I remember when I first learned of the Honor Bound series by W.E.B. Griffin. My family was on a road trip to Ohio and we stopped at a Cracker Barrel r...moreI remember when I first learned of the Honor Bound series by W.E.B. Griffin. My family was on a road trip to Ohio and we stopped at a Cracker Barrel restaurant for dinner. I found the rental kiosk and discovered what seemed to be an interesting WWII book on tape that deal with the OSS in South America. We rented the tape and put it in the deck when we started back on the road. The reader of the book about put us all to sleep, my dad ejected the tape and turned the radio back on to some dreadful country music and I could not wait to return the tapes at the next stop. A year or so later, I found a used hardback copy of the book on sale. I was still interested, and decided that it was worth the 25 cents. I read the book from cover to cover in a day, never being so excited by a book in the genre as I was with the adventures of Clete Frade and the OSS in Argentina. I was very excited to find that a sequel was due out and put my name on a reserved list at the local bookstore. That book was just as exciting as the first, but then the problems appeared. Griffin writes so many series of action books, he neglects this series for years at a time. There was a three year gap between each of the first three books. The last book, Death and Honor did not appear for nine years, a lifetime in the book world. I had almost given up on the Honor Bound series, as I believed the author had done the same. I was at the local library last week and saw the book on the shelf, with a name like Death and Honor, I suspected that it was a new entry in the coveted series. I was not to be disappointed. It was the magical fourth entry that we have waited all these many years to read. I found myself falling right back into the vivid world of Griffin’s Argentina, so called neutral but axis leaning. The main characters were easily remembered, but I must admit that many of the minor ones were long forgotten. Yet, it mattered little as the action and adventure filled in the memory gap brought about by a near decade neglect of the series. I do hope that there will not be such a long gap from now on. As far as the plot, it remains the same as the previous entries in the series. Clete, as the son and heir to an Argentine Colonel, is on assignment for the OSS. Yet, as heir he starts to blend his need of family ties and responsibilities with those of the United States. The action of this book is mainly in the setting up of an airline requested by Roosevelt as well as the Nazis search for the traitor in their embassy. Another fine and well written adventure, let us hope the next installment is on the way.(less)
I know that there are some out there that shy away from revisionist histories. The entire genre has gotten a bad reputation due to the power of the t...more I know that there are some out there that shy away from revisionist histories. The entire genre has gotten a bad reputation due to the power of the truly crank cases, whether it be Holocaust denial, Howard Zinn’s indictments on American History (or western civilization in general) or Pat Buchanan’s ode to Nazi Germany. Yet, there are plenty of other works that fall into the genre that are not meant to do anything more than to increase our understanding of the events of yesteryear. Tears in the Darkness is of this second order. Written by Michael and Elizabeth Norman, Tears in the Darkness is a fine example of how new histories should written. The authors have achieved a wonderfully rich narrative that manages to give the reader insight into the minds of all three sides of the battle for Bataan and the well-known aftermath. This look at the largest defeat in American History is needed to further explain just why it happened, something that many times has been lost with the depictions of the minutiae of individual histories and stories. The history is laid out into a dual track, as the chapters that are numbered tell the overall story and the named sections at the end of each chapter introduce and follow Ben Steele, the one survivor that had dealings with most aspects of Bataan, from being one of the garrison soldiers, battlers and prisoners. He was one of the defeated forced to march and then suffered the barbaric prison system that the Japanese put in place. One of the great aspects of this book is the inclusion of the Japanese point of view. What does get glossed over in many histories of Bataan is the fact that it was a defeat for America that could have been prevented, but the egoism of MacArthur as well as the inherent racism on all sides of the conflict did much to ensure that it would not be easy for wither side in the war. There is much benefit for researchers to see exactly how closed the Japanese system was, the devaluation of their own lives for the idea of Emperor and chain of command needed to be stressed, as we know that not all of the officers agreed with the policies of their governments. The inside look at the letters of the common soldier also was a nice plus. As we enter the 4th of July weekend, books like Tears in the Darkness should be added to reading lists for all interested in the continuing battle for freedom and history. I could not have asked for a more meaningful book at this point of year. (less)
Rosenberg, acclaimed thriller writer has now written an in depth non-fiction look at the current and past issue of Iranian-US relations at a time when...moreRosenberg, acclaimed thriller writer has now written an in depth non-fiction look at the current and past issue of Iranian-US relations at a time when the rhetoric is once again reaching a boiling point. ITR is filled with fact checked insights that will inform those that have thus far managed to avoid the subject. From the coup of the Shah, to the current nuclear weapons quest, Rosenberg depicts a regime that is bent on creating the conditions for their own apocalyptic visions.
