What Makes America Great

What Makes AMERICA GREAT ISBN: 0781950540716 Toplink Publishing copyright and written by Bob Dowell,

The author obviously is disturbed about the chaotic situation that presently exists within the country. Thus, he sets forth to examine a number of factors pertaining to the early development of America that he believes have been effective in attaining its greatness. His modus operandi first includes introductory remarks with respect to freedom from slavery and the gradual advancement of blacks to greater stature in the country and the part played by Martin Luther King. Lincoln and the Civil War, followed by the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments are included. By extension he proceeds to include women’s rights, the 19th amendment and the lesser known effort provided by Elizabeth Cady Stanton on its behalf at the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848. He then proceeds to look closely at the earliest influences on the country’s establishment and growth. First is examined the establishment of the Jamestown Colony in 1607 and that of the Pilgrims in 1620 and the religious leaders responsible in these early days. Subsequently he expands upon his main religiously based contention and provides interesting material little, if not un-known, to most citizens of this country. He discusses “The Day of Doom” reputedly a ‘best seller’ book extending from its date of publication (1662) until its replacement by Ben Franklin’s “The Way to wealth” in 1778. The former concentrated on man’s sins. The latter, no doubt influenced by Ben’s parental puritanical upbringing, also espoused the religious bases, but added practical aspects, and later published his list of proverbs on how one should handle temperance, order, resolution, frugality, etc. The author however did offer another thought on the subject. He briefly discusses Historian Frederick Jackson Turner (1861-1932) who presented the “Frontier Thesis” that described America’s greatness stemming from an individualistic, self-reliant, democratic American spirit.

Discussion: The author’s book no doubt was initiated by the deep chasm that exists today among those who espouse Trump’s “Make America Great Again”, those adhering to the mantra that “America Never Was that Great” and the others who are between. And it is granted, the author concentrates on biblical teaching and thoughts. As such, he has presented an interesting case that for America to reach its former stage of greatness, it must return to the precepts set forth by the first settlers. It further is understood unfortunately, that reference to God and the principles set forth here and by these people are distasteful today to many. But from this reader’s perspective, let us for the moment look at a very practical account of this subject. Specifically, let’s just return a few years to look at the basics of American thought held by the often referred to as the Greatest Generation. The one that survived the Great Depression that began in 1929 and then were faced with WW II as well. A few years ago I reviewed a book entitled Bluejacket published by Radioman 1st Class, John A. Hutchinson USN. He described his service which was served mostly aboard a destroyer, but also with time aground in Guadalcanal and participation in numerous major battles from Guadalcanal to the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay. Among his other statements, he says: “We Hope to be remembered as the products of a different country and society from what the United States of America has become in the last fifty years. Products of a far more disciplined society with rather rigid moral and social standards to which everyone was expected to conform given how society chastened and disciplined offenders. The way of the transgressor was hard. We were taught individual responsibility, that evil is due to character flaws in the individual and not to the shortcomings of society.” The WW II veteran author also went on to say, “We were taught to depend on God, to persevere in adversity, and to take care of ourselves and our families, and not to depend on society or government to look after us.” AND in explanation of some of his highly specific statements: “…while I hold strong moral, ethical, and religious beliefs, I am a very private man who usually keeps these tenets within. I feel that my relationship with my Maker is just between Him and me.” Also quite interestingly and appropriately, an adage became prevalent during that war that has been repeated by many people during each ensuing conflict by those actively engaged – “There are no atheists in Fox Holes.”

Summary: Interesting, well-presented historical approach to the subject that may not be well-received by a number of readers, but surely must be given considerable thought

5* Interesting, well-presented, only slightly lacking, historical approach to the subject.

Cold but Not Forgotten

Cold but Not Forgotten ISBN: 9781509226504 Wild Rose Press copyright and written by RJ Waters.

The book opens with an excerpt where Lieutenant Carlson the protagonist and story teller, informs the reader that he, and his two buddies, Gary Horton and Joseph Malone are the 3 who conduct criminal investigations for all of Elko County, a section of Nevada the size of Maryland have gone to the range for their required shooting requirement. They arrive and Native Indian Joseph checking the sky for weather sees two vultures circling. He, followed by the others, runs up the berm and discover a body lying about seventy-five yards away. It belongs to Diane Morrissey, the wife of a local Dentist. It appears that she “died today because her cell phone failed.” She had been crawling toward the area of help and had succumbed just shortly before their arrival. She was covered in blood but there were no discernable injuries. From this grisly introduction the reader is led into, and through, a rather thoroughly convoluted and complicated plot. Diane, enormously well liked, was married to a man who unfortunately constantly was attracted to other women and additionally had an active on-going affair with his office manager. Numerous other actions by the man also pointed strongly toward his guilt as he was moving his practice to Las Vegas. However, numerous additional characters gradually become involved in the expanding mystery. There is a physician who specializes in dispensing supplements especially for marathon devotees. A lonely, elderly, somewhat recently widowed neighbor whom Diane befriends; her friend/rival marathoner, wife of another dentist who has partnered with Diane’s husband in buying out, and moving to, the La Vegas practice; plus a little known live-in friend of the Dentist’s office manager. Other characters offer their own interesting bits, especially Joseph, Carlson’s investigating officer who is a Native American Indian with tribal Shamanism blood and an owl that provides him with insights into cases in which he is involved. He, in turn, introduces Carlson to one of the tribe’s elders which introduces a sub-plot. Another sub-plot sets up discovery of missing facts that offer data for the main mystery and are a fascinating twist of their own. Also included are allusions to an earlier case of Carlson’s in which he had been involved in another position in another state.

