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Book: ‘Everglades Assault’ by Randy Wayne White – August 17th, 2017

by on Aug.17, 2017, under Books

Everglades AssaultEverglades Assault by Randy Striker
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Another of the seven MacMorgan action novels Randy White wrote before taking off with his Doc Ford series. This is very tight and reeking of formula. Nothing surprising or much of anything to make this stand out. Very disappointing is the ending which is an oft repeated ending in Florida novels. ‘

White’s characters are good. The settings are the best of the book and the only parts really worth reading.

Bottom line: i don’t recommend this book. 5 out of ten points.

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Book: ‘The Case for Impeachment’ by Allan J. Lichtman – August 15th, 2017

by on Aug.15, 2017, under Books

The Case for ImpeachmentThe Case for Impeachment by Allan J. Lichtman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I should first note: A friend wanted me to read this and I agreed to.

Lichtman does a fine job laying out why he thinks Obama should be impeached….oh, did I write Obama?…Well, he does that, too, unknowingly….Impeach Trump is what i meant to write. The writer goes chapter after chapter after chapter with well thought out reasoning. Lots of supporting data is included along with footnotes to support the writer’s reasons for impeachment of president Trump.

The writer includes much background of past impeachments and other historical information that help support his viewpoint. One huge qualm i have is one cannot compare the effort to impeach Andrew Johnson and Trump. could not be more different circumstances.

There are many drawbacks. First of all is that the writer reaches too far too often. Most of his claims are based upon what he writes as “lies”. Lie has becoming a mighty subjective term as late and this fellow is unforgiving involving misstatements and bravado, arguably Trump’s largest problem. Many of the “lies” would never hold up involving impeachment. Or else every politician and realtor with be in court for treason.

I find his part of Trump’s real estate games are taken apart as reasons for impeachment. Is there a realtor alive, who makes a living, that doesn’t platy the game Trump does of bending reality for a sale? I know of none and one reason i don’t tend to care for realtors and developers.

His climate change ideas are preposterous. To impeach Trump would first demand China’s dictator’s be deposed, based upon his arguments. America is the ultimate treehugger compared to most of the rest of the world. That and you can’t convict Trump for actions developed over two centuries of America as the author writes.

The writer get into the Russian hacking as reasoning for impeachment. Trouble is the only true evidence involving Russian hacking involves e-mails revealing the head of the DNC, Debbie Schultz, John Podesta, etc. worked to undermine their Democrat electorate and force them to regard a candidate who lost. Go for impeachment and that is what will be the response.

He goes on for pages about a temporary ban of countries that Obama wanted banned, too. He coulda left out the entire chapter. Can’t impeach a president when the previous president wanted the same thing.

The writer wraps up with his ideas as to how Trump could clean up his act. Trump should pay attention to that part.

Overall, this is a very good effort, despite my vast disagreements.

Bottom line: i recommend this book – For those looking for such ideas or wanting to read a differnet viewpoint. 6 out of ten points.

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Book: ‘Hunted Like a Wolf: The Story of the Seminole War’ by Milton Meltzer – August 13th, 2017

by on Aug.13, 2017, under Books

Hunted Like a Wolf: The Story of the Seminole WarHunted Like a Wolf: The Story of the Seminole War by Milton Meltzer
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Absolute rubbish. Rare that I’ll be that blunt. but, this deserves it. The book claims to be “THE story of the Seminole War”. This is political commentary with a very abbreviated, narrow view of the Seminole War.

Extract the commentary and the history might make up 50 pages. And the only history told is to support the commentary. So much is left out, that if the commentary is taken out, the story wouldn’t make sense. General known history of the war is here. But so much is not! Most all of those who commanded are brushed by. Hard to do with Scott and Jesup, but this guy manages to do it. That leaves out so much why the US took certain actions. The writers fills in with his political theories. Not history, but theories. Why waste time with documentation when you can make it up with theories? This volume is full of it. All blasting from a narrow minded political view of war.

