It has been a good many years since I picked up a Tom Clancy novel, and wouldn't have thought to have read "Command Authority" if it wasn't for the st...moreIt has been a good many years since I picked up a Tom Clancy novel, and wouldn't have thought to have read "Command Authority" if it wasn't for the strong recommendation of a Polish friend of mine that is working closely with Ukrainian (Nationalist) Christians. He indicated that "Command Authority" is a very accurate depiction of the events that have unfolded in Ukraine over the last several months. He was not wrong.
Since the book was written, and sadly, the death of Tom Clancy in October 2013, happened before all of the tension arose in Ukraine in 2014 - this book is a clear testament of the tremendous insight indeed, foresight) and understanding that Clancy had about Geo-political affairs. Although some of the particulars did not actually happen as depicted in the book (not surprisingly, since they hadn't happened yet) - many events actually did happen that way. Including the annexation of Crimea in Feb 2014. Astounding, really.
Of course, Clancy's ability to extend the Jack Ryan stories is fun, and as usual, well done. Weighing in at 739 pages, I had more than one late night in the last week because I was pretty heavily engaged and invested in the story.
Don't miss the last book written by Tom Clancy - You won't be disappointed!(less)
I’ve successful avoided reading The Great Gatsby for all of my 52 years, and I’m the poorer for it. What is worse, I read it because a movie is soon t...moreI’ve successful avoided reading The Great Gatsby for all of my 52 years, and I’m the poorer for it. What is worse, I read it because a movie is soon to be leased by that name, directed by Baz Luhrmann, whose artist flourishes I’ve greatly appreciated. I have now corrected my life-long error, and am better for it.
It is a sad and tortured tale of a self-made man with longings for life he cannot have. He pulled himself up from obscurity and prospectlessness by giving himself the name Gatsby. Through passionate self-discipline and shady dealings, he became a social sensation. All so that he could create a future with the love of his life, whom he lost so many years before. It is a comic tragedy that reminds us that life cannot be so easily controlled and sculpted to our vision of it. The final lines of the book ably summarize our plight (without giving anything away): “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eludes us then, but that’s no matter – to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…And one fine morning- So, we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
Although we can be redeemed from our past, we cannot go back to remake our future. Our past must be accepted for what it is, and incorporated into our hopes for the future. Without a true and virtuous redemption, our past will follow us a haunting and fearful specter, threatening to ruin us in most unexpected and pitiful ways.
Fitzgerald uses words masterfully and poetically so that we are compelled to pause and think about what he means by them. A rare gift indeed! (less)
Irish history both fascinates and saddens me for how such a great island and people have been so used by the Lord Jesus to bless the world, and yet ha...moreIrish history both fascinates and saddens me for how such a great island and people have been so used by the Lord Jesus to bless the world, and yet has suffered at the hands of invaders and claimants for control of them.
The Wild Irish is a novel that reveals yet another element of oppression at the hands of selfish and greedy overlords that I knew little or nothing about. While the writing was a bit uneven and sometimes uninteresting, I appreciated the opportunity to learn, for the first time, about the adventures The Pirate Grace O'Malley in her struggle against Queen Elizabeth's attempts to subdue Ireland.
May the whole gospel of Christ Jesus one day wholly liberate the Irish and bring them again to a great place of influence in the world.(less)
Delaney is a wonderful writer, and tells the stories of Ireland better than anyone I've read.
What I especially love about his works is the importance...moreDelaney is a wonderful writer, and tells the stories of Ireland better than anyone I've read.
What I especially love about his works is the importance he places on the telling of stories (not just in this book, but others as well). For him - stories change us and have the power to make us better. But not inevitably so. We need to be willing to allow the force of ancient knowledge and wisdom mediated through stories impact the way we think about ourselves and the world around - and change the way we relate to those around us. (less)
This is one of the worst story endings that I've ever had to endure! It's the kind of conclusion that makes your regret that you've s...more**Spoiler Alert**
This is one of the worst story endings that I've ever had to endure! It's the kind of conclusion that makes your regret that you've spent time on the journey to it.
