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Friday, June 27, 2014

The Sackett Who Would Be King - Review of The Naulahka

Just published a very brief review at Amazon.  The book is:

The Naulahka: A Story of West and East.

Here's the link to the review at Amazon.

The novel is a collaboration between Rudyard Kipling and Wolcott Balestier. It is essentially an American western story set in India. Think of a cross between Louis L'Amour and Rudyard Kipling: The Sackett Who Would Be King. It is the 1880's. Nicholas Tarvin is a resourceful, young mover & shaker in Topaz, Colorado. Possessed of a rather flexible moral disposition, he is already becoming a successful man. All that's missing from his life is marriage to the girl he loves, and a way to ensure the Three C's railroad runs through Topaz so the value of his town real estate holdings will skyrocket and make him rich. Kate Sheriff however has vowed to dedicate her life to bringing medical aid to suffering women in India, and is leaving for the princely state of Rhatore, known for little other than dust, a capricious and dissolute maharajah, and a mythical necklace of priceless value that may not exist. And as to the railroad, Nick learns it is likely to route through a different, competing, nearby town - a fact he learns during a chance meeting with the president of the railroad and the president's young wife. The young wife happens to be a lover of fine jewelry.

Did I mention Nick is a resourceful young man? If you've ever enjoyed a paperback western, or the writing of, say, Mark Twain, you should check this book out. I have read it now for the third time. I actually have a used, hard-cover copy but am placing the review here because the Kindle edition is only 99 cents and I want others to enjoy it as much as I did.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

War Is Hard

There is a lot of re-litigating going on over the original decision to invade Iraq in 2003.  Personally, I still support our decision to do it.  Saddam was perceived as a major threat. He had used chemical weapons.  There is strong evidence he was taking steps to reconstitute his nuclear program.  He did his best to convince the world he still had WMD's.  He was – to his later regret I imagine – successful in this deception.  He was a sponsor of terrorism.  The sanctions regime in place to control him was falling apart and was, in the event, being bypassed by massive and systemic corruption.  Saddam was a declared enemy of the United States, and we had just begun a war in his neighborhood.  Our options were to leave him in place as a constant danger, or to take him out.  After having 3000 Americans burned alive in the middle of New York City, we were right not to leave him in place.