Dutch Preacher Boy

        Dutch Preacher Boy ISBN: 9781098382420 TunaFiscch Publishing by John Kommerinus Trinstra.

Sub titled “Coming of Age in Grand Rapids, Taking Wing Beyond* From Ethnocentric Religion to a Wide World of Wonder. A MEMOIR.

This is a fascinating tale most especially if you have an interest in any phase of religion. It is told by a man born and raised in the Netherlands in the Dutch Calvinist faith – Calvinist College 1962-1966 and Calvin Seminary 1966-69 and after immigrating to America, 2 weeks at Moody Bible Institute – and wanted to be a Fundamentalist (Religion defined as Religion as written is the last word). However, as explained in the gradually developing story, his extensive travels throughout a goodly part of the world changed quite drastically his perspective. His description of these travels and the changes wrought make for a story similar to few, if any other ‘coming-of-age’ tales in that the process extends far beyond what usually is considered that period in one’s life, into sessions as a missionary where threats were encountered in the Mexican Border area; working with Inmates in Cook County Psychiatric Hospital where he picked up a most thought-provoking answer to a simple question and read a sign posted on a near-by wall the reader will love. It simply read “I’m absolutely crazy about change. I just can’t handle it well.” And many more incidents of interest including close encounters with royalty and celebrities, a number of ‘secrets’ of well-known radio/TV preachers of various faiths, “sexual awakening, athletic fields of battle, heroes, tragedies, escapes, with lots of humor and playful banter”.

Discussion: The book ends with a brief notation about the former pastor, educator, and entrepreneur author and an Index of his wide range of people encountered and exact page(s) where it took place with the referenced person. Some of the discussion with respect to the individual and/or his/her perspectives may appear biased to varying degrees, but certainly lie within the author’s prerogative.

5* Interestingly, thoughtfully assembled memoir

Jupiter, Illinois

Jupiter, Illinois a novel assumed published, copyright and written by William Graham.

The story begins with an explanation about the birth of Jupiter, Illinois.  In 1867 two staunch friend graduates in the classics from Yale University arrived in the prairieland of central Illinois about two hundred miles south of Chicago and decided to build their own college with surrounding town. As sons of wealthy shipping magnates from New York City, they could well afford to purchase and establish the college and with complete faith that their institution named Byron College after their favorite poet, Lord Byron, would excel in teaching all aspects of scholarship and business to its assumed burgeoning supply of students, they proceeded with the next step. The town was established and named Jupiter after the Roman god of sky and thunder. From this introductory description the story moves immediately to a number of years later when the college appears not to have developed to the founders intended level and is pretty much forgotten. However, several plots develop within the town and its residents and are followed through a number of years. The town also has been hit hard by the closing of a factory that manufactured automobiles, the main source of income for the residents. The story from hear on, follows the activities of the largely middle class residents with advent of a tremendously wealthy entrepreneur who makes a deal with the mayor to reopen the abandoned automobile factory. He intended to produce a new version of an electric automobile and had decided to build a new and extravagantly designed home as well. Rules of the new factory employment were not particularly compatible with the employees’ best interests and together with the plant owner’s outrageously expensive house design, trouble ensued. The story proceeds as it plays out the activities of a number of the residents.

Discussion: This is an interesting book in that it provides an unvarnished picture of the lives of important players in a relatively small Midwestern town formerly dependent upon a now closed factory as the main source of income for most residents and a college that also had not lived up to the founders’ expectations. New blood is provided by entree of an extremely wealthy entrepreneur who offers to reopen the empty factory owned by the city, and also to join the community by building a new home of very costly design for him and his younger new wife. His rules of employee function, quite unfavorable to the employees, begin to generate dissatisfaction and are exacerbated by the costly construction of his new home. The activities of a number of the involved citizens are followed as each of their stories unfold.

The author appears to be a well-developed writer with excellent educational background and a large number of credits in published works including poetry, adult and young adult fiction, travel and biography. His style seems to be to present the unadorned facts of activities, whether business or more personal relationships. It is a style that brings to mind the theme of an old TV series based upon the main character, Sgt. Friday, stating to an interviewee, “Just the facts, Mam, Only the facts.” It is a technique allowing the reader to decide whether or not characters are ‘worthy’ of empathy. (A psychological note – perhaps a thought pattern that could develop in residents of a town who had lived through this town’s past and present problems?)

