Monday, September 30, 2013

Football Revolution, by Bart Wright

Spend a Saturday afternoon watching college football, then spend some time watching games from the 1960s and 1970s on YouTube.  It doesn't take long to see the differences.  In the old games, linemen shoulder-to-shoulder at the line of scrimmage, lots of running, maybe an occasional pass.  Today, the linemen are often spaced apart from each other, multiple wide receivers will line up from sideline to sideline, and while a good running back is appreciated, the passing game is king.  Veteran sports journalist Bart Wright chronicles this transformation of the game in his new book Football Revolution: The Rise of the Spread Offense and How It Transformed College Football.

Drawing on lots of personal interviews and contemporary first-hand accounts, Wright recounts the coaching trees, team personnel changes, and key seasons and games that had a part in the gradual dominance of the spread offense.  As he writes, "The game has changed so much is barely comparable to college football of the 1960s, 1970s, and for most of the nation's teams, on into the 1980s." Teams that were slow to make this shift frequently ended up at a serious, unexpected disadvantage.  As a Baylor fan, I was particularly interested that he identifies Baylor's loss to San Jose State in 1980.

The 1980 Baylor Bears were perhaps the best Baylor team ever to take the field.  Walter Abercrombie was busy setting all of Baylor's rushing records, and linebacker Mike Singletary was putting the hurt on the oppositions' offensive efforts.  The Bears were 7-0, ranked 10th in the nation, and picked to beat visiting San Jose State by 20 1/2.  SJSU's head coach Jack Elway (John's father) and offensive coordinator Dennis Erickson were pioneers of the spread offense, which effectively took Singletary, who was used to defending the wishbone and option offenses in the Southwest Conference, out of the game.

Years later Singletary reflected, "I guess it's kind of cool to think back on it as the first time people realized what the spread could do.  I didn't think it was very cool at the time; it was just so weird. . . . It was just to different to play against that kind of football." Baylor coach Grant Teaff called their spread offense "extremely tough to stop." Elway called that Baylor win "the greatest win in my 28 years of coaching."

There had been passing in college football for years before Jack Neumeier, a high school football coach in Southern California, had an epiphany at a high school basketball game.  He began to think of spacing and timing in the passing game, beginning to think about football as basketball on grass.  His star quarterback was John Elway, whose father Jack took the spread to the college game.

Wright weaves this story together with lots of college football history, interesting personal stories about the coaches and programs, and brings the game right up to this season.  Naturally, the threads get pretty tangled at times, but Wright does a nice job of drawing along the narrative.  What is the spread offense, and why did it come to dominate the college game (and make some serious inroads in the NFL)?  Wright sets the story straight.  An interesting read for the football fan.

Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Mongoliad: Book 3, by Neal Stephenson

I have such mixed feelings about The Mongoliad.  I wanted to like it more than I did.  I think the problem may lie in the corporate authorship.  Neal Stephenson is one of my favorites, but he does tend to tell some long stories (see his 3 volume, 2,688 page Baroque Cycle).  But The Mongoliad author list stretches on to eight names.  It's like one of those variety shows, where the individual acts are good, but there are just too many, or an all-star game, where the talent on the court is great, but it turns out to be a boring game.

All of that said, I didn't dislike The Mongoliad.  There is plenty to like.  The plot by Western soldiers to assassinate the Khan.  The political maneuvering to replace the pope.  The vivid descriptions of hand-to-hand combat.  The rich feel of the historical and geographical setting.  But the end result seemed over long and bloated.  A great effort, an interesting literary project, but the sum did not end up greater than the parts.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Game Changer, by Kirk Cousins

Cousins and Griffin
In the latter half of the last decade, a couple of lightly recruited quarterbacks came to play at colleges that were trying to regain some footing on the football field.  They both led their teams to great seasons, and both became known as team leaders, articulate speakers, and young men guided by their faith.  In the 2012 NFL draft, they were both drafted by the Washington Redskins.  The lives and careers of Kirk Cousins and Robert Griffin III have some parallels, and now run on the same track in the NFL.

