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NATCHEZ BURNING: A Novel ~Greg Iles

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

The first book in a trilogy that will just knock you over it is so compelling and non-stop.  The action and history is condensed into an 800-page turner of a book, which fills in history and the violence of the 1960s that continues into 2005.

NATCHES BURNING was sent to me by TLC Book Tours and I have to admit I was not too thrilled as I was already reviewing 7 books for them this month and this gem was 800 pages and part of a 3 way deal.  Whew!   I am not hugely a fan of thrillers either although this one had some historic merit, which found me interested.  Then I read what Stephen King wrote on the cover:

“ Natchez Burning is extraordinarily entertaining and fiendishly suspenseful.  I defy you to start it and find a way to put it down; as long as it is, I wished it were longer.  There’s a bonus: You’ll finish knowing a great deal about the Deep South’s painful struggle toward racial equality, and the bloody road between Then and Now.  Only a southern man could have written this book, and thank God Greg Iles was there to do the job.  This is an amazing work of popular fiction.”

There was so much history in this story from the killing of the voter registration workers in 1964 to present day distress and unequal treatment.  The torture and murder of anyone of color, and others, who got in the way or seemed funky to the KKK and the wealthy scheming whites were just what one thought was going on in the back of the mind.  And yet, the FBI and police could not seem to find the guilty parties or justice.

Iles has lived in Natchez, Mississippi all of his life and the book is full of characters that his fans have known before.  Dr. Tom Cage is a physician who has served all of his community with his medical care, which involved the keeping of many secrets. Dr. Cage’s son Penn is a lawyer, writer and now Mayor of Natchez and is working to solve the charges against his father.  Henry Sexton is a reporter who has faithfully kept the research and storytelling alive about the murders, fires and rape which throughout his history has plagued the community and threatened every member of the society with prejudice and hate.  Dr. Cage is loosely based on Iles own father, and the newspaperman is based on a fellow who has written the stories in his own paper in town and is about to write his own book on what he knows.

The book is extremely hard to put down and I read the whole in 3 days of hard pressure.  I can actually say that I am looking forward to THE BONE TREE, which I will review next month; book two in the trilogy I must wait until March for book three.

Even thought it contains a great deal of history, I know one of my book groups will not read it because of the violence and another because they have a 400 page limit.  It is a thriller and it contains a great deal of violence; it reveals a great deal of the context that I always thought was true but has been bred into the culture and will take a great teacher to heal and a determined citizen to break through.  Greg Iles breaks through and opens a door to re-enculturation.  NATCHEZ BURNING – What a Read!

“Greg Iles spent most of his youth in Natchez, Mississippi.  His first novel, SPANDAU PHOENIX, was the first of thirteen NEW YORK TIMES bestsellers, and his new trilogy continues the story of Penn Cage, protagonist of THE QUIET GAME, TURNING ANGEL, AND #1 NY TIMES bestseller THE DEVIL’S PUNCHBOWL. Iles novels have been made into films and published in more than thirty-five countries. He lives in Natchez with his wife and has two children.”

www.GregIles.com

Related:
The Contractors
The Fury
The Shock Doctrine

THE LOST TRIBE OF CONEY ISLAND: Headhunters, Luna Park, and the Man Who Pulled Off the Spectacle of the Century ~Claire Prentice

Sunday, October 5th, 2014

“Claire Prentice is an award-winning journalist whose work has been published in the Washington Post, the London Times, the Guardian, The Sydney Morning Herald, BBC Online, Cosmopolitan, and Marie Claire.” (From the promotion materials of my uncorrected unproofed advance readers copy of this book)


The LOST TRIBE OF CONEY ISLAND is about an historic event which occurred in 1904-1905.  It is a true story and the author has done considerable research and study to share the story of this event in our history.  It is about the journey of 51 members of the Igorrote tribes of the Philippines becoming one of the “Human Exhibits”   with the freaks and curiosities at Coney Island’ Luna Park.   Millions of people, MILLIONS came to see the village the Igorrote people built, the dancing, the singing, the dog-eating feasts and the nearly nude head-hunters in the exhibit.  A great showman taught them to perform and entertain the public, so that the humans on the other side of the fence would throw coins and buy their trinkets and souvenirs.   They came to the USA and were told they would be paid $15 a month, could keep their souvenir money, they would assist their families back home when they returned in a year.

