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November 2016

Book Review Terminal Impact by Charles Henderson

The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar.

Terminal Impact by Charles Henderson is about Marines written by a retired Marine. This novel takes readers on a journey about a sniper on the trail of al-Qaeda terrorist al-Zarqawi in Iraq. He allows readers to understand how those in the military can be haunted by a missed opportunity.

The protagonist of the story Marine Scout-Sniper Jack Valentine missed a critical shot that would have killed a terrorist leader during the Persian Gulf War. Now back in Iraq in 2006 to lead a highly trained unit, he vows to make things right. To complete the mission he must overcome greedy contractors who hire mercenaries to play both sides. Readers get a glimpse into the life of a Marine including anecdotes, asides, history, and combat language.

Henderson told blackfive.net of how he drew inspiration from “Marines I know. These Scout Snipers are big influences on who my main character Jack Valentine is including his training, skill set, and personality. He is a compilation of three or four guys. For example, when I wrote about the “Mob Squad,” that is real. In the First Gulf War some Italian guys who chose to be together dubbed themselves this nickname. Their favorite saying, ‘It is just business, nothing personal.’”

Wanting to write a story that was believable, accurate, and real, Henderson noted, “I dug into the well of my life. I grew up hunting, living outdoors, and surrounded by rifles. Snipers are the people I know best. They are quiet, down to earth, and not boastful. I wanted to honor them. Ernst Hemingway once said, ‘To write something well you have to have lived it. You can’t write about what you don’t know.’”

Anyone who wants a realistic glimpse into the life of a Marine should read this book. It appears the scenes and the jargon are very realistic. 51KlKvc9wVL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_

Book Review True Faith And Allegiance by Mark Greaney

The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar.

Tom Clancy’s True Faith and Allegiance by Mark Greaney explores the world of cyber threats and cyber security. Government officials have been talking about these dangers for a decade; yet, it seems it has been all talk and no action, that is until Jack Ryan Sr. became President.

The plot begins with seemingly random acts against America’s military and national security officials. First, an armed man in a crowded restaurant attacks U.S. Navy Commander Scott Hagan, captain of the USS James Greer, when on leave. Hagan demands to know how the would-be assassin knew his exact location, but the man dies before he says more. This is followed by an American operative being arrested in Iran for spying, even though he has made the trip numerous times before. It comes to a head when a man is kidnapped by American covert officials accused of being a traitor and reveals he gave away classified information to save his wife from being outted as an American operative.

Through much investigation it is determined American intelligence is under attack by someone selling classified information on the dark web. The information up for grabs included lengthy and detailed profiles of America’s highest-ranking military personnel and undercover operators. As more deadly events involving American military and intelligence personnel follow, all over the globe, it becomes clear that there has been some kind of massive information breach sold to ISIS that uses this weapon of stolen data to take out targets. President Ryan asks the Campus, a top-secret intelligence agency, to track the leak of this source.

This scenario appears to be a warning to those that use social media since the cyber antagonist was able to find what people were doing, where they were, and piece together this information. Greaney believes “People worry about the NSA tracking them, but they are actually allowing this through social media. This book talks a lot about social media intelligence that is completely open source. For example, we were able to track Russian soldiers fighting in the Ukraine through their Instagram accounts. They were shown to be 65 miles within the Ukraine at the same time the Russian government was saying it was not true. But the absence of information can also give someone information. Say you went to college majoring in Arabic studies, and then suddenly your social media goes dark. With a leap of faith a person might suspect you of going into the covert world.”

The theme of the book shows how government cannot adequately protect its own agencies, corporations, or even individual American citizens. Greaney wants readers to understand, “This is a very realistic plot. Remember when China breached the database of the Office Of Personnel Management. Twenty-five million records were lost. Anyone who had applied for a classified position was at risk. They did not even have a cyber security department. What I did was take things in the real world and fictionalized it.”

