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An Unbridgeable Chasm

James Morrow
James Morrow Author Interview

And the Last Trump Shall Sound consists of three novellas depicting a chilling imminent future for the U.S. How did this anthology come about?

The book was the brainchild of Shahid Mahmud, who runs a small press called Arc Manor out of Rockville, Maryland. He invited me into the anthology back in October of 2019, explaining that he’d already lined up Harry Turtledove and Cat Rambo.

I believe the project crystallized in Shahid’s mind when he observed the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, which he thought captured in microcosm what was happening to this country on both the public level—an unbridgeable chasm between Democrats and Republicans—and the private level: families split into warring camps over the

Donald Trump phenomenon. Shahid sensed that we’d become divided to the point of acute instability, and he wanted to do a book that would somehow address the crisis.

Three amazing writers penned the stories in this anthology. What was your collaboration process like?

The essential premise, a string of Republican White House victories leading to the secession of the three West Coast states, emerged from conversations between Shahid and his friend Harry Turtledove, one of sf’s premier practitioners of alternative history. When Shahid proposed that I join the project, an early draft of Harry’s novella existed, and I was expected to pick up where “The Breaking of Nations” left off.

At first I turned Shahid down. The mere idea of a second Trump term followed by eight years of Mike Pence depressed me so profoundly I couldn’t image wanting to write within such a universe. But I couple of days after Shahid approached me, I remembered a detail from his pitch: when “The Breaking of Nations” opens, Trump is already in his grave. I thought it would be fun if Pence got the idea—reinforced by an adult-movie star masquerading as his spiritual counselor—that with the help of Heaven he could bring Trump back from the dead.

So I emailed Shahid and was delighted to learn the slot hadn’t been filled yet. I penned most of my contribution during a Christmas visit in Denver with my wife’s side of the family, including my intended climax: Trump’s resurrection in the Washington National Cathedral—not a miracle but a feat predicated on a robot doppelgänger.

Shahid passed my first draft on to Cat Rambo, who then faced the formidable challenge of writing a novella that would give readers a self-contained narrative that stayed within the parameters of “The Breaking of Nations” and “The Purloined Republic.” Cat came through in spades with a dystopian vision titled—from the Stephen Crane poem—“Because It Is Bitter.”

All of which is a complicated way of saying that And the Last Trump Shall Sound was not so much a collaboration as a round robin experiment in freewheeling extrapolation.

What is the main thing you hope readers will take away from the book?

I hope that Harry, Cat, and I might help readers understand that the American experiment, with its roots in sophisticated political philosophy and the 18th-century Enlightenment, is in dire jeopardy right now. They won’t come out and admit it, but the men at the top—Trump, Pence, Mitch McConnell, and so on—obviously no longer believe in this experiment. The President would like to see our republic become a monarchy, Pence would like to see it become an evangelical Christian theocracy, and McConnell is doing everything in his power to sustain the kleptocracy.

That said, And the Last Trump Shall Sound is not a counsel of despair. It’s a warning, not a prophecy. All three novellas, I feel, leaven their darkest moments with a certain buoyancy and between-the-lines affirmation. As I often say, pessimism can be its own sort of naivety, cynicism its own sentimentality. There is still a common good.

What are you are working on now?

Way back in 1986, an editor at Henry Holt, Marion Wood, bought a manuscript from me called Those Who Favor Fire. At the last minute we changed the title because it had just appeared on an sf novel by Marta Randall, and we wanted to avoid confusion (though titles cannot be copyrighted). My nuclear-war comedy ultimately rolled off the presses as This Is the Way the World Ends.

Thirty-four years later, I am applying Those Who Favor Fire to my satire-in-progress. It’s an absurdist take on the climate crisis, spun from the notion that the Hollow Earth theory is correct. It turns out that our surface world is mirrored by Quondonia, a subterranean civilization menaced by global freezing. The conceit is ridiculous, of course, but I’ve found that if I live long enough with my premises—I’m a slow writer—I actually start to believe them at some level, and I come to imagine the reader will too.

From New York Times bestselling author, Harry Turtledove, critically-acclaimed novelist, James Morrow, and Nebula Award winner, Cat Rambo, comes a masterful anthology of three sensational novellas depicting a dark fictional future of the United States.

And the Last Trump Shall Sound is a prophetic warning about where we, as a nation, may be headed. Mike Pence is President of the United States after years of divisive, dogmatic control by Donald Trump. The country is in turmoil as the Republicans have strengthened their stronghold on Congress, increasing their dominance. And with the support of the Supreme Court, more conservative than ever, State governments become more marginalized by the authoritarian rule of the Federal government.

