Category Archives: BookLIGHT

Randy’s Reviews: The Long Road Home: A Story of War and Family – by Martha Raddatz

 

Randy’s Reviews: The Long Road Home: A Story of War and Family – by Martha Raddatz (Randyjw; January 18, 2020)

 

Raddatz, Martha. The Long Road Home: A Story of War and Family. Copyright © 2007, 2008 by Martha Raddatz. Published by BERKLEY an imprint of  Penguin Random House LLC; 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014. G.P. Putnam’s Sons hardcover edition / March 2007; Berkley trade paperback edition / January 2008; Berkley trade paperback edition (TV Tie-in edition) / October 2017. 338 pages, plus photos. ISBN 9780451490797.

 

Isaiah 2:4

And He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. (Translation: https://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt1002.htm).

 

I wish we were at the aforementioned point in time, as noted in the prophecies of Isaiah, as seen above.

 

Instead, we are far from it – – spiraling even quicker towards its counterpart of constant battles, skirmishes and full-out war between regions, countries and partnered nations vying for ultimate world power and dominion.

 

Though only a relatively minor percentage of a people’s nation actually participate in the fighting of a nation’s army, the entire population bears the consequences of the outcome of war, whether favorably or to their collective detriment. It matters not whether the war is enjoined on the offensive or defensive side, but to which side the favor falls. It is not an easy matter to enter the fray, especially when having war thrust upon one’s country, or in marrying powers to aid one’s friendly allies, betrothed to what each feels are the just cause, besides political, economic, religious, and other interests beholden to one’s beliefs.

 

Nevertheless, it comes as a surprise to learn that the honor of a “gentleman’s war” is a silly notion; when fighting for one’s life, some do so with dignity, and some scrap ’til the final breath, using any mean or method deemed necessary to survival – – the ends justifying the means.

 

This is what a war in the Middle East looks like. Though I’ve never seen one, up close and personal, I’ve been in the vicinity to support the noncombat efforts of one: the ongoing war of attrition faced by the Jewish people and citizens of Israel, who are surrounded by hostile forces intent on their destruction throughout the entire region of the mid-East. It’s not that the wishes of the populous twenty-two Arab nations couldn’t make the reality of Israel’s existence disappear, nor that an additional thirty Muslim states have lacked in trying to make that so… it’s just that the wars come in dribs and drabs, with great public perception in trying to stage it to appear otherwise.

 

Therefore, we see war by attrition: a constant picking off of the enemy through all means possible, including car-ramming attacks, stabbings, improvised explosive devices (i.e., creatively camouflaged these days in balloons. kites, books, printer ink cartridges, etc.) and other means.

 

It is essential that a book such as the New York Times Bestseller, The Long Road Home: A Story of War and Family, by Martha Raddatz has been written to bring the realities of war to consciousness, rather than as an abstract concept fought by far-off people in distant lands. This story, a reconstruction of the true events facing U.S. soldiers on Iraqi soil during the Iraq War (which, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_the_Iraq_War) truly portrays in the U.S. perspective what it is like to be facing war in this region. Here, the boys are surprised that the enemy uses women and children as human shields; that regular neighbors are all armed and turn on you in a dime. Here, the war dead mount quickly and suddenly.

 

This is a must-read book.

 

 

 

 

 

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Randy’s Reviews: The Bridge Across Forever by Richard Bach

Randy’s Reviews: The Bridge Across Forever by Richard Bach (Randyjw; September 14, 2019)

 

Bach, Richard. The Bridge Across Forever. Published by: Dell Publishing Co., Inc.; 1 Dag Hammerskjold Plaza; New York, New York 10017. Copyright 1984 by Alternate Futures Incorporated. Reprinted by arrangement with William Morrow and Company, Inc. – February 1986.

 

Also available in 4-cassette audiotape edition.

 

 

Interesting, intriguing, and involving, a reticent heart learns to glide and soar in this autobiographical account from author-pilot, Richard Bach.

 

 

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A Dream Uncovered

A Dream Uncovered (Randyjw; June 19, 2019)

 

Unveiling the moon

of her shrouded mysteries

illuminating

 

 

Randy’s Reviews: Tears of the Moon – by Nora Roberts

Beauty and melancholy intertwine in the Irish folklore, music, and deep ties to its land. Among its people, a haunting longing within the heart and soul can only be quenched by returning to the roots of all connections: G-d, Love, and Country. For Brenna O’Toole and Shawn Gallagher, each learn to find the fulfillment of their deepest dreams and desires through a gradual understanding of the meaning inherent in all three.

