The author, Brian Latell, does a fabulous job in telling the journey of Fidel Castro from an upstart rebel to a revolutionary figure who dared take a stand against the powerful neighbor to the north in the United States. Who would have thought that he would outlast US Presidents and other world leaders throughout the last 50 years!
The Bay of Pigs, the Kennedy's, the heated rhetoric between the two neighboring countries of the US and Cuba, this dynamic has been in place for the last couple of generations.
Although he is in the twilight of his life and the curtain is closing quickly, he is still a figure and personality to be dealt with. Even though he has passed the daily powers of running Cuba on to his "not much younger" brother, Raul, several years ago, Fidel is still the person who we all readily attach to Cuba and it has been that way for half a century.
Things will change in a hurry (if not drastically) when the Castro Brother exit from the world stage, question is, how will the United States react and behave when the inevitable happens to the Castro Brothers and Cuba is under new leadership.
Hugo Chavez from Venezuela, just left this world recently, so things are always changing and the United States has to be ready.
A great read for history buffs, current event buffs, political buffs and good reading buffs! I highly recommend this book!
I've read several books about Howard Hughes throughout the years, but this book by Donald Bartlett, tops them all!
The author takes us on an intriguing adventure that totally captivates you from start to finish. Hughes, as has been well chronicled throughout the years, was an intriguing, yet dashing figure and personality throughout the mid-part of the last century. When he was younger, he had the world at his fingertips, with movie starlets for girlfriends anytime he wanted, boatloads full of money, the ear of every influential politician of his era, and so much more.
It's an intriguing tale of what we may nowadays call "mental illness", which was fueled by addictions to painkillers and narcotics, psychosis, a mistrust of people in general, fear of germs and, finally, his own "inner circle" closing in around him and taken advantage of him while he mindlessly toiled away the days/weeks watching television butt naked as he eventually lost control of his empire.
The story did get a little tedious when the author went into probably a little bit too much detail, and some of the business dealings that Hughes was able to construct, but other than that, this text will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout.
I don't know if I learned anything new about the life and times of Howard Hughes, but this rendition of the story that is been told before, is by far the very best. A must-read for those who like mystery, intrigue, adventure, featuring one of the wealthiest and best-known personalities that this country has ever produced.
This book covers one of the "fastest growing industries in America", that being the penal system institution that continues to incarcerate more Americans (pro rata), and disproportionately, Americans of color, then any other penal system institution in the world.
The author, Becky Petit, does an okay job of sharing with us the statistics, that in this case, show a dis-proportionality towards African Americans in particular (and to a lesser degree, Hispanic Americans).
I've studied these kind of social dynamics for years, and am very familiar with most of the things that were covered in this book. I still enjoyed the overall information that I gathered, in particular, some of the things I took note of were, the exponential growth of the penal system in America since the 70's, and the incarceration rates of people of color that are filling these jails/prisons to the point where they are bursting at the seams.
The author "borrowed" the title of this book from famed author, Ralph Ellison, and his book "Invisible Man", in which he says "I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me" – Ralph Ellison.
The author shares with us that in January 2009, 1.8 million people stood on the Mall in Washington to celebrate the inauguration of Pres. Barack Obama. The irony was, at that very same moment in time, 2.3 million Americans sat in American prisons and jails cells. Over half of them being African-Americans.
The United States incarceration rate is at a higher percentage of its population than at any other time during its history. The United States also leads the world in the highest percentage of its population behind bars. If we include the numbers of people on probation, parole and supervision, over 5.8 million people are in such circumstances. Current reports show that if the trends continue, one out of every three black men will spend some portion of their adult life in prison.
The author does do a great job in sharing with us the "historical overview" that is necessary in framing the discussion. She takes us back to the time of the Declaration of Independence, where Thomas Jefferson says that "all men are created equal, with an inalienable rights for the pursuit of liberty, freedom and happiness as governed by the laws of the land" (not an exact quote, but pretty close). Yet, at the same time the hypocrisy was that slaves were counted as 3/5 of a man for demographic and political purposes. Therefore rendering 40% of the African-American population "invisible". Those dynamics persist to this day, as blacks are still underrepresented, and given a disproportionate share and allocations, especially when it comes from federal/state assistance.
It is estimated that as of 2009, fully up to 5% of African-American men were not accounted for in the national statistics. The reasons vary from the legacy of slavery, not wanting to be tracked and traced, homelessness, incarcerations, etc.
These are just a few of the items that were shared with us in this book, and anyone with a "social conscience" will find this book intriguing and helpful, especially along with the historical overviews, as to how/why American penal systems continue to be bursting at the seams, disproportionately so with prisoners of color.
