From A Sky’s View: Book Review

 

By. Brandon L. Jackson

In “From A Sky’s View”, Brandon L. Jackson demonstrates the skill and insight of an artist. Like every artist he is burdened with his insight, and, like a fortunate few, he has the eloquence to share his vision. I think if he did not, the weight of deep feeling might be unbearable.

Oral tradition is rich in these poems. The ear is pleased by their cadence. Rhyming is occasional but always there is music in the words. Mr. Jackson’s concerns are specific to his experience–which has been different from mine–and yet his appeal is universal. I have never heard a gun go off in the street below my apartment. I’m invisible to the police–I get a pass, because of my background and my complexion. Mr. Jackson speaks, specifically, for others

“for those
Who have felt less human
Less Angel
and even more so
Less chosen”

and yet, I hear him. That is the power of his gift. It is a rare gift, that takes me where I have not been, that helps me to understand what I have not known.

“From A Sky’s View” is a slim volume, dense with gems and wisdom. I highly recommend Mr. Jackson’s book of poems.

 

A. G. Moore

Sword of Honor Book Review

WWII Greece 211_Squadron_RAF_Blenheim_landing_Greece_WWII_IWM_CM_290
This photo shows an RAF plane landing on a beach in Greece during WWII c. 1941.  In “Sword of Honor”, some of the grimmest scenes occurred during the Allied campaign in Greece. Photo credit: Mr. H. Hensser, Royal Air Force photographer.  From the Imperial War Museum Collection. Public Domain.
By Evelyn Waugh

 

Sword of Honor is a war novel unlike any I’ve read. Although the book is populated by many characters, the action centers around one–Guy Crouchback. We meet Crouchback as WWII is about to be declared. The prospect of war does not fill Waugh’s protagonist with dread, or fear; it does not inspire him to be heroic. What he hopes to find in the coming war is an opportunity, perhaps his last, to become part of an idea.

It is said that some parts of this book were lifted entirely from Waugh’s personal experience as a soldier in WWII. If that is so, then it would seem that the Allies stumbled to victory through anarchic mismanagement rather than strategic planning.

No Band of Brothers, this book.

By any standard, Sword of Honor is a masterpiece. Waugh’s use of language is masterful, his delineation of character–so many of them–artful. His social critique is biting and insightful.

I took my time reading this book and as the end approached slowed the pace further because I literally did not want to put the book down. Upon finishing the last page, I did something I’d never done before. I began the book anew.

Read Sword of Honor if you love good writing. Read it if you enjoy an entertaining story. Read it if you are interested in history, and the psychology of war. For whatever reason, do yourself a solid and read this book.

 

A. G. Moore

 

Tales From the Old Oak Table Book Review

Tales From the Old Oak Table: A Family Memoir

Susan Beck Korman

Bronx River Parkway Reservation
This photo is in the public domain because it is the work of  an National Parks employee

Many people think about legacy when they are in a certain season in their lives.  Sometimes this reflection leads to creating a written record.  This seems to have been the motivation which prompted Susan Beck Korman to take up pen and preserve her family’s history. Although legacy may have been Ms. Korman’s primary intent, she achieved a much larger purpose.  She opened a window into a specific time and place for all of us.

Ms. Korman’s childhood in the Bronx (NY) was not perfect–and neither was her family. With gentle honesty and acceptance she describes the foibles of each member; by doing so she enhances the legitimacy of her tale and the value of her memoir. This book will no doubt be treasured by generations of family.  For as long as that, I am confident it will also enrich readers who who come upon it and see in its characterizations reflections of their own imperfect families.

Ms. Korman has a talent for description.  Some of the scenes she paints are hilarious; some are touching. Together, all unite in a book that is enjoyable, informative and memorable.

Below is a picture of the Bronx Speedway, circa 1900.  This thoroughfare for horse traffic later became the Bronx River Drive and accommodated automobiles.  The Drive runs approximately along the Southwest perimeter of the borough