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Promises of Betrayals: The history that shaped the Iranian Shia clerics

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Fazle gives the reader an insight into Middle East history, world politics and the role the United States plays in global affairs. I love that the author started the book by introducing the reader to Islam, Prophet Muhammad, and religion in the Arab world. The author explained that the Prophet Muhammad’s death brought division among. The prophet’s followers were not sure on who could take the mantle and who was fit to be the leader in Islam. The birth of Shia and Sunni Muslims came during the quest to succeed Prophet Muhammad.

This book demonstrates life in Muslim Arab, the culture, how different Muslim factions relate, governance and authority in the Middle East. The author did a great job explaining the Islamic terms used in the text. It made the reading easier, seeing that I was unfamiliar with some of the words and phrases. This book made me understand the difference between the Shia and Sunni Muslims and their separate practices and beliefs. It is amazing that despite the two groups being dissimilar in some ways, they both worship the same God. Even in disagreements, we could see that the Shia and Sunni Muslim acknowledged that Allah was great and that only he deserved to be worshipped. This shows how religion plays a part in bringing different people together. We may have opposing views, but our worship of the same God brings us together.

Among the things I enjoyed reading about in the book were the wars between the Safavids and Ottomans. The Safavids militia could have been great if not for the infighting and lack of discipline. My heart broke when I read about Ismail I’s death at age thirty-six due to depression and alcoholism. He was at his peak. 36 is such a young age for anyone to die. Operation Ajax was another interesting read. America’s CIA’s and Britain’s MI6 involvement what the Iranians called ‘28 Mordad coup d’état’ was crucial.

There are so many stories in “promises Of Betrayal” that one needs to dedicate special time to read and understand all the events mentioned. Some of the terms used are unfamiliar, but the reader eventually comes to understand the context.

The author not only tells a story in the book but also educates the reader on other matters like religion, economics, politics, war, and intelligence in governments. I loved that Fazle wrote this book targeting not just history lovers, but anyone who is interested in current and past affairs on a global scale.

Reading about past historical events in this book showed me how leaders deal with issues presented to them.  It is an enlightening read that anyone interested in world politics, or the middle east will enjoy.

Pages: 234 | ISBN: 978-1-4808-6988-2 (sc) ISBN: 978-1-4808-6989-9 (e)

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The War Zone

Jolene Grace Author Interview

Jolene Grace Author Interview

Going Dark follows Amelia as she tries to help journalists that have been kidnapped which has sparked an international incident. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling novel?

The idea of ‘Going Dark’ started to form in my mind as I spent nights working on the foreign desk at CBS. Those nights, I was alone in the entire studio, watching incoming video feed from our military forces stationed in Iraq. In 2006-07, the war was in full swing and we received daily updates on the progress and struggle people were facing during the war. The war zone wasn’t too far off from our foreign correspondent team stationed in Iraq, reporting from there. As I was sitting at my desk, I envisioned Amelia Sinclair (a foreign liaison in Going Dark) how hard and challenging must be to be separated from your family when your job takes you away from them, especially if you have young children.

Amelia and Jets are dynamic characters that are enigmatic and empathetic. What were some themes you wanted to capture in their characters? 

Amelia had to sacrifice her career when she became a mother. Having children was not something she had planned on doing, but when it happened, she made the decision to stay back and take a desk job.

However, her thirst for adventure never fully went away. So, when her boss, Harold Fost, approached her with a proposition to oversee a covert assignment, she simply couldn’t resist. But Murphy’s Law tipped the scale against her and her friends and co-workers get kidnapped. I wanted ordinary people, the readers, who juggle work and family life to be able to relate to her and to the choices she makes along the way on this journey.

Jets is a complicated guy. He’d seen things most of us have not, working as a spy for the CIA. To me, he was interesting because, he believed in the cause set forth by the CIA, but he still had conscious and when he sees the wrong person is being blamed for crimes that she didn’t commit; he has to put aside his oath to the CIA and go with his guts, even if that decision could cost him his career.

This is an exciting novel on par with Robert Ludlum or Tom Clancy novels. Did you start writing with this in mind of did this happen organically? 

Tom Clancy was a master at setting up an engaging plot and building action in his novels. He is certainly an influencer in my writing. Another writer whom I admire is John Le Carre, unquestionably the undisputed father of spy thrillers. Both of these writers are exceptional.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I recently finished writing the second book in the Gabriel Jets series, called Political Whispers. Jets is a castaway in Afghanistan, having accepted a covert position, offered to him by Robert McKaine. Jets is in charge of a secretive drone program, most on Capitol Hill don’t know it even exists. The second book has more military overture and is action packed. Political Whispers is slated for release in early 2019.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitter | Website

Going Dark (Gabriel Jets Book 1) by [Grace, Jolene]Gabriel Jets is the CIA’s top agent, a man with a reputation of getting the job done, no matter the price. On a rare visit back to the States, Jets is dispatched to collect a video depicting the kidnapping of four U.S. journalists working undercover in Damascus, Syria. 

Meanwhile, the U.S. president and his chief of staff, Robert McKaine, are called to the Situation Room to receive a briefing. Damascus is rocked by a terrorist plot that killed twenty-five innocent people. 

A link between the two events is quickly discovered, with evidence pointing to the involvement of another U.S. journalist, Amelia Sinclair, a prominent foreign correspondent, with direct ties to the missing.

While Jets hunts for the video, he crosses paths with Amelia. In a blink of an eye, his mission is compromised as he believes she is being set up to be the fall guy. 

As the U.S. government closes in to arrest Sinclair, Jets alters his assignment to help clear her name and track down the powerful men behind the ploy to draw in the country into an international scandal. 

If Jets fails, the country he swore to protect, will go dark.

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American River: Confluence

American River: Confluence: Book Three of the American River Trilogy by [O'Connor, Mallory M.]

One type of story that captivates a large portion of readers is the story of humanity. The author, Mallory M. O’Connor, excels at capturing powerful moments of human interaction in her novel American River: Confluence. O’Connor’s work involves a host of social issues—sexuality, politics, race relations—all disguised in what seems to be a book about artists pursuing their passions.

This book follows three families of different cultures that manage to connect. They are all tied to the same area, and while the young adults have mostly wandered off to different regions of the U.S., this story is about them all finding a reason to come home to celebrate life, art, and diversity which gives the story a greater sense of symmetry. O’Connor filled this book with real-life problems such as racism, mental health issues, sickness, and political confrontations. Therefore, this book can be a guide for helping people navigate their way through similar tragedies in their own life.

The overall story arc is intricate and well thought out. It is a little unclear where the book is going at first and what the focal point will be, but there are exciting turns everywhere that keep the readers’ attention until the end. Several subplots play out to give the book a lot of depth. On the surface, it seems like the McPhalan family is working through their problems with the ultimate goal of setting up a musical festival on Mockingbird Valley Ranch, the family’s ancestral property. Underneath, O’Connor raises awareness of many social issues. These social issues are picked apart one by one to allow the reader to think through different perspectives regarding them. While set in the 1970’s, the problems the characters face are problems that are prevalent in our society today, potentially making this book a timeless classic.

If you did not read the previous books to get familiar with the intricacies of the story you would need to refer to the “Cast of Characters” page at the beginning. The book immerses readers from the start with drama and doesn’t let up until the end, so lacking thorough character introductions early in the story, even though its the last of the series, can detract from the impact of certain events. I highly suggest you read books one and two before confluence.

American society, as well as many others around the globe, could drastically benefit from reading this book. While many authors hide a political agenda in their work, it’s often obvious where they stand on controversial issues; O’Connor, on the other hand, hid her feelings on many of the topics, which requires distinct talent. Ultimately, she encourages discussion and introspection through the characters. If it weren’t for some minor language concerns, this book would be well suited in a high school reading curriculum to expose students to the complexity of the world they live in and the core of human nature.

Pages: 364 | ASIN: B07HL12C8T

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Sacrifice and Know-How

Thierry Antha Author Interview

Thierry Antha Author Interview

Crimes of Rumba discusses and dissects the crimes behind the worst corporate malpractice in US cultural history. Why was this an important book for you to write?

From 1983 to 1995, it took us almost fifteen years of commitment, sacrifice and know-how to build up awareness about the greatness of Congo music’s modernity in American pop culture. Credits should be given to promoters such as Victor Kibunja, Verna Gillis, Paul Trautman and my company’s tour with Tabu Ley Rochereau-Alive and Well in North-America in 1992, which made Congo music a runaway hit in North America until 1995.

