Silent Spring – Deadly Autumn of the Vietnam War ISBN: 978173547421 Whatnot Enterprises, researched and written by Patrick Hogan.
Following a compelling opening “Special Thanks and Personal Note” and a “Glossary of Acronyms and Abbreviations Used”, the author provides 19 chapters, each with pertinent Endnotes, and a Postscript describing aspects of the Vietnam War. Beginning with his personal involvement he follows with a mass of material with respect to the huge quantities of herbicides and insecticides with which they repeatedly were sprayed and otherwise were surrounded in Vietnam. These are followed with chapters dealing with the Veterans Administration and other governmental agencies’ denial of benefits to servicemen for their later developing wide-ranging pattern of diseases. His research has amassed a huge amount of evidence of the detrimental effects of exposure to such now infamously notable substances such as Agent Orange and DDT, as well as also widely employed but lesser known substances such as DEET, Malathion and others. The author’s discussion continues describing the various explanations, caveats and blatant omissions of pertinent facts as well as other ploys the governmental agencies have employed to refuse acceptance of any culpability.
Discussion: This book is part memoir and part a research report done by an intelligent man whose research training has been rather rudimentary but who has developed it well as a somewhat secondarily acquired vocation. His understanding and presentation of factual material and its relevance is excellent as are his understanding of the ploys, mistakes and/or deliberate misuse of experimental populations, inexcusable ‘loss of data’ and the rest. The only regrettable note from this reader is that Judicious editing would have eliminated a considerable amount of repetition and increased the work’s impact. However, he has set forth a really impressive mass of material that is irrefutable and that once again exposes the unfortunately still continuing, and seemingly expanding, shameful hypocrisy of the tightly entwined duo of Big Business and Government where the mantra is to deny and the bottom line is the Holy Grail.
4* 5* well-done expose; -1 need for judicious editing.
From Liberty to Magnolia, In search of the American Dream ISBN: 9781641147521, Christian Faith Publishing, a Memoir by Janice S. Ellis, PhD.
Perhaps the best way to describe this book is to provide material from the Forward followed by a few of the details. This story “is a true, powerful, and compelling story about the enduring scourge of racism and sexism in America. It is a personal account of how that bane of evil plays out in the lives of blacks and women despite the great promise of the American Dream being available to and achievable by everyone. It shows how, more often than not, access to the playing field and the rules of the game are not fairly applied among men and women, blacks and whites, even when they come prepared with equal or better qualifications and value sets to play the game.” It covers the period from when she was born on a small farm in Mississippi situated between two small towns just miles from the Louisiana border up to the present. The birthplace is of importance because it was in the days when racism still was at its worst and Mississippi which was “the poorest and most racist state in the Union and Louisiana is second.” There then follows Part 1 that is a rather extensive recounting of her early childhood with many descriptions of intercourse with her mother, father, family, teachers and acquaintances. Then a recounting of her first marriage which degenerated into an abusive relationship which she endured because of the beliefs instilled in her from her earliest days until a divorce resulted largely because of the husband’s insistence. Then descriptions of her dogged tenacity of purpose to continue attempting to advance in business, politics and entrepreneurial endeavors simultaneously earning a living for herself and her children and still managing to advance to attain her long desired PhD. She describes in detail constant encounters with “conflicting cultural principles and practices, dual morality and mores” as she attempts to advance in her multiple endeavors.
Discussion/Conclusion: This author has written one of the most detailed memoirs this reviewer ever has read and no doubt, has experienced a well-deserved catharsis. Further, she has described many instances and activities that perhaps were not particularly well thought out. However, many of her offerings would be well worth a reader’s time to give second thoughts. So, if memoir and/or the subjects of racism, sexism and or cultural differences are within your sphere of interest, you will find much to ponder in this book.
5* For readers interested in memoirs, racism, sexism, cultural elements.