Thursday, January 22, 2015

National Geographic's Roman Empire: A Review

National Geographic's Rise & Fall of the Roman Empire is a 126-page special publication filled with photos and a brief overview of the empire.

Most of the emperors and major events are touched upon covering many areas from running the empire to the the rise of Christianity to slavery to daily life.

However, if you are very interested in Roman military strategy and details of specific battles, this publication does not cover them.

I think Rise & Fall of the Roman Empire is a great overview of the empire. It identifies different areas that you may want to explore in depth in the future.

Unlike Edward Gibbon's six volume The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, the authoritative tome on Rome, you can read National Geographic's Rise & Fall of the Roman Empire within a week and you'll have beautiful pictures to enjoy along the way.

National Geographic's Rise & Fall of the Roman Empire was available in stores in December and January and is still available on National Geographic's website here.

Monday, January 19, 2015

My First Novel Published!

I published my first ebook for sale on!

Part guide book, part travelogue, "Yellowstone and Mt. Rushmore: A Three-Week Road Trip" details my family's journey from Los Angeles to some of the West's most iconic destinations while discovering a multitude of lesser-known treasures in between.

I hope this book inspires you to take your own road trip and helps make your trip the best it can be.

Click the link below to view and purchase on the

Click the link below to view my new author page:


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Secret of Kells Review

"The Secret of Kells" combines history, mythology and beautiful animation to create a fascinating movie about one of Ireland's national treasures.

Thomas Moore used 2-D animation for "The Secret of Kells" to depict one of the best known origin myths about the Book of Kells. The animation was bright and fresh compared to so many movies nowadays.

Moore's use of suggestion, cutaways, and reveals allows the audience's mind to work and guess at what will happen next with payoffs that happen shortly thereafter.

Is "The Secret of Kells" okay for children? "The Secret of Kells" has a PG rating, but there are scenes of death. So for very young children or those sensitive to death you should preview the movie. Amazon Prime and most video streaming movie services provide free two-minute trailers. If you are okay with the trailer, you should be fine with the movie.

After the movie I looked up the Book of Kells on the internet and was extremely pleased to learn the book is real and that many of the incidents in the movie correspond to the book's real history. My sons,  11 and 13, both enjoyed the movie and seeing pictures of the actual book online made them appreciate the movie more.

The Book of Kells, also known as Book of Columba, currently resides at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland. It has been there since 1661. It was created between 570 and 800 A.D., over 1200 years ago! It is a manuscript of Gospels of the New Testament containing extravagantly decorated pages of Christian and Celtic Art. It amazes me that we can still see this book today.

I highly recommend this movie for anyone who likes animated movies and history.
Actual Book of Kells,
image  from Wikipedia Commons

For more information about the book: Wikipedia Book of Kells
Images of book: Trinity College Dublin
Article on Tomm Moore: Animator Tomm Moore