What’s In A Name?: Tales from the Lost Horizon
By Michael Eging
A hearty band of elves led by Vondrall must confront the dangers lurking in the bowels of Thunderer Mountain to fulfill their king’s ill-advised promise to bring back a treasured gift. To achieve their quest, they must defeat the dragon whose only vulnerability lies in its name and stave off greedy rivals from the human realm. Can Vondrall and his band claim the dragon’s treasure and live to tell about it? The answer to this secret lies in the pages of Eging’s epic short story.
I very much enjoyed this short read. The story is rich in imagery and has a fair bit of humor. It’s a legend that would fit in well into his forthcoming “Song of Roland” fantasy series. It kindled my interest in reading more from the Lost Horizon and tales of Thunderer. I give this story five stars and recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading fantasy.
What’s In A Name? is now available at:
Enemies: A History of the FBI by Tim Weiner
“Enemies” is a colorful tale of the Federal Bureau of Investigation from its humble beginnings in 1908 fighting organized crime to its recent involvement in the War on Terror. Based on a wealth of research, declassified documents and interviews, the book devotes many of its pages to the larger-than-life character of its first director, J. Edgar Hoover, who for half a century personified the FBI and left an indelible stamp on the agency housed in the Hoover Building in Washington, D.C.
I was compelled to read this book after watching a biopic on Hoover in order to get a fuller picture of the legendary man. The book offers an in-depth, no-holds-barred look at the Bureau and its leadership from Hoover to its most recent director, James B. Comey. Effusive in his praise and sharp in his criticism, the author paints a picture of a government agency torn between balancing its mission to provide security and fight criminal and terrorist activity and the need to protect civil liberties so that “Americans could be both safe and free.” Its first century has been one of successes, failures, and a constant struggle to find or upset this balance. The author draws from a wealth of documentary evidence to portray a Bureau that in many ways operates like a tragicomedy as it tries to make sense of and respond to ever-changing threats, often in heavy-handed and arguably unconstitutional ways. Weiner does an apt job of bringing the FBI to life.
Although the author makes no attempt to tell an impartial story, his interpretation of history makes it all the more interesting. Putting the FBI through the lens of constitutionality and civil rights, he chides the Bureau for its many deficiencies but commends it where it has taken strides to improve, such as discontinuing (at least publicly) warrantless searches and seizures and improving its information systems. He leaves the reader with the impression that the organization has moved away from many mistakes of the past and has a promising future as the U.S. Government’s primary law enforcement agency.
The book’s Achilles heel is its over-reliance on archival information. Much of it is devoted to the Hoover years, while events after his death seem glossed over. Depictions of evolution of the FBI during the War on Terror seem rushed. The author felt it necessary to tell the Bureau’s full history, but his lack of source material and apparent lack of access in the post-Hoover period is evident. It might have been better to focus on the agency’s first 50 years and save the last half century for another book.
I give this book five (5) stars and highly recommend it to anyone interested in the FBI, federal law enforcement, and civil liberties.
Enemies: A History of the FBI is now available at:
Small Bites 4.0 by Jim Yarbrough
Many of life’s lessons are packed into this powerful book. Filled with stories, anecdotes and quotes, Small Bites invites the reader to enjoy – no, savor – the author’s wisdom in “small bites.” Broken into discreet chapters and themes, it offers a series of short stories with lessons learned, acronyms, and structured outlines to help the reader remember salient points, and page breaks to give them time to jot down their own thoughts.
At its heart, this is a management book for life. But it’s more than that. It’s a guide intended to help the discerning reader find an easier path on the road of life. Light on spirituality but heavy on profundity, the book weaves the strands of wisdom from many ancient and modern philosophies into a beautiful tapestry of poetry and prose. Few books quote Gandhi, Michael Josephson, Mark Twain, John Wooden, and others with such eloquence.
I enjoyed the personal stories that the author shared showing his humanity and his quest to rise above the challenges that made him a better person. Not many writers are so willing to share some of the most difficult – and compromising – moments of their lives with an unknown audience, but Yarbrough did. And he did it with class, using his own lessons learned to demonstrate a better way the reader can follow.
The author wrote this book for his three children. It’s a labor of love they can cherish forever. He could have kept this treasure to himself or in the family, but he chose instead to share it with all of us. I appreciate his sincerity and learned at least one take-away in each chapter applicable to my own life. This is the kind of book you don’t read once; you read it over and over again to glean new insights. If I have any quibble about this wonderful book, it is this – I hope that the author’s next book will expound more on his own great quotes.
I give Small Bites five (5) stars and highly recommend it to anyone with an open mind, a willingness to learn, and who enjoys wisdom in small, succinct bites.
Small Bites 4.0 is now available at: