Friday, August 4, 2017

A Flag Worth Dying For
By Tim Marshall

We all know how we feel when we see our flag flying. The Stars and Stripes evoke a strong emotion whether it be positive or negative. But that is not an unique story. Many other flags across history and the globe have had that same affect on people. This is their book.

Tim Marshall is a journalist and broadcaster and has traveled extensively around the world. His first hand knowledge expands the scope of this book. I very much enjoyed the chapter on the United States flag because 1) it is my country's flag and 2) because Marshall is British and writes it from an outsiders perspective. 

The chapters on the Middle East and the subtle and unique pieces of their flags also intrigued me. Take, for example, Saudi Arabia. They have the shahada (Islamic declaration of faith) written on their flag. Because of the shahada is considered holy there is a very strong rule to never fly their flag at half-mast and to never print it on clothes or items. FIFA one year had plans to print a soccer ball with all of the FIFA Cup teams represented and Saudi Arabia asked not to be included because having the shahada kicked around was completely improper. 

If you are like me and like to flesh out your knowledge of things we see every day (or if you need random knowledge for Trivia Night!) then this is the book for you. It is well written and easy to follow.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Night of the Grizzlies
By Jack Olsen

In the history of Glacier National Park there had never been a fatal bear attack, until the night of August 12th-13th, 1967 when two separate bear maulings happened 9 miles and 4 hours apart. Two unrelated incidents, two young women who didn't know each other, two different bears, the first two humans to die from a bear attack in Glacier.

All on the same night.  

At the time, it was calculated the odds were greater than 1 in a million for a single bear attack but the odds of two separate attacks in a 4 hour time span were beyond measure. This book, while published a few years ago, caught my attention quickly. It is an enthralling read, detailing the whole summer before the attacks and what a lead up to these horrific events.

As someone who has lived in the shadow of Yellowstone Park all of my life this book strikes home with how the relationship between man and grizzly has changed over the last 100 years. Night of the Grizzlies reads like a thriller but every so often while reading you remember this actually happened and you clutch the blanket closer around you and maybe double check the back door before you open it at night.

NOTE: don't read this book if you are about to go hiking and spend the night on the ground in a national park.