Our Eternal Curse, ANOTHER TRIBE

Our Eternal Curse, ANOTHER TRIBE, A historical, mystery war story e-book by Simon Rumney.

Plot: After a quote: “Racism is a virus that can only be spread by us”, the story opens with the battle being fought at Shiloh in April 1863, a fact that was of no importance to Julii because “she had not yet met Captain Robert Calhoun, the man who would teach her the white man’s language.” And “She was blissfully unaware that each step (she was taking) was taking her closer and closer to unimaginable heartache…” as she followed the path she had been following almost every morning as a papoose on her mother’s back or on foot, almost every morning of her eighteen years. She is one of the last members of the small Koasati tribe banished by the parent tribe and the Cherokee Nation to a hidden valley known as “a bad spirit place” in Tennessee. Julii’s grandparents were the original inhabitants banished because they had persisted in marriage against all dictates. The small sub-tribe had avoided the American government’s “trail of tears” that had banished all Indians from the eastern states because they literally had not been known to exist. While walking, Julii hears unusual thunder-like sounds with no clouds in the sky and when she arrives at the creek she sees a pink man in unusual clothes who has fallen from his horse with his broken leg caught in the stirrup – none of which she understands, but releases him, gives him water and finally is able to get him to her village where she nurses him not only for the leg but additionally a severe and infected head wound. During his recovery, the reader discovers that she is an extremely intelligent person with remarkable powers of learning and assimilation, and although as a Southerner and racially biased, he still manages to teach her a considerable amount of English. Upon his recovery, she accompanies him back to Atlanta. On the trip he becomes enamored and they indulge in heavy sexual activity. Upon arrival, she is treated as other non-whites, he is court-martialed for deserting his command at Shiloh, her testimony is unacceptable because the prosecutor says she is lying about the short time she had been able to learn the language, there are no Indians left in the eastern states, and besides she is an Indian and no better than the other non-white residents. He is convicted and she is abandoned only to be saved by an Italian Count who detests the manner in which the white population treats anyone not of their color. Also as the largest supplier of armament for the Confederacy through his modern fleet of steam blockade runners, no one interferes with him. He believes and then discovers, that she actually is a reincarnation of a member of his family going back to the pre-Roman era and the story evolves as Julii continues to learn and with her tremendous intellect becomes involved not only in strengthening his business, but for revenge devises a plan to defeat the Confederacy. Ultimately she obtains her revenge on the abominably racist southerners while dishearteningly discovering that many of the Northern Union officers are no better and she pays a highly significant price for her actions.

Discussion: The story moves very slowly and simplistically through the early stages of the book, but eventually gains momentum to provide an interesting tale of realism intermingled with fantasy, revenge, reincarnation and retribution mostly incorporated in the historical settings of Atlanta and Savannah during the Civil War. It provides fascinating recall of similarities in historically relevant mistaken war maneuvers and sets forth interesting conjecture on the loss of Vicksburg and of Sherman’s famous/infamous March to the Sea. And finally to sum up the author’s intent, from this reviewer’s perspective, is to provide a story that not only strongly censors racism but also weaves the tale of a young woman who is destined to endure: “Life was never supposed to be something predictable and safe or “normal”. Life is a series of uncontrollable and unfinished events. Longing for the day when everything returns to normal was simply a vain hope. Normal was chaos and the only way to find happiness within chaos was to accept it. To surrender to it, to live amongst it. To let it take its course. To allow events to be unfinished.”

Conclusion: A slowly developing tale providing multiple emotions that can, or cannot, be embraced, and at a level determined by, the reader. A caveat MUST be offered for individuals who find accepted verbalization of the day too offensive as it is presented by the author.

3* Slowly developing emotional tale requiring caveat described.

The Digital Rabbit Hole

The Digital Rabbit Hole ISBN: 9780982836345, Futurebooks,info publisher, e-book by Larry Kilham,

The book is subtitled: “How we are becoming captive in the digital universe and how to stimulate creativity, education, and recapture our humanity.” The book contains an Introduction followed by a presentation in three parts with magnificent references contained in a section at the end of the book pertinent to statistics and statements offered in the body of the work. PART 1 – The New World of the ‘Knowosphere’ contains 6 chapters detailing entrée into, good and bad features, effect on children and young adults, addictive features, definition of, its best uses and ‘shadows of artificial intelligence’. Part 2 –What to Learn and How to Think in the Age of Google has 3 chapters detailing decisions to be made and considerations that must be taken into account, evolution of new thought processes where the mind merges with the internet providing collective intelligence, and advancement, education and creativity considerations. PART 3 – Escape From the Rabbit Hole contains 4 chapters examining the “Erosion of Human Values”, “Recapturing Our Minds”, “Preparing the New Generations” and finally “The Road Ahead”.

Discussion: This is perhaps one of the most scholarly, and yet most simply written discussions on the subject of today’s almost universal servitude to the digital universe that this reviewer has read. Pertinent material from recognizably knowledgeably sources not only is presented in abundance but provided in a most enjoyably readable form. The author states: “Mankind’s thinking process is changing because reality will come through computers and digital devices.” He offers a relevant quote from prominent neuroscientist Susan Greenfield: “You’re just a consumer, living at the moment, having an experience, pressing buttons but not having a life narrative anymore. You’re not defined by your family, or by what you know, or by specific events in the real world, because most of your time is spent in cyberspace. So what are you? Could it be that we just become nodes on a much larger collective thought machine?” He states further that the main entry is through the smartphone with, as of 2015, 64% of North American adult ownership and with Facebook installed in 76%. There is a noticeable “erosion of human values at a price we have become willing to pay for the costless convenience of Google, comforts of Facebook, and the reliable company of iPhones”. The decline in youth studying humanities is quite noticeable. Mark Bauerlein, English professor and social analyst asks how can historical tales of leaders/battles/other, and architecture compete with the Digital democracy that even seems to be a contributor to declining interest in classical music. Sirus XM and satellite radio has 9 jazz channels, 20 Latin, 2 traditionally classical and the core classical music public in NYC is no more than 20,000 – ¼ % of city’s 8.4 million people. These are all part of the Internet driven democratization of cultural opinion. The average user checks his/her phone 100 times/day. Children use them constantly, often for advice/guidance but many unfortunately have become self-absorbed to the exclusion of everything else. It already has been proven to lessen attention span which already is at an all-time low of slightly over 8 seconds. It provides instant gratification – a message from a boy/girlfriend, photos from a party, shopping, a game, even a ‘selfie’. Obviously the traditional interests cannot compete with such prominently ‘important’ features. All of the former activities require a desire to learn which in turn requires effort. The latter do not, and they are selected simply because human nature traditionally takes the route requiring the least effort, and especially when gratification is so easily attained by doing so. Further, this concentration on one’s digital life decreases human intercourse and companionship and is leading to an increasing U. S. population of insecure, isolated and lonely individuals and, according to frightening statistics, have been shown to provide abysmal levels in literacy, mathematics and problem solving when compared to the accomplishments of those in other countries. Studies have shown that “as the smartphone ownership increases, literacy decreases.” The author admits that “the Digital age envelops us and forces us to engage whether we like it or not” and that almost every job now requires some level of digital literacy. However, we must approach it intelligently to use it as a base for new enterprises and further education. It should not be wasted simply for social media access, entertainment, purchases, and daily routines. He concludes by providing suggestions for accomplishing this goal. This is a most timely discussion set forth in a scholarly but simply and easily read format. (96 references listed)

5* Highly recommended examination of today’s digital world.