 

 

(https://youtu.be/2IFBtpfY5kM)

 

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Randy’s Reviews: The Day You Were Born: A Journey to Wholeness through Astrology and Numerology – by Linda Joyce

Randy’s Reviews: The Day You Were Born: A Journey to Wholeness through Astrology and Numerology – by Linda Joyce (Randyjw; June 16, 2019)

 

The Day You Were Born: A Journey to Wholeness through Astrology and Numerology; Copyright © 1998 by Linda Joyce. Kensington Books. Kensington Publishing Corp., 850 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10022. http://www.kensingtonbooks.com

 

This book applies the sun signs of the zodiac, in a formula beginning in Aries and ending in Pisces, with a numerological factoring for the variance, and combines it with some metaphysically-specific best-practice recommendations to supposedly inform a person on the manners whereupon this application might be achieved.

 

Is it proper for me to side with or promote an astrological/numerological work? Not quite. Evidence for this, in Judaism, would point to the disaster of King Saul and his consultations with Hulda, who may or may not have been the same (I just don’t know) as the externally written-about Greek Oracle of Delphi. King Saul eventually fell prey to a never-ending wrestle between inner peace and an aroused spirit of paranoia and jealousy toward his eventual successor, David, the only one, paradoxically, who could calm Saul’s troubled spirit with the notes he played on his kinnor.

 

Yet, there exists further depth in the Judaic expression and realms of revelations intrinsic in the holiness of the Hebrew script (it is G-d’s word, after all); the corresponding numerical equivalency of the tandem Gematria; Kabbalah; and, really, actually, all things.

 

I can argue under Judaism, or Jewish perspective, for a combination of the essentiality of man’s existence on the earthly plane, combined with the striving toward the spiritual plane. G-d’s Laws (the Torah) are set before us with the imperative to choose life; that ye may live. We are told that doing so is not too difficult for us. We see that the 613 commandments include both the positive and the negative. We see that they include both the earthly (between man and man), and the heavenly (between man and G-d) — the stronger emphasis, surprisingly, being expounded as those between men. Disaster befalls us each and every time we go astray the Laws, which is a deviation from the spiritual. And Hillel sums up the whole of Torah as the essence that one should not do what is hateful unto another, stressing the earthly, inter-relationary aspects of man.

 

According to Linda Joyce, the author of the titled book in review, life should be balanced between the worldly aspects of the physical, such as the body and things of the earth, which is known as Ego, and the world of Spirit – – the heavenly realm — in order for the soul to receive its lessons as it proceeds through life and corresponding zodiac sun signs to grow in a balanced manner.

 

Linda Joyce has formed a merger of the practices of numerology and astrology to reveal an appreciable insight into human nature, combined with a gift for anecdotal and biographical supporting stories. What I can say is that, for everything that she presents, she does so to full confirmation of a certain perspective.

 

In a way, I always thought it was most imperative to nurture the qualities which would be so-considered the characteristics of a “higher calling,” tending to feel that one should aspire to lift one’s self above a baser nature. There’s nothing wrong with self-improvement, so I don’t find that, as an expression, to do so is as hypocritical an endeavor as the transverse, where the thought might be that, perhaps, one can only express their authentic selves via the masks of solely their present, fixed immutability. I think both give themselves a viewpoint weighted to the specifics of each varied individual: an optimistic outlook or a realistic outlook; but valid on either hand, regardless. It just matters which works better for each person.

 

Much like magic did this book appear on a shelf, at a time of deep, personal loss and internal struggle; although, unlike magic, I believe in G-d, and I believe in the basic goodness of man. The Biblical Jacob and his personal struggle teaches us about life, love, hardship and pain. But the message imparted is that we can prevail.

 

This excerpt, delineating Ego and Spirit in its last perfected self through Pisces, is seen, then, thus:

 

The search for your true origin, the haunting memory of happier days, innocence and youth — this is your memory of Eden and paradise. Darwin shocked and divided the world when he declared that men and apes had a common ancestor. His findings challenged the biblical origin story. The truth is that both origin stories are correct. We come from both heaven and earth. Heaven provides our mythical and symbolic origin. Evolution is what happens to us on earth — we evolve and grow and transform. The two are not in conflict (pg. 343).

