"The Gathering of the Clan" is not a large book, nor does it take a Masters Degree in Political Science to understand. As a matter of fact, the author himself characterizes the book as "a book written by a pretty average American primarily for other pretty average Americans." What the book does require, however, is that the reader pay careful attention to certain chapters that are in fact the foundation upon which the entire book rests. But how will you know when you are reading a foundation chapter? Don't worry; the author is very careful to point them out and at times even suggests that you go back and reread them before moving ahead. At times I felt like I was back in college studying Political Science 101, but the exercise of reviewing the bidding from time to time is well worth the effort.
"The Gathering of the Clan" is divided into three parts, which keeps the reader from losing his or her way while navigating through the book. In Part One Harry provides the "who, what, when and whys" of the Independent voters. As for "who" the Independent voters are, it becomes obvious that they are more than a statistical entity. In fact, they can be found in local organizations scattered across the socio-economic and geographical landscape. The "why" part is fairly straight-forward as well. It all boils down to failed expectations and a lack of viable options afforded by the two-party system.
Having established his preference for a third party Harry proceeds to describe how it would all work. The Independent political ideology would be based on a simple concept: "the greatest good for the greatest number;" and the platform would stress ways to return greater balance to our society. With an ideology and platform in place, Part Three goes on to discuss specific planks to the platform pertaining to special interest influences on the government; various tax issues; Social Security and Minimum Wage.
The current dominant political parties in our two–party system are failing our country; that much is clear. "The Gathering of the Clan" doesn't have all the answers; but it provides an excellent point of reference for promoting change. Kudos to Thomas Richard Harry for writing a thought-provoking self-criticism of America's political system. It is a must read for all of us who care about America's political future.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Sherry Jones Mayo
This book contains stories that take us inside the lives of people who deal with traumatic emergency response situations. The author has been an Emergency Medical Technician, an Emergency Nurse and she is involved with Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) teams. In her writings about incidents involving both herself and those close to her, we learn about the depth of humanity that is involved in being willing to work in this field. Sometimes the humanity is reflected by finding humor in macabre situations, other times it is reflected in the despair that the worker feels when they are unable to save someone. As to the humor, it is amazing what some humans are willing to attempt to put in their bodies. As to the despair, I would imagine it is very humbling to realize that you can't save everybody.
I found each essay to be incredibly compelling. Several also reminded me of similar situations that would occur at the hospitals that I worked at, especially the humorous ones. I was also reminded that in addition to dealing with the job stresses and long hours, each person also has to deal with their own personal issues. Some of the incidents that they are involved with, might be especially difficult if they trigger a personal response, such as when dealing with the tragic death of a child that might be the same age as one of their own. It is very important that emotional intervention is provided when needed to help avoid Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and job burnout.
I highly recommend "Confessions of a Trauma Junkie" by Sherry Jones Mayo to nursing and EMT students. I think it should be required reading for them. I also recommend this book to people who are already working in the field. They will enjoy the stories and I believe that it will be reassuring to them to know that they are not alone in both their feelings and their experiences on the job.Listen to interview with Sherry Jones May on Inside Scoop Live
Monday, July 20, 2009
Amelia Victor is living in a world of luxury, with a devoted mother and money-hungry father who only want the best for her. Yet, Amelia feels like something is missing and she can't put her finger on it. Her mother is fragile, drug and alcohol dependent and has no back bone. Edmund, her father, is devoted only to status, money and being in control.
Enter Father Andrew McInnis, a devoted man to his religion and to those he serves. Spend five minutes with Father and you are hooked under his spell. Little did anyone know that he has many hidden secrets that will cause his downfall . Under Father's watchful eye and Edmund's money, Rocco Nero is barely living due to an accident that happened many years ago while working for Edmund.
From the very first page, the reader is hooked on this book. Menalus has pulled out all stops to describe his characters, events that will keep readers on the edge of their seat. Just when you think you have figured out what is going on another sinister character jumps in to throw readers off. Each character adds more suspense to plot of this read. Each has their own hand in deception and greed.
"Conscience and Consequences: The Diary of Rocco Nero" by Mavrik Manalus is a fast-paced mystery that will keep your mind swirling with sympathy, anger and wanting the bad ones to suffer. I guarantee you will be glad that you read this book.
At first, Elizabeth has a tough time coming to terms with her new life and its slow pace. But through Ben and her new friends she quickly learns to adjust. She begins piano lessons, as well as horseback riding, and her grades improve quickly. Elizabeth also takes on confirmation classes and lessons on how to become a lady. She learns to love the simple things in life and she begins to appreciate her mother more than ever. She would be unrecognizable to her old friends. Elizabeth is pleased with the changes she has made and cannot imagine returning to her old life.
Tragedy then strikes the plantation, and its members must learn to rely on each other. In this time, Ben and Elizabeth develop a deeper bond and the line between friendship and something more begins to blur. Elizabeth wants more, but she doesn't want to mess up their perfect friendship. Mrs. La Beaux turns to Ben and Elizabeth for help, and they begin planning for Thanksgiving and the winter ball. These events lead up to the cotillion, in which Elizabeth will be announced and receive her class ring, and graduation, where Ben will be free to go off to college and pursue his interests. There are still many issues to resolve, however, before those happen, one of the biggest being where Elizabeth and Ben's relationship stands.
I loved this book! It may have been slow for some, but I loved its characters and its history. I could imagine the entire book in my head as I went along. The characters were all so lively and each was different. Their Southern charm had me smiling the whole time. "Welcome to La Beaux Plantation" had me laughing at times, sad at others. It was much better than the majority of young adult books today. I've never read anything similar to it. Most of the time, I wanted to be in Elizabeth's place and experience her lovely life. I only had a couple of problems with this book. First, it didn't follow the back cover description. The events mentioned there were incredibly minor in the storyline, such as the mysterious girl named Kasi. Those occurrences were never explained, but maybe they will be in later books. My second complaint is that there are quite a few grammar mistakes in this book. I expect published books to have good grammar and flow easily, but many times I had to reread parts because there was an extra word placed in a sentence or a word was spelled incorrectly. Other than that, however, I loved the book. It was full of charm and elegance. I would recommend "Welcome to La Beaux Plantation" by Ami D'nae to all teens, and even those a bit younger. There was no bad content, just a good book about family and how important it is. I can't wait for more La Beaux Plantation books. I'll read them for sure, and so should you, right after you finish the first in this great series.