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At the Point of a Cutlass: The Pirate Capture, Bold Escape, and Lonely Exile of Philip Ashton
At the Point of a Cutlass: The Pirate Capture, Bold Escape, and Lonely Exile of Philip Ashton
by Gregory N. Flemming
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $22.19
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PIRATES, TREASURE MAP, true stories of cruelty, greed, and life at sea of pirates and their captives., November 24, 2014
This was an excellent read. I found the history of pirates fascinating and frightening.I learned more about boats
used during the early 1700's, the golden age of pirates, such as schooners, sloops, brigantines etc and their
sails and necessary maintenance of careening and how it was done. I especially enjoyed references to places that I
am very familiar with in Nova Scotia, such as Port Royal and Port Roseway ( today is
called Shelburne ) and the Bay of Fundy. How about a photo of a real treasure map, drawn by E. Low, one of
the most cruel of the pirates, with the location of gold and silver coins buried on the island of Isle Haut,
in the Bay of Fundy, with the actual spot called on the map "The Place".? I highly recommend this book.
Jane Paul


Margaret Thatcher on Leadership: Lessons for American Conservatives Today
Margaret Thatcher on Leadership: Lessons for American Conservatives Today
Price: $15.37

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Mettle of the Iron Lady, January 12, 2014
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An excellent synopsis of the lessons that can (and should ) be learned from the experience of one of the great political leaders of our time.

I bookmarked every page summarizing the leadership skills with which Margaret Thatcher saved Great Britain from spiraling into the morass and chaos of socialism, and with Ronald Reagan began the process of assigning communism to the "trash heap" of history.

Pray that such a leader soon surfaces in the United States.


American Psychosis: How the Federal Government Destroyed the Mental Illness Treatment System
American Psychosis: How the Federal Government Destroyed the Mental Illness Treatment System
Price: $9.99

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Treatment of the Insane Gone Mad, September 25, 2013
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This important book, hopefully, will be read by those in relevant positions of influence to learn of the sorry state of the treatment of those with serious mental illness in the United States, and move them to action.

It is written by a psychiatrist who has dedicated a substantial portion of his career addressing this issue. It begins as a detailed chronicle of how the federal government transformed flawed institutional care into an outpatient system which in the end became dysfunctional and chaotic, a system,"without eyes or a brain," that left many of those with serious mental illness relegated to a life of unbelievable squalor and neglect.

Although deinstitutionalization had been slowly evolving for several years, the process began in earnest in 1963, during the Kennedy administration, with the enactment of federal mental health legislation (supported by the President motivated by a covered up of a family tragedy). This law promoted the deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill and provided, instead, for the establishment of outpatient mental heath clinics throughout the country. The legislation was fatally flawed from the beginning by the notion that mental illness was caused by environmental factors, not biological ones, the failure to provide for continuity of treatment for those with serious mental illness, and providing financial incentives that had little to do with the treatment of mental illness. These unintended incentives encouraged a diaspora of the mentally ill into custodial care in unregulated for profit board and care facilities and nursing homes (many with appalling conditions), into our streets as homeless, and into our prisons.

Contacts with law enforcement frequently erupt into violence with mentally ill being killed by policemen. Conversely It has been well established that at least 10% of the homicides in the United States are committed by the seriously mentally ill driven by paranoid delusions and hallucinations. The author cites numerous examples of such preventable killings.

Factors that impede appropriate treatment of the seriously mentally ill are discussed, among others: lack of leadership, lack of accountability, lack of understanding of serious mental illness, difficulties related to involuntary commitment for treatment, lack of appropriate number of hospital beds, and inappropriate financing.

