Curacao is always a great place for me to catch up on my reading between dives. (More on that when I get back and have time to edit my videos and pictures. I’m also getting a lot of writing done on the next book(s).(:>)
Personal by Lee Child
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The sniper has always been one of my favorite themes to read about whether that person is a villain or a hero. Author Lee Child has found his firm niche for the second time with a book that gives insight into the psyche of the sniper/killer and all of the factors that go into tracking down a single human being who has decided to do someone in, long-range style. Because of the international setting and the weeding out of possible sniper candidates from Israel, the U.S., Britain, and Russia, our hero, Jack Reacher spins his wheels for a while stateside before venturing to the European theatre where the killer is due to strike next at an international trade convention. Who is the killer really after? One of the big-wigs of the conference? One of the numerous members of the international team of GRU, CIA, MI6, etc. investigators who have gathered to share intelligence and hunt down the murderer? It’s a cat and mouse game, and as the author says, “It’s not the same with a sniper out there.” When the Russian GRU man gets taken out the hunt turns toward the Russian rogue sniper. Reacher isn’t sure and ends up in London with his sidekick Casey Nice hunting for at least two snipers being hidden by the ‘Romford Boys’ under the leadership of a giant of a man whose presence intimidates even the husky physique of Reacher. It’s a hunt through good old London and enough twists and turns are there to keep you and Reacher thinking about the outcome. Lovely Casey is pretty good with holding up her own end of the deal, saving Reacher’s neck by improvising with a shard (no pun intended) of London glass to off a dude. I enjoyed the fast pace, the changes of venue and the ability of the author to get all those characters amply described and fitted for their various nefarious and savior roles. Enjoy the voyage and enjoy that final take-down of the bad guy at the end. A non-stop page turner for rain or the plane!
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The Midnight Line by Lee Child
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Midnight Line is a must-read for the many of us who have been military, been associated with a war, or have been related to a friend or family member who has been damaged physically or psychologically by war or military experience. So that’s to say, pick it up and read it, America and the rest of the world. Author Lee Child hits the nail on the head with his phraseology about addictions: “You should never underestimate the appeal of an opiate high,” and the military: “you never really leave.” The entire book illustrates how the simple act of looking through a pawn shop window and seeing a class ring can lead to a fascinating vision and train of thought for an author to follow up on and develop an entire book. I’d like to sit down with Lee Child in one od his lecture and fins out which came first, the plot of the drugs and the missing West Pointer who pawned their class ring, or the stimulus of looking in a pawn shop window, seeing an old class ring for sale, and jumping from there through hyperspace to the gist of a disabled veteran hiding out from the world. Well written, one of the best in many ways for those of us who know and have crossed the high and wide of the Wyoming plains and mountains around Laramie. Enjoy!
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Never Go Back by Lee Child
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I enjoyed this Jack Reacher book with its twists of plot and the fact that author Lee
Child has created a co-protagonist for Jack in Major Susan Turner, new CO of the 110th MP. Turner, a no-nonsense Major with many of the traits of Jack in a lightweight fashion, is a good foil for Reacher and gives some further humanity to the guy. The book gives readers a strong awareness of the problems we will face in the future with records and the ability of materials to be redacted or changed by persons in the government to tell the story they want us to hear, rather than what has actually happened. It also gives an indication of how easy it might be to falsely twist facts to have someone incarcerated with no hope of beating the system without breaking the law because the enforcers of that law are cautious about going against what they believe to be the actual facts, when in reality they may only tell one side of the story. Only Jack Reacher could break out of jail the way it is done in the book, but of course, we all know what he alone is capable of in comparison to everyday humans. Read and enjoy the fast-moving read and plot twists!