Dr. Truman Hunt transformed himself from doctor in the Philippines to one of the greatest showman, marketing aficionados, and con-men of all time.  His scheme and his sideshow troupe made Hunt a very rich man.   He ended up on the run with the tribe because of his huge lifestyle, the pursuit of ex-wives, his alcohol consumption and the dogged agents of the American justice system.   He hid the Igorrote in squalor and paraded them in other parks when he needed more funds.  Hunt cheated them out of all their promised money and  the US taxpayers finally had to foot the bill in order to get the tribe back home.

THE LOST TRIBE OF CONEY ISLAND is well written and it makes history come alive  revealing the true story behind the experience and it is quite entertaining.  I know my history buffs will enjoy this storytelling adventure and relive the role of the amusement park heyday in our history.  As a well told story full of historic detail, I would give it 5 stars.

As a reader, I thought it was a terrific tale compassionately told and I, personally, would have enjoyed it more if it had been just a magazine article length.  It actually made me feel ill about the way these individuals were treated and that the pubic was so driven to observe the Igorrote people.  I tried to think of the troupe as entertainers, educators and then Hunt’s people would stride into the scene and exploit their efforts time and time again cheating and enslaving these people.   Of course, it doesn’t help that we are still stuck in this human trafficking mode as entertainment and abuse.  I was reading this story as young unarmed men are being murdered in the streets and we worship guns and violence. As voters are being cajoled by lies and untrue stories and our President is being belittled and disrespected loudly – all for money.  THE LOST TRIBE OF CONEY ISLAND is a sordid reminder of how easily people can be controlled – and the con-artist wins.  In this century, it appears to me that our behavior is worse.  The entertainment needs to be bigger and more violent and our appetites grow.  Who are the savage dog-eaters?

TLC Book Tours sent me a copy of THE LOST TRIBE OF CONEY ISLAND for review.  The book will be available for purchase on October 14, 2014.  It would make quite the gift for your historic reader.

http://claireprentice.org/  

“At its heart, THE LOST TRIBE OF CONEY ISLAND is a story that makes us question who is civilized and who is savage.”  (From the publicity pages in my uncorrected, unproofed advanced e-copy)

Related:
The Devil In the White City (Bikingarchitect.com)
The Riot Within 
We Have Met The Enemy
NEW Understanding Our Need for Novelty and Change

Women Wars?

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

I do not think there is a war on women’s health in the United States of America.  Frankly, the politicians do not care about women’s health and as a group they do not truly care about the citizens one way or the other. The largest public display of caring is for money and for actions that indicate one has it.

Oh there are numerous people fighting on the front lines to make sure there are parades for returning soldiers and displays about getting jobs, so I would say there is a caring element in every segment of our society.  If I open my eyes wide, I have no trouble finding dedicated individuals who are working to make this world or a community a better place to live.  Education is the key.

For the noisiest segment of our society currently money and lots of it is doing most of the talking.  We are appalled when someone steps over the line like the CEO of BP over the oil leak in the gulf and Limbaugh in his disgusting bullying.  Still those folks are making lots of money, even if they must disappear for a time.

So I turned on my curiosity switches and started studying and I have been at this endeavor for over a month now focused on what is being covered up by the public noise against issues of health care.

I thought I would find information such as the following:

  • –    The Massachusetts Health Care Plan is 5 years old
  • –    98% of the residents are insured now   99.8% of the children are insured
  • –    Only 94% of the children were covered 5 years ago
  • –    70% of adults had health insurance before the mandates 97% currently
  • –    There was a 1% increase in the State’s budget the first year, now it is leveled out
  • –    88% of the insurance premium payments are now actually spent on health care
  • –    88% of the Doctors are recording an improvement in quality of care
  • –    The Emergency Rooms of hospitals are not overwhelmed with patients coming there rather than to their physicians – there is a consistent level of patients.
  • –     After 5 years 2 out of 3 adults truly like their health care program and would not want to give it up.

In a very recent Huffington Post Poll of 696 people who had to purchase the mandatory insurance in Massachusetts 84% were satisfied with their coverage.
31% had to try several times to find a doctor to take their insurance and 23% had been turned down by Doctors not taking new patients.

The people who do not like the Massachusetts Health Care Plan are the Insurance providers, and the rhetorical pundits; the ignorant.  Why is the candidate who backed this program denying it now?  He does not even care about people without money.