That is THEE problem with this book. The writers slanted view point. This book should be titled as the writer’s commentary and political viewpoint of the Florida Seminole War and how horrible America is. The entire book is a treatise of America being a horrible country trying to take over the world. Could America have handled the indian issue better? Sure. But that should be examined not as history, but as opinion.

Take the line,”For once, the whites found it expedient to tell the truth.” (Page 86). There’s plenty of documentation that “whites”, whoever they are – I’ll suppose Americans, told the “truth”. His writing declare “whites” only told the “truth” once. That is not history. that is opinion!

Take page 52 where the writer states the settlers felt a need for “security”, writer’s words. Then the writer proceeds to disseminate why security was needed and how dare settlers ask for it and so on. Along the way bashing people’s faith. Opinion, not history.

The page preceding, 51, has this, “Florida belongs to us, they said, the way a foot belongs to a leg. We have a “right” to it.” – His writing. From there he writes how wrong he feels his interpretation of his writing of their thinking he assumes he thinks he knows. What???? No history here.

Interesting is that this 1972 books is peppered with words, human rights, refugees, white invaders, etc., are all political buzzwords found part of a certain mentality today.

I knew i was in trouble as the writers extensively used “white invaders” over and over and over and over again. This guy has a political ax to grind and this is his treatise of his hate of white people…and cloaked in it all, a lot of others, too – If i may leave MY opinion.

Bad title, bad history, opinion that does not belong….

Bottom line: i strongly do not recommend this book. 0 out of 10 points.

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Book: ‘Seminole: A Novel of Osceola’ by Theodore Pratt – August 11th, 2017

by on Aug.11, 2017, under Books

Seminole: A Novel of OsceolaSeminole: A Novel of Osceola by Theodore Pratt
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Pratt assembles this tale of Osceola based upon much that has been recorded. He gets a lot of the non-fiction right, but his fictional parts don’t pull it all together well.

The historical accuracy of much of the book is very accurate. From the killing of Wiley Thompson to his wife Morning Dew to the Green Corn Dance. To create his book, Pratt ads Gideon Sauny to intertwine in Osceola’s life to tell Osceola’s story. However, Pratt stumbles involving dialogue of Osceola and Gideon. Painting Osceola as such a stoic creature and then throwing that all away to fit Gideon doesn’t ring true. Or I could write Pratt’s writings sound like that of a white man. The entry of Gideon into the Green Corn Dance, despite the story, is unbelievable. Then there’s a whole thing of Prat trying to wrap up the book and this sends Gideon on a ridiculous trip and another unlikely conclusion.

The writing is not as good as other Pratt books. The writing is also far below similar work by Frank Slaughter.

The settings are very well written. Pratt does an excellent job letting readers know where they are in Florida. This is a tremendous help in orienting other activity in the book.

Bottom line: I don’t recommend the book. 5 out of ten points.

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ROBbing a Few Minutes – #BookLoversDay

by on Aug.09, 2017, under Books

Rob presents some of his favorite authors and books for #BookLoversDay!

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Book: ‘Tropical Disturbance’ by Theodore Pratt – August 8th, 2017

by on Aug.08, 2017, under Books

Tropical DisturbanceTropical Disturbance by Theodore Pratt
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An uneven book of sex and a monster hurricane in Florida.

The sex: For a 1961 book, this is very explicit in, what might be called, a soft-core kind of way. If the focus was the sexual activity of a small town, the amount of pages of sexual activity might make sense. But a hurricane is the plot of the novel and the excess adds nothing to the overall story.

The hurricane: in my opinion, this book has the best explained hurricane and affects to an area I’ve read outside of non-fiction. Even MacDonald’s ‘Condominium’ doesn’t measure up to Pratt’s more thorough approach.

Pratt sets up the story with folks from out of state to learn from the Florida Cracker. From the Cracker’s introduction, Pratt lays out a How-to-be-a-Cracker, which is informative, but a bit too academic at times.

The characters are pretty stereotypical across the board. Though well written stereotypical. The setting is extremely well done. Especially as the hurricane settles in.

The book ends abruptly for some reason leaving too many loose ends and making the entire experience unsatisfactory.