Discussion: The author has given the reader an interestingly involved mystery with credible action and an array of activities that routinely could be included in the overall work days of a police officer in the position depicted. And, it specifically describes such activity being performed by one of these individuals who portrays the best qualities of such an officer and very nicely emphasizes the tremendous strain imposed upon such individuals’ loving wives. Thus, one has a story of multiple crime investigations that includes, as so often is needed, a bit of luck, the usual homicidal, often psychologically disturbed characters’ but additionally some ‘nice’ people not that frequently found in police investigative tales.

5* Recommended, well-written mystery for readers who enjoy a less jaded police tale.

From Stressed to Centered

From STRESSED to CENTERED ISBN 9780990835400 Sea Hill Press copyright and written by Dana A. Gionta, PhD. And Dan Guerra, PSY.D.

Sub-titled “A practical Guide to a Healthier and Happier You” this book opens with individual dedications; combined and individual acknowledgements; an introduction; contents that provide 19 chapters; Appendix A: Our Approach to Stress Management and Self-Care; Appendix B: Your Individual Action Plan; also pertinent References. The chapters, in order, discuss and explain Stress; its Indicators; the Holmes-Rahe Social Adjustment Scale; their Guerra-Gionta Stress Inventory; Striving, Surviving, and Thriving with Stress. Next the reader is introduced to other chapters slightly differently directed: Neurophysiology of Stress; the three basic components; methods to begin managing stress; suggestions with respect to practicing such management; succeeding in your endeavors. Then follows a group explaining what is entailed in Self-Care; suggestions on how to create your individual ‘toolkit’; when to use the kit you have devised. Next are presented a discussion of Boundaries and You; Assertive Communication; Quality of our Relationships; Obstacles to Good Self-Care; Putting this activity into your life; and finally, how best to integrate Self-management and Self-Care. Appendices A and B and References complete the book except that after references there are further words of advice from the authors’ planned sequel that is set to offer advice with respect to “Stress and Self-Care in the Workplace” in which “… we will discuss the unique stressors that typically occur within the workplace …” and how to handle these factors. This short directive in turn, is followed by a list of “Key Contributors to Workplace Stress”, and other short discussions on “Impact of Workplace Stress on Employees and Organizations” and “Can Your Company Really Afford to Ignore This?”

Discussion: The authors have presented an examination and discussion of stress and how to deal with it in a quite simplistically detailed manner. For example, Breath or breathing control practice suggestions – offered as Practice #1 listed in eleven specific steps; Practice #2 presents fourteen steps. Body – (Progressive Muscle Relaxation or PMR) explains muscle tensing-releasing activity. Here, several steps are discussed with each muscular group, e.g. the group involving the eyebrows and eyes: “Inhale deeply… and squeeze your eyes shut so that no light can get in. Squeeze them as you inhale and hold your breath. Notice the tension. With a conscious decision, release the breath now and let the eyes relax into a normal closed position. Take a moment to notice the relaxation in the head and upper part of the face. Next, bring your attention to the nose.” Then on to the teeth, lips, etc. The discussion widens to include next “Thoughts Practice” – “Thought-stopping/thought-replacement” and “mindfulness” or mindfulness meditation”. The student is admonished to “Chart your Progress”. Detailed suggestions extend further to The Worried Mind and beyond with their Stress Management strategies, the frequency and time elements of practice sessions, the need to list the benefits realized as well as listing obstacles to indulging in your practice systems such as attitudes and beliefs all are set forth. They also strongly advise a list of “things you’d like to adopt”, establishing your life’s priorities, listing your good and bad self-care practices and they provide a 30 question quiz to ask yourself about your practice system and present answers with respect to the interpretation pf the sum of your answers.

5* For readers who enjoy a simplistically presented discussion with extensive, explicit instructions.

Slater’s Tempest

Slater’s Tempest assumed published, copyright and written by T. J. Jones.