Current events allow for readers to grasp the multitude of importance of a security breach. Greaney noted to blackfive.net, “I thought of the Secretary of State who had an unsecure server while emailing on Yahoo. This is one of those instances when I did not want to make our government officials that accurate. I did not want it happening on the Jack Ryan watch. It seems the real world is more unrealistic than this plot line.”

Unlike some other thriller authors, people know that in a Clancy novel some of the main characters can be killed off. What Greaney has done effectively with this story is to expand the Clancy world by refilling the ranks of the Campus. The new characters added or have taken on more of a role. Adara Sherman and Midas, ex Delta Force, enhance the story with their grittiness.

True Faith and Allegiance allows readers to have their eyes opened to the dangers of cyber breaches. It is a warning for the US government to quit doing the talk and start doing the walk regarding the need for a strong cyber security program. 51RebJ5fdRL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_

Book Review Chaos By Patricia Cornwell

The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar.

Chaos by Patricia Cornwell has a “chaotic” plot. This book fascinatingly shows how people are losing control. In some ways technology has made lives easier, while in other ways it has taken away someone’s independence. Cornwell shows in this absorbing thriller how that can happen.

Cornwell commented to blackfive.net, “The major theme in my most recent books is that we are living in the age of technology. My more current research is moving more and more towards the sorts of technology that the military is developing. A lot of what ends up in criminal investigations begins with the military. Much is first implemented in combat. A good example is when Scarpetta uses her CT scanner. It was modeled after the one at Dover Air Force Base. The military is also using a scanning x-ray electron microscope. It can possibly determine the projectile used to kill someone in combat and who was the one responsible for making it.”

Dr. Kay Scarpetta, the Cambridge Forensic Center’s Director, is receiving anonymous poems that are on the bizarre side from a cyber bully known as Tailend Charlie. In her professional life she must find out why two people died after being struck by lightning, including her good friend General John Briggs who has also been electrified. Scarpetta starts to suspect the involvement of Carrie Grethen, her nemesis. She determines that the deaths by “acts of nature” are actually related to this cyber bully, a cunning and technically savvy predator.

Will Carrie be the antagonist in future books? “I don’t know where Carrie will go and want to leave things open ended. She will be in the next book, which also has an international connection to Scotland Yard and Interpol. An old case has just re-surfaced.”

Dr. Kay enlists the help of her “work husband,” partner detective Pete Marino. They begin a perilous investigation of who is behind the cyber bullying and the murder of the two victims. Her niece Lucy does not play as prominent a role in this book as in others, but she is enlisted to try to find out how this criminal could have access to private information and the ability to use electricity for murder.

In this thriller Cornwell shows how Kay balances the demands of her work life with her personal life. Besides having to deal with a cyber bully she has to confront her feelings of sisterly rivalry with Dorothy. The backstory is told of their early life together and why at this time her sister decides to come for a visit.

Anyone who has a sister knows about rivalry. Cornwell wants readers to “think of Scarpetta as human with a family, scars, dysfunction, memories, and loses. Her only sibling, Dorothy, has always been in the shadow from day one of my books. She was going to be the homecoming queen in high school, while Scarpetta was the nerd in the science lab. In this book and going forward readers will spend some time with her. Her visit has a big connection to the plot.”

As with all her recent books, Chaos demonstrates how technology advances can be beneficial to criminals. Readers work the investigation with Scarpetta as they try to disentangle the puzzle and mystery of this gripping plot. 51dx85217PL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

Book Review Secret Service Dogs

The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar.

Those who love dogs write the best books about them. This becomes evident with Maria Goodavage’s latest book Secret Service Dogs. It is filled with colorful, funny, dramatic, and heartfelt anecdotes intertwined with a history of this special unit.

She decided to write this book after researching and finding there was very little out there about the Secret Service agency’s canine program. After two bestsellers about military dogs, she commented, “I thought it would be fascinating to shift gears and look at the dogs that protect the president of the United States, the First Family, presidential candidates, and even the Pope, when he visits the United States. I was surprised and impressed by how integral Secret Service dogs are to the many circles of protection for the president.”