 

5* Enjoyable story from several perspectives

Good and Dead

Good and Dead is a book copyright and written by E. L. Pini. It has been published by Producer & International eBook Publishing and sub-titled (An Avner Ehrlich Thriller Book 2) The translation from Hebrew is by Tal Keren.

The story begins in a manner well described to set the tenor for the entire story, or stories. It unfolds in an old rusted building situated in a seedy park outside of Moscow where a no-holds-barred wrestling match is in progress. The end of each match is declared when the ‘referee’ declares the loser “Good and Dead”. A young well-muscled Yuri Rasputin enters the ring shortly after the last loser has been removed and meets the huge reigning champion whom he cleverly eliminates by using a well-hidden blade. The reader does not again meet Yuri until about halfway into the book where he again appears as a major character in the deadly political chess game being waged and a dedicated enemy of our main protagonist, Avner Ehrlich. Avner, although in his thirties and with the physical results of many combative encounters in the field, once again has been sent on a mission. This time to Tehran to eliminate an Iranian nuclear scientist. This elimination is considered crucial to survival for Israel and possibly part of the rest of this section of the world. Complications develop and he is ordered to abandon the mission but in his usual manner ignores the order. Finally working his way into position for a direct sure shot at Hamdani when the man’s young son comes running into the line of fire. He does not take the shot, returning home through a dangerously tortuous series of maneuvers. Ehrlich takes responsibility for the debacle and is dismissed from duty and placed on leave for disobeying orders.

Because his intuitive abilities make him almost indispensable, he is called back quite quickly because Hamdani reportedly now is involved with Colonel Yuri Rasputin of the Russian Military in naval activity where a stealth submarine has been armed with a mega nitrogen bomb that although purportedly headed for Syria, actually is believed as being designated for Israel. Obviously it is imperative to destroy the bomb or Israel will cease to exist.

Discussion: This Book 2 of what is developing as a quite fascinating series appears to delve deeply into the games played by the many minds involved in this international political maneuvering, as well as providing details of the steps an organization such as Mossad must take to counter and survive. The one feature that may be open to question by the more pragmatic reader is his physical ability to react in the manner he does with the number of severe injuries he has suffered, e.g.; three slipped discs, plus possibly the frequency with which a man in Ehrlich’s position  must be saved from death by activity of others. However, the author has introduced a psychological element into Ehrlich’s physical/mental emotional composition that is compelling and quite unique to discover in persons involved in this line of work. So generally speaking, the true devotee of well-written thrillers will find this book as intriguing and enjoyable as any, and probably better than most, presentations in this genre.

5*Well-paced, beautifully written thriller highly recommended.

A Beconing Hellfire

A RECONING HELLFIRE, A Novel of the Civil War, Kindle Edition by JDR Hawkens.

The author has set forth a coming of age tale of a young farm boy in the horribly difficult time of the Civil War between the states. His father has joined the Army of the Confederate States of America and left him to manage the large but somewhat hardscrabble farm in western Alabama with the help of his sisters and mother. Unfortunately, he is killed and the family is informed just before Christmas shortly before the boy’s 18th birthday that was to occur the following year. With a typical display of the bitterness exhibited between residents of the northern and southern states, plus an anxiousness to “get into the action existent in almost all naïve young men, he is determined also to join in the bitter fighting to “gain revenge on the Yankees:” The story unfolds following the young man’s subsequent enlistment and experiences as he becomes one of the many young men involved in the gradual expansion of the deadly hand-to-hand combat of a member of the Southern cavalry fighting under the flamboyant and highly successful J.E.B. Stuart. Unfortunately, he is a rather simple young man and quite naïve whose plight is made worse by his actions immediately before leaving for the army. Fortunately however, he is aided considerably by his lifelong close friend who joins with him and by his unusual horse that has been his close companion for many years actually in a similar fashion as a companion dog in many ways.

