If I could write ((I can't) I wish I was clever enough to write one like this. With tongue firmly in cheek, this author Gives us a combination of the Big Bang Theory and Auntie Mame. It's clever and devious and a delight to read.
I started it with a chip on my shoulder. I don't like romance novels as a rule and the title "Rosie" put me off. Within two pages I was hooked. It's much more than a romance novel.
The primary character is Don, a hard to believe over educated and brilliant mis-fit in society. Rosie turns out to be his sad sack Lucille Ball homeless type who works in a gay bar at odd hours and pursues he unidentified father during regular hours. To dd a twinkle, the author has given Rosie and unusually high IQ and a Masters Degree, and she is working on her phd as we speak.
Complicating the flow is Don's similar quest for the unknown. A nerd and a twerp since birth, he was subjected to ridicule from the start in school so he became an expert in marital arts and handle any bully.
With an extremely high intelligence and ridiculous clothing, he went through the world without truly seeing anyone else. They flew under his notice. Completely inept in any social situation leads to a disturbingly focused lifestyle. That is, before he met Rosie.
So we have a set of parallel stories that intertwine just a little and essentially make the book into a mystery rather than a romance. The Father Project (hers) and The Wife Project (his) are both hilarious.
There is a deeper side to the book involving Autism and other mental conditions. I wouldn't say that the book answers questions about them. but it does present an engaging picture of personalities so afflicted.
A good book.
Wednesday, May 4, 2016
This is a fairly well written book about the C.I.A., Allen Dulles, and the assassination of President Kennedy. Hidden throughout the pages is a sub-story about government corruption, the lack of oversight of the C.I.A., and the manipulation of our government by the unscrupulous power elite in Washington. In the end it is heavy on opinion and light on facts.
About midway in the book the author says: "Nixon took the leading Republican role as hatchet man so that Eisenhower could assume a more dignified posture." That, for example, was the author's opinion. He also added that "when a situation would not yield to diplomatic pressure, Allen Dulles' boys (C.I.A.) would take care of it." He characterized Nixon as "an aggrieved outsider in the Ivy League/Wall Street world of the power elite." This all occurred after a somewhat slow first part of the book, but from Eisenhower years forward it became obsessed as it dealt mostly with the disposition of Nazi officers and German political figures after World War II.
Then, beginning with J.F.K., the book commented on the perils facing the new President, and then began to address his assassination. The author builds a solid (but largely circumstantial) case that the much studied assassination and subsequent Warren Report were fixed from the start. And in the end, worthless. There are many alternate explanations and theories advanced. The author suggests that the evil and secret world inhabited by Allen and Foster Dulles, the Central Intelligence Agency, the power elite in Washington, and involving politicians then in office, all contributed to the murder of President Kennedy.
Nearer to the end of the book the author discusses (at length) similar theories about the Bobby Kennedy assassination. He claims that; Sirhan Sirhan (the assassin) just after the assassination, appeared to be in some sort of hypnotic or narcotic state - and this fits directly with Allen Dulles previous meetings with Dr. Stephan Crowe (brainwashing and mind control expert), Dr. Sidney Gottlieb (C.I.A. pharmaceutical expert and consultant to the C.I.A.'s MKULTRA project). Clearly asking for the reader to form his own conclusions.
The Devils Chessboard gets a C-.
The author is a bit of a shady (but smart) character. The first part of the book establishes the reality of St. Louis politics and the underworld of black versus white. He uses the street language which seems accurate - but overdone. Street gangs, niggers, motherfuckers, drug dealing trash talkers, and etc., all mumbling unintelligible one word sentences like the black rappers.
The second part of the book the author tones down the rhetoric slightly, and he displays a genuine talent for describing a modern minimum security prison. The picture he presents is not good. He contends that the politicians that control the money to operate the prisons are defunct, and our prisons have been deteriorating for years. The author's experience takes him into great detail about the day to day requirements for an inmates survival. It's pretty grim.
He presents worrisome statistics that proving his point; that our prisons teach the inmates how to be better criminals instead of teaching them how to take steps toward rehabilitation. The number of inmates that serve their sentences and are released not prepared in any way to rejoin society huge. Frustrated and adrift they soon commit another crime and are returned to prison. Our prisons have become a revolving door!
Years ago American prisons had become really bad, dirty, and vastly overcrowded places. Then rising crime rates and overcrowding made them worse. So, we built new, more secure, and improved facilities. Actually, we overdid it . We created a greater division between white collar crimes and violent crimes. It became a white folks vs black folks conflict.
If sentenced as a white collar criminal the inmate was sometimes housed in near luxury.
If sentenced as a violent criminal the inmate was housed in considerably worse conditions.
For example: This resulted in the 1970's with the convicted savings and loan executives living in prison "country clubs" complete with TV in their cells, computers, golf courses, swimming pools and other luxuries. It is said that this program no longer exists? Hmmm.
America's population is now increasing even faster. The level (and viciousness) of of crime is rising so quickly that our prisons face disaster. The overcrowding (mostly with drug offenders), and more released prisoners - are returning again as inmates. The politicians say they have no more money for prison improvements. The judicial people say they must follow the huge number of new laws. The overall result is soon to be much greater threat to our society.