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GONE TO SOLDIERS: A Fiction Novel about WWII ~ Marge Piercy

Monday, April 25th, 2016

I discovered Marge Piercy the writer in the early 1990s.  GONE TO SOLDIERS was published in 1987 and I had already read GOING DOWN FAST, SMALL CHANGES, WOMAN ON THE EDGE OF TIME,  FLY AWAY HOME, and HE, SHE, IT. The women I was in a support group with in New York City were praising Piercy’s work and we were sharing copies.  I enjoy her writing very much and her outlook.

After posting the review for HE, SHE, IT, an email* came in asking me if I would like to read GONE TO SOLDIERS for review.   I said yes I would like to read it, forgetting that I had read it first 30 years ago.  I just was so happy to read more of Piercy’s words.   The Kindle told me that at my reading speed it would take 32 hours and 30 minutes to get to the end.   I dove right into each chapter and hardly came up for air.  I am not incredibly fond of books about war.  This one is quite exceptional.  It took 7 years to write and perfect before it was published and winning so many awards.  I was so happy to read it once again.

The book has an interesting shape as 10 characters and their stories are highlighted throughout the book. Some have 14 chapters to their stories.  We begin before the start of the war in France and before the USA became involved.  WWII is over and recovery is beginning at the end of the story.  The primary theme is about being Jewish and how the Jewish experience of the war overlaps and touches so many lives.  I was amazed at how badly the USA Jews were treated and particularly by the Marine corp.  Some American Generals had no trouble with killing Jews in Europe and participated in the process. Each character was well defined and the connecting characters gave continuity to the story and kept the thread of the themes moving forward.

Extraordinary writing. So revealing about the hate we are seeing displayed even now in the USA, so much fear, and how working from that fear keeps us holding on and not moving forward.

Whenever the control is too great, there are scapegoats and then they are vilified and verbally derogated.  It was important for me to read this novel once again. I feel it with mature eyes.  There is more and more to the story; I become a witness.

I not only humbly give this book top stars and I feel as though it should be required reading in our schools today.   I highly recommend this story.

“Marge Piercy has written 17 novels including The New York Times Bestseller Gone To Soldiers; the National Bestsellers Braided Lives and The Longings of Women, and the classic Woman on the Edge of Time and He, She and It and most recently Sex Wars; ; 19 volumes of poetry including The Hunger Moon: New & Selected Poems 1980-2010, The Crooked Inheritance and in spring 2015, Made in Detroit; and a critically acclaimed memoir Sleeping with Cats. Born in center city Detroit, educated at the University of Michigan and Northwestern, the recipient of four honorary doctorates, she is active in antiwar, feminist and environmental causes.“ (Header at website)

Marge Piercy’s Website and Bio

*Kindle book was sent by Greta Shull, Marketing Coordinator, Open Road Integrated Media, 180 Maiden Lane, suite 8A  New York, NY 10038

Related:
He, She, It
When Women Were Birds
The Sowing

THE FURY: A Thriller ~Shane Gericke

Monday, September 14th, 2015

I could not put this book down and there are two reasons why THE FURY held on to me for 8 hours straight.   The first reason the author says someone assisted him in changing the timing of his writing which made the book just zoom in reading speed and flow and the second was this e-book came to me via advanced reading copy and Dropbox and I could find no way to save the PDF file; I had already started reading and I just kept going until I was at the very end.  I was afraid the book would disappear and I had to download it each time I needed to leave the read and do something else.   The book was incredibly good and interesting and I do so love these powerful women who take charge and solve the crisis.

Reassured several times that this is a work of fiction and imagination, there are lots of historic moments in the book, which eventually all tie together and make a complete package.  We begin on an oil rig platform as it is rupturing and falling into the Gulf of Mexico.  The integration of ideas and events indicates the relatedness of current circumstances and how we arrived at such a dire circumstance today.   A real event that pulls the previous events into the story, as we see how greedy fossil fuel guys are losing power and money to the new wealthy and powerful (and violent) drug cartel folks.  The disregard for the environment, humans, governments, most of life is passed on from one group to another, which is vying for control, power and money.  The victims are everyone actually and so many are caught in the crossfire and explosions.  From oil rig explosion to Nazi Chemical Warfare and Japanese Chemical weapons developers, it is a big hurdle back in time and then a leap to the present.  Jump again and we are with the Border Patrol in Arizona attempting to stop a Taliban multi-million dollar drug shipment from arrival and disbursement in Mexico and the USA and the killing keeps going.

There are lots of true events referenced in this story, and it is so interesting how they relate to current events, habits and practices.   WWII comes back and forth and all the mistakes we made as a country when attempting to stop the war and get our own chemical weapons in order.  We hired some of the International experts in Chemical killings into our own program.  I am remembering our torture programs we perfected and were exposed in THE SHOCK DOCTRINE by Naomi Klein.  Several Presidents are mentioned and how their actions affected the whole current drug war and the human dependence on drugs today.  The gun programs which armed the drug cartels in Mexico (fast and furious) and the global knowledge of guerrilla warfare; how to control people and how to make money – greed.