Discussion: The author is a well-known and eminently well-qualified individual writing in this area of American literature. Actually seemingly the only woman with this reputation and once again she has provided readers with a well-researched, well-written, mostly poignant story of one series of actions that could have taken place during the conflict. It is a story of the common soldier with only an occasional glance into the lives of the cavaliers and the storied lives lived by the wealthy plantation owners and that from which came the Southern Officers of their military structure. Instead it depicts the farmer, blacksmith, store clerk and others who made up the largest proportion of the soldiers involved in the horrendous conflict. It is not a story for the delicate reader and, as are any descriptions of battle scenes as they truly exist, subject to a goodly amount of repetition or repetitive-like description. However, the informed reader will learn much he/she may not previously have known about the substitute foods and other innovative moves the southerners ‘manufactured’. So in summary, although a poignant tale and largely quite depressing, it is a worthwhile addition to the collection of stories of this great American conflict.

5* thoughtful addition to the American Civil War literature.

Apotheosis Now. Rabbit Hole to the Beyond

 

Apotheosis Now. Rabbit Hole to the Beyond assumed published copyright and written by Yanhao Huang.

Description/Discussion: The author seems to have aspired to set forth another pseudo-philosophical discussion on how to face life and the situations encountered with a basic need to discover “Do you want happiness or success?” He further hypothesizes that the answer is happiness and yet he points out how often, even if success is attained, how often happiness still is missing. Or that a goal reached results in only a short period of happiness and another goal must be obtained. This in turn, leads to a need to question even the basest suggestion that comes to mind and leads to extended introspection. In the author’s beliefs, these appear to be somewhat heavily affected by Asian religious philosophy, but generally lead to attempts to discover who he is? What are his true goals? Is a deity’s inclusion in the mix? And other similar questions.

The reason this particular review opens with a note as to the authors approach to a confusion that seems to be occurring more frequently because it is the 3rd approach to the subject I have read recently, the last just a little more than a week ago. Thus, to render a personal evaluation, as expected from reviewers, this book offers another dissertation on a subject that appears to be of rising interest in today’s reading population. It offers another interesting approach for the confused individual to read, evaluate along with the other approaches offered, and arrive at a decision with which he/she can live.

5* As discussed

Arnolfini Art Mysteries 2

Arnolfini Art Mysteries 2 ISBN: 978190053059 (eBook), an imprint of Digital Vista written by Rich DiSilvio.

The author has set forth for the prospective reader a most interesting series of mysteries ranging from almost priceless pieces of art to prominent architectural structures. The protagonist is a private investigator whose vocation/avocation is to appraise the authenticity of these objects for Museums and other interested individuals/groups who are willing to pay the expenses as well as the fees for which such unique ability is rendered. The first of the investigation the protagonist, Armand Arnolfini, describes in this book is of the authenticity of the long-lost Leonardo daVinci’s “Leda and the Swan” which his father maneuvers him into doing after setting-up Armand’s marriage to Andrea St. John, a young woman he found to be able to replace an irreplaceable wife who he had passed away a few years earlier. The marriage took place in a storied castle in Belgium with a list of attendees that was a list of the elite of the art world. From this initial offering the story travels through a number of other investigations of prominent pieces of art, buildings associated with architect/artists and then to a fascinating tale about the at one time tallest architectural structure in the world, the Woolworth building in the United states.

Discussion: the descriptions provided by the author are replete with details of an opulent manner of life only imagined by most as well as fascinating details of the varied and often serendipitous path these investigations can take. The amount of fiction included within the body of this work only can be judged by how much the reader knows about the art and architectural world and those who participate and/or have participated through the centuries. Definitely a rivet and ‘must read’ for anyone interested in investigations and especially for those having any interest and/or curiosity about art and architecture.

5* Riveting if interested in investigative art and/or architecture.

Song of Eagles

Song of Eagles ISBN: 9780786037568 Pinnacle Books Published, copyright and written by William W. Johnstone.

Once again the author has provided a story about the ‘Old West’ which is labeled fiction largely because so much of the history contains so many questions with respect to activity, characters involved and the frequent requirement of including fictional character(s) to piece together a smooth sequence and/or explain ‘missing parts’ or logical reasons for the action that had occurred. In this case the author has told a tale of the Lincoln County War which was a complicated and bloody affair begun and continued by a basic greed that involved and extended to include, many unscrupulous men and eventually even to split friendships to a deadly degree. It included numerous men well known for various reasons including the infamous William Bonney (Billy the Kid) and his friendship with Pat Garret, the eventually appointed Sheriff of Lincoln County. Additionally, attempting to explain much of this period’s history with respect to the fate of the actual characters such as William Bonney, “Buch Cassidy” and others has been most difficult because of the amount of credible material that provides a different demise than the one reported and accepted at the time.

