Saturday, July 15, 2006

BOOK REVIEW of September Day - A novel by Larry Schweikart & Jeff Head

Rather than review this novel myself, I thought that a review from someone who is politically middle of the road might be more useful. Ken, A keen book-reading friend, has therefore read the book and commented as under:

"September Day is a dramatisation of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Centre in New York, the aftermath and subsequent "war against terror".

Despite his claim that this is a work of fiction and that ".similarities to actual persons or events are purely a result of the author's imagination" it is impossible to ignore the real names and thinly disguised characters and events which are so familiar to us, and therefore to allow this knowledge to colour the narrative.

The book is essentially a fast-moving thriller, written in the modern idiom of staccato sentences and short, double-spaced paragraphs. The author has cleverly woven together facts that have been widely reported, with fictionalised private lives of the real people caught up in the tragedy. He has stuck closely to reported facts and details while filling in the missing intrigues with imaginative and, for the most part, feasible fiction. The result is a page-turner of a novel that manages to maintain tension and suspense even though we are all too familiar with the actual outcomes.

I found a disturbing dichotomy in the representation of the fictionalised protagonists; the western hero's appear as stereotypical "all American" patriots who face danger and certain death with stoic rationalism in the noble traditions of "truth, justice and The American Way", whilst the Muslim heroes (who behave with exactly the same chauvinistic behaviour) are portrayed as either manipulated zealots or sycophants who voice their disapproval of bin Laden's fanaticism in italicised asides to the reader.

The main characters are fairly shallowly drawn, but in the context of the fast moving action this is probably not a serious criticism except that it is quite difficult to rationalise their reactions to the extreme circumstances they find themselves in without being able to identify with them fully and sympathetically. The young computer genius was the only character who felt real to me even when his anarchic persona (he was recruited from a serious virus case in a plea bargain) turns out to mask an unlikely patriotism.

The novel has an ambitious range, beginning with the American embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam and taking in the reported stock exchange transactions that netted fortunes to those who had inside knowledge. The author's speculation about the overall plan and the various events and intrigues which allowed some of the intended sequences to misfire, and others to become ineffective, is insightful and totally believable.

Whether or not the book is inflammatory or politically correct is questionable but I thoroughly enjoyed reading it as a work of "faction". I was kept suitably enthralled until the last page, not knowing where or how the narrative would resolve. I was not disappointed and would recommend the book rather as a novel than a record of historical events."



Read here the statement by Israel's ambassador Gideon Meir and Brigadier General Ido Nehushtan on the current situation in Israel. Excerpt: "Israel has suffered an unprovoked cross-border attack from Lebanese territory. The attack was carried out by the Hizbullah, which is a party to the Government of Lebanon. The attack was carried out against Israelis, soldiers and civilians, while on sovereign Israeli soil. In these circumstances, Israel has no alternative but to defend itself and its citizens. For this reason, Israel is now reacting to an act of war by a neighboring sovereign state. Israel views Lebanon as responsible for the present situation, and it shall bear the consequences for this act".

Political fallacies: "The grand political fallacy of the age is that the Republicans are the party of wealth, while the Democrats are the party of compassion for the little guy. This is something that has been assumed and repeated so often that it has become a "well-known fact" without any hard evidence being asked for or given. In the 2000 elections, the counties that voted for Bush had a smaller percentage of their population with annual incomes over $100,000 than the counties that voted for Gore. The Bush counties also had a higher percentage of their population earning under $30,000 a year. It has become axiomatic in the liberal media that big-money donors give most of that big money to the Republicans. But the hard data show that the top ten donors to political campaigns gave far more to the Democrats, with the lone exception being the National Association of Realtors, who gave 50 percent to the Democrats and 49 percent to the Republicans."

Of meat and myth: "For many young people, 'The Jungle' is required reading in high-school classes, where they are led to believe that unscrupulous capitalists were routinely tainting our meat, and that moral crusader Upton Sinclair rallied the public and forced government to shift from pusillanimous bystander to heroic do-gooder, bravely disciplining the marketplace to protect its millions of victims. But this is a triumph of myth over reality, of ulterior motives over good intentions. Reading 'The Jungle' and assuming it's a credible news source is like watching 'The Blair Witch Project' because you think it's a documentary."

Malaysia: Muslim Laws And Corrupt Politicians: "Malaysia claims to be a "moderate Muslim country", but is also practises one of the most corrupt and bizarre travesties of religious freedom imaginable. It claims to be "enlightened", but the policies of its two main parties are based on discrimination against non-Muslim minorities.... UMNO hold to the principle of the "ketuanan Melayu" an ideology which states that the Malay people, who are all regarded as "Muslim" under Malaysia's Kafkaesque legal system, are the original and defining populace of Malaya, and thus should have special status and privileges.... Malaysia makes it compulsory for every citizen to be issued with a national identity card at the age of 12, and on this card is written the details of one's religion. In a move which is simultaneously racist and Islamist, all Malays are automatically registered on these cards (called MyKad) as Muslims".

Can FEMA be fixed?: l "The Senate succeeded last week in reconciling two bills intended to reform the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but the proposals do little more than tweak FEMA's organizational chart. The bills ignore the real problem: FEMA's central planning approach to organizing economic activity after a natural disaster."

For those who have not seen the story of Bruce Vincent's meeting with President Bush, you can find it here. Even Snopes was not able to discredit it, though in their usual Leftist way, they did their best. The story is one of many about the caring private deeds of the President.



"All the worth which the human being possesses, all spiritual reality, he possesses only through the State." -- 19th century German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Hegel is the most influential philosopher of the Left -- inspiring Karl Marx, the American "Progressives" of the early 20th century and university socialists to this day.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch)

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