hopes will be a larger conversation about how to regenerate excitement among those who have been in the workplace many years. Alrichs focuses on the Baby Boomer or Veteran generations, many of whom are beginning to retire or cut back their workplace participation. In the first part of the book, she raises the question of whether simply showing up for work equals engagement. She asserts that efforts must be given toward regenerating interest and excitement in long time workers, suggesting that workers only put forward efforts in areas that are rewarded. In the second part, she questions the retention focus of many human relations departments, instead stating that organizations should be more concerned with producing results. She discusses the role of knowledge management activities to capture what people know and to develop competencies that allow individuals to grow and develop throughout their careers, enabling them to continually increase their effectiveness. She also addresses the role of organizational culture in providing purpose and rewarding employees for their efforts.

June 12, 2008

Book Review - Down Range

Down Range: To Iraq and Back
Bridget C. Cantrell and Chuck Dean
RC 552 .P67 C36 2005

This book is intended to help troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan face the challenges and changes that re-integrating into civilian life will bring. Traumatic stress specialist Cantrell and Vietnam veteran Dean team up to provide information and resources to soldiers and their families for the post-combat feelings and behaviors they experience. Chapters specifically address Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, nightmares, guilt, depression, distrust, returning to work, and reuniting with family members. This practical, easy to understand book will help combat veterans understand their experiences and assist their loved ones in caring for and supporting them.

Book Review - International Handbook of Earthquake & Engineering Seismology

International Handbook of Earthquake & Engineering Seismology
Edited by William H.K. Lee, Hiroo Kanamori, Paul C. Jennings, and Carl Kisslinger
QE 534.3 .I68 2003

This encyclopedic work captures our knowledge of earthquakes, seismology, and related hazard mitigation to date. It contains article-length chapters written by engineering and earth science scholars, biographies of seismologists and engineers, and a glossary of terms and their usages in this field. Two CDs included with the text include additional reports, scholarly publications, and digital images. This is bound to be a valuable reference source for many years to come.

June 11, 2008

Book Review - When the War Came Home

When the War Came Home: The Inside Story of Reservists and the Families they Leave Behind
Stacy Bannerman
DS 79.764 .U6 B36 2006

Bannerman brings attention to the oft-forgotten role that Reservists play in the actions of the United States Military. Based on her own personal feelings and experiences, Bannerman explores the challenges of Army Reserve personnel kept in active duty status by the administration's stop-loss order, yet unprepared physically and mentally to wage war. She discusses the internal conflict of these troops, many of whom never expected to fight, as well as those of their families who are forced to make many sacrifices even though they may be, like herself, opposed to war. This book will help military families realize that they are not alone and that others share their feelings and frustrations. It should also be read by those who aren't involved with the military, however, so that society at large understands and appreciates the loyalty and sacrifices made not only by service men and women, but also by their families.

Book Review - Why should the Boss Listen to You?

Why Should the Boss Listen to You? The Seven Disciplines of the Trusted Strategic Advisor
James E. Lukaszewski
HD 69 .C6 L855 2008

There are many books written today about how to be an effective leader, but this book informs readers about a specific leadership role--that of the chief adviser to the boss or CEO. Lukaszewski asserts that this trusted adviser has responsibilities and characteristics distinct from other leaders within the organization. In this two part book, he shows how to develop these traits. In the first part of the book, he provides the context in which this advising will take place. He provides insight into how those at the top think and operate. He discusses what they expect from their advisers and gives advice on how to achieve maximum effectiveness as an adviser. In the second part, he elaborates on seven personality traits and behaviors that successful advisers possess and provides tips on how to cultivate them. Although this book provides preparation for a specific role, it is useful for all leaders to help them improve their persuasiveness and effectiveness.