Discussion/Conclusion: Little material actually can be added to that already set forth in the above description. Many stories of this period are replete with inexplicable facts and/or credible explanations of differences between ‘facts’ accepted at the time and ‘facts’ that emerge in later years. The author has ‘pieced together’ a most enjoyable story of another of these ‘tales of the Old West’.

5* for readers who may not even be Western devotees.

Crisis Averted

CRISIS AVERTED PR Strategies to “Protect your Reputation and the Bottom Line” ISBN: 9781642252576 Published by Advantage Media, copyright and written by Evan Nierman.

The author opens the book with an introduction: A Crisis Averted Followed by PART I: An Introduction to Crisis PR, and four chapters; PART II: Bad Things Happen to Everyone with 3 chapters; PART III: Crisis Control and 4 more chapters. An Afterword closes the presentation.

“This profession centers upon high-stakes and high-profile situations that are hard to forget but are often best handled quietly without the world ever knowing or truly understanding what took place behind the scenes” and explains the procedure employed here. The author explains that good crisis management requires an empathetic individual who is cognizant of all the possibilities involved in all aspects and is a master of nuances when dealing with the situation. “Your client’s success can often hinge upon those subtle distinctions in the way you frame arguments, describe situations, and talk about companies.” You must know your subject matter!!

You also need to be willing to go help even though the call comes in the middle of a family reunion, or other you’re enjoying. You need to be able to converse comfortably with a high profile CEO as well as a blue collar worker and if the guy you’re trying to bail refuses to listen to you be willing to walk away. You also take the job because you believe in the guy who needs help and be willing to fight nasty opponents including reporters.

“A crisis is anything that is going to give people an inaccurate negative view of you or your company. If that is the situation in which you find yourself, then you had better not retreat into your shell, because it is not going to protect you. Instead, take a positive step toward keeping your reputation intact and discuss your circumstances with a crisis counselor.” No longer can you simply tell the truth, you must press for the truth!!! You often must think fast, act fast and even talk fast.

The number of people you are going to physically meet is a finite number, but with internet the number is billions and you are going to be painted as they wish, unless you PRESS for the truth to be seen AS YOU WANT TO BE SEEN! “Share with care and Post with Purpose”

Before facing any crisis situation, “formulate a clear and positive message”. Without such a clearly defined message it is “impossible to communicate powerfully without clearly articulating a primary message!”

Discussion: The author has set forth a book on how to deal with an unexpected crisis in a straightforward, easily understood manner that has gained kudos from numerous CEOs as well as individuals in other positions of importance in need of Crisis Control. The book is heavy on the importance of what the author’s particular team can offer that may be superior to that provided by others. However, in this reviewer’s estimation, it is a justifiable emphasis because of the breadth of his experience in a large number of areas and situations that crises frequently occur. This particular book is well worth reading for anyone and a must for anyone who has the misfortune to be involved in this situation.

5* Highly recommended read for all; a must for anyone involved.

Andy: Origins

ANDY: ORIGINS ISBN: 9781950547333 assumed published, copyright and written by Dirk Walvoord.

The story is fiction. The book opens with a quotation excerpted from Cyrus Bergen’s “The Theory of Likeability (Univ. of Northwest Press). If one can identify the things that a person likes and can consciously do those things and if one can also identify the things that a person does not like and consciously avoid those things, then one can make himself (or herself) likeable.” The plot follows the attempt by a university to coerce one of their brilliant staff professors to imbue a robot with these character traits. He is selected because he exhibits them personally, making him in great demand as a guest lecturer. Trouble ensues when the manufacturer who supplies the money to the University for the Project begins to work with, but also against, the institution’s Dean to provide other AIs to replace the personable professor.