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Buzz: The Nature and Necessity of Bees by Thor Hanson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I enjoyed how author Hanson mixed hard factual science and knowledge of the Bee world together in a well-organized book for laypersons and members of the science community with broad backgrounds for understanding the reasons why certain grown adults charge around deserts, forests, savanna and jungles flailing the air with nets and patiently pinning nearly microscopic bugs on balsawood boards for study and posterity. As a former bug-kid who did a lot of net swinging while my compatriots were shooting balls at nets, I can empathize with the author as he describes run-ins with Border Patrol Agents wondering why a bunch of folks would be thrashing about the cholla cactus regions along the Mexican border looking for bees. Hanson has interviewed with and studied under, a number of the cutting edge entomologists who have traced the history of human-bee relationships back to earliest times, calculated the calorific contribution of honey to hunter-gatherer tribes, chased the ghosts of ‘colony-collapse’ in our own time, and those who have begun changing their farming methods from bee-adverse methodologies to bee-enhancing practices. I enjoyed every chapter. There is something for everyone in this book which opens our eyes to our bee/human interdependency and gives us reasons to go out and look closely at our own flower beds and try to make them as bee-friendly as possible and help this vast group of friends prosper.
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We are down to the last 30 hours before the Free Offer on an E-Book version of “The Ghosts of Ukuthula” will end. Take advantage of this and connect with the freedom fighters who fought the neo-colonial attempts by Russia and others to keep the Republic of South Africa from throwing off the chains of Apartheid and make the nation into a Russian puppet. Historical Fiction for all ages. Enjoy!
In response to a Reader’s Question as to whether Rough Enough documents atrocities against Native American Indians during this period of time, the simple answer is, no. But let me elaborate on what it does cover a bit more in case it can lead you to references that might hit topics you find interestingon Montana or Dakota history as well as the Civil War.
Killings of soldiers and travelers: During the period 1867 – 1870, Rough Enough documents and refers to several Indian attacks, most generally associated with the raids that were conducted to take horses and cattle at Fort Buford, a direct attack on Ft. Shaw, by Blackfoot Indians and an attack in the Gallatin/Yellowstone drainage on soldiers from Ft. Ellis. Richard Clow’s letter to his sister in 1869 documents the killing of several civilians in Ft. Buford’s vicinity and his reaction to that particular killing. The 13th Infantry in Montana and Dakota Territory at that time was tasked with building all of these fortifications which were poorly manned (under 100 – 200 soldiers) and could only patrol or follow up small bands of Indians, let along protect themselves in remote areas with virtually no supply lines. The book contains information as to the recorded deaths at Fort Buford during a 10 year period and you will note that soldiers were more generally dying from things other than Indian attacks despite what the rumors and trade books would lead us to believe. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Indian_massacres for a full accounting of massacres, references and dates. By comparison to other times, this period was generally more peaceful.
Killings of Native American Indians-The Marias River Massacre: The only documented massacre of Indians in this section of the country during this particular time period was the Marias River Massacre in western Montana in 1870 in which 200 + older men, women and children were killed by Maj. E. Becker, under the command of Gen. Sheridan. See full account: https://www.legendsofamerica.com/na-mariasmassacre/ . This particular massacre has been described as one of the most atrocious killings of innocent civilian Native Americans and gives one good reason to understand why after this time, a lot of Native Americans Indians developed a strong hatred for soldiers and intruders into their territories. In Rough Enough, there are descriptions of small confrontations and killings but no other massacres initiated by the military or civilians of Native American Indians.
The next massacre incident in this part of the United States was the Big Hole Massacre of Chief Joseph’s women and children in 1877. This is an equally despicable attack on a sleeping non-military camps under Col. Gibbon in the running battle which occurred as Chief Joseph tried to lead his people to Canada to escape further persecution. See: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/nez-perce-fight-battle-of-big-hole .
Hope you enjoy the book. Still Free through Dec. 9, 2019
Hope you enjoy it!
What do you think makes this arch enemy of American Democracy so happy? Is it because he likes our burgers? or our nice houses? or the cars we make? or our freedoms? No Way! This guy is out to get us!
Mr. Putin as stuck a knife in the ribs of American Democracy and continues to twist it because of our own ignorance about his tactics at the highest levels of government. Mr. Putin knows that 21st century Americans are addicted to the internet and are fools about his use of the disinformation and propaganda that are manipulating the governance of our free Democratic Republic.
Mr. Putin is influencing our nation with propaganda vastly more powerful than what was used in the 1950’s and 60’s during the height of the Cold War, to manipulate the minds of persons within the sphere of Soviet power around the world. Newspapers and letters took weeks at times to transmit information during those eras. Now it is a matter of milliseconds between something occurring and it being disseminated world-wide. Lies travel faster than well thought out truths.
