Mini ARC Reviews

Caidyn's review (1)

If we wanted to be accurate, the little graphic should say reviews but, y’all, I’m too lazy to make a new graphic. This one stays.

Since the last mini reviews went well, I thought I’d do it again. Some positive reviews, some negative, some more neutral.

So, let’s go for it!

The Secret History of the Jersey Devil: How Quakers, Hucksters, and Benjamin Franklin Created a Monster

Thanks to Edelweiss and Johns Hopkins University Press for a copy! This was published March 1, 2018.


It’s been noted by now that I kind of have a thing for these stories. I kind of love reading and learning about these horror stories and the history of them and everything else. So, having heard the general story of the Jersey Devil, I knew that I had to request this title.

And it was good. It’s definitely aimed more towards academics (duh, John Hopkins published this, Caidyn) but it was still enjoyable. I’m not that interested in American history so it was a slog to get through the actual history of it.

Basically, there was a family called the Leeds. Daniel Leeds rejected the Quacker beliefs and violently attacked them by repeatedly trying to publish things about science. Which they burned. And it kept going like that. Later, his son, Titan Leeds, tried to publish some of those things his father attempted, which ramped it all up again.

Then, there was the press leaping on an old legend in the early 1900s that brought it back to cultural awareness, right around the time of freak shows that were showcasing mermaids and anything else they could create to amaze the masses in the depression after the Civil War.

I found it interesting, but, again, this is for someone who specifically wants to study propaganda throughout history in America. I’m not that person. It was a little too academic for me and a lot flew over my head — just because my interest in history is usually Tudor England — but I could still really appreciate the analysis and theory this presented.

Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist

Thanks to Netgalley for an ARC! This will publish September 18th!


I’m kind of worried about writing this review because I have some things that I want to say that people might not like hearing. Obviously this is a very positive review of the book, but it has an unpopular message that people just don’t want to hear. This is what I’ve found from seeing things happen on blogs and Goodreads, and then trying to join in to stop it but being sucked into things further.

But, this book is about Derek Black, son of Don Black. Aka, white nationalists. The people I think of and wince about because they’re a scary bunch of people. More importantly, this book is about how Derek renounced his former beliefs in white nationalist after being outed at a very liberal college in Florida.

How did they do that?

Well, that’s where the message of this kicks in.

I’ve talked about it before on here. I’ve talked about it a lot. When I read One Nation After Trump and What Happened, it’s all I could talk about on my reviews. It’s a radical notion, too, one that I feel has been forgotten by a lot of liberals.


That’s it. Talk to the person you don’t agree with. Yes, you might feel threatened and afraid, but so do they. When people are frightened, they lash out. Don’t do that. Bottle it up, feel it later, but you show your empathy towards the person and try to calmly talk with them.

That’s what classmates did to Derek Black. They talked with him and befriended him after his peers at college ostracised him. Why did it work? Because it fit in with what he already believed, that he was being discriminated against and white people are losing ground in the world and that he is ostracised. It confirmed his beliefs. But a Jewish person asking him to Shabbat dinner, a Latinx friend trying to get his citizenship talking with him, and a woman engaging him in dialogues showed him that he was wrong.

I can’t say enough how much it pisses me off when I see my fellow liberals going on a witch hunt on here, Goodreads, or Twitter. I get it that people feel threatened, but reacting violently brings no one closer to an understanding.

And this book shows you in a great example what it can do when you honestly engage someone you disagree with to find out about their position. That’s a beautiful message.

God Is in the Crowd

Thanks to Netgalley and Random House for an ARC! This will publish September 25th!

1.5/5 – DNF at 16%

What didn’t work for me was the message of this book. Judaism, although not my own religion, is one I find very interesting and willingly study for the hell of it. I’m always looking for more reads about contemporary Judaism, so when this book got offered to me by Random House as a freebie, I jumped on it.

But it didn’t work for me. I didn’t like Keinan’s message.

His message was, in short, as countries and Jews assimilate and Jews move to different countries — America for secular Jews and Israel for religious Jews — the diaspora that enabled Judaism’s survival disappears.

To me, that erases so many expressions of Judaism and diminishes the wide-range to two things. Because, what about religious Jews in America? What about Orthodox American Jews? What about the ultra-orthodox Jews who are violently against Zionism and Israel? What about the secular Jews in Israel, the ones who created the country and aren’t reflected by the religious governmental regime in Israel?

Basically, I couldn’t see what he was saying reflected in statistics I’ve read and been taught and written about. I didn’t buy the premise he was writing on, so I had no interest in reading his arguments for it.

WOW. I had more to say than I thought. Now, it’s your turn!

Talk to me!
What’s your favorite urban legend?
Do you agree with me about empathy being the way to change a person’s mind?
Do you think the world is becoming more secular?

One thought on “Mini ARC Reviews

  1. Pingback: August Wrap-up – BW Reviews

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s