Right from the very beginning readers understand the heroism of these men/women and their canine partners. Another hero, Clint Hill, who put his life on the line as he jumped on the JFK car in Dallas, wrote the forward. Goodavage feels honored that Clint Hill contributed to the book. “I met him on a boat in San Francisco. After the Lucca book I was thinking of what I should do next. I talked to him about writing a book on Secret Service dogs and handlers and he was so gracious in offering to put me in touch with the right people. After reading an advance copy he offered to write the forward.”

Never before has anyone been given the access that this author has by the Secret Service. Readers are taken into this world that has been “secretive” for many years. It is informative about the different types of dogs used to guard the White House and the President, the First Family, and dignitaries. The Explosive Detection Team travels worldwide with the President. Emergency Response Dogs is part of a “SWAT” team, where they would attack an intruder. Tactical dogs protect the President and the First Family inside the White House grounds. Floppy-eared dogs aka as Friendly dogs patrol outside the White House. They are named for their ability to be affable to those people who are walking or viewing the White House from the outside.

The incident that brought attention to these dogs was when someone jumped the White House fence. This book explains all the details surrounding it and how the Belgian Malinois, Hurricane, became a hero. After being punched and kicked by the intruder he still was able to subdue him and had the man give up with the help of another canine, Jardan. It is through stories like these that readers gain a good understanding of how the extensive training allows these dogs to risk their lives to protect the First Family and the President.

But there are other stories as well. When President Ronald Reagan, an apparent dog lover, decided to pet one of the dogs he almost had his hand bitten off, after coming out for a photo op with the agents and their dogs. He reached out to shake the Agent’s hand, but the canine at his side stared up at the President and showed his teeth. Luckily, the handler put the dog at ease, and nothing came of the incident.

Some might wonder how does the First Family’s dog interact with Secret Service dogs. The author addresses it within a chapter. Noting that the handlers were very vigilant about the pets of the First Family they tried to avoid any confrontation. She recounts such an incident involving President George W. Bush’s dog Barney, a Scottish Terrier. Thinking he is the alpha dog he charged at the ERT dog, Oscar, a Belgian Malinois. The handler scooped Oscar up high in his arms and avoided a major incident although Barney did bite his tail.

Besides these anecdotes she also explains the policies of this unit. One that appears to make no sense is the one and done. As Goodavage notes to blackfive.net, “The “One and done” has been a policy of the Secret Service’s canine program since the beginning. It means that as a handler, you get one dog during your career. Usually, when the dog retires, so does their human partner. The Canine Unit is popular, and the idea is that this rule would give others a chance. But many handlers feel, and I tend to agree, that you’re losing incredible talent this way. You want the best of the best when it comes to protecting the president and other key world figures. Deeply experienced handlers can be tremendous assets. Fortunately, there have been plenty of exceptions to the one-and-done policy with a few on their second dog after their first had a long and fruitful career before retirement.”

Secret Service Dogs by Maria Goodavage is an interesting insight into this unit. It is eye opening since very little has been written. Readers will learn about the relationship between handlers and their partners. 51kFWvdlSVL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_

Book Review The Earl

The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar.The Earl by Katharine Ashe is a historical novel filled with adventure, mystery, and sprinkled with romance. She is a professor of History who has strong heroines that learn from and teach the men who love them. This book is the conclusion of the Falcon Club series and the second book in the Devil Duke series.

51EzGoDEYvL._SX308_BO1,204,203,200_All her stories are compelling and through the character’s eyes, emotions, and conflicts, readers can learn about the historical context. The banter of barbs, bickering, and debating allows them to begin to understand the other’s passion and point of view. The identity of her heroine, Lady Justice, is Emily Anne Vale, while Peregrine is Colin Gray, the Earl of Egremoor. They are constantly trading correspondence and debating over the column written about women’s issues, specifically a woman’s marital status.