For those of you unfamiliar with the the Cold War, you might want to take the quiz and read the answers to learn about this very insidious period for the world. I was in the military during that period and so it is real for me. https://grizly.com/quizzes/how-much-do-you-know-about-the-cold-war?paginated=1&utm_campaign=qg_dynamic_search_desktop_11_1&utm_source=adwords&utm_medium=search&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI4pfWtY2f5gIVpiCtBh2i9QzWEAAYASAAEgJA9vD_BwE
The use of mind manipulation has been around for thousands of years, especially used by the military to gain the advantage in warfare. The understanding of mind manipulation by propaganda was well understood in the US during the Cold War. It was the reason my father, a WW2 veteran, built a bomb shelter for the family under our house in Montana in the late 1950’s. It was one of the reasons why I wrote one of my high school senior essays on Brainwashing. It was one of the reasons why McCarthyism https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McCarthyism was such an insidious and dangerous name-calling game in the U.S. political scene of the 1950’s. When you look at today’s political mess, remember lies, innuendo and conspiracy theories have happened before. Truth and facts will root it out.
In the 1980’s and 90’s after Glasnost (Russian for openness and transparency) came to the Soviet Union and its separation into smaller independent countries, America lost its focus on the ball of disinformation. I focus on a portion of this problem in my book The Ghosts of Ukuthula in detailing a number of acts promulgated by the Soviets and Russians through KGB action in the war for black majority rule in the Republic of South Africa, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), and Namibia. https://www.amazon.com/Ghosts-Ukuthula-Mr-Rick-McBee/dp/1532995342. The problem has not gone away, now it is more frequent and focused by unvetted media and Mr. Putin’s apparatus through the various mouth pieces in our own nation.
Actual facts and knowledge have always been very important for human development, understanding and governance. So suddenly in the past 20 years of unfettered growth of the internet there have been some big technological developments that allow pseudo-facts and stories to be disseminated globally by governments wishing to manipulate the thinking of other countries. If nobody checks these facts and stories, then as our research shows, the false story, if written cleverly will circulate much more rapidly and quickly than the truth and thus influence more people. A very dangerous situation in a Republic governed by Democracy.
Mr. Putin knows that because of our open internet and our naive gullibility to pick up on and spread unchecked rumors, outright lies, and stories through unvetted channels such as Facebook and Twitter, that we are a nation very susceptible to manipulation of our population and our government.
We have begun to drink very shallowly from the wellspring of actual true facts and knowledge; what the Greeks and Macedonian’s called the Pierian Spring; a place where the ancient Muses gained their unique prophetic knowledge. Alexander Pope (1688 – 1744) wrote a long poem in his “Essay on Criticism” on this subject including the dangers of having only a small amount of knowledge. See it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierian_Spring. We are thus treading nationally on very thin ice.
The gist is: if you only delve shallowly into learning about a subject, then you will think you know a lot, when in fact you are ignorant, and flout your ignorance in front of others while they mock you behind your back for your stupidity or worse yet, manipulate what you think and do with your scanty knowledge.
Mr. Putin knows that Americans now get the majority of their knowledge and information from the internet or TV commentary, not from factually vetted news sources. Without filters to screen out the ‘crap’ (often known as my right to Free Speech), Americans devour all sorts of health, political, science, literary and other so called knowledge without ever checking the sources of that information. It is detrimental to all of the above.
One of America’s best weapons against Russian disinformation and propaganda is our free news press which is generally vetted for truth of facts before publishing. Please distinguish Free Press from Free Commentary by the Press. The former being vetted for truth, the latter being just what comes out of the loose lips of the commentators who may or may not stick to the facts. Read this excellent essay about why vetting is so important: https://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/the-administration/324053-why-vetting-nominees-is-so-important
Cyber warfare is often the cheapest and fastest method of disseminating propaganda and disinformation. It has been well researched and is an area all Americans should be familiar with. Mr. Putin is very familiar with these methods, having been a member of Soviet and Russian Intelligence for many years prior to his assumption to power as the supreme leader in Russia. He knows that if he has mouthpieces to disseminate false stories in the the US. An excellent article from over a year ago in the Washington times describes this process of disinformation. I hope you read it. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/feb/6/vladimir-putin-uses-cyber-weapons-to-keep-american/?utm_source=GOOGLE&utm_medium=cpc&utm_id=chacka&utm_campaign=TWT+-+DSA&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIuNyzjYqf5gIVzB6tBh1CggbtEAAYAiAAEgKUSvD_BwE
We as Americans are living through an insidious and very dangerous cyber-war which uses disinformation and propaganda to infiltrate and manipulate all of our social and internet media. We must learn quickly to cut out, avoid and remove disinformation from our media in the same manner that we took control of the disinformation of big tobacco and other snake-oil companies who would manipulate our thinking and actions.