Unfortunately, with little to no precision, 22 years after the Congolese government and musicians’ outright rejection of Fonior’s crimes of rumba, handful writers went off the script and managed to inadvertently slip in Fonior’s fraud of Cuban music. It was disheartening to realize that even few colleagues in the media were still living in the clouds of Fonior’s crimes of rumba. As promoters, time was more of the essence to promoting tours than pressing the matter further why it was a horrific danger to associate Franco Luambo and Tabu Ley Rochereau with Fonior’s post-colonial fraud for America, in the lens of the Congo’s politics from the 1970s to 1990s.This brought up the above headliners’ urgency and request to me to educating their consumers with the absolute truth beyond the fraud of rumba.

Moreover, as journalist and promoter, this is book is mostly important because it connects the dots between King Leopold’s atrocities of red rubber to the crimes of rumba for America by his very own international conglomerate, Societe Generale. Simply put, the fraud of rumba music is the universal and everlasting legacy from King Leopold’s politics and economics in music for America, first, and the world later. It’s never been about the presence of Cuban music in the midst of the state administration’s classified South American music’s mandatory production. But it is all about how, wanton malice, Fonior abused and misused Cuban music to commit fraud and defraud Congolese musicians’ copyrights and consumers’ human rights in America.

You cover a number of topics in this book, but the one that stuck out to me was rumba music. How do you feel music affects the political landscape?

Human life is rhythm. Rhythm is music. And music also controls mankind’s political landscape from singing Nero setting Rome on fire, Herod decapitating John the Baptist in Israel to any election campaign chanting of USA, USA, USA.

In Belgian Congo, for instance, the rhythm of atrocity behind the harvest of red rubber to the germination and criminalization of the state administration’s legal diversity of South American music, in the late 1950s, was controlled by King Leopold’s politics for Societe Generale’s monopoly. The politics behind the abrogation of Copami’s mission to legalize the harvest of “music cash crops” for export created a super culture of dichotomy for the equal production of Congo music and South American music under the law. And this colonial autocracy paved the way for Congolese musicians’ resistance and sabotage, which empowered Patrice Lumumba to ascend to the highest sky of the Belgian Congo’s nascent political parties.

In 1948 president Rafael Trujillo made Merengue the official music of Dominican Republic, while in 1959, Fidel Castro nationalized Rumba as the official music of Cuba for all music of African descent. In 1965, after his coup d’etat, president Mobutu rode the wave of Congo music to install his dictatorship in the Congo DRC. Francois Duvalier used Kompa music to numb the mass’s brain for his dictatorship in Haiti. Bob Marley performed his One Love Concert to defuse the brutal turf war among political nemesis in Jamaica. Bill Clinton’s campaign in the 1990s banked on the success of Macarena to promote his progressive agenda for America’s cultural diversity. And that is the same spirit of music in the politics of King Leopold’s international conglomerate that still captures rumba operatives’ politics for Fonior’s crimes of rumba that have been debunked and rebuked in the Congo DRC and exposed in this book.

What kind of research did you undertake to ensure the book was accurate and detailed?

First, as American of Congolese origin, I have lived Congo music my entire life. As a professional journalist, I covered the Congo DRC’s national rebuke of Fonior’s crimes of rumba for the national radio and television until I migrated to the USA. As co-host of the most famous Congo music radio and television shows, I humbly confessed that my expertise in Congo music is second to none because of my personal and business ties with Congolese musicians. As a young record producer, I have also rubbed elbows with all the who’s who in the music industry. My coverage of Samuco and Umuza, Congolese musicians’ union, are the most inside information that the average journalist has never searched before. From 1983 to 2000, as a promoter and consultant, I have closely worked with all Congolese musicians who have come on tour in North America for others as well as for my own company.

Second, to ensure that the book was accurate and detailed, my documented evidence are based on Belgian Congo’s laws, policies, institutions and corroborated by Congolese musicians’ personal testimonies throughout colonialism and their outright rejection and class action lawsuit against Fonior. The restrictive provision and scope of laws and policies from Belgian Congo to the Congo DRC’s national rebuke of Fonior’s crimes of rumba certify the accuracy of the Royal Decree of 1925 behind the Copami’s mission and its related institutions, coupled with the Royal Decree of 1952 aborting the old mission and its institutions under Societe Generale’s mission. These irrefutable evidence within La Territoriale provide all material facts and detailed events. And this exclusivity makes Crimes of Rumba the best encyclopedia of Congo music ever in terms of chronology of specifics in laws, policies, institutions and events from 1925 to September 1960.

I thought this book was informative and engaging. What do you hope readers take away from this book?

Readers’ takeaway is to know that Fonior’s crimes of rumba are real. Consumers have the right to know that they have been defrauded for decades. Even though, this crime spree was launched from America, in September 1960, its universality has outreached the world. It is based on Fonior’s violation of Congolese musicians’ copyrights. That’s why, as early as 1970s, president Mobutu stood up shoulder to shoulder with them to nationally reject, debunk and rebuke Fonior’s fraud. Unfortunately, after 47 years, the coverage of the Congo DRC’s rebuke has been blocked by King Leopold’s rumba operatives through fake movies, books and theories, who have turned a blind eye to telling the truth for the sole purpose to monetize on it. Not only consumers have the right to be set free from the bondage of Fonior’s crimes of rumba, they have the right to know that rumba operatives still provide a fraudulent, safe home for re-litigation and revisionism of Belgian Congo’s laws, policies, institutions, and against the Congo DRC’s national rebuke of Fonior’s fraud.

This book simply certifies that one can’t explain the complexity of the state administration’s legal diversity and production of South American music under the law, in the Belgian Congo, in complicity with Fonior’s fraud and based on the simplicity of its crime of opportunity on Cuban music for America, first. The engraved musical evidence of South American music’s legal diversity in Fonior’s Congolese re-editions represent self-incriminating evidence, among many others, against its crimes of rumba. One can’t celebrate Congo Rumba’s illegality by hiding Congo Latino from the same Fonior’s fake-outs spree. This case is all about King Leopold’s international monopoly misused Cuban music to commit fraud. Simply put, the fraud of rumba music has been the universal and everlasting legacy from King Leopold’s politics and economics in music for America, first, and the world later. Thanks to Crimes of Rumba the era of defrauding musicians and consumers’ human rights is over now.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Website

Crimes of Rumba is the hottest, epic combination of business, politics, music, and of course, crimes behind the predatory conduct culture that has glamorized the worst corporate malpractice in US cultural history. As a matter of law, order, and economy, the state administrations intolerance and crackdown on musicians dissent and opposition to the colonial music cash crops production is authoritarianism at best and without precedent in the worlds history of colonization and music. This legal truth and material facts-checkings operation is the blunt, exclusive disclosure of the sources and methods used for the cultivation and autocratic harvest of music cash crops in the Belgian Congo, which were economically engineered from and back to America for its consumption through misinformation, disinformation, deceit, and fraud. Not only is this the tale of the utmost scam that has been very fully funded to defraud the worlds collective memory of rumba, it is the hefty price that our humanity has dearly paid for without consent for Foniors crimes of rumba for decades. Silence has been complicity at worst from the people with knowledge of the case against rumba. Not only are the material facts and consumers rights violated and suppressed, along with musicians copyrights for decades, the morally repulsive glamorization of the fraud has brought creative freedom in the worlds music into disrepute. A lot of readers will discover Thierry Antha with the publication of Crimes of Rumba, Volume I of Congo Music. But this international journalist carried decades of excellence in covering the Congo and Haitis politics, business, and entertainment. His professional and personal ties with all the most famous Congolese musicians in advocacy, promotion, and production of their musical works have crowned him the best authority with respect to the Congo musics history. Contrary to all the spinning, posturing, and work of fiction for rumba, Thierry Anthas expertise and dedication to exposing the truth behind material facts and laws related to Congo music from the Belgian Congo to the Congo is second to none. Embark in this riveting literary journey to discover how Socit Gnrales authoritarian harvest of music cash crops has shattered and destroyed lives and careers for its economic gain in the Americas. Without censorship, Crimes of Rumba, Volume I of Congo Music exposes Foniors victims long overdue rebuttal, which is long way apart from the reality of its predatory conduct culture and its propaganda of rumbas fake-outs.

