Personal (Jack Reacher #19) by Lee Child. A book Review

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).(:>)

My wife Jill cruising along – note the calm relaxed swim – cool!
Personal (Jack Reacher, #19)

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 (Jack Reacher #22) by Lee Child. Book Review

The Midnight Line (Jack Reacher, #22)

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: Jack Reacher #18, by Lee Child – A Book Review

Never Go Back (Jack Reacher, #18)

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 – A Book Review

Buzz: The Nature and Necessity of Bees

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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Last Call – African Adventure at it’s Best – Ghosts of Ukuthula – Free for 30 more hours!

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!

Get the Book Here!

One of the best African Adventure Novels in the past 5 years – Similar to those of Wilbur Smith!

8 Hours Left to Get a Free Copy of “Rough Enough”

You still have time, since I live on the west coast of the USA. it’s just past 4PM Pacific Standard Time and the Free Offer through Kindle Books for your PC, or Phone, etc., is still available until midnight PST. That’s still 8 hours away!

Get the Book!

When you start a book you may only have a few resources. I actually began this project back in 1994 when my father, Richard Sr., handed me several boxes of old pictures, a couple of Civil War knives, and a writing box. Within the box were 14 letters and a small badly battered diary, written by Richard Headley Clow, my Great Grandfather. The letters were all from the period of 1864 through 1869. The pictures were labeled with full names in some cases, and in others they were scribbled on the back with cryptic words like “Clow’s First Wife, Larpenteur’s Daughter”.

I sat on these clues to another man’s life and times until I retired in 2006, over ten years after the death of my father, the last living soul to my knowledge who had a personal relationship with my Great Grandfather. Of course I had read them and looked at them, but until I began doing research into the actual life and times of Richard H. Clow I didn’t understand fully the breadth and depth of his long, adventurous, and fulfilling life from 1847 through 1926. Oh! That I had started 20 years earlier on this book, when so many others were alive to tell and reinforce his tales.

Below are pp. 215 – 218 of my Copyrighted book so you can see how a man can be born in Nova Scotia and die in Oregon 79 years later and cover a lot of territory before passing on.

Chronological Timeline for Richard Headley Clow’s Life

1847—May 25, 1847: birth of Richard Clow in Nova Scotia, Canada. [The military records are incorrect in stating that Richard Clow was born in Boston, see below].

1853—Richard Clow, at six years of age, travels from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, with his sisters, Agnes (22yr) and Alice (8yr) on the Brig “Belle” to Boston. [Note passenger list (fig. 39) gives the country of citizenship for the three as “Nova Scotia” and the country which they desire to become citizens as “U.S.”]

1853—Approximate year of birth of Mary Bingham, first wife of Richard Clow, in Little Sioux, Iowa.

1861—June 6, 1861: Birth of Melinda Story, second wife of Richard Clow, in Tekamah, Nebraska.

1864—August 18, 1864 to November 2, 1864: Clow’s first enlistment in Civil War (100 days) in 22nd Massachusetts Volunteers. He was not assigned to a unit from this enlistment.

1865—January 1865: Clow’s second enlistment in Civil War (a 3-year enlistment which only lasts 7 months) in 56th Massachusetts Infantry, serving at Petersburg through July 1865 when he mustered out at the end of the war.

1865—1967: Clow moves west to live with his brother and family in Minnesota and Wisconsin and farms with them.

1867—1870: On April 26, 1867, Clow signs his third enlistment, a 3 year period in the 13th Infantry, Company C. He joins in Minneapolis, Minnesota, enlisting from his home in Wisconsin. Known postings are: Ft. Shaw, Camp Cooke and Ft. Buford. Clow’s possible other posting is Ft. Ellis. On April 26, 1870, Clow musters out of the 13th Infantry, Company C, as a First Sergeant in Dakota Territory and goes to work as a clerk for Charles Larpenteur at the Ft. Buford trading post. During the year of 1870, Clow marries his first wife, Mary Bingham (Charles Larpenteur’s stepdaughter).

1871—May 15, 1871: Clow, his wife, and the Larpenteur family close the trading post at Ft. Buford and travel together from Ft. Buford down the Missouri to farm outside of Little Sioux, Iowa. Clow buys land for a farm and also works for Charles Larpenteur.

1872—Baby Bertie Clow is born January 19, 1872, and dies on March 4 of that same year. She is buried on March 9 according to her tombstone. Clow’s first wife, Mary Bingham Clow, dies on April 6, 1872. Following Charles Larpenteur’s death on November 15, 1872, Clow moves in with the Driggs family after selling off his land.

1873—1875: Clow stays in the Little Sioux, Iowa area and works the farm for himself and his mother-in-law, Rebecca. 

