Nightmare along the River Nile

Nightmare Along the River Nile, Library of Congress Control number 2009910872, assumed published, copyright and written by S. E, Nelson.

Sub-titled “A Story of Twentieth Century Slavery” the author has set forth a fictional tale of one young man trapped in the vicious slavery system. It describes his entrapment, his subsequent treatment along with others similarly gathered, his unusually fortuitous escape bolstered by his deeply held belief in God, and his eventual rescue as the result of friendship rarely of such strength as to provide unending personal help that attracted further aid by truly altruistic individuals in prominent positions.

Discussion: “Written from an African perspective and in an African voice”, “this story was inspired by actual events that happened to many young boys and girls in the 1990’s in northern Uganda, who were abducted by the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) rebels.” It graphically describes the vicious activity of these, and other rebel groups, their activity with the Mullahs who are a throwback to biblical times and buy these captives as they do camels and donkeys to use them similarly on their farms and other properties. It also presents an amazingly detailed picture of the barter methods that seem to be the normal way of life in many of the under developed areas of today’s Africa as well as the wide scale corruption that pervades all commerce as well as much interpersonal activity. Additionally, it presents a touching picture of deeply held faith. My only comment of an adverse nature is that from this reviewer’s perspective the story appears to focus less attention on the stated purpose of the book apropos the dedication, i.e., “to all of the men, women and children who are still in bondage anywhere in the world”. Instead, the book’s emphasis appears to be more heavily directed toward the intensely close relationship among the close friends and the remarkable altruism demonstrated by the other characters involved and how these factors, along with a devout religious faith, were able to accomplish a miraculous reunion.

Conclusion: A book that provides a most enlightening picture of parts of Africa, its residents, and their way of life but only partially encompasses the features the author seemingly was desirous of emphasizing.

4* 5* Description of rural Africa activities; -1 seemingly short of author’s intent.

The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election

The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election ISBN: 9781732511705 Moot Point Productions, copyright and written by Michael R. French.

The author has presented an ‘on-the-surface appearing’ simple story that follows a very intelligent young high school student with strong moral principles but totally naïveté with respect to politics as she challenges the charismatic favorite young man for election to the student body presidency. This seemingly impossible task appears even less attainable when she, with a team of only a few friends, actually realizes that her opponent’s team is a very successful, well-oiled machine that has been successful for some time. She has one other person to whom she listens intently and absorbs his lectures – the school’s rather revered history teacher who for several generations has been providing sensible advice along with his presentation of the importance of history as it repeats and is interpreted by one generation after another. Through his teachings and advice, complete understanding and approval by her parents, most intelligent decisions, AND unexpected information provided by an unknown cyber expert, she discovers that the success of her main opponent may not be simply because of he and his team’s abilities. Instead, he and his group are supported and secretly funded and advised by an organization that ostensibly has been established to aid struggling educational programs, but has another agenda in mind. When she ultimately makes great advances in her campaign, the organization approaches her with offers extremely difficult for her to turn down and the story continues to an interesting finale.

Discussion: The author has an excellent understanding of politics, its deceit, betrayal, treachery, intrigues, lying and often present, exhibition of blatant but more usually hidden, personal greed and other less worthy aspects of human thought patterns. Additionally his understanding of teen age children and their need to adjust to individual physical and mental changes while simultaneously attempting to deal with their peers in an environment that frequently can be surprisingly cruel, is quite admirable. He has set forth a story that provides an honest look at politics while stressing the importance of history, a much ignored important feature of today’s education, and coincidentally has provided a protagonist who projects strong moral courage and tenacity of purpose to overcome purportedly unbeatable odds and ‘make a difference’.

Summary: This is a fast moving, well-written story that those in their teens should thoroughly enjoy. Coincidentally, this book could be of interest to adults for the parallel it describes with respect to the horribly broken political system presently extant within the U.S. and perhaps could serve as a tool to be employed by teachers of young, and near adult, students.

5* A book young adults should enjoy and adults read – see discussion.