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Going Dark

Going Dark (Gabriel Jets Book 1) by [Grace, Jolene]

Amelia Sinclair, a foreign correspondent liaison for CWG news network, had worked on the bottom floor of the UN in a renovated steam-room for the last four years. Upon receiving a suspicious email with the subject line as her name written in Farsi, she opened the link embedded within to see a horrifying video. Fellow journalists, whom she knew personally, confronted with masked assailants. Going Dark follows Amelia as she tries to help her fellow journalists, one of which, whom she was very close to.

Simultaneously, the beginnings of a media frenzy are in the works as the government tries to prevent a leak of the video. To add to the chaos, a bomb detonates in Damascus, just outside of the hotel where the journalists had been staying before they were kidnapped. With 25 pronounced dead in Damascus, 4 American journalists kidnapped, and a seemingly related murder of a man on the streets of Brooklyn, everyone is on high-alert.

The author, Jolene Grace, gives two distinct perspectives throughout the novel. The first is the journey of Amelia Sinclair, from the UN basement level media department to a loft in Brooklyn. The reporter finds herself hurried along by her superiors as she tries her best to protect her fellow journalists who are held captive; whilst she herself is considered to be a suspect in their detainment.

The second perspective is from the inside of The White House, where the President is working on how to spin the situation to his advantage to gain a second term, whilst others are trying to hurry the CIA to gather intelligence. Equally, discussions are being had as to who to bribe and who can be trusted. This gives the novel a lot of freedom to explore espionage on multiple levels. An example of these two perspectives working together is when a sniper takes aim at Amelia Sinclair; Agent Jets is nearby and tries to help, whereas from inside the white house he has dropped off the radar.

Going Dark is full of tension, built up by a switching of perspectives at crucial moments, allowing the reader to hear both sides of the story. As the government tries to keep a lid on the story that numerous media outlets are trying to expose to the public, the reporter Amelia Sinclair tries to save her fellow reporters whilst being hunted down.

The reader, the characters and at times Amelia herself, question why she received the video in the first place. However, we also get the sense that she knows more than she is letting on. Among the possibility that there’s a government mole, leaked CIA safe-house locations, government tracking and a sniper on one’s doorstep, it’s hard to know who is the ‘good guy’ and who to trust.

Through it all there is a real sense of connection with the characters. For instance, Amelia is plunged into a situation where everything seems out of control. Sitting in a Philadelphia CIA stash-house and all she wants to do is call home to her daughter, Ava, and make sure she’s safe.

Jolene Grace creates so much tension in the book as none of the characters know, or at least don’t seem to know, the full story of what is going on. The author develops the characters superbly, and a real sense of empathy is created. But there is a fragility in knowing them as it’s hard to tell if they will live to see the next chapter or not. Everyone is at risk and everyone is on high-alert.

Pages: 399 | ASIN: B07H8WV36R

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Encore

Encore: A Contemporary Love Story of Hypnotic Abduction (The Agents of the Nevermind Book 3) by [Bensko, Tantra]

Encore is Book 3 in the Agents of the Nevermind series brought to you by author, Tantra Bensko. Tantra Bensko does a fantastic job writing a story line that intertwines themes of history, myths, politics, psychology magic, cultism, religion and romance. A clever author that sets out to achieve a contemporary love story with a touch of Gothicism. The author does a marvellous job at blending themes and motifs together in order to build up tension and create an epic dark read. This is a book that provides everything you would expect from a psychological suspense story – guaranteed to keep you firmly on the edge of your seat.

The narrative of Encore is imaginative and unique, which allows readers to really think about the importance of different aspects of their lives. The plot of this book mostly revolves around Colin, a Bennu performance troupe’s hypnotist who abducts Susan and takes her to a castle. This weird relationship sees Colin slightly fixated with Susan’s character, pretending to be her husband to solidify their romance. However, the story unfolds with lots of twists and mysteries that are questionable to the reader. The reader is constantly left wondering what is happening and why. This is a great feeling for a reader of the paranormal genre. What more could you possibly want?