Finally, the author outlines those aspects of the failed system that will be essential to address and some suggestions are offered of how to begin the process of reform. After 50 years of neglect and given the degree of dysfunction in the system substantial efforts to achieve its rehabilitation will be long and arduous.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 22, 2013 6:43 AM PDT


Gettysburg: The Last Invasion (Vintage Civil War Library)
Gettysburg: The Last Invasion (Vintage Civil War Library)
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $13.31

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars MORE THAN JUST A BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG REDUX, June 8, 2013
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Although it is impossible to write about the battle of Gettysburg without substantial repetition of established history, which is certainly true of this work, it is not a detailed account of the order of battle and the deployment of the many units engaged in the field at Gettysburg as so well done by Coddington, Foote and Pfanz to name a few, but Professor Guelzo’s Gettysburg is a coherent narrative (interspersed with quotes from ordinary soldiers who participated) highlighting certain significant strategic and tactical events of the three day battle that lead to the author’s thoughtful and convincing conclusions as to how and why the Confederates lost and how and why the Union won. Overall, the book adds to the interpretation of the history of this great event.

The author addresses, with some different slants, the many controversies associated with the battle, among others: the salient deployment of Dan Sickle’s 3rd Corp, A.P. Hill’s premature engagement of Union forces, Ewell’s failure to attack Cemetery Hill on day one, Stuart’s tardy arrival, the reluctant Longstreet, Meade’s Pipe Creek Circular, and his failure to attack Lee’s retreating army. The author raises questions about some generally accepted notions regarding the importance of certain events, most notably, the defense of Little Round Top.

The author’s vivid prose describing the grotesque landscape, in the aftermath the battle conjures up actual sights and smells. He ends with his interpretation of Lincoln’s’ “remarks” made at the dedication of the National Military Cemetery in November, 1863.


The Art and Spirit of Leadership
The Art and Spirit of Leadership
by Judy Brown
Edition: Paperback
Price: $20.58
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prose, Poetry and a Practical Guide to Leadership, March 11, 2013
Judy Brown takes leadership to a whole new level of understanding. Out of the elegance of her prose and poetry emerge many very practical ideas to enhance leadership skills, among others, her "softball' question technique, that it is better to listen than talk, better to encourage participation than be didactic, better to ask questions than to answer them, and yet, be able at the proper time to act decisively. Preparing oneself to effectively use these ideas is essential. There are many suggestions how to do so. Persuasion most likely fails if confrontational. It reminds me of Lincoln's genius for accomplishing his goals by minimizing confrontation, using humor, stories, and reflective questions, particularly impressive considering that he was, by choice, surrounded in his cabinet and congress by his political enemies. He was certainly Judy Brown's prototype leader.

This book is not just for leaders. It would also be useful for those who would simply like to enhance, in a graceful way, their interpersonal relationships.


Fateful Lightning: A New History of the Civil War and Reconstruction
Fateful Lightning: A New History of the Civil War and Reconstruction
by Allen C. Guelzo
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.12
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61 of 63 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The American Civil War and the People, July 19, 2012
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This book is highly recommended for those who are generally familiar with the military history of the American Civil War. It explores, in some detail, the consequences of the war's impact on American society, both North and South. It adds another dimension to the understanding of the United State's greatest crisis.

This is not a military history of the Civil War. It is not about its great battles and military leaders, but rather it is a history of the causes of the war, its civilian leadership, its impact on ordinary people, how the soldier in the ranks was equipped, fed, led and died, ending with, a lucid discussion of the post war Reconstruction, its short term achievements and its ultimate failure. What did the war actually achieve, if anything? This book is a different slant on Civil War history, thus, the subtitle: ".........A New History of the Civil War.

Specific battles are discussed only in general terms related as to how their outcomes impacted policy both domestic and international. More emphasis is given to the details of the weapons used; fundamental battle tactics and how military units were raised, organized and equipped.

The dislocation of and the great change in the roles of the female population, particularly in the South, dramatically illustrate in part the war's impact on civilian populations. Wives of southern plantation owners, in the absence of males off to war, were thrust from the relative luxury of aristocratic plantation life to one of total responsibility of plantation management creating untold hardships. Violent riots occurred initiated by urban women in the south as a result of substantial food shortages, and in the North against the inequities of the military draft.