In his new book, Game Changer: Faith, Football, and Finding Your Way, Cousins talks about his life and his faith, and gives the reader insight into his relationship with the real Game Changer, Jesus.  The son of a pastor and church consultant, Cousins has definitely been shaped by his faith and shows a spiritual maturity beyond his years.

Fans of Michigan State football will not be disappointed with Cousins' recounting of his seasons there.  He had some serious letdowns, but turned those into opportunities to grow his faith, and, ultimately, led the Spartans to a couple of their best seasons ever.  I was reminded of the feeling Baylor fans had when RG3 led the Bears to bowl games, two years in a row.

Time will tell whether Cousins has a great NFL career.  At the rate RG3 has started this season, Cousins might have a chance to step up.  In any case, Game Changer shows that his priority is not being in the spotlight leading the team, but in serving Christ, whether on the field, on the sideline, or after football ends. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Plague Forge, by Jason Hough

Skyler and crew are back for the final installment of Jason Hough's Dire Earth Cycle.  If you read his The Darwin Elevator and The Exodus Towers, you will be eager to dive into The Plague Forge.  If you haven't, well what are you waiting for!  This is fun, action-packed, original sci-fi!

The alien events of the first two books--the arrival of the alien ship, the elevator, the plague--set the stage for the penultimate event, the arrival of a new, much larger ship, which sets up a second elevator and sends smaller ships to several spots around the planet.  In The Plague Forge, Skyler and his friends from Exodus are in a race with Grillo and the crazy Jacobites to gather the alien artifacts in preparation for the final alien event, whatever that might be.

Of course, along the way, they have to kill a bunch of subhumans, take perilous journeys around the world, and face the mysteries of alien technologies.  Hough's plot never slows the pace, his characters are believable and likable (and in some cases thoroughly hatable!), and the alien speculative element is top-notch.  This is a solid ending to a thoroughly enjoyable trilogy.  One word of caution: The Plague Forge would be considerably less enjoyable without first having read the first two books.  I know you'll join me in looking forward to what springs next from the imagination of Jason Hough!

Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Boring, by Michael Kelley

As Michael Kelley says, his publisher must have really believed in him to publish a book called "Boring." The cover is perfect, the doodles of a student bored with a droning lecture in the napping hours after lunch.  Far from being boring, Boring: Finding an Extraordinary God in an Ordinary Life is one of the most encouraging books I've read in a long time.

It's easy for all of us as Christians to get caught up in the extraordinary.  Whether it's a desire to emulate the heroes of the faith and "do great things for God," or the desire to experience God in worship or to see miracles happen, we may "find ourselves bowing down to the idol of excitement all while claiming to be seeking after the living God."  Kelley encourages us to remember that God is present and active in our everyday, boring lives and choices.

The ordinary things we do, going to work, being a parent (As Kelley says, "Parenthood is a massive series of monotonous and repeated tasks."), attending church (even when the worship is far from inspiring and the preacher drones), tithing, all are ordinary but we should learn to view them in light of an extraordinary God.  He is present and active when we're folding laundry, sitting on the expressway, changing a diaper, mowing the lawn.

Kelly writes:
A regular life isn't just a series of physical times and moments strung together; it's a progression of being formed into the image of Jesus.  A casual conversation isn't just a series of words between friends; ins an interaction between beings made in the image of God.  A marriage isn't just a contract between two people; it's a walking, talking illustration of the reality of the gospel.  Parenting isn't just teaching kids to be good citizens; it's seeing our children as arrows of light shot into darkness.  And finances aren't just a few bucks here and there; they are the window into what we love and what we believe.
So it's a change of perspective.  Miracles happen, and some Christians do amazing things and have books written about them.  But that's not the norm.  It's doubtful I'll have a book written about me.  I may do some great works.  But here's what God expects of me: "Do the next right thing. . . . Do that which you know is from God, and keep doing it, one choice at a time." It reminds of the famous quote from Friedrich Nietzsche, "that there should be a long obedience in the same direction."