After Colin agrees to help her find her sister, who has disappeared, they are thrown together. He imposes one condition; they find out each other’s true identity. At the meeting place, Colin admits he is Peregrine and believes Lady Justice to be a man and insults her by demanding to see her master, the real Lady Justice. His assumptions are based on the fact that Lady Justice’s identity was never revealed. Because of her deep disappointment that the man she once knew as a childhood friend could so blatantly dispel that a woman was capable of accomplishments, Emily refused to reveal herself.

The mystery begins in Scotland. It is here they trace her sister’s presence and are accused of killing a local man’s wife. It seems a man who resembles Colin and someone dressed up as a woman resembling Emily are robbing travelers. When they are mistaken for outlaws, they have to flee for their lives. Readers take this adventurous journey with the characters as they try to prove their innocence.

Emily is independent, a recluse, bookish, strong-willed, and at times self-righteous, while Colin is honorable, determined, witty, and chauvinistic. A quote in the book shows how he feels entrapped, “It was thought they were on opposite sides of a tightly locked door. She stood firmly and proudly on the outside… while he was inside the room, suffocating.” It is as if he wishes he could be like Emily, comfortable in her own skin, but instead was pressured by his father to be someone he is not. Ashe noted to blackfive.net, “They’ve each built up ideas of who the other is. I wanted to show that not all heroes have to be John Wayne. The men important to me are intelligent, sensitive, and emotional. Over the course of this journey they must tear these notions apart. In the beginning they each believe they know the truth about the other, but by the end they realize they’ve only been partially correct.”

Ashe says the scenes of physical intimacy are an integral part of the characters’ story. “In the early 1800s, women of the privileged class were protected from male sexuality. But Emily acknowledges it and tries to come to terms with the double standard in which men are expected to experience their sexuality while women are not. As far as I am concerned if the sex does not have meaning that alters the relationship, for the good or the ill, it should not be in the novel. Physical intimacy must be a meaningful communication. When Emily makes sexual advances she is a woman on the front edge of feminism during this era.”

Readers will have to wait for the next book, The Duke, to find out what becomes of Colin and Emily’s relationship. Ashe explained, “I intentionally left it open ended. I want Emily to maintain her legal autonomy, and if she married she would lose it entirely. Yet, unless they marry, their children would not be able to inherit Colin’s title or property. Ultimately, it’s clear in The Duke, which also answers the mystery of why the Duke of Loch Irvine does not want his secrets exposed, and whether he is indeed the devil society believes him to be.”

This page turner has people unraveling the mysteries of why has Emily’s sister disappeared, will Colin discover Lady Justice’s true identity, and will they be found innocent of the crimes accused of? The novel is full of the contradictions men and women often face and struggle with surrounding the issue of equality.

Book Review No Man's Land by David Baldacci

The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar.

No Man’s Land by David Baldacci on the surface seems like a science fiction story. But this thriller featuring US Army criminal investigator John Puller has a very plausible theme with a compelling and action-packed plot.

He always seems to give a shout out to the military. He noted to blackfive.net, “My dad was in the Navy, and I have a lot of friends in the military and police. I think those in the military and police are very special people, which is why I wrote this book quote about Puller a former combat veteran and now a CID investigator, sprinting ‘toward, not away from, the violence.’ I have tremendous respect for them. It is an incredibly difficult job under the best of circumstances and far more complicated than people realize. We need to hold these people up and encourage them to serve in these professions.”

The storyline has two men combating demons they experienced thirty years ago. Seemingly unrelated, Baldacci does a great job intertwining the two characters. Puller ‘s mother disappeared thirty years ago and now CID investigators are accusing his father of possibly murdering her. Aided by his brother Robert, an Air Force major, and Veronica Knox, who works for a shadowy U.S. intelligence organization, Puller begins a journey that will take him back into his own past, to find the truth about his mother. Simultaneously, Paul Rodgers begins his own journey after getting paroled from jail. He was basically a guinea pig in an experiment to make a “super soldier.” His body was altered so that he wouldn’t fear physical pain, his brain was changed so that he wouldn’t feel guilt over killing, and he was changed to become a fighting machine. Regretting being turned into a “monster,” he seeks out the two people responsible for his plight to make them pay for ruining his life.

