Tag: History

Behold, an Ashen Horse

A gripping alternative history by Lee and Vista Boyland

Description

Alternative history is fiction based on the assumption one or more historical events happened differently. For example, what if President Lincoln had not been assassinated, how would Lincoln’s survival have affected America?

Behold, an Ashen Horse is the second novel of a five book (so far) series based upon three alternate historical events: (1) the Soviet Union attempted to copy both of the Atomic Bombs developed by the Manhattan Project; (2) al-Qaeda obtained several atomic devices; and (3) President Bush was not reelected in 2004.

Islamists believe they have to convert the world to Islam ruled by Shariah Law and they will use any weapon available to kill infidels. Now they have used nuclear devices to destroy five U.S. cities. George Alexander, the secretary of Homeland Security is the only surviving senior government official and it is up to him to save the nation. Once again America is blessed by having right man for the job. Alexander forms a working government, pulls the nation together, deals with hostile nations, domestic jihads, unhappy progressive-liberals, and the new Caliphate before seeking retribution from those responsible.

Alexander is statesman president who puts America’s need first. Much of this story is found in today’s news.

After this novel was released in 2007, the authors received several emails in 2008 asking if Donald Trump was President Alexander? We answered maybe. Now readers can answer the question for themselves.

Behold, an Ashen Horse is a frighteningly realistic story of events after a nuclear 9/11.

My thoughts …

This is the second book in a series by this author. I have actually not read the first book, titled Rings of Allah, but I still enjoyed this one immensely. I did read Revolution 2016 by this author and really liked it as well.

In this story, President George Alexander, the Secretary of Homeland Security in the previous installment, must decide how to defend the United States and get the government operational again after a nuclear attack takes out 5 major U.S. cities, the President, his cabinet, and the Congress.

The new president stops apologizing for America and throws political correctness right out the window as he fights to hold the nation together and identify those responsible for the horrific attack. And when he lets loose the dogs of war, the new president puts the entire world on notice.

I was struck by how well the authors blend this narrative into current events and the internal strife currently dividing our nation, making the possibilities this alternative history present hit just a little to close for comfort.

Lee Boyland is a veteran and an accomplished writer with extensive knowledge of military weapons, the armed forces, the structure of the American government. He is quite knowledgeable about Islam. I have read several books on Islam as well as the Koran. While this is clearly an alternative history, you only need to read an honest English language version of the Koran to confirm the plausible reality of Boyland’s narrative.

I highly recommend this book to those who enjoy this kind of fiction.

POW/MIA Recognition Day

National POW/MIA Recognition Day was established in 1979 by a proclamation signed by President Jimmy Carter. Since then, each subsequent president has continued the tradition, commemorating the third Friday in September as National POW/MIA Recognition Day.

A national ceremony is held on every National POW/MIA Recognition Day at the Pentagon featuring members of each branch of military service and the participation of high-ranking officials.

In addition to the national ceremony, many observances of National POW/MIA Recognition Day can be found across the country on military installations, ships at sea, state capitols, schools, veterans’ facilities, homes, and private businesses.

No matter where they are held, these National POW/MIA Recognition Day ceremonies share the common purpose of honoring those held captive and returned, and those who remain missing.

According to the Department of Defense, approximately 83,114 Americans are still missing today.

In past years, I have seen Missing Man Honors tables set up in restaurants I have visited on this day. It never fails to bring a lump to my throat.

Missing Man Honors

Let me take a moment to explain the significance of the Missing Man Honors to those who may not understand. This is how the table is typically set at military and veteran clubs, and private businesses and homes.

The tables I have seen are typically set for one, with the single empty chair representing all missing American servicemembers. It will sometimes be done with a setting for six, with each chair representing the missing Americans from each of the services, including the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and civilian.

There is great symbolism in how the table is set.

The table is round to symbolize our everlasting concern.

The table cloth is white and represents the purity of motive in answering the call to serve.

A single red rose is placed on the table to remind us of the lives of these Americans and their friends and loved ones who keep the faith.

The yellow ribbon represents our continued uncertainty, hope for their return, and determination to account for them.

A slice of lemon reminds us of their bitter fate, captured or missing in a foreign land.

A pinch of salt symbolizes the tears of the missing and their families.

The lighted candle reflects our hope for their return.

The Bible represents the strength gained through faith to sustain us and those lost from our country, founded as one nation under God.

The glass is inverted, symbolizing their inability to share a toast.

The chair is empty … because these great Americans are missing.

Traditions such as these honor those who fought and sacrificed so Americans today can live in Freedom.

Freedom is such a precious gift, a gift paid for by blood during the American Revolution, the Civil War, World War I, World War II, and other conflicts.

Politics is for politicians. The American fighting men and women put the politics aside and just do their job. All Americans should remember the brave men and women who answered our nation’s call and served in defense of freedom, and it is especially important to remember those who have not yet come home.

WWII Documentaries Available On-Line for Free

It might be fun to learn a little WWII history while staying at home and helping control the spread if Covid-19! John Purvis provides some great links to documentaries on the subject that are free to view.

John's Notes

If you or your students, kids, adults are looking for things to do to stay occupied, please know ALL our World War II films are available to watch for free on your computer, tablet or smart phone @WWIIFoundation 2020-03-20 at 9.32.34 AM

I saw a tweet from @WWIIFoundation a short time ago that I thought was worth sharing. It said:

If you or your students, kids, adults are looking for things to do to stay occupied, please know ALL our World War II films are available to watch for free on your computer, tablet or smartphone.

