Survivor Love Thy Enemy by James Dennison

 

One man’s powerful insight into the realities of the Vietnam War.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a youngster the author was raised a catholic, his father owned an Irish bar in the north side of Chicago, he was shy and had a devoted girlfriend. Those years were a time of wonderful innocence, luckily, he had no idea what the future would hold for him, physically, emotionally and religiously.

On the 17th of May 1966, aged 20, he was like many others called up for the drafted, and enrolled in the Fort Kansas Ninth Infantry Division. After 32 weeks basic training, which could in no way have prepared these young men for life in the swamps and jungles, the recruits were called ‘C’ (Charlie) Company and sent to Vietnam, to become part of the Mobile Riverine Force based in the Mekong Delta and operating from US Navy gunboats.

As soon as I started to read this book I was immediately struck by the author’s clear recollections of his comrade’s backgrounds and future dreams, his attention to detail in this respect brings the book wonderfully alive as we get to know the men behind the camouflage gear. As expected in a war book there are many graphic and horrifying images which the writer has been brutally honest in his descriptions of, not only the fighting, but also in methods of torture and some of the truly horrendous ways it was implemented by both sides. We discover also, how hard it was for these young Americans to acclimatise to living in the jungle, the rations, dysentery, insects, depression, and of course the deaths and terrible injuries caused by claymore mines, guns and fighting. However, in his representation of the horrors of war, the author hasn’t forgotten to give the reader glimpses into how life was like for the non-fighting Vietnamese people and how, unsure of what the future would hold, they openly hedged their bets with both sides.

Another very important character in this story who we are introduced to very early on is Van, a prominent member of the Viet Cong movement, a young man with an all-consuming hatred of the Americans burning within him. However, we are to wonder if this is going to change when he falls in love with the beautiful Tuyen. Their love is so fierce that when Van leaves Th oi Son Island for Cambodia, to recruit and train new soldiers in war craft, interrogation and torture, she trains to become a spy, using her womanly whiles to infiltrate the lonely American men of the intelligence services.

As we follow the author through this nightmarish war we discover that even in the most hellish situations love can be found, and indeed true love knows no boundaries. However, always where there is love there is also a myriad of other emotions, including its direct opposite hate, and perhaps the most dangerous of all jealousy.

This book is not only an extremely interesting look at the Vietnam War, the politics, and people, it is also an incredible testament to how the author’s whole life has been shaped by his experiences in Vietnam.

I have read many times that a person comes out of a war a totally different person, and having reading this absorbing, heart rending, vividly honest account by the author it is easy to understand why, when you span the years from that young man drafted in 1966 to the man portrayed on the last page of this amazing story. I just could not put this book down, and highly recommend it.

 

About the Author:

James Dennison grew up in Chicago, going to Catholic schools and living a life of too much drinking until he fell in love with the Italian “girl next door.” That all changed when he was drafted into the Vietnam War at the age of 20. Facing conflict on all sides and losing his friends on the battlefield in the jungle and his loved ones to alcoholism here at home, he still struggles with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. After the death of his only son in 2010, he wrote “Survivor Love Thy Enemy” hoping that to share his story would be to heal his demons. Having realized that talking to other vets is more therapeutic than talking to therapists, Dennison hopes that his book will reach others out there who have also lost much. He also gives light to both sides of the conflict, something that most generations, including this one, have trouble seeing. Dennison is retired from construction equipment sales and lives in Hawaii.

 

About the Book:

From an inspired Catholic family base, this youth’s naiveté and immature nature was hell bent on living the wild life of booze and party times when a special female, who he wanted more than his innocents could bear, changed his outlook forever. Then reality came to visit his dreams, turning them into nightmares of war. The Vietnam conflict would eat him up, grow him up and create a new perspective of life that only the enemy could teach. The language is harsh, the writing brutally honest and the message clear, it relates with great candor the unvarnished realities of dealing with day to day combat in and around the Mekong Delta during the TET Offensive. You will be shocked, fascinated, outraged and frustrated when you read about the US fight for Democracy and Peace in Vietnam and the enemy’s pragmatic dedication to the annihilation of the South Vietnamese and all Western ideals. This story is about an Army warrior who made the journey to combat and the unbelievable events that made up his combat tours….peppered by Vietnamese insight, perspective and romantic ardor. This is my story and it is historically accurate. Survivor, Love thy Enemy is a definite “must read” for military and civilians alike, once picked up, not put down until the last page read.

 

Survivor Love Thy Enemy is available from:

Amazon in Paperback https://www.amazon.com/Survivor-Love-Enemy-James-Dennison/dp/1477478159/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1506500020&sr=8-1

and Kindle format https://www.amazon.com/Survivor-Love-Enemy-James-Dennison-ebook/dp/B00BKGZS9G/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1506500020&sr=8-1&dpID=51CuNWAGaVL&preST=_SY445_QL70_&dpSrc=detail

and

Barnes and Noble in Paperback https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/survivor-love-thy-enemy-james-dennison/1112199621?ean=9781477478158

 

 

One Step Ahead by Avraham Azrieli

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The war time ordeals of a Jewish mother and her 7 children.

This story is an amazing true account of the wartime struggles of a Jewish woman named Ester Parnes, her husband Samuel, and their seven children.