June 10, 2008

Book Review - Greening of the U.S. Military

The Greening of the U.S. Military: Environmental Policy, National Security, and Organizational Change
Robert F. Durant
TD 195 .A75 D87 2007

Durant chronicles the efforts to incorporate environmental policies into the Department of Defense from the George H. W. Bush administration to the current one. Based on interviews and extensive research through documents, reports, and other written materials, Durant reveals that efforts to "green" the U.S. Military have involved considerable controversy and debate. He focuses on the needs of the military to comply with national and international laws concerning the environment and natural resources, which often requires change in policies, procedures and thinking within the organizations. Much of the debate centers around the speed, depth, and methods by which these procedural and cultural changes should take place. Adopting a "green" outlook is also seen as somewhat foreign to the military, particularly during times of hostile conflict. Detailed and well referenced, this book offers a new way of looking at the activities of the United States Armed Services.

June 9, 2008

Book Review - Click

Click: Ten Truths for Building Extraordinary Relationships
George C. Fraser
HD 69 .S8 F736 2008

Fraser describes the process of networking in a series of simple guidelines. He stresses that networking takes work, but outlines behaviors and habits that makes meeting new people and developing connections with them more effective. First, he emphasizes the "chemistry"that exists between people. He states how important it is to be your authentic self, but also brings to light assumptions and myths that often get in the way of people's real personalities from being seen. Second, he discusses how people are perceived by others. He admits that some image crafting or slight changes in behavior might make a tremendous difference in a relationship. However, he also advises people to make the first move, trust first, and put the responsibility on themselves, not on others, to develop a new relationship. Third, Fraser acknowledges that timing is involved in all relationships and offers advice on how to open your mind and be flexible to new ideas and new people when they cross your path. This book is an easy, fun read and will be useful to everyone who wants to improve their current relationships or develop new ones.

Book Review - Grief the Mourning After

Grief the Mouring After: Dealing with Adult Bereavement
2nd ed.
Catherine M. Sanders
BF 575 .G7 S26 1999

This book was written to address the practical considerations and clinical approaches to dealing with grief. It is not at textbook and repeatedly asserts that grief is a very individual process. The first two parts of the book focus on theoretical background and phases of grief. The third part discusses many of the aspects that become intertwined in the grieving process. Part four adds to this complex picture by discussing deaths that are especially traumatic, either for their quick and unexpected nature or their long, drawn out suffering. Part five centers around three common classes of grief: death of a child, death of a spouse, and death of a parent. Part six discusses rituals that survivors use to help them deal with loss. Part seven includes recommendations for caregivers, whether familial or professional, to help others live through their grieving process. This book is well researched and written in an academic style, but is peppered with anecdotes which illustrate the book's lessons in the stories of real people.

June 6, 2008

Book Review - Women in the Line of Fire

Women in the Line of Fire: What you should know about women in the military
Erin Solaro
UB 418 .W65 S66 2006

This book has been written to bring to light inequalities that women who serve in the military continue to face. Solaro argues that women's service experience has earned them the right of complete equality with men in the combat arms and asserts that the Army cannot function without them. She describes the final changes that must be made for equality to be achieved, both in practice and in law. In writing this book, Solaro has undertaken historical research about the percentages of women in the military, their assignments and functions, as well as casualty rates. To best understand the roles of women in todays military, she embedded herself into units serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, observing and interviewing them in order to discover the responsibilities of these women and the attitudes of their unit members toward them. This is a thought provoking book which challenges long held rules and ideas about the role of women, particularly in combat situations.

June 5, 2008

Book Review - Enforcing the Peace

Enforcing the Peace: Learning from the Imperial Past
Kimberly Zisk Marten
JZ 6374 .Z57 2004

Marten argues that modern military occupations and peacekeeping efforts closely resemble imperialism as it was practiced in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As such, she asserts that efforts to recreate foreign societies in the image of Western states, even when their intentions are good, is likely to fail. Marten blends together discussions of peacekeeping activities in Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, and East Timor, as well as touches on occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq. She compares these to the colonial activities of Great Britain, France, and the United States at the turn of the 20th century, particularly focusing on the political and economic interests of the occupying nation, the role of humanitarianism and of the military, and the political will of the occupied state. She demonstrates that armed peacekeeping is effective, both in the imperial examples as well as modern ones, when it is a political priority for the occupying government. She concludes with a discussion of the importance of security, including that provided by armed forces, in the international arena.

