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Monday, May 30, 2016

The Gamble

Not that anyone really wants to relive the invasion of  Iraq but if you missed the part about how it all went even more wrong after the initial misjudgment of doing it in the first place, Thomas E. Rick's #1 New York Times bestseller Fiasco says it all in the title.   

Next came his  book The Gamble which is the definitive account of the insurgency within the U.S. military that led to a radical shift in America's strategy. Based on unprecedented real-time access to the military's entire chain of command, Ricks examines the events that took place as the military was forced to reckon with itself, the surge was launched, and a very different war began. His stunning conclusion, stated in the last line of the book, is that "the events for which the Iraq war will be remembered probably have not yet happened."

This accurate prediction is evidenced in the  horrors emanating today in the daily news from the Middle East. When it comes to military matters Mr. Ricks is as good as it gets for journalism and analysis. He clearly shows us in these two books the devastating consequences of an ill- conceived and ill-planned war….

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@Barrie Summy

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Home Waters

I just started reading Home Waters edited by Gary Soucie. It's a fly-fishing anthology. Home waters would be that place or places which the fly fisherman considers his own. Not in the literal sense, of course, but in the sense of being at home there. The place with which he is most familiar and most comfortable. A place to which he returns most often in body and spirit.
For me, it is the spring fed limestone creeks and rivers of Bluff Country, the karst region of southeastern Minnesota. There are several rivers and innumerable streams and tiny brooks in this unglaciated countryside. Over a forty year period I have fished most of them.
South Branch Root River

 The South Branch of the Root River is closest to my home and heart. It is the place to which I now return in my retirement years.
This is where I first learned how to entice the wily brown trout with the fly. Then taught my two sons the same art. Later, as they grew up, we wandered far afield to the fabulous waters of Montana and Yellowstone National Park. The Boulder, the Gallatin, the West Fork of the Madison, The Big Hole, The Lamar, Slough Creek and countless others became part of our vocabulary.
 Son Ted and I in Yellowstone

 Vertigo and other infirmities of aging limit my stream time now but the memories live on as strong as ever. Not to sound elitist but fly fishing for trout has produced among the sporting endeavors the closest thing to real literature  Thus  Home Waters whereby a host of writers take readers to their favorite fishing spots in a captivating collection of 55 pieces touched close to my heart and memories of similar places and experiences.

Monday, May 2, 2016

And Then All Hell Broke Loose

Richard Engel  is the chief foreign correspondent for NBC and has  spent much of his 20-year award-winning career  in war zones in the Middle East. As an enterprising freelance reporter,  he initially  got himself into Iraq as a “human shield” for a peace organization in early 2003, and struck a deal with ABC News; he would become the last American television reporter left in Baghdad.

In 2005, his Baghdad hotel was badly rocked by a truck bomb across the street, and as the entire region exploded into war and revolution, he would have other close calls — including being kidnapped in Syria in 2012. To characterize him ad an intrepid reporter would be more than an understatement.

Mr. Engel’s harrowing adventures make for gripping reading in his new book, “And Then All Hell Broke Loose,”.    He deftly uses them as a portal to look at how the Middle East has changed since he arrived in the region as a young reporter back in 1996. The result is a book that gives readers a brisk but wide-angled understanding of the calamities that have unfurled there over the last two decades — most notably, the still unspooling consequences of the careless and botched invasion by the United States invasion of Iraq, and the sad unfolding  of revolutions in Egypt, Libya and Syria
Engel has interviewed most of the key players in these tragedies writ large as well as having a good background in the history of the region. The book is relatively short and snappy  but one couldn’t do much better to gain good insights into the present chaos…..

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book review blogs
@Barrie Summy