Book Review: Our Lives, Our Fortunes and Our Sacred Honor: The Forging of American Independence, 1774-1776 by Richard R. Beeman

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[FULL DISCLOSURE: I received my copy of this book free from the author. I was not paid for this review and the opinion expressed is purely my own] Our Lives, Our Fortunes and Our Sacred Honor: The Forging of American Independence, 1774-1776 by Richard Beeman is the tale of the First and Second Continental Congresses from the opening of the First until the Declaration of Independence in July, 1776. It was serendipitous that I received this book from the publisher when I did because the events leading to and surrounding the Declaration of Independence have recently become an area of interest of mine. The book is 418 pages of text separated … Read more…

Support the Syrian Rebels?: How stupid can the West be?

 Video shows Islamist rebels executing 11 Syrian soldiers:  Yet for some unfathomable reason the Administration is talking about providing support to the rebel groups in Syria.  The video is below (Warning, it is graphic). After watching just contemplate that these are the folks some in the West want us to help.  How they differ from the regime thugs I have no idea. Compare the picture in the linked article with the video.  Notice there is no mention of the cries of Allahu Akbar in the article although they do mention in passing that the group is Islamist.  Now also remember the constant refrain about Islam being a Religion of Peace, which Muslim’s give the lie … Read more…

Blueprint North Carolina or, How should treason really be defined?

I just wanted to add this because I think everybody should read this document.  I ran across a mention of it yesterday while perusing some political sites and then had to find the originally posted document and read it myself at first because I could not believe the inflammatory stuff in the piece about it.  It turns out that the entire document is actually worse than I originally thought.  It is literally a blueprint for how the Blueprint folks (a Dem/Progressive organization) can paralyze state government in NC and do it while blaming the Republican admin of the state for the paralysis. After reading it there should be no questions … Read more…

Book Review: The Color of War: How One Battle Broke Japan and the Other Changed America by James Campbell

[FULL DISCLOSURE: I received my copy of this book free from the publisher for purposes of reviewing it. I was not paid for this review and the opinion expressed is purely my own] The Color of War is one of those strange history books that seems both bipolar and unified at the same time.  It is the story of the invasion of Saipan and the Port Chicago naval disaster told mostly convergently.  At first the somewhat bi-polar nature of the way the story was told was off-putting but the more I read the book the more the method made sense.  The two different but temporally convergent narratives reinforce the separation … Read more…

Book Review: Road to Valor by Aili & Andres McConnon

[FULL DISCLOSURE: I received my copy of this book free from the publisher for purposes of reviewing it. I was not paid for this review and the opinion expressed is purely my own] Road to Valor is the story of one of the many unsung and unremembered heroes of World War II. Gino Bartali was a prewar Italian racing champion and winner of the Tour de France.  Just about everyone has heard of Oskar Schindler and his List due to the 1993 Spielberg movie or Anne Frank.  What is less known are the thousands of others across occupied Europe that worked trying to help Jews and others that the Nazi’s … Read more…

Book Review: Jewell of the Mall – World War II Memorial by Stephen R. Brown

"WWII MEMORIAL"  STEPHEN BROWN COLLECTION
©Stephen R. Brown 2005

[FULL DISCLOSURE: I received my copy of this book free from the author for purposes of reviewing it. I was not paid for this review and the opinion expressed is purely my own] I received Jewel of the Mall in the mail the other day not quite knowing what to expect from a coffee-table book about the National World War II Memorial. I thought it would be a book of pictures full of accompanying text attempting to put them into context. This is not the case though, this book is 116 pages of great pictures that convey the feeling of majesty and grandeur you get from actually being there.  An … Read more…

The Law of War and Citizenship

Obama lawyers: Citizens targeted if at war with US I have to say that I agree with this decision 100%, I actually can’t believe that the issue was raised seriously. There are actually at least three sets of laws operative in the world for Americans, 1. Regular American civil and criminal law, 2. The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) for military personnel, and 3. The International Laws of Land Warfare. I am no lawyer but I will take a stab at analyzing how this works and why I think the Administration’s decision is the correct one. As I understand it, as soon as someone places themselves in a state … Read more…

Happy Veterans Day

Today is Veteran’s Day in the US and Armistice Day in Britain and France. It is a day to remember the end of the fighting in World War I on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918. It is also the day set aside in the US to remember all veterans, not just those of World War I but also those that served in our nation’s other wars and those that served during peacetime. It takes something special to serve your country and a little bit more to do so voluntarily. There is always the possibility of going to war and giving your life … Read more…

Knowledge of history and democracy

US Declaration-of-Independence

Text of Declaration of Independence Saw an interesting article today: Back to School, Back to U.S. History Basics from George Nethercutt is probably one of the best arguments I have read for emphasizing historical literacy in schools that I have seen in a long time. I have posted before about the general lack of civics knowledge in America and it is worth saying again and again that civics and history knowledge is essential to the functioning of American democracy. The argument that if the citizens of a country lack knowledge about the historical roots of their government and nation then they will not long keep either is very true. Is … Read more…

The Campaign in Central Mexico 1847-1848: In Search of Decision

After the northern campaign of General Zachary Taylor (1784-1850), failed to force the Mexican government to sue for peace, President James Polk (1795-1849) decided on an invasion of central Mexico with the goal of capturing Mexico City.  The planning for an invasion of central Mexico was the brainchild of General Winfield Scott (1786-1866), who prepared a series of three memorandums laying out the case for the operation, which he sent to President Polk in October 1846.[1] Scott had desired a command of his own since the beginning of the war and he felt slighted that he had not been given command of the force in northern Mexico.  Scott was suspicious … Read more…

Schoolhouse Rock and Civic Knowledge

Ace of Spades put up an excellent post a few weeks ago about the lack of Civics knowledge in this country.http://ace.mu.nu/archives/318322.php#318322 The best part of the post are the links to the old Schoolhouse Rock videos that just about everyone older than 30 should remember. I fondly remember them from Saturday morning’s when I was kid. Anyway, check out the post and watch the videos too. Here is a great site to go and test your civics knowledge: The BBHQ Great American Civics Quiz. There are 54 questions on the test. I got a 46, I guess I need to study some more.  Post your score in the comments.

Last Shuttle Mission

Atlantis on Pad 39A at Cape Canaveral being Prepped for Fridays Launch.  (image from NASA)

The last shuttle mission will go up on Friday July 8th. The Mission, STS-135 by Space Shuttle Atlantis will the 135th and final shuttle mission and mark the end of an era at NASA. What is really pathetic is the fact that their is no follow on manned orbiter for the US space program. We, the US, has ceded the lead in space to Russia and China and probably Japan. The president has decreed that henceforth the US will depend on other countries and private companies to put American Astronauts into orbit. That is just pathetic and I cannot understand the logic behind that decision. Everybody should have to observe … Read more…

The American Way of War – My Opinion

The American Way of War was introduced as a concept by Russell Weigley in his book of the same name during the early 1970’s.  Essentially the theory runs that America attempts to totally dominate her enemies in war thus ending the war.  The American method of achieving this during and since World War II has been through the judicious application of firepower; that is, overwhelming force directed against an enemy. American doctrine as it developed during and after World War II stresses the use of maximum force at the point of decision.  This is not much different from other nations doctrine, what makes it different is the means by which … Read more…