He then depicts the differences between the Radicals and reformers in Islam and just what they mean for a Judeo-Christian society. The book is a little out of the mainstream because it does rely so much on religion and theology, something that most middle-East commentators go to great pains to ignore or downplay. Rosenberg is an evangelical Christian himself, thereby explaining the themes on a level that matters to himself and his co-religionists.
ITR is not something to be shunned so easily, as I may not agree with all of his points, Rosenberg has put in so much research that this is a book that compels thought and merits discussion. I find it difficult to explain the near absence of coverage, especially during our current entanglements.(less)
Bernard-Henri Lévy has written his account of being a leftist that is struggling with the left in these h...moreThe Left in Dark Times by Bernard-Henri Lévy
Bernard-Henri Lévy has written his account of being a leftist that is struggling with the left in these heady times. The book begins with a recounting of a phone call between BHL and Sarkozy, the future President of France. Sarkozy wants an endorsement from BHL, an old friend even though they are foes in the realm of ideas. BHL refuses, believing that the Left is his family, yet the seed of doubt grows as he looks to see just what the left believes now. BH (as he is known commonly in France) has written what may be his first book on the path of leaving the left. In the United States there are so many books about the migration from the left that a new genre was born. One of the most famous examples was Radical Son by David Horowitz. There seems to be a similar move afoot in Europe, as the decadent left has been lost since the collapse of the Soviet Union twenty years ago. The modern left has replaced the old beliefs of unity, equality and fraternity for a life of hatred – mostly against the Jews, American and Western Civilization. Israel receives too much scorn from the international left, yet they are silence in the face of too many crimes against humanity. There is no leftist outcry against radical Islam, there is no real look at the havoc and harmed wrecked upon the poor and downtrodden by the very policies that the left champions. These are the issues that are giving the author a second thought about his “family” The book itself is not the best written, as it rambles in place and lacks a seriousness of his other books. I believe that is caused by the raw emotions that BHL is dealing with as he starts the intellectual disentanglement to the European left. He may not become a Norman Podhoretz; he may just become a Christopher Hitchens who is without a definable location on the politic spectrum. Either way, BHL has written a book that ultimately addresses his inner trauma with the current state of France and the world of ideas. Is a perfect summation of the modern international left one where there is no real thought or introspection about the world in which they seek to create? No one looks at the treatment on minorities or women or homosexuals, only the United States and Israel are to be faulted by the left. Why are there not more questions being asked about the subjugation of people in China or Cuba? The Left in Dark Times is a more serious book than it seems. If a stalwart of the French left can wake up, can a movement not be too far behind? There is a dangerous world that surrounds all of us, yet far too many take comfort in the coverings placed before our eyes. This is one book that has started the action of removing those coverings. (less)
Alexander Litvinenko seemed like an ordinary refugee to London. Russian émigrés have long filled London, fleeing all sorts of oppression in their home...moreAlexander Litvinenko seemed like an ordinary refugee to London. Russian émigrés have long filled London, fleeing all sorts of oppression in their homeland. What makes Litvinenko extraordinary is that he was assassinated in a very unique way that became very public. He was poisoned using a very exotic radioactive isotope in a cup of tea.
Litvinenko was a former KGB spy (he also worked for the FSB, a KGB successor). He became an outspoken critic of Putin, and being a critic of Putin is not a long term life strategy as countless journalists and opposition leaders have found out. The very public murder of such a loud critic shows the world just how embolden Putin has become, along with this weeks war with Georgia. The mode of death was the shock, not the actual murder.
Cowell’s book is a true thrill-mystery that will more than likely make it to the big screen. It has a cast of villains and spies to shame most fiction writers. Written in a highly readable prose, anyone can approach this book and meet all of the colorful characters.