I liked this book overall, but one story stands out and illustrates Kelley's point exceptionally well.  You may be familiar with the story of Jim Elliot, the missionary who was martyred in Ecuador in 1956.  The deaths of Elliot and his companions have inspired many, including me--I named my oldest son Elliot in honor of Jim Elliot.  But I had never heard of Jim's brother Bert.  Bert and his wife were missionaries in Peru before Jim went to Ecuador.  And there they stayed, for over 60 years, until Bert's death in 2012.  Faithfulness.  A life of living in obedience and dying to self, every day for 6 decades.  Bert described Jim's life as a "great meteor, streaking through the sky."

The kingdom of God can use streaking meteors, but that is not the plan of God for everyone.  Most of us will be "faint stars. . . . We will go through life, day after day, doing very much the same thing tomorrow that we did today." To do the next right thing.  Then the next.  Even when it's boring.  And knowing that "there is no such thing as ordinary when you follow an ordinary God."

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Walk in Their Shoes, by Jim Ziolkowski

Some guys finish college, spend a few years wandering around the world, experiencing cultures and working adventuresome jobs, then head back to the real world to settle down for a comfortable career and a typical American life.  As Jim Ziolkowski tells in his new book Walk in Their Shoes: Can One Person Change the World?, he began to follow that path, but after the adventures he had as a young man, he didn't last long in the world of finance before he knew he would never be able to settle into corporate life.

When a young Jim Ziolkowski was wandering around Nepal, he ran across a village where villagers were celebrating the building of a school funded by some British mountain climbers.  That experience stuck with Ziolkowski, and a few years later, he started the non-profit that would become buildOn.  Soon it became apparent that working a demanding, full-time job in corporate finance was not compatible with running a growing international charity, so he left the corporate world behind.

BuildOn has a dual focus: building schools in impoverished rural villages in several countries, and engaging lower-income American high school students in active service.  In both cases, he wants to avoid an entitlement mentality and dependence.  Of the work building schools, he says education is the key: "We couldn't rescue villagers; we had to empower them through education to break the cycle of poverty, illiteracy, and low expectations."  When buildOn builds a school, they only do so with the support, buy-in, and labor of the villagers themselves.

Similarly, the kids at buildOn's U.S. high school programs are not involved just for fun, free stuff, or entertainment.  They put in service hours in local nursing homes, graffiti clean-up, and, in some cases, travel to work on the overseas school construction projects.

Ziolkowski's story is inspiring, as he takes the reader on the journey from his randomly inspired vision in Tibet, to his gathering of a small group of friends to share that vision, to convincing corporate and individual donors to fund the vision.  His story is also deeply personal, as he tells of his journey from carefree, unmarried world traveller, to a man with a specific vision, to marriage, and to parenthood.  Especially wrenching are the passages in which Ziolkowski wrestles with balancing his desire to oversee buildOn's international work first-hand, and his need to be present with his family as his son struggles with a debilitating seizure disorder.

The personal stories of the people he meets really make the book.  Whether villagers who assist in the school construction, the students who are able to get an education their parents never dreamed about, or the American teen from the inner-city whose world view is expanded by his experiences of third-world poverty.

Walk in Their Shoes is an encouragement to do just that: step outside of where you're comfortable and touch someone's life while experiencing life with them.  You and I may never start a major international nonprofit with activities in dozens of countries, but we can share our lives with the world around us.  What an inspiring example.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Con Law, by Mark Gimenez

My favorite lawyer/author is back!  Mark Gimenez's newest legal thriller, Con Law, raises the bar again for his entertaining, provocative story telling.  Gimenez promised that Con Law is "the first of a thrilling new series"featuring his new lawyer/action hero, John Bookman, affectionately known as "Book." University of Texas law professor and esteemed author by day, Harley-riding, butt-kicking justice-seeker in his spare time, Book has a strong sense of honor and desire for the truth which drives him to some rather uncomfortable predicaments.

In Con Law, Book gets a letter from a former student, who is practicing oil and gas law in Marfa.  Book hops on his Harley with his intern, and gets into more of a mess than he ever anticipated.  He finds that his former student has died in a questionable one-car accident, the West Texas law firm and their biggest client may be up to no fracking good, and small-town Marfa has more than its share of big-city problems, with drug traffickers, long-time locals, big-time ranchers, and the three As, artists, attorneys, and a--holes.

