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Reviewed by Paul J. McClane, Editor, Radio World, November 19, 2008.

Presented with permission, and also available at http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/newbay/rw_20081119/index.php?startpage=4

When Times Are Tough, Get Reading

Gift Ideas for Your Book Lover This Holiday Shopping Season (Part 1)

You know I love books. Sing your praises to the BlackBerry, Kindle or laptop; no modern gadget yet supplants the warm pleasure of sitting by a fire with a glass of Montecillo Rioja Crianza at hand and a fresh book in my lap.

Books are fine gifts in times of economic distress. In this column and next, I offer gift suggestions for the radio lover, engineer or manager on your list. Or you might leave these ideas where your own elf can find them.

Some of the books are new, others may have slipped your notice earlier. Prices are retail; in most cases you can find titles for less online.

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"Broadcasting on the Short Waves, 1945 to Today" and "Listening on the Short Waves, 1945 to Today" by Jerome S. Berg -- If you enjoy Radio World's articles about short-wave radio history, take note of these titles.

The first book, a sequel to one published in 1999 about the "pioneer" days of radio, consists mostly of a year-by-year recounting of what American listeners have heard on international and domestic shortwave bands since World War II.

Berg, an attorney, is a long-time shortwave buff and a member of the executive council of the North American Shortwave Association. His text is a starightforward accounting of shortwave comings and goings.

With so much history, unfortunately he can only provide a few lines of detail about each operation, and offers little discussion of the people involved. But in addition to the excellent historical chronology, he provides an introductory overview about shortwave, a discussion of its changing face today and numerous photos of QSL cards. (Berg is chair of the Committee to Preserve Radio Verifications.)

The sister volume, "Listening on the Short Waves," focuses on the listening community and completes his trilogy. Berg discusses shortwave clubs, listener programs, receivers, QSLing and the impact of computers on the hobby.

These books are not cheap, at $65 apiece; but if you know a zealous fan of shortwave and its history, the pair would be a treasured gift. If I had to purchase just one, I'd go with "Listening."

Published by McFarland & Company, Inc., 2008. Hardback. Each title $65.