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America’s Greatest Blunder: The Fateful Decision to Enter World War One
By: Burton Yale Pines
Publisher: RSD Press
Publishing Date: October 2013
Reviewed by: Mary Lignor
Review Date: December 12, 2013
There are many people in this nation who wouldn’t be terribly enthusiastic about reading yet another history lesson regarding the ‘War to End All Wars.’ And I admit, at first I was hesitant too. However, this is the first on the subject I’ve read that is both engaging and educational, while also providing a powerful look at what could have happened if historical decisions had been different.
Author Burton Yale Pines asks the intriguing question: What if the United States had not entered the war in 1917? This was a time when the war had already been going on for three years, why then? This idea is explored and it shows that when the US entered the war it became 'America’s Greatest Blunder,' bringing about negative effects that would change the course of history. The United States originally felt that the country should not get involved, but this eventually evolved into us leaping into the war on the side of the British. To complicate matters, this was a time when many Americans were not terribly fond of the British.
Readers will be glad to know that the author is a fascinating narrator; it feels as if you are sitting in his living room having a conversation. He does not try to belittle or confuse, nor does he fling the idea that America’s entrance into the war was a horrible notion but rather tells, in his own words, why he feels that way. Mr. Pines simply tells of the war; how the war started and why; what happened before the entry of the US and after; and, surprise, surprise, how the wealthy skillfully managed the population into sending American soldiers into a war when most didn’t want that to happen.
Mr. Pines really grabs your attention at this part in his narrative. Anyone, even those who are not history buffs, can understand why the nation was dragged into war. Not a lot of time was spent in the book going over and over the actual strategic fighting; a far more in-depth look is given about the dislike between Commander General Black Jack Pershing of the US and the commanders of British and French forces as well as the fact that the Germans failed in their last attempt to take command.
The most important point made is that if the US had not entered the war, the Germans and the Allies (Britain and France) would have probably just stopped fighting as they were dead in the water. The Allies were tired of war and to top it all off the Russians had withdrawn and now had their finger in another pie – helping Germany. If the US had not come into the war, which they didn’t really have to because the interests of the US were not in any jeopardy, peace between Britain, France and Germany would probably have happened and the countries would have put their issues at rest. Instead, the surrender terms on Germany brought the world directly into a legacy of hate that would explode in the future with the German Nazi’s and the Communist Russians.
This book is a wonderful study of World War I and there are not a lot of people, still living, who know very much about it. The author did a great job of research and it would be a fantastic school history book. There are many students today who can’t name the Commanders of the First World War, which is simply wrong. Every facet of this nation’s history should be remembered. How else – as Mr. Pines poignantly points out – will we ever learn from our mistakes?
Quill says: All readers should pick up this book and read it from cover to cover. The author is an insightful narrator who makes readers truly re-think the decisions made in America’s past.
For more information on America’s Greatest Blunder: The Fateful Decision to Enter World War One, please visit the book's website at: www.americasgreatestblunder.com
Promised Valley Peace
By: Ron Fritsch
Publisher: Asymmetric Worlds
Publication Date: November 2013
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: December 6, 2013
Ron Fritsch brings the epic legacy of the hill and valley people to a close in his fourth and final novel of the 'Promised Valley' series, Promised Valley Peace.
The story begins with Blue Sky, hostage of the hill people and Wandering Star, teller and lover of Blue Sky, strategizing as to how they would ultimately achieve peace among the hill and valley peoples of the Promised Valley civilization. However, their coveted peace would come at a price of more bloodshed and loss. In his teller role, Wandering Star sets out to communicate the plan with their upper valley allies. Soon thereafter, a rigorous training had begun among the people—a training that would prepare the hill people for the final showdown of peace between the hill and valley communities.
Perhaps War Cloud, chieftain of the hill people, was receptive to a peace as well, but his misguided motivations deliver a different set of circumstances. In War Cloud’s mind, peace would serve up his dish of ruling the entire Promised Valley civilization. Even though there had been a pause in the war, the notion was no more than the proverbial quiet before the final storm with ultimate peace resting well on the other side of it. In an unforeseen and untimely turn of events, Rose Leaf, Blue Sky’s sister, has been impregnated by Morning Sun. She becomes the regent ruler of the hill people; a situation that sparks War Cloud’s mission to accelerate his mission to overtake and conquer Promised Valley forever more. What War Cloud didn’t anticipate, however, was the price he would have to pay in order to arrive at the end result he originally envisioned—an unanticipated result that would change the outcome and the future of the Promised Valley forever.
Once again (and thankfully), there is a spoiler alert in the back of this novel. After reading Promised Valley Conspiracy, I approached this fourth and final novel with a stronger sense of the players and their respective roles in the continuation of the legacy—thanks, in part, to the character list at book’s end. I found I was able to get up to speed much quicker with the story line given the refresher of the characters.
Upon finishing Promised Valley Peace, my take away from this body of work is a strong sense of having experienced an incredibly interesting epic tale of “what if” had the beginnings of time played out as Mr. Fritsch had so adeptly written across the pages of his series. I applaud him for not only staying true to his audience, but for maintaining the patience and wherewithal to feed the story to his audience in palatable, bite-sized pieces. If I had to render one criticism, it would be to ask Mr. Fritsch to slow down and temper the beginning a bit further. In Promised Valley Peace, I found myself struggling a bit in the early pages to sort out the characters and their respective roles. Perhaps this was intentional on Mr. Fritsch’s part to create a sense of urgency and intrigue while encouraging the reader to hang in there because all would make sense at the turn of the next page. His signature style of writing several subplots, twists and turns in the early pages delivers an intrinsic feeling of being at the starting line of a champion race that is about to begin. Indeed, Mr. Fritsch has accomplished fantastic closure to his epic series in book four, Promised Valley Peace.
Quill says: The answer to the question of peace is delivered and then some in Promised Valley Peace. Book four stays true to the author’s intent in that it is genuinely thought-provoking with an epic ending that complements this intriguing civilization of people.
John Smith: Last Known Survivor of the Microsoft Wars
By: Roland Hughes
Publisher: Logikal Solutions
Publication Date: March 2013
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: November 25, 2013
The Jobs vs. Gates debate may be the spark that comes to your reader’s mind when you first glance at the title of this book. However, the particular realm of computers and the digital industry does take a backseat when it comes to this well-written, yet sometimes extremely haunting tale.
Here we have an interview of mammoth proportions. A young woman sits down to speak with our lead character. This woman’s mother is the mayor of a city, and her father runs the newspaper in said city ... on Earth. Her basic job throughout the book is to question and learn from John Smith. Smith is a man who will feel a lot like the people you know and see each and every day. Smith complains, reviles, applauds, honors and debates our past - the things humanity did wrong that led to our eventual demise that took place on November 13, 2013.
This reporter goes into the interview with only one basic question on her mind: Why was it called the Microsoft Wars? But her interviewee can not simply state the answer. After all, the actual end came about from a history of errors and misjudgments occurring in everything, from religion to technology to the handling of diseases and healthcare. Therefore, John Smith takes our interviewer back through the old days to explain the foundation of humanity and how it disintegrated.
He was only eleven-years-old when Earth turned into the Earth That Was. When this ‘ending’ happened, John Smith watched the world change and split into a twelve-continent globe. He watched as the history, information and all that we were, did and said over time was completely lost. The new generation - the new Earth - would never understand who we were and what we were about because that data was now long gone. So taking on the huge weight of explanation, John Smith delves into everything from nuclear power to our War on Terror, throwing in things like Atlantis and King Arthur references as well.
This novel remains in an interview format throughout, which can become a little slow at times without a change of scenery or movement. Yet the dialogue given by John Smith will have readers nodding their heads at times, smiling at others, and most definitely feeling a bit chilled, as if they’re leading up to a Stephen King-type closure.
John Smith is a regular, average-Joe. He is not a democrat nor a republican and does not wish to express the views of any certain ‘side.’ In fact, he remains just like the rest of us at his core. We are a people who wonder if we will be annihilated. Is there a nuclear war on the horizon that’s yet to be seen? Will terror, or climate change; finance, or the basic greediness of our culture destroy us? There is no answer to that question as of yet, but this character and his views will certainly have you thinking about the many wrong avenues we’re walking down long after the book has come to an end.
Quill says: Part historical, part sci-fi, this story is definitely realistic and covers all debatable subjects when it comes to our people and our planet.
For more information on John Smith: Last Known Survivor of the Microsoft Wars, please visit the book's website at: www.johnsmith-book.com