In 1963, Nick Rowe is with a group of Vietnamese soldiers on a routine mission when they encounter Vietcong soldiers. In the fight, Rowe and a fellow soldier are captured. Rowe realizes the seriousness of his situation but is unable to do anything about it immediately. As time passes, Rowe is often weakened and is constantly pushed to declare that the Vietcong are justified in all aspects of the war and that his own countrymen are wrong. Failure to do so continually prompts varying degrees of punishment. For five years his captors work to instill a series of propaganda statements into Rowe’s mind and Rowe continues to disbelieve his captors.
Rowe is a military man, having decided to attend West Point because his older brother was killed prior to his own graduation. Rowe is deployed to Vietnam without really knowing all the politics involved. Rowe comes to like many of the Vietnamese people and sometimes helps with distribution of medicine and other activities. After his capture, he becomes bombarded with information that the Vietnamese people as a whole support the Vietcong and that the American prisoners are in danger of being attacked by the general populace. After several years as a prisoner, he is taken on a tour of the region – ostensibly to see the true state of the people. He encounters some people who remember him from his days as a soldier so many years earlier. One risks punishment to touch Rowe on the shoulder and an elderly woman speaks up and questions the reason Rowe appears to be undernourished. Rowe leaves that situation and finds his resolve to remain strong against the pressure to admit to “crimes” against the Vietcong.
Rowe encounters several other prisoners during his time as a POW. Some of those survive and are released. Others die while Rowe watches, helpless to do anything to prevent it. He is held alone during his final months as a prisoner and he finds the situation initially frightening but then finds a new freedom in that he is no longer responsible for anyone else. When Rowe and his captors are fleeing American bombers, he arranges the opportunity to be alone with a single captor then hits the man over the hand to get away so that he can flag down a passing helicopter. His mother’s words, when she knows that he is safe, are, “What took you so long?”
Rowe is a strong person and remains so in the face of near-starvation and psychological torment. One of the most serious moments of torment for him comes when American bombers are striking the camp and he comes to fear that he’ll die at the hands of his own people.
This was a true eye opening and thought provoking book where you had to sense, see and feel what was happening around you. A mindfully written book that challenged you to feel for the POWs, what they were going through, how they were treated, etc. Was a person to die by sickness?..at the hands of the NVA?..or at the hands of his own people? A riveting book filled with questions, in some cases still not answered. War is hell, war sucks, and if more people understood the ramifications of war…there would be a movement by all people to stop war.
Godspeed & Good Reads!
Filed under Biographies, Books, Education, Faith, History, Issues, News, Politics, Reading, war, Writing
The name Hershey evokes many things: chocolate bars, the company town in Pennsylvania, one of America’s most recognizable brands. But who was the man behind the name? In this compelling biography, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Michael D’Antonio gives us the real-life rags-to-riches story of Milton S. Hershey, a largely uneducated businessman whose idealistic sense of purpose created an immense financial empire, a town, and a legacy that lasts to this day.
A rathe good read concerning a man with a dream, a desire, a fire burning drive, and the faith to shoot for the stars. An interesting life, to say the least!
Godspeed & Good Reads!
Will Rogers was America. Part Cherokee Indian and former cowboy, he captivated audiences around the world with sparkling gems of wisdom cloaked in gentle and uproarious country wit and astonishing rope tricks. His colorful life recently inspired a commercially successful and critically acclaimed Broadway musical — winner of 6 Tony Awards. His words are as entertaining, inspiring and revelant today as they ever were.
A simple, plain-spoken man, he was the voice of a nation during the ’20s and ’30s. Movie star, vaudeville headliner, radio commentator, his views and observations were syndicated daily and weekly in over 600 newspapers across the country.
Here is the essential Will Rogers — the story of his remarkable career, from Oklahoma “cowpuncher” to international star . . . and the warm, knowing and hilarious philosophies of the man embodied the heart and soul of the nation.
While I disagree with his politics (overall), it is without doubt difficult, at best, to not laugh at his commentary and his genuine witticism. He was a generous man with a zeal for living life and helping his fellow man who was down and out. He made fortunes and he lost them, and he made them back again. Never afraid of a challenge, he always sought to go head on. He was but 56 when he died, but lived a life fuller than most who lived until twice that.
Godspeed & Good Reads!
Filed under Biographies, Books, Education, History, Issues, News, Politics, Quotes, Reading, Review, war, Writing
People are fascinated by the concept of royalty. The notion stirs up sentiments of love, admiration, and hatred. We see ourselves in them, and yet we criticize them at times with indignation. While most monarchies today have been put aside or at least limited in their power, the concept of royalty cannot be erased from human consciousness. In the words of Jesus, Christians pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” The ultimate and most perfect monarchy is that of God himself, the sovereign of all creation.
Through David and the story of the kingship, God taught us about his governance of the world and of his people. David was only human and at times the worthy subject of both praise and severe criticism. But in his relationship with God, we find a model for the people both then and today: suppleness to God’s will; wholehearted pursuit of righteousness; sincere repentance from sin; mercy for others; and true worship of God, who alone is worthy.
On a more personal note: While David was the man after God’s own heart, we must be willing to look at him very objectively. In that, if God was willing to forgive David for all that he did which was wrong…why? Why would God forgive a man such as he? More importantly, if God was willing to forgive David; then we should feel ultimately blessed that He (our God) was willing to offer forgiveness and salvation to each of us.
Godspeed and Good Reads!
For many years, best-selling author Michael Phillips assumed he clearly understood the life of Jesus. Though Jesus was in truth his Savior, and even his Lord, Phillips felt challenged to understand more of the remarkable life lived two thousand years ago in Palestine. Then came a crisis in his spiritual pilgrimage when circumstances forced him to open the book of his life in a new way, and delve more deeply into the fundamental why of Jesus’ life.
Challenged to discover the New Testament imperative for his life, Phillips takes a fresh look at the Bible to find out what is the essence, the foundation, of spirituality. Boiled down. The raw reality of the gospel. No frills. No excess baggage. No trite little phrases learned in Sunday school or youth group.
He discovers a key that gives validity to an entire life’s purpose and perspective as a Christian for right now. Not in some grandiose, far-reaching way . . . but the link between belief and practice, between eternity and now, between Christianity as a world religion, and Christianity as a practical guidebook for going about the business of life in the trenches. For if ever a man walked in harmony between ultimate purpose and the next five minutes, that man was Jesus Christ. And that key to Jesus’ life was obedience.
An intriguing insight into what would Jesus be like in the here and now. How would he look, act, choose his disciples, etc. Much, in fact, would be the same excepting the surroundings; and quite possibly the trial. A very interesting look and feel. Many interesting tips on how we should be and what our outlooks should be based upon…biblically speaking.
Godspeed & Good Reads!
Throughout her life, Mother Teresa worked to transform our ideas of home, love, and family.
Her life teaches us that it is never too late to make a difference in the world.
As a figure of the 20th century, she saw the rapid changes taking place in the world and among its people. She asked individuals to contemplate the meaning of ideas such as home, love, and family and to be open to new conceptions of these terms in the midst of our changing world.
In doing so, Mother Teresa introduced a new, modern way of doing missionary work, led an international religious organization, and was beloved by people the world over for the work she did out of love for her family, which would one day grow to include all of humanity.
I was especially touched by this painting of her life. She was truly an inspiration to ALL mankind in what we do with our lives! Read it, it is well worth the time.
Godspeed & Good Reads!