If we do not change how we view and regulate these current advertisements and mouth pieces for political and societal chaos, and root out our national greed for instantaneous solutions to all social, medical, political and scientific ills; If we do not learn to take every unthinking word from our leading politicians’ mouths with a grain of salt, then we will continue to become a more fragmented society. We will continue on our journey without using and discussing our compasses of common values which are written in our Constitution, The Rule of Law, and our Declaration of Independence. Then we will have fulfilled the desires, mission. and purposes of the smiling Mr. Putin who is working to our detriment as a nation and a free people and we will not last as a Democratically governed Republic through the 21st century.
Be Aware! Beware!
The Giveaway on this book is almost over! 24 hours left, don’t miss it!
Free Nov. 29 – Dec. 3, 2019 – If you happen to be headed to Florida or the Caribbean, you’ll love Beachcomber Seashells of the Caribbean to identify a plethora of shells from Barbados to the San Blas Isles to Florida and Venezuela! Free Dec. 5 – Dec. 9, 2019
After this Give-away, the next ones are listed below:
– Richard Headley Clow’s amazing story in Rough Enough. This history expands on the military action behind Clow’s letters, diary, and life from his assault on Petersburg with the 56th Massachusetts Infantry, to life in the Dakota Territory gold rush.
Free Dec. 12 – Dec. 16, 2019 – Stay warm at home in winter weather with my action-packed historical fiction novel: The Ghosts of Ukuthula. Follow the early Nelson Mandela era and the Soviet Union’s “Third Force” in a fight to control Southern Africa at the end of apartheid.
It’s Rick’s 2019 Worldwide Book Giveaway Time!!!
This is one of my favorite times of the year in which I am able to give an electronic gift to my readers and facilitate your giving books to friends.
Holiday Book Giving helps us all enjoy those vacation periods with something to engage our brains These are electronic books which you can download to your Book Reader, I-Phone, Android, P.C. Nook, Kindle, Etc. Kindle Books offers a variety of formats for electronic platforms. So! Keep these dates handy and send them to your friends so they can also share in the reading fun!
There are three giveaway weekends, one for each book at Kindle Direct Publishing . See Below!
Enjoy Thanksgiving and have a very Merry New Year!
Executive Power by Vince Flynn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book by Vince Flynn has all the stuff of the modern era: spies, terrorists, hostages, military insertions, and governmental intrigue leading us across the globe in the hunt for the king spider at the center of the web! Mitch Rapp is the SEAL point man and plays this role to the hilt; leading us through the halls of the White House and Congress as he tries to avoid being in the spotlight after his exploits are exposed and he is kicked upstairs to advise top officials on the best tactics to use against the shadowy figures who require special ops to remove their threat to our nation and the world. In this morass of politics, military missions and exposure to death, Mitch struggles to maintain his marital life with Anna, his investigative reporter wife, who fears that Mitch’s penchant for action and being on the front lines will get him killed. As Mitch leads the clandestine hostage rescue against General Moro in the Philippines, this worry almost becomes a reality as the small SEAL team works to pull off the rescue of an American family. Back in Washington, severely chastised by his wife and working at his desk job, Mitch follows the clues of the mysterious terrorist and Palestinian freedom fighter, David and his relationships with both the Saudi Royal Family and the innermost secret workings of the Israeli Mossad. Who is this man actually working for? What is his ultimate goal? How will his assassinations and global intrigue accomplish his ends without bringing about a worldwide conflagration? The ending of the story on the French Riviera is just as exciting with a twisted plot and a scenario that could be happening even now as we read this review. Loved the book. Will read more by Vince Flynn in the near future.
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