In June 1944 they believe that they are safe from the atrocities of the Nazi concentration camps, as they are living in the small village called Skalat in eastern Poland. After World War I, the land was given to the Soviet Union under the 1939 treaty between Stalin and Germany, and the Soviet people had been friendly, and they, and their relatives are happy, and have a good life. However, they soon discover that Adolph Hitler has no scruples about going back on his word as he instigates Operation Barbarossa. On the very day this happens the family find themselves fleeing the German planes and soldiers, desperate just to survive…

When they join thousands of other Jews and tens of thousands of Polish people crossing the Zebruschk River, and entering the Ukraine, they believe it is only for a short time, and they are sure that they will be safe there until they can return to Skalat. However as the German army ruthlessly advances, slaughtering everyone in their path with Hitler’s “scorched earth” policy, the days and months turn into years. Watching those around them die from starvation, or being murdered by the Germans, the family suffer unimaginable hardships and find themselves doing what they have to, to survive. Driven further and further from their home on a journey which is to take them through the Ukraine, Russia, and into Asia.

I found this story totally absorbing and the very fact that it is written from true accounts given to the author by the Ester Parnes children and grandchildren, makes it even more interesting. Not only did I learn a lot about the plight of these people during World War II, but I also could not help but be amazed at their strong faith and true sense of family, which bound them together, and gave them a reason to survive.

Of course during the war years, despite being on the run from the Germans, their normal family life continued, and like all families disagreements and disputes arose, however, strong in their faith, they still manage, despite everything, to remain united.

Having read modern history at school, this book should, I feel, be part of the curriculum as not only is it a compelling story of one families family’s survival during World War II, but also reveals how Adolph Hitler thought, and explains the timing and reasons behind his policies.

I would highly recommend this book as a fascinating true account of the bravery and fortitude of Ester Parnes, and her family during WWII.

 

About the Author:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Avraham Azrieli’s new novel, Deborah Rising, will be published by Harper Collins on September 27. 2016. A graduate of Columbia Law School in New York City, Azrieli tried many complex court cases before publishing his first novel, The Masada Complex (a political thriller) in 2010. A full-time author since then, his other books include the Israeli spy novels The Jerusalem Inception and The Jerusalem Assassin, as well as Christmas for Joshua (a family drama dealing with interfaith conflicts), The Mormon Candidate (a political thriller), Thump (a courtroom drama featuring sexual harassment and racism) and The Bootstrap Ultimatum (a mystery involving the commercialization of Memorial Day). He also authored Your Lawyer on a Short Leash (a guide to dealing with lawyers) and One Step Ahead – A Mother of Seven Escaping Hitler’s Claws (a WWII biography, which inspired the musical By Wheel and by Wing). Azrieli grew up in Israel, where he received extensive Talmudic education, served as an intelligence officer and, after attending law school, clerked for the Israeli Supreme Court in Jerusalem. Residing primarily in the United States since 1990, he currently lives near Washington DC with his wife and children. Like Ben Teller, the protagonist in The Mormon Candidate, Azrieli often rides his motorcycle in the mountainous forests of western Maryland. To learn more, visit AzrieliBooks.com

About the Book:

Hitler’s attack on Russia in the spring of 1941 and the Nazi eastward blitzkrieg form a dramatic backdrop to this true story. On the first day of Operation Barbarossa, in the midst of battle, Esther Parnes leads her family east, away from the Polish village of Skalat. A step ahead of Hitler’s earth-scorching troops, Esther and her children endure hunger, disease, and bloodshed. But Hitler’s four-year campaign defeats neither Mother Russia nor Esther Parnes. In an era when women were confined to traditional household roles, at a time when proud men bowed their heads as they stood at the edge of a pit waiting to be shot, this redheaded woman challenged Adolf Hitler. Based on extensive interviews and independent research into the Parnes family’s plight and the Nazi war on Russia, this book tells the story of an extraordinary mother’s battle to save her seven children.

One Step Ahead is available from Amazon in Kindle format https://www.amazon.com/One-Step-Ahead-Escaping-Resistance-ebook/dp/B015UTD7GE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1504601540&sr=8-1&keywords=one+step+ahead+by+avraham+azrieli 

and Barnes and Noble in Paperback https://www.barnesandnoble.com/reviews/one-step-ahead-avraham-azrieli/1006867514?ean=9781401082802#reviews-header

 

The China-America Alliance: East Asian and American Cultural Values Promote Global Harmony by Jack C. Westman

 

 

A strategy for China and America to work together for the future of mankind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The China-America Alliance makes a compelling case that the USA and China hold the keys to the future of the condition of man and the health of the planet.

However, the question is… Does mankind have the strength to stand united, and fight as one for humanity, and the future of our wonderful world?

In this fascinating book Jack C Westman examines in-depth, the similarities and differences which makes an alliance between China and America the way forward, not only for global peace, but also enabling them to turning about the destructive influences which are sweeping our world, and threatening its future for our decedents.

Thoroughly researched, this book is overflowing with theories, examples and quotes from great people throughout the history of the world, who each have been passionate about their work or beliefs, humanitarians, scientists, leaders, politicians, psychiatrists, cosmologists, the list goes on.
Asia and America both share remarkably similar cultural values. Deep down they both believe in old fashioned family values, the importance of stability for children, good neighbourliness, and supporting local organisations and businesses. However, somewhere, each has lost its way in this modern world of instant gratification and materialism, which has become a throwaway society, where all around are examples of lack of accountability, chaos and violence. It is this that has set mankind on a downward spiral which could potentially be fatal for the future of the human race.

It is time to open our eyes to the truth, which is that human beings cannot be separated from our environment, for us to survive we must do something to help our environment now. The author explores how we can proceed by looking at realistic and unrealistic thinking, and examining how Asia and America can achieve this, by working together for global peace.

However, to go forward we must be able to examine ourselves objectively, and the roles we play, discovering who we are and what impact we have on the environment. Global unsustainability is rising alarmingly, with air and water pollution, global warming, the destruction of our seas by disposing of our rubbish in them. Then there is the ever present threat of nuclear weapons…

I found this book absolutely fascinating and compelling reading. It has laid out a firm strategy for China and America to independently rekindle their cultural values, then work together to control hostile and corruption in both societies, and achieve mutual economic dependence.

 

About the Author: Dr. Jack Westman is Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. He is president of Wisconsin Cares, Inc., an organization devoted to public policy formation and has been president of three professional organizations. He has written over 150 professional publications and thirteen books.

 

About the Book: The following persons have commented on this book: 1) Ken Kimmell, President, Union of Concerned Scientist, “Dr. Westman makes a compelling case for the need for collaborative international leadership by the U.S. and China. He reminds us that the common interests of the U.S. and China far outweigh the differences.” 2) Ross Rojek, San Francisco Book Review, “Our civilization’s future depends on finding shared common values between the great nations, especially China and the U.S. This book provides a framework for how that can be achieved.”. 3) Susan Keefe, Midwest Book Review, “Dr. Westman shows how the U.S. and China hold the keys to the future of the condition of mankind and the health of the planet. However, the question is: does mankind have the strength to stand united as one for humanity and the future of our world?” and 4) Jess Todtfeld, former producer ABC-TV, NBC-TV and FOX News, “This book promotes collaboration between America and China in ways that most people are not contemplating. Dr. Westman shows how these two economic powers can positively influence the world.”

 

Available from Amazon in Paperback https://www.amazon.com/China-America-Alliance-American-Cultural-Promote/dp/3330650885/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1497882334&sr=8-1&keywords=the+china+american+alliance

Decapitating the Union: Jefferson Davis, Judah Benjamin and the Plot to Assassinate Lincoln by John C Fazio

 

Thought Provoking…

Right from the beginning it is obvious that this amazingly thorough book has been very carefully researched by the author, John C. Fazio, who formerly had a successful fifty year career practicing law.

His retirement has given John C. Fazio the time he needed to devote to writing this book on a subject for which he has had, for a long time, a great fascination, the American Civil War and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. He looks in depth at not only the shooting of Abraham Lincoln by John Wilkes Booth, but the events surrounding it. Abraham Lincoln was watching a production of Our American Cousin, in the presidential box of the Ford Theatre on the 14th April, 1865 when he was shot. The following morning at 7.22 Abraham Lincoln died, one of the greatest men in American history had been murdered!

Being a student of history, and especially European and American history, with special emphasis on the Civil War, meant that he has accumulated an immense knowledge of the subject. He enjoys sharing this knowledge by teaching Civil War history at the Chautauqua Institution, writing numerous articles, and speaking about the subject. He is also a member, and former president of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable, and is active in the Lincoln Forum, the Western Reserve Historical Society, the Cleveland Grays, and the Surratt Society.

There is so much mystery surrounding the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, that out of the 16,000 books which have been written about this great man, over a hundred are dedicated to solely to this subject. However, accounts, and details of it, and the events around it, are surrounded in enigmas, mystery, theories, and littered with errors, so much so, that the author decided it was time for him to write this thought provoking book.

It is forwarded by the well-known historian Joan L. Chaconas, and then the author gives the reader a thorough background on events which led to a nation torn apart by conflict, and Abraham Lincoln’s murder. Finally he concludes with the imprisonment, trial and sentencing of all but John H Surratt, of the assassination group.

This book makes absolutely riveting reading, and I would imagine that this would be of immense interest to anyone studying this period of American history, as the author provides plenty of notes and references in the back. For me personally, the icing on the cake is the fact that it is liberally sprinkled with terrific photographs, copies of hand written notes, drawings, and portraits, which I feel are very important in this type of book.

About the Author:

John C. Fazio has a B.A. and J.D. from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. He now lives in Fairlawn (an Akron suburb) with his wife, Mary, who is retired after a career in public relations. Between them, they have seven children, all of whom have left the nest. John joined Mary in retirement in 2015 after practicing law for fifty years. He is a student of history, with an emphasis on European and American history and with an even greater emphasis on the most defining event in American history, the Civil War. He is a member of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable and has been its president. He is also a member of the Lincoln Forum, the Surratt Society, the Cleveland Grays and the Western Reserve Historical Society. He teaches Civil War history at Chautauqua Institution, frequently speaks on the war and other subjects before Roundtables and other groups and has written and published numerous articles on the war and other subjects. In addition, he has written Decapitating the Union: Jefferson Davis, Judah Benjamin and the Plot to Assassinate Lincoln, after five years of research and writing. The book was released in January, 2016.