If you visit their website (https://wwiifoundation.org/) you will find nearly 30 documentary videos covering WWII. This website offers something to fill some of the time while we are confined at home and to learn more about WWII.


If you are interested in the WWII era of history, you may find these three pages of interest. 

  • The “World War II Sources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 360 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and other sources with information on the World War II-era in history.
  • The “

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Diet Eman- WWII Hero posted on History of Sorts

There are so many brave souls you never read about in the history books. I enjoy a lot of the stories Dirk DeKlein post on his blog History of Sorts. Dirk is a Dutch man living in Ireland and he is passionate about music, movies, and history. His posts primarily concern the WWII era, but often include music, movies, and the occasional serial killer.

This story is about a young Christian couple engaged to be married, who join the Dutch resistance and help fight the Nazis. Both are eventually captured. While Diet finally gains her freedom and moves to the U.S., her fiance died in Dachau Concentration Camp. Diet also had a brother die in a Japanese prison camp.

Diet Eman eventually wrote her memoir with help from Dr. Jame Schaap. titled Things We Couldn’t Say. It is a dramatic account of Christian resistance in Holland during WWII. It has been added to my “Must Read” list and I just had to mention it here. Click the link below to read Dirk’s entire post.

Only the good die young, all the evil seem to live forever is a line from an Iron Maiden song, and there have been times where I thought this to be true, because I saw so many evil people living a long and prosperous lives. But thankfully ever now and then that theory is proven […]

Diet Eman- WWII Hero. — History of Sorts

Amazing Arial Combat and Chivalry

Read an incredible story of courage, combat and chivalry during World War II that will quicken your pulse, give you a strong sense of American pride, make you chuckle, and then bring a tear to your eye!

Higher Call: An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World War II

A “beautiful story of a brotherhood between enemies”* emerges from the horrors of World War II in this New York Times and international bestseller. 

combat and Chivalry

December, 1943: A badly damaged American bomber struggles to fly over wartime Germany. At the controls is twenty-one-year-old Second Lieutenant Charlie Brown. Half his crew lay wounded or dead on this, their first mission. Suddenly, a Messerschmitt fighter pulls up on the bomber’s tail. The pilot is German ace Franz Stigler – and he can destroy the young American crew with the squeeze of a trigger…

What happened next would defy imagination and later be called “the most incredible encounter between enemies in World War II.”

The U.S. 8th Air Force would later classify what happened between them as “top secret.” It was an act that Franz could never mention for fear of facing a firing squad. It was the encounter that would haunt both Charlie and Franz for forty years until, as old men, they would search the world for each other, a last mission that could change their lives forever.

Simply an amazing read!

It is almost impossible to describe the range of emotional responses reading this story invoked within me. As a patriotic American and the great-grandson of German immigrants to America, this story touched me on many levels. 

This is the story of two men, pilots in their respective country’s air forces, meeting in a chance encounter in the skies over Germany.  This meeting would eventually go down in history as one of the most amazing tales of World War II. 

I stayed on the edge of my seat reading this story. It was very hard to put down even when I needed to. It was like I became Lieutenant Charlie Brown and the fate of  ‘Ye Olde Pub” and the B-17’s crew was in my hands.  I also became the pilot of the ME-109, torn between my humanity and the orders of the Nazis government that I secretly despised. We do not hear the words combat and chivalry used in the same sentence these days.

I became totally engrossed in the characters on both sides! This book made me wince. At times it made me chuckle. In addition, this story tugged at my heart and there were several times it even brought a tear to my eye.

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars ( maybe even 6 out of 5!)

If you enjoy military history, this book is an absolutely must read. It is rare that we get to glimpse such an amazing spark of real humanity in the awful chaos that is war. It truly is a story of combat and chivalry!


Check out my novel, Serpents Underfoot!

Jeffery R Cox Publishes New WWII Non-fiction!

Jeffery R Cox’s Morning Star, Midnight Sun is on my reading list!

John Purvis recently reviewed the non-fiction WWII book by Jeffery R Cox, called, Morning Star, Midnight Sun.

via Review of “Morning Star, Midnight Sun”

John’s review of this book intrigued me, so I went to Amazon.com and took a look, and read some additional reader reviews. It has a great overall rating of 3.8 out of 5 stars after a total of 17 Customer Reviews, with 59% being 5 Stars and an additional 18% being 4 Stars. Definitely, a strong showing since its publication date of February 22, 2018.

I do love reading WWII history. My other big favorite is Vietnam War history. This is probably fairly apparent if you read my novel, Serpents Underfoot. Anyway, I guess I will be adding Morning Star, Midnight Sun to my Audible collection. Military history, in general, has always been fascinating to me. As a youngster, I received many books on military history as Christmas gifts. Now I am even experimenting with military flash fiction! Who would have thought of such a thing!

If you like WWII history, you should check this book out. You might also want to check out some of the other reviews on John’s Notes; especially if you are a Mac user!

Reminders …

And, if you like exciting military fiction with a touch of romance, political intrigue, and family values … check out my book, Serpents Underfoot, on Amazon.com!

And, Kindle readers … don’t forget the giveaway memorial