 

Feelings of separation and loss, either because your path leads you elsewhere or someone else’s path has come to an end, is symbolic of the relationship between Ego and Spirit. Pisces is the end of the journey, and these two antagonists have traveled together through sunny days and terrible storms. They know each other in any disguise. They can recognize each other in a crowd, in the role of pauper or king, thief or saint. Together they have played all the parts, challenged each other’s goals and ideals, fought for and against each other’s dreams, shared each other’s joys and sorrows, triumphs and failures. Their commitment to the journey has bonded them through shared experiences, and now their differences seem unimportant and small. Theirs is a true relationship, one tested and sure, one based on earned respect. Now, when they have put aside their differences and learned how to play, it’s time to part. Love has awakened through the impending separation. Ego is old and must face death. Spirit is young. Having been reborn to a new strength, she can now defend herself and move forward, taking Ego’s memory into her heart and soul. Along the path he has protected her, allowing her to do her work. His devious ways and masterful disguises have honed her ability to see and discriminate. He has been her warrior, fighting her dragons; her enemy vying for position and power; her lover, embracing her with desire and will, trying to control her every breath. He has put her on a pedestal and he has abandoned her for fruitless dreams. But through it all they have remained together. Forgiveness came in Aquarius and the true meaning of love will come with separation. For without loss one does not know what one once had. They are soul mates and the song they sing has finally become one. Ego will surrender into the soul of the Spirit, ending their separation forever. Their love defies death because they are children of heaven and earth, who through their magical relationship have been able to bring one person closer to his or her true nature, to enlightenment, and to God.

 

… what they are learning is to love and go on, embodying that love within their soul, knowing that their physical presence is not needed for it to be real (pp. 373-374).

 


 

 

Read also:

 

(https://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/torah-shorts-lech-lecha-horoscope-proof/2019/11/08/)

 

 

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Twenty Years at Hull-House; with Autobiographical Notes

 

Twenty Years at Hull-House; with Autobiographical Notes – by Jane Addams (Randyjw; June 1, 2019)

 

Twenty Years at Hull-House; with Autobiographical Notes – by Jane Addams; original publication date 1910. Paperback reissue by University of Illinois Press Urbana and Chicago in conjunction with the Illinois Center for the Book. Introduction and Notes ©1990 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois, written by James Hurt, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

 

This is a review of paradoxical contradictions. Written by: a self-termed Conservative with a bent toward issues-oriented policy, regarding the premise of socialized, communal living, termed a ‘Settler Movement,’ within a democratic republic. A Movement meant to examine the processes and application of social theory towards the results of its experiments; yet still finding an unsolved relevancy in the persistence of those self-same subsets one hundred-years forward. The subject of ‘Humans’, as human subjects.

 

The time was ripening for the arousal to consciousness of how man must learn to structure their societal proponents to live amongst a continually burgeoning and industrializing U.S. population. With the influx of immigrants from abroad, there needed to homogenize the old traditions and cultures to create a workable new, and this was the tenet of a number of ambitious people and projects attempting to do so, circa late-Nineteenth/early-Twentieth centuries.

 

Jane Addams was one of them. In her 1910 published book, she describes her project, conducted with a friend, to live amongst the poor, and to become good neighbors with them. Along the way, she is caught up in the issues of the day, such as the women’s suffrage movement, the assimilation of immigrants from old worlds into a new country, and the effects of egregious working conditions amongst the poor. Whether by choice or chance, she winds up taking a more proactive role to see their challenges as they would experience them, up close, and finding means and both temporary and permanent solutions to help rectify their situation.

 

It’s often hard to tell whether this was an intended undertaking, or whether she was just along on a developing ride. But, in any case, it seems that the attentions given to youth development and education enhanced their opportunities for growth through learning, and lent great assistance to achieving these marks.

 

The book offers an interesting perspective of the literal language of life one hundred-years ago. Sometimes dull, sometimes pedantic in thought – – but still a particular slant from another era lending insight into the influencers of the way in which societies might develop.

 

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DK Eyewitness Books: Judaism – Discover the History, Faith, and Culture That Have Shaped the Modern Jewish World

 

DK Eyewitness Books: Judaism – Discover the History, Faith, and Culture That Have Shaped the Modern Jewish World (Randyjw; April 19, 2019)

 

CHARING, D. DK Eyewitness Books: Judaism – Discover the History, Faith, and Culture That Have Shaped the Modern Jewish World. First American Edition 2003. DK Publishing, Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014. Copyright 2003 Dorling Kindersley Limited, London.

 

This great book is one of a series, called DK Eyewitness Books, on multiple educational subjects aimed at children and young adults. This older, 2003 library version, is a slim, hardcover coffee table-style book, compiled with factual short paragraphs of information and glossy, full-color photos. The photos are especially interesting for their archaeological- and museum-quality details, showing both verbally, and visually, some highlights from the periods of Jewish history, both modern, and ancient.

 

DK Publishing is now under the banner of Penguin Random House. For more information on the parent company, see the Wikipedia reference, below. The newest revised edition of this book was published June 14, 2016, with sixty-four pages geared toward Middle Grades (8-12), and is available in hardcover and paperback. I highly recommend this book, for all ages.

 

DK (publisher):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DK_(publisher)

 

 

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Randy’s Reviews: The Founding Conservatives: How a Group of Unsung Heroes Saved the American Revolution

Randy’s Reviews: The Founding Conservatives: How a Group of Unsung Heroes Saved the American Revolution (Randyjw; August 26, 2018)

 

The Founding Conservatives: How a Group of Unsung Heroes Saved the American Revolution

David Lefer. Penguin/Sentinel, $29.95 (416p) ISBN 978-1-59523-069-0
In the course of learning about my people’s, the Jewish people’s, history, I have often heard countless retellings of the stories of famous Jewish people who have contributed throughout the course of history toward the financial gains of their host countries’ continuance. This has often come in the form of providing their own families’ personal wealth in the form of currency toward the war chests of the countries in which they lived. I have heard that the Columbus voyage in discovery of the New World had been financially helped with Jewish funding; and another is the financing of the American Revolution by Haim Solomon, who helped U.S. Treasurer, Robert Morris, refill the American coffers to continue their defense against the British Redcoats, and to win the war for the American side. This salient fact is missing from the above book, which is one reason to question the revisionist manner in which the American story is retold.
Read about Haim Solomon, here, on Wikipedia:
I was going to give this book an excellent rating for its in-depth research into the machinations behind the men who cobbled together the form of democracy our United States would follow in the years just preceding the colonial uprising against the Stamp Act, resulting in the Boston Tea Party, where cases of imported tea from Great Britain were charged by King George III to be assessed against the thirteen American colonies, eventually resulting in the American Revolution against the British. I detract some of its points for the author having excluded the important, and well-known, contribution made by Haim Solomon to the American cause, overall, and for his blind-eyed focus solely on the known signers (for the most part) of the Declaration of Independence, with their internal debates of the issue of whether to remain a subject colony under British rule of the Monarchy, or whether to break off and become an independent nation.
Read about The Stamp Act, here, on Wikipedia:
It never seems that independence was exactly a foremost thought in the minds of our Founding Fathers – – at least, according to what author David Lefer writes, through his unearthing of the signatories’ diaries, and other records, such as letters found in archival libraries and collections he uses to piece together this interesting and fascinating account of the steps and, almost, missteps, the colonial Congressional Representatives and influence holders take in the construction of our seemingly much-different nation during its formative infancy.
The matter of taxation being imposed on the colonies from afar without the feeling of consideration that they were being properly represented, was probably the main impetus for the cause of the American Revolution against the British. Yet, there were those on the other side of the aisle who felt that America should continue to be ruled by the aristocratic and landed gentry, as they were the ruling classes in a still-feudal and Monarchical society in Britain, holding the land titles and much of the commercial plantations of serfs, which represented the bulk of the capital, at that time.
This book reads like a present-day thriller, of sorts, as equal pressure and equal measures are brought to bear by both sides of the American controversy, to the status, hanging in the balance, of the American future. Already secure in our knowledge of the outcome, we still read how very different the nation proceeded from the start, as compared to its final outcome which we experience now today. It is interesting to learn how this occurred, and what thoughts may have transpired in the minds of the framers of the Constitution by which our nation has successfully managed its founding and consolidation, amongst the diversity of thought, these many centuries later.
For this reason, I recommend the book as a learning opportunity and to enrich our minds in the process of how America was formed and the issues which informed that decision.

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