Books read: March 2010

Here’s what I read in March:

Book covers for books read in March 2010 Time for the Stars by Robert A. Heinlein (1956): classic juvenile science fiction novel about twins who maintain contact over great distances as a means of communication while one serves on an interstellar exploration crew; if nothing else, a classic use of special relativity as a plot point, with the usual tropes and touches you’d expect from one of the better Heinlein juveniles.

The Two-Ocean War: A Short History of the United States Navy in the Second World War by Samuel Eliot Morison (1963). I was interested in reading about World War II naval history, and Morison’s short history seemed a natural place to start; Morison was the U.S. navy’s official historian during the war, eventually publishing a 15-volume history, and saw combat while serving on a number of vessels. I have to say I was disappointed: Morison’s history is all battles, strategy and operations, very much a top-down history — useful, I suppose, to Naval Academy students, but leaving me and my social-history training wanting more.

Ghost Train to the Eastern Star by Paul Theroux (2008): Theroux revisits the route he took for the book that made his bones as a travel writer, The Great Railway Bazaar, though the route has changed with the times, avoiding Iran and allowing Hanoi, for example. Typical or vintage Theroux, depending on how you look at it: he’s always much more interested in people than in landscapes, and he’s always chatting up writers along the way. If anything he seems less acerbic this time; maybe he’s mellowed in his fogeyhood.

Time for the Stars by Robert A. Heinlein
The Two-Ocean War by Samuel Eliot Morison
Ghost Train to the Eastern Star by Paul Theroux