The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election

The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election ISBN: 9781732511705 Moot Point Productions, copyright and written by Michael R. French.

The author has presented an ‘on-the-surface appearing’ simple story that follows a very intelligent young high school student with strong moral principles but totally naïveté with respect to politics as she challenges the charismatic favorite young man for election to the student body presidency. This seemingly impossible task appears even less attainable when she, with a team of only a few friends, actually realizes that her opponent’s team is a very successful, well-oiled machine that has been successful for some time. She has one other person to whom she listens intently and absorbs his lectures – the school’s rather revered history teacher who for several generations has been providing sensible advice along with his presentation of the importance of history as it repeats and is interpreted by one generation after another. Through his teachings and advice, complete understanding and approval by her parents, most intelligent decisions, AND unexpected information provided by an unknown cyber expert, she discovers that the success of her main opponent may not be simply because of he and his team’s abilities. Instead, he and his group are supported and secretly funded and advised by an organization that ostensibly has been established to aid struggling educational programs, but has another agenda in mind. When she ultimately makes great advances in her campaign, the organization approaches her with offers extremely difficult for her to turn down and the story continues to an interesting finale.

Discussion: The author has an excellent understanding of politics, its deceit, betrayal, treachery, intrigues, lying and often present, exhibition of blatant but more usually hidden, personal greed and other less worthy aspects of human thought patterns. Additionally his understanding of teen age children and their need to adjust to individual physical and mental changes while simultaneously attempting to deal with their peers in an environment that frequently can be surprisingly cruel, is quite admirable. He has set forth a story that provides an honest look at politics while stressing the importance of history, a much ignored important feature of today’s education, and coincidentally has provided a protagonist who projects strong moral courage and tenacity of purpose to overcome purportedly unbeatable odds and ‘make a difference’.

Summary: This is a fast moving, well-written story that those in their teens should thoroughly enjoy. Coincidentally, this book could be of interest to adults for the parallel it describes with respect to the horribly broken political system presently extant within the U.S. and perhaps could serve as a tool to be employed by teachers of young, and near adult, students.

5* A book young adults should enjoy and adults read – see discussion.

 

Silent Spring Deadly Autumn of the Vietnam War

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.