Book reviews

Book reviews

PRESIDENT OBAMA'S WHITE HOUSE ADVISOR

 

Finding My Voice: My Journey to the West Wing and the Path Forward, by Valerie Jarrett (Viking, New York, NY, 2019, 305 pages).

Book Review by Dennis Moore

As a woman who went from being a quiet girl in Chicago to one of the most visible and influential African-American women of the 21st century, Jarrett’s stories will inspire readers to overcome adversity and find their own voices. “FINDING MY VOICE” is an intimate view of Jarrett’s extraordinary life culminating in a hopeful message that is needed as much today as ever before.

July 5, 2019 (San Diego) - More than 30 years ago both I and Valerie Jarrett worked at City Hall in Chicago, one floor apart, me in the Purchasing Department on the 4th floor and Valerie in the Law Department on the 5th floor. Never in my wildest of imaginations would I have thought that I would be here in California writing a review of her insightful and thought provoking book; Finding my Voice: My Journey to the West Wing and the Path Forward. Perhaps Valerie could say the same about her journey.

SOARING THROUGH HISTORY IN "SAN DIEGO AVIATION THROUGH TIME"

By Alan Renga and Katrina Pescador (bottom right), (America Though Time, Arcadia Publishing, 2019, 96 pages)

 

Book review by Jeff Thurman

 

June 13, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) - In the interest of full disclosure, I have a confession to make.  I am that guy in the museum who reads every one of the placards and captions on all of the exhibits. This led to a traumatic incident at the Omaha Beach Museum when the tour guide informed us that we had 30 whole minutes to explore the entire museum.  I am still haunted by that dark episode. When I get a new nonfiction book with a photo section, my first action is to turn to the pictures and happily read each and every caption. Twice.

I am also an aviation nerd.  Since grade school, I’ve been in love with anything that flies.  I have a particular passion: all things World War II and firmly believe the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt is the most underappreciated warbird of the last 100 years.   This all resulted in my becoming a helicopter pilot in the Army, where I fell in love with a beautiful girl named “Huey.” It was here I learned that life is best experienced at 90 knots, preferably below treetop level.

In other words, I am the target demographic for this book.

WOMEN AT THE FOREFRONT OF POLITICS

 

For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Politics, by Donna Brazile, Yolanda Caraway, Leah Daughtry, Minyon Moore, with Veronica Chambers (St. Martin’s Press, New York, NY, 2018, 316 pages).

Book Review by Dennis Moore

somebody/anybody sing a black girl’s song, bring her out to know herself, to know you, but sing her rhythms … sing her sighs, sing the song of her possibilities, sing a righteous gospel, the makin of a melody, let her be born, let her be born & handled warmly.

-NTOZAKE SHANGE

May 8, 2019 (San Diego) - Ironically, in my earlier review of Donna Brazile’s book Hacks in the East County Magazine in San Diego, she makes the profound statement; “I am not Patsey the Slave.” This was in reference to her involvement in the Clinton campaign and her being chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and despite that fact, Brazile being marginalized by Clinton’s brain trust in New York, with Brazile specifically stating: “Y’all keep whipping me and you never give me any money or any way to do my damn job. I am not going to be your whipping girl!”

This book is rich in history and politics, which includes the personal insight from four fabulous and acclaimed black women!

A BOOK IN CELEBRATION OF MEMORIAL DAY

 

Saving Lou, by Linda Loegel, (Linda Loegel, Columbia, SC, 2017, 242 pages).

Book Review by Dennis Moore

May 27, 2019 (San Diego) - Linda Loegel, a born New Englander, and former East County resident of San Diego (El Cajon), now living in Garner, North Carolina, has written a poignant and heartwarming story; Saving Lou.

Having written two earlier reviews of Loegel’s books, Bumps Along the Way and If you Don’t Like Worms, Keep Your Mouth Shut, I can attest to the author being a master story teller. Saving Lou follows suit. She tells this story from beginning to end in her own inimitable and folksy manner, which is characteristic and expected of her from readers such as myself and others that have read her book(s).

THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT (ACA) OR MEDICARE FOR ALL - TOWARDS MEDICAL DEBT RELIEF

 

End Medical Debt: Curing America’s $1 Trillion Unpayable Healthcare Debt, by Jerry Ashton, Robert Goff, Craig Antico (Hoku House, Kauai, Hawaii, 2018, 181 pages).

Book Review by Dennis Moore

Of all the forms of equality,

Injustice in health is the most

  shocking and inhumane.

  • Martin Luther King, Jr.

April 6, 2019 (San Diego) - The authors have written a timely and thought-provoking book about healthcare and debt, coming at a time when the Trump Administration is proposing doing away with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or better known as Obamacare.

Jerry Ashton, Robert Goff and Craig Antico, founders of the national charity RIP Medical Debt, a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit company based in New York, incorporated in 2014, locates, buys and forgives unpayable medical debt for those burdened by financial hardship. In a phone interview with one of the authors, Craig Antico, he stated to me: “People don’t realize the hardships that medical debt brings.”

ANDREW MCCABE DEFINES TRUMP AS A NATIONAL THREAT

 

The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump, by Andrew G. McCabe (St. Martin’s Press, New York, NY, 2019, 274 pages).

Book Review by Dennis Moore

March 18, 2019 (San Diego) - Andrew G. McCabe, former Deputy Director of the FBI, has written an incisive and titillating story of America at the crossroads of history, an America that seems to be under siege by the President himself. To put this book in historical perspective, McCabe states: “The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s official mission is ‘to protect the American people and support the Constitution of the United States.”’

To read this book, it does not seem as if the mission statement of the FBI is being allowed. The author lays that at the feet of the President of the United States, Donald Trump.

FROM THE SOUTHSIDE OF CHICAGO TO THE WHITE HOUSE

 

Michelle Obama: A Life, by Peter Slevin (Alfred A. Knopf, New York, NY, 2015, 418 pages).

Book Review by Dennis Moore

“A deeply informed portrait of the first lady and her native Chicago…. Her larger story, told so powerfully in Slevin’s biography, which suggests she will forever be a force with which to be reckoned.” – Chicago Tribune

March 11, 2019 (San Diego) - Peter Slevin, who has written extensively about Barack and Michelle Obama, from his vantage point of being on the staff of The Washington Post, before joining Northwestern University’s School of Journalism, where he is currently an associate professor, has written a uniquely American story of a woman from the Southside of Chicago that changed the course of prior inhabitants of the White House; Michelle Obama: A Life.

DID TRUMP COLLUDE WITH RUSSIA?

 

Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America, by Seth Abramson (Simon & Schuster, New York, NY, 2018, 448 pages).

Book Review by Dennis Moore

For the first time, the full, explosive record of the unthinkable: how a US president compromised American foreign policy in exchange for promise of future business and covert election assistance.

January 25, 2019 (San Diego) - Coming at a time when President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, is scheduled to testify publicly in Congress on February 7, 2019, Seth Abramson has written a provocative and timely book; Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America.

 

Looking back at this moment in history, historians will ask if Americans knew they were living through the first case of criminal conspiracy between an American presidential candidate turned commander in chief and a geopolitical enemy. The answer might be: it was hard to see the whole picture. The stories coming in from around the globe have often seemed fantastical: clandestine meetings in foreign capitals, secret recordings in a Moscow hotel, Kremlin agents infiltrating the Trump inner circles.


HEALTHCARE DISTRICT HOSTS RECEPTION FOR JAMES NEWLAND, AUTHOR OF NEW BOOK ON GROSSMONT HOSPITAL’S HISTORY

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left:  Author and historian James D. Newland with his book, Grossmont Hospital: A Legacy of Community Service

August 19, 2018 (La Mesa)—Author and historian James D. Newland’s latest book, Grossmont Hospital: A Legacy of Community Service, provides a fascinating look into the colorful history of East County as well as the hospital itself and the evolution of healthcare in our region.

Newland was honored Thursday at the Grossmont Healthcare District headquarters with a reception attended by the district’s board of directors and community VIPs. Following appetizers and brews served up by Burning Beard brewery, the district’s CEO Barry Jantz and board president Michael Emerson gave welcoming remarks. 

Newland signed copies of his book, noting that the biggest challenge in its creation was handling the controversy over the hospital merging with Sharp Healthcare, a move that kept East County’s major hospital financially viable at a time when rising costs drove some other healthcare facilities under.

A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS

 

The Artist Portrait Project: A Photographic Memoir of Portrait Sessions with San Diego Artists, 2006 – 2016, by Jennifer G. Spencer (She Writes Press, Berkeley, CA, 2018, 117 pages).

Book Review by Dennis Moore

“All photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt.”

  • Susan Sontag

August 17, 2018 (San Diego) - There is an old adage that says “A Picture is worth a Thousand Words!” Jennifer G. Spencer, a painter/photographer who creates images using alternative photographic processes and digital imagery, exemplifies that old adage in her groundbreaking memoir; The Artist Portrait Project: A Photographic Memoir of Portrait Sessions with San Diego Artists, 2006 – 2016.

SEEKING LOVE AND ACCEPTANCE IN AN ISLAMOPHOBIC SOCIETY

 

Writing and Madness in a Time of Terror: A Memoir, by Afarin Majidi (Barnes & Noble/Amazon, 2014, 325 pages).

 

Book Review by Dennis Moore

 

“A woman forced to flee Iran with her family … bravely explores three explosive issues—mental illness, racism, and misogyny—with bracing candor … Majidi provides an engrossing and timely look at the way women of color are doubly objectified, as exotic sexual quarry and as individuals worthy of contempt.” – KIRKUS REVIEWS

 

July 25, 2018 (San Diego) - The very first time that this writer interviewed Afarin Majidi, the author of this memoir, Writing and Madness in a Time of Terror, what resonated with me was her reliance on and speaking of the current and timely “#MeToo” movement, as if everything written in this memoir is symptomatic of what women are experiencing throughout the country.

HEALTHY FOOD FOR HEALTHY LIVING

 

Food for Life, by Laila Ali (St. Martin’s Press, New York, N.Y., 2017, 312 pages).

Book Review by Dennis Moore

July 8, 2018 (San Diego) - Passionate health advocate, cook, television personality, and four-time undefeated boxing world champion Laila Ali’s first cookbook is an idea-rich guide for happy dinners (and breakfasts and lunches) at home.

THE ROSA PARKS OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

 

17 Steps: A Federal Employee’s Guide for Tackling Workplace Discrimination, by Tanya Ward Jordan (Tanya Ward Jordan, M.S., 2018, 186 pages).

Book Review by Dennis Moore

June 1, 2018 (San Diego) - Tanya Ward Jordan, M.S., President and Founder of The Coalition For Change, Inc., (C4C), has written an incisive and provocative book about the inner workings of the federal government; 17 Steps: A Federal Employee’s Guide for Tackling Workplace Discrimination, that is a must read.

IT TAKES A VILLAGE

 

Families as Partners: The Essential Link in Children’s Education, by Andrea M. Nelson-Royes (Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, Maryland, 2018, 170 pages).

Book Review by Dennis Moore

May 5, 2018 (San Diego) - Andrea M. Nelson-Royes, EdD, an educational researcher and writer, and author of Transforming Early Learners into Superb Readers: Promoting Literacy at School, at Home, and within the Community and Success in School and Career: Common Core Standards in Language Arts K-5, continues this trend in advocating for excellence in education, in her new book; Families as Partners: The Essential Link in Children’s Education.

SPECIAL COUNSEL ROBERT MUELLER INDICTS 13 RUSSIANS

 

The Plot To Hack America: How Putin’s Cyberspies and WikiLeaks Tried to Steal the 2016 Election, by Malcolm Nance (Skyhorse Publishing, Inc., New York, New York, 2016, 186 pages).

Book Review by Dennis Moore

“I wouldn’t know anything about it. You know, there are so many hackers today and they work with such finesse, planting a trail where and when they need…. It’s difficult to trace, if even possible…. The important thing here is what the public was shown…. One shouldn’t draw the public attention from the core of the issue by replacing it with secondary details like who did it.” – VLADIMIR PUTIN

February 17, 2018 (San Diego) - Coming on the heels of my recent review of former Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Donna Brazil’s book Hacks, Malcolm Nance, international expert on counterterrorism intelligence, and MSNBC TV contributor, as well as New York Times Bestselling Author of Defeating Isis, has written a provocative and timely book on espionage and the state of affairs between the United States and Russia; The Plot to Hack America: How Putin’s Cyberspies and Wikileaks Tried to Steal the 2016 Election.

MARRIAGE: TILL DEATH DO US PART!

 

Marital Advice to my Grandson, Joel: How to be a husband your wife won’t throw out of the window in the middle of the night, by Peter Davidson (Sweet Memories Publishing, San Bernardino, CA, 2018, 137 pages).

Book Review by Dennis Moore

February 8, 2018 (San Diego) - Where was this book by Peter Davidson some 40 years ago, when I first got married, as I possibly could have avoided the angst and pitfalls so many encounter in marriage? Davidson gives whimsical and sage advice to all men contemplating marriage, and those hoping to maintain and survive it, in this thought provoking book; Marital Advice to my Grandson, Joel.

RUSSIA'S HACKING OF THE DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE

 

Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House, by Donna Brazile (Hachette Book Group, Inc., 2017, New York, NY, 268 pages).

 

Book Review by Dennis Moore

 

January 5, 2017 (San Diego) - Donna Brazile, former Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman has written a provocative and timely book about election politics and alleged Russian influence in our political process; Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House.

RECOVERING STOLEN TIME YOU NEVER KNEW YOU HAD

 

The Time Bandit Solution: Structured Time & Workflow, by Edward G. Brown (Cohen Brown Picture Company, 2014, Los Angeles, California, 249 pages).

Book Review by Dennis Moore

December 5, 2017 (San Diego) - Edward G. Brown, philanthropist, entrepreneur and noted Hollywood mover and shaker, has written a book that resonates with me for a variety of reasons; The Time Bandit Solution: Structured Time & Workflow. I actually suffer from some of the same Time Bandit issues that he points out in his book. Coming on the heels of my review of his wife Shari Sharifi Brown’s book; The 7 Commandments for Happiness and Prosperity, this author’s book is more than a book about business solutions, but actually gives a portrait of his life and legacy. This is really a capsule of the author’s entire life, weaving his personal experiences into a well thought out book on how to recover your lost time.

THE GOD QUESTION REVISITED

 

The 7 Commandments for Happiness and Prosperity, by Shari Sharifi Brown (Shari Sharifi Brown, 2017, Los Angeles, CA, 215 pages).

Book Review by Dennis Moore

October 24, 2017 (San Diego) - Shari Sharifi Brown, born and raised in Iran, has written a provocative book on Theology and Religion, The 7 Commandments for Happiness and Prosperity, that on th

e surface, might also appear controversial. It has been an accepted fact that The Ten Commandments were given to Moses by God on Mount Sinai. Therein lies the rub, seemingly a contradiction to an accepted fact or notion.

THE CALL FOR THE IMPEACHMENT OF A PRESIDENT

 

The Dangerous Case Of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President, by Bandy Lee, M.D., M.Div. (Thomas Dunne Books, 2017, New York, NY, 360 pages).

Book Review by Dennis Moore

October 24, 2017 (San Diego) - Bandy X. Lee, M.D., M.Div., Assistant Clinical Professor in Law and Psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine, has written a timely and provocative book about our President; The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President.

