The Yellow Birds – MOVIE and BOOK REVIEW

In which we have a double header book and movie review…

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Tokyo Vice – Book Review

“If you spend enough years as a crime reporter, you get callous. It’s only natural. If you grieved for every victim or shared the pain of the family, you’d become a mental case. Murder, arson, armed robbery, family suicide, they all become routine. There’s a tendency to dehumanise the victims, sometimes to even be annoyed with them for ruining your day off or a planned vacation. It sounds horrible, and it is. But that’s how it works.”

So goes a quote from the book Tokyo Vice by Jake Adelstein. I wrote this quote down as I was reading the book because I thought that in a nutshell it summed up the direct, to the point, and no nonsense style of writing of Adelstein as he recounts his time working for a number of newspapers in Japan in the 1990s. As the blurb says:

From the only American journalist ever to have been admitted to the insular Tokyo Metropolitan Police Press Club, this is a unique, firsthand, revelatory look at Japanese culture from the underbelly up.

For all those reasons and that unusual point of view, this book was great to read. At times laugh out loud funny, and at others deadly serious, Adelstein weaves an engrossing tale of his adventures. He is very honest as he goes along, even covering events that included some actions of his that may have led to the death of someone at the hands of the Yakuza. Its riveting, interesting, and informative.

Of course I have had a long time interest in Japan and have read many many books on the place, but this was the first one that I have read that really delved in a first person way into the darker side of the country, into the realms of gangs, strippers, murder, retaliations, prostitution, and human trafficking. Adelstein writes with the same amount of depth whether its being first on scene at a suicide, or whether talking about a female colleague’s experiences working in the the sexist and hierarchical structure of the newspaper.

I thought this was a good read and would recommend it to anyone that has an interest in Japan, or biographies of people forced to live well outside their comfort zone. Its a highly entertaining and at times sobering read.

Shogun – BOOK REVIEW

In which we take a look at an old classic!

I believe in a value-for-value model so if you liked what you saw, maybe buy me a coffee? https://www.paypal.me/SierraKiloBravo

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7.07pm

Johnny Got His Gun – BOOK REVIEW

The one with sobering tome…

I believe in a value-for-value model so if you liked what you saw, maybe buy me a coffee? https://www.paypal.me/SierraKiloBravo

Music
Song: Cool Jazz
Artist: Kammeton
Link: https://youtu.be/Z0P1OXTE2m0

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7.42am

The Spartacus War – BOOK REVIEW

Vlog 281 – The one with the legendary hero!

I believe in a value-for-value model so if you liked what you saw, maybe buy me a coffee? https://www.paypal.me/SierraKiloBravo

Music
Song: Cool Jazz
Artist: Kammeton
Link: https://youtu.be/Z0P1OXTE2m0

Find Me on All the Things!
* YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/sierrakilobravo
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11.43am

6071844It’s taken me a while to make this review, because it’s been a long time since a book got my brain going quite like this. The book in question is Earth’s Forbidden Secrets written by Maxwell Igan.

Despite the dramatic sounding title, there are, spoiler alert, no forbidden secrets revealed therein. What it does present however, is a huge amount of really interesting information, most of which revolves around the theme of civilisations on earth from much longer ago in the human timeline than we currently think. Igan presents three lines of evidence for this: Out of Place Artefacts, ancient texts that seem to describe things only known to the modern world, and lastly a creation account that predates the bible by thousands of years.

I’ll say here that I don’t necessarily go along with everything he says but at times he does present some things that make you go hmmm. Like an iron pot being found inside a chunk of 312 million year old coal. Or landscapes being accurately described from the air centuries before the age of human flight as just a couple of examples.

The section on the creation story as told by the Sumerians caught my attention in a big way too, not because I believe every part of it, but for another reason. I used to be religious and as I was leaving the religion of my childhood I went into a deep dive on the worlds religions and came away with the conclusion that most parts of most religions are copies of copies of copies of previous religious systems. This book helped solidify this theory in its sharing of the Sumerian creation tale. Many of the Genesis account names, places, and ideas are present in the Sumerian tale which predates the bible by thousands of years. It’s as if these things in Genesis were lifted almost directly from the much older Sumerian text. When you read the two in parallel, it sure looks to me like the Genesis version is a modified copy of the Sumerian version. (To clarify this being a copy of a copy thing is not what this part of the book is about, he just a lays out the story as translated from ancient tablets. The copy of a copy thing is just something I noticed that nicely paralleled other things I have read).

It’s fascinating stuff.

I could spend hours on this alone, but suffice to say this section of Earth’s Forbidden Secrets was thoroughly interesting.

Do I believe all of it? No, but like the author I says, read it, examine it, and come to your own conclusion. There’s definitely enough there to get your brain working. The best part of this book is that it’s available for free from the authors website here. There’s not much more to say! It’s an interesting read, it’s a bit weird in places, and I enjoyed the heck out of it!

2.09pm

transfer-of-powerI’ve got a big pile of books on my iPad and sometimes when I am looking for the next thing to read my eyes glaze over at all the choices. So I often just end up reading whatever book happens to be at the top of the list. And so it was that I found myself reading Transfer of Power by Vince Flynn.

So what’s it about? Here’s the blurb:

On a busy Washington morning, amid the shuffle of tourists and the brisk rush of government officials, the stately calm of the White House is shattered in a hail of gunfire. A group of terrorists has descended on the Executive Mansion, and gained access by means of a violent massacre that has left dozens of innocent bystanders murdered. Through the quick actions of the Secret Service, the president is evacuated to his underground bunker, but not before almost one hundred hostages are taken.

While the politicians and the military leaders argue over how to negotiate with the terrorists, one man is sent in to break through the barrage of panicked responses and political agendas surrounding the chaotic crisis. Mitch Rapp, the CIA’s top counterterrorism operative, makes his way into the White House and soon discovers that the president is not as safe as Washington’s power elite had thought. Rapp scrambles to save the hostages before the terrorists can extract the president from the safety of his bunker. In a race against time, Rapp makes a chilling discovery that could rock Washington to its core: someone within his own government is maneuvering in hopes that his rescue attempt will fail.

And off we go with an action packed thriller full of political intrigue. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s great. Mitch Rapp is the main character but there is a big cast of other players and Flynn does a great job of giving them all pretty much the same airtime. Each are developed logically, and despite the big cast, Flynn skilfully keeps track of them so you as the reader know what’s going on with who, and where. Flynn takes his time to lay out all the places and people and then slowly ramps up the action. He takes his time doing so but it doesn’t feel dragged out, it’s done at just the right pace.

I know this is a good book because it about a hostage situation, not something I would usually read but I really enjoyed it, much more than The Innocent by David Baldicci that I read recently as brain bleach (see episode 30 of my podcast for that review). In fact The Innocent and Transfer of Power are both books are the first in a series, and I am much much more interested in reading the rest of this, the Mitch Rapp series.

There is something like 15 books in the series currently, so I think I have plenty of good books ahead of me.

In fact one of the later books in the series is American Assassin the namesake of a recent movie. I would suggest that you don’t base your decision to read this based on that movie, which is rubbish. Here is my Ten Word Movie Review from when we watched it:

Wants to be Bourne but unintentionally ends up like Clouseau.

Transfer of Power, the book, is very enjoyable, a great read, a solid thriller, and if you enjoy the books that are a combo of action and political intrigue then this might be right up your alley.