This 3rd book in the Slater Mystery series follows former Navy Seal, now PI Eric Slater, as he and his ‘working for her license’ love Maggie embark upon solving another mystery. This one is in the Florida Keys where the much loved daughter of an exceedingly wealthy tycoon supposedly died when hurricane Irma tore through the area in 2017. It was believed that Isla the daughter, had taken her beloved dead mother’s boat, the Caroline, out trying to save it by sailing it to safety. Slater is contacted by the tycoon when he receives in the mail a neckless that his purportedly dead daughter never removed. Slater and Maggie, with aid from Jasmine, his young ward who is eighteen, brash, overconfident with a mind of her own, but really a most intelligent and nice young person who enjoys ‘pushing his buttons’. It seems that the old man has ALS with a remaining 3 -5 year life span. He now was struggling with numerous additional complications arising from his less than exemplary life style. After being cleared of killing his first wife with whom he had been totally in love, but both had ‘messed-up’, he had married a beautiful younger woman. Seemingly, his money was not important because she really cared for this much older man as a result of her own early problems. His daughter Isla, close to the new wife’s age, did not equate well with her and for that matter believed her father did kill her mother. He had a brother who was intelligent and a part owner of his company, but actually was a ‘playboy type’ individual interested only in the money, not the company. The caretaker for his mansion actually was a brilliant engineer who helped develop many of Dunbar’s products. This man’s longtime live-in Asian friend/wife (?) who serves as the mansion’s cook also had some strange type of relationship with the owner’s family. Then there is a local PI who works as a barman at his son’s local tavern and whose other son is a recluse growing marijuana. Still others are entangled in the very complicated plot that even includes a ghost of Eli, an old sailor in some manner associated with the dead wife and/or the house. All in all, an interestingly involved tale including mystery, romance, humor, many psychological overtones and even a touch of the occult that the author ultimately is able to untangle.

5* Well-written, addition to the seemingly popular developing series.

Take Care of Your People

Take Care of your People ISBN: 9781946633675 ForbesBooks copyright and written by Paul Sarvadi.

This book “The Enlightened CEO’s Guide to Business Success” opens with words of praise from other CEO’s followed by a forward, acknowledgements and thirteen chapters. Chapter One ‘sets the stage’ for the ensuing message; the 2nd explains there are ten strategies that will provide arriving at one’s goal; Chapters three through twelve discuss each of the individual strategies. Two, for example, offers techniques for “Finding, hiring and keeping the best”; Three provides specifics for dealing with the always problematical issue of compensation and rewards; Three discusses protecting you and your company in legal matters, especially during periods of almost constantly changing regulations; etc. The last chapter entitled, “Should we continue the conversation?” explains how the “Professional Employer Organization (PEO) Insperity provides the freedom to do what you do best: running and growing a business.” Further: “We serve you tactically as a partner, but like any good partner, you play an active role…. We provide you unparalleled expertise and essential new capabilities so that you can do your job better.” They then list the specifics they include and provide a contact address.

Discussion: This offering is another in the burgeoning number of books being published to aid the huge number of companies struggling to continue to grow and increase their bottom line. Again, it is well-written and certainly provides a number of worthwhile suggestions to aid both the beginner as well no doubt as the numerous mid-sized organizations as they proceed toward their individual goals. The main thrust seems to suggest that they can provide a most worthwhile service by partnering with interested persons.

4* Business self-help with some specific partnering emphasis.

LEAN ON

 

LEAN ON the Five Pillars of Support for Women in Leadership ISBN: 9781642250824 Advantage Media Press copyright and written by Andreas Wilderer.

The book opens with a sizable number of comments by CEO’s and other highly placed individuals praising the author’s presentation. This is followed by the usual copyright and publication material and then an interesting dedication: “This book is dedicated to all the amazing women who follow their dreams and reach for the stars and to everyone who supports them on their journey. And to my wonderful wife, Mirka and our children Dominik and Viktoria, who supported me in writing this book.” There follows an introduction admonishing the necessity to design the ‘pillars of support’ strongly, but then to be sure that the structure is constantly re-examined to access its  condition so that no deterioration that could lead to eventual collapse can occur. It further explains that in order to properly describe this sound foundation of the Five Pillars – Partnership, Family, Workplace, Society and Self – the manner in which they must function together as one unit requires the ensuing chapters (although having some individual attributes) largely to be focused on selective combinations; e.g. workplace and society. The ensuing 9 chapters along with a Conclusion provide the material in exactly this manner. A few of the many fine bits of important information offered are: the overall necessity for each individual contemplating entering this alternative life-style to thoroughly analyze and truthfully examine his/her ability to function comfortably in a society where a long accepted manner of man/woman/work/home/children functions have been ingrained as ‘the norm’ for generations; the necessity of being able to make their children understand why dad is Mr. MOM so they can face children from traditional households, i.e., They must be taught and be able to understand the importance of gaining sensitivity and compassion so as to break free of gender stereotypes and learn they don’t need to fit into anyone else’s mold; the worker must learn not to micromanage a home situation or the reverse; the absolute need to be open-minded and fair in all situations; apply many if not all of the features of running a business to managing a successful home relationship; and many more.

Discussion: The author has provided a fascinating and most important discussion of a subject that appears to be most appropriate and greatly needed because of the thrust of many new directions that have arisen in today’s society. The reversal of mother/father relationships is only one of the new directions. Modern society and more importantly its children, also are facing and attempting to cope with the growth of single parentage, same sex parents, divorced parents, dual sets of parents and more. Millennials have made initial efforts to change the structure of society and we only can stand by to see if these frequently brilliant entrepreneurial minds can, and are willing to, think beyond their seemingly self-centered interests to solve the problems arising from the conflicts facing children when faced with unfortunately often cruel words and actions of the still existent majority of children from traditional families.

5* Much needed initial discussion. Highly recommended.