This work lucidly dissects post war Reconstruction. The congressional Republican Radicals and the Andrew Johnson administration crashed head on with diametrically opposed views of how to restore the Union. The former prevailed and the latter narrowly escaped impeachment. Despite some short-term successes Reconstruction failed long term. The issues of slaves relative to the Civil War are well known and further discussed here with emphasis on their struggle for freedom after they were "freed". If a purpose of the Civil War was to "free" the slaves it succeeded, however, it failed abolition in the sense of creating parity in citizenship with whites despite the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution. The reasons for this were multiple and clearly explained.

One has to consider "what ifs". What if Lincoln had survived? Would he have implemented Reconstruction more successfully? The author points out that Lincoln's political genius enabled him to achieve objectives by circumventing direct confrontation. Johnson, on the contrary was extremely confrontational, a recipe for failure in dealing with the equally confrontational Republican Radicals, who's majority was veto proof. However, there were certain factors contributing to Reconstruction's long-term failure over which Lincoln would have had little control. Lincoln predicted that it would take a hundred years for the freed slaves to live side by side with whites, which it did.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 18, 2013 6:08 AM PST


New Deal or Raw Deal?: How FDR's Economic Legacy Has Damaged America
New Deal or Raw Deal?: How FDR's Economic Legacy Has Damaged America
by Burton W. Folsom
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.44
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Franklin Roosevelt's Road to Serfdom, July 28, 2011
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This book reveal's in clear simple language, fortified by facts, the mythology that has shrouded the true record of failure of the Roosevelt administration's "New Deal" policies to end the Great Depression

Roosevelt's statist ideology stemmed from his experience with the progressive movement of the early 20th Century. The author analyzes this movement as a deviation from the "process" model provided by the Constitution to a "results" model engineered by activist executives, legislators and jurists in order to circumvent the process provided by Constitution which they considered too slow and cumbersome to effect change which, they felt, necessary for the good of the people. The implementation of Roosevelt's progressive policies required strong central planning which, in turn, required a massive increase in the size and influence of the government. The author discusses the particulars of the various government agencies that were created, how they worked and how they failed to end the depression. Unfortunately many of these agencies remain with us today.

The author also makes the case that the Second World War did not end the depression as many assert, but did provide Roosevelt with the opportunity to successfully exercise his statist ideology. As F.A Hayek points out in "The Road to Serfdom" a country at war provides the perfect model for successful central planning, in that, civil liberties are willingly or unwillingly sacrificed in the interest of collectively dealing with a common enemy. The country's resources were, rather suddenly, channeled from feeble production of consumer goods to the robust production of war materials in great demand. It was an economy geared to destruction. Unemployment was substantially reduced as millions of potential workers were conscripted into the military creating a shortage of labor. This was a war economy in which folks worked hard, and put up with numerous hardships in the interest of the war effort including extensive rationing because of the ubiquitous lack of consumer goods. This was hardly an economy that could be successfully transposed into a post war environment.

The author makes a strong case that the depression ended, not as a result of the war, but because of President Truman's favorable attitude toward business, thus, dispelling the uncertainties created by the tax policies, cronyism and anti-business rhetoric of the Roosevelt administrations. Truman restored a level economic playing field that allowed free market dynamics to begin to recover. One has to wonder what would have transpired in the post war economy had Roosevelt lived to complete his fourth term in office.

The author goes on to discuss the reasons why the myth persists that Roosevelt effectively ended the Great Depression. Roosevelt was a consummate politician. Possessed of great charm, he was extremely charismatic, articulate, knew how to effectively stretch the truth, and sell his ideas. Many prominent historians of the time who wrote favorably of his pre-war administrations were so enchanted with his persona and/or his statist ideology that they simply were too biased to recognize and report the truth of Roosevelt's failures. Once committed to the myth, retraction was unthinkable lest it destroy their established professional reputations largely based on their widely accepted, but erroneous, accounts of the Roosevelt era.

That Roosevelt was a successful war President is little questioned. He correctly perceived the dangers of the militant regimes in Germany and Japan. He provided strong leadership guiding the United States into the war he perceived crucial to preserving democracy, despite a prevailing isolationist public mentality, and successfully conducted the war to ultimate victory. This is his true legacy (the reviewer's opinion).


War Like the Thunderbolt: The Battle and Burning of Atlanta
War Like the Thunderbolt: The Battle and Burning of Atlanta
by Russell S. Bonds
Edition: Paperback
Price: $20.02
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Beginning of the End: The Conquest of Atlanta, July 12, 2011
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As the battle of Gettysburg is celebrated as the turning point in the American Civil War, so, was the battle of Atlanta the beginning of the end.

This well written, and researched volume does not cover the entirety of Sherman's Atlanta campaign, but focuses on detailing the military engagements directly related to the capture of the city itself.

General Joseph Johnston has been relieved by the Confederacy President, Jefferson Davis, because of his perceived lack of aggressiveness in dealing with the Federal Army, and is replaced by the very aggressive General John Bell Hood whose aggressiveness ultimately becomes self destructive.

Sherman brings a new kind of war to the South, in which the realities of war are brought to the civilian populations, resulting in, literally, the total destruction and de-population of the city of Atlanta. The author theorizes that this was a kind of creative destruction from which emerged the South's first modern post war city.

The victory at Atlanta, of which, Lincoln was informed by the terse message from Sherman, "Atlanta is ours and fairly won", had two dramatic effects, one military and the other political. This victory opened the way for Sherman's famous march to the sea living off the land, destroying enemy resources as he went and further splitting the Confederacy. It sent Hood scurrying westward followed by Union General George Thomas who utterly destroyed the former's army two months later. The political ramifications of the victory were arguably even more profound. The victory abruptly reversed the despondency in the North and profoundly altered the political momentum assuring that Union would pursue the war to a successful conclusion.

This volume is highly recommended for those whose interest in the Civil War is more then cursory.


Voyages in Desperate Times
Voyages in Desperate Times
by Jule A. Miller
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.59
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Citizen Sea Warriors in World War II, June 4, 2011
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Jule Miller is at his best writing about the sea and sailing.

The early part of World War II was, indeed, desperate. It was a time when Germany was running rampant over Europe, the Japanese were the masters of the Pacific, and German U-boats was ravaging American shipping within sight of the US coastline. Part of the US eastern coastal defense was the little known, but heroic activities of the Corsair Navy (The Hooligan Navy). This navy was composed of several thousand civilian boats, many were sailing vessels, manned by naval/civilian personnel, many with minimal sailing experience, but highly motivated to make their contribution to the war effort. Its mission was to rescue survivors of ships sunk by German U-Boats along the eastern coast of the United States, to identify the locations of U-boats, and if possible attack them (if you can imagine attacking a U-boat with hand launched depth charges, a Browning automatic rifle, and hand grenades). This riveting novel is the story of one such boat.

The story develops as a dialogue between the former "Skipper" of the Corsair Navy schooner CGR 3114 and his granddaughter interspersed with memory flash backs as he, for the first time, relates in detail his war time experiences as a young Ensign in command of a crew of six, the most interesting of which are, Boats, a crusty old ex-marine and schooner fisherman (spewing forth salty language) and the young baby faced Okie, Slade, chronically seasick, small of stature, but large of heart.

The penetrating dialogue also unveils dysfunctional family members seeped in motivations to pursue unpatriotic selfish interests, wallow in academic arrogance, and perpetrate a class society.

An almost unbridgeable generational gap of understanding emerges between granddaughter and grandfather as during his time of service political correctness was unheard of, defense of country meant any sacrifice to pursue final victory, moral conduct prohibited one night stands without a marriage license, and behavior was frequently driven by the ubiquitous imperative of: "There's a war going on, you know".

