Book Reviews History Liberty/Politics

Here is my first set of book reviews. They are books I have read and in October I will give the review of the books I have read in September which include (among others) THE DYING CITIZEN by Victor Davis Hansen, and PREY by Michael Crichton.

My rating system will be one to five stars with five stars being the best:

***** FIVE STARS – You must read this book it is awesome and one of the best books I’ve read. It’s well worth reading more than once.

**** FOUR STARS – This is an excellent book and you should read this if you are at all interested in this topic.

*** THREE STARS – This is a good book and I recommend it.

** TWO STARS – This book left much to be desired and I was disappointed. Still, I found something in it that I didn’t know but unless you have time to waste I wouldn’t recommend it because you don’t learn enough to make up for the time it takes IMHO.

* ONE STAR – Loser! I am so sorry I wasted my time on this book, reading and finishing it is an exercise in masochism.

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PATRIOT BATTLES: How the War of Independence was Fought. – by Michael Stephenson; This a fabulous book for anyone interested in the realities of history; bypassing the myth of Patriots vs. the evil redcoats and Tories over half the book focuses on the similarities and differences of the armies fighting, weapons, and logistics involved. The last half of the book gives an excellent review of the battles based on military realities and circumstances. The first chapter discusses the Militia vs. the Continentals the 2nd is about “Lobsterbacks” (the British regulars.) Chapter 3 is about “men of character” the Officer Class of both armies. While chapter 4 is What Made Men Fight; Then there are chapters about feeding and supplying the army, weapons and equipment, artillery, then about wounds and medical care; women camp followers; the role of Blacks in the War for Independence from Britain, and the role of Indians. This is an outstanding chapter, although it may sound a bit boring.

After all that you go through the major battles of the 1st American Revolution against tyranny and government overreach. Those who fought for Freedom and God-given rights were Patriots and those who believed in the power of the state to define how men and women live were called Loyalists or Tories.

I Give PATRIOT BATTLES – Five Stars *****

JEFFERSON ON FREEDOM; Wisdom, Advice, and Hints on Freedom, Democracy, and the American Way By Thomas Jefferson. This book is an outstanding read. It gives insight into the thoughts of Thomas Jefferson that go beyond the official government documents. This increases our understanding of our famous political and organizational works and the meaning behind those records. Currently, scholars quibble about what is meant in our official documents but all too rarely do they look at correspondence and thoughts written by our founders that discussed their thinking in these matters. This book is easy to understand and makes a move to remedy this problem.

I Give JEFFERSON ON FREEDOM: Five Stars *****

NATIONAL SOCIALISM-OUR STRUGGLE by Daniel Zakal (354 pages for about 150 pages of new data – I’m being generous here.)