Incarcerating people, be it for petty or felony crimes, is only "a very small part of the overall puzzle" and needs to be coupled with "reentry into society programs, education and mentoring programs, job skill set training programs, mental health assistance, family dynamics, and so much more. We all have a lot to do in "getting our oars into the water" and will just have to keep pushing on to better solutions.
I read this book with a great deal of interest and fascination into the world of the Ayatollah's/Islam/Modern Day Iran. With Iran being in the headlines on a more frequent and regular basis (At least since the days of the captive hostages during Pres. Carter's administration), mainly because of the "attempts to rein in Iran's nuclear program", it indeed turned out to be a fascinating read and a look behind what we typically get fed by our own media.
With the Iranian civilization having such an extremely long history, there are bound to be huge chunks of it that most Americans have no ideal about. The author, Hooman Majd, did a pretty good job in conveying to us a lot of the confusing and conflicting dynamics at play, especially in modern-day Iran. This is a country that is deeply steeped in cultural and religious backgrounds, yet at the same time, especially with its younger population, moving forward to try to find its place on the world stage.
One of the most interesting things that I've came across in the book that the author said was "the conservative religious right in America, would probably find a kinship with the conservative dogma of the Ayatollah's/Islam in the fact that both would find similarities in religion ruling the day, frowning upon premarital sex, abortion, sinful music, etc." (this is not verbatim) And I thought to myself, "hmmm, there are actually some good points being made here".
The author also points out that the Iranians have developed an interesting David versus Goliath mentality against not only Israel, but the United States and the Western world. It's not that they were ever going to outright "win" any battles against all of that, but just by the fact that they "stand up to all of that" and hold their ground, and many times his victory enough.
Although we Westerners tend not to know much about the Islamic/Muslim world of things, this book might be helpful in peeling back some of the layers to help us get an up close look at not only the ongoing propaganda's, but it look at real everyday life of real everyday people living in modern-day Iran.
An interesting look at the life of elephants that are in captivity and made to perform circus acts or hard labor.
This was absolutely one of the best books I've read on China because it really gave an accurate and humorous overview from the author’s perspective.
I've been traveling in and out of China several times over the last couple of years, and the author is right on with a slight exaggeration or two here and there, but overall, this is an excellent read, especially if you ever plan on visiting China!
This book about “The Rock” was one of the most captivating and intense books that I’ve ever read! I didn't know what to expect when I started listening to it, but it just kept getting better and better as it went on!
Some of the most notorious and notable crime figures of all time did time at Alcatraz and the author does a great job of telling the story of each and every one of them. Crime bosses such as Al Capone, Robert “The Birdman” Stroud, Machine Gun Kelly and so many more we covered and so many more!
If you’re into intense true crime books, this one should be at the top of your list!
I found this book to be helpful and handy now that I’m well over forty and finding that balance between quantity vs. quality. Sex After Forty by Calvin Colanussso does a really good job in helping us all to understand some basic functions and realistic expectations of the “middle years” and how to make the best of them.
The book is short and concise, so it’ll also serve as a great reference book from time to time.
Enjoy, and enjoy better than ever!
This book offers a great look not only at the inside, but the history of the CIA. It’s interesting to take a look and to hear the stories, but also to realize that the same thing that ravages other industries and organizations (lack of information, overconfidence, unwillingness to change, etc.) plagued the CIA as well. No surprise there!
I understand, as the author puts it, “the CIA has to break the laws of other countries in order to gather information”, but this book gives incredulous situations and stories that have occurred throughout the history of the CIA.
I thought it was a very good book, although a little long and winding, but it good enough to keep my attention throughout.
I thought this was a terrific book written in an enjoyable, upbeat and sometimes humorous manner by the author, Deborah Fallows.
As one who lives in China for most of the year, I can see firsthand what she shares with us, especially in regards to name selection, mate selection, social orders of the day, and so much more.
The author also does a great job in helping us to understand and even learn a few Chinese words along the way.
I highly recommend this book whether you’re planning on going to China or just want to learn a few more things about China.
I know that a lot of books have been written (and I’ve read my fair share of them) and conversations/debates have been had in regards to the housing meltdown and what caused it and who’s to blame. This book, All The Devils Are Here” by Bethany McLean, is by far one of the best books that I've come across and does an excellent job in bringing together all of “the culprits” and various parties involved and “laying blame” appropriately where it belongs.
As the author points out, Human Nature is something that can be easily manipulated, and hard to control, but it’s always at work. That had a role to play in all of this as well.
I know that most of the “housing crisis” is behind us now, but let’s just hope that we've all learned our lessons (we probably won’t remember them or course… it’s human nature as well), can benefit from lessons learned, and now move forward to a better overall society.
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