Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, January 17, 2015

MVNews this week:  Page 11



Mountain Views-News Saturday, January 17, 2015 

Jeff�s Book Picks By Jeff Brown



What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation 
of America, 1815-1848 by Daniel Walker 

In this Pulitzer prize-winner, historian Howe 
illuminates the period from the battle of New 
Orleans to the end of the Mexican-American 
War, an era when the United States expanded to 
the Pacific and won control over the richest part 
of the North American continent. A panoramic 
narrative, it portrays revolutionary improvements 
in transportation and communications that 
accelerated the extension of the American empire. 
Railroads, canals, newspapers, and the telegraph 
dramatically lowered travel times and spurred the 
spread of information. These innovations prompted 
the emergence of mass political parties and 
stimulated America�s economic development from 
an overwhelmingly rural country to a diversified 
economy in which commerce and industry took 
their place alongside agriculture. The author weaves 
together political and military events with social, 
economic, and cultural history. Howe examines 
the rise of Andrew Jackson but contends that John 
Quincy Adams and other Whigs--advocates of public 
education and economic integration, defenders of 
Indians, women, and African-Americans--were the 
true prophets of America�s future. Howe reveals the 
power of religion to shape many aspects of American 
life including slavery and antislavery, women�s rights 
and other movements. Howe�s story culminates in 
the controversial war waged against Mexico to gain 
California and Texas for the United States. 

The Train to Crystal City: FDR�s Secret 
Prisoner Exchange Program and America�s 
Only Family Internment Camp During World 
War II by Jan Jarboe Russell 

This is the dramatic and never before told story of 
a secret FDR approved internment camp in Texas 
during World War II, where thousands of families 
were incarcerated. From 1942 to 1948, trains 
delivered thousands of civilians from the United 
States and Latin America to Crystal City, Texas. The 
trains carried Japanese, German, Italian immigrants 
and their American born children. The only family 
internment camp during World War II, Crystal City 
was the center of a government prisoner exchange 
program called �quiet passage.� During the war, 
hundreds of prisoners in Crystal City, including their 
American-born children, were exchanged for more 
important Americans, diplomats, businessmen, 
soldiers, physicians, and missionaries,behind enemy 
lines in Japan and Germany.Focusing her story on 
two American born teenage girls who were interned, 
author Russell uncovers the details of their years 
spent in the camp; the struggles of their fathers; their 
families� subsequent journeys to war-devastated 
Germany and Japan; and their years-long attempt 
to survive and return to the U.S. Combining big-
picture World War II history with a little known 
event in American history that has long been kept 
quiet, The book reveals the war-time hysteria against 
the Japanese and Germans in America, the secrets 
of FDR�s tactics to rescue high-profile POWs in 
Germany and Japan, and how the definition of 
American citizenship changed under the pressure of 

How to Fly a Horse: The Secret History of 
Creation, Invention, and Discovery by Kevin 

As a technology pioneer at MIT and as the leader of 
three successful start ups, Kevin Ashton experienced 
firsthand the challenge of creating something 
new. Now, in a narrative 20 years in the making, 
Ashton leads us on a journey through humanity�s 
greatest creations to uncover the surprising truth 
behind who creates and how they do it. From the 
crystallographer�s laboratory where the secrets of 
DNA were first revealed by a forgotten woman, to the 
electromagnetic chamber where the stealth bomber 
was born on a 25 cent bet, to the Ohio bicycle shop 
where the Wright brothers set out to �fly a horse,� 
Ashton showcases the seemingly unremarkable 
individuals, gradual steps, multiple failures, and 
countless ordinary and usually uncredited acts 
that lead to our most astounding breakthroughs. 
Creators apply in particular ways the everyday, 
ordinary thinking of which we are all capable, 
taking thousands of small steps and working in an 
endless loop of problem and solution. Drawing on 
examples from art, science, business, and invention, 
from Mozart to the Muppets, Archimedes to Apple, 
Kandinsky to a can of Coke, How to Fly a Horse is 
a rewarding exploration of how �new� comes to be.