 

About the Book:

More than a hundred books have been written about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, yet one of the few certainties about his death is that little about it is certain. The literature on the subject is replete with errors, theories and guesswork. This comprehensive work on the assassination and on the attempted assassination of other Northern leaders in the closing days of the Civil War, seeks to correct major and minor errors in the record, reconcile differences of opinion of historians and scholars, offer explanations for great unknowns and make sense of conspiracy theories. After a Foreword by the renowned historian, Joan L. Chaconas, it begins with the background of the conflict, threats and assassination attempts against Lincoln, black flag warfare, the Wistar and Dahlgren-Kilpatrick Raids on Richmond and the Confederate response thereto, and it ends with the incarceration, trial and sentencing of the assassin’s action team (except for John H. Surratt, who would be tried separately in 1867, and except that one of those tried was not really a member of Booth’s team) and an in-depth analysis of conspiracy. In between are chapters on the underground mosaic; Booth and his co-conspirators; the great kidnapping myth that concealed the planned decapitation of the United States government; the setting for assassination; riddles, conundrums, enigmas and mysteries relating to key players in the drama; carnage in the presidential box; Booth’s descent to the stage, declamations, broken leg, exit and escape; attempted decapitation of the government; the death of the President; Edman Spangler’s innocence; the pursuit of the fugitives; and the death of Booth. The author rejects the simple conspiracy theory and affirms the Tidwell, Hall and Gaddy thesis of the complicity of the highest levels of the Confederate government and its Secret Service Bureau. The author makes use of hundreds of sources to justify his conclusions and to give greater cohesion to the record of the events of April 14, 1865. The book has received dozens of reviews. Among them: 1. “…a must read for Civil War historians and enthusiasts.”–William John Shepherd, America’s Civil War. 2. “Everyone should have this one on their Lincoln bookshelf.”–Joan Chaconas, The Surratt Society 3. “I found every page an adventure. You cannot come to a decision on who ordered the assassination without reading this book.”–Joseph Truglio, Civil War News 4. “…probably the best (book) on the market on the American Civil War.”–Amazon Customer 5. “…very strongly recommended…”–Michael J. Carson, Midwest Book Review 6. “A brilliant contribution…”–Frederick Hatch, author of Protecting President Lincoln and other works 7. “Long overdue. John Fazio’s lucid narrative puts Booth’s plan to decapitate the Union front and center…Decapitating the Union is both educational and entertaining…Give it five stars.”–Edward Steers, Jr., author of Blood on the Moon and other works 8. “If you enjoyed Ed Steers’s Blood on the Moon, you must read Decapitating the Union…”–Howard G. Anders, Jr. 9. “…perhaps the most (significant) work on this topic ever written.”–Amazon Customer

Available from Amazon in Paperback https://www.amazon.com/Decapitating-Union-Jefferson-Benjamin-Assassinate/dp/1541095383/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1495014899&sr=8-1&keywords=decapitating+the+union

and Kindle format https://www.amazon.com/Decapitating-Union-Jefferson-Benjamin-Assassinate-ebook/dp/B01N4MC1M7/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1495014899&sr=8-1

and

Barnes &Noble in Paperback http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/decapitating-the-union-john-c-fazio/1120363992?ean=9781541095380

 

Okay, Okay by Fred Krebsbach

 

In November 1968, Fred Krebsbach had just turned twenty-one, he had finished his education with a tech degree in engineering, and was looking forward to a bright future. However the US military had other plans, the war in Vietnam needed soldiers and he was called up for draft.

Before leaving for basic training, his uncle Gene, a WWII veteran advised him to take something which would give him comfort, with him, and he chose his First Communion rosary, something which would sustain him through the months of conflict.

After he had completed his training, he left his homeland for the Tan Son Nhut Republic of South Vietnam. Thus began his tour of duty in that hell hole, where for nearly seven long months he served as an M-60 machine gunner.

The author freely admits that he was changed in irrevocable ways, and reading his story, how can he not have been. Fighting the Viet Cong, and the North Vietnamese Army under terrible conditions, losing many of his ammo bearers to booby traps, and for me, one of the saddest things was that they never said hello, because then they would never have to say goodbye…

The detailed descriptions of army life in Vietnam, and how he survived it, is absorbing reading. I was amazed to discover that captured, and rehabilitated Viet Cong, were used by the army as Tiger Scouts, and sent out in front of the soldiers to find the booby traps, punji pits, daisy chains and explosives set by their ex-comrades.

The author says that hearing WWII veterans say that they wish they had talked to their family more, has been an important factor in his decision to writing this book. I can understand this as my own Granddad was a WWII veteran who was lost, presumed dead. In fact my Grandmother was told he was dead by the British War Office. Then he turned up in Australia a couple of years after the war had ended. Apparently, he had been taken there, having been released, he had been tortured, and it was that long before they could discover his identity. I remember, he never, ever, talked about his experiences.

It must have taken a lot of courage for the author to put these words down on paper, to search is memories, trace people, and diagnose the effect on his life of those months.

Yes he came back alive, and despite sustaining injury, in one piece. However the man who returned was totally different from the ‘boy’ who left his home to fight for his country.

He married Marcia, has had children, and grandchildren, he was one of the lucky ones, thousands did not. Because of this, he wanted to put pen to paper to explain in real terms the true cost of war, both mentally and physically.

Thank you Fred.

