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Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

Book Review: The Bomber Mafia

January 19, 2023 Leave a comment

The Bomber Mafia: A Dream, a Temptation, and the Longest Night of the Second World War by [Malcolm Gladwell]

I knew about the American plans for “precision daylight bombings” during World War II and, of course, the infamous Norden bombsight.  What I didn’t know (but should have) is there was a cabal of Air Corps Generals from the Army Air Corps Tactical School at Maxwell Field, led by Hap Arnold, acting as lobbyists for the Eighth Air Force’s Twelve O’clock High strategy.  Malcolm Gladwell lays this out beautifully in this book as well as the shortfalls of their plans and the reversion to area bombing over Japan.  Not sure why Curtis Lemay comes off as the bad guy for making that switch. He seemed to be a Patton-like can-do guy. Besides, it’s not really his fault that “dropping a bomb into a pickle barrel from six miles up” didn’t come about until the GPS smart bombs used during Desert Storm. A fascinating read.  (5 of 5 Stars)
 

Categories: What I've Read

Book Review: Undaunted Valor

December 29, 2022 Leave a comment

Undaunted Valor: An Assault Helicopter Unit in Vietnam by [Colonel Matt Jackson]

Some of the names have been changed to protect the innocent—evidently given the appendixes of casualties and citations. A fine gauze separates fiction from biography here, but that’s okay if you are looking for an accurate portrayal of pressing on another man’s rudder pedals in his combat boots.  Matt Jackson gives us an excellent day-in-the-life story of a helicopter pilot serving in Vietnam. Well worth the read. (4 of 5 Stars)

Link to Undaunted Valor on Amazon (Paid Link)

Categories: What I've Read

Book Review: Songs of a Befuddled Muse

December 22, 2022 Leave a comment

Songs of a Befuddled Muse: Thirteen Tales of Divergent Inspiration by [William Cohen-Kiraly, Jamie Cohen-Kiraly]

I like the “Befuddled Muse” in the title, as this collection of stories is definitely…well, eclectic.  Time travel to Tudor times…ordering out for pizza from outer space…artists on camels in Algeria like T.E. Lawrence…and—my favorite—Clumbo, a clown PI searching for the killer of his friend and mentor, Jelly Bean. Cohen-Kiraly covers a lot of ground and I’m sure you’ll find something you like. (4 of 5 Stars)

Link to Songs of a Befuddled Muse on Amazon (Paid Link)

Categories: What I've Read

Book Review: Island of the Sequined Love Nun

December 15, 2022 Leave a comment

Island of the Sequined Love Nun by [Christopher Moore]

I really wanted to like this book—especially because I’m a pilot and the main character flies a Learjet for a South Pacific Island doctor. Alas, I just wanted it to end. I loved Noir. And Practical Demonkeeping was okay. But this book was a boring mess. The characters weren’t terribly engaging (shockingly for Christopher Moore) and the story was just kind of dumb. It makes me wonder about picking up Razzmatazz. Maybe I should quit while I’m ahead. (2 of 5 Stars)

Link to Island of the Sequined Love Nun on Amazon (Paid Link)

Categories: What I've Read

Book Review: Fahrenheit 451

December 1, 2022 Leave a comment

 

Fahrenheit 451: A Novel by [Ray Bradbury]

Forget about George Orwell and Aldous Huxley.  Ray Bradbury offers up a fantastic metaphor for our social media-crazed times with his story about firemen who burn books. See for yourself:

“And so when houses were finally fireproofed completely, all over the world (you were correct in your assumption the other night) there was no longer need of firemen for the old purposes. They were given the new job, as custodians of our peace of mind, the focus of our understandable and rightful dread of being inferior; official censors, judges, and executors. That’s you, Montag, and that’s me…

“If you don’t want a man unhappy politically, don’t give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none…

“Colored people don’t like Little Black Sambo. Burn it. White people don’t feel good about Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Burn it. Someone’s written a book on tobacco and cancer of the lungs? The cigarette people are weeping? Burn the book. Serenity, Montag. Peace, Montag. Take your fight outside. Better yet, into the incinerator.

“Cram them full of noncombustible data, chock them so damned full of ‘facts’ they feel stuffed, but absolutely ‘brilliant’ with information. Then they’ll feel they’re thinking, they’ll get a sense of motion without moving. And they’ll be happy, because facts of that sort don’t change…

“The important thing for you to remember, Montag, is we’re the Happiness Boys, the Dixie Duo, you and I and the others. We stand against the small tide of those who want to make everyone unhappy with conflicting theory and thought.

“Those who don’t build must burn. It’s as old as history and juvenile delinquents peace of mind, the focus of our understandable and rightful dread of being inferior; official censors, judges, and executors. That’s you, Montag, and that’s me…

“If you don’t want a man unhappy politically, don’t give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none…

“Colored people don’t like Little Black Sambo. Burn it. White people don’t feel good about Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Burn it. Someone’s written a book on tobacco and cancer of the lungs? The cigarette people are weeping? Burn the book. Serenity, Montag. Peace, Montag. Take your fight outside. Better yet, into the incinerator.

“Cram them full of noncombustible data, chock them so damned full of ‘facts’ they feel stuffed, but absolutely ‘brilliant’ with information. Then they’ll feel they’re thinking, they’ll get a sense of motion without moving. And they’ll be happy, because facts of that sort don’t change…

“The important thing for you to remember, Montag, is we’re the Happiness Boys, the Dixie Duo, you and I and the others. We stand against the small tide of those who want to make everyone unhappy with conflicting theory and thought.

“Those who don’t build must burn. It’s as old as history and juvenile delinquents.”

Definitely 5 of 5 Stars
 

Categories: What I've Read

Book Review: Tarzan of the Apes

October 13, 2022 Leave a comment

 

I hate to post a review like this, but I have to. Forget about “suspending my disbelief.” I had to put it into a medically induced coma to get through this book. Incredibly stupid—especially the part (SPOILER ALERT) where Tarzan swings through the “jungles” of Wisconsin to save Jane from a prairie fire threatening her family farm. Not to mention the whole business about Lord Greystone being raised by apes. Remember, you can’t fix stupid. (1 of 5 Stars)
 

Categories: What I've Read

Book Review: True Believer

March 31, 2022 Leave a comment

 

True Believer: A Thriller (Terminal List Book 2) by [Jack Carr]

I started out by rounding this book up from 3.5 stars to 4, but then I remembered how the author redacted his own book with sections of the text blacked out in my Kindle edition, which I guess is an annoying reminder that Jack Carr was a real-life Navy SEAL and subject to Department of Defense censorship.  The book is loaded with lots of tech goodies and realistic tactics, but the plot is borderline “Come on, man.” Should have read the first book in the series, but that story seems even fantastical. (3 of 5 Stars)
 

Categories: What I've Read

March, 2022 Author Newsletter – Read My Stuff For Free

March 25, 2022 Leave a comment
Categories: A Brave New Yo-Yo

Book Review: Artemis

June 24, 2021 Leave a comment

 

Artemis: A Novel by [Andy Weir]

There was a lot that was okay with this book. The lead character/narrator was mostly entertaining, though sometimes veered into annoying. The moonscape descriptions were interesting enough, but after talk about the low gravity, the fear of fire, the dusty surface, and the lack of atmosphere outside, we’re pretty much stuck with a caper was a little far-fetched, but it moved along nicely. The ending was a bit too pat for me, especially Jazz’s remarkable EVA recovery. The most interesting thing for me was that I read Artemis at the same time I was reading First Man, The Life of Neil A. Armstrong. I’ll round up from 3.5 stars. (4 of 5 Stars)
 

Categories: What I've Read

Book Review: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

June 10, 2021 Leave a comment

 

The Studies and Observation Group was a most interesting group of warriors fighting…well, fighting near Vietnam. Lynne Black’s triple-layered narrative—via the after-action debrief, events as they happened on the ground, and his internal stream-of-consciousness thoughts—about the ambush of RT Alabama by the NVA and its Prairie Fire rescue makes you stutter in disbelief—but it really happened. But what really amazed me was Black’s photo after his bio at the end: he looks normal. An incredible memoir. (5 of 5 Stars)
 

Categories: What I've Read
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