The plot throughout this book is strong, creative and imaginative. Bensko structures her book clearly and it’s easy to follow. I think that paranormal activities are apparent throughout the book, which makes for a great read. Tantra Bensko does a fantastic job at trying to write something for her readers that takes them out of their comfort zone and into something quite edgy and Gothic. Her writing is exceptional throughout the book and allows readers to fully engage with the topics being explored.

Having read this book, I believe it clearly captures the paranormal and suspense genres to an exceptionally high standard. I was hooked right from the opening chapters and was left overwhelmed and intrigued when I put the book down.

Encore is a dark read with dark characters and an ever-evolving plot. I think the author has done a great job at creating all sorts of emotions from the ideas of love as well as complete fear. This is a unique contribution to the world of Gothic literature and I look forward to reading more from this author.

Overall, Encore is an exciting and intriguing read that has opened my eyes to the world of the paranormal genre. I would recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in the paranormal world. Even if you aren’t that interested, I think it’s worth a shot, as I think you too will be impressed with the story of Encore.

Pages: 376 | ASIN: B07HQYNL7K

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Mortgaged Goods

Mortgaged Goods by [Cobcroft, Lorraine]

What is the meaning of success; titles, money, family, happiness? These are the questions Nata and Karl must face as their life makes dramatic changes from their carefully planned out future. Nata is fostered by working class parents Joe & Hetty, Karl comes from the upper-class elite. Nata’s biological father was abusive to both her and her mother, leading her to fear men, and especially any and all sexual contact. Despite her reservations Karl works his way into her heart and they marry with the intent of living full professional lives that does not include a family. Nata however finds out she is pregnant and together they must figure out how to adjust their life goals and ambitions to this new situation. While battling with his ideals about his personal life, Karl must make some choices about his professional career as a lawyer. Knowing what is right and knowing what you can make a difference with are gray areas when you’re a lawyer dealing with the upper-class elite.

On the surface this book starts off with the story of two people from different worlds coming together to make their relationship work through unplanned events, pregnancy. As the story deepens you see beyond the surface struggles or plans changing, you see the deep wounds that childhood sexual abuse brings; you see the residual effects of emotional abuse and withholding of love and support to a child. It changes the world view, it changes what is important in life. Nata and Karl could be anyone you encounter in the professional world. They are focused on their goals but when life turns things upside down, their struggles to connect and find a path forward are relatable. Unplanned pregnancy, changing life goals of prestige or happy home life, can they all be merged? Karl’s professional life is also dealt a staggering blow. He knows the difference between right and wrong but knows fighting against what is wrong in this case is career suicide. He takes the safe way out to save his career, but it nags at him. He continues to try and find balance between right and wrong.

While Karl is trying to find his way, Nata is trying to make peace with her past and the demons that follow her. It is a realistic view into how sexual abuse continues to hurt people well into adult lives and impact their life decisions. When her baby is born early due to a car accident she is thrust into even more challenging emotions, a premature birth, a child that will have lifelong medical needs, a husband that can’t come to terms with a non-perfect child. Lorraine Cobcroft’s ability to tap into those emotions and the mindset of a new mother experiencing them is profound. So often these things are glossed over for other more comfortable plot lines, however Mortgaged Goods puts these deep emotions and controversial topics right into the forefront of the novel, making them key points.

While the novel starts out looking like it will be a ‘lawyer takes on the corrupt upper tiers of society’ type novel, this book is so much more. Mortgaged Goods by Lorraine Cobcroft tackles deep emotional issues, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, corruption of society, to include law enforcement, judges, and politicians. Through it all though, it is a novel about making a relationship work though the hard times, finding out what is truly important in life, and making the best of what life hands you, even when that is not what you have carefully laid out in your life plans.

Pages: 278 | ASIN: B018ZVWE5O

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The Turmoil of Future Existence

Charles R. Reid Author Interview

Charles R. Reid Author Interview

The Philosophical Future discusses the social and psychological challenges facing people in the 21st century. Why was this an important book for you to write?

Man is of course a creature of needs, which are easily misunderstood and in a confrontational world often taken by the individual as absolute imperatives. Violent actions and reactions, and more broadly aggressive behavior in general, tend to satisfy only, and too often, wrongly perceived needs of an instant. Long-term consequences are imprudently ignored. But it is too late as a rule to correct the mistake.

To avoid this familiar trap, nothing avails save the self-aware use of individual will — a learned capability — to survey each situation as it arises, and then rationally decide on and carry out a plan of action (including non-action) suitable to the circumstances. In an overly crowded world, and given today’s climate of festering person-to person and group-against group hostility, however, nothing appears to succeed other than violence or a threat of it. Whatever deprives the “other” of his ability to remain a self-respecting combatant can be employed. This wholly negative world view leads down an unsustainable road — in fact to social chaos.

Calls for meaningful change fall on mostly deaf ears. They do not convince. Nonetheless, the burden for positive change rests with individual minds. Such social unanimity as does occur is forced, and unless or until enough self-discipline takes hold in individual minds, and without coercion, this millennial consummation seems just as probable as another..

This book was written with such global issues in mind. Its significance lies in the message which it conveys to minds honestly aspiring to achieve a personal knowledge of what they may expect to encounter in the way of social, psychological, and moral trials in years to come.

You have an M.A. from the University of Wisconsin and an Ed.D. from the University of California, and you taught at many different schools. How has this experience helped you write this book?

Teachers, much akin to dispensers of religious doctrine, today more than ever share a burden of communicating to students more than mere facts or supposed facts originating with cultural authority. The effective teacher has also himself both learned and understood the “material” of his lessons. Even so, automatic transfer from one mind to another is a misconception. Not all learning experiences can be summed up in this formula. Even the substance of what there is to be learned erodes in this migration.

The basics of language and social skills can of course never be taken for granted. This includes all knowledge that can be reduced to a common parlance, including number, letter, names, places, dates, and even some rules of interpersonal behavior. The tyro can usually master this domain with aid from a teacher who himself studied and retained not only the rote aspect but some of the life-value of its content. Still, more than ever beyond this one needs certain more fundamental elements to make his way in life.

Most individuals, sadly enough, while they do achieve a grasp of these lesser aspects of behavioral competence, fail to move past them. Even many teachers may not learn to question themselves, to seek beyond their already memorized data base to explore the deeper significance of being human. For all further, higher knowledge, the kind needed to live with meaning, though built on a firm foundation of “the basics,” requires a yet greater step, and the true teacher recognizes this. All such higher knowledge demands a learner, as well as his teacher, who together strive for genuine understanding — so that each of them in the web of his own experience questions both himself as well as the “why” of things, basic and abstract alike.

I think this book does a fantastic job of delivering complex ideas in an understandable and meaningful way. What do you hope readers take away from your book?

To those whose developing interests include a genuine curiosity about conditions of life over the longer tomorrow, and assuming they are looking for an unvarnished view of today’s global scene, with some adumbration of what lies ahead, this book aims to provide some, but not all, and never absolute, answers. It is not indeed a prediction but an advisory. It deals only with the possible, in an age of few if any certainties.

Most young people, but also readers in general, tend to live on two levels of thought: On one hand they have a vision of society as some kind of mechanical entity; its fundamental workings go on at a comfortable distance; unless one becomes caught in their legal entanglements, they can be ignored. On the other hand, when society calls on them as individuals to participate actively in its formal activities (such as jury duty), thought and intelligence must be brought to bear; even so, the passive state of mind dominates. Typically (even in the jury room) one follows the herd.

For this typical reader this book then cannot help but sound a wake-up call. Neither mechanistic nor presumably-more active approaches to life in society in fact suffice. Knowledge of the whole and of its salient moving parts and of one’s own capabilities for adaptation to the turmoil of future existence — these will be key to genuine success in the art of living.

Where do you think society is headed and what can an individual do to ensure they are successful in that future?

The question of where society is headed and how it is likely to get there cannot be answered without giving thought to the individual’s plasticity of character and his motivations as a moral being. If individuals en masse pay no heed to what serves the common good, then the way forward becomes rife with predictable social decline. But this view overemphasizes the dark side. Neither man’s overall world outlook nor his web of relations in a complex environment ever reduce to a simple unidirectional pattern, at least in the short run.

History reveals one singular truth: In its gradual development, and often without conscious control, society “fixes” some problems, analyzes others without acting on them, and simply ignores those it cannot deal with. So we cannot rationally envision either a future utopia or dystopia. There is no end-point. The real wild card remains the “average” individual’s capacity for directing his powers either to improve the common good along with his own sense of social stability, or to give way to mental and moral negation, with destructive results in society.

Men are not prisoners of history, as is often claimed. But there is just so much any generation can do in a practical sense to unleash itself from on-the-ground conditions and the relatively passive state of mind it inherits. Revolutions come and go, yet underlying capabilities cling to their natural limits. The process is slow, unseen, and does not involve conscious volition other than to a limited degree. So the likeliest condition of society a century hence, barring an atomic or planetary disaster, will represent in essence only a repetition in substance (though not in detail) of what have been the commonplace evils of our time: over-population and consequent mass poverty; ever increasing global hysterias; police-state governments; continued lack of education and subsequent bewilderment over how to live a meaningful individual life in a complex and demanding environment. The true individual may disappear as this process works itself out. Yet fortunately, his eventual reappearance cannot entirely be ruled impossible either. And how this unresolved dichotomy is then resolved will make all the difference.

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This book surveys the breadth of mankind’s postmodern malaise, which is achieved through a discussion of the major challenges, social and psychological, which every individual faces in the effort to live fully in the twenty-first century. These challenges lay in broadly familiar domains: self- and group-consciousness; common man and his place in a future society in which mental activity dominates; work and leisure; knowledge and values accruing from it, both for self and others; possibilities in education; civilization, with its “Dark Age” phenomena and its dreams of progress; the role of the past in contemporary life; and power, both in society and within the sovereign individual who, though bound by physical and intellectual limits, functions as a seeker after the freedom and self-fulfillment which are so wholly integral to the human condition. And finally a serious question: What fate awaits the perpetual non-conformist, whose views, however unwelcome in his own time and in a contemporary environment, may in fact anticipate future living conditions?

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Crimes of Rumba: Volume I Congo Music

Crimes of Rumba: Volume I Congo Music by [Antha, Thierry]The book starts with a little history of the Congo under Belgium rule during the colonial days. This gives the reader an insight into how things were in Belgian Congo, and how ‘La Territoriale’ was made to get rid of King Leopold’s cruelty and brutality in the CFS regime. The first chapter gives a lot of information about Belgian Congo and all that happened. I had the impression that I was attending a history class, as the author wrote about events I had never heard of. It was agonizing to read about King Leopold, as his inhuman acts against the Congo people led to a lot of loss.

Politics in Congo, the formation of political parties, King Leopold’s atrocities and the influence of Rumba are all covered in the book. Reading about natives who were killed as directed by King Leopold in the harvest of red rubber in the era of CFS regime was one of the moments I almost broke down. Natives’ hands were chopped and others left with permanent wounds and under the CFS regime. Just how cruel could one man be? The worst thing was that even as he committed all these crimes, King Leopold received backing from his country, and even had support from his followers.

The author covered a number of themes in the book. Politics, music, law, human rights violation, business, and trade were all covered. This book highlights the use and impact of Congo music in Africa and other continents like America and Europe. Thierry Antha extensively writes about the brand associated with Congo Rumba and Rumba Lingala, Congo music that is known by just a few, how the Flemish administrators took Rumba, the industrialization of Congo music during the colonial days and much more.

Thierry Antha extensively writes about the brand associated with Congo Rumba and Rumba Lingala, Congo music that is known by just a few, how the Flemish administrators protected Congo music’s exceptionalism, while Walloons industrialized it with the addition of the legal diversity of South American music for export in the late 1950s and much more. And mostly how Fonior, the Belgian company, misused its monopoly to commit fraud and defraud Congolese musicians’ copyrights and consumers’ human rights in America, first, after the colony’s independence.

Rumba music, as allegedly sold in the West, is beautiful to the Soul. When played in clubs, the radio, and other public media, one can feel how passionately the artists feel the music they create. As you enjoy “Rumba” music, do you know a little history about Fonior’s fake-outs and how the genres were born? Do you know the challenges they faced and how the music they made affected them and the people around? If not, then you need to read this book. It has all the good, bad, fantastic and ugly stories about Belgian Congo, the natives, Congolese musicians and the exploitation of Congo music.

Pages: 598 | ASIN: B07CH9M9BR

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My Tattered Flag

A poem by Jeffrey Cooper.

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