Posts

Fathers and Sons, War and Love (3 Book Bundle)

Image
Three generations of fathers and sons come together in "Fathers and Sons, War and Love," which consists of 3 books in one bundle. The first book, "Eaten by the Japanese," is the World War II memoir of John Baptist Crasta, the father of Richard Crasta, who is an editor and minor co-author of his father's memoir, and the author of "Father, Rebel, Dreamer" and  "Letters to My Sons." [June 2015 expanded edition.]


"Eaten by the Japanese," written by a recuperating John Baptist Crasta in 1946, was published by his son just two years before his father's death; the act of reading and publishing his 87-year-old father's almost forgotten memoir was a process of discovery and reconciliation for the son.

The second book consists of fictional and nonfictional reflections, essays, and humor loosely collected around the theme of "Father, Rebel, Dreamer."

The third book is a book of letters from a father to his sons: poignant…

A Historian Who Believes There Are No Good Guys, Bad Guys

Much of politics and history, especially in the U.S., is about Us and Them. Us, the Good Guys, versus much of the Rest of the World: the Bad Guys. If you're with us, with moral as well as material and diplomatic support, you're also good guys (though not as good as us). If you're against us, or simply not with us, you're bad guys. And our mission is to bomb, starve, and sanction you into changing your mind.

Historian Mark David Ledbetter does not accept such a simplistic view of wold affairs. His study of history, contained in three works of towering research, America's Forgotten History: Parts 1-3, tells him that every nation, at some point in its history, has been guilty of genocide or war crimes. It just happens that different nations are at different points of development and engagement with the rest of the world, and therefore, we don't all behave and think the same.

But that's just one element of Ledbetter's new book, Dancing on the Edge of the W…

Jeff Bezos vs Bernie Sanders: What is Wrong With America

Recently, I discovered that Jeff Bezos's net worth had jumped from $25 billion (the last time I looked, a few months back) to $35 billion. In the same period, my monthly income, and that of many other independent authors in the writers group that I belong to, had declined precipitously, with Amazon having gained control of 80 percent of the e-book market. The entire premise on which I had built my writing career in the last six years, burning many bridges and becoming bankrupt in the process--total independence, fearless writing, being able to reach millions of potential readers worldwide through independent publishing, and by this means to make enough income to survive and continue writing--had collapsed, disastrously.

In this very period (or rather, in the past year, when the slide became precipitous), Bernie Sanders has been inspiring many of us by reminding us of what everyone of any intelligence and integrity knows--that since Ronald Reagan, the top 1 percent of Americans h…

Man Speaks in the Middle of a Forest ... Still Wrong?

From the Preface to Works in Progress [available, now in March 2017, only as a download from my website. [This is the slightly changed preface, and it encapsulates the essence of the book and its raison d'etre.]

If a man shouts a sentence in the middle of the forest where no one, man or woman, can hear him, is he still wrong?

No one can say, not having heard the content of his sentence; and the same thing is true, at this moment, of Works in Progress (and a few of my other books at my website and elsewhere, which, unlike when I had well-known publishers publishing and publicizing my work, are lost in the Amazon jungle of millions of titles): They may be shouts in the middle of a forest, but since no one* has read it yet, no one can say whether or why it is right or wrong—or whether “right” and “wrong” have any meaning in the context of such an act of pure self-expression.

And yet, I needed to shout this book to the world. Or at least to myself. (And maybe that's why the phe…

True Independence: Being Fatwahed by the Churches of Salman, Roy, Pope Francis, and assorted Rightists

I never sought notoriety or tried to be banned. What kind of writer desires not to be read--except, perhaps, by his relatives, employers, wife/ex-wives/ex-mistresses, and children, who might be hurt or disturbed by intimate revelations or by seeing themselves portrayed in some character? Part of me desires to be loved by everyone--I know this is a silly desire, but as a child, especially when my parents were not with me for many years, I had known the perils of unpopularity: being lonely, being bullied and beaten, being teased or insulted, being left out of the happy, joyous moments (spending a feast day alone, or a birthday alone, with no one to wish me or celebrate it, for exampl). Almost at no point during my growing up was I physically strong enough to defend myself, though I tried to compensate with intellectual achievement and notoriety (or fame) of a sort.

Still, there was something in me, possibly as a result of my childhood or my innate nature, that yearned to tell the naked…

Muhammad Ali, the Greatest and the Wittiest

I had recently forgotten that Muhammad Ali fought for much more than himself, and is a man with the courage of his convictions, and wit besides:

Here are a few inspiring and entertaining quotes from him, many of which resonate with me:

Social Consciousness and Commentary:
"Boxing is a lot of white men watching two black men beat each other up."
"Cassius Clay is a slave name. I didn't choose it, and I didn't want it. I am Muhammad Ali, a free name, and I insist people using it when speaking to me and of me."
"Nobody has to tell me that this is a serious business. I'm not fighting one man. I'm fighting a lot of men, showing a lot of 'em, here is one man they couldn't defeat, couldn't conquer. My mission is to bring freedom to 30m black people."


"I'm gonna fight for the prestige, not for me, but to uplift my little brothers who are sleeping on concrete floors today in America." "I am America. I am the pa…