Tag Archives: Books

The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly

Mickey Haller resurrects his law practice to take over when an old colleague meets an untimely death. Haller explores not only the colleague’s cases, but his response to his inner demon-addiction. A high profile case with a looming trial date presses Haller to find a defense for the client charged with murder and to assist the police investigation into the colleague’s murder without compromising ethics and confidentiality.

Det. Harry Bosch, another of Connelly’s main characters, my favorite, is not the feature of this book but plays a significant role and guardian angel for Haller. Believing that the colleague’s death was more than random violence, Bosch investigates the colleagues’ murder using Haller as bait. Haller senses a connection with Bosch that he does not quite understand. The whirlwind of trial practice envelops Haller’s world. Haller’s struggles with law practice, addiction and reconstructing his family life portray real struggles.

Connelly’s descriptions of the legal processes show a level of research and comprehension rarely read in this type of fiction. Usually, I skip the trial parts of such books, Connelly creates and conveys the trial environment better than I’ve read. Connelly creates a compelling personal storyline with a brilliant legal drama as backdrop. Must read.

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The Billionaire’s Vinegar by Benjamin Wallace

An entertaining jaunt into a world where people have more money than good sense, I enjoyed the history lessons. Benjamin Wallace tells a wonderful story. Wallace captures these characters magnificently. The character development draws in the reader while the fascinating jet-set twists and turns keep the reader hooked, waiting for the author to reveal how the truth was uncovered.

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Life is So Good by George Dawson and Richard Glaubman

What a wonderful autobiography/biography! George Dawson packed so much life and so much wisdom into this thin book. If only we could all have shared in Mr. Glaubman’s dialogues with Dawson, what lessons we could have learned! 

George Dawson lived an amazing life during the course of three different centuries. Dawson saw the advent of the motorized vehicle, the airplane, civil rights for Blacks in the U.S. Dawson did not live a life that ended in a 5000 square foot house and a Texas sized car. No, Dawson was a humble but wise man. From humble beginnings, the grandson of a slave, Dawson learned home remedies and the value of hard work. Both tools served him well through his travels. His father taught him how to survive not only being a Black man in the South but also some valuable lessons from which we could all learn. He observed and retained everything, seemingly, he spoke little.

Glaubman learned of Dawson through an article pronouncing that then 98 year old Dawson entered school for the first time in his life, to learn to read. A door that remained closed to Dawson for so many years opened. But Glaubman, I have no doubt, heard so much more wisdom than he could communicate to us.

I highly recommend this book for everyone. Wisdom, insight and adventure abound.

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A Year Without “Made in China” by Sara Bongiorni

This book is not one that I would have chosen without prompting. Well written and interesting it was a quick read during my vacation. Bongiorni chronicles the “advice”, support, non-support and familial challenges faced during a year without purchasing, as best the family could, products from China. The challenge posed by the author on her family and the strictures, spoken and unspoken, known and later discovered, provide an entertaining jaunt with one family. 

Along the way, the author discovers where products from China hide under different names, how others react to such a boycott, and what others experienced with similar goals.

The larger question: China’s not quite strangle-hold on U.S. instant gratification, as well as necessities, startles the uninitiated. Honestly, one must stop to consider the question after reading the book because the issues faced by this one family occur on a small scale. The author continues to reflect on the minimal impact one family’s boycott would have on the economy. The point might be missed readers must think beyond the subject matter of the book-a family- to the larger global issue-China’s influence on the U.S. economy.

An interesting read. Recommend it for a rainy afternoon or a vacation.

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Blood Sport by James Stewart

12 years after its publication, Blood Sport reveals the Clinton mentality as users of people who surround them. Stewart traces the history of Whitewater, Jim and Susan McDougal with their accompanying cast of characters, Arkansas politicians who influenced and modeled behavior for Clinton, and the White House years. Stewart’s jumping off point, the suicide of Vince Foster, in medias res, grabs attention and raises red flags.

The Clinton White House, while Stewart’s information presents a clear case for suicide, acted as though the administration had something to hide relative to Foster’s death. Following the White Water history, the Travel Office incident, Kimba Wood, and Secret Service controversy, the administration intended to hide documents that Foster had. Bernard Nussbaum, the administration’s Cassandra, unwittingly dividied up documents from Foster’s office, at the request of the administration before the federal police could review the documents. 

Unfortunately for the Clintons, Nussbaum’s advice was ignored largely out of pigheaded ignorance. Believing that the Clinton White House was in fact a reincarnation of the Clinton’s gubernatorial administration where Southern politics ruled and secrets would be kept secret out of decorum the Clintons continued their efforts to act as “trustee” type rulers. In the philosophy applied by the Clintons, voters, media and everyone else should simply trust their word and acts without any sort of oversight or explanation from the decision makers. Hillary Clinton basically launched her Healthcare Initiative study without any public input or suggestion.

And perhaps, that is the point for me. Now Senator Clinton sees herself as a trustee who knows what is good for America and expects everyone to jump on the bandwagon. Unfortunately, Senator Clinton lacks the charisma and Southern charm that her husband exudes. Somehow, her ivy league education overshadows whatever human nature and compassion she might actually possess.

The nature of the administration, fear of the wrath of the elected and his wife, lead individuals to forget their ethical duties and investigative duties. Investigative referrals from the S&L investigative body swept under the rug by Clinton sycophants resulted in an investigation of a relatively small failed S&L when efforts could have been better spent elsewhere. But the cover-up created intrigue where none would otherwise have caught fire.

Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton accepted all monetary assistance offered by those seeking favor with them. The pair asked few questions and paid little attention to the ramifications of their actions until their blind acceptance of assistance became a liability: Hillary Clinton’s investment in commodities based on insider information and the Whitewater investment largely financed by the McDougals.

The Clintons sought to remove the Travel Office staff and the Secret Service because they could not rely on them to cover for the Clintons and could not be used to benefit the family. The Clintons used their weight in government offering jobs to and threatening jobs of the State Troopers who felt compelled to clear the air about Bill Clinton’s extra-marital relationships. As with the McDougals, the Clintons sapped all the usefulness from anyone around them. At one point, Governor Clinton asked Jim McDougal to give some work to Hillary Clinton at the Rose Law Firm, which led to the ethical problems raised by the Rose Law Firm billing records.

Foster’s unfortunate death marked the end of the line for a man who could no longer cover for his “client” (Hillary Clinton), who could not reconcile his role and duties as representative for Clinton and ethical obligations as a lawyers and a person. The Clintons’ shotgun approach to government weighed heavily on Foster. Foster lacked the capacity to contradict or correct the ethically challenged Clintons. When faced with a valid ethical issue, Hillary Clinton’s representation of Jim McDougal’s S&L before the Arkansas banking commission, commission who reported to then Governor Clinton, Hillary Clinton reported that “she” had little or nothing to do with the representation. The reality of the situation, documentary proof, establishes that she wrote and signed documents sent to the Commission. Then, the billing records went missing: the famed Rose Law Firm billing records.

This book should be read by anyone considering voting for Senator Clinton and who cares about how government is run and delivered. No one is perfect and I do not expect Senator Clinton to be perfect. Senator Clinton, however, refuses to acknowledge clear and abiding ethic mistakes and judgment mistakes that led to the death of her law partner, friend, and best representative.

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Filed under 2008 Election, Media, News, Presidents, Senator Clinton

Media Always at Fault in Clinton Eyes

Just read on Politico.com that Senator and former President Clinton are now blaming the media for Hillary’s demise. This refrain sounds familiar. This weekend I dusted off “Blood Sport” by James Stewart, a book I’ve owned for 12 years but never actually read. Throughout former President Clinton’s political life, now Senator Clinton has continually blamed the media for everything: Gennifer Flowers, Whitewater, draft dodging allegations.

While I’ve got about 150 pages left, the book is intriguing if only for the parallels to Senator Clinton’s campaign. The media misconstrued her statements about Bosnia, the media has chosen Obama. Senator Clinton continues to avoid ownership of her faults and her flaws, and those of her husband. A frequent aside from now Senator Clinton during the 1992 Presidential campaign lamented the fact the FDR was in a wheelchair and no one knew but the media now reported on all of Bill Clinton’s peccadilloes. Every misstep by every candidate, not just Senator and former President Clinton, is being shown under a bright spotlight.

The Clintons, however, never own their losses or faults. The media is to blame for focusing on Senator Clinton’s imperfections. But, in the Clinton’s eyes, Senator Clinton is beyond human, she is perfect. Criminy! Grow up.

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The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Yesterday, I completed my world-wind reading of The Road. A book group that I recently joined was set to discuss the book, unfortunately, the tax man interfered and we did not meet. Still, I need to discuss this book. Please forgive, I’ve not written a book report in years.

McCarthy’s story tells of the journey of a father and son, a young boy of unknown age, in a several years post-apocalypse America. A world consumed by cold and dark images with colors mostly limited to shades of gray. Color is added only with literal fire and the fire the pair carry with them: the figurative fire of faith. Other instances of color: red of an aged Coca-cola can, yellow toy truck, butane fire of orange and blue.

The grammar and structure bother me, terribly. The narrative lacks quotation marks and apostrophes, but only in some contractions, not all. The author included no chapter headings. I suppose that I understand that the pair journey to places unknown looking for people (the good guys) unknown and without a specific location or plan. The journey is of necessity bare bones, unadorned by excess. These explain and justify the grammatical and structural omissions.

The book’s narrative is written primarily from the third person omniscient voice. There is one paragraph on page 87 written in first person for the father. Is this one paragraph for the reader to understand that the boy is also the omniscient voice? Or is there some other purpose? I implore someone to explain this.

Aside from the above, the book is well written. Some images disturb and frighten, but it is post-apocalyptic. I was drawn into the story in spite of aesthetic concerns.

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