In the end, the ultimate destiny of CGR 3114 is fulfilled as she suddenly and unexpectedly clashes with the German submarine U-217.


Why They Fought: The Real Reason for the Civil War (Kindle Single)
Why They Fought: The Real Reason for the Civil War (Kindle Single)
Price: $2.99

15 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slavery, States Rights, Union, Inseparably Linked, May 24, 2011
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This essay is a primer putting before us, in simple clarity, the question of the cause of this cataclysmic event and how the denial of its prime cause, slavery, negatively impacted the post Civil War evolution of emancipation. Better put, I feel, that the cause of the latter was not the denial of the cause of slavery per se, but rather, the differences of interpretation of the institution of slavery, in the North generally a moral issue, in the South generally a political states rights issue because slaves were considered property.
Further, slavery and political considerations were inseparably linked from the genesis of our country. The author correctly points out that the Founders neglected to deal with the slavery issue and therefore sowed the seeds of the future conflict. However, it is important to note that given the pervasiveness of slavery in Colonial America and the potential contentiousness and divisiveness of the issue, the Founders were forced to kick the can down the road, otherwise, there would not have been a Constitution of the United States. During Lincoln's Administration the preponderance of his public statements and actions regarding slavery were wrapped in political considerations. Although it is fairly clear that Lincoln abhorred slavery as immoral, the call for preservation of the Union, at least at the beginning of the Civil War, was certainly a more unifying theme for the North than freeing the slaves. Lincoln surely understood that unless the Union was preserved, slavery could not, at least from the perspective of the 1860s, possibly be abolished on our continent. Early in the conflict he was reluctant to publicly discuss the dissolution of slavery for fear of alienating the Border States. There were also political considerations attached to the Emancipation Proclamation, in that, it applied only to the states in rebellion so as to not alienate the slave holding states not in rebellion. It, also, reduced the probability of recognition of the South by England which long before had outlawed slavery in its empire In his Gettysburg Address Lincoln evokes both freedom for all and preservation of the Union as reasons for pursuing the war to a final victory.
Many in the South, even in defeat, failed to recognize the immorality of slavery since slaves were considered to be property. Thus the "lost cause " mentality emerged as a rationalization for their defeat and the justification to restore the antebellum South, enabled by the north's indifference and failure of the Federal Government to enforce the 14th Amendment. Therefore, the process of emancipation effectively ceased, at least in the South, for almost one hundred years until the Civil Rights Movement began in the late 1950's and1960's. This is, justifiably, the central message of this essay.
Two final notes on errata: 1) the author cites Gallagher, commenting on popular culture and how it promotes persistence of the "lost cause" by such movies as GWTW and Gods and Generals, and further states that there is not a recent film "that captures the abiding devotion to Union that animated soldiers and civilians in the North". Gallagher must have missed the films Glory and Gettysburg, the latter an adaptation of Michael Shaara's Pulitzer Prize winning novel "The Killer Angels". In this novel (as I recall reproduced in the film) there is a very poignant scene, in which Joshua Chamberlain is addressing some mutineers of a Maine regiment trying to entice them to rejoin his unit to fight at Gettysburg and tells them that men fight for different reasons. "But we're here for something new. I don't...this hasn't happened much in the history of the world. We're an army going out to set other men free". The film then goes on to dramatize the heroic actions of John Buford's cavalry on the first day of the battle, Joshua Chamberlain's and the 20th Maine's heroic action on the second day and the repulse by the Union army of the Confederate assault on the third day; 2) the author implies that the message of the Emancipation Proclamation assured Lincoln's reelection in 1864. His reelection was not assured by overwhelming public support of the Emancipation Proclamation, but by Sherman's victory at Atlanta, which greatly reversed the despondency in the North due to the long stalemate and the Union's high casualty rates in the eastern theater of the war. This victory greatly invigorated support for Lincoln's Presidency and his policy of pursuit of the war to a final victory.
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Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 13, 2011 12:45 PM PDT


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