Our heroine battle through some of the most horrific circumstances to only, really, be crushed by them all. Here only redemption is that she can fade into obscurity with the least possible discomfort she can manage. What about the higher purposes of bringing the world to a better place? Well, there's only a sliver of hope for humanity, and maybe the uprising and defeat of the great enemies will produce some good - oh well, time will tell.
What a sad and defeatist view of our struggles through life. Pessimism and cynicism are a crushing basis for a worldview! (less)
This is science fiction at its best. The Enders Series is immensely entertaining, and fulfilling in its capacity to re-humanize us.
ENDER’S GAME: I ju...moreThis is science fiction at its best. The Enders Series is immensely entertaining, and fulfilling in its capacity to re-humanize us.
ENDER’S GAME: I just finished my 2nd reading of this uniquely wonderful book. Several years ago my youngest son told me that it is all the rage and that I just had to read it, which I did, initiating my sojourn through much of the corpus of Orson Scott Card’s masterful fiction. It was not until today that I realized that I had failed to review this book, a sad mistake I now atone for.
This 1991 edition included an “Introduction” not previous written, which I strongly recommend for a wonderful biographical glimpse into the way Card sees his life and career, and his own perspective on the story (including some of his reflections on comments from some of Ender’s Game critics).
One of the powerful things about the book is that it is written from the perspective of a child, and other children – very gifted children – that in many ways remind us of ourselves. Think about the way we adults view children (i.e. young, inexperienced, foolish, innocent, ignorant, etc). Now, consider the way you perceived of yourself and other children around you when you were a child. If you were like me when I was a child, and the child protagonists of Card’s story, you can relate to children that think deeply, feel passionately and have aspirations (if not capacities) for goodness and greatness that they are not always given credit or opportunities for. I’m convinced that Ender’s Game story works on every level, and seems to be appealing to both children and adults.
Also from the introduction: “Why do..we read fiction anyway? Not to be impressed by somebody’s dazzling language…I think that most of us…read these stories that we know are not “true” because we’re hungry for another kind of truth: The mythic truth about human nature in general, the particular truth about those life-communities that define our own identity, and the most specific truth of all: our own self-story. Fiction, because if is not about somebody who actually lived in the real world always has the possibility of being about ourself.”
For too much of my adult life I thought that “true-truth” came only through serious, dense, theologically correct books (especially those that were hardbound, at least two and a half inches thick, and written by people who are now long dead). I’ve learned that very often there are lessons, truths and wisdom that can only be apprehended through stories (historical AND fiction), and sometimes in ways that we are not immediately conscious of or can reasonably consider. Some positive impacts of story come only after reflection, and having the story come to bring meaning to our “real” lives as analogy, illumination, or, if you will, a premonition. I believe I am a better human being, a better thinker, a better Christian because I read fiction, like Ender’s Game. What is more, I’m a happier person to have my mind and imagination excited, challenged and tickled down to my fancy. Oh, that more of God’s children would read more good books!
ENDER’S GAME is compelling as a story, but it also asks us to think about big questions. Is it right for one person to direct another, with the other’s consent, to sacrifice their lives and happiness for the sake of mankind? Is it true that we are individually merely tools for the survival and prospering of humanity? Do the needs of humanity justify doing despicable things? Or does our individual freedom, our personal happiness, and the rights of others (even strangers) to live and thrive condition and limit the intrusion of humanity into the lives of people? These are some of the questions that Cards wants us to consider with serious human empathy, and to experience the implications of the answers with Ender and in our lives. [I believe Card gives hints about the answers to many of these questions in this book. However, if you go on to read seriously the other books in the series, “Speaker For The Dead” and “Xenocide” and “Children of the Mind,” you will end up with a fuller answer to most of these questions. Press on, dear reader!]