FINDING JEWISH STORIES ON INTERSTATE 8

 

By Mimi Pollack

October 17, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) -- If you go to the website of the publication, San Diego Jewish World, you will see the motto, “There Is a Jewish Story Everywhere!” Owner and publisher Don Harrison delights in traveling, meeting people, and sniffing out those Jewish stories.

TIJUANA, SAN DIEGO'S SISTER CITY

 

 

HAVING FUN IN TIJUANA: A Day Tripper’s Guide, by Sam Warren (Bookwarren Publishing, San Diego, California, 2017, 14 pages.)

Book Review by Dennis Moore

September 15, 2017 (Tijuana) - Sam Warren, the founder of SDWriteway, an online magazine in San Diego that has partnered with the East County Magazine, has written the indispensable guide to navigating through Tijuana, Mexico, and enjoying it; Having Fun In Tijuana: A Day Tripper’s Guide.

HOW TO BE REWARDED FOR BEING A WHISTLEBLOWER

 

The New Whistleblower’s Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Doing What’s Right and Protecting Yourself, by Stephen Martin Kohn, ESQ (Lyons Press, Guilford, Connecticut, 2017, 550 pages).

Book Review by Dennis Moore

“You can’t fix something if you don’t know it’s broken. That’s just common

sense.”

-          Senator Charles Grassley, July 30th 2015 – Whistleblower Day Celebration

August 29, 2017 (San Diego) - Stephen Martin Kohn, nationally acclaimed expert on whistleblower law, has written a provocative book on an issue that seems timely in this day and age; The New Whistleblower’s Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Doing What’s Right and Protecting Yourself.

This book resonates with me for a number of reasons, most notably, as Kohn indicates that he dedicates the book to one of his “extraordinary teachers”, A. Leon Higginbotham Jr., whom I met many years ago at an event in my hometown of Chicago, and Mr. Higginbotham signed and autographed his book to me stating; “Keep fighting for justice!” Also, my earlier personal involvement in a whistleblower and retaliation case.

BEHIND THE SCENES WORLD OF U.S. INTELLIGENCE

 

Whistleblower At The CIA: A Path Of Dissent – An Insider’s Account Of The Politics Of Intelligence, by Melvin A. Goodman (City Lights Books, San Francisco, 2017, 421 pages).

Book Review by Dennis Moore

August 16, 2017 (San Diego) - Melvin A. Goodman, a former Soviet analyst at the CIA and the Department of State for 24 years, and a professor of international relations at the War College for 18 years, has written an intriguing and thought provoking book about espionage and politics; Whistleblower at the CIA. This is a timely and definitive book on the current state of affairs between America and Russia.

THE STRUGGLES OF WOMEN

 

Between the Pages: Where trials become TRIUMPH!,  by Thais Sherell J., (N-Spired Productions, Edison, New Jersey, 2017, 116 pages).

Book Review by Dennis Moore

June 18, 2017 (San Diego) - Thais Sherell J., who characterizes herself as an “agent of change”, has written a provocative and soul-searching book about women and their presumed place in society. The author, who has written and produced television productions, stage productions, film productions, and magazine articles promoting healthy living in and after life’s storms, chronicles the trials and tribulations of Joyce A. McDonald in this riveting and insightful book; Between the Pages: Where trials become TRIUMPH! This well-written and thought provoking book provides plenty of food for thought.

A FARMYARD TALE FOR CHILDREN AND ADULTS ALIKE

 

Chuck The Rooster Loses His Voice, by Sigal Haber (Amazon, 2017, 32 pages).

Book Review by Dennis Moore

May 15, 2017 (San Diego) - After many years as a university professor, teaching and researching entrepreneurship and management, Sigal Haber asked herself how to introduce the concept of entrepreneurship to young children?