As Gimenez's readers know, he is skilled at capturing the personality of a place, placing and deleloping the personalities there, and plotting a perfectly paced story that will keep you guessing and wondering just what is going on.  In the meantime, his discourses on legal and societal issues (fracking by the gas drillers plays a large role in the novel, and Gimenez fills us in on the details) add to the story in an informative, non-distracting way.

I thoroughly enjoyed Con Law and look forward to Book getting another letter.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Ten Billion, by Stephen Emmott

I'm sure Stephen Emmott is really smart.  Way, way smarter than I am.  Maybe smarter than most people. But in his new book Ten Billion, Emmott resorts to scare tactics, exaggeration, and misleading interpretations of facts and trends to try to stir his readers into a frenzied panic.

Emmott's basic premise is that as the Earth's population approaches ten billion, the planet will get to a point at which it can no longer sustain the population.  We will soon run out of arable land for agriculture sufficient to grow enough food, and we will run out of fuel to power our homes and lifestyles.  "In short," he writes, "we urgently need to consume less.  A lot less.  And we need to conserve more.  A lot more." We will have to see a "radical change in behavior" which will require "radical government action."

Without offering a counterargument to his every point, which would probably be fruitless anyway, I just want to point out a couple of large, overarching issues on which I disagree with Emmott.  First of all, Emmott is deeply skeptical of the power of human ingenuity to solve the world's problems.  He says the "rational optimist" believes, falsely, that "our cleverness and inventiveness mean we don't have to worry: we will invent our way out of our current predicament." The problem is that "our cleverness, our inventiveness, and our activities are now the drivers of every global problem we face."

He seems to dismiss past inventiveness as wholly inadequate.  I was struck by his description of the Green Revolution.  He reduces the Green Revolution to increasing use of pesticides and chemical fertilizer and the industrialization of food production.  He makes no mention of Norman Borlaug, water-efficient hybrid plants, and disease-resistant strains of wheat.  What other, future developments might great men and women come up with in the realm of energy, agriculture, and transportation?  We can't even imagine, just as Malthus and Ehrlich couldn't imagine Borlaug's innovations.

Part of Emmott's problem with the Green Revolution is that, as a result, fewer people starved and the population boomed.  His attitude reflects a view of people as primarily consumers, not producers.  When Emmott sees the population grow, he sees more mouths to feed.  When the rational optimist sees the population grow, she sees more producers, more creators, more innovators.  As Julian Simon wrote, people are the "ultimate resource." This is my second fundamental problem with Emmott, his low view of humanity.  He says "the worst thing we can do--globally--is have children at the current rate." He reminds me of the villain in that Tom Clancy novel whose objective was to decimate the world's population so that the Earth (in his view) could survive.

Are there environmental problems?  Yes.  Are there problems to be solved tied to a booming population?  Yes.  But do we have to agree with Emmott that "Only an idiot would deny that there is a limit to how many people our Earth can support"?  Not necessarily.  I am confident that like Malthus, Ehrlich, Carson, and Gore, his forecasts will be proven wrong and fundamentally tied to ideology.  In the meantime, I'm sure, like his forebears, he will try to milk the induced panic for all it's worth.

Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Saturday Millionaires, by Kristi Dosh

College football fans know all about the big money in the game.  Astronomical budgets, millionaire coaches, palatial facilities, huge TV contracts, and tremendous popularity add up to big, big money.  Every year, we hear more and more about paying players and realigning conferences, and wonder about money taking the fun out of the game.  As a sports business reporter for ESPN, Kristi Dosh has a front row seat to the ins and outs of the business of college football.

In her new book, Saturday Millionaires: How Winning Football Builds Winning Colleges, Dosh takes reader into the numbers behind the schools and teams we love watching on Saturdays.  She addresses many of the trends of college football, while shedding light on some of the myths and misconceptions people have about the money involved.  Is it true that a handful of big schools run their programs at a profit, while many barely break even or run a deficit?  Yes, the growth in success and popularity of college football has the "unfortunate consequence of inspiring others to compete beyond their means."  But contrary to what we hear from smaller programs, that same growth has coincided with expanded TV coverage, and a BCS system that increasingly spread around exposure and money, so that smaller schools and schools from the lower-tier conferences have games televised and appear in more bowls than ever.

