Saturday, January 24, 2015

Review - The Savage Wars of Peace

In this well-referenced, clearly written survey of America's involvement in "small wars" from the Quasi-War with France in 1798 to Kosovo in 2001, Max Boot argues that America has a long history of involvement in other countries' internal affairs and that, up until Vietnam, the U. S. had a fairly decent track record.

American interventions often brought stability, security, and a large decrease in corruption while introducing health and infrastructure improvements. He also argues that economics, often touted as a primary reason for American involvement, has actually been generally of only secondary importance.

Boot lays out a clear, concise argument that America, if it leans on its historical experience, can and should be an agent of global security and state building. He cautions that if America does not listen to history, or if it opts out of its role, the consequences can be terrible - citing the Beirut bombing and the rise of Osama bin Laden as recent failures.

Although written in 2002 this book still has relevance in the tumultuous, jihadist-edged world. We still don't seem to understand the lessons of history though they are relatively easy to reference.


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Win a $10 Amazon Gift Card!

Now available for FREE on Smashwords the first three short short stories from my upcoming collection, Scenes.

Additional previews will be posted in the coming weeks.

1 entry for commenting on this blog, 5 entries for a review or post (email me with a link).

Gift card will be awarded once there are 100 entries (or on March 1, whichever is first).

Saturday, January 10, 2015

2014 - More of the same?

Afghanistan, Ferguson, Eric Garner, ISIS, deadlock in Washington, Boko Haram, Charlie Hebdo...

In one way of another, I think these stories are all old news. I mean old as in they've been happening for many years without real change. And all of them seem to me to be the same underneath.

In each case one of the "sides" (maybe both?) sees the other as a thing, an object, a problem, instead of a person.

The solution, so very hard, apparently, is to see a person as a person first. A person like you, with things they want, they love, they dislike. Don't see their sex, their religion, their color, their politics, until you see them first as a person. Then make sure you behave only as you would like to be treated.

Literature has myriad examples of how all of these issues should be handled, many in children's books, though not always. Wouldn't we be a better world if we followed the examples followed or discovered by the protagonists in the following?

To Kill a Mockingbird

The Summer of My German Soldier

Flowers for Algernon

Bridge to Terabithia

Let me know if you have any special books you'd add to the list.

Friday, January 9, 2015


Pearl, MD is a historical novel set in 1883 North Carolina and Missouri. Dr. Pearl Stern is one of the first female doctors in the United States. She faces bravely the prejudices of the time against professional women, women who speak their mind, and the timeless resistance to change, specifically in adopting the Pasteur method of antiseptic procedure that was new at the time in medicine.

She has a strong, quiet ally in Chief Hershel Harkins and a good friend in Jeremiah Dickson. She also has a past she is running from in her native Missouri. 

The story is full of fascinating insights into the changing culture of the post Civil War south (Pearl is ostracized because she hires and treats black people) and the medical practices and medicaines of the time. Ms. Bartlett clearly understands her history.

The story is a bit slow moving and this reviewer would have liked to have felt more warmth between Dr. Stern and Chief Harkins. However, it is well written and offers an amazing window on a tumultuous time with much change in progress that we take for granted today.

Pearl, MD is available at Amazon or most other outlets.

A copy of Pearl, MD was provided in return for an honest review.