Discussing the storyline Baldacci saw “The super soldier theme is not all fiction, since they have worked on it for a long time. A lot of what I spoke about in the book is something they have been or are currently working on, including brain implants, and making soldiers able to heal themselves on the battlefield. I think one of their long-range goals is to make our fighting force more effective. I know this sounds very H. G. Wells, but it is the way the world works. I wanted to attack this from the human side, and the dark side of it all. At some point this has to be tested on real people. Their goal is to make the soldier more efficient, more combat ready, stronger, and with greater endurance. A lot of this can only happen with technology. Is it a dark or sweet part? General Robert E. Lee said. ‘It is well that war is so terrible – otherwise we would grow too fond of it.’ We don’t want to possibly change a person to being non-human. I am not saying to stop the projects, but we must be skeptical and ask the necessary questions about modifying soldiers. We must be aware that technology and humanism sometimes collide.”

Beyond this riveting and heart-wrenching story Baldacci explores many issues, including dementia, human experiments, and conspiracy theories. He has a knack for having the reader hate some of the characters in the beginning, only to root and care for them by the ending.

Baldacci stated, “I think about how the brain defines personality, who someone is, and how they react to others. When modified, changed, and pierced by artificial means the outcome is very scary. Putting something together that is supposedly perfect is only in the eyes of the beholder. It’s their definition of what is perfect. Let’s not forget Hitler’s desire to create the perfect Aryan race. But I also wrote in this book about how Puller’s father is suffering from dementia, and he felt how he basically lost him. It destroys people from within.”

No Man’s Land is an edge of your seat thriller. Readers will be hooked from page one. Besides the tension edged plot, the thought provoking themes will allow people to question how far military experiments should go. 51dgMqBoSTL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_

Clinton Pay For Play By Brett R. Smith

The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar.

Before the Clinton Foundation Bill and Hillary perfected the politics of personal profit. It is incredible how the Justice Department along with mainstream media refused to investigate how businesses and foreign governments made the Clintons rich while gaining influence. Peter Schweizer in his book, Clinton Cash, exposed the Clintons and their devious ways. He enlisted the help of Brett R. Smith to write a graphic novel on the subject and just recently made an animated information ad about the Clinton’s Quid Pro Quo (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7rNaI7P3dc) and her re-set with Russia.

Brett noted, the first chapter in the graphic novel is called ‘The Lincoln Bedroom Goes Global.’ This was a dry run for the Clintons. People, like myself, who are part of Generation X, should be reminded of the type of stuff you get from the Clintons. It is a refresher course on how they operate.”

For those who do not remember, the Clintons, during their Presidency, allowed Democratic donors to stay in the Lincoln bedroom of the White House as a reward. The records showed a total of 938 individuals stayed over at the White House between 1993 and 1996. Of them, 821 spent the night in the Lincoln Bedroom. Bill Clinton wrote: "Ready to start overnights right away-give me the top 10 list back, along with the 100." So he and the First Lady used “Pay For Play,” back in 1994. They probably forgot that the White House was not their house, but the American people.

Fast-forward to when Clinton was Secretary of State and her desire to have a “re-set with Russia.” Brett is very frustrated that Donald Trump did not bring up the Russian re-set during the debate with Hillary Clinton. “It is amazing to me that after she called him ‘Putin’s puppet’ he did not bring this up. The Clinton Foundation does business with horrible autocrats that have atrocious human rights records. She speaks of this game of being a paragon of liberal virtue yet; she takes money from businesses like Coca-Cola and Dow Chemical. I like to say if they did not have a double standard they would have no standard.”

He made the info ad (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_I8JdPOmJo) to allow Millennials to get a glimpse of what the Clintons are about, including the re-set with Russia.  In 2010, a Russian company was allowed to buy the business Uranium One.  This was after the new chairman donated two million dollars to the Clinton Foundation, which was never reported, and Bill Clinton was also paid $500,000 for a Moscow speech.  In October, the sale was approved.  Ultimately, 20% of U.S. uranium was basically transferred to the Russian government.  Then secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, could have vetoed it but chose not to. 

Brett agrees that there is no transparency. He believes, “It is the Lefts’ Red Scare. The mainstream media is focusing on Trump’s supposed connection to Putin and the Russians. Yet, nobody wants to focus on the fact that Hillary Clinton has already done business with the Russians, and the worst kind of business. 55% of the people that visited her at the State Department were donors. If she becomes President and achieves all that power I expect this “Pay for Play” to ramp up. This is about power and influence. We made the new ads to get the truth out there so voters can make the best decision they can.”

Before voting, Americans need to consider how the Clintons operate. The Lincoln bedroom scandal and now the Clinton Foundation has shown that they are willing to have government agencies as part of there own Foundation donors and to lie about it. CLINCASH-Lincoln Bedroom copy CLINCASHRussia copy

Book Review Moral Defense by Marcia Clark

The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar.

Moral Defense by Marcia Clark brings back defense attorney Samantha (Sam) Brinkman. This second novel of the series is as riveting and suspenseful as the first, Blood Defense. What makes these novels by Clark unique is that within gripping crimes she allows the readers to gain a glimpse of the inner workings of the judicial system.

In this book there are four sub-plots. Samantha promises her dad, LAPD Detective Dale Pearson, to investigate the allegations of excessive force by his peer, Detective Kevin Hausch; the Oroczo family, gang members who expect Samantha to find who secretly arranged for Arturo to be killed; and DeShawn Johnson who needs her help in getting some drug dealers off his back. But these all take a backseat to the main plot, where an adoptive girl, Cassie Sonnenberg kills her mother, father, and brother. Tiegan Donner, Cassie’s teacher and counselor, begs Sam to be her representive. After deciding to become her advocate Sam must sift through the many accounts, including the possibility of abuse by her brother and father. Because of her own past demons Sam finds this case touches some very personal memories. She must find out for herself if Cassie is innocent or guilty and come up with a defense.

What makes these books interesting is how Clark interjects into the storyline her legal background, allowing for realism. People unaware of what happens behind the scenes of the judicial system are able to learn about it.

She noted to blackfive.net, “This is the biggest question mark; how to work with a client who committed a hideous crime. From the defense point of view you are requiring the prosecution to have the burden of proof. There are checks and balances we need to have a fair system of justice. A lot of times it’s getting a fair conviction. Sometimes the prosecution can over file a case or overcharge the defendant. The goal is to make the punishment fit the crime.”

Clark finds a way to have justice prevail, even with hardcore clients. An example of this was her culpability in the killing of a dangerous client who was sent to prison. Samantha is not a clear-cut heroine. She is scarred, tough, intelligent, and capable of morally dubious behavior with a private code of justice.

She wants people to understand “it is usually the defense attorney endangered by these clients. As a prosecutor for ten years before the Simpson trial I was very aware of the tensions between the minorities and LAPD. Because cell phones were not prevalent people did not hear about it. Now they show it and show it, and it becomes public within seconds. But cops are frustrated because people will only speak to them anonymously so cases can never get proven.”

She further stated, “Gang injunction. This makes it hard for them to move around the community. Cops have an easier time yanking them up and throwing them in jail. They start to move out of the neighborhoods because it is too hard to do business. Because they had been terrorizing the neighborhoods this is one way to deal with them, especially since kids realize they cannot survive unless they join the gang. It is like a cancer that hits the community.”

