Airplane Stiories and Histories

Airplane Stories and Histories ISBN 9781524588274, Xlibris. Copyright and written by Norman Currey.
Book Contents/Discussion: The author has set forth an unexpectedly interestingly readable history of airplanes and their development from the very inception. Additionally, he has supplied profoundly interesting history and anecdotes with respect to little known, as well as prominent, individuals associated with their development and with numerous individuals who piloted them. It is written by an original resident of Great Britain who participated in making much of this change come about and placed him in a position to move to other parts of the world to do so. This reviewer is of one of the generations who witnessed much of this transition, but actually had not acquired the deep interest exhibited by others of the era. Rather, his peripherally gained respect for the development was acquired by lengthy participation as a frequent passenger. Thus, witnessing the title, generated enough interest to purchase and surprise when the tale began to unfold blossoming to a fascination as gradual progression in reading the contents revealed the answers to the many questions that had developed through the years.
Summary: This is a book that I believe thoroughly will be enjoyed. It does not matter whether you are a passenger, or see a notice about a plane on which you might soon be a passenger, interested in the occasional media announcement with respect to new types of aircraft in today’s headline developing warfare, or perhaps the even less frequent story about former flyers who may or may not still be with us, all are stimulating to read. Currey has provided

5* Well researched and recommended reading.

Teddy Lancaster and the Eye of Naroshi

 Teddy Lancaster and the Eye of Naroshi ISBN: 9798985573503 assumed published, copyright and written by Johnny Rapp.

Teddy Lancaster, is a young somewhat withdrawn boy progressing through the usual coming-of-age experiences. He lives with his mother, a healthcare worker employed at a near-by facility having just lost Teddy’s father whom they both miss greatly. Teddy also is a dreamer whose nightly series takes him on trips where he visits and actually lives in a waking state (during the time he is supposed to be sleeping) inside the kingdom of Egaria which is magically enchanted with an ancient protection spell. He also becomes enrolled as a student in Zarmore, the local school where he will be taught how to make his own world a better place along with various magical activities. During one of these dream sessions he befriends one of a colony of Goblins that includes farmers and this state of coexistence has been in effect for thousands of years. Teddy, under pressure of capture by the Goblins whom he believes he had insulted, steals one particular farmer’s greatest possession, a horse – Naroshi – to escape.  (This Goblin-Farmer group lives in a border city next to where Teddy lives when at home. It is a place that is half dream world and half real world. It is called Slaybethor.)

Actually he wasn’t in danger, but the ‘friend’ was having fun with him after he found him too near the area’s Castle. However, the old man does not take the theft lightly and has a magic staff with which he can blow things apart and when Teddy stole his horse, he went on a rampage looking for it and wrecked large portions of the surrounding village. From this beginning activity, the story continues, expanding as it proceeds.

Discussion: The author has set forth an interestingly plotted fantasy with its usual collection of goblins and animals cleverly assuming human roles. All are well characterized allowing an interest and even empathy to develop, and although fundamentally a story directed to the tean and pre-teen reader, no doubt well written enough to have appeal for the fantasy reader, similarly to others of note, at more advanced ages.

5* Teen/pre-teen; also probably advanced level fantasy devotees

Europe by Milk Run

Europe by Milk Run ISBN: 9781954778078 published, copyright and written by Rory Moulton.

Subtitled A solo Travel Experiment from Copenhagen to Barcelona, First published 2020 by EuroExperto. The author has provided this mini-saga of his unusual journey resulting from a decision to prove wrong a casual observation by an acquaintance that traveling Europe “isn’t real travel” anymore. By riding slow trains, using a Eurrail Pass, using Airbnb (a list of low-budget lodging), a vague direction in which he wanted to go and little more than a backpack he made the trip in a measured time frame. (Set by budgetary restrictions dictated by the fact he now was married with a young teen son and other responsibilities, although his main job appeared to be providing, and editing, new material for a rather undefined person who seemingly provided travel material for some source). His decision could be considered unusual since he was several years beyond the usual age for such rambling journeys. However, he makes his decision with much gusto and desire to explore the offbeat neighborhoods with their storied, often risqué activities, ‘different’ foods and their often ‘different’ venders. Almost all activities conducted with newly acquired young and completely involved ‘friends’ he meets on the travels

This introductory material concludes that with “Ample humor and humility”, he shows “that traveling Europe at ground level reveals the Continent’s greatest treasures.”