There are those who cannot abide by what they view as a betrayal of the nation’s founding principles. Once united communities break down and the unthinkable suddenly becomes the only possible solution: the end of the Union.

The authors’ depiction of a country that is both unfamiliar and yet unnervingly all too realistic, make you realize the frightening possible consequences of our increased polarization—a dire warning to all of us of where we may be headed unless we can learn to come together again.

The Demolition of Democracy: Has America Lost Its Soul

The Demolition of Democracy: Has America Lost Its Soul by [Ted Bagley]

The Demolition of Democracy is a compelling analysis of the policies and the behavior of the Trump administration and how they are destroying the democratic foundation of the United States. Ted Bagley has written this book as an attempt to get people to realize that it does matter who we choose to lead our country. This book delivers a clear perspective on the current state of the U.S. government and Ted Bagley does not sugar coat his words. The author seeks to open the reader’s eyes to the realities we live in today, and open them he does.

Ted Bagley shines a light on all the issues the country and world are facing. He fearlessly reviews and examines the broken-down of our political and judicial system and the absence of democracy in the country. The Demolition of Democracy takes a good look at the people at the top and the general climate of the country they operate in. This book makes it clear that the United States of America has been going through a dark period with less than proper leadership. Issues like racism and prejudice have become staples of the administration. Ted Bagley states his stance clearly, unequivocally, and with reverence.

This book is not for people who are easily offended as it can be viewed as aggressive, but I choose to see it as passionate. The Demolition of Democracy is a hard hitting book that investigates and diagnosis the political problems facing Americans.

Pages: 262 | ASIN: B07W8MJ1P2

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Italians of Lackawanna County

Going through this book is akin to being virtually in touch with the Italian culture and customs. The author compiled text and images which show how beautiful the Italian community in America is and how wonderful the people are as they co-exist with others. Stephanie Longo tells the story of Italians of Lackawanna in a distinct and brilliant way that can’t help but admire the way of life of the Italians. The author starts by narrating the history of Italian immigrants who first moved to the county. The immigrants had to do menial jobs like farming, mining and other works that required hard labor. The first wave of Italian immigrants knew that only hard work would help them fend for their families. This notion was passed through different generations of Italian Americans as everyone had to work to survive.

The author shows the deep connection between Lackawanna county authorities and the Italians who live in the county. With pictures, the author talks about Italian-American themed events that happen throughout the county, the close ties between Pennsylvania administration and Italian officials in Sicily, the Lackawanna County Library System which promotes Italian American events throughout all nine of its branches, and the heritage and Italian pride witnessed in the county among other things. The author also highlights the monuments and buildings which were made in honor of Italian heroes and legends. They include the Gino J. Merli Veteran’s Center, The Christopher Columbus statue on Scranton’s Courthouse Square and the statue of Dante among others.

I absolutely loved the images Stephanie Longo shared of the La Cosra dei Ceri festival. The pictures were colorful and everything seemed perfect. La Cosra dei Ceri is a festival I would want to be part of if I ever get to be in Lackawanna County around May. I appreciate the author’s effort to explain in detail what the festival is about, and what each family does in honor of their patron saints. Religion and by extents Catholicism is a huge part of Italian living. It is beautiful how religion brings the masses together as they worship and celebrate life as one people.

Italians of Lackawanna County is about 70% images and 30% text. This is one of the things that made me enjoy reading this book. Pictures tell a lot and one can easily and quickly understand the content without having to read a bunch of words in a paragraph. I loved reading this book because the author shared a little history of the Italians in the county and how Italy is. Italians of Lackawanna County is a great educational read that I would recommend to everyone who wants to learn more about Italian-American culture.

Pages: 98 | ISBN: 1540228266

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Silent Spring – Deadly Autumn of the Vietnam War – Trailer

What happened in Vietnam … didn’t stay in Vietnam.
It came home with us!

As one reviewer described the book, “Patrick Hogan pulls off what most cannot – invoke emotion using non-fiction. Fair warning, his description of the Vietnam War will make you angry, depressed, sad, and happy all at the same time.”

This edition of Silent Spring – Deadly Autumn of the Vietnam War, is an account of war – a tale of anger and determination – a chronicle written in sorrow and hope. It’s the story of countless veterans who served in Vietnam and many of their children.

The book is both a memoir and an investigational voyage into all the issues the U.S. government doesn’t want you to know about the Vietnam War.

It’s not just another paperback about Vietnam or Agent Orange. Rather it’s a “silver bullet” which cuts through to the heart of the circumstances and chemical used during that war—toxic enduring herbicides and insecticides—which in some cases are still being used to this very day all over the globe, even right here in America.

So, forget everything you’ve heard from the government and what you think you know about the Vietnam War because you will be absolutely stunned by what the US government had willingly dumped on Vietnam and its own troops.

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Front Porches to Front Lines

Front Porches to Front Lines: One Small Town’s Mobilization of Men, Women, Manufacturing and Money during World War One by [Perlsweig, Simon]

Simon I. Perlsweig’s historical account of the lives of the author’s great grandparents and the communication between them shows a great deal of what life in Springfield, VT was like in the 1910’s. It is very possible that without this work, much of what Perlsweig writes about in Front Porches to Front Lines: One Small Town’s Mobilization of Men, Women, Manufacturing, and Money During World War One, would never have been pieced together. It is a real pleasure to be able to experience this slice of history. Simon Perlsweig does this astoundingly and it is clearly evident that he put his heart and soul into his work.

Perlsweig’s book takes readers to Springfield, and more importantly, into the lives of a couple whose lives were greatly affected by WWI. There was, of course, the impact on the couple in question, Lawrence and Gladys, but readers are shown how everything else in the small Vermont town was changed forever, as well, and to make matters worse, war wouldn’t be the only problem faced by this couple.

Historically speaking, this work is a gem. There is a wealth of information on virtually every aspect of life in the United States in the early 20th Century, and even when the familial part of the work is not considered, Front Porches to Front Lines holds its own as a historical text due to the attention given to the social, economic, and political issues, among many more.

The research is thorough, and the writing style employed by the author is academic, while at the same time being accessible to a diverse audience. With such a breadth of information contained within the pages of this book, it’s definitely a plus using language that is not too complicated.

Another aspect of the book that many readers should enjoy is the fact that there is a large amount of authentic memorabilia from the period, including recruiting posters, family photos, government documents, and much more.

Simon I. Perlsweig’s Front Porches to Front Lines, published by Husky Trail Press LLC, is certainly a work that should not be ignored. It is not everyday that we are invited into the human experience of those who lived through one of America’s most trying times, and it’s even rarer that we get such a personal touch as the one here.

Pages: 221 | ASIN: B07MY6GLD5

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Silent Spring – Deadly Autumn of the Vietnam War – Trailer

WHAT HAPPENED IN VIETNAM DIDN’T STAY IN VIETNAM. IT CAME HOME WITH US!

Silent Spring – Deadly Autumn of the Vietnam War is both a memoir and an investigative journey into all the complications the U.S. government hasn’t told you about the Vietnam War. It’s not just another book about Vietnam or Agent Orange. Rather it’s a “silver bullet” which cuts through to the heart of the circumstances and pesticides used during that war—highly toxic herbicides and insecticides, which in some cases are still being used to this very day all over the globe, even right here in the USA.

So, forget everything you’ve heard from our government and everything that you think you know about the Vietnam War because this book is much more than a memoir of one Vietnam veteran’s struggles over the decades following the war. It’s a story of all the veterans who served in Vietnam and their children. And it could even be the story of you and your children, too.

As you read through the book and its volumes of information, you will be absolutely stunned at what the US government had willingly dumped on Vietnam and its own troops.

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My Investigative Journey into Agent Orange

Patrick Hogan Author Interview

Patrick Hogan Author Interview

Silent Spring – Deadly Autumn of the Vietnam War uses your personal account of the Vietnam War to shed light on the dangerous conditions US servicemen served in. Why was this an important book for you to write?

In the beginning, writing a book was the further thing from my mind. However, shortly after I had returned home from Vietnam for the last time, my father urged me to file a disability claim with the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) for medical problems I had experienced during my service. I began the process without much enthusiasm and quickly got sidelined by my new civilian life. Little did I realize that I wouldn’t re-visit my disability claims again until almost forty years later when I watched President Barack Obama give a speech on the horrors of the Vietnam War. I’m still not quite sure what happened that day, but after listening to the president, I felt an urgency to commit myself to investigate the causal link between my exposures to Agent Orange and the myriad health problems plaguing not only my life but the lives of many other Vietnam veterans.

When I started my investigative journey into Agent Orange, I never suspected what I would discover. But, I quickly learned we were exposed too much more than just the one infamous pesticide. The deeper my exploration went and the more I thought about all the lives which had been taken and damaged by the rampant use of pesticides during the war; the more determined I became to try to set the record right. So, starting with the death of my friend Larry White the book was born.

It’s a disgrace that so many lives have been lost over the last half-century, and no one knows the truth or exactly how many veterans died because of the chemicals they were exposed to in Vietnam. Likewise, our government can’t even tell us how many of the three million “in-Country” Vietnam Veterans are still alive today. One of my biggest regrets is it took me so long to wake up.

This book discusses many of the toxic pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides used in the war. What do you find is a common misconception people have about their use in Vietnam?

The most common misconception is most people believe Agent Orange was the only pesticide we were exposed too. The truth is the Vietnam War is a disinformation campaign by the government to downplay or outright ignore all the other chemicals we were exposed to in Vietnam. Had the government been forthcoming with the same information in my book there would have been no misconceptions. Then again, no one has ever put together an investigation or book on all the complex issues and chemical of the Vietnam War before either.

You often use your personal account of your time in Vietnam, but did you also conduct any research for this book?

I conducted over three years of research for this book. I have quite literally reviewed thousands of studies, medical opinions, and documents. I’ve talked to doctors and other medical professionals, the vast majority of which came to the same inescapable conclusions as I eventually did at the end of my research. Low-level exposures to just the various known chemicals discussed in my book will attack living organisms on an undetected hormonal, genetic, and cellular/molecular level, producing covert systemic damage and alterations to immune, cardiovascular, endocrine, respiratory, and neurological systems of any human unlucky enough to be put in their path. Exactly how that damage and those alterations manifest depends on the several exposure factors which I discuss in the book.

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

As I was putting the finishing touches on Silent Spring – Deadly Autumn of the Vietnam War and reading through all the data and information again, it started me concentrating on what our government and the military-industrial chemical corporations were capable of creating in South Vietnam during the war. I began to spectacle, on just how the United States got away with unleashing so many harmful pesticides during the war. Awkwardly, for me at least, even though I was there, the whole concept of what occurred in Vietnam is still quite perplexing and hard for me to fathom.

Still, based on my years of research, it appears that pesticide companies, our government, lumber companies, and large commercial agricultural groups, as well as many of our state and federal agencies, consider pesticides—both herbicides and insecticides—essential for use in today’s modern, industrialized world. Consequently, what occurred in Vietnam hasn’t stayed in Vietnam. It has, over the intervening half century, continued to be ever so skillfully reproduced in today’s world. Like Vietnam, our government and chemical companies are primarily still using the same classic trickery of smoke and mirrors for the specific protection of harmful pesticides and their manufacturers.

So, my next book will be titled, Betrayal of America by the Political and Industrial Complex. In this exploration, there will be a stunning investigation into the depth of corporate and political treachery and greed. Any American angry with the present corporate and political system after reading this shocking investigative account will turn their anger into sheer outrage when they learn what is being allowed to be used in our environment.

As for when it will be finished, God only knows.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads | Website

Silent Spring - Deadly Autumn of the Vietnam War by [Hogan, Patrick]Silent Spring – Deadly Autumn of the Vietnam War is not just another book about the Vietnam War or Agent Orange. Instead, it is a “silver bullet” which cuts through the heart of the circumstances and pesticides used during that war—highly toxic herbicides and insecticides which in some cases are still being used all over the world.

The book is much more than a memoir of one Vietnam veteran’s struggles over the decades after the war. It is a full-length analysis of the various conditions in Vietnam and the chemicals that were unleashed on not only the enemy but also on US service personnel.

Pat Hogan, the author and the main subject in the biography portion of the book, chronicles his early life and enlistment into the war in the mid-’60s. He starts with the life story of a friend and fellow vet, Larry White, who died decades later from numerous complications of the pesticides he was exposed to while stationed in Vietnam.

Hogan returned from Vietnam in ’69 and started having minor health difficulties himself. He became a police officer and then a police academy instructor. It is this occupational skill set—his investigative and analytical ability—that truly brings a high impact to the rest of the book. As you read through the volumes of information, you will be absolutely stunned at what the US government had willingly dumped on Vietnam and its own troops. In fact, in the book’s postscript, the author even makes a case for some of those same chemicals still being used today on you and your children, not just in the U.S. but all over the globe.

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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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