And what about paying players?  Bad idea.  The big money for bowl appearances?  It's usually not enough to cover a school's expenses.  And those millions that are thrown around for TV contracts?  Here's the deal: to play in Division 1 athletics, schools have to field teams in 16 sports, 14 or 15 of which never make money and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not well over a million, to run each year.  That football TV money is the lifeblood of many athletic departments.

Dosh covers these questions, as well as telling the history of conference TV deals, ongoing conference realignments, the BCS, and projecting the future of the football playoff system.  Dosh's book is by no means an expose of the sordid money dealings of college sports, but a sober accounting of the reality of funding collegiate athletics.  I, for one, am thankful that college football has retained its uniqueness and distinction from pro sports, and am hopeful that the NCAA and the playoff system will keep the difficult balance between the big money and high stakes and the purity of the student-athlete experience.

Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Pitcher, by William Elliot Hazelgrove

Ricky Hernandez has a gift, an arm that can throw a mean fastball, but, so far, there's too much working against him to capitalize on that gift.  He lives in a community where there are very few Hispanics, and he gets teased and marginalized.  His coach would rather play him at catcher, so the coach's son gets to pitch.  And, frankly, in spite of his speed, or maybe because of his speed, he doesn't have very good control.

He does have a few things going for him, though.  Mostly, his mom, who helps out as coach, and pressures the head coach to give him a chance.  And, best of all, the reclusive, grumpy neighbor across the street happens to be a retired major league pitcher.  Slowly but surely, he reluctantly agrees to coach Ricky in preparation for high school tryouts.

Hazelgrove tugs on some heartstrings as he tells the story of a broken down former major leaguer who comes out of his shell a bit, learns to live for others, and regains some of the joy of baseball and life; the story of a little boy with big dreams, who has been let down by his father, his coach, and the world in general; the story of a mom who knows the odds are against her son, but is willing to sacrifice whatever it takes to bring him happiness and success.

Hazelgrove is a talented story teller, who tells this story with heart, realism, and hope.  The Pitcher is an enjoyable tale, well told.

Thanks to the author for the complimentary electronic review copy!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Chasing God, by Roger Huang

Huang and his wife Maite.
Have you ever read about a ministry, or seen a ministry at work, and thought, "What a remarkable organization!  They do so much, and impact so many lives!  I could never do that!"  I had previously never heard of Roger Huang, founder of San Francisco City Impact.  In his new book Chasing God: One Man's Miraculous Journey in the Heart of the City, Huang, son of Chinese immigrants, tells the story of SFCI and how it grew to become a wide-ranging, well-respected ministry to the poor residents of San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood.

As a young Christian, Huang worked in downtown San Francisco hotels.  He began visiting with people on the streets of the neighborhoods near his workplace, passing out sandwiches with his family on his time off.  Eventually they rented space, started children's programs, and ministered to hundreds of children and their families each week.  The story in Chasing God is nothing short of amazing.  Huang has a gift for overcoming obstacles and, importantly, inspiring people to contribute their time and resources to join him in his efforts.  He seems to be someone who has "favor with God and man," as God answers prayers miraculously and many people buy into Huang's work.

I can't help thinking there must be more to Huang's story, but the impression Chasing God leaves is that when someone is sold out to following God and obeying him, God will make provision for everything. He is serving God, serving the poor in his community, and serving alongside his wife and adult children.  What an inspiration.  If every Christian had Huang's attitude, looking around his or her community and seeking ways to serve, what a difference we, with God's help, could make!

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Fourth and Long, by John U. Bacon

It's the most wonderful time of the year--college football season!  In between games, and in between reading the updates and predictions of your favorite games, football fans of all stripes will enjoy John U. Bacon's tour through the 2012 Big Ten (or should I say B1G) football season, Fourth and Long: The Fight for the Soul of College Football.  Although Bacon is a Michigan grad, and this book focuses on four Big Ten teams (Northwestern, Michigan State, Penn State, and Michigan), these programs are reflective of larger changes in college football, and fans of other colleges and conferences will find plenty to relate to.