By Sean Kayden

It�s been over four years 
since the unknown 
band Fences released 
their self-titled record. 
Led by Seattle native, 
Christopher Mansfield, Fences scored huge 
last year when they came out with �Arrows,� 
that featured Grammy Award winning rapper 
Macklemore. While Fences album isn�t like the 
typical affair you�d expect from Macklemore, 
it�s still catchy as hell. This little indie pop band 
didn�t completely change their musical style for 
the major record debut known as Lesser Oceans. 
In addition of Mansfield being outspoken about 
how his sobriety over the years, he�s been hard at 
work crafting his follow-up record it bandmates, 
Benjamin Greenspan

 Lindsey Starr, and Elliott Garm Chaffee. Lesser 
Oceans was produced by former Death Cab for 
Cutie guitarist Chris Walla, Jacquire King (Of 
Monsters and Men), and Ryan Lewis. With the 
help and guidance of producers from different 
genres, you can only imagine only inventiveness 
that may be found. Luckily, this record came 
together so perfectly. The record features ten 
lovely songs that dig much deeper than the normal 
indie-pop album normally does. Mansfield takes 
his own personal experiences and implements 
them into his own lyrics. With accessible lyrics, 
striking melodies, and a completely easy listening 
experience, Fences have developed a sophomore 
record that feels like a rebirth for a band with 
potential that�s finally being recognized. 

 The album starts off with �Songs About Angels.� 
It�s a buoyant pop tune with lyrics imagining 
impending doom is on the way. Mansfield takes 
it with much ease confessing, �Well this life 
can be such a devil, so I wrote this song about 
angels.� Lesser Oceans theme may showcase 
darker moments, but the outlook is always bright. 
An album protected by optimism, Fences� have 
definitely matured from their self-described, 
�pouty petulant pop.� In fact, Mansfield has 
certainly developed his own signature songs that 
cut deeper than what they simply appear at face 
value. �Arrows� is one of the best pop songs of the 
past year. It�s wildly addicting, features a pulsating 
drum beat and Mansfield power vocals. The guy 
sings with a certain confidence, but nothing that 
comes off pompous. Macklemore is featured here 
with his own verse and brings another thrilling 
element to a perfect pop song. Mansfield throws 
the listener the listener for a loop with solemn 
ballad, �Running Off The Gods.� It marks the 
halfway point of the album and is the shortest 
song on the album. It gives off a reflective vibe, 
but proves to be a welcoming breakaway from 
the lighthearted pop songs. �My Mountain Is 
Cold� is my favorite song off the record. It has a 
slower tempo than the other songs, but showcases 
gorgeous vocals. The vibe feels like a warm autumn 
day where everything is seemingly perfect. It�s the 
kind of song that has you staring into the distance, 
putting the world on pause, and feeling weightless. 
Truly blissful.

 �Dusty Beds� is an evocative pop jam. With 
sexually driven lyrics, this one hints toward 
the likes of the first album. However, the catchy 
pop sound makes this one another clear winner. 
Lindsey Starr�s lends her angelic vocals on tracks 
such as the self-titled one. It�s a refreshing change 
of pace for Fences. �Temple Dreaming� closes the 
record in a respectable fashion. It has moments 
of just an acoustic guitar and then will suddenly 
burst with wild energy. The final minute feels a 
bit unnecessary with Mansfield�s indiscernibly 
lyrics over a static resonance. Besides that bizarre 
choice to end the record, Lesser Oceans is a great 
way to start 2015. It has a fresh indie pop sound, 
applicable lyrics for the listener, and possesses a 
lot of heart. Fences are definitely a band worth 
seeking out to get your own 2015 headed in the 
right direction. 

Grade: 8 out of 10

Key Tracks: �Songs About Angels,� �Arrows,� 
�Sunburns,� �My Mountain Is Cold�

On the Marquee: Notes from the Sierra MadrePlayhouse

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