Reviewed by Susan Keefe

About the Book: Before leaving for Vietnam, twenty-one year old Fred Krebsbach received a piece of advice from his uncle: carry something with you into combat that will give you comfort in a time of need. He figured it was worth a shot and chose his First Communion rosary. This turned out to be a life-changing, maybe even life-saving, decision. Sent into combat as an M-60 machine gunner, for almost seven months Fred faced danger from booby traps, enemy combatants, and the jungle itself. After becoming injured and returning from the hospital he gave up the M-60 to become a squad leader for Special Forces. He endured seven more months of constant change and surprise, but one companion was constant―a voice inside his head that helped him find the right course of action to keep him alive. To this day Fred doesn’t know what it was exactly, but it may have had something to do with that dang rosary! Though he survived Vietnam, Fred was changed in irrevocable ways. He hopes his story helps his grandchildren and other young people understand the cost of combat and the value of thinking it through before engaging in war.

Available from Amazon in Paperback https://www.amazon.com/Okay-Fred-Krebsbach/dp/0989671011/ref=sr_1_1_twi_pap_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1484740731&sr=1-1

and Barnes and Noble in Paperback http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/okay-okay-fred-krebsbach/1117164622?ean=9780989671019

 

Making The Elephant Man: A Producer’s Memoir by Jonathan Sanger

Who cannot remember watching the award winning film called The Elephant Man, and, if they are truthful, the horrific fascination, and strong emotions it evoked? This is quite simply an incredible film which chronicles the life and experiences of John (Joseph) Merrick, cruelly labelled ‘The Elephant Man’ because of deformities which started to materialise at about 5 years of age, and which he had to live with throughout his short life.

Written by the producer, Jonathon Sanger, this book tells the story of how this film, the first he ever produced, came to be.

From the moment he first read the script Jonathon immediately felt strongly that it was a story which had to be told on screen. With the backing of Mel Brooks who helped finance the film through his new company Brooksfilms, The Elephant Man got the green light and the search for production staff and actors began.

Jonathon’s enthusiasm for this story was infectious, and with the creative and artistic talents of David Lynch as Director, it is fascinating to discover how the film was shot and how they came to cast so many famous actors, and talented artists.

Anyone who has seen it cannot fail to be moved by it. Unusually, for the time it was filmed in black and white, which dramatically adds to the atmosphere. I can imagine anyone interested in the film industry will be fascinated to reading how, through diligent searching and an eye for detail, Jonathon and David managed to find the cobbled streets, and hospital buildings, needed as sets, and learn how with special clever photography they ensured the perfect ambience needed to recreate Victorian London at that time.

Jonathon has, throughout this book been extremely frank about the relationships between production staff, cast members, actors, and crew, in the making and filming of The Elephant Man which is refreshing, and this honesty gives the reader and any would-be member of the industry a glimpse into what life in this line of work is really like.

The impact of this film continues however, past its premier, in that not only has it received many awards, but it has also affected how people perceive disability, and has helped organisations which work with people suffering from disabilities.

Since this, his first production, Jonathon Sanger has produced and directed many films, and also given other film professionals the chance to direct their own films through the Chanticleer Film company.

The testament to this film, and why this book was written has been summed up by the man himself, as he says in the preface, when asked what his most challenging accomplishment had been as a film producer, “it was my first film as ‘producer, The Elephant Man, that set the bar high enough that I felt I could accomplish anything.” After reading this statement, who could resist such an amazing story?

Reviewed by Susan Keefe

About the Author: Jonathan Sanger, an Academy Award-winning producer, film, theater and television producer and director, media advisor, and entertainment financial consultant, has lead initiatives in every sector of the entertainment industry. His writing has appeared in magazines, newspapers, encyclopedias and filmmaking handbooks. He lives and works in Los Angeles and New York City.

About the Book: The true story of John Merrick has captured the imagination of generations of audiences, critics, actors, and filmmakers.

In 1988 I received a screenplay about a hideously disfigured man-John Merrick, the Elephant Man-who refused to fall victim to despair and instead exemplified human dignity. The story was so gripping, so moving, the moment I finished the screenplay I began to read it again. I had to produce it. John Merrick’s story needed to be told.

The story of how I got this movie made-the whole, unvarnished, hair-pulling, stomach-churning, adventure-is itself a study in the triumph of dignity over fear. This is the story of my journey to share my love and admiration for John Merrick with the rest of world. It is a story within a story, with scheduling conflicts, location issues, special effects nightmares and many risky decisions. Assembling a team that included executive producer, Mel Brooks, new director, David Lynch, and actors John Hurt and Anthony Hopkins, I stared adversity in the eye and found a way to persevere and overcome my fears. I hope you enjoy this story, my story, of the making of this inspiring Oscar-nominated, award-winning film.

Available from:

Amazon in Paperback https://www.amazon.com/Making-Elephant-Man-Producers-Memoir/dp/1476666628/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1484393622&sr=8-1&keywords=making+the+elephant+man

and Kindle format https://www.amazon.com/Making-Elephant-Man-Producers-Memoir-ebook/dp/B01N94T2N0/ref=mt_kindle?_encoding=UTF8&me=

Barnes and Noble in Paperback http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/making-the-elephant-man-jonathan-sanger/1123796281?ean=9781476666624

and as a NOOK Book http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/making-the-elephant-man-jonathan-sanger/1123796281?ean=9781476627311

 

 

Deborah Rising: A Novel Inspired by the Bible by Avraham Azrieli

 

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It was the author’s family trip to the ruins of the ancient city of Shiloh in Israel, which vividly reawakened the stories he had been told, and brought back to life the Holy Tabernacle. Inspired by what he had seen, and motivated by his imagination, the author felt compelled to write this outstanding story about Deborah, one of the most remarkable women in biblical lore.