June 4, 2008

Book Review - Great Basin Riparian Ecosystems

Great Basin Riparian Ecosystems: Ecology, Management, and Restoration
edited by Jeanne C. Chambers and Jerry R. Miller
QH 104.5 .G68 G74 2004

The Great Basin Ecosystem Management Project was established by the USDA Forest Service in 1993. It is a large scale, interdisciplinary research study that is examining the effects of climate change and human intervention on land areas adjacent to bodies of flowing water. The intention of this project is to observe the behavior of the natural system in order to develop management and restoration plans for this type of ecosystem. This book is a series of chapters that discuss the natural features or behaviors of this ecosystem. Included in these discussions are geologic as well as botanic observations and reactions to pollution, climate change, and human disruption. The beginning and ending essays frame the research study and provide recommendations for managing and restoring ecosystems like this one.

June 3, 2008

Book Review - Veteran's PTSD Handbook

The Veterans PTSD Handbook: How to File and Collect on Claims for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
John D. Roche
RC 552 .P67 R63 2007

Getting a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder is often difficult. However, Roche asserts that often the most difficult task for veterans is making the connection between PTSD and their military service. Without this connection, it is exceptionally difficult to file a successful claim for veterans benefits. Using a straightforward writing style, Roche's work walks veterans through the process of obtaining PTSD-related veterans benefits. He begins with a definition of PTSD and a discussion of why it is so complex to diagnose. He argues that the Veteran's Administration tries to avoid paying benefits in order to keep financial costs from rising and presents a case study of one veterans struggle to receive benefits to substantiate this claim. He outlines the legal process that the Veteran's Administration must follow and discusses how they evaluate claims. He explains many of the related programs and benefits and at the same time discusses the reasons why many applications are denied. Finally, he presents a series of court cases that bring to light issues related to PTSD. This is a must read for veterans and will be helpful to attorneys and medical care providers who assist them.

June 2, 2008

Book Review - Black Men Built the Capital

Black Men Built the Capital: Discovering African-American History In and Around Washington, D.C.
Jesse J. Holland
F 205 .N4 H65 2007

Many visitors to the Washington D.C. area wonder where the history of African Americans is represented in its numerous museums and historical sites. Holland brings this hidden history to the surface in his engaging book. Organized geographically, Holland gives his readers a virtual tour of the DC metro area, uncovering the involvement of African Americans as he goes. He begins in the city itself, examining the Capital, the National Mall, and the White House in his first three chapters. The fourth chapter details African American contributions in other parts of the District. From there, Holland takes his readers to Maryland in chapter 5 and Virginia in chapter 6, locating sites and contributions in the counties that surround the capital city. He concludes his visit with the efforts that have been taken to formally recognize these contributions of African American individuals or communities so that they will be more visible to the public. This book will be of interest to African Americans, historians, and anyone interested in our nation's capital.

Book Review - Green Plans

Green Plans: Blueprint for a Sustainable Earth
Huey D. Johnson
Revised and Updated
GE 195 .J64 2008

This book is a survey of plans to "go green" collected from nations around the world. Johnson asserts that formal planning for sustainable development and living has been very uneven. He looks to the Netherlands as a long-time leader in the green planning process, and at the same time laments the lack of progress toward green planning in the United States and the abandonment of the effort in Canada. In the first part of his survey, Johnson frames the concept of green planning by defining sustainability as a problem that is seeking a solution. He focuses on several elements of the problem and argues that green planning is the solution. In the second part, he provides case studies of several nations as well as the European Union to demonstrate what a green plan might look like and some of the goals it may set out to achieve. This book will be of interest to those interested in the environment, sustainability, strategic planning, and international comparative politics.