Thursday, April 20, 2017

Review: Cybercrime and Digital Forensics: An Introduction

Cybercrime and Digital Forensics: An Introduction Cybercrime and Digital Forensics: An Introduction by Thomas J. Holt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I used this book this year for a Cyber Criminology class I teach. It is a good text for an overview / introduction class. The first 8 chapters cover different types of cybercrime such as hacking, cyber terror, digital piracy, and cyber stalking / bullying. Cyber sex crimes are also covered. There is one chapter on old school criminology theories / the scientific method and how they apply today to the cyber world today. The last four chapters cover digital forensics, touching on subjects like spoliation and collecting forensics in the cloud.

This is my first year teaching with this text and I will likely use it again. As with any text, it is going to be quickly outdated, so I hope they do an updated version soon. It is well laid out with a nice progression between subjects, interspersing historical information as well. Real world examples are used, but I would have like more examples that are more in depth. Another plus is that the book uses technical terms, while clearly explaining terms and concepts for beginners to understand.

I also liked the discussion questions at the end of each chapter. These are thought provoking questions that have the students thinking beyond what is discussed in that chapter. They made great essay questions for tests. If you are an instructor, the publisher has a website with extra material that can be used in the classroom, such as Powerpoint presentations and test questions.

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Review: So Big

So Big So Big by Edna Ferber
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the story of Selina Peake DeJong and her son Dirk "SoBig" Dejong. Selina, the daughter of a prosperous Chicago gambler during the turn of the century, is forced to make her own life, when her father passes away. Her journey takes her to rural Illinois, not far from bustling Chicago to teach the children of the local farmers. Her life turns out very different than she expected, but Selina is a strong woman who sees the good in everything and everyone. She is the type of person that turns dreams into realities. These are the values she tries to instill in the children she meets and her own son. The overall theme of the book is about making the most of one's life. You can be rich without having money. It's all about what you do with what you have. "There are only two kinds of people in the world that really count. One kind's wheat and the other kind's emeralds." – Edna Ferber

I enjoyed this book. The writing is superb and draws you in from the beginning. It is obvious why this is a classic book worthy of the Pulitzer Prize. The characters are rich but not without their flaws and the themes are ones that still resonant today. I think this is an often overlooked classic that should be added to reading curriculums.

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Friday, April 14, 2017

Review: The Enchanted April

The Enchanted April The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This classic is such a cute read. The story begins in the 1920s with Mrs. Wilkins reading a newspaper advertisement for the rental of an Italian castle during the month of April. Through happenstance, she collects three other women who join her for the month to get away from it all on a quiet vacation. Each woman has come without spouse or suitor. The journey and the vacation isn't quite what any of them expected, but it does become what each of them needs. This is a fun read that is at times quite humorous.

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Monday, April 10, 2017

Review: Bomber Girls

Bomber Girls Bomber Girls by M.J. Foreman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a short quick read about the women of the British Air Transport Auxiliary, a group formed to back up the Royal Air Force. During World War II, women took to the air as transport pilots for British bombers. They had no fire power, just simple orders to move planes from A to B. Many though, found themselves in combat or dealing with mechanical failure. These are remarkable women whose stories should be told.

This was an interesting read but a bit dry at times. There were some engaging stories but a lot of "just the facts" bits, which likely was needed being a short Kindle Single selection. This book could easily be expanded and developed much like Hidden Figures: The Untold True Story of Four African-American Women Who Helped Launch Our Nation into Space by Margot Lee Shetterly. Worth the read if you are interested in learning more about the women of ATA.

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Saturday, April 8, 2017

Review: The Aviator's Wife

The Aviator's Wife The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A good look at the lives of Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh from Anne's point of view. The daughter of the Ambassador to Mexico in the late 20s / early 30s, Anne Morrow was a middle child who felt like she was often overlooked, with an uneventful future ahead of her. Longing to make a mark on the world, Anne meets and later marries American hero Charles Lindbergh, not long after his epic journey from the US to Paris in The Spirit of St. Louis. At the time, she was smitten and ready for adventure. Adventure is what she got, in spades. What Anne did not anticipate was the rigid, often cold relationship with her new husband. There were good, loving times when the two would fly together, lost in the air away from the harsh realities that came with stardom. More often than not, though, life as the aviator's wife was a struggle where her fear of being overlooked was realized.

I want to think that Anne was a strong woman with gumption. Benjamin did a great job of presenting Anne as a young, naive woman who is often beaten down emotionally by a man who was overbearing. Throughout the book we see Anne transformed into her own woman with her own voice. It is a well researched book, sticking close to historical events, taking licenses on Anne's personality and character. I read this right after reading A. Scott Berg's biography on Lindbergh. It was a nice follow up to see their lives from Anne's vantage point. She had to be a remarkable person for putting up with the larger than life character that was her husband.

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Sunday, April 2, 2017

Review: Lindbergh

Lindbergh Lindbergh by A. Scott Berg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A very well written, detailed account of the life of Charles A. Lindbergh from birth to death. Everything is covered from the famous first flight across the Atlantic in the Spirit of St. Louis to the Trial of the Century covering the kidnapping and murder of Charles' and Anne's first son to his political and aeronautical endeavors and eventual fight with lymphoma. The book not only covers his life from Lindbergh's own point of view, but from his wife Anne's as well. According to the end notes, Anne offered thousands of records and diary entries to the author as long as the story was about both Charles and Anne. The author lived up to the promise. The relationship was loving and strong at times, while distance and estranged at others.

I thought this was a wonderful biography without being so exhaustive and dry. Lindbergh was quite a character and that certainly comes through. There was a lot I did not know about Charles, from his time stationed in San Antonio in the Army (my home) to his time working with PanAm. Well worth the read if you are in any way interested in aeronautics or just curious about the man who made that first important flight across the Atlantic.

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