In this fascinating novel, the author asks the reader to join him on a journey, a voyage of the imagination, to ponder on the past of Deborah, an amazing woman whom the Book of Judges describes as “a prophet, a judge, and a military leader who liberated her people form Canaanite oppression.”

She was the first woman in the history of mankind to lead any nation to freedom. What would it take to make a woman so strong, empower her to follow the strength of her convictions, against all the odds? Well in this book, the author offers a fictional hypothesis.

Set in ancient Israel, an amazing scene plays itself out in front of the reader from the very beginning, as it opens with young girls collecting stones and putting them in a pile near the Pit of Shame.

The story unfolds of the plight of Tamar, Deborah’s sister, and how, at the tender age of 14, Deborah is forced to observe her fate. Brutally misjudged, solely because of a claim made by her new husband, Seesya. Tamar has no opportunity to defend herself, and no one to speak in her defence, and in accordance with the law, Deborah looks on as Judge Zifron pronounce her fate.

With the realization of what the future may hold for her, Deborah, decides she must take her destiny into her own hands, before it is too late…

However, what can she do?

This intriguing question is the subject of this captivating novel, as, with the arrival of her womanhood, we follow her desperate flight from what appears to be her only fate.

Bravely travelling strange lands, a woman alone, her adventures unravel before the reader’s eyes as she urgently seeks a slave, who it is told, has magical powers, and may be her only hope, whist being relentlessly pursued by Seesya.

Her strength and fortitude, fueled by conviction and the knowledge that her father dreamt that she was destined to be a prophet of God, leads her down a very hard path, but one which is to be her destiny…

In the modern world we are used to women being equals, however this has only happened in very recent history. This enthralling story gives the reader an amazing insight into what life was really like for women at this fascinating time in history.

I found this book absolutely absorbing and highly recommend it.

About the Author: 

51gcvkercll-_ux250_Avraham Azrieli’s new novel, Deborah Rising, will be published by Harper Collins on September 27. 2016. A graduate of Columbia Law School in New York City, Azrieli tried many complex court cases before publishing his first novel, The Masada Complex (a political thriller) in 2010. A full-time author since then, his other books include the Israeli spy novels The Jerusalem Inception and The Jerusalem Assassin, as well as Christmas for Joshua (a family drama dealing with interfaith conflicts), The Mormon Candidate (a political thriller), Thump (a courtroom drama featuring sexual harassment and racism) and The Bootstrap Ultimatum (a mystery involving the commercialization of Memorial Day). He also authored Your Lawyer on a Short Leash (a guide to dealing with lawyers) and One Step Ahead – A Mother of Seven Escaping Hitler’s Claws (a WWII biography, which inspired the musical By Wheel and by Wing). Azrieli grew up in Israel, where he received extensive Talmudic education, served as an intelligence officer and, after attending law school, clerked for the Israeli Supreme Court in Jerusalem. Residing primarily in the United States since 1990, he currently lives near Washington DC with his wife and children. Like Ben Teller, the protagonist in The Mormon Candidate, Azrieli often rides his motorcycle in the mountainous forests of western Maryland. To learn more, visit www.AzrieliBooks.com

About the Book: 

Set in ancient Israel, Deborah Rising (HarperCollins, 2016) portrays the dramatic (and unlikely) rise of the first woman to lead a nation in recorded human history. In the tradition of The Red Tent, The Fifth Mountain, and The Mists of Avalon, this absorbing novel delivers an inspiring story of suspense and adventure in pursuit of freedom and self-determination, starring a courageous 14-year-old girl who would become the most powerful woman in biblical lore.
Before he was murdered, Deborah’s father had dreamt that his daughter would one day become the leader of the Israelites. But the social and religious mores of her time dictated that a girl must marry–even against her will–and obey her husband in all matters. When Deborah is forced to marry the violent son of the local judge, she rebels, determined to forge a path of her own.
Captivated by the notion of escaping the arranged marriage and fulfilling her late father’s dream, Deborah embarks upon an epic journey to find a mysterious elixirist, one rumored to be blessed with the ability to turn women into men. It is a journey that proves increasingly perilous–filled with wild beasts, lustful men, unscrupulous priests, and warring tribesmen. Yet Deborah manages to attract unlikely allies, including lepers, slaves, Moabite traders, and even a dead tiger, while she persists in the face of seemingly insurmountable setbacks and continues to pursue her daring quest.
Part historical novel, part adventure story, part visionary fiction, Deborah Rising is a captivating tale about a girl on the cusp of womanhood, whose unrelenting struggle to overcome discrimination, sexism, and paternalism speaks to the lives of girls and women today.

Available from:

Amazon in Kindle format https://www.amazon.com/Deborah-Rising-Novel-Inspired-Bible-ebook/dp/B01BKD8YIK/ref=pd_ybh_a_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=61BCER68J3WKH565Z1S1

Barnes & Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/deborah-rising-avraham-azrieli/1123891976?ean=9780062563552

Google play https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Avraham_Azrieli_Deborah_Rising?id=PAiICwAAQBAJ

iBooks (Apple) https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/deborah-rising/id1082412473?mt=11&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Kobo Books https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/deborah-rising?utm_source=linkshare_us&utm_medium=Affiliate&utm_campaign=linkshare_us&siteID=MdXm68JZJz8-HG.veB6hfnt7mWVYIQVniA

Harper Collins https://www.harpercollins.com//9780062563552/deborah-rising#

 

 

 

 

Spirit of Lost Angels (The Bone Angel Series) (Volume 1) by Liza Perrat

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Spirit of Lost Angels is a wonderful historical adventure set in eighteenth century France, and is the first book in the author’s L’Auberge des Anges series.

Victoire Charpentier is a peasant girl who, lives in Lucie-sur-Vionne, this book is her story… and also the story of an angel talisman which is handed on through the generations of the Charpentier family.

Set in the eighteenth century, we follow the adventures of this young girl who after the death of both her parents, finds herself working as a domestic servant in Paris, then she becomes a prisoner in La Salpêtrière asylum, the most notorious of mad houses. However, it is there that she finds herself romantically involved with Jeanne de Valois, and the story unfolds even further.

In this fast paced novel we watch as Victoire reinvents herself, and then discover if she will have the bravery to join the revolution and help overthrow the aristocracy.

Throughout this very interesting story, the amount of research which has gone into its writing, and the attention to detail is amazing, making it not only a fantastic story, but also a real insight into life in those times.

About the Author: Liza grew up in Wollongong, Australia, where she worked as a general nurse and midwife for fifteen years. When she met her French husband on a Bangkok bus, she moved to France, where she has been living with her family for over twenty years. She works part-time as a French-English medical translator, and as a novelist. Since completing a creative writing course twelve years ago, several of her short stories have won awards, notably the Writers Bureau annual competition of 2004 and her stories have been published widely in anthologies and small press magazines. Her articles on French culture and tradition have been published in international magazines such as France Magazine, France Today and The Good Life France. Spirit of Lost Angels is the first in her French historical trilogy, The Bone Angel series. The second – Wolfsangel – was published in October, 2013, and the third, Blood Rose Angel, was published in November, 2015. She is a founding member of the author collective, Triskele Books and reviews books for BookMuse. Links: Email Newsletter sign-up for FREE short story, Ill-fated Rose, that inspired The Bone Angel series: http://www.lizaperrat.moonfruit.com/sign-up Website: www.lizaperrat.com Blog: http://lizaperrat.blogspot.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Liza-Perrat-232382930192297/ Twitter: @LizaPerrat Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/triskelebooks/

About the Book: Her mother executed for witchcraft, her father dead at the hand of a noble, Victoire Charpentier vows to rise above her poor peasant roots. Forced to leave her village of Lucie-sur-Vionne for domestic work in Paris, Victoire suffers gruesome abuse under the ancien régime. Can she muster the bravery and skill to join the revolutionary force gripping France, and overthrow the corrupt, diabolical aristocracy? Spirit of Lost Angels traces the journey of an angel talisman passed down through generations. Amidst the tumult of revolutionary France, this is a story of courage, hope and love.

Available from Amazon in Paperback http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/2954168102?ref_=cm_cr-mr-title

and Kindle http://www.amazon.com/Spirit-Lost-Angels-Liza-Perrat-ebook/dp/B0082MI2Y4/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Troubadour: Song of the Lark by Clara Pierre

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When Gaucelm left the village of Uzerche in the Limousin for Toulouse in 1195, it was the start of the great adventure which was to be his life.

Less than a week’s ride away, the land was very different, and so it was an excited young man who rode under Toulouse’s portcullis and entered the lively city. A city which was at that time said to outshine even Paris! A chance meeting with Count Raymond, led to an invitation to entertain the court that evening. Success followed, and he became as popular, as he was round. As the court’s troubadour he became a celebrity with his poetry and storytelling spreading the news about life and events, at a time when many people could not read or write.

Here, I have to say that if you close your eyes throughout this book, you can almost feel as if you have been transported back in time, so vividly does the author set the scenes, laying before us detailed descriptions of the buildings, people, places and life at court.

Fortunes change however, and his bold storytelling is seen as too radical. Count Raymond releases him from court, and so travels to Ventadour with Guilhelma, a prostitute, who is to become his lifelong companion.

Once settled at the court of Countess Marie, wife of Ebles de Ventadour, Gaucelm suddenly finds himself loaned to the court of Madame Audiarde de Malemort, Marie’s friend, who has very firm idea’s as to what she wants from a man, and this, and other parts of the book are quite raunchy. The strength of women in these times is an eye opener, when usually you are lead to believe they are very submissive. These royal women are very powerful, and often many years younger than their husbands. Whilst he is away, back at Ventadour, Guilhelma becomes friends with Douce, Marie’s strong minded daughter.

Thus follows a story of knights in shining armour, love, betrayal, fierce battles, honour, and the continual struggle between the Catholic Pope and the Cathars.

When Douce disappears from Ventadour, Gaucelm and Guihelma’s search for her, however the young woman they find at Montdragon is a very different from the love struck girl of the past. Life, people and events have changed her, and this change is about to affect them all.

With the Catholic crusaders becoming more and more zealous against the Cathars, all three decide to travel to the court of Count Raimbaut at Courthezon. Here they are warmly welcomed and Guilhema has their son Ayen. However, the northerners invade Courthezon and Gaucelm finds himself taking sad news back to the Countess Marie at Ventadour and asking a favour…

As he rides back to Guilhema and Ayen at Courthezon, the triumphant, but weary troubadour realises that he has indeed taken on the mantle of the famous Bernard de Ventadour who he met all those years ago at the court of Count Raymond. His storytelling must go on and he must spread the word, and the truth through his poetry and verse.