This is not what I was looking for when I bought it. I was interested in an intellectual study of the historical fascist movements and didn’t want a propaganda piece (neither an “anti-fascist this is why we killed the bastards” hit piece nor a “neo-nazi, this is why they were right.” I got a pseudo-neo-nazi book that denied racism and the holocaust. It showed forged photos that had been altered as propaganda against the Nazis and are still in our history books. They brought up false testimony used in the Nurenburg trials and I don’t think there is anyone who would argue today that the Nurenburg trials were much more than a witch hunt. Justice is never realized that way. Distressingly, it was largely an American creation because we were naive enough to still believe that wars were fought between “good guys” and “bad guys.” But, as I taught my sons, if it doesn’t make sense to you why one side was fighting then you don’t understand the war. Unfortunately, watching the propaganda on the news about the War in Ukraine it seems we have not learned anything. Despite the propaganda in this book, I DO have a better understanding of why the Germans were fighting. But the reader must beware. It raises questions about the efficiency of the German use of poison gas which was reasonable. Why use the deadly gas that can kill your own people when carbon monoxide will do it? I will not go into all the problems of having gassed masses with cyanide (not the least of which is the amount of time it would take between gassings before people could safely remove the bodies,) it is simply and horrifically inefficient. And the one thing crammed down our throats is that the concentration camps were damned efficient. I think that the mass murder was accomplished through carbon monoxide poisoning (as many films have shown.) They hooked up exhaust pipes to the showers and then pumped them full of carbon monoxide killing everyone. Unlike cyanide, IMMEDIATELY after gassing they could have aired out the room and removed the bodies (which is what we are told is done.) Zyklon B also stains the stone blue – a stain that penetrates deep in the stone and cannot be removed. This is found in rooms where the Nazis de-loused clothes and these are built more securely than the mass execution areas. The book insists that because Zyklon B wasn’t used there were no gas chambers – ignoring the fact that such chambers would be effective in using carbon monoxide poisoning. Although it did convince me that cyanide is a nice bit of propaganda it would have been too inefficient to accomplish the numbers of deaths that are claimed to have been produced. You can have either million executed with carbon monoxide or thousands with cyanide but I don’t think you could kill millions with cyanide. However, the author seems to believe that this means the holocaust never happened and we have pictures and plenty of testimony to the contrary that he doesn’t even address. If you actually read this book then I suggest a very careful reading. I did appreciate a large number of direct quotes and facts in the book but you have to weigh everything carefully to get any truth out of it and if you are not trained in investigation and statement analysis and already have a firm grasp of history then this will lead you astray. His writing can seem convincing if you don’t know the counterarguments. However, it did not present or challenge opposing data – I don’t do that in SabersEdge because I have a such short time in my blogs but he had a whole book and should have done it better. It cherry-picked its arguments and used straw man arguments in most cases. There are some facts that I have been able to verify present in the book that is different from popular understanding and it is the only thing that saved it from being a ONE STAR rating. The books opinions I have not been able to verify and I still need to find a good book to tell me what the Germans actually thought in WWII. I think I have found some to do that. Let me give you an example of questionable data in this book. There are pictures and data regarding there being a swimming pool, soccer courts, and a very nice dining hall (including pictures) at Auschwitz. These are probably facts. But they are facts that relate to the truth that the base was a Polish Officer’s training facility before the war. There is no reason to believe that the pictures of the “nice” Auschwitz were the same as the Concentration Camp Auschwitz (and anyone who has been to military or officer training understands why I put “nice” in parentheses.) All in all this book is not for kids nor for those who believe everything they read. For those who dare it is an interesting read but I cannot recommend it because it is, in my opinion, willfully misleading and the author is, in my opinion, not one of the intellectual elite. He is not stupid, but he is not one of the great minds of this age (like Thomas Sowell or Victor Davis Hansen, or even Elon Musk.) There are better books I could recommend. But if you want a clear understanding of what current Neo-Nazis think this would be an excellent source – but Neo-Nazis are not what I was looking for I wanted to understand the historical ones. If you are studying the historical situation in Europe this is not, IMHO, a good source.


STAR WARS – MASTER AND APPRENTICE – by Claudia Gray. I did not like this book. It was easy to read and engaging but the author seemed completely ignorant of the Force, the Jedi Order, and the entire basis of Eastern religion and practice that the Jedi Order concepts were founded on. I bought it because it had my favorite Jedi Master Qui Gon Jinn and his apprentice Obi-Wan. But it introduced another Jedi Knight named Rael Aveross who was a womanizer, a rake, and an excitement junky. I doubt if the author ever meditated a day in her life because her new Jedi had none of the traits that go with someone who is connected to the Force. I am sure she thought she was being “edgy” and making the Jedi more “approachable.” His rationale for bouncing from bed to bed was that he had no “attachments” which goes against everything biologically known about sex today and all attitudes of eastern monastic and religious masters since…well, forever. Anyone who knows science knows that you build up biological attachment and an “addiction” to people you have sex with and bouncing from bed to bed has long-term psychological effects that make it difficult for such people to commit to anything or anyone…very un-Jedi-like. I loathed Aveross, one of the book’s protagonists, and was hoping he would die at some point. He didn’t. A couple of things I did like about the book were discussions by Count Dooku with Qui Gon and some glimpses at Qui Gon’s training and some discussions with Qui Gon and Obi-Wan which almost redeemed the book for me. If you want to read a space novel then go for it it could be a fun read and she is a good writer. But if you want to read about the Jedi I cannot recommend this as a good book because I think she didn’t do her homework. I cannot say I will ever buy another Star Wars book written by her. [The name Rael Aveross was a cute transliteration and a nice homage though.]

I give MASTER AND APPRENTICE – Two Stars – **

I have four books read so far in September which I will review in October. We will see if I read another book in the next week. I am trying to get a job as a security director again or a teacher since my wife was refused her disability and we need her income – but there is no way she can work and it will take a while to get attorneys to get her what she deserves. In theory we have a safety net, but why does everyone have to get a lawyer to force the government to do what its supposed to?

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