1875—Richard Clow leaves the Little Sioux area and passes through Laramie and Cheyenne, Wyoming Territory en route to the Black Hills.

1876—1879: During the next three years he stakes a claim and mines the Golden Seal Mine outside of Deadwood.

1879—1882: Clow buys and works a small dairy farm in the Black Hills near Deadwood. He rides a guard on the Deadwood to Rapid City stagecoach.

1879—December 24, 1879: Melinda (Linnie) Story, the future wife of Richard Clow, leaves Tekamah, Nebraska, arriving in Deadwood, Dakota Territory on May 15, 1880.

1880—The census of 1880 documents Clow as owning a small farm in an unincorporated town outside of Deadwood, Dakota Territory. It documents Melinda Story as a seamstress in the town of Deadwood.

On November 25, 1880, Richard Clow marries his second wife Melinda Story. The Methodist/Episcopal Pastor, Rev. R. H. Dolliver, presides at the wedding in the town of Deadwood, Dakota Territory.

1881—November 4, 1881: Daughter Cora Cochran Clow is born to Richard and Melinda Clow in Deadwood, Dakota Territory.

1883—April 15, 1883: The Clows leave Deadwood and travel by wagon to Bear Lake County, Idaho, arriving on June 3, 1883.

1888—April 16, 1888: Son Robert Denton Clow is born to Richard and Melinda Clow in Montpelier, Idaho. The birth is documented in the log of births kept by the county midwife Mrs. Francis E. Bridges.  

1891—February 13, 1891: Richard Clow applies for and receives a homestead, Certificate #1096 for lots 3 & 4 of Sec35Twn13SR46E and lots 1 & 2 of Sec2Twn14R46E. This is 158 acres with a contiguous four mile stretch of land that runs along the Idaho/Wyoming border near Raymond Canyon and Raymond Mountain, Wyoming. The Clows begin sheep farming.

1895—Richard Clow incorporates his ranch with two other men, Beckman and James Redman, to form the 320-acre “CBR Sheep Company” outside of Montpelier, Idaho.

1896—The ranch dissolves and Clow goes to court. Richard Clow assigns his stock to his wife Melinda. The final ruling by the Supreme Court of the State of Idaho, March 24, 1897, rules against the Clows.

1898—March 2, 1898: The Clows sell out and leave Bear Lake County, Idaho, traveling by wagon to Granite, Oregon. They arrived on May 5, 1898. Richard Clow takes out several mining claims and tries mining for gold a second time.

1899—July 31, 1899: The Clows leave Granite, Oregon and travel by wagon to Eugene, Oregon at urging from their daughter Cora Clow who was teaching in Eugene. They arrive August 18, 1899. They remain in Lane County, Oregon for five years.

1905—December 26, 1905: The Clows depart Eugene for Mapleton, Oregon, arriving on December 29, 1905. In Mapleton they run a livery stable and a small farm. They then begin managing the Mapleton Hotel about 1907. They do this up until about 1909, after which time they go back to running the horse stable and small farm. Their son, Robert Denton Clow, runs the mail boat between Florence and Mapleton for a period of time.

1907—1913:The Siuslaw River freezes over during the winter of 1907. During this period Richard and Robert Clow are documented in a photograph swimming in the Siuslaw River during the summer of 1907. In 1913, new construction in Mapleton includes Joe’s Warehouse, New Hotel, Bigelow’s Pool Hall, and Noffzinger’s Boat Shop. On April 11, 1913 the ship, Anvil, runs aground on North Beach near Florence, Oregon. The Clow family goes down river by boat to see the stranded ship on the beach and take photos.

1915—July 3: Richard Clow returns to Granite County, Oregon to mine for gold with his son, Robert Clow. A relative, Oma McBee, cousin by marriage of Clow’s daughter Cora to Elmer McBee, travels through Mapleton on her way to teach in the tiny town of Earl.

1921—October 28, 1921: Richard and Melinda Clow move from Mapleton to Eugene, Oregon and buy four acres of land on River Road where they live until August 11, 1925.

1926—March 1, 1926: The Clows buy land from their daughter and son-in-law, Elmer and Cora (Clow) McBee.

1926—November 19, 1926: Death of Richard H. Clow in Eugene, Oregon.

1946—May 25, 1946: Death of Clow’s wife, Melinda (Story) Clow in Eugene, Oregon.

I hope you enjoy the book!

Rough Enough: Reader’s Question Answered about Documented Atrocities

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: 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: . 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: .

Hope you enjoy the book. Still Free through Dec. 9, 2019

Get the Book:

Hope you enjoy it!

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.     


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