This book is beautifully written and a wonderful insight into life in the Middle Ages. The main characters are real although some things have been changed. I really loved the detail in it and it makes me want to visit everywhere mentioned, which I am sure one day I will.

I am so glad it was translated into English, and am looking forward to reading its sequel, when it is released.

 

About the book: Twelfth century France is on the verge of war, a high stakes battle for the minds and souls of its people. Territorial disputes with Spain threaten the southern provinces. The excesses of the Catholic hierarchy are giving rise to a growing Cathar religious movement. Into this mounting conflict rides a romantic young rogue whose biggest wish is to write poems and set them to music. Gaucelm finds his way into the powerful courts of Toulouse, Ventadour, and Courthézon, and the tender arms of a prostitute who will follow him wherever he goes. Based on historic events and a real troubadour who chronicled them, Troubadour is a powerfully told story of conflicted loyalties and the ruthless leaders who will do anything to control their subjects.

Available from Amazon in Paperback format: http://www.amazon.com/Troubadour-Song-Lark-Clara-Pierre/dp/0986383805/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_img_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=03FBRD3TXNTJN2CWFVH0

Bibi & Babu in Peru (Bibi & Babu Travel Series Book 2) by Bonnie Toews and John Christiansen

More amazing adventures from Bibi and Babu and this time they are visiting Peru!

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After Bibi and Babu [Grandma and Grandpa in Swahili] enjoyed their adventures so much in Africa they decided to visit Peru, and I for one am very glad that they did.

What a wonderful book this is. Everyone has heard of the incredible temple of Machu Picchu, the amazing Lake Titicaca, and the enormous geoglyphs which can only be seen via satellite. But how did they come to be there, who made them, and when? Well scientists still have many questions to answer, however, in the meantime Bonnie Toews and John Christiansen, in their unique storytelling way decide to discover as much as they can for themselves. So, in November 2014 they took a plane to Lima and started their adventure.

Their journey of discovery began by visiting the incredible Larco Museum, in Lima, which houses an amazing collection of ceramics, textiles and artefacts, all beautifully displayed. Lucky for us, they took plenty of pictures, because from this visit we are able to see and understand the importance of all the gold and silver body ornaments which were worn by the Inca nobility.

They then visited the former capital of Peru, Cusco and visited its beautiful buildings, and the fortress-temple Saqsaywaman (pronounced Sexy Woman), which was made a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983. There are some amazing photos of visitors standing next to the enormous stones, which beg the unanswered question as to how did the Inca’s all those years ago managed to get them into place, and know to position them in such a way that they have withstood earthquakes? Are the ancient legends correct, what do you think? You will have to read the book to discover what these legends are. Whilst they were there, they even managed to learn the difference between Llamas and Alpacas.

Then, their travels then took them on the luxurious Perurail Vistadome train to the magical site of Machu Picchu, which rises over 6,000 feet above the Urubamba River. Steeped in history and hidden from the outside world for many years, this wonderfully preserved national monument was a sight to behold.

Their last trip was to Lake Titicaca, its incredible floating islands, and Taquile island. It is even possible to discover in this very interesting book, how the floating islands are made, who lives on them, and the incredible properties of the Totora (Reed) both as homes, boats, souvenirs and as a medicine.

Although aimed at a young audience, I have to say that I loved this book. It is so well written and totally absorbing. Not only does it contain plenty of colourful pictures of this amazing couple’s travels, and the wonderful sites they have seen, it opens up the people, history, life and customs of the wonderful country of Peru.

About the authors: Bibi & Babu are Swahili names for Grandma and Grandpa. When journalist Bonnie Toews and her partner, John Christiansen, a naturalist and landscaper, traveled through Central Africa in 2013, their safari guides fondly nick-name them “Bibi” and “Babu.” Their African journey is woven so intimately within Bonnie and John that, when they returned home, they wanted to assemble a memory book to share with their grandchildren. As they worked on it, they came to realize they are not describing another travel guide for tourists but reliving a journey other adults and children can also share and read together. This simple beginning to the BIBI & BABU TRAVEL SERIES also captures their love story. Dedicated caregivers to their spouses, who suffered from long illnesses before they died, Bonnie and John, now in their seventies, discovered they had much to live for as they join hearts in their sunset years.

About the series of books: Reading with your child or grandchild not only entertains them, it can also strengthen the bonds between you. The BIBI & BABU TRAVEL SERIES take you both on armchair adventures to faraway lands with beautiful photographs and stories as Bibi and Babu mingle with the local people, discover the magic of their customs and folklore, and embrace lives very different from ours.

This second volume in the series, BIBI & BABU IN PERU, explores the ancient ruins of the Andes Mountains: 

  • Cusco–the “belly button” of the Inca Empire,
  • the Lost City of the Incas on Machu Picchu Mountain and
  • the man-made floating islands of the Uros people on Lake Titicaca.

How could the Incas fit together massive walls of boulders and stones with no tools and no wheels? Yet, these Inca ruins have withstood devastating earthquakes while modern buildings have crumbled. Even more puzzling are recent satellite images suggesting ancestors of the Peruvian Indians were linked to outer space. With no written records, how do you separate myth from fact? Join Bibi and Babu on their amazing journey through Peru.

These books are not travel guides for tourists. They are designed for adults and children to share and read together. Ten per cent of the series’ royalities are dedicated to the Kilimanjaro Orphanage Centre in Moshi, Tanzania.
Bibi and Babu in peru is available from: