Don't Forget – Starts Today! Free – Civil War and Frontier History – "Rough Enough"

Are you a history buff? Like the Period 1860 – 1885? Montana Indian Wars? Dakota Territory Gold Rush? Ordinary Soldier Tales from the Civil War?

” Rough EnoughIt’s free – Dec. 5 -9, 2019!

Get the book!

“Rough Enough” the fascinating and amazing story of Richard Headley Clow during that period is now Free in electronic version from Amazon Kindle for your PC, Android, Kindle, Iphone… reader. It will keep you interested for days. learning about Clow’s upbringing in Boston, travels by ship to the front lines in Petersburg, The 56th Mass. Volunteers, The 13th Infantry in Montana and Dakota Territories and more.

Free from Dec. 5, through Dec. 9.

Enjoy your Holidays!

Be aware Americans! You Babes in the Woods for Putin's Propaganda.

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!

President Putin of Russia 2019 – US News file photo

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.

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 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. 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: 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:

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.

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!

Don't Forget your Free e-book on Seashells!

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

Get it Now!

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.     

Book Review: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood

Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Trevor Noah has produced an amazing book covering his youthful memories of growing up under apartheid in The Republic of South Africa. His stories are at times humorous, at others heart-rending, as he describes growing up as young man caught by his mixed racial birthright between two opposing world views that make even his conception by a black African mother and a white Swiss man a crime. In addition, he finds that when apartheid is finally thrown out and wite dominance exchanged for black majority rule, that he is still caught in the naming game of who is black, who is white and who is in the no man’s land of being in-between but not recognized by either group as one of their “own.” Throughout the book, author Noah is able to show how his racial mixture could be a key to unlocking opportunity. When it came to selling white contraband to black ghetto associates, the author was black enough to have credibility with fellow Soweto inhabitants, and make sales normally out of reach of his white masters. The author’s nimble wit, ability to think on his feet and opportunistic personality helped him glide through the cracks between the two coexisting societies and climb the stairway to success. Trevor Noah demonstrates how intellect, resiliency, and drive can overcome insurmountable odds. I recommend this book to both adults and youth of all races. It’s an excellent stepping off point for discussions about our human dilemmas that need to take place in America. Being able to communicate with persons who think, act, appear, speak and understand the world differently from our own narrow cultural perspective is a key to continued success for the American dream.

View all my reviews

Thank You Readers! Rick’s 2019 Book Giveaway!

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!

  • Going to Florida or the Caribbean?  I will be giving away my Seashells of the Caribbean book: November 29 – Dec. 3, 2019. Check it out! 
  • Like true 19th century history?  I will be giving away my Civil War History Book: Rough Enough: December 5, – Dec. 9, 2019. Check it out!
  • Do you devour African Historical Fiction? I will give away
  • The Ghosts of Ukuthula: December 12 – Dec. 16.  

Enjoy Thanksgiving and have a very Merry New Year!

The Sixth Man by David Baldacci, a Book Review

The Sixth Man (Sean King & Michelle Maxwell, #5)

The Sixth Man by David Baldacci

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

At what point will the computer world and fast-moving information world outpace the ability of humans to deal with the input to make logical governmental decisions. The world of computers has gotten us here and we already know that most of us can’t keep up with IT even at our home-grown level of information through our PCs and Phones. Author Baldacci has captured this theme; a place where even the best brains at our national decision-making levels begin to break down. What if we find a person or a way to make sense out of all this higher-level data? If we find humans who can handle all the IT data at once, will they be like Edgar Ray, a weird nerdy fellow who, with the leadership and brilliant guidance of Peter Bunting brings about a revolution in the analysis of intelligence? What will the old guard, who have controlled the decision-making power of the intelligence community for years, do when they find they are left behind? This is novel about intrigue at the highest levels of government with all its gamesmanship and skullduggery. All eyes are focused on one man’s unique talents. One side wants to utilize him for the betterment of our nation, while the other side wants to destroy him and keep the old ways intact even if they lead to wrong decision making and global conflagration. Sean King and Michele Maxwell are once again at the cutting edge of an investigation into corruption at the highest levels of our government. As sources of information are murdered, and the duo narrowly escape death, the race to save Edgar Ray from multiple murder charges seems to be reaching a dead end. What are the Secretary of Homeland Security, Ellen Foster, and Bunting’s rival, Mason Quantrell, up to? What are the true roles of Edgar Ray’s half-sister, the mysterious Mr. Harkes, and FBI agent Murdock? Although wordy at times and repetitious in the middle of the book, author Baldacci has once again found a mystery theme that stikes at the heart of our modern computer era. Stay with it until the end and you will find out all the answers. An excellent read!

View all my reviews

Ghost Fire by Wilbur Smith, with Tom Harper: Book Review

Ghost Fire (Courtney, #18)

Ghost Fire by Wilbur Smith

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I enjoyed the book thoroughly! It surprised me in being a novel about India and the American French and Indian War, but as usual, the master of historical fiction brings it all together with a slam-dunk of a book starting with the youthful lives of Connie and Theo Courtney in colonial India, and their trials, battles, and miraculous escapes during the Indian rebellion. Theo, presuming his sister’s death at the hands of an Indian potentate, journey’s to America to give condolences to a fallen comrade’s family and finds true love. Escaping from a religious cult, he falls into the hands of marauding Indians. Again, after a miraculous escape, he enlists in the American Rangers of the French and Indian War, leading a brilliant attack on a French fort on the Great Lakes. Connie, equally endowed with both beauty and luck, escapes India with a French Officer. Her adventures in and around the wild party life of the Parisian elite leave her no choice but to choose between life as a submissive sex-slavery to a madman or being stationed in French-occupied Canada with a General in charge of throwing the British and the Rangers out of the entire Great Lakes region. This dramatic novel’s ending leaves you hanging until the very last pages. Don’t miss this fast-moving surprise filled book!

View all my reviews

Executive Power! (Mitch Rapp #6) by Vince Flynn – Book Review

Executive Power (Mitch Rapp, #6)
Bring on our favorite SEAL!

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.

View all my reviews

Modern Parallelism with President Andrew Johnson’s Impeachment

As I read over my latest “The Week” magazine, I note on p. 11, Oct. 25, 2019 edition, an article entitled “The impeachment of Andrew Johnson.” What an interesting recounting of the history of one of our presidents who was impeached and then not removed from office in 1868 due to a single vote that prevented the 2/3 majority needed in the Senate.

Read the whole article for yourself:

To me the parallelism of President Johnson’s style and actions to modern times jumped out at me in many ways:

  • Johnson rode into office as Vice President because he opportunistically masked his true underlying beliefs, taking the side of the Union as the only Senator to do so from a slave state. Thus, as a radical Democrat, he was placed on the Radical anti-slavery Republican ticket for VP by Lincoln in Lincoln’s second term campaign.
  • Johnson began his term by ripping members of the Cabinet with harangues that shocked the nation.
  • With the death of Lincoln, Johnson reverted to his true beliefs of white supremacy, suggesting the deportation of millions of blacks.
  • Johnson accused members of congress of a conspiracy and plotting to overthrow him.
  • Johnson dubbed bimself “King Andy” and claimed Divinity directly from God in his actions.
  • He publicly threatened to fire Cabinet members who differed from his true line of thinking and did so including the firing of the Secretary of War; the straw that finally broke the camel’s back for congress and brought about impeachment.

The Articles of Impeachment dealt with:

  1. Overreaching his executive authority in the firing of Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton.
  2. Circumventing the proper chain of command.
  3. Conduct and tone unbecoming of a President in attempting to bring “disgrace, ridicule, hatred, contempt and reproach” onto members of Congress.

Read some Great Mags like “The Week”, or “Time”, or “U.S. News”, because it allows you to turn off the TV pundits and form and discuss your own opinions from facts written by award winning reporting.

This is all food for thought, because it is beginning to sound an awful lot like someone I know and hear about daily!


Photo Tour of Curacao: 2019

The off seasons of October/November and April/May are fabulous times of the year to visit the Caribbean and do a bit of scuba diving with your friends. Given all of the choices of thousands of islands, my wife and I continue to return to Curacao, now for the fifteenth year!

Our choice of Lodging, Waterside Apartments in Boca Sami hasn’t changed during that period of time for several absolutely excellent reasons: Views, Diving, People.

Waterside is there! Right over the waters of Snake Bay, Boca Sami
The view of Snake Bay from one of the Waterside apartments looking out to sea
Diving in waters that often have 80 – 100 ft visibility
Accessible wrecks and walk-in reefs
Sea life that is protected and reefs that are not dying due to climate change
Colorful towns and friendly people
Old Historic Houses
Visages of Colonial Life
Colorful Market Places
More than enough art and trinkets for momentoes
Excellent Coast Guard Service
Crashing Waves!

If you go, be sure to do your diving out of the best dive shop on the island just down the street from Waterside. It’s Dive Wederfoort!

Run by Patric Geers, see his qualifications and staff at

Dive Wedeerfoort as been open since 1955 and the original owner and world renowned dive instructor, Eric Wederfoort lives right across the entrance into Snake Bay from the Waterside Apartments. He’s an encyclopedia of fabulous stories and dives in Curacao and worldwide.

Enjoy your trip!

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