How does one introduce the concept of entrepreneurship to young children? Teach them in a fun way what does it mean to be a leader in a community and to take responsibility in a humorous way? These questions brought Haber to write the book Chuck the Rooster Loses His Voice.

POLITICS: A BIT OF REVISIONIST HISTORY

 

POLITICS: ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE – Commentary and Analysis on Race, War, Ethics and the American Political Landscape in the Age of Obama, by Wilmer J. Leon, III, Ph.D. (AuthorHouse, Bloomington, Indiana, 2016, 332 pages).

Book Review by Dennis Moore

May 10, 2017 (San Diego) - Wilmer J. Leon, III, PhD., has written a provocative and well researched book on politics and race relations; Politics: Another Perspective – Commentary and Analysis on Race, War, Ethics and the American Political Landscape in the Age of Obama. When I read Dr. Leon’s book it is like “preaching to the choir”, particularly his take on the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright in my hometown of Chicago. I am well aware of Dr. Wright’s place in history, and especially as it regards the ascension of Barack Obama to the Presidency of the United States. Former President Barack Obama was actually a member of Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright’s church at one time prior to becoming president, as well as Oprah Winfrey.

LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON - LOUIS AND EMMETT TILL

 

Writing to Save a Life: THE LOUIS TILL FILE, by John Edgar Wideman (Scribner, an Imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc, New York, NY, 2016, 193 pages).

Book Review by Dennis Moore

“Unclassifiable and harrowing. The path through the very specific ‘American darkness that disconnects colored fathers from sons’ is found and lost and found again through prose that jumps and shimmers, punches and croons. This is one of those books virtually impossible to write…yet it has been written. And by a great American writer.”

  • JOY WILLIAMS, author of Ninety-Nine Stories of God and The Visiting Privilege

May 3, 2017 (San Diego) - John Edgar Wideman, has written an insightful and provocative book that is full of ironies; Writing to Save a Life: THE LOUIS TILL FILE. It is the story of Louis Till, the father of Emmett Till, the young boy from Chicago who was lynched in Mississippi allegedly for whistling at a white woman. Wideman’s book is the untold story of Louis Till, a man of color who suffered a miscarriage of racial justice a full decade before the infamous lynching of his son, Emmett. This really is about a cruel twist of fate and circumstance that is painful to envision.

WISHING FOR A BETTER LIFE

 

Five Wishes, by Mollie Moon (Suka Press LLC, Carlsbad, California, 2017, 346 pages).

Book Review by Dennis Moore

When you enter into freedom, possibility comes to meet you.

  • John O’Donohue

March 20, 2017 (San Diego) - Mollie Moon has escaped the cold European winters for a life in Southern California, where she lives with a bossy feline and occasional sand in her shoes, to write this fictional account of a young Latina breaking with family and cultural traditions; Five Wishes.

FAR MORE THAN A HIKING GUIDE!

 

Update! Hear our interview with author Diana Lindsay, originally aired on KNSJ radio, by clicking the audio link.  She discusses her book, the Anza Borrego Foundation and its anniversary,  as well as the colorful lore of the Anza Borrego Desert.

 

Coast to Cactus: The Canyoneer Trail Guide to San Diego Outdoors, by Diana Lindsay (Sunbelt Publications, Inc., San Diego, California, 2016, 595 pages).

Book Review by Dennis Moore

In the end, we will conserve only what we love

We will love only what we understand,

We will understand only what we are taught.

  • Baba Dioum, Senegalese Conservationist

March 3, 2017 (San Diego) - The beauty and splendor of outdoor life in San Diego County is exemplified in this book by Diana Lindsay, managing editor of Sunbelt Publications; Coast to Cactus: The Canyoneer Trail Guide to San Diego Outdoors. Along with Paula Knoll and Terri Varnell, of the editing team of this groundbreaking book, it is an indispensable guide for hikers and all others interested in the outdoors of this beautiful area called San Diego County.

Audio: 

Interview with Diana Lindsay, author of Coast fo Cactus

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