In Moral Defense Marcia Clark has many twists and turns, including an ending that will shock the reader. There are surprises at every corner. Anyone who enjoys legal thrillers should read this book. 61kFWQ9h08L._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_

Book Review Israel by Daniel Gordis

The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar.

Daniel Gordis in his book Israel: A Concise History of a Nation Reborn speaks of the founding of Israel as “a fairy tale. Israel is a story of a homeless people that kept a dream alive, of a people’s redemption from the edge of the abyss, of a nation forging a future when none seemed possible.” While he recounts its history, readers begin to understand that Israel has become a blending of democracy and tradition with far more prosperity than anyone expected from it.

He stated to blackfive.net, “I wanted to show of the many countries that were created in the twentieth century, Israel is one of the very few that was founded as a democracy that has remained democratic. This would be impressive in its own right, but it is even more astonishing when we consider the fact that the vast majority of Jews who immigrated to Israel, from Russia, Arab countries, etc, came from countries without a democratic tradition. There was this unwavering determination of Israel’s founding generation to be part of the Western world.”

The book opens with a quote by Mark Twain that summarizes Anti-Semitism throughout the centuries. What Gordis does well is show how Israel sprang from the effort to ensure the safety and flourishing of the Jewish people. It appears that Anti-Semitism in Europe is never ending. In the late 1800s Theodore Herzl came up with the idea of a Jewish state to shelter the Jewish people from the European abhorrence. This hatred culminated in the Holocaust. Fast-forward to today where Jews are once again fleeing Europe. Gordis noted, “In 2016, about 70 years after the end of the Holocaust, the world is much less changed than we had hoped. And Israel is the only country in the world that as a matter of law guarantees Jews on the run both refuge and citizenship. The State of Israel was created first and foremost to ensure the safety and flourishing of the Jewish people.”

But what role has American Jews played over the years? Many were ambivalent about supporting a Jewish state. Gordis explains, “American Jews feared that if they supported the idea of a Jewish state they would be accused of having dual loyalties.”

A further wedge in the relationship between Israel and American Jews occurred with the capture of Adolf Eichmann who was the Nazi in charge of the death camps. Gordis told blackfive.net that it was David Ben-Gurion, the father of modern Israel, who best summarized the conflict, “Now I see it argued, by Jews among others, that Israel is legally entitled to try Eichmann but ethically should not do so because Eichmann’s crime, in its enormity, was against humanity and the conscience of humanity rather than against Jews as such. Only a Jew with an inferiority complex could say that; only one who does not realize that a Jew is a human being.”

Gordis recounts how American college students are conflicted over the issue with Palestinians. “American Jews often appear paralyzed, ostrich-like, intimidated, or otherwise ill-equipped to make Israel’s case beyond simple clichés. Some American students asked, aren’t Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands, to blame for the conflict? I asked if they knew what year the occupation started, or the circumstances in which it did. I figured we should quickly review the history, which is one reason I wrote the book.”

Gordis shows how Israel has battled the odds for decades. He feels that a quote from the book after the Six Day War can apply today. “The Jewish state had more than survived. Betrayed by the French, put off by the Americans, and rattled by the Russians, Israelis had been left entirely on their own. Gone are the days when Jews would cower in fear. Israel has triumphed over boycotts, attacks, threats, invasions, and isolation. People should be in awe of what has been accomplished, becoming a cultural, economic, and military powerhouse.” 51Lsc0BkMjL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_

Helping DefendUSA

Long-time readers will remember DefendUSA from our comments section.  DefendUSA is Army Veteran Denise Amundson, and I regret to have to inform all of you that her husband, Army Veteran Martin Amundson, passed away very unexpectedly on 30 October.  Martin was active in a number of efforts to help other veterans, and freely gave to help those in need.  

A GoFundMe effort is underway to help Denise and their children.  Please help as you can.  For those in the Raleigh area, Rey's Restaurant is hosting a celebration of Martin's life Saturday 5 November from 1100-1400.  Please keep them all in your thoughts and prayers.