Review: A Legacy of Spies by John LeCarre

4 Star, Fiction, Intelligence (Government/Secret)
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4 Stars A Capstone Work But Only For Prior Readers

John LeCarre

This book has been over-promoted. The ga ga reviews from the fake news mainstream media led by the New York Crimes are probably paid for, and do not accurately represent the value of this book. In a nutshell, it is a good read but only for those who have read all of Le Carre's prior work and particularly the George Smiley series.

Former spies like myself, and incoming trainees, might appreciate the sprinkling of tradecraft throughout the book.

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Review (Fiction): BROKEN!

5 Star, Fiction, Intelligence (Government/Secret)
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Amazon Page

Michael Kearns and Ron Solomon

5.0 out of 5 stars TRUTH About Treason, Torture, and More, July 21, 2015

This book nails the reality of torture as both deeply pathological and unproductive. However it goes much further, and shows just how out of control our country is, where 70% of the secret budget is spent on contractors without a clue and without ethics. As Americans contemplate the future, Broken! is a helpful overview of just what “out of control” can mean, not only abroad, but right here at home where internment camps actually exist ‘in waiting.'

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Review: Valley of the Shadow

5 Star, Fiction, History
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

Ralph Peters

5.0 out of 5 stars Stellar!, May 10, 2015

I am a huge fan of Ralph Peters, who in addition to his civil war series under his own name and as Owen Parry, is a master strategist and intelligence professional who can find enemy special forces just by looking at a map and thinking. I am not sure he will ever match Cain at Gettysburg 1st (first) Edition by Peters, Ralph published by Forge Books (2012) Hardcover — that book set a new gold standard surpassing The Killer Angels: The Classic Novel of the Civil War (Civil War Trilogy) by six [and I hasten to add, I consider Michael Shaara gifted and only surpassed by Ralph] but I will say this: every book Ralph write surprises and delights, not just with how he delivers intimate details not found in other histories, but how he rights history — his books correct the less than accurate record and magnify what others have missed. His treatment of Early's last stand and Custer's best moment will stand for a very long time as yet another “first” for the author as historian.

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Review (Fiction): Hell or Richmond

5 Star, Fiction, War & Face of Battle

PRINTABLE DOC: (2 Pages) Review Peters Hell or Richmond

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Amazon Page

Ralph Peters

5.0 out of 5 stars Equal to Cain at Gettysburg, Takes Fact-Based Fiction to New Level, May 13, 2013

I started this book, having given a rave review to Cain at Gettysburg convinced that the sequel would disappoint, as most sequels do.  Although I counted only five goosebump moments in this new book (Cain had six, The Killer Angels: The Classic Novel of the Civil War By Michael Shaara only had one), I have to rate it the equal of the earlier book, and also the linch pin book in what should be a series of at least four books, each – as the first two have been – a detailed study of men at war at all four levels (strategic, operational, tactical, technical). The concluding sentence in this book is brilliant, and it left me with precisely the sense of angst and anticipation for the next campaign as the author no doubt intended. If Cain was the thunderclap of divine providence, then Hell is the tough hard slog through mud during which the North adapts and learns lessons while Lee's health worsens substantially, his weakness all the more grave because Longstreet is wounded and Stuart killed, leaving Lee with no bench, less Gordon as a late bloomer too easily ignored by his elders.

There is little doubt that with this book Ralph Peters has established a nearly impregnable position as the leading practitioner of historical fiction, taking it to a new level of accuracy and relevance to the military and political professionals who wage war, setting the gold standard for factual historical fiction that reveals the soul of those making history.

If I were to sum up the book in three words it would be leadership, logistics, and learning.

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Review (Fiction): Truce – The Day the World Was Perfect

Consciousness & Social IQ, Fiction
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars WOW. An awakening kind of book — a powerful shock to the conscious, February 11, 2013

This book (also in Kindle) was recommended to me by one of the top minds in US cybernetics (complex whole systems, feedback loops, second and third order consequences and inter-relationships) and I put that up front because this is a WOW book.