As we well remember, 2012 was a pivotal year, especially for Penn State and Ohio State.  At Penn State, one of the most legendary coaches of all time, Joe Paterno, was fired, along with many athletic and university staff, in the wake of the scandal surrounding former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky's sexual abuse charges.  The NCAA came down hard on Penn State, stopping short of the death penalty, but crippling the football program.  At Ohio State, some players had exchanged memorabilia for tattoos,  then Coach Jim Tressel covered it up, and the Ohio State program was suspended from any post-season play.  Bacon, observing how little consequence fell to Tressel and other coaches who lead their programs astray with NCAA violations, comments that "if the NCAA ran local law enforcement, whenever they pulled over a drunk driver, they would impound the car and let the driver hop in another one and drive off."

As these two programs tried to rebound from their respective scandals, they were faced with finding their deepest motivations to play the game of football.  The NCAA penalty against Penn State seemed like it was designed to kill the program, but as Bacon writes,
If the folks who ran the NCAA had set out to design an experiment to prove the student-athletes' commitment to their school and their studies was greater than their need for glory on the gridiron, it's hard to imagine they could have done a better job than what they'd created for Penn State's players that fall.
The commitment and passion which the Penn State players, coaches, and fans showed during that season were inspiring.  Bacon goes on:
When the Penn State players had the bells and whistles of big-time college football stripped away by the NCAA sanctions, they discovered something better: they  believed deeply in the ideals of the student-athlete experience that the NCAA had always espoused--and they believed in them more than the NCAA itself.
At Ohio State, the sanctions were not as extreme or long-lasting, but to have their talent base, and to have no possibility of a conference championship, a bowl, or a national championship has to have an impact on a team's motivation.  To lead the team, they called in a long-time OSU fan Urban Meyer, who had twice won a national championship at Florida.  I was impressed with his leadership and his commitment to the team as he lead them to a historic 12 wins.  Many believe they could have won a national championship.

Bacon tells the story of the Big Ten, these programs, as well as Michigan and Northwestern, in such a way that will make you a fan of the players and coaches involved.  He discusses some of the changes football faces, and the financial stakes get higher, and colleges try not to become merely the NFL's development league.  Most of all, he will remind you why we love college football.  "College football fans don't just love football.  They love college football--the history, the traditions, the rituals, and the rivalries that surpass those of the pro game."  Questions of bowl games and national championships are important, but, as he quotes a fellow Michigan alumnus, "the essence of college football is not a national title.  That's as cheesy as a unicorn. . . . It's regional rivalries that go back generations."

Bacon gets it.  These college football programs get it.  It's college football.

Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Si-cology 1, by Si Robertson

Uncle Si, his wife Christine, and his daughter Mrs. Cobern.
I must be one of the last remaining Americans never to have seen the show Duck Dynasty.  Last year my son came home from school one day to report excitedly that Uncle Si was at his school, I had to seek further explanation.  Turns out Uncle Si is one of the stars of the hit TV show, and his daughter was one of my son's teachers.  Now that the Robertsons have firmly ensconced themselves at such a prominent place in popular culture, I decided to read Uncle Si's book and find out what he's all about.

So I learned that Uncle Si is a funny guy who tells good stories, which, apparently, why he is so popular on the show.  Would his life story merit publication, were it not for a reality show about a family business which makes duck calls?  Not likely.  He tells some entertaining tales from his childhood and his time in Vietnam, and he has plenty of pithy sayings and throw away lines.  I enjoyed his good-old-boy tone, and was amused by his take on the truthfulness of the tall-sounding tales he tells: "At my age, a few of the details are cloudy, but I'll recollect the coming stories as best I can.  Hey, just remember it isn't a lie if you think it's true!"

Duck Dynasty fans will want to read Uncle Si's wit and wisdom in Si-Cology 1.  But general readers will want to take this book for what it is: a celebrity book published to capitalize on a TV show's incredible success.  I will say this: if I ever find myself, for whatever reason, stuck in a duck blind, it would be much more enjoyable with Uncle Si along.

Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!