Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Review: Silent Spring - Deadly Autumn of the Vietnam War

Silent Spring - Deadly Autumn of the Vietnam War Silent Spring - Deadly Autumn of the Vietnam War by Patrick Hogan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Silent Spring: Deadly Autumn of the Vietnam War is not a beach read. Patrick Hogan lays out in cold, harsh detail the reckless actions of our government using chemicals during the Vietnam War and the devastating effects that millions of people - soldiers and civilians alike - have suffered because of it. That this information comes from a man who was right there, boots-on-the-ground as they say, brings a bitter anger to the pages. And rightfully so! I am humbled by those who feel that duty to sacrifice for their country and I am enraged that that country decided the risk of using such chemicals to those soldiers 'acceptable', if they even thought of them at all.

On the far side of the emotions, this book is also intensely technical. The chemicals referenced are vast and the research into how the pesticides, herbicides and the rest were designed is clearly nothing short of comprehensive. That can make for some rather droll reading but I didn't feel that any of it should have been cut. Knowledge is power, right?

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Sunday, January 20, 2019

Review: Hollywood via Orchard Street

Hollywood via Orchard Street Hollywood via Orchard Street by Wayne Clark
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hollywood Via Orchard Street in a Depression Era novel that follows Charles Czerny from boyhood. We watch Charles, an aspiring writer, reinvent himself rather dramatically in his quest for a different life for himself. All does not go smoothly though as he finds himself intertwined with mob bosses and gangsters along the way. Wayne Clark masterfully creates the scenes in a way that pulls the reader in with realistic dialogue littered with appropriate lingo and artfully describing each setting. The characters, especially Charley Czerny, are impossible to forget and give us all someone to root for.

I found Hollywood Via Orchard Street listed under several genres; Historical Fiction, Organized Crime, Coming of Age, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, and Literature. I would not recommend this to someone looking for Mystery, Thriller, or Suspense because while those things might be happening in the background by way of connection to Organized Crime, the main vein of the novel is not a mystery, a thriller, nor suspenseful.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Review: Ex-Acute: A Former Hospital Ceo Tells All on What’S Wrong with American Healthcare

Ex-Acute: A Former Hospital Ceo Tells All on What’S Wrong with American Healthcare Ex-Acute: A Former Hospital Ceo Tells All on What’S Wrong with American Healthcare by Josh D. Luke
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ex-Acute: A Former Hospital CEO Tells All on What’s Wrong with American Healthcare. Listen, if you need this information, this is a great book to help you find your way. But don't say I didn't warn you that it will, or at least SHOULD, infuriate you. The United States healthcare system is beyond dysfunctional and not that it will come as a shock to anyone who is mildly paying attention, the patients are the ones who suffer. From insurance resolution nightmares to knowing who to see, when, and for what, Ex-Acute delves into most of the healthcare subjects we have all struggled with at one time or another, though rather shallowly, in my opinion. One cannot properly maneuver the colossal catastrophe that this subject really is in 176 pages. This is not even the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

Hospital administrators as a whole aren't widely known for their compassion or sense of duty in the face of humanity. Dr Luke, redeemed the position somewhat by providing this information to the public and with his work as a leader in healthcare reform. Getting his personal story helped soften me up because I came in dubious to say the least.

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Review: Caspion & the White Buffalo

Caspion & the White Buffalo Caspion & the White Buffalo by Melvin Litton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Caspion & the White Buffalo by Melvin Litton is a mix of historical fiction, Native American culture and Old West action. The elusive white buffalo was, for me, an extraordinary theme linking the characters and their lives. That the author is also a poet doesn't come as much of a shock when you read the way he writes. They way the story was told is unique and enthralling. I loved the cadence of the character's speech throughout the entire book. It reminded me of the style in which Legends of the Fall was narrated. Litton made that time period rich and vibrant, something that should be noted considering how bland I usually find stories in the historical fiction and Old West genres.

Jim Caspion, being a Civil War veteran who finds himself making a living hunting buffalo, evolves beautifully as a character while the novel unfolds. Actually, all of the characters were fleshed out to the perfect level for their role in the story. An author who knows how to balance that in a novel is far rarer than one might imagine. I think Melvin Litton penned an epic tale of life during that era in American history.

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Review: Conquering your Stress and Fears: A treatment guide for anxiety and trauma-related disorders

Conquering your Stress and Fears: A treatment guide for anxiety and trauma-related disorders Conquering your Stress and Fears: A treatment guide for anxiety and trauma-related disorders by Gustavo Kinrys MD
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Conquering your Stress and Fears: A Treatment Guide for Anxiety and Trauma-Related Disorders written by Gustavo Kinrys MD is a rather concise yet thorough peek into the self-help sun-genres of dealing with anxiety and overcoming trauma. The chapters are laid out linearly with a simple 'problem and optional remedies' formula. What really made me happy was that those remedies suggested were nutrient-based, herbal-based, and non-pharmacological. Notice no Big Pharma plugged chapters on the easy peasy $84 per pill wonder drug that will surely have the formerly house-bound patient diving into a placid lake full of friends and family three minutes after popping one. I think that is something to be noted, especially from a medical doctor because they are so pressured by pharmaceutical companies.

Overall, I found Conquering Your Stress and Fears a surprisingly all around approach to handling some intense issues in this modern world. Dr. Kinrys provided a no-nonsense, simple guide to assist those suffering.

My favorite part is the dedication: This book is dedicated to my family and my patients and their families from whom I learn so much everyday, and without whom this book would not have been possible.

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