I am NOT a New Age type of person, far from it, but over the past ten years, under the guidance of people like Harrison Owen, Tom Atlee, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Susan Cannon, and Steve McIntosh, I have come to deeply respect collective intelligence and integrated or integral consciousness, and what this book means to me is that the story can finally be told at the dummy level (me) and therefore this book is priceless to anyone that wants to have an “aha” experience on what it means to NOT be subject to the criminal insanity of corrupt banks, corrupt corporations, corrupt governments, corrupt religions, etcetera etcetera etcetera.

I want to insert here two quotes from my favorite systems pioneer, Dr. Russell Ackoff:

ONE: Reformations and transformations are not the same thing. Reformations are concerned with changing the means systems employ to pursue their objectives. Transformations involve changes in the objectives they pursue.

TWO: The righter we do the wrong thing, the wronger we become. When we make a mistake doing the wrong thing and correct it, we become wronger. When we make a mistake doing the right thing and correct it, we become righter. Therefore, it is better to do the right thing wrong than the wrong thing right. This is very significant because almost every problem confronting our society is a result of the fact that our public policy makers are doing the wrong things and are trying to do them righter.

This book inspires in me — and I hope in all others who venture to buy and read this in either paperback or Kindle — an awe for how EASY it would be for all of us to create a prosperous world at peace, a world that works for all (as Buckminster Fuller suggested we could and should with existing resources and existing technologies).

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Review: Altar Stone – An Alan Llewellyn Novel

5 Star, Fiction
Amazon Page

Walt Breede

5.0 out of 5 stars Revenge of the Nuns December 10, 2012

I absolutely recommend this book be read after the first one, Snow on the Golden Horn, see my disclosure and commentary there as well, and then move on, as I will when it comes out, to Sanity Check, not yet available for purchase. The author, a retired naval officer as am I, tells me three more are in various stages of production. I can certainly testify to two things: 01) everything in this book is based on the real world and 02) he writes a tremendous story line.

Catholics may resonate more with the good and evil nuns in this story, but if you have ever laughed as a nun joke, I am pretty sure you will be engaged.

Review: Snow on the Golden Horn

5 Star, Fiction
Amazon Page

Walt Breede

5.0 out of 5 stars As good as Nero Wolfe, Travis McGee, or Matt Helm,December 2, 2012

DISCLOSURE: the author was my boss in the Marine Corps, and one of three truly brilliant bosses I have had in my 60-year lifetime. I read this book in galley, but now that he has two other books out and I have the set, this is a good time to do something I rarely do, review a book of fiction (I read in 98 non-fiction categories, you can access all my reviews by category at Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog).

The author is a mathematics and operations research wizard (operations research is what the Navy used in WWII to anticipate submarine attacks and devise tactics that successfully drove the U-Boats from the sea). He is a US Naval Academy graduate who chose the Marine Corps, was the first Director of the Marine Corps Intelligence Center, and in retirement chose to teach high school mathematics and coach sports rather than cash in his clearances with beltway bandit work. I hold him in the very highest regard.

I should also mention that he was a defense attache in Turkey, back in the days when anesthesia for major medical for both men and women was a bottle of scotch, and I know from talking to him that quite a bit of each of his books is drawn from real-life experience with just a tad of embellishment (well maybe more than a tad). My point is that these three books are both engrossing, and connected to the real world.

I won't spoil the story line, and will just say that the protagonist represents the ideal man, the man every woman wants and every man envies, and as a former spy myself (the author was not, defense attaches are totally legal), I consider the protagonist to be the perfect citizen intelligence officer — action oriented, observant, brilliant, and prudent, and of course outrageously successful in the face of ably-described evil on every corner.

STRONGLY RECOMMENDED as holiday gifts and holiday reading!

The other two books are Altar Stone: An Alan Llewellyn Novel and Sanity Check, which will be listed on Amazon soon and will be the last of my reviews–and I will not repeat the above introductory material but will point back to this, the first book in what should be a six to ten book series.

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