This is the critically acclaimed book recently released by Jane Mayer. The critics love this book so much because it is a...moreThe Dark Side by Jane Mayer
This is the critically acclaimed book recently released by Jane Mayer. The critics love this book so much because it is a simply reiteration of leftist gospel about the war on terror. This book contains little new information and definitely shares a tired cliched point of view that has be the norm for liberal writers for the last several years. If you wanted an easy summation of the book, it would be very easy - Cheney is evil. That is the entire subtext of an infuriating book that has been embraced by the usual suspects in the media. Countless pages are given to the authors thesis that Cheney is a paranoid tyrant that is illegally pushing torture in the War on terror. She even states that torture is now the law of the land. No where does she allow for an intelligent look at what is torture and why there is disagreement to not only the definition but the possible usefulness. The tone of the book is given through the opening quotes to each chapter. Mayer seems to like to quote the Church Committee without picking up the irony that it was that very committee that has destroyed the effective intelligence gathering of the CIA. As is usual with this sort of book, the author lionizes the same "good" Bush people against the "bad Bushies". Powell is again seen as a saint serving amongst evil. To say that this has become tiring is more than trite. To say that Mayer's book has no heroes would be a disservice, for she has found one person in the war on terror to give enormous benefit of the doubt. Too bad that person was john Walker Lindh, "the American Taliban". Throughout the chapter she devoted to Lindh, she accepts his version of events - even going as far to say that he was merely learning Arabic and Koran, never mentioning that one does not need to go to Afghanistan under a brutal regime to do that. Even if you felt the need to depart these shores there are countless countries that offer such courses without going to a regime known for committing atrocities against women and other faiths. She also hinted that fallen agent Mike Spann, killed while Lindh was being captured, may have been a war criminal - yet never in the book does she speak of why groups such as al Quada and and the Taliban should be excluded from usual POW status, citing their refusal to act according to those same conventions. The Dark Side is a highly partisan book that merely acts like an echo of those before it. No new ground is examined here. There is no real merit to the book, which is sad, for I was looking for an intelligent look at we have gotten here, but no look that excludes Congressional failure, lying media and the political manipulations of anti-war Democrats can provide the honest and full assessment that so many want. If Mayer gave as much benefit to Bush that she did to John Walker Lindh, the work would benefit very much. (less)
A Magnificent Catastrophe: The Tumultuous Election of 1800, America's First Presidential Campaign
Edward Larson has followed up his Pulitzer Prize win...moreA Magnificent Catastrophe: The Tumultuous Election of 1800, America's First Presidential Campaign
Edward Larson has followed up his Pulitzer Prize winning The Summer of the Gods, with a timely look at the first contested election in the United States history. Filled with rich detail and vigor, the book shows that our elections have always been poisonous affairs that can destroy friendships and families. The book is a perfect fit for our current election cycle. The book chronicles the first partisan election and how the party system came to be. Whether it is the wheeling dealing of Aaron Burr or the sabotage of Adams by Hamilton, the stories stand out for how closely they mirror current events. The death of the original intents of the framers in electing the Chief executive is plainly shown, as is the flavor of later day contests. This book is an enjoyable history of political events. Yet, as I read this book some thing kept popping up in my thoughts that I could not contain. John McCain can be seen as a current day John Adams. Not the John Adams that we now know, but the Adams as seen at the time. As the book clearly shows, Adams was a candidate for a party that did not support him as is McCain. Just as McCain’s support of the Patriot Act is causing conniptions in the media, Adams had the Alien and Sedition Acts that caused media eruptions. McCain is known for his violent temper and his raging rhetoric when angered, as was Adams. This does not mean that Obama is Jefferson, though. There is no correlation available. As the time is ripe for Veep picks, let us see if the candidates follow the pattern set from the book. Obama would need to chose a toady that can shore up the southern vote (Edwars current troubles leave him on the bench) and McCain will need to pick a party beloved or respected by the Party faithful. We are waiting… (less)
I have now finished this book and I can honestly say that I am shocked by the lack of attention that the media has given to this very important work....moreI have now finished this book and I can honestly say that I am shocked by the lack of attention that the media has given to this very important work. If there needed to be further proof of the bias or laziness of the mainstream media, it is their lack of professionalism in this subject.
Feith has written the story that was up to that point untold – the truth behind the decisions made in the run-up to the war with Iraq. He further paints a picture that is counter to the outsider accounts that have been trumpeted by the media ever since the war began. That accounts such as Scott McClellan can be looked at by serious people and not be laugh at is telling. Feith has gone to great lengths to provide accurate and documented evidence through notes that back up his story, others most certainly have not. The damage done to the OFFICE of Defense Secretary through partisan laziness cannot be understood at the present.
As with most accounts from people that work with Rumsfeld daily, he does not come off as sinister as the media and Colin Powell would have you believe (and the inverse is true about Powell, he never comes at well when the truth is out there). The CIA is seen as dysfunctional as we know it to be. This work is an important first step in discovering what went wrong in the administration.
Serial No.3817131: photos by Rachel Papo Does the military strip youth of their individualism? Do the women/girls lose their femininity when they don...moreSerial No.3817131: photos by Rachel Papo Does the military strip youth of their individualism? Do the women/girls lose their femininity when they don the uniform of their country? These are often asked questions and photographer Rachel Papo reveals hidden truths with her photos of these young women at work. The stunning photography offers an inside glimpse of the female soldiers world in a way that has not really been done before. We see the soldiers go for ice cream, smoke, get ready for their day and various other mundane tasks yet the subjects never lose themselves. Papo, herself was a soldier in the IDF and her inside view of the plight of the woman soldier s simply brought to life with this stunning collection of photographs. The Israeli soldiers tend to be young eighteen year olds taken from their life for a stint in National Service. These photos show that the transition from teenage girl to soldier can be tough and lonely. Yet, it is a shared experience for all of these women. (less)