Hard Road to Freedom

Hard Road to Freedom ISBN: 9781614565123, Sarah Book Publishing, Book Three in the Saxton-Brown Adventure Series (Illustrated), Paper Back Edition by Stephen A. Carter.

In the first volume, the reader met John Saxton, son of the owner of a Boston shipping empire, his ‘mentor’ Marcus Brown, a trusted family retainer and giant former Masai (Massai, Massi) warrior as he shepherds him through a sailing introduction ‘before the mast’; John’s lovely negro wife Virginia and their collective escape while on the couple’s honeymoon aboard ship from Fort Sumter as it falls; their ensuing evasion of pursuit and ultimate arrival at home. In the second volume, John, now owner of the shipping empire upon his father’s death and Marcus, now wealthy and owner of a sizeable ship as reward for his outstanding activity, are persuaded by Alan Pinkerton to meet Lincoln who accepts their idea of building a new design ‘iron clad’ shallow draft ship and organizing an all-black group of rangers to infiltrate enemy lines to provide intelligence and commit havoc. They complete both projects and the story follows the subsequent activity with John also becoming involved with gaining intelligence through use of the hot air balloon. Virginia is importantly involved in the earlier portions of the book as is Marcus’ wife, Belle and the villainous Major Horatio Garrow and his hulking brute accomplice Hurley Blackstone continue in their roles of importance. In this third volume John is wounded and captured by the Confederates, imprisoned in the infamous Salisbury, NC prison, where he meets Lucas Garrow. He escapes, is recaptured and near death in Richmond, VA Castle Thunder, where through Pinkerton’s intercession he is saved by Union Spy Elizabeth van Lew and liberated by the fall of Richmond. Lucas Garrow, gradually becoming addicted to opiates and attaining near psychopathic status joins his father and his henchman to attempt to track down the hated John Saxton and Marcus Brown who have divested themselves of the shipping business and now are the principle owners of a rather idyllic 5000 acres on Raccoon Mountain in a settlement they call Harambee (a Massai word meaning ‘pulling together). Horatio and Hurley are hanged for past murderous deeds, but Lucas, now tremendously wealthy from finding his father’s hoarded wealth, continues his search as well as organizing an operation to eventually take over the country. Much of the story revolves around the inhuman conditions that existed not only within the Civil War prisons, but within the entire population as well with special emphasis upon the injustices and cruelties suffered especially within negro/white relations.

Discussion: This entire series to date exhibits the results of extensive and rather meticulously performed historical research that offers minutia that seldom surface; e.g., the number of Jews who not only served in the Civil War, but even in important positions; the use of opiates by both sides; etc. Interesting illustrations also are included. Such attendance to detail is readily appreciated and understood from an author who has spent years in teaching the subject. And he has interspersed his fictional and historical characters in a most commendable manner with historical fact and fiction and included thoughtful emphasis on the negro/white relationship. Regrettably however, this reader feels compelled to provide a caveat for the tendency that began in the latter part of Book II – the increased amount of historical detail, although fascinating and most appealing to many readers, does provide hiccups to the plot’s smooth flow of advancement. . Most regrettably, a further caveat must be provided for those (hopefully few) readers who cannot accept what today is termed ‘politically incorrect’ verbalization and activity, even though it is entirely correct historically.

4* Engrossing historical novel with unfortunate ‘hiccups’ to plot cohesiveness/advancement; caveat for parochial readers.

Money RX your prescription for financial success

Money RX your prescription for financial success ISBN: 9781534631649, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, an e-book by Joseph C. Newtz.

Generally described, the author has presented and discussed to varying degrees such diverse matters as life, property, casualty and disability insurance, Social Security benefits, checking and savings, the money market, certificates of deposit, annuities, IRA’s, real estate, employer participation in savings/health plans, stocks and bonds. He also has included various areas for investment – utilities, energy, technologies, aspects of the medical/pharmaceutical, etc. In the discussions he has attempted to present a picture of the intricacies of combining all of these individual elements into a meaningful pattern of investments that will satisfy your goals. Suggestions have been offered with respect to: emphasis on the importance of setting YOUR goals to meet YOUR desires and expectations with special regard to truthfully examining them to make sure the parameters are realistic; consider your age of commencement; adhere strictly to the pattern you have chosen to reach your goals; do your homework; stick to ‘the “Rules of the Game’ with respect to asset location; be patient; rebalance your portfolio when necessary BUT know when and how to do it; be aware of adjustments that must be made with changing economies; and especially don’t be greedy because “Bulls and Bears make money, but pigs get slaughtered”. Further suggestions are offered in Chapter 9 by a long list of ‘what not to do’, and the simple, logical recommendation is offered that if you cannot afford the considerable time it takes to be prepared to make the best possible decision with respect to making the best decision, it would be wise to search for a competent advisor BUT with the further caveat that this by no means is an easy task because of the reasons he describes and reiterates throughout his presentation.

Discussion: The author has set forth an introductory course for aiding the neophyte investor through the labyrinthine course of investing that is replete with cogent suggestions and advice. He also has provided an excellent caveat for the investor who timewise cannot properly prepare and maintain a sufficient level of expertise to be successful in his/her endeavors – obtain an advisor you can trust. Further he has provided recommendations as to how to find such a person which even with his suggestions would appear to be a most difficult task to say the least. The author’s presentation does not provide many of the exact details for which the confused investor endlessly seeks. However, he perhaps has provided as much detailed material as is possible on this constantly shifting subject. Thus, he most probably should be considered very thoughtfully because: 1) as described, he is an investment counselor or adviser with an apparent excellent reputation of long standing in the profession; 2) perhaps even more importantly, he seems to be a person who sincerely is interested in aiding the investor through the labyrinthine course of investing and has provided seemingly the best advice possible to aid in finding such a person.

5* for most individuals seeking financial success.