So how does women’s health care come into this equation and the money trail?  It is women who are driving the need for health care in this country.  Quality health care, good clean food, and strong public education builds a healthy society.  It is what women want for their children and families and ultimately for themselves.

Right now in this point and time so many folks are spending huge amounts of time being entertained by the media and the Internet.  Our children get about 7.5 hours of screen time a day.  People are watching games but not outside growing their food or throwing around a ball.
There are lots of voices on the media and Internet reminding us of this, but they tend to be quieter voices – logical, teaching, and calm – not so dramatic and definitely not as fear inducing.

– WOMEN.  A mind boggling amount of money is being spent to distract women right now, and one political group is seeing an opportunity to gain control and take “moral” stances. How wonderful was the 16th century for women?

The insurance industry is now posting what they have distributed and to whom in the public arena – but that is only the surface, much of the funding is hidden in deep pathways.

Oh but Patricia!  Really I already know these things!

But this is really not the discovery that I made that truly amazed me.  What truly amazed me is that the voters are in burn out.  That’s right they are suffering from a PTSD style of over fear, over negative, over stimulated, over- taken financially until they are NUMB with fear; they are ill from avoidance.  The voters have been lied to and marketed to the extreme that they are NUMB and that is just where the money wants to be.  And that is exactly where the trend makers want the voters to be.

Women are always on the front line of recovery and healing – doing the work.  We need to start again – now.

The truly amazing thing is that in my first book review THE SHOCK DOCTRINE, I was at the same place I am now.   If 1 million plastic shopping bags leave USA grocery stores every hour of every day and the word has been out about the plastic bag island in the ocean, and places are charging for bags and the education is there, why do women just chuckle and say, “Oh I always forget my bags.”   I am no longer amused.

I hope you will share this post many times.  I cannot even begin to tell you all the incredible things I discovered in my research, and I am going to put on my work boots and get back into my community and work at educating and relieving fear to the best of my ability.

How do you counter balance fear?

If you purchase anything from this site from Amazon or Powell’s   I will receive a few beans in my bucket.  Thank you

Related Reading:
The Shock Doctrine 
Freedom
The Gifts of Imperfection
Move Your Money

If Wishes Were Horses

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

chestnut_horsehead

I just want to say a few things today – keep it simple.  My life is too complex right now and I am preparing my income taxes, which are very difficult for me to do; I must do them right.

Last night I had a dream that reoccurred numerous times.  I was meticulously folding colored paper into a mask of a horse face.  The dream was full of my hands working and the stunning beauty that the paper was taking on in forming the different sections of the face.  The horse was a reddish brown color with a very dark brown, almost black, mane and there was a small white oval shape between the eyes and the darkening section of the mussel.

I was amazed at how the curve of the nostrils blended well as I tried and then discovered how to fold the paper to get the visual results I wanted.

My mask was deemed a masterpiece and found to be a highly prized sculpture – original and yet soft.

IT Girl and one of my friends are both exquisite at paper folding art.  My neighbor did a whole manger scene for her church one Christmas that just took your breath away.  IT Girl uses more color, but can make the paper perform in creative ways.   Library Girl can also do some interesting things with paper, and we are all surprised by her gift wrapping creations.

I have thought of this dream all day and decided it was important that I remembered it so vividly.  I think this is because I am quitting a medication that has ceased working for me and it is taking time to leave my system.  Then I thought I should look up the symbolism of a horse in my book:

“A horse symbolizes strength, power, endurance, majesty, and virility.  Riding a horse suggests one is in a powerful position.”

I started to think about horses in terms of how I am going to set goals for this next third of my life.  Since my original bucket list is either completed or cast off right now I seem to be in a space of opportunity to create – something of strength, power, endurance, and majesty – alive.   But what should I choose to do?

I vacuumed the whole house on this thought –

As I write this now, I am thinking the paper is simple and my hands are knowledgeable, whatever I decide it will endure majestically…

What do you think I should do and add to my bucket list?
Do you interpret the symbolism and dream in a different way?
Looking forward to your ideas and comments.  Thank you.

If you purchase anything from Amazon  or Powell’s   from this site, I will receive a few beans in my bucket.

Discover our words at Biking Architect or subscribe to our occasional newsletter at WiseEars.

Related Reading:
The Idea Factory
Move Your Money
Walter’s Muse
Unfinished Business

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