The trip explores Copenhagen including its lesser known ‘naughty areas’ as well as the better known ones existing in Hamburg. Amsterdam includes dealing with a large number of feral cats; Brussels perhaps slightly more emphasis on the architecture and Paris somewhat similarly  with interesting comparison of the Notre-Dame Cathedral with some of the newly designed ‘masterpiece’ architectural structures, as well as Barbes Market in Paris – an enclave of 1st and 2nd generation Africans speaking rapid-fire French mixed with African patois and the Museum of Immigration in Paris which depicted the end of Colonialism in its strange history of development. Other notable features were Bayeux as a food-lovers delight, Saint-Jean-de-Luz (Basque country where the native language is Euskara –a language with no real relationship to French, Latin, Spanish or other. There are a few hundred thousand Basques in France but most are in Portugal and the adjoining region of Spain. (An author’s brief discussion discloses the existence of even a couple of thousand in Colorado, USA. Pamplona included an interesting discussion of the difference in gauge between the rails in Spain and the rest of Europe (9 inches wider) and their gradual change as well as many other features of interest besides the San Fermin Festival and ‘Running of the Bulls’. Zaragoza elicited a comment expressing the fact that the city was far more beautiful to visit at night at night– most beautiful to visit at night and that the small town’s Canfranc with unusual rail station offered “A key crossing point and center for spies and espionage” during WWII earning “a new nickname Casablanca in the Pyrenees.” Description of Barcelona, an Epilogue and notes about the author terminate the book.

Discussion: A well- and often charmingly-described presentation of many little known facts and features of some of Europe’s cities, towns, and countryside. Highly recommended.

5* Highly recommended

Mosquito Junction

#1

MOSQUITO JUNCTION Memories ISBN: 9781648039911 Westwood Books Publishing, LLC. Copyright and written by Robert S. Saito.

This is a memoir of a Japanese man from California who spent time as one of the members of an internee family during that fiasco in the US during WWII. From this beginning, it proceeds through a rambling life spent largely as an enlisted sailor after some schooling including attendance at a California junior college with assignments for the rest of his enlisted life mostly as a lifer second class petty officer and rising eventually to an E-6 grade enlisted man. Included are many changes in area of service (including many of which this reviewer did not even know existed, although spending tours of duty during WWII [4/44 – 3/46] and the Korean War [7/50 – 2/55]). His duty stations were somewhat removed from the ‘ordinary’ including a start in Mosquito Harbor and time in part of the Aleutian Island chain that is the last such U.S, Naval Base before the Russia owned territory. His duty assignments also included Viet Nam – First. Sea Bee Base Camp Faulkner which was past China Beach and check point Charlie along the Bon Son River. Second starting at Camp Campbell in Hue Phu Bai near the city of Hue. Beyond recounting some of the less often reported details of these duty stations and activities, he sets forth extensive and frequently unusual detailed description of much of the rest of the world he travelled during intermittent leave and retirement travels experienced with Naida, his Mexican-American wife of fifty years. Now at 84 years he sums up the story in the simple and straightforward words: “This is my memoir of the many people I have met and places I have been: “The people are ordinary hard working devoted to duty military men and women from all walks of life from many countries I have visited.”

Discussion: This perhaps, is one of the most fascinating memoirs this reviewer has read. It is written in simple unadorned English in a rambling style frequently missing connecting words in a sentence but most enjoyably understood. It also provides an introduction to unusual explanations of types of previously unthought-of (by most non-Asians) fish preparations, and provides extensive descriptions of places seldom so thoroughly covered by other individuals in describing places and/or activities of interest. This is a book that is highly recommended.

5* Rambling, unusual memoir simply written by 84 year old retired sailor. Highly recommended

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

A Fox in the Lion’s Den

 

 

A Fox in the Lion’s Den ISBN: 978173609000 Beverly Hills Publishing. Story and copy right by Dr, Hal Bradley DD. Text Jennifer Myers, on behalf of Story Terrace Design Copyright ©  Dr. Hal Bradley.

The actual story begins by introducing the protagonist as a blue eyed, blond teenage boy in the spring of 1969 riding a burro he had acquired for transportation around the mountain trails of a part of Mexico under control of a cartel dominant in that part of the region. No problems were likely to occur because he was “a kid from America protected by the controlling cartel.” Home actually was Seattle, Washington where he had been thrown out of school for six months for being caught smocking “weed”, a standard procedure for school at the time. He had been shipped to work on the properties owned by a friend of his mothers who acted in desperation hopefully to ‘save’ the wayward youngster. The story as it unrolls, is a fact-based fictional account of his gradual involvement with the cartels but also his slowly developing empathy with those affected by the drugs and slow emergence from his involvement. HE spent a period in prison for his actions with the cartels but emerged to cooperate with the DEA and ultimately work with the often destitute victims of desperation, drug abuse and the rest.

Discussion/Summary: This book might be referred to as a ‘memoir of sorts’. It is a remarkable story that presents sections of the author’s life in chapters in an uneven pattern. However, owever  HHHHHhhhhhthe ‘whole’ makes a fascinating picture and provides glimpses of the activities in which the author was involved along with hints of how the cartels function as well as the DEA. It also provides glimmers of inner prison activity as well as vague descriptions of his activities after ‘accepting God and entering into his ministries’. There is much redundancy although in large part probably understandably excerpted. So to summarize, there is much to learn from this book that as a whole presents an interesting and most unusual read, but is not for everyone.

4* 5* material; -1 possibly 2* for presentation.

 

The Andean Cross

The ANDEAN CROSS ISBN: 9781648038372 Westwood Books copyright and written by Lawrence Clayton.

The story begins by ushering the reader into the world of mystery, cruelty and intrigue heralded by the Conquistadores and their invasion and mutilation of the culture and peoples on the New World under the guise of Christianity. Mathew Weston, a relatively young Texas History Professor, is on a summer break and joins a group looking for the wreck of a Spanish Galleon lost on its trip back to Spain with treasure. The unusual Andean Cross purportedly was included among the gold and silver that was lost during its journey to Spain from the Land of the Incas in 1544. The expedition make positive discoveries and he is fortunate to obtain funding to establish a dive team to investigate further the supposedly exact spot where the vessel was sunk in the Bay of Panama. But even before his obtaining this grant, the story initiates leads with respect to this particular shipment. It appears that the description of all of the items is not to be divulged. The nature of this secrecy and the underlying reasons provide the fundamentals upon which the author has constructed this unique historical, religious, suspenseful mystery with a large component of romance. Clair Snowden, an expert on one phase of history pertinent to some of the artifacts also is a member of the team and she and Weston gradually attain a level of understanding that reaches new heights for them both as the story continues to provide further information about the long rumored extent of the early dissemination of Christianity by its apostles.

Discussion: The author appears to be well known for his scholarly approach to the early rise of the Christian religion. The sites have been well researched as well as the material and the entire package is relatively well-assembled. Fundamentally, this is a plot driven tale in which a large group of characters are gathered together, and although somewhat vaguely presented as to exact positions within the story occasionally, function well. Regrettably for this reviewer, occasional character activities appropriate to the story are difficult to accept when assembled within the picture the author’s earlier descriptions have provided to build a mental picture of a person; e.g., Mathew is presented as a well-trained, knowledgeable diver who can qualify to gain a grant for money sizeable enough to run a dive team, yet he can almost pass out in a simple faint when thoughts occur to him about possible repercussions about his possession of the Andean Cross illegally, ‘because it provides a needed advancement for the overall forward motion of the plot’. Unfortunately, attributing such an action to a certified Deep Sea Diver will be unacceptable to most even slightly knowledgeable individuals and impossible for anyone with any information of the rigors of the required training alone. However, for the average historical fantasy, thriller, mystery, romance devotee this is a story that will satisfy in all areas. For the more casual reader, following the plot as it develops still will provide an interesting story and possibly new thoughts with respect to some aspects of the origins of Christianity.

4* 5* multi-genre plot-driven tale for many readers; at least 4* for most.

Dude Where’s My Walking Stick

Dude, Where’s My Walking Stick? Assumed published, copyright and written by Kevin Moore.

This is a tale by the author of a journey he undertook that covered the entire, extremely difficult walking trail “Te Waipounamu South Island, New Zealand”. The trip began on December 12 on the Te Araroa, or The Long Pathway: New Zealand’s national long distance trail and 70 days later completed “more than 3,000 kilometers, through countless trails that traversed colossal mountain ranges, forded too many rivers to count, crossed innumerable valleys, and cut through scores of breathtaking forests from the top of North Island to the bottom of the South.” The book chronicles the daily details of the journey,

Discussion: the author, although not physically prepared for a walking trip of this severity, attempted and finished the extensive journey fraught with challenges of great proportions for persons with much superior physical conditioning. Much was accomplished in his case almost completely through almost complete reliance upon mental tenacity of purpose. As such, the story sets forth an aspect of this individual that, more generally speaking, would not be expected from a mental picture one gains from self-descriptions and actions provided by the man. Description of the terrain, sky, birds and beasts is extensive and provides fascinating images for anyone having encountered anything similar and enough to generate an interest in any person not having seen anything similar. Admittedly, verbal presentations do offer a certain amount of redundancy/repetition that would have been relieved with inclusion of pictures. Overall, this is a book that devotees of travel will find to be riveting. Probably lesser interest to other readers for reasons they will recognize.

4* 5* for travel enthusiasts; -1* for others as described.

The Danger Within

The Danger Within.  Assumed published, copyright and written by E. L. Pini. Translation from the Hebrew by Tal Karem.

The story follows the actions of singularly daring, rule-breaking Avner Ehrlich, functioning (in name only) as 2nd in command of one section of Mossad agents whose almost irreplaceable commander is heroically fighting pancreatic cancer. The story progresses through a maze of International political intrigue and vicious confrontations ranging largely through European countries and the Middle East. Ehrlich’s counterpart is Imad Akbariyah a ruthless, cunning Muslim rapidly gaining stature in Al-Qaeda activities. (The book’s Prologue provides an early look as his abilities.) His ultimate goal is to unite all Muslims into one huge group of activists that can control the world. His scheme is to have a number of terrorists implanted with a highly destructive, undetectable explosive surgically implanted in their bodies that will wreak wide-spread damage and havoc when detonated in leading cities and Holy Places throughout the world. An additional goal is to gain ultimate revenge upon the man responsible for his father’s death, as well as numerous others closely associated. The story as presented here, contains three episodes (labeled Book 1, Book 2, and Book 3) each addressing another Mossad action to attempt to nullify the ever increasing thrusts provided by Imad. Further intrigue is provided by the involvement of this latter character’s close personal physically involvement with a Mossad agent whose psychological problem lends to her unique personal attachment. Together with other included features, “The Danger Within” builds to provide readers with a fascinating, often gripping, thriller.

Discussion: The author has created a Mossad agent who portrays all that one could expect from information constantly reiterated about this shadowy organization of security for the much maligned and almost constantly attacked Israelites. The plot develops from a somewhat slow-moving beginning to accelerate to a high-speed pace leading to an action-filled conclusion that is filled with suspense to the very last page. Readers who enjoy thriller/suspense tales especially will find this book most satisfying.

5* Highly recommended, especially for thriller/suspense devotees.

When Life Doesn’t Turn Out the Way we Hoped it Would

When Life doesn’t turn Out the Way We’d Hoped it would ISBN: 0791973719830 Create Space Independent Publishing Copyright and written by Tom Wick.

In this 3rd book the author details his tour of duty as a young enlisted sailor aboard the USS Gridley CG-21 (West Pac 81-82 Cruise Book) that took him into the Indian Ocean during the Iran Conflict and beyond. It first presents the frequently repulsive antics engaged in by ‘old salts’ indoctrinating pollywogs into Shellback status as they “Cross the Line” (Equator) for the first time. He also describes levels of Shellbacks awards for particular crossings and certain ‘Fraternities’ for other types of crossings; e.g. crossing the Arctic Circle, Antarctic Circle, International Dateline, etc. After this test, he was awarded ‘Ship’s Liberty’ in their first port to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Pattaya Beach, Thailand in 1982. Next he describes Thailand in general, its travelogue features and those of its capital Bangkok. Numerous pictures are provided here as well as in the pages following. In the beach area, Kickboxing shows are offered at several beer bars. Go-go bars, nightclubs, and discotheques are in abundance. Sexual, as well as authentic, massage parlors also are numerous and he describes World-famous Walking Street as the center of night life, although seemingly the rest of the area was well supplied. Additionally, the reader is informed that Pattaya Beach had the second largest concentration of gay oriented enterprises in Thailand with Bangkok the largest. Besides Tuk-Tuk busses (pictures included), there was cheap public passenger pickups called songthaews or baht-busses because Thai currency is the baht and they’re cheap. Repeated accounts of his amorous escapades with his 3 lovely Thai prostitutes are provided as well as other similar escapades in the other ports covered. These other ports are Hong Kong with description of weather, demographics and points of interest as well as nearby Kowloon. Sasebo, Japan, again a complete general description and year’s weather report as well as an overview of Sasebo with a post-WWII note preceded by brief historical notes on beginnings of WWII. Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, is next where travelogue descriptions again are set forth. The final port of San Diego ultimately is reached and he is met by family. The descriptions of his sexual and drug/alcohol activity, of his shipboard tasks, how the USS Gridley was named and lessons on the Geographic Coordinate System are so prominently and repeatedly described it becomes a bit annoying.

Discussion: In my review of the first book by this author (June, 2020) I wrote: “The material covered in this first book in the series presents, in quite explicit detail, quite lengthy descriptions of the repetitiously indulgent activities of the author, his family, friends and acquaintances as he moves among several locations. However, there is an overlying tone of a man somehow repentant of much of his activity and, as a result of some unnamed factor, ultimately realizing the ‘error of his ways and being ‘born again’ as a Christian. Although the causative factor is not mentioned per se, when he failed 1st grade a psychiatrist diagnosed him as having ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). This long-standing dysfunction, in combination with being brutally beaten, raped and suffering a degree of PTSD could have left him totally repentant for the meaningless sex, constant drug and alcohol abuse and the rest that caused him intense feelings of alienation, isolation, and loneliness.”

The author again has presented a book that presents a maximum amount of thought. Here he still participates in abundant sexual and drug activity “we shot some heroin, smoked some pot, and made love again.” “After our shower, we smoked some pot, got dressed and had some breakfast.” And similar phrases and sentences repetitiously are supplied, but in this volume he does not exhibit any of the repentance shown in the first book. However, the fact that a young man just barely out of his teens and with the background of family psychotic behavior, dysfunctional acquaintances from childhood, and personal problems he has encountered from a very early age, should have the tenacity of purpose to attempt to write a series of books is, at least to this reviewer, amazing. It is most unfortunate that he has not encountered an editor or other sympathetic person who would have been able to aid in his endeavors. His attempts really show promise.

3* Extremely difficult to rate; 2*- 4* dependent upon degree of analysis.