For the hurricane part: I recommend the book
As a whole: i don’t recommend the book. 4 out of 10 points.

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Book: ‘The Deep Six’ by Randy Wayne White – August 6th, 2017

by on Aug.06, 2017, under Books

The Deep Six (Dusky MacMorgan, #2)The Deep Six by Randy Striker (Randy Wayne White)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well known Florida author Randy Wayne White started off his published novel career with 7 books written about Dusky MacMorgan, hero-at-large, in the Florida Keys. The books are all tightly written with a decidedly John d. MacDonald feel to all of them. White is a huge fan of MacDonalds and that’s loud and clear in this book. Lots of JDM reflection and meanderings. The violence is a more blatant and charged than JDM. There is also little mystery in the book. The drive is action.

I’m more of a fan of these 7 MacMorgan books than White’s current long run of Doc Ford. I find the Ford books over long, too politically preachy and too many set in an area of the world I don’t care for, Latin & South America. All of that weighing down simple skeletal stories. MacMorgan are also simple stories, but, in my opinion, better constructed.

White’s strength in the series and this book in creating very strong, if not often stereotypical, characters. The dialogue is weak, but the narrative is good.

Bottom line: 6 out of 10 points.

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Book: ‘Dreams of Eagles’ by William W. Johnstone – August 2nd, 2017

by on Aug.02, 2017, under Books

Dreams of Eagles (Eagles, #2)Dreams of Eagles by William W. Johnstone
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Anyone seeing the other reviews here will think I was reading a whole other book. I just found this Johnstone Clan entry to be strung together stories between a linear set of historical happenings. The stories all remind me of stories in many other Johnstone novels. I’ve recognized a repetition of stories before, but, at least, some had some differences. This entire book is full of yet to be written Johnstone books. I had to check my Goodreads list twice to be sure I hadn’t read this before.

That even might be OK if the stories were good. But these stories have little complexity as earlier Johnstone Mountain Man stories or the recent Flintlock series. It’s just a prolonged Mountain Man book over 400 pages of the same story over and over and over again. Good editing would’ve solved this.

How about presenting the offspring of the main character as something other than a carbon copy of the father. It’s actually written blatantly that they are carbon copies! Not all are carbon copies. But those that are not carbon copies are barely heard from again.

There are hints of adding layers to the book involving a couple of young people who have a secret that gets revealed the hard way. (I know I’ve read this also in another Johnstone book). But this thread is in sharp contrast to the rest of the book and, thus, making it a clunky, out of place addition.

To me, this book is the product of scattered ideas on a table that got badly stitched together to create this volume.

Bottom line: i don’t recommend this book. 4 out of 10 points.

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Book:’The Mordida Man’ by Ross Thomas – July 26th, 2017

by on Jul.26, 2017, under Books

The Mordida ManThe Mordida Man by Ross Thomas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is a rollicking good time. All of the foreign intrigue thriller writers of today should note Ross Thomas’ writing of ‘The Mordida Man’. The fun, humor and similar ridiculous circumstances portrayed in current same-genre novels, but with this one’s sense of tongue-in-cheek.

This also works both ways. It’s too bad Thomas didn’t see what writers, like Vince Flynn, recently did with the genre and he might have grounded his book a bit more involving the action part, certainly the weakest written part of ‘The Mordida Man’.

Clearly the Carter Administration and Nixon’s shenanigans influenced the plot of this book. Imagining Jimmy Carter’s brother Billy gets into the trouble written here isn’t too far a stretch. Knowing who Billy Carter is really helped swallow this story. Someone not knowing Carter, might find this book beyond preposterous.

The many, many, many characters and their motivations and goals are written superbly. Along the way the story swerves in and out of characters, actions and locations. All written with great skill and humor. Where writers like this today?

Bottom line: I recommend this book. 9 out of ten points.

