Cover with Image of Michael Faraday

Michael Faraday: From Errand Boy to Master Physicist by Harry Sootin

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The life story of one of the leading scientists of the last century whose experiments led to the development of the dynamo, the electric motor, and to an industrial revolution.

Michael Faraday, son of a blacksmith, was appren­ticed at fourteen to a bookbinder in whose shop he gained most of his education and acquired an interest in science—from the Encyclopedia Britannica. That interest changed and dominated his entire life, and led from errand boy to Fellow of the Royal Society.

Faraday attracted the attention of Sir Humphry Davy, a Professor of Chemistry at the Royal Institu­tion, who hired the boy as a laboratory assistant. Fara­day worked with the professor on chemical research for a number of years. He discovered benzene, butylene and the acids of naphthalene, but he never lost interest in electricity and conducted thousands of ex­periments in an effort to turn electrical energy into mechanical motion. Fie invented the first primitive dynamo and equally primitive motor, and made the first generator.

For forty years Faraday lived and worked in his rooms and laboratory at the Royal Institution. When Queen Victoria learned that he and his wife were finding it difficult to climb the stairs to their attic rooms, she presented him with one of the houses in Hampton Green Court.

Faraday was a simple man, proud and sensitive. He loved his work and refused many commercial offers that would have made him a fortune. He also refused a knighthood from a grateful country to whom he brought honor and glory as its leading scientist. Fie did. through the help and urging of his friends, accept a Fellowship in the Royal Society, and he finally ac­cepted a pension, though this precipitated the kind of publicity he had sought so hard to avoid all his life.

Today his laws of electrolysis are part of every mod­ern textbook in chemistry and physics, and the unit of electric capacity, the Farad, was named for him.

Book Cover with the Image of Dr. Salk

The Polio Man: The Story of Dr. Jonas Salk by John Rowland

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“Absorbing book . . . Young teenagers who read it will come away with a profound respect for the modest doctor.”—Kansas City Star

“Inspiring biography . . . conveys to the reader the personal rewards of a life devoted to science.”—Booklist

“Includes good background history of early-polio epidemics, theories, and work still in progress . . . approach is authoritative and objective.”—Library Journal

“He read everything he could lay his hand on,” a teacher of young Jonas recalled—and indeed Dr. Salk’s interest in great medical problems goes back to his student days in New York City. Even then he was fascinated by the mysterious virus and its role ill infantile paralysis.

On April 12, 1955, it was announced to the world that Dr. Jonas Salk had successfully tested a polio vaccine. A true man of Science, Dr. Salk had not minded the long hours of hard work in the laboratory which led to that exciting day, because he believed in the importance of his goal. By 1956 over 50 million people had been vaccinated and Dr. Salk’s fame had spread everywhere— to England, Poland, Hungary, Israel.

Dr. Salk is a great scientist but he is also a great humanitarian and fame has not lessened by his desire to serve mankind and carry on his struggle against disease. Readers who have yet to choose their life’s goal will find Dr. Salk’s story a challenge and an inspiration.

Hitler and other Leaders Marching

The Mad Dog of Europe by Herman J. Mankiewicz and Albert Nesor

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From a review of the print edition on Amazon:
While I have read other books about Hitler and WWII, I was drawn to read “The Mad Dog of Europe” by Albert Nesor because of its publication date – 1939. The story drew heavily on first hand accounts of immigrants who had recently left Germany. I was curious to know how prescient the Germans were about Hitler’s intentions. While Nesor gives a detailed account of how and when Hitler took over the country, the main narrative focuses on a circle of friends in the small Bavarian town of Gronau. They had lost sons in WW1 and the ones that did return were disillusioned and struggling to find work. The names of the people and the town were changed because in 1939 it was, of course, very dangerous to make negative remarks about the Reich. There actually is a town in Germany named Gronau but it is way to the north of Bavaria.

Among the book I have read about Hitler, Nestor’s account was the most graphically negative. Hitler is shown to work toward his goal of saving Germany from “Jewish Communism” with obsessive intensity. In his tirades against communism Hitler made me think of Senator Joseph McCarthy on steroids. Both also targeted and persecuted homosexuals. Fortunately McCarthy’s means were more limited. Hitler had a private army during the 30’s of well over a million ruthless men that he used frequently in the streets. The Nazi’s anti-communism was generally supported not only by many Germans, but also by people in other countries and many people in the United States. It was a major platform for his rise to power. When Hitler became Chancellor his political opponents were sent to concentration camps. When I lived in Bavaria (1979 ) my somewhat older neighbor said she would never have anything to do with politics because her father died in a concentration camp for being a communist. With my limited German vocabulary of two thousand words, all I could say was “Hitler war ein Teufel”.

Nestor’s characters were not prescient about Hitler until it was too late. Like us they went about their daily lives even though they did not approve of what they read in the papers. After the Nazis took over everyone in Gronau was terrified. Even high ranking Nazi party officials had saved foreign currency, exit visas and money in American banks in case of a Teutonic armageddon which they vaguely felt might come but did not perceive when or how. In the end the main character of the novel holds off the Nazi storm troopers with a pistol while his brother tries to escape across the border. He has the sentimental hope that Germans will regroup in America and then save his beloved country from Hitler. As we now know it was Hitler’s declaration of War on the USA that forced a response. Not Germans but German-Americans – Dwight Eisenhower, Chester Nimitz, Carl Spaatz – led the troops against Hitler. German immigrants did provide valuable service as translators and as spies.

Cover with Rising Sun and Bayonet

Escape from Corregidor by Edgar D. Whitcomb

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ESCAPE FROM CORREGIDOR IS “ONE OF THE MOST FANTASTIC AND INCREDIBLE TRUE STORIES TO COME OUT OF WORLD WAR II.”
(Seattle Post Intelligencer)

“One of the best of the war-escape books … the more impressive because of its simplicity.”
(San Francisco Call-Bulletin)

“. . .an incredible, fascinating account.”
(Virginia Kirkus Service)

“This strange, true adventure of World War II is both interesting reading and a tribute to the American fighting man.” (Pittsburgh Courier)

“. . .exciting, fast moving. …” (Chicago Daily Calumet)

“WORLD WAR II HAS PROVIDED US WITH MANY BIZARRE ESCAPE STORIES, BUT NONE CAN SURPASS ESCAPE FROM CORREGIDOR.”
(The Jackson Sun)