Monday, November 21, 2016

Review: Shadows of the Stone Benders

Anlon Cully is a scientist who, with his partners, turned environmental science into a fortune, retiring to the quiet and relative anonymity of a small community at Lake Tahoe. His peaceful retirement will end shortly when his archaeologist uncle dies and Anlon must go back when he is made executor of his uncle's will. He inherits his uncle's home, his collection of artifacts, and the opportunity to follow his uncle in death.

This first book of the Anlon Cully Chronicles outlines a reality that is far outside of the accepted history and archaeological proof of mankind. If that isn't shock enough to the academic view of humanity's evolution, following the trail of greed and murder will keep you off balance.

As an adherent of forbidden archaeology, I found the premise of K. Patrick Donoghue's new series seductive. I was not disappointed . . . mostly. Donoghue's pace is almost glacial at times even with new revelations in most of the chapters, but a foundation must be laid first. At least, that is how I consoled myself as I soldiered on. For me, the tantalizing trail was littered with too many speed bumps, a problem that was solved, at least in part, as the book neared completion. All the clues came together at last and so many dangling threads were connected. Good thing since I was almost ready to give up and delete the book from my Kindle. The conclusion of the story was not as satisfying as I had hoped as more unsolved mysteries were revealed. All good series must have a central theme to connect all the books, but are usually handled more deftly than Donoghue did.

Maybe that is my unsatisfied curiosity talking as much as my irritation at being left hanging until the next book is released.

Another problem with Shadows of the Stone Benders is grammar. I would suggest Donoghue brush up on the basics of sentence structure in order to keep readers from stumbling so frequently. A good copy editor is a necessary expense. The writing would be clearer for a start.

In spite of the technical issues, the characters in the book are well crafted, complex, and entertaining on so many levels. My issues with the way the book proceeds may not be someone else's as I have more background and experience in alternative history and archaeology than the average reader. I enjoyed sharing Anlon's story and his mystery and look forward to the next book. Definitely 4/5 stars. There is room for improvement.

That is all. Disperse.

Review: The Populist Explosion

Like many of you I thought when a new President of the United States was elected that would be the end of the constant barrage of campaign news and the recriminations, back biting, and attack ads. I was wrong.

Hillary's loss has become every United States citizen's problem because we failed to elect a woman, because we failed to hand the country over to the Democrats and their agenda lock, stock, and barrel, and because politicians of Republican and Democratic stripe do not understand why Donald Trump won. The mainstream media keep their corporate microscopes trained on Trump and Obama and the rioting and unrest while the public outcry of racists, xenophobes, anti-Muslim, anti-gay, anti-Hillary echo day and night. Protesters scream that Trump is not their President, the election was rigged, Hillary was robbed and reporters hype their anguish and rage, determinedly throwing gasoline and napalm on the fires where Trump is burned in effigy. None of them realize what has happened or why and most give in to their fear -- and their jubilation -- of the return of fascism and Nazi rule. Nothing could be further from the reality of what ended with Trump's election.

Had they read John B. Judis's The Populist Explosion they would know what happened and what is currently happening all over Europe as candidates like Trump step to the forefront of the rising tide of a populist movement that started around 1928 and has grown with greater force with every passing year.

Whatever your political affiliations, I recommend The Populist Explosion not only for its detailed examination of the rising populism but also because Populism and Fascism are not even close cousins in the political arena here in the United States or in Europe as Marine Le Pen, Geert Wilders, and other populist leaders repudiate their roots and embrace the 21st century embodiment of the politics of the disenfranchised, dispossessed, nationalist middle class.

Hitler's brand of nationalism was colonialism, fascism with the ultimate goal of expanding Germany's borders, digging out from under the war reparations demanded of Germany at the end of World War I, and bringing back a sense of dignity and hope in the wake of the rising tide of communism. Franco in Spain and Mussolini in Italy followed suit determined to stamp out the communist menace that threatened their countries and their people. Since the Russian revolution, communism was spreading like a poisonous weed through Europe and Hitler was determined to halt the spread. Judis details the roots of populism and its spread from the United States, South America, and throughout Europe. The Populist Explosion answers all the questions of how and why Nationalism is gaining support and spreading into the enlightened, politically correct world of the European Union and the stated goal of a world with no borders and one government under one leader. Populism, and the modern version of Nationalism, is not Fascism nor do populist leaders want to expand their influence or their borders. What Le Pen, Wilders, and Trump want, and what their growing number of followers, the members of the ever shrinking middle class, is sovereignty, to maintain their countries' social, cultural, and economic identities and protect their borders from the massive immigration of aliens determined to destroy national identity and remake host countries in their own image, an image that is bent on destroying the cultural and social identity of the host governments.

Judis's clear prose and carefully researched history make The Populist Movement a must-read resource that will open your eyes and delineate not a return to the old world of intolerance and hate, but a new world where national pride and a stable, productive economy is the goal where the middle class is resurrected, revitalized, and renewed. I give the book 5/5 stars and suggest you read it twice and share it with everyone you meet.

That is all. Disperse.