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Book: ‘Intellect: Mind over Matter’ by Mortimer J. Adler – July 20th, 2017

by on Jul.20, 2017, under Books

Intellect: Mind over MatterIntellect: Mind over Matter by Mortimer J. Adler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

All that ‘Intellect’ presents has come more true since it’s first publication. Instead of reasoned conclusions, imaginary fantasy is creating laws and warping mindset. Mortimer Adler would be considered very un-P.C. today. Likely why his name seems to have disappeared during the Great Ideas conferences he developed at the Aspen Institute. I’m almost gald he is not still with us today to asee what has happened in the world. Though I would LOVE to hear what he would say about it.

This volume lays out Adler’s reasoned view of the elements of intellect: the brain and the mind, and why the two are separate. Adler breaks down his view and argues just about every angle. It’s all reasonable and logical. He also addresses counter arguments to his view and lays out why those are wrong.

As was Adler’s goal, the writing is not overly complicated. For those of us that read a lot of philosophy, his writing is too simple. Some philosopher’s have tagged Adler as a Pop Philosopher for spurning academia and writing for the general public and not to justify college tenures. As Adler introduced his simpler approach to writing philosophy, he couldn’t have known how even his approach is overly complicated for today’s American population.

He addresses his concerns about technology and what it could do to the intellect. His concerns, writing almost 40 years ago, are very mild to what has happened so far. I remember reading these views of Adler’s decades ago and thinking the ideas sounded extreme. An iPhone came into human’s lives and made concerns horrors.

Something else that has solidly entered human’s lives is the introduction to the panicky view of being healthy. To most all that means eating well and exercising. To Adler it is only involving reasoning. If you use your brain and mind, the grape-nuts & track run are obvious conclusions. But without the thinking part, it’s just a fad without commitment & dedication.

I found Adler’s arguments that language and communication being the same wanting. His argument is flimsy if that and his “natural & “nurture” arguments. Both chapters are short and he later in the book writes that those are his shallowest views. I agree.

Overall, this should be required reading for anyone wanting to be motivated to greater reasoning skills of the brain and mind.

Bottom line: I recommend this book. 9 out of 10 points.

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Book: ‘The Politics of Mis-Representation’ by William C. Havard – July 14th, 2017

by on Jul.14, 2017, under Books

The Politics of Mis-RepresentationThe Politics of Mis-Representation by William C. Havard
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The largest problem this book has is that it has an expiration date of about 1961. It was written to push the idea of a getting the Florida Legislature to widen the range of representatives through out the state. That never happened from within, but by the great alteration of the population.

The construction of the book is nearly entirely focused on the results of the Florida Legislature in the 1950s. A more practical approach would have been to have an historical view over the past one hundred past years. Instead there is only the tiniest nod to the past. This also makes conclusions suspect without support of a larger viewpoint.

Furthering the disappointment is nearly no reference to actual people. The book is written more conceptually. Yet, that further questions conclusions and ideas trying to be pushed in the book. Did the writers really know Florida’s history enough to come to the conclusions they did? Sure the more rural areas had more control over the more urban areas. It was the farmers that built the state. There was no proof that pouring concrete and asphalt would do anything for Florida’s strength in community or economically. As the 50 years has shown, Florida’s economy was solid with farming and the overly urban areas are a heavy weight that has consistently sunk Florida’s economy. Now farming, thanks to the ideas the writers have & the realtors & developers, is nearly illegal in many parts of the state, thanks to zoning.

Nothing is mentioned at the efforts by builders and developers in the 1950s to start the process of over taxing farm areas that could be developed into homes and buildings. This really buried rural control on the peninsular part of the state. But the writers are out to damn the agrarian economy in favor of the plutocrats that only wanted , and still want to, exploit our state of Florida.

A giant chunk of the book takes apart how all angles of the Legislature works. Little applies now or not long after the book was published. If the writers knew Florida’s Legislative history, they would have known how that healthy chunk of their book would be soon useless.

With the narrow view the book becomes nearly useless as soon as it was printed as the Legislature following the book, had a whole new agenda.

Otherwise, the writing is very good with tons of footnotes, bibliography and index.

Bottom line: I can’t recommend this book. 5 out of ten points.

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