Discussion: This is a highly credible plot from the standpoint that it has existed for many years when highly intelligent and investigative minds within universities are tempted, or actually are, coerced by their Deans and other administrators to accept grant money to further the university’s income from manufacturers to provide input into their projects. The new ‘twist’ is that this particular project entails development of lifelike robots as assistants that are ‘all things’ to their main ‘master’. The book is well-written, although perhaps a little confusing when the chicanery begins, by an author who is knowledgeable of his subject.

5* Application of a new plot ‘twist’ to a long-existent practice.

The End of an ERA

The END of an ERA, Diverse Thoughts From 100+ years of LIving ISBN: 9781636925639 Newman Springs Publishing copyright and written by John H. Manhold.

For readers who regularly visit my website, I am sure this is something different than what you expected to find. Specifically I should like to alert you to the imminent publication of this author’s latest book, The End of an Era. Final print copy is scheduled to be released for distribution and sale in print (soft cover) by next week, followed by an e-book, and an audible version shortly thereafter.

Briefly, it presents comparative observations of various aspects of life as it began shortly after WW I and progressed through the multitudinous changes that evolved as the years crept by “in there petty pace from day to day” through the year 2020 and the early part of 2021. The century’s changes overall have been accumulating for millennia – only recently the rate of acceleration has changed to a pace even faster than during the Industrial Revolution. The past one hundred years has moved from a time when a man’s handshake was binding, and a resident of the then United States of America was free to indulge in, and could attain top-level accomplishments in any number of fields, to the present era where an amazing amount of control is occurring. In 1919 there was no TV, Jet flight, DNA, Cloning, computers, huge technological companies attempting to correlate and direct an individual’s thought pattern and direction. Even general ownership of radios did not exist (my father, an electrical engineer, built our first ‘Crystal Set’). But perhaps on an even more personal level. What has happened to empathy? How frequently do you encounter understanding of a problem? Instead, is your boss or other “uncaring” person too occupied to even listen to what you are saying? Or if the person listens, how much is he/she really hearing? The last study of attention span of humans I found was 8.1 seconds, which is comparable to that reported of a goldfish. Have you noticed how rapidly advertisements change on TV? How rapidly people speak these days? When answering the phone, you immediately are addressed by a recorded message? What has happened to loyalty? Whom do you really believe you personally can trust?

Dependence upon machines, computers, and artificial intelligence is our way of life. Its pace and the quantity of material required to be gathered and stored has grown far beyond existing capabilities. Regrettably, no choice exists but to continue while opening our lives to any and every one because no computer made to date is immune to hacking.

The 1919–2021 period of change has been of sufficient magnitude even to be equated with the now almost forgotten Renaissance, an era of total upheaval in the mores of society was occurring that escalated to almost  unimagined levels in communication, transportation, housing, clothing, morals, matters of entertainment, patterns of thought—everything. Amusingly perhaps, also a time that has been compared with my unusual, highly varied life activities and often accompanied with suggestions—actual pressure—to publish them.

Until now, I have refused. Producing another exercise in self-serving egocentricity that few other than family and a few acquaintances might like to read always has seemed gauche until recently a young intern remarked that the opportunities I was offered no longer existed.  I was fortunate in that my career developed during a period when investigative opportunities were numerous and ability to meet and exchange ideas with notable people easily occurred. The conversation began an introspective progression of thoughts that led to my reconsideration and although I have not acquired any status as a celebrated professional athlete, revered statesman, honored warrior, or even received extensive media coverage as a celebrated stage or cinematic performer, I have gained a certain level of recognition in several areas that have provided me with an opportunity for worldwide travel and intimate time spent with people of many different cultures. Thus evolved the intention here to describe my serendipitous journey in an obvious and/or easily verifiable manner, and as it occurred with observations on the era differences and an intent to offer impressions gained through these years spent with many people of different, or possibly similar but somehow “different” mores as they change with time. Also, I should like to impart some of the insight (?) gained that could offer takeaway thoughts for others.

Generally speaking, there is little interest in the past. Few read history with the lessons that it teaches, and even historical novels are passé. This book sets forth a contrasting picture between the 1900s and the present century. It is one man’s story by a man who has lived through those 100+ years and set forth in his words as the events are remembered and written with obvious and/or referenced substantiation. You might discover features and/or circumstances that elicit personal thought(s).

John H. Manhold