The backstories are good and bring the characters into a fullness of possibility and believability.  I got hooked on the opening quote that was the definition of FURY from storm to a woman’s anger and reaction to that anger.   Wow it was right in my face from that moment on and it all hung together and related.  Superstition Davis was just an amazing character and so true to her part and once again a feisty mother took some action into her own hands to help and remedy a horrid situation.   Yes, I want to believe there are these kinds of powerful woman at work for our behalf.  I felt my own feelings of contempt for those who don’t know history, the ignorant and suffered the fools who ignored what was real.  THE FURY is powerful story telling and I was happy to finish it and let go.

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for asking me to review THE FURY.   I admire these writers who can pull so many events together and still write an amazing story.  I think you will find it hard to put down – THE FURY

About the author

“Shane Gericke is an American novelist living in Naperville, Illinois. Before becoming a published thriller writer, he was a journalist, most recently at the Chicago Sun-Times from 1982 to 1994”

Shane Gericke Facebook 

Related:
The Contractors
The Shock Doctrine 
The Fixer 
Ryder 

THE CONTRACTORS: A Jon Cantrell Thriller ~Harry Hunsicker

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014


THE CONTRACTORS is a 510 page contemporary thriller which I spent 3/4s of my weekend reading.  Thrillers are not often a choice I would make for reading pleasure; I have many readers who enjoy this genre very much.  I use these books to practice my analysis skills and to keep my thinking skills at peak performance.  How was the pace?  Did the story connect and was I able to understand the characters and their role and function?   Was I sent to do some extra research and discovery? Was the story revealing and did the dialogue flow and move the story forward?  Was violence and sex used appropriately or was it just for titillation? Are the female characters possible or just caricatures? Was the story line interesting and engaging?

THE CONTRACTORS moves at an amazing pace and the characters are very real and believable.  Yes, I was sent to the search engines several times to follow DEA investigations and Immigration statistics and I was overwhelmed by the number of drug related violent deaths in the Dallas, Texas newspapers.  The number of weapons in our environment has been overwhelming me since the SANDY HOOK tragedy.  THE CONTRACTORS has put all this information into a fictional study of the new way we as a country are doing business.  It reveals how violent, disorganized, deadly, costly, and destructive rogue sub-contracting groups are to our lives and how they produce even more deadly-destructive results.

Our society is being destroyed as we increase the number of disenfranchised or disposable citizens and we keep pursuing the ‘War On Drugs’. We keep arming with fancier and fancier weapons, vehicles and spy tools, para-military vigilante groups and then pay them on commission. Bounty Hunters! All sanctioned by Mr. Rumsfeld and Mr. Cheney during the previous President Bush’s administration.  In THE CONTRACTORS it has reached viral levels of destruction, mayhem, and incompetence which are astounding.  Who really cares?

In the middle of reading THE CONTRACTORS, I paused to watch the Super Bowl with friends. This respite, from an into the middle of the night reading session, to watch a football game on TV was a fabulous contrasting story balancing out the intensity of the read.   Here was a young team with no “stars” of which none were a first round draft pick, being coached by  one of the oldest coaches in the NFL – “Who is thought of as a college coach” – working deftly as a team and creating a win.  None are paid extreme salaries, none of the players were chosen before the 7th round, and yet the team worked together and created a win. One could witness the teamwork in action.  Washington State has not had many National Professional sports wins – 1980s basketball, 2004 Women’s Basketball and now 2014 Super Bowl. The State was hungry and the celebrations were noisy and prolonged.  I finished reading THE CONTRACTORS about 2am and the fireworks were still exploding across the Sound.   Way to go Seahawks!  Way to Go Seahawks!

Here is the lesson for me: As a State we work best when we are a team effort.  Our healthcare, schools, science, transportation, social services and environment are best utilized when we were working with a spirited team.  Our public schools were in the top 10 in the nation just a few years ago, but now as sub-contractors have moved in to all our systems and institutions our public schools have dropped to 47th and people are racing to set up private schools and transporting their children. (ALEC)  The War on Drugs has destroyed several of our cities and the road from public education to privatized prisons is paved with gold for a few.   THE CONTRACTORS just points out how far advanced the decay is in Texas and how quickly other states are following – racing down this path.

I love to read even books not in my favorite genre like THE CONTRACTORS.

tlc logo I received a copy of this book for review from TLC Online Book Tours and the author.  I know a number of my readers like a good contemporary, thriller and THE CONTRACTORS certainly filled that genre.  Thank you for the opportunity.

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

Recommended Reading: (many more reviews under the recommended reading tab up top!)
The FIXER 
The Condors Song
The Alligator Man 
The Stranger You Know