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:


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: 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




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.





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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.


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:





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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):



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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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Randy’s Reviews: Gratitude, by Joseph Kertes

Randy’s Reviews: Gratitude, by Joseph Kertes (Randyjw; July 14, 2018)


GRATITUDE. Joseph Kertes. Copyright 2008 by Joseph Kertes. First published in Canada by the Penguin Group. First U.S. Edition: October 2009. Printed in the USA. Thomas Dunne Books; an imprint of St. Martin’s Press; 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y.  10010.


I have always loved to read. But, I am the type of person who likes to buck a trend, simply for the fact that things can become boringly staid when “everyone else” is following the latest fad. What this information implies for this book review, and toward books in general, is that the craft of the trade, the functionality of its literary terminology and the process of the book trade itself, have all conspired to impart a procedurally-stultifying expectation of a letter-perfect manual as to how the job should be done, how a books’ characters should behave, how its ending should be contrived (neither too simplistic, nor too absurd), and how reasonably soon an author will fall into the trap of compliance to the formulaic equation of the genre he/she is attempting to portray.


What if a book were to ditch a reader’s expectations and, instead, wrote in a unique voice that didn’t conform to supposed norms for plot, character development, length, succinctly drawn protagonists/antagonists, minor players, etc.? Well, that would be a breath of fresh air, wouldn’t it? The end result wouldn’t deprive exclusive scholars from privileged membership to the written-word appreciation club, and yet entry would expand to the artistically-visual, the dexterously-nimble, the misfittedly simple and others who can appreciate a voice for the emotions it imparts, the mind-imagery it evokes, the information it reveals, and other unique facets it details.


Since I’m still having difficulty synthesizing the essence of my experience with Gratitude, I feel it falls into a hard-to-peg amalgam of the various writerly techniques masterfully used to explore different and difficult subjects, and which comes off amazingly well for the harshness of the subject matter with which it must deal.


Since a publishing house never wishes to promote cause for libel or slander, and to incur damaging lawsuits as a result, the first notification to this extent that you can see is explicitly written straight after the inside titling pages of the book, indicating that the work is completely fictionalized as a product of the author’s imagination. This disclaimer, as a disclosure, is disconcerting, in that the classification of fiction-writing, as a whole, is one of its own problems, and one of its specific gifts, since one can never know for certain the exact percentage which poetic license plays in the accounting of a historical event, or events, inclusive of its non-fictional characters.


In the matter of subjects pertaining to Judaism or Jewish history, or that of any other people or event, it can become problematic to blend mythological products of a writer’s imagination with the real-life horrors of a crime as large as genocide: the wiping out of an entire ethnic race or people, such as the Jews, in an aspect as so horrific as the Holocaust.


I had read a book many, many years ago about Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat around whose name brings controversy for unstated reasons with regard to the Jews during the time of the Holocaust. In popular lore, Raoul Wallenberg is attributed with saving many Jews during the Nazi German purge to make Europe a predominantly “Aryan” master race, which Adolf Hitler was carrying out through elimination of those people he classified as subhuman, such as homosexual people, Gypsy Roma, the handicapped, and the Jew. I don’t recall what the controversy about Wallenberg actually entailed, or whether I knew what it was to begin with. I believe it may have been something along the lines, as it may have also been the same in the case with Oskar Schindler, perhaps, that of the Jews who eventually survived the Holocaust and their questioning descendants might analyze in hindsight in another frame of mind — a singular aspect comes to mind, and it is this: Not all of the Jews could be saved; so by what method were they chosen? How could someone else actually do the choosing, by themselves making their own “selections”?


It would be a question which would haunt us Jews throughout the seven previous decades since the Holocaust occurred. And we still never have any good answers. We look at it from all moral angles, and ask: how can a Kapo, a leader chosen by the Germans from amongst the Jewish population to report as a representative liaison between the parties and to middle-manage the Nazi decisions as to who, which Jews, would be chosen for extermination in the next “selection,” actually carry out his decision?


How did Swedish diplomats Raoul Wallenberg, Per Anger, and others, including one of the people in author Kertes’ novel, decide who could be saved and who couldn’t? Such random, or preferential decisions could never be easy ones, and there would always be recriminating fingers pointing, regardless of who was saved. Such consequences for these decisions were also cast at the Jewish organizations who were also trying to help ferret out Jewish people to safety from a certain death; yet they were also spoken about, after-the-fact, with reproachful, hushed undertones of horror and manipulation, nepotism and cronyism. The subject matter of death and genocide almost demands that it be so.


In any case, Joseph Kertes’ book is written with a combination of factual detail reminiscent of actual events, and the prose of stream-of-consciousness writing that he utilizes as a family member in his own narrative to these characters in real-life actuality. I think this comes across very well throughout the book, and gives it an emotionality which would be all too lacking, otherwise. Other reviewers miss the mark with this aspect of his work; I think it makes the work what it is. It is emotional. At the end, you are left saying, Well… what does it all come down to? There are some instances where there are certain references which seem more of today’s times than to have ever occurred in conversation during those days; this happened about four times, and I found it annoying. But, overall, I think it is worth reading Gratitude.


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Randy’s Reviews: Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah


Randy’s Reviews: Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah (Randyjw; August 3, 2017


FIREFLY LANE. Copyright 2008 by Kristin Hannah. St. Martin’s Griffin; St. Martin’s Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York, 10010.


Firefly Lane is a fictionalized account of female friendship, which could deftly stand-in for the bonds formed in our own lives. Kristin Hannah relates a sisterhood which would be familiar to many women, as they read along through the decades of Tully Hart’s and Kate Mularkey’s interactions and emotions.


The two girls meet at age fourteen in the decade of the nineteen-seventies, becoming fast friends despite drastically different expressive styles. Their upbringing is also at opposite poles, inspiring “grass-is-greener” envy by both girls for the other’s lifestyle.


They swear fealty forever in friendship, and form a pact to follow the same career together, but maturation and life events effect reconsideration and change in later plans. The inner roiling of the girls’ thoughts as they deal with these repercussions and their impact on their relationship elicits sympathies of the reader on many levels. It did the same for me, as well, as I thought back on the same kind of situations and, even, actual details, which reminded me of female friendships shared with my own best friends.


Given these coincidences, the book really resonates with me. Based on the fact that it made a bestseller’s list, it apparently held appeal for many others, too. I did think the material-culture references too overdrawn, but also often nodded in appreciation of their nostalgic mention.


I’m afraid to encounter the seemingly wistful conclusions alluded to in other reviews, as I’ve not yet reached the end. I’m rooting for these fast, forever-friends to pull through.


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Randy’s Reviews: Chandra, by Catherine Coulter




Randy’s Reviews: Chandra, by Catherine Coulter (Randyjw; July 9, 2017)


I still have two pages left to finish this book, which I hope to do later this evening — but, I thought I’d write and post this review beforehand, nevertheless. This is another of those well-timed messages that seem to pop-up out of nowhere, perfectly attuned to your own peculiar situation and personality, lending it great resonance to your life at the specific time. And so it was with me, with regards to this particular book.


Chandra, the main character about whom the novel revolves, is a teenaged girl growing up in a patrician world, where women are expected to willingly tend to all household duties in their arranged marriages to bridegrooms chosen by their fathers. But Chandra’s tomboy tendencies, indulged by her father, clearly clash with others’ expectations for her, especially of the man who wishes to wed her (who is, also, thank goodness, her father’s pre-arranged choice).


The novel is set in medieval England during a period of active monarchy and feudalism, with all its attendant treacheries amongst the knighthood — the backstabbing, the clannishness, the alliances of convenience, like marriage, as appropos as any war strategies to expand land holdings and power.


Chandra’s headstrong, feminist tendencies lead to many adventures, and some troubles, as she learns how to negotiate her way in a male-oriented world. I find her quandary as relevant today, as they were in the days, centuries ago, of the timeframe which this novel portrays. Some of the issues are very disturbing, and the content is aimed for a mature audience. Because of that, I almost did not do the review. The way the issues are presented is as if seen through the lens of the century in which it falls. For instance, child marriage is seen as a more commonplace occurence. Women treated as chattel like objects, through trafficking and slavery, placement in a harem, and subservient to men is also some treatment themes addressed throughout the book, as are stereotypical depictions of the Muslim rulers fought against during the Crusades, written about as through the English, Christian perspective taken here.


I found that the style of the written language lent itself to far greater civility than our present structural usage employs and was, indeed, quite lovely in its romantic interludes. There was a beautiful poem in this style, for which more I’d hoped to be scattered throughout the book. There were, additionally, some rather descriptive page lengths of love scenes written out that would have steamed up my glasses, had I been wearing them.


Author Catherine Coulter’s biographic pictorial photo and her character, Chandra, were well-relatable to me, and I appreciated her usage of the name, Chandra, for her heroine, as I feel it gives a tributary nod and thoughtful gesture — much needed — for a poor girl, Chandra Levy, murdered recently, as all murders are, under suspicious circumstances.


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Randy’s Reviews: Pilate’s Wife by Antoinette May


Randy’s Reviews: Pilate’s Wife by Antoinette May (Randyjw; June 13, 2017)


I believe in things like karma, synchronicity, and the other myriad, subtle influences that play a part in our lives, both physically and metaphysically. Little did I know that this fictional book, set just preceding and throughout the nadir of Pontius Pilate’s governorship in Judea during the reign of the Roman Empire, would touch me self-reflectively in the many references it makes to the journey I’ve felt myself to be on in recent months.


I’ve felt that the “universe” has been trying to tell me something very important that I have apparently been overlooking in my life. The same is being said to be the missing factor of the main character in this novel, Claudia Proculus, the eventual wife of Pontius Pilate. She is besotted with making this charming, handsome man her own, and goes to great lengths to see that this occurs, even seeking incantations from the mystagogue at her temple of Isis, to whom she swore devotional allegiance. Whether divinely inspired or chemically-induced, the attraction seems to work it’s magic spell and lures Pilate to her side, with equal ardor.


Claudia lives an idyllic childhood all too abruptly thrown into turmoil, as her life takes on tragic twists in the fate of her family members. She realizes that her inner happiness is in question, as well as her choices. Her child with Pilate brings her great joy, compounded by the realization that the man she really loves cannot be in her life. Their brief dalliances must last her a lifetime, and they do.


The book was researched by its author, Antoinette May, over a course of many years, taking about fourteen years’ time to complete. Several of these years were spent delving into the studies, documents, literature and resources of the Classics Department at Stanford University to research the era of this time, in order to make the real-life characters of the time come to life. I felt it was a very unique insight into the formation of monotheistic religion from its beginnings from its more nature-based, pagan panoply of deities. I loved the descriptions of the clothing, which were fashioned often after the celestial bodies of the stars, sun, and moon; the mentions of the various deities and their properties and how people came to worship them; etc.


While I appreciate that the Jewish slave, Rachel, was strictly written about in human terms and was never shown in any diminutive fashion, I felt that there was unnecessary antagonism toward the Jewish people portrayed by Ms. May in her wording and the feeling that I got based on her attitudes, which seemed particularly stereotypical and condescending toward the Jewish people as a religion and as a people. For this reason, I was really disappointed, although the book was otherwise an engaging and engrossing read. Taking this in mind, I do hope you have a chance to read and enjoy this book, as a love story and as a throwback to ancient times.


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Photo: “Guarding the Gan” (Randyjw; 2017)



Exodus (Randyjw; February 23, 2017)


Kitty is my feral friend and sometime snugglepuss. I like the name Kitty, because it reminds me of the nurse of the same name in the movie, Exodus, and because she’ll think everybody is friendly, since they seem to already call her by name. She’s got alot of spirit, and is very sensitive and really sweet. She still lives a feral life, but has become more of an outdoor cat of the neighborhood, settling inside with me during inclement weather, for the most part.


In the movie, Exodus, the part of Kitty Fremont, the American nurse who falls in love with a Jewish man during the struggle of Jews to reach Israel (called “Palestine”, at that time) during the British Mandatory assignment period, is played by Eva Marie Saint.


The 1960 movie is based on the 1958 book by Leon Uris of the same name and is a fictional account based loosely on events during the period it portrays. I’ve watched the movie several times on television, as well as having enjoyed listening to the famous theme title to the movie.


Leon Uris was a war correspondent during those years, and writes extensively on Jewish subject matter. His books in that genre include: Exodus; Mitla Pass; Mila 18; The Haj; and QB VII. His style is in the manner of a historical fiction writer, others of which would include Trinity and Redemption. I really enjoy his books.; “Exodus (1960 film)”:

(; “Leon Uris”:




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5 Recommended Authors and Their Books


5 Recommended Authors and Their Books (Randyjw; February 20, 2017)


Here are some of my recommendations from (mostly) popular authors and several of their books. I’ve listed them in my preferred reading order, not by when they were written. Most are very emotionally written, with gorgeous verse, and that is what makes these appealing to me. James Michener’s works converted me from hater, to lover, of history.




1) Malika Oufkir —


Freedom: The Story of My Second Life


Stolen Lives



2) Amy Tan —


The Joy Luck Club


The Hundred Secret Senses


The Kitchen God’s Wife


The Bonesetter’s Daughter



3) James Michener —


The Covenant





4) Khaled Hosseini —


The Kite Runner


A Thousand Splendid Suns



5) Saira Shah —


The Storyteller’s Daughter



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Freedom: The Story of My Second Life – by Malika Oufkir


Copyright 2006 by Malika Oufkir. Jacket designed by Beth Middleworth. Author photo by Melanie Dunea. Hyperion, 77 West 66th Street, New York, NY 10023-6298. Printed in USA ©2006 Miramax Books.


This book is one of the cherished volumes of my personal collection that just can’t seem to make it into a “give-away” pile to allow room for new reads on the shelf. Each time I say that I’ve read enough that I ought to be able to detach it from my core staples, it keeps coming back and taking its place among the rightly-deserved designated “keepers”.


Why this should be so is due to Ms. Oufkir’s beautiful Middle-Eastern phrasing and mindset. No-one can write with the allegory and turn-of-speech better than a son or daughter of the Levant (including the northern reaches of Africa). Think number one books, such as the Bible, or number one authors or poets, such as Khaled Hosseini or Khalil Gibran, respectively, which bring to mind examples for the simplicity of sentence regaling the beauty of a song.


Malika’s prose and outlook are remarkable, given the harsh treatment received throughout much of her life. She was the favored playmate in childhood of the King’s daughter. Later on, her father would be executed and she and her siblings and mother imprisoned for twenty years as collective punishment for the assassination attempt on the King in a coup d’etat allegedly involving Malika’s father. Their subsequent escape, recapture and final harrowing push to freedom are relayed in a compelling saga woven as beautifully as an embroidered wedding dress.


Her first book, Stolen Lives, was an international best-seller and relates her years during captivity. It doesn’t matter which book is read first; I almost prefer having read the sequel with which to gird oneself for the harshness of the first.


This post is dedicated to freedom and to the brave souls who fight to find it.

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The French Intifida: The Long War Between France and its Arabs – by Andrew Hussey

The French Intifida: The Long War Between France and its Arabs – by Andrew Hussey

Information on the North African countries and their backgrounds contained in this book are attributed to the content of its pages by Andrew Hussey (but the opinions, review, and its relation to Jewish insight and other thoughts are my own).

© 2014 by author. Maps © 2014 by Vera Brice and Leslie Robinson. Published 2014 by Granta Books, Great Britain. First American Edition published 2014 by Faber and Faber, an affiliate of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 18 West 18th Street, New York, New York, 10011. Bulk or other purchases via Hardcover ISBN category: History/Social Science.

I find it hard yet to peg this book into the educational slots of a historical textbook or a sociological primer by which this book has been listed, according to its dust jacket. The choice of a History/Social Science designation is clearly at odds with the opinionated assertions of its author, though I find myself in agreement with some of the book’s premises, including the oft-overlooked historical factors catalyzing the current eruptions of hostilities among the Arab youth of today.

We open on an incident the author recorded on a particular day in France as he travels the subway and emerges to an ongoing street riot. These disturbances, of which America is beginning to see its mimicry on our streets today, are attributed by the French media as continuing in the long-standing tradition of civil uprising (pg. 3) as occurred during the Reformation and the Enlightenment movements begun in France and Europe, as noted by Hussey in requoting a similar paraphrase in the French newspaper, Le Figaro (pg. 4). He attributes these riots as a display against the colonial power which France had held over Algeria (pg. 5). Though Algeria has since shaken the yoke of French rule, its Arab population still lives with its mindset in a love/hate (mostly hate) relationship with its former captors.

We see Hussey assign this “show of colonial power” against a policeman in France who “came down hard” on a ticket-dodger (the person being already known previously to police) (pg. 5). It wasn’t that the fare-evader was committing a crime in trying to escape paying for the services by theft that bothered Hussey, but the matter that a representative of a law enforcement division meant to uphold the laws made by the government of its people sought to apprehend the law-breaker for his deviancy against these rules which is what Hussey seemed to object to. He even went so far as to call the riots and violence “exhilarating” (pg. 2). I’m sure the property-owners whose cars were set alight or whose stores were ransacked or looted did not feel this way, especially if they had to bear the brunt of the burden and absorb the costs of the damages for which insurance wouldn’t pay.

The country is not in a lawless state of anarchy. Should the policeman have just let the man continue to get away with a literal “free pass” against the system? Why favor this one individual with a free ride while the rest must pay their fare? Does that promote favoritism of one (the minority) over the other (the majority), thereby classifying itself into discrimination (of one over another)?

Oh, welcome America! Today we see the importation of the methodologies being used in Europe without the benefits of its derivation in America. The Civil War, which America fought against itself, the Voting Rights Act, and the Civil Rights movement were all measures which grew out of the organic experience of being discriminated against and were begun to counter such practices, eventually leading to the ending of slavery and institutionalized prejudice. These movements grew from a ground-up, practical application of its principles by people who had experienced the consequences of its imposition.

These days, we have a top-down imposition of standards being imposed upon us by Marxist idealists who believe in a one-world government where everyone is equal. Yes, we’re all equal as human beings go, but we don’t want to be ruled by just a few people into whose hands all power necessarily would go. There could be no difference of opinion, in such cases. The tyrants you fear (such as those that exist in today’s world) would rule over you and you’d lose your freedoms.

There are strategists today who are trying to accomplish just this. On the radio, we hear that they utilize the “Communist” rulebook to take down Capitalist, free-market rule to consolidate power into the one-world, no-border system. They attribute the strategies to author, Saul Alinsky, who wrote “Rules for Radicals” (One day, I must read this book). Their methodology involves creating the recent, destructive movements such as the “Occupy” Wall Street movement, financed by some with rather copious amounts of money. Those with such leanings have now come to occupy teaching places at our schools: from elementary to University. They are often sympathetic to the Arab cause, and that is why among them you will find many Arab organizers participating in primary roles, lending itself to the attempt to deconstruct our known society. They’ve succeeded in raising unrest — now it progresses to within the black community. We have riots and looting and violence over perceived race disparities in recent conflicts between the black community and the “non/other” police forces killing its youth. I’m writing this as if there were no precipitating factors leading up to the altercation, confrontation and eventual death of these individuals. The cases are investigated to determine whether excessive force was used to incapacitate, take-down, or kill these people, and most cases have found that the officer’s actions were justified. This is not specific to all cases, and in those where it was deemed an unnecessary or overtly overreactive response to the situation, the officers have been charged or have had to stand the punishment for its crime.

Just as a citizen must receive the consequences of the justice process, so must its people of the law departments. We do not have a tyrannical dictatorship where cronyism is the rule and the opposition is eliminated by whatever means possible (though when corruption seeps in, the results can be sometimes similar).

During Hurricane Katrina, citizens of Texas were evacuated to the Astrodome and left there, mostly unattended, as the facilities and resources steadily declined without replenishment or assistance. Discrimination didn’t usually come to mind, but it just started to become a twinkling when all other possibilities not bearing fruit kept passing by. Although Jesse Jackson’s son in recent times has been caught up in some wrongdoing, his comment will always remain favorably impressed upon my heart when he made the analogy that if the Jews could airlift thousands and thousands of people out of Ethiopia in “Operation Solomon”, then so could America help those in distress at the Astrodome. I was happy he knew about it and happy that his comment was a compliment to our people, when so many negative comments about Judaism or the Jewish people can be heard emanating from the black community.

I think this has a lot to bear from the Nation of Islam and Black Panther movements that have impressed their anti-Semitic influences upon its members, which in turn has made inroads into the community at large.

Malcolm Shabazz (a.k.a. Malcolm “X”) was a virulent anti-Semite. I had almost quite forgotten that fact when I saw a t.v. show drama about his life. I had recently run across the Bounce Media, LLC network, touted by the child of Martin Luther King, Jr., Martin Luther King III, as basically being a network: of the “people”, by the “people”, and for the “people”, meaning the black community. I watched several excellent shows upon first discovering this channel, until they broadcast a drama about Malcolm “X”. I decided I would boycott Bounce TV due to the anti-Semitic content they’re furthering in promoting Shabazz’s Jew-hatred. True, I realize in writing this that my internal debate gives a green light toward freedom of speech and expression, and the fact that Bounce TV included it when it aired does justice toward not “white-washing” (what a choice of words, huh?) the character and showing the man, in part, for really who he was.

“X”‘s accomplishments, whatever they were, still stand — but at least we see his soul laid bare. Maybe I’m not being fair to the show’s creators, when they’re actually trying to portray the reality of the man who has a message I just don’t like. I can understand the feeling of persecution felt as a minority even when I’m not actively being discriminated against, so maybe one day I can let the revulsion of my feelings about this broadcast and my maybe unfair projection onto the programmers at Bounce, who chose to air the offensive material, to fade away — maybe not. Sometimes, the accomplishments achieved by an individual cannot compensate for their expressed bigotry and taint the person as a whole — like my feelings as they extend to the anti-Semitic personages of Mel Gibson and Harry Belafonte. Talented and handsome actors both — but their strongly expressed Jew-hatred just does them in, for me.

I suppose that’s why, here in America, we have an ongoing pot of simmering resentment felt by some in the black community against their perceived status in the country. It is not at all made up that what they have gone through as a people affects even later generations. Whether they have experienced direct discrimination as an individual is irrelevant to the treatment that their ancestors have received at the hands of “the other” in their “collective” past and memories. This is important. And it can never be set right. Ever. Ever. There is just nothing anyone can do to change the history or what has happened to those who have been victimized. The only closest thing that can be done is to try to be repentant and to do things that will try to make amends. It’s only a substitute and it doesn’t change the outcome of what happened — but, it’s the best we’ve got.

And so, America has tried to improve itself in its response to slavery and discrimination by allowing people to be just that — people — and not to be considered as property or less-valued. It has taken awhile, and it hasn’t been perfect. But, at least we should consider that it is being done. In other places of the world, it is not. And this is what we fight for, even for others who do not have the opportunity to experience life in its freedoms, as we purport to do.

What about the arguments of those who would propose that, inasmuch as the victims of such abuse suffer greatly, so, too, do the perpetrators? Well, it’s true that there are often casualties on both sides of a conflict, but does that make it right to say that both sides suffered equally? I think not. Nazis might have died as Germany tried to take over Europe and they went about their genocide to kill Jews, Roma, political and religious dissidents, and people who were disabled, but their perpetration of these heinous acts spares them no sympathy when, as a result of their policies of aggression, they also suffered some of its consequences.

Thus, I think it does matter that while so-called Palestinian people suffer because of their obstinacy to try to take the land away from the Jews, whom they despise, the fact that Jews were there first trumps any claims they might have. To me, their claims are specious and made-up and have no validity. They are not “Canaanites”.

The fact that Arabs tried to break out of the Middle-East by conquering everybody with the sword, garnering them an eventual and impressive swathe of land does not entitle them to hold the land in perpetuity when they lost the wars to keep that land and its original inhabitants earned it back. It’s true that they might suffer in the process of trying to expand their empire at the expense of others, but that’s their fault — if they stopped trying to do so, then the counter-defenses they run up against would have no opportunity to take their lives.

If they don’t like the fact that that’s happened to them, as well — where others have come in and tried to conquer them — well, that’s just too bad. Then don’t cry about not being able to eat the cake, too. You can’t have it both ways, but apparently that is what they want. They came out of Arabia with the fury of the sword in the seventh century, but they don’t like it happening to themselves now in the modern era. They don’t want to take any of the same crap that they dish out.

If we fall prey to this propaganda, and keep playing by the Arab rules of the game, then we are already lost. This is what the author, Andrew Hussey, does when he attributes outrageous Arab acts of violence against the French in looking back only to the French conquest of Algeria in recent memory and the attempts by Napoleon to conquer Egypt and other areas around the region. Neither Israel, nor Europe, nor America had a single thing to do with the Arab expansion out of the Middle East, back in the seventh century. True, the Jews had to fight a lot of turf wars in the region against various factions (of which many don’t even exist today) prior to any knowledge of inhabitation of continents beyond the Middle East. Millennia later, the Jews had to fight the Greek/Roman/Syrian/Other empires in those others’ attempted expansionist takeovers, which is like modern history to the Jews, but considered “ancient” by today’s standards. As a matter of fact, someone I know just mentioned something that was done “by the ancient Romans”, wherein I was secretly amused by her assertion that these people were so “ancient”. I could never reconcile that somehow our American public schools taught me about the “ancient” Greeks and Romans, as if they were the first people to exist, and, lo and behold – my ancestors fought those people, and, because of it, our land and our sovereignty over it was remotely run with vassal kings (our internal battle continuing between the Maccabees and Bar Kochba and the reign of the Jewish Hasmonean Dynasty, versus the capitulators trying to keep the reign Jewish but trying not to anger the Romans enough to completely take over without Jewish rule). So, is Israel actually Roman land, then? No. So, it cannot be Palestine, either (the name given to it by the Romans). It was not theirs to begin with and it has since reverted to its rightful owners, the Jews.

The mindset of present-day Arabs, then, is at odds with their actions. If they are acting on their belief that any land once conquered by them, always belongs to them, then the so-called recent “creation” that they claim Israel to be can have no bearing on matters, being that 1,400 years separate these occurrences! Nor can recent acts, such as the French conquest of Algeria, since that, too, only happened several decades ago — not more than 1,000 years ago!

Prior to writing his book, Andrew Hussey spent some time tooling about the middle-eastern areas, talking to and getting to know the Arabs and attitudes of its regions. He speaks to and interviews many of its inhabitants about their experiences and reactions to incidents and episodes occurring in their lives and of others around them.

Regarding the riot and of other matters surrounding them, the author states that the rioters basically refer to themselves as “soldiers in a ‘long war’ against France and Europe” (pg. 5). He sees this as having begun with Napoleon Bonaparte’s war advances and conquests of the 1800’s and from being sustained through continued French domination and colonization in North Africa over the territories of Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco (Libya was surrendered by Ottoman Turkey to Italy in 1912 in the Treaty of Lausanne, per Wikipedia). He finds the influence of French domination to be the crucial, deciding factor during the Mandate days in the 1920’s determining French control over Syria and Lebanon (pg. 6).

However, neither Andrew Hussey, nor today’s present media go back far enough in time to identify even causal incidences germane to the Arab revolts of today. It was Arabs that broke out of the Middle East in the seventh century to begin a deliberate conquest of continents to take the lands for themselves. Millions of innocent people were put to the sword, or were used as slaves or chattel. Their culture was forcefully imposed on those they captured, including the language and religion. The battle for complete control over Africa, and other parts of the world, continues unimpeded today. The Crusades did not occur until 500 years later, and the United States did not become the mighty nation it was yet meant to be until still more than 500 years forward from that, so neither of these acts place the West in a first-aggressor mode.

But, the West’s response in the eventual retaking of these lands and the beating back of these goals has been the irritant which has led to the chaos and destruction we see manifesting in recent decades by the affected descendants. It is based on age-old grievances, and not upon the more recent occurrences purported by the media (and here, too, Hussey), which is attributable to its cause.

In France, tensions are very bad. It is a country filled with the immigrants of those it once dominated. Many consider themselves unaccountable to the mores and customs of the new society in which they find themselves, and pass on these perceptions to following generations, leading to festering resentment which can erupt unbidden. This new paradigm becomes the norm by which all perceptions are measured, regardless of events or circumstances. Therefore, a police encounter with a habitual offender might instigate shop-smashing and car-burning non-incidental to the matter, foisted upon people non-relevant to the situation.

In a visit to the Boston/Cambridge area a few years back, in a snapshot of the people which comprised its image in my mind, I could sense that the people who had plotted or commiserated with the 9-11 terrorist attacks were still embedded in the make-up of that vicinity, sympathizers of its ideology waiting to wreak carnage in what would turn out to be the Boston Marathon bombing or other further incidents.

What Hussey and I both agree on is that this is not created by the recent, common refrain reported by the media as “social justice”. Osama bin Laden, we’ll recall, was among the wealthiest of Arab families operating in the Middle East, and we find many highly-educated terrorists with engineering and science degrees — so, uneducated or disenfranchised from society they are not.

Romanticized visions of the East portrayed in books promote a nonexistent fantasy of a backward land populated by servile, if simple, people — when, in fact, the opposite is true. The Middle East is rife with intelligence and technology, and you’d be surprised to again hear that satellite phones were utilized by terrorists, and satellite dishes and smart phones might be easily discovered in use by both cave-dwellers and the “average Moe” (my coin) alike.

The truly unique phenomenon found in all of this is the staunch denial of Western civilization to square facts with reality — both in its ability to see terrorists for who they are and to see terrorists for what they are. This schizophrenic outlook places the blame for terrorism on everyone except the one onto whom the blame belongs, skewing effective measures which could counteract the toll of its destruction.

Persistent attitudes of anti-Semitism over the millennia have existed, as well. Pro-favorable books about Israel have mostly been removed from the libraries; therefore, one would also never know that the territory known today as Jordan once comprised the larger chunk of land mass, together with Israel, that was once named “Palestine” by the Romans — and so — Arabs already live in “Palestine” under a two-state solution governed by Arabs.

Hussey, himself, exhibits a bit of antagonism towards Jews in commentary about a 1995 movie called La Haine, in which he describes a tri-part alliance between an Arab person, a Jewish person, and a black person who all live in the not-so-great suburbs surrounding Paris. He doesn’t find the film “convincing” because first: he “suspects” (introducing ‘suspicion’) that a Jew couldn’t be friends with Arab people and Black people in ‘this way’ (pg. 22). What “way” is that? If he means confederate with others to form mutually beneficial relationships or to help others apart from themselves, than he’s obviously not aware of the age-old value of “Tzedakah” (Righteousness, translated loosely as “charity”), nor the lengths to which American Jews have gone to promote civil rights for Jewish people and black people in the 1960’s and onward — sacrificing several “sons” to the cause. On the other hand, if he means we just can’t make friends (because we must deserve the anti-Semitic stereotypes of being ‘despised’ people), than he’s obviously making an untrue statement, as Jewish people do have friends! His next reason to not place credence in the film is that he says that he doesn’t know of any Jews living in the “banlieues” (suburbs) – though he says synagogues exist from the 1930’s there (pg. 22), indicating Jewish presence (so, they once did exist, and could still), and he contradicts himself in his own book later on when he relates the story of an Arabic-speaking Jew from Morocco who lives in the banlieues amongst a mostly Arab population. This man, despised collectively for his Jewish heritage, thrived as a minority by investing in himself and in his community by providing goods and commerce into the society (pp. 54 – 55). His store served some of the inherent needs of a population established outside existing resource areas and so filled the vacuum created by outward population expansion.

It is a necessary and common occurrence to establish new cities and suburbs to occupy more land and space as the planet becomes more peopled (Known as “urban sprawl”, Israel has forwardly countered this problem by building vertically in their land-constricted state). While this momentum creates opportunities for individuals with the proper ambition and motivation to build thriving businesses for themselves, and jobs for some, there also becomes a point of saturation where anything beyond dilutes the revenue available, and decline and failure begin to occur.

In the wake of a merger, there lies a hole. While it may prove frustrating for some to be running the “rat race” while “working for the man”, there still exists the potential to create a way out for the self. If one does not have the aptitude or desire to create a successful business, then one cannot gripe too much that they can’t rise beyond certain financial means. Much as I lament the often low wages accompanying the position of being a worker, I can only blame myself for not figuring out a way to rise further.

While we can strive to make the worker’s roles more bearable and humane, as has happened over the evolution of industrializing nations, we still find, in the end, some limiting factors in this capacity.

In some respects, this will work out fine. Certainly, not everyone will be able to reach the stars. We can be thankful that people and societies can be good enough to create safety nets for the ones who, whether by fault or through lack, cannot succeed on their own.

But we cannot tolerate the wanton lawlessness and destruction that has been going on of late. People with the bent to dismantle what others have created are loosing their fury on other people who have actually done something with themselves and their lives. It stokes anger and envy in those who are dissatisfied with their own lives and selves and have not moved forward toward betterment. The only advancement they can achieve seems to be by cowing others into appeasement, since these are not protesters, but bulliers. They exhibit no accountability to better their world, their others, or themselves. They only want to tear down what others have built up in order to level the playing field down to their own miserable states of existence.

This book is one that has needed to be written; its subject, the French-Algerian connection, one that has needed to be explored. We, in the West, in recent generations, have lost the benefits of that quality of teaching which stressed the importance of Latin, history, and foreign languages. We, therefore, do not know where our nation and others may fit in perspective to time, to place, and to (or toward) each other.

It is the same with Israel and the sudden lack of knowledge and disinterest fed by bloodlust which causes the frenzied masses to repeat misinformation and spread bold lies against the Jews to try to appease Arab ambitions and deflect bad behavior onto others.

Hussey shares the plight of what happened to some North African-area people of Arab delineation looking forward from a certain period of time. This time begins in recent memory — but not too recent that anyone alive could recall or refute its true details. This juncture in time occurs after Napoleon of France has gone ahead and conquered Egypt (1798) and the French have continued to colonize the northern parts of Africa, as well. Surely, we can see that the Arabs have reason to act the way they do if we look at their point of new beginning with this time period. But, what about prior to that?

The Arabs, as said before, “burst” out of Arabia in the seventh century and displaced many a people and nation by their own volition. They shouldn’t be upset when the previous owners want their own land back (like in Israel, for instance. It’s Jewish land — it was Jewish when the Romans came, it was Jewish when the Babylonians came, it was Jewish when the Persians came, it was Jewish by designation of the L-rd. If the Canaanites weren’t driven out of existence, they would be the owners — but it’s not any of today’s people, other than the Jews, to whom it belongs).

But it is important to read about what happened in recent times, and it does begin to give the Arabs some sort of history in the world. It’s almost like reading about the same era in a Jewish vein — the storyline put forth by everyone who basically wishes to erase all Jewish history prior to the so-called beginnings of Zionism (which, in all actuality, goes back to our roots) which they purport to be in the 1800’s or so, starting with Theodor Herzl and the various assorted Jewish “Congresses”.

We hear about Arab Algerians who led various factions in favor of one particular ideology or another. It’s as if they’re creating an identity for themselves, first trying on one and then another.

In Jerusalem, in the Old City, I came across one such poster dedicated to trying to create a “Palestinian” identity for the various Arabs who have visited there, lived there, or wished they did, in the last several decades or so. This poster talked about trying to create a style of dress which could be then identified as the “Palestinian” culture, as well as making up dances and other modes of being which could later be called the Palestinian culture (of long ago…).

After the Napoleonic foray in 1798 to capture Egypt, the French captured Algeria on July 5th, 1830 (pp. 83 – 84). Relations between the French settlers who came to Algeria during its colonization and the local Arab population were fraught with tension (pp. 92 – 96).

While most of what we can extract from French joie de vivre lends itself over to intellectualism and spurs the modernist movements which have resulted in the adoption and refinement of these values which helped to birth citizenry and egalitarian ideals, there are other times when France succumbed or was overrun with contrarian types steering their passage down the dark roads of destruction.

While the Jewish people had never received parity on an equal status as citizens in any country (except its own) ever before, it was France who first relaxed their rules and eliminated the second-class status they had been under. But when the events leading up to the recent world wars began to coalesce, France found itself under the Vichy regime, acting in confederacy with many of Hitler’s goals and ambitions. The Final Solution for the Jews was one of these, and France was complicit in rounding up the Jews for deportation to the death camps. Many of the specific individuals who carried out these orders continued to live in safety and protection in France, never having to face war crimes tribunals for as long as they lived. One such person, Maurice Papon, had been involved in the deportation of the Jews at the V’el d’Hiv, and he was the Prefect of Police (pg. 181)!

Hussey tried to equate a subsequent roundup of Muslims into the sports stadiums to be beaten (pg. 199) as akin to the deportation of the Jews. But there is no moral equivalency, whatsoever, here.

As Muslims continued to react with violence to the takeover of their country, the French government stepped in. Between the two were the settlers, who created their own group and sided with neither. Terrorist acts on both sides continued beyond the saturation point, when France decided to give Algeria its independence on July 3rd, 1962 (pg. 202).

During the approximately 130-year rule, factions arose which advocated differing approaches for the state. One of these groups was the Front du Liberation Nationale (FLN) (pg. 156), which was a loose association of Muslim Algerian individuals battling on for independence. On the side of the French Algerians opposed to independence was the Organisation Armee Secrete (OAS), who wanted to fight the French (pg. 198 and others). Hussey again makes an anti-Jewish stab in stating that an OAS death squad named DELTA admired the Haganah (pg. 198) while going on to detail the OAS’s killing of innocent Muslims as if this was something akin to how the Haganah would operate (pg. 198, ibid.), when in fact the Haganah operated mostly as a defensive army for Israel (except when it did, stupidly, open fire on a boatload of Jewish refugees escaping to Palestine from Nazi Europe, which was the impetus for the fracturing-off of splinter groups who disagreed from the Haganah about attacking its own people, creating such groups as the Irgun, etc.).

I’ve done only a small amount of reading on the various military groupings which formed in Israel in the recent decades past. One of them (and then, later, others) broke off from the original defense group and became proactive, in contrast to the original group which remained more passive. The proactive group was the one to eventually create enough chaos and ruckus that the British left their Mandate, allowing the Jews to become self-determining. While the tactics may have been heavy-handed at times, warnings about attacks to follow were often made beforehand to minimize casualties. The tactic of terrorism has proven quite useful, especially for the Arabs, who have reaped many of its rewards. Terrorism does and has worked. The problem is in trying to stop it.

In the infancy of Algeria’s newfound independence ran the internecine battle to determine its leadership. Several people ascended to the top, only to be pulled down and replaced by others.

The reigning president, Ben Youssef Ben Kheda was an unpopular unknown (pg. 207), later succeeded by a vote into power of Ahmed Ben Bella (pg. 208). In turn, he was usurped in a coup d’etat by an FLN commander named Houari Boumedienne (pg. 208, ibid). Boumedienne militarized his security forces, which were responsible for assassinations of dissidents, sent his country’s troops to war with Israel in the Six Day War, returned Arabic to its primary place as language and Islam as the primary culture in the country (pp. 212 – 214).

It’s interesting to note, now, that a woman suspect named Hayat Boumeddiene is wanted in association with the killers involved in a terrorist siege across France January 7th through January 9th, 2015, when eleven people were killed and another eleven further injured in a massacre of workers at Charlie Hebdo magazine (previously firebombed in 2011 for a comic of Mohammed) (this book; and Wikipedia), followed by other atrocities including the killing of a policewoman, the robbing of a gas station, the storming of a kosher supermarket and the taking of hostages, carjackings and other sieges killing four, before the male terrorists, brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi, and Ahmed Coulaly, the boyfriend of Hayat Boumeddiene, were killed (Wikipedia).

Throughout the millenia and down through the centuries, Arab rule has been fraught with constant and fractious struggles for power and hegemony, from both within its ranks and from without. To uphold the ideals of an individual’s rights to freedom and action in a democratic society goes against the grain of the Mid-East mindset raised to honor the family first. As the family clan expands via births and its extended members, it can form a loose association in its greater form as a tribe.

In the arid climates and desertland often found in the locales from which they spring, gender roles became entrenched to correspond with the functions they assumed within this society. Much like we consider the hunter-gatherer societies (at least in our recent postulations), the males take the proactive/aggressive stance and hunt down the major resources to be used by the family, while the female assumes the care-giving roles and its attendant and ongoing needs. This involves the tasks associated with the home (organizing, neatening) and with its members within it (nursing, raising, feeding, etc.).

The struggle for power pits family against family, perpetually at loggerheads to remain the domineering clan, as it is they who decide matters and it is to them that accrue many riches. It is not surprising, therefore, that there are always others trying to usurp first place – and therefore, they must hire others (or dole out favors) for protection, always being wary that these same people could turn on them. It becomes an ongoing battle to eliminate the opposition. It has not yet taken hold that a democratic process of elections leading to a government that still operates with bribery and corruption will ultimately break down into civil chaos, as has happened in all elective middle-east nations, with the exception of Israel. The society itself needs to change and must want and initiate this change from within.

In 1991, when the Islamist FIS claimed victory in a first-round of voting to ascend to Parliament, the populace reacted. So, too, did the military, starting yet another cycle of Algerian civil war (pp. 228-229).

In limited situations where resources are scarce, the family’s acquisitions might be gained by various means, all considered fair game, including by work, trade, or strategy to divest someone else of their own holdings. The strategies used to obtain their acquisitions are regaled for their ribaldness and daring, as much fair game exists in the efforts to obtain it as do the methods. The subject of many an oral tradition include pilfery as much as they are set to poetry. The male ego hinges upon the success of these endeavors, much of it incumbent upon the quantity of the provisions they supply. And so the tales related may become embellished in exaggerated details, always in their favor.

We act, here in America, as if this is a new occurrence — a wonderment of baffling perplexity. It is not, at all, and it is certainly known. To pretend otherwise, shows a willful strategy to do so. When an author can relate its truth and others can speak to it with experience, then plausible deniability can no longer be employed in a Saul Alinsky-like mode to lure society into its false trap. Hussey states that the violence reaching France was an inevitable trajectory of the incidents which predated it (pg. 235). And that, to an extent, is true. In a later incident two years later in France, Algerian men proceeded to hijack a plane and shot several of its passengers. Hussey states that their plan had been to fly the plane into the Eiffel Tower (pg. 236), which eerily parallels the September 11th, 2001 hijacking of American planes used against the Pentagon and the twin towers of the World Trade Center, which collapsed after hijacked planes were flown into each of them. Knowing this, can we still pretend ignorance to terrorist tactics and the fact that they can, and will, be used against us?

We find this in many of the relics left behind by ancient societies in the mideast region, in commemorations of battles engraved in stone regarding perceived victories against the “other” in battle, and the enumeration of items gained, whether cities, livestock, property or people. The exhilaration of acquisition and dominion can turn to harshness in the suppression of others. We see this among many similar structures in this vein as evidenced by the cruelty displayed by cartels and “syndicates”, mafioso and Barbary pirates plying the shores to ransom shipboard cargo and passengers.

This position has not changed much in the thousands of years since the society began, while much of the world beyond it has gone the course of industrialized nations. The chasm between the two has widened and function at completely distanced poles from each other. To look down the line and view the other would bring astonishment and dismay at the manner in which the other society operates. The survival instinct to protect each own’s society would kick in and present the conundrum over what to do about the other – ignore it, engage with it, assimilate with it, or annihilate it? Unfortunately, while the industrialized nations might wish to engage with or assimilate the Arab culture, the Arab culture wishes no engagement with the industrialized/democratic culture and sees it as a threat which cannot co-exist with their own culture. This is what we are witnessing in the behavior of the jihadists — it is indeed a clash of cultures and civilizations, if you will. That is why it is terrifying to the Taliban, for instance, to allow women to attend school, for they become educated and might learn not to be subservient when they gain confidence in themselves and become individuals with rights of their own.

But technology has advanced so far and penetrated so deep that I don’t think that there are many societies left in the world that have not been touched, or at least visited, by modernity. And so, by that very nature, they are in a losing battle they cannot win, but we are witness to its last strongholds and assertion for dominance in the world. They will not go down without a fight though they stare down the wrong end of the barrel.

What America sees now has been going on for more than a century in Europe. Reading Hussey’s book is like stumbling upon the writings of a seer. If we wonder how it will play out here, one need only open his book and to read his pages.

Eventually it moves abroad and picks up anew where it left off, that much wiser for advanced technology and training. Here again, we see terrorism proliferating in its new environs. Homegrown and lone wolf sympathizers vie to inflict the nastiest damage they can on the non-believers (the infidel) by killing and maiming as many as they can.

Andrew Hussey reports the renewed revival of terror perpetrated by the Algerian Muslims against France beginning in the early 1990’s with a bombing at the airport terminal of Houari Boumedienne airport in Algiers (pg. 233). Well, fancy that. Though there may be minor differences in spelling, the latest terror plot carried out in France of 2015 is linked by association to the known terrorists with a woman named Hayat Boumeddiene, who managed to disappear and stay hidden, the story swept under the carpet by the media. Why is there no follow-up on her whereabouts or 24/7 news coverage of the all-points bulletin being issued for her? No… the name is too-well known and associated with terrorist martyrs, whom the Arabs idolize and aspire to become like them.

Hussey speaks of the resultant fracturing and ideological imitations carried forward by like-minded individuals and groups, noting that the original group does not need to hold together in order to complete its goals of destruction (pg. 234).

Just so we know, the next step as the Arabs enter the country whose people they find abhorrent, they recruit from within their ranks to train more people in killing tactics. Then, they recruit from within the country’s own people, after which they escalate into attacks.

The book is also about Morocco. Hussey relates that the area was ruled by Sultan Mawaly Abdul Aziz and had not been considered rich enough in assets for an outside country to plunder, and so it went about in existence delineated as much by what it was not as by what it was (pg. 268). With no desire to conquer Morocco inasmuch as to protect the Frenchmen of Algeria, the French decided that Morocco should become a protectorate (pg. 269), which reached its realization in the 1912 Treaty of Fez. The sultan was still allowed secular sovereignty along with his religious authority as a supposed descendant of the Prophet Mohammed (pg. 268). The sultan is reported to have had thirty black slaves alone to prepare his racing track (pg. 270).

The Arabs have kept slaves from the beginning of known history, even up to this day, only recently putting to paper (whether in reality, or otherwise) the abolition of its practice. Especially with the seventh century expansion of the Islamic Empire outward into Africa, the taking of captives to be used as slaves was a common occurrence. Property and booty were the tributes to the conquerors, and those who did not accept the new Islamic rule were met, quite often, with death by beheading. Since this newest religion was preceded by Christianity and Judaism, and is based on the acceptance of some of it and the reproachment of other parts of it in the book known as the Koran compiled by Islamic scholars several centuries after the death of its founder, Mohammed, it was contended that those adherents to the prior revelations were superseded by Islam and must show obeisance to Islam’s superiority and replacement as the final “word”. If in good graces, they could be permitted to substitute a tributary payment (jizya), in acknowledgment of the supposed superiority of Islam, and that would sometimes suffice for the ransom of their lives. But many were taken as slaves, and as related previously, were inculcated with Islamic ideology, culture and language. Many of the indigenous natives to Africa thus acquired a new culture superimposed over their own, the domineering forces imposing its will and becoming the dominant mode of life for many. Ingrained over the centuries, it has not been eradicated and there remains a strong, lingering Arabic culture among many of today’s African nations. They have yet to “shake it off”, like the Jews were relieved to do in coming home at last to Israel after so many years of imposed exile among the nations. Thankfully, there were always Jews living in Canaan/Palestine/Judah/Israel to welcome home those who had not been able to make it back earlier, although the desire and dream to do so had never left them. Despite the outer trappings of the societies in which they found themselves, Jews the world over maintained their religious rituals (minus the Temple rites performed by the Levites) with the Cohens, the Rabbis and the Sages, all keeping in touch to preserve Judaism in living embodiment among its people. That is why following the first destruction of the Temple, when many of Israel’s most talented and intelligent people were carted off to Babylon, there existed a portable form of Judaism where communication was exchanged by letter to answer important theological questions. During this time, commentary on both sides developed and grew and became what we know today as the Talmud, two versions, practically identical, arising out of the two lands: Babylon and Jerusalem. They are known as Talmud Bavli (Babylon) and Talmud Yerushalmi (Jerusalem) (yes, Jerusalem). Today we hold the Babylonian Talmud as the more authoritative edition, being that the more learned scholars and authorities of the time were the ones who had been exiled out of Israel (and that is why it is considered like as if all the inhabitants had been removed to Babylon, rendering Israel/Judah/House of David devoid of substance).

What supposedly advanced societies pass off as civilization is unfathomable that it includes vile and violent anti-Semitism, even to this day. But, Jewish people, as a nation of people, are among the world’s oldest, if not the oldest, continuous ancient society of the world. We’ve had eons to adopt a benevolent and enlightened outlook of the world, even if the rest of the world is millenia behind in catching up. If the best that Europe could produce was the Austro-Germanic trappings of their provincialism, or the Francophilic acceptance of an “anything goes” culture, we can expect that the self-delusional superiority these views can breed would allow scapegoating for their failures to extend to projections upon the foreigner, “the Jew”. The fact, while hard to concede, is that its existence today should be hardly surprising, given the relatively slow rate with which their societies evolved.

The Middle Ages in Europe were practically barbaric when Jews, 1,500 years before, had already figured out how to build and dress 144-ton stones to be used in the retaining wall on the Temple Mount.

That jealousy resurges in the form of anti-Semitism is not surprising to me, either — but the fact that nobody really mentions it is somewhat laughable. In any case, that is how it goes — so, the fact that libraries today contain only mostly books of incorrect statements about Jewish history or the Jewish people can be considered par for the course. And to think — Jews helped to compile the content of the writings found in some of the greatest ancient libraries of the world, including at the Great Library in Alexandria, Egypt, where seventy scribes were involved in translating the Old Testament into the various lingua franca of the day and region. The resultant book is known as the Septuagint (its base root word translating this fact into it’s reality).

So we find the few digs at the Jews included in Hussey’s work, as well as in most others among the libraries’ bookshelves. Usually it comes as a thought process of one of the book’s characters, or as an undefined statement lacking a pronoun to trace it back to, so that no lawsuits for libel or slander or defamation of character can be pursued. Whether the thoughts were included by the author, or as a peculiar addition by the editor (so that they can place the book into the library’s catalogue collection?) is a wonderment.

But to his credit, we do find here that Hussey has at least included descriptions of some heinous Arab attacks against the Jews, as well as upon others, in the book, which is conspicuously absent from most others. While hardly making a dent in the long litany of attacks from the Arabs that we’ve faced, it at least provides a glimpse into the barbarity with which they were committed.

Medicine was not unknown in the Arab world. The Jewish mind was often enlisted by Arabs in the provision of services and in passing on Jewish knowledge in written form. We have done so continuously throughout our existence, attesting back to Joseph as the overseer of Egypt for the Pharoah of the time, and of many who served like a court physician, such as Moses Ben Maimon (also known in the Hellenistic variant as Maimonides) who was considered monumental in bringing medical knowledge to the Europeans. Of course, in thankfulness for the saving of many lives through this knowledge, the superstitious and anti-Semitic Europeans would later create the Black Plague libel to blame upon the Jews.

Medical knowledge, even among some of the Arabs of today, can still be comprised of startlingly uninformed beliefs. Hussey relates this to be the case in Morocco in 1907, which he says included spells, caustic, and hot irons (pg. 272). The French doctor sent over to tend the local Moroccan people met a gruesome death by stabbing and stoning for the suspicion supposedly held by the local populace that a surveying pole set on his building for triangulating coordinates for map-making projects was instead being used to control the population via telegraphs from the French (pg. 272, ibid). The French authorities blamed the attack on an innocent German Jew, Judah Holzmann, who Hussey says was working for the local pasha (pg. 272, ibid).

In a 1907 assault by France on Casablanca sent to protect European lives and colonial rule, the Arabs turned around and attacked the Jewish population over several days, with Jewish women captives ransomed for their lives (pg. 276).

The political situation of colonial rule resulted in Morocco’s division to France as a protectorate, with the 1912 Treaty of Fez, overseen by rule of the sultan. Germany was bought out in exchange for territory on the Congo; Spain was granted territories going back from claims to the sixteenth century in areas of the North and in the far Southern regions; Tangier was placed under international control. The Jews, under the protectorate, were still not granted French citizenship (pp. – 278).

So why is there an international outcry to take Jerusalem and other parts of Israel away from it, when all the Arabs have been granted independence to their lands despite always losing their wars? Growing tired of war, Moroccans were granted their independence in 1956 (pg. ). Why the discrepancy between how the world treats the Arabs versus how the world treats the Jews? Just days ago, under the administration of the first black president in U.S. history, the United States declares that it will not recognize Israel as the birthplace of those born in Jerusalem. While there’s a great hue and cry mainly coming from the American Jewish population (as no one else could give a hoot about this) about the ignominious treatment of the Jewish state and its people, what the Leftist idiots don’t realize is that it would have to pertain equally to the Arab population. To me, that can be a good thing. Who really cares what America thinks, as long as Jerusalem and all parts of Israel are still considered by Israel to always belong in Jewish hands as Israel? We have always received nose-thumbing from America and the rest of the world. Everyone can see what it is, for what it’s worth. So, Israel will go on, as it did way before the Mayflower set sail on its voyage for its own New Jerusalem/New Amsterdam.

I haven’t studied Trotsky, Marx or Lenin, Socialism, Communism, or Fascism, so I don’t know whether they were as politically astute as to escalate their cause for the common man to include opposition to Imperialism or Colonialism, as Hussey attributes back to them in the early 1900’s (pg. ). But Communist leaders sided with the Arabs in their insurgency of the early 1920’s to try to regain Morocco by force in their war against “bankers and industrialists (pg. 288)”, which we know is coded anti-Semitism couched in not very ambiguous terms, being that this slur against the Jews has persisted for hundreds upon hundreds of years and is related to the anti-Semitic belief that Jews run the world, or are out to try to do that, with the attendant second slur of ‘all Jews are wealthy’ being implied. This therefore refutes the retrospective push to attribute the Communist movement and outlook as means devised by Jews to accomplish these goals. While some of these movements may have had Jews among their founders or proponents thereof, Communists were mostly against the Jews and were often the perpetrators in acts of violence against Jews. Anti-Semitism has been buried by cloaking these ideas in continued ambiguity, such as the Church now referring constantly to “The Enemy” in substitution for what used to openly be called either ‘The Jews’ or ‘The Devil’ (here, they become synonymous, a convenient euphemism elevating their message). When pressed for further meaning, it will be stated “The Unbeliever”.

Although Morocco was free, it was far from a country settling into a peaceful existence. The violence and rioting has not abated even to the present day, and the methods we see taking hold on American streets in the past few years, which effectively began with the Occupy (Wall Street) movement, were raging in Morocco during the 1970’s and 1980’s still. They attacked the wealthy areas, smashing shop windows and burning cars (pg. 306).

Many of the Arab movements are comprised of its different branches, which Hussey notes among one that developed among Moroccan youth (pg. 307). Its name is unimportant, but what it shows is the tendency to be able to fool people into believing their charitable contributions represent the entirety of a movement’s efforts when, in fact, it is melded to a violent, murderous ideology.

Hussey gives us a brief look, which nobody in the media had bothered to do, into the personal details of Zacarias Moussaoui. He tells us that Moussaoui was raised in France in a town called Narbonne, and whose family had come from Meknes, Morocco (pg. 312).

Hussey takes a stab at America, describing characters in a book of third-generation Moroccan descent living in France whose culture is ‘being eroded by Anglo-American pop culture (pg. 313)’. You see the constant riots in places like France broadcast on t.v. – yet America is full of third-generation immigrants, as well — and these have learned to improve their ways to live with uncommon people.

He does us the favor of describing multiple attacks against Jews and Jewish institutes in Morocco by the Moroccans who live there, which occurred only a dozen years ago. Multiple Jewish targets were attacked on the same day. Bombs were placed along a Jewish cemetery, inside a Jewish-owned restaurant, and the Cercle de l’Alliance Israelite, as well as in a Kuwaiti-owned hotel (for good measure) (pg. 314). Other attacks included a club geared toward the elderly Spanish population, and other methods included the ubiquitous attempted beheading, knifing, and killing of people not conforming to Islamist purity. The acts were not limited in scope or in gender: even young teenage girls got in on the act to plan and execute violent acts (pg. 315). Hussey states there was no connection among these events, but there was.

He speaks also of the recent terror attacks of March 11th, 2004 in Spain, which the media portrayed as a new phenomenon never before happening. More information, which we learn from Hussey about it, was never properly portrayed in American media: at least eighteen terrorists (convicted in 2007) placed thirteen bags with mobile phone devices to explode bombs aboard four passenger trains at the beginning of morning commute-time (pg. 316). He says that police found videos of one of the convicted terrorists’ Moroccan friends fighting in Dagestan, Russia (pg. 316, ibid) (second home of convicted terrorist, Jokhar Tsarnaev). The terrorists were all from Tangier, where Hussey says the American legation, the former headquarters of the U.S. Diplomatic Mission has been since 1821 (pp. 323-324)!

There was the terrorist attack in England on 07/07/2005. I myself was sitting in a plane on the tarmac getting ready for takeoff when the news was broadcast on those little t.v. sets in the back of the seats. Mine wasn’t on and I only briefly saw the screen to see that something serious was going on, but I didn’t really know what. Then we were on our way, and I do remember being petrified all flight long as many Arabs scattered throughout the plane singly stood up, went to the lavatory and returned to their seat, followed by the next one, then the next, etc. Two Arab men sitting next to each other across from me both were reading similar sheafs of papers which looked to be printed out from personal computers and which I believed were either The Daily Mail or something like that, which I thought was an English paper, but the men didn’t look at each other once or converse or anything and at the end of the flight each dumped their papers into a trash bag the flight attendant brought around.

We had our own huge terrorist attack in America on 09/11/2001, and the terrorists have not stopped yet. England had another one with that guy who beheaded the off-duty soldier, and France just had the multiple attacks against the journalists of the satirical publication, Charlie Hebdo, which was previously attacked several years ago, a fact not mentioned in the media, as well as the attack in the kosher supermarket (which president Obama would later refer to as “some folks in a deli…”) and others.

All along, there is one common thread that does unite all of these — the attackers are “Arabs”, using that term to include all the different countries or people which comprise that culture.

The Arab world again erupted, but this time across its own nations, in what retrospectively became known as the Arab Spring. We had hoped that these people were fighting their oppressive countries and would at long last claim victory and freedom for themselves, but this did not occur. Nothing was gained. It caught our attention for a while and definitely seemed to be inspired by the Occupy (Wall Street) movement. Then it seemed there was a moratorium on reportage from the media. It probably has not died out, but we wouldn’t know that from lack of coverage on our end.

Completing the North African foray, Hussey’s last country is the third of the trine: Tunisia. He pins the start of the Arab Spring to an act of self-immolation by an angry fruit vendor named Mohammed Bouazizi protesting the harrasment he received at the hands of Police trying to seize his cart on December 17th, 2010 (pg. 339), which set off riots cross-state and into nearby Arab countries. Nearing the end of 2012, the U.S. embassy in Tunis was attacked and the American School was burned down, events not reported in American media. He reports this having happened only days later from the murder of Chris Stephens, the American ambassador to Libya, which was a constant media item for months (the “BenGhazi” incident). He then goes on to relate that the satirical French publication, Charlie Hebdo, published imagined images of the “Prophet”, as if it was a premonition to the later massacre in the magazine’s building just recently. He says that the police in Tunis were hunting a Salafist Muslim heading the group Ansar-El-Sharia, named Abou Iyadh (pp. – 349).

During the Second World War, both Germany and Italy fought the French in Tunisia for control of the land and won. The Germans then confiscated Jewish property there and sent them to concentration camps in Tunisia and Europe. He says that the Jews were a 100,000-strong population in Tunisia prior to this; he also called the camps “labour” camps, but we know that German camps confining the Jews were often way more than that — they were death factories. He tells of one Arab Tunisian who helped to save Jews during this time and was nominated, as the sole Arab, by Israel as one of the Righteous Among Nations (pp. -363). His name is Khaled Abdul-Wahab.

Tunis became PLO headquarters after they were bombed out of Beirut, Lebanon by Israel in 1982, and second home after leaving Egypt by the Arab League (pg. 372). Hussey states that the first Palestinian Intifada (obviously against Israel) was directed from Tunisia with Egyptian-born leader Yasser Arafat at its head (pg. 373).

It’s hard to believe that in my time and only within the last decade or so that the immovable, unchangeable titans of the Middle East, the Davids and Goliaths if you will, have all fallen in the strangest of ways: Ariel Sharon (Israel, Lion of Judah) was felled by a stroke from which he never regained consciousness (although he was placed into a medically-induced coma); Arafat (PLO) died of natural causes but is claimed to have been poisoned; Khaddafi (Libya) was torn apart by mobs of his own countrymen; Mubarak (Egypt) was brought down by hard-line Islamists and prosecuted; Assad (Syria) is still fighting a civil war against his countrymen and invading outsiders; the Husseins of Iraq (Saddam and his ghastly children) were taken out a bit earlier than these by their countrymen but with complete American support.

All of these, especially Israel’s, are a great loss because the interim situation is creating a vacuum being filled by hard-line Islamists and continuing warfare. We don’t know what the outcomes will be, as this history is continuing to be written as it unfolds. It is not modernity that will bring a change to the ages-old Arab mindset, because terrorism can thrive in both high- and low-tech mode. Only the desire by its citizens to create a democratic way of life guaranteeing freedom for its people will propel the impetus forward for its change in governance. Hopefully the Arab citizens can overthrow the despotic regimes they’ve been living under and create the democratic lifestyle and freedoms that they would truly cherish.



The idea of the clan-to-tribe-to-Sharia/jihadist mindset of the Arabic Eastern cultures, as I put forth in the above review, acting in cultural-contravention to the adoption of Democratic, Western-styled manners, is also being expounded, here, by Denis MacEoin, in Part I of his article (further writing pending, at present):



MacEoin, Denis. “Human Rights – Other Views – Part I”; April 27, 2018; Gatestone Institute International Policy Council;


MacEoin, Denis.  “Human Rights – Other Views – Part II: “; May 15, 2018; Gatestone Institute International Policy Council;


MacEoin, Denis.  “Human Rights – Other Views – Part III: Refugees and the Arab States”; June 15, 2018; Gatestone Institute International Policy Council;


I hint at inherited memory; it is a reality:



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The Storyteller’s Daughter – by Saira Shah

The Storyteller’s Daughter – by Saira Shah; copyright 2003 by Saira Shah. A Borzoi Book published by Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc., New York, and Random House of Canada, Limited, Toronto. Originally published 2003 by Penguin Books, Ltd., London.

The author’s talent is in finding a voice which can soothe and the perplexity to relate to the dual, and duelling natures of a woman trying to concile the reality of her birth-country upbringing, versus the peoplehood and nation of her ancestry, which is also so much a part of her. So much of this book is relatable — her journeys back to her roots and the stories held in her heart.

The help with which she did wish to aid her fellow man (or woman, as this case so pertains) has reached its spiritual recipient in the publishing and telling of her own story. In inexplicable ways, it provided healing for an immediate need and longer-term balm through the mystical revelation bequeathed to a sister in a Jewish soul.

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Saudi Arabia Exposed: Inside a Kingdom in Crisis – by John R. Bradley

Saudi Arabia Exposed: Inside a Kingdom in Crisis – by John R. Bradley. First published 2005 by Palgrave MacMillan, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York, 10010 and Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire, England RG216XS. Copyright 2005 by John R. Bradley.

One of the most interesting books I’ve read; full of relevant information from a British citizen who lived and worked in Saudi Arabia as a journalist for Arab News. He was educated at University College, London; Dartmouth College, and Exeter College, Oxford and speaks Arabic. The book reads like a daily journal in book form. Amazing.

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Out of Egypt: A Memoir – by Andre Aciman

Out of Egypt: A Memoir, by Andre Aciman; copyright 1994 by author. Published in hardcover, 1994, by Farrar Straus Giroux; later by Riverhead Books, the Berkley Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Putnam, Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014; Also published in Canada.

The story of an Egyptian Jewish family and their lives in Alexandria. The book won a 1995 Whiting Writer’s Award and has received praise from a litany of reviewers, of whose excerpts themselves show mastery of the English language.

My disappointment with the author’s word choices to describe his great-uncle, however, skewer my initial anticipation in choosing to read this book. I don’t particularly care to find insulting or stereotypical language directed against Jews in my reading selections, but I have found it on a rather regular basis, and often from the same sources. The remarks I find derogatory in this book use descriptors for the great-uncle such as: arrogant; self-satisfaction; strutting; cocksure; …-braggart; hectoring, barged in; hapless; schemes; flaunting; rascal; shady; conjurer. All this, plus some negative turns of phrase in just the first three pages!

By the fourth page, he describes his great-uncle as a self-loathing type who turns the projected anti-Semitism of others inwards upon himself so that the stereotypical insults of the bully become his own self-directed hatred. He continues the derogatory terminology (via the character of his uncle) with: peddler; scoundrel; patronizing; shrewd; womanizer. It’s bad enough to hear anti-Semitism from others, let alone from “one’s own.”

Segueing into another character, also Jewish, Aciman describes him as diffident; stupid; incompetent; duplicity. By the twelfth page, we’ve added “demonic.” This is the stock-in-trade of anti-Semites and the academia of recent generations.

If you make it through all the hyperbole and hectoring, you’re suddenly sucked into the lives of these characters and the portrayal of a time not so far into the distant past, where such attitudes were more commonplace and Jews still lived among many of the Muslim lands prior to the rebirth of their ancestral homeland, Israel. Nary a Jew remains among the so-called Muslim lands and people of today; they were all driven out by the Muslims, their properties and assets confiscated, for the most part, in the land jockeying occurring at the close of World Wars I and II, when the entirety of the Middle East was carved up and redistributed amongst the powerful family scions and factions prevalent at that time — Israel was one fair entity among them.

Yet with the outpouring of a propensity of the world’s Jews and their concurrent settling among the various people of the world in the foreign lands of the “other”, many Jews were looked at as interlopers among the local populace. They were forced to live apart from the mainstream in ghettos and were legally regarded as second-class citizens or subjects and were not permitted to assimilate into many of the cultures in which they found themselves.

This was later to have had the effect of making many Jews resentful of this low-class status conferred upon them, leading to the adoption of these similar attitudes by the Jews against themselves in their shedding of ritual practices and any appearance suggestive of their Judaism which might hinder their ability to blend into the local culture. Many Jewish people do not even realize they have done this and would wholeheartedly deny it was so — but, I know; because I was one of them, anxious to shed the identity which held me back, in my own perception. Later on, when I matured and my viewpoints about the world became more pragmatic and less utopian, so too did my attitudes change to my heredity and I became proud of this noble lineage from which I spring. It is just such inklings that show up in this book, which bring tears to the eyes at its tender moments, knowing that the past as it unfolded has been written and recorded for our review in posterity.

Like a flower bud blooming, one might look on the enlightenment of our recent decades of civil rights and wonder how people could ever have held the attitudes they did during such days. Really, this is what the book is about, to me — aptly named ‘Out of Egypt’ in nodding reference to the Jewish exodus out of bondage from their human masters and into the realm of the Divine.

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Precis of Emile Zola and the Dreyfus Affair

In 1894 in France, Jewish artillery captain, Alfred Dreyfus, was found guilty by court-martial of treason for allegedly selling French secrets about their military placements and weaponry to the German enemy, for which he was placed in Devil’s Island the following year. The next year, further investigations were made into this incident due to flimsy evidence, at which it was determined that a virulent anti-Semite, one Major Esterhazy, was actually the spy. The enquirer of these matters, Colonel Picquart, was then quickly re-assigned by his superiors to North Africa. Eventually, Captain Dreyfus was cleared in 1899.

Although it has been widely reported in other sources, the information for the above account, and for what follows below (in addition to my own opinions), comes from author Stuart Kelly’s interesting creation, The Book of Lost Books: An Incomplete History of All the Great Books You’ll Never Read, copyrighted 2005 by Stuart Kelly and copyright illustrated 2005 by Andrzej Krauze, originally published 2005 in U.K. by Viking, a division of the Penguin Group, London, and published in U.S. by Random House, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York.

Kelly states: “The Jews, it was whispered in print, had a syndicate to fund Dreyfus’s appeal. They were profiting from both sides of the conflict (pg. 290).” Is the second sentence a conclusive statement of Kelly’s, or is this statement one made supposedly by the press, as per the preceding first sentence? It is hard to tell.

Emile Zola, an author/writer living in France who was nominated twice for the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1901 and 1902 (per Wikipedia), respectively, published an account of the conspiracy against Dreyfus in the January 13, 1898 edition of L’Aurore. In the by-now famous article, J’Accuse, Zola sought to uncover the perpetrators by publishing the names of those he thought were responsible for the cover-up and conspiracy. He was brought to court for doing so, was found guilty, and wound up fleeing the country to England, where he continued to write under the assumed name of M. Jacques Beauchamp.

He was free to return to France when Zola was cleared in 1899 of the charges. Three years later, Zola was found dead in his apartment, after having complained of nausea, headaches and dizziness at three in the morning on September 29, 1902. Stuart Kelly recounts that the coroner had declared Zola’s carbon monoxide poisoning an accidental death. Not even demolishing the flue from the fireplace in his bedroom, reconstructing the conditions under which his room existed when he perished, and subsequent testing with guinea pigs (who safely survived) could reveal the actual turn of events which were related by M. Haquin in 1953 to have transpired on that fateful day.

The anti-Semitic feelings and activities continually bubbling under the surface of many a Frenchman, as well as those across Europe and elsewhere, often expressed itself in pogroms, attacks against Jews and their businesses, exclusive laws and policies against them, and scapegoating against the Jews with false accusations, such as that which befell Captain Dreyfus, a man innocently and honorably defending France’s citizens against attack by enemies. That these same citizens should turn around to foist their prejudiced hatred against Dreyfus belies the pervasive effect milennia of teachings have had, to deleterious effect, in heinous acts committed upon the Jewish people.

The slander perpetrated against innocent Jewish Captain Alfred Dreyfus spread like a wildfire, concentrating into absolutes the inner constitutions of all whose lives were touched by this incident. For those with a propensity towards anti-Semitism, it hardened their hearts against the Jews, collectively condemning them as a race and singularly perpetrating actions to discredit, disgrace, dehumanize, and deprive them of the means to life which were given them by G-d.

Some of them, like Zola’s so-called “friends,” belied their true constitution. Despite the evidence clearing Dreyfus, the incident would remain forever cemented in their minds, wrongly accusing Dreyfus, the Jew, as a traitor, and all those even suggesting the possibility of his innocence, condemned via guilt by the intimation of even a glimmer of sympathy, even after revelation of the true facts in the case.

Although France would be the first to repeal its governmental decree declaring Jews as persona non-grata in their country, the old prejudices just never seemed to die off, even in the supposed, so-called “Enlightenment” and “Reformation” of all of Europe.

The distillation of these views perpetuated over time created lingering resentments against the Jews. In 1953, a reader of the Liberation newspaper named M. Haquin revealed that a chimney sweep had allegedly confessed: “I and my men blocked the chimney while doing repairs next door. There was a lot of coming and going and we took advantage of the hubbub to locate Zola’s chimney and stop it. We unstopped it the next day, very early. No one noticed us.”

The apparent implications in this statement may have afforded its alleged perpetrators a stay of justice in an earthly-based existence, but the ramifications of the Dreyfus affair had even further marked consequences, as its result.

It inspired the Jewish people to become more proactive in taking control of their destiny. Although there have always been Jews living in Israel since G-d commanded Abraham to move there, the rest of the nations have attempted to thwart these plans throughout the thousands of years since.

From the Babylonian exile where our most learned sages continued studying and transmitting G-d’s law with the rest of the Jewish communities worldwide (such as those that remained in Jerusalem, as evidenced by the two Talmuds — Babylonian and Yerushalmi), through the Inquisitions and expulsions from Spain and England, and our ghettoization in places like the Pale of Settlement in the Ukraine, killed in the gas chambers of Germany, our graves the mass pits of the forests and the crematoria of the enemies of Jews, the ground of our spilled blood and the souls of our people cry out to the L-rd who has heard —

We are not witnesses to a self-deluded mantra of vitriol purposing our destruction, but a witness to the One whose promises are revealed in every generation. We are reminded of and prompted to the fulfillment of these promises in each generation upon the earth, that every generation might know that the word of the L-rd is true.

The Dreyfus Affair prompted the assimilated journalist, Theodor Herzl, of Austria, out of his reverie of trying to blend into and become like the nations around him (an act actually prohibited of us by the L-rd) and to begin to form concrete plans to promote the return of Jews to the homeland, Israel (known to others as various names, including Palestine). In turn, this led to the first Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland, where Jews got together to find ways to return to our land.

The so-called resultant movement, called Zionism, which others purport to be a recent 19th Century invention, is actually a several thousand year old decree by G-d. Zion is one of the older names for the land of our home, the proof of which can be found in the pages of the Bible, if only one would actually deign to look there.

That fact is written there as plainly as one can see.

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Cavalier: A Tale of Chivalry, Passion and Great Houses – by Lucy Worsley

With what is most likely unfettered access to the homes of the landed gentry as Chief Curator of the Historic Royal Palaces, Lucy Worsley pieces back together the lives of the Cavendish household and their remarkable properties through her decade-long research via the great archival collections of the institutions and families that comprised the Royal households from the mid-1500’s through the following century. Her exhaustive obsession with her subject matter, from the bawdy, yet occasionally witty poetry of William Cavendish excerpted within, to the daily drudgery of the householders linked by their servitude to them, Lucy Worsley recaptures, in precise detailing, the intrigues and banality of everyday life in the English “Court.”

A well-written work by this very talented and rather young historian with a lot to say in an imagined historic recounting and musings of a romantic, Royalist past.

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The Anchor Book of Chinese Poetry

The Anchor Book of Chinese Poetry: From Ancient to Contemporary, the Full 3,000-Year Tradition; Anchor Books, a division of Random House, Inc., New York, New York, 2005, and Random House of Canada Limited, Toronto; Edited by Tony Barnstone and Chou Ping, copyright 2005 by both, above.

From the Zhou Dynasty (1122-256BCE) to the present century, this work pulls together a good representation of the various styles that evolved over the years, and gives a good glimpse into the times, summing up in quick history the events and feelings of the times in which the poems were written. Some of my favorites from these selections include:

Meng Jiao (Male) (751-814), whose down-trodden style livens his work (unappreciated by some) in the works, “Complaints” and “Song of the Homebound Letter.”

Liu Yuxi (Male) (772-842): His outspoken political poetry caused his repeated exiles and demotions from posts he had attained. “Mooring at Niuzhu at Dusk”, “Black-Uniform Lane” and “Looking at Dongting Lake” are all nice.

Liu Zongyuan (Male) (773-819): Nice imagery drawn in his many styles, he is one of only two Tang Dynasty poets to have been included in “Eight Great Prose Masters of the Tang and Song (sic).”

Zhang Ji (Male) (c.776-c.829): Contemporary of Meng Jiao, who helped him obtain employment alongside himself. “Song of a Virtuous Woman” and “Arriving at a Fisherman’s House at Night” are both good.

Yuan Zhen (Male) (779-831): Appreciate a paragraph taken from “Missing Her After Separation.”

Li He (Male) (791-817): Led a very short life, and was mostly unappreciated during his days. I think he’s fantastic. “Twenty-Three Horse Poems” and “Shown to my Younger Brother” are both very nice.

Wei Zhuang (Male) (836-910): Very nice poetry. Beautiful wording, some as simple as simplicity — “To The Tune of Daoist Princess.”

Wang Anshi (Male) (1021-1086): Torturously pulled words beat into beautiful configurations — “Plum Blossoms” and “Late Spring, a Poem Improvised at Banshan” are particularly nice.

Su Shi (Su Dongpo) (Male) (1036-1101): “Boating at Night on West Lake” is nice. “Brushed on the Wall of Xilin Temple” is perhaps an allegory of how one cannot see one’s true self as one is, just as a mountain appears different from where one stands. In “To the Tune of ‘Prelude to the Water Song'”, he notes that the same moon can be shared by people who are even a thousand miles apart.

Other notable poets include:

Yang Shen (Male) (1488-1599): “On Spring.”

Feng Ban (Male) (1602-1671): “A Poem in Jest.”

Huang Zongxi (Male) (1610-1695): “A Stray Poem Written While Living in the Mountains.”

Jiang Shiquan (Male) (1725-1785): “A Comment on Wang Shigu’s Painting Portfolio.”

Zhao Yi (Male) (1727-1814): “In A Boat.”

Wen Yiduo (pen name of Wen Jiahua) (Male) (1899 – 1946): “Miracle” has nice phrasing. Parts of it I didn’t like, as he calls the miracles of nature ordinary, but it seems like he is saying that he can’t help but to cry at the birdsong of orioles. How beautiful.

Lin Huiyin (Female) (1904 – 1955): “Sitting in Quietude” has a dainty feel.

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The Devil’s Doctor: Paracelsus and the World of Renaissance Magic and Science – by Philip Ball

Originally published by William Heinemann, a division of Random House Group, Britain and copyright 2006 by Philip Ball; and published in the U.S. by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, New York, The Devil’s Doctor is a thorough- and exhaustively researched work on the evolution of alchemical/chemical experimentation leading up to the way we conduct science today.
In the enchanting style of author Philip Ball, it is interesting to read about the manners by which our progenitors conducted theoretical processes. Frankly, it is amazing that we have even reached our present accomplishments, given some of the previous thoughts of the generations before us! A good, if long, read, nevertheless.

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View with a Grain of Sand…(Wislawa Szymborska)

This book of 100 poems by Wislawa Szymborska won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1996. Translated from the Polish by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh, it is a compendium of selections from books published between 1957 to 1993, previously copyrighted by the poet, with this latest book edition being copyrighted in 1995 by Harcourt, Brace and Company, New York.
While the author was born in 1923, the poetry she has written has classical permanence, breaching the effects of time over several decades with regard to the pertinence these poems affect on our present day souls.
Some of my favorites include: Brueghel’s Two Monkeys; Nothing Twice; Rubens’ Women; Coloratura; Bodybuilder’s Contest; Birthday; Psalm; Lot’s Wife; Seen from Above; The Onion; Children of our Age; Into the Ark; and No Title Required.

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A Time For War – by Michael Savage

Wow — this book was incredible. A real page-turning, gripping, suspenseful thriller, as only Michael Savage can bring us. The topic is not just timely, but prophetic, as the rest of the world goes about their mind-numbing day, in a haze about the dangers that despotic regimes pose to our way of life, to our nation, and to our world.

Like The Savage Nation, Michael Savage’s radio show which touches on potential future scenarios (which usually come to pass), this book of fiction spins a tale of fifth-column and international treachery unleashed by the crazy leaders of today’s non-democratic regimes. The realities of this imagined work by author Savage can be seen slowly revealed in the laws of our country and the actions made against it by those who would dance to its downfall.

A must, must, must-read book.

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Train Tracks – by Michael Savage

If you are a listener of the popular radio show, The Savage Nation, hosted by Michael Savage, you will have heard stories of his childhood such as “Woodchuck Bill” and the one about the electric blue saddle-stitched pants. It is really nice to have a compendium of this sort, saved for posterity, and to learn the whole story behind the teasing tidbits he gives out on-air. It is a really special book. In many ways, I’m glad he offered it. In another way, and I don’t know why, I almost wish he would have kept his personal memories as only on-air offerings. To leave the mystique to our imagination, as only a successful radio host can generate… Oh, well. It was wonderful.

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Political Fictions – by Joan Didion

A collection of essays written more than two decades ago, and startingly pertinent and relevant to this day and age. An eye-opener for any political neophyte, and even for those who feel they have a good grasp of insider maneuvering today. Some of the essays appearing in this work have been featured previously elsewhere, and either appear as-is, in-full, or edited with new thoughts added in.

Particularly shocking was her statement that the late Reverend Jerry Falwell had somehow believed that former President Bill Clinton had been involved in the deaths of numerous political foes. Update: I originally thought that one of those on this supposed “list” was Barbara Olson, who was killed onboard one of the fated airplanes hijacked by terrorists on 9/11. However, the name given in the book was Barbara Nelson. So, what exactly happened to Ms. Nelson, and all the other people supposedly on this “list”? Would you consider this a conspiracy, or a coincidence?

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When Baghdad Ruled the Muslim World – by Hugh Kennedy

I had to laugh through the Foreword to this book as the author tells us that “the concern to make the Middle East scientific and academically respectable” is one that he, along with a small group of other scholars who work on such projects, undertakes in the creation of published works regarding Islamic/Muslim history. He also relates how both he, and the other scholars, have had to avoid the anecdotes and story-telling references which have come down to them from the Arabic sources, being that the original sources have admittedly long-since been “lost.” Therefore, this work, as well as many others preceding it, have all been a reconstruction of the history of these people, allegedly compiled from other literary sources. Additionally, the author states that the issue of the reliability of these stories, “whether they are really ‘true,'” is a complex one.

Many contradictions are noted while delving into the secondary (or occasional primary) source material, he notes. He also includes the language as used, not omitting the swear words, calling them “an integral feature of this lively and robust culture.” I would agree with that.

I might not necessarily agree with the history, as given here, of these people, though. The author purports to present the Islamic Caliphate of the Abbassid history. From thenceforth, and with the above in mind, this is an engaging read.

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What Animals Tell Me: True Stories of an Animal Communicator – by Dr. Monica Diedrich

I wish more people were tuned in to the animals and pets that live on the planet with us. If we were, there would be less abuse and more love to go around for all. Meanwhile, I can’t help but cry when I see the ASPCA (I think) ads on television. Each time they come on, I know that they’re going to feature poor little puppy dogs looking dejected, and sad little kitties, and I try my best to say to myself that I will not cry this time. But, it doesn’t work. I really try not to cry and make a full-out effort not to do so, but no…..

So, anyways, this book is about a person who believes they can receive telepathic communications from people’s pets. Dr. Diedrich writes her stories about the stories of the pets which she has visited, and seems to have helped them with their people parents.

I do believe this ability is possible, and I do believe, for the most part, that she does so. I wonder why more people can’t?

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The Complete Book of Home Crafts: Projects for Adventurous Beginners – Edited by Carine Tracanelli

Top quality projects are featured in this highly advisable, easily readable book. From jewelry-making to mosaics, stencilling to batiking, each craft is presented in a professional, artistic manner.

I would love to do each and every project listed, and I would appear to be quite the proud folk artist if I did!

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Kasztner’s Train: The True Story of an Unknown Hero of the Holocaust – by Anna Porter

An important book recounting the story of a fabled and controversial individual who saved a number of Jewish people from the jaws of death during the Nazi and Communist slaughters of the 1930’s and beyond.

A difficult book regarding the ethical ramifications inherent in having to select some over others, but one that must be read.

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Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam (American Empire Project) – by Robert Dreyfuss

This is a very good book; different, somewhat conspiratorial, but definitely unkind to Israel.

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Do What You Are: Discover the Perfect Career for You Through the Secrets of Personality Type – by Paul D. Tieger and Barbara Barron-Tieger

This is a great book, which should be used by job seekers and job placement counselors alike to determine types of jobs best fitting specific personality types.

However, the jobs recommended occasionally apply across the board to a broad spectrum and don’t necessarily seem all that targetted to the individual, and “testimonials,” which are supposed to be written in a person’s own voice, but clearly seem to be written by the authors, themselves, become a particularly annoying feature of these authors’ writing styles and detract from the credibility of their work.

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The Everything American Government – by Nick Ragone

This is an excellent book which explains the generalities of the American political process, although it could use even more basic definitions for those readers who truly would like to start at the very beginning to comprehend American government and how it has evolved.

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On Writing: a Memoir of the Craft – by Stephen King

How good it is to read a book written by a master craftsman-of-the-written-word in a genre different than that to which his readers are accustomed.

Here, we get a glimpse into Mr. King’s life, from past to present, including his journeys both physical and mental of the trajectory of his career.

This book is hard to put down. As Amy Tan, one of my favorite writers states, you can hear his “somewhat salty voice, its language.”

By the way, one of the interesting footnotes in this novel, is that some of the most famous authors of our time, Stephen King included, have formed a rock band called The Rock Bottom Remainders (quite funnily named, when one considers those hard-to-sell books in the discount bins, covers ripped off, etc….). The band is comprised of the following individuals: Stephen King, Amy Tan, Barbara Kingsolver, and Mitch Albom. I’d love to hear what they have composed musically, considering the popularity of their written works!

Neat trivia facts, a recommended reading list, rough and refined edit comparisons, do’s and hardly any don’ts (if at all) are also added, and it’s nice to see what Mr. King has to say about all this!

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Islam and War: A Study in Comparative Ethics – by John Kelsay

Intelligently crafted sentences go round and round, like Arab speech, to seem to denounce, or to appeal to logic of mind, that Islam is a just and tolerant religion, while at the same time stating that the purported goal of Islam is worldwide hegemony and rule.

It succeeds in its attempt to emulate Arab speech in declaring the above.

Author John Kelsay, a teacher in the Department of Religion at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida in 1993 at the time of publication of this book creates credibility issues regarding the sources of quotations found throughout the book. For instance, there is a discrepancy regarding the exact sentences provided by Abdulaziz Sachedina of the University of Virginia on the back of the book and the same iterations repeated in the voice of, and written by, John Kelsay in the Introduction to the book!

Additionally, there are two instances of bias, at least: on page 130 in Notes, Kelsay argues that the US and Israel commit acts in an unjust cause (and what about the subject matter at hand? Do not the Muslims commit atrocities?). He also puts the word “nation,” when he writes about the (former) nation of Yugoslavia, in quotations on page 113.

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Leaks? (a.k.a. The Much Too Promised Land – by Aaron David Miller)

Why is my life so Forrest Gump-like? Except that it’s also quite Murphy-like (i.e., being in the wrong place at the wrong time… or, if anything can go wrong it will go wrong).

Well, with talks of leaks, bandying about of the name Tom Donilon, etc., and other things, it makes me wonder if there’s any relevance to this book with current events. Despite hating this book because it represents, in my own personal opinion, the best efforts of Jewish people in positions of authority to accomplish the destruction of the Jewish State/Israel by doing whatever it takes to “make peace” with self-declared arch enemies, the person who wrote it (Aaron David Miller) speaks of his (and his job of redacting national information becoming declassified), Dan Kurtzer’s, and Sandy Berger’s (the man who stole information from the National Archives) efforts to take down the state of Israel by giving away land to usurpers, bit by bit. Strange how these same names are implicated in giving away Israel, and these crimes of doing away with information. What information was stolen and/or redacted? One can only wonder.

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The Enemy Within – by Michael Savage

Another fine Savage book, but I am going through all of Savage’s past books, looking for good reads, and this one absolutely fills the bill! Definitely a must read, and still current, even though written several years ago. The basic concepts Michael relays are timeless: borders, cultures, language. We can see, years later, just how prophetic his writings have become. When I took out Trickle Up Poverty from the library sometime after it had just been published and was hard to get ahold of, the librarian here, looking of Middle Eastern descent, wrote down the number or some type of information while he was attempting to help me find it, and stuck it in his pocket! I thought he was tagging me for one of those “subversive” types that need to be looked at more closely, because of the books I read. You do know that that is what happens, don’t you? Unfortunately, being on the right side means you are now on the wrong side and subject to intense scrutiny! So, I relate my own experience in regards to reading Savage books — and you can now see how that pertains to “The Enemy Within.”

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Abuse of Power – by Michael Savage

Abuse of Power, by Michael Savage, is a gripping thriller with a topical theme — terrorism. Dr. Savage does a great job, as always, in keeping his readers/listeners glued to either their pages or radios. This latest effort should “unban” him from Britain, if we lived in a world where right was might. Since we don’t, I guess it won’t matter that the heroine of this novel is both Muslim and female. So, U.K. — let’s get that ban lifted; unless, of course, you really want to show the world how far you’ve fallen in their estimation! This is a wonderful page-turner which will keep you up late into the night, reading just one more page, then just one more page, and then…before you know it, it’s the next morning and you’re tired as heck from staying up all night to keep reading this book! I can’t wait for his next efforts! Please don’t stop, Michael Savage — your fans count on you to set them straight!

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Trickle Down Tyranny – by Michael Savage

Excluding the Bible, its commentaries and other religious tomes, Trickle Down Tyranny is probably one of the best books I have ever read. I have my own take on news analysis, reading many sources and piecing things together from a somewhat singular perspective. I find myself in agreement with what Dr. Savage relays, but he goes even way further beyond the pale in researching and delving into the subjects of which he speaks.

If you really want to know what’s going on in the world, you MUST read this book. He goes into more depth than even his radio shows can relate. Pick this up from the library or at your local bookstore immediately, and make sure to buy several copies to pass along to friends and relatives.


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The Procession – by Khalil Gibran

Khalil Gibran, the poet and painter, born circa 1883 and died at the age of 48 in 1931, wrote a fairly prolific amount during his time on earth. This book is comprised of some of his poetry, with an equally lovely introduction to this son of the Levant by translator and editor from the original Arabic, Dr. George Kheirallah.

Khalil’s reflections on varied topics and human characteristics portray the bulk of most of his work; this compendium uniquely paints into perspective the views from a youthful advantage and the experience of sage wisdom.

My favorites in this selection include: Of Justice (Sage); Of Soul and Fertility (both Sage and Youth); Of Death and Immortality (Youth); and The Summing of the Youth.


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The Arabs in History – by Bernard Lewis

From 1947 through 2002, this book has remained in circulation, updated and revised as the author has felt necessary. Great works will stand the test of time, and Mr. Lewis’s works are the tomes toward which many a serious scholar of Middle Eastern studies turns.

The writing is exceptional, the tone always appropriate, with much information reduced to a freshly readable economy of scale and pertinence. A most dedicated and worthy author of the subject matter.

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The Arab World: An Illustrated History – by Kirk H. Sowell

A book chock-full of the chronological and who’s-who type of information necessary in order to lay down a historical narrative for the arab people, complete with a glossary of terms used in the arabic language helpful to the lay person toward an understanding of the cultural underpinnings of its society.

Although the mass of information is such that I would personally acquire such a book for a personal collection, the book does maintain a negative stance on Israel, which passes for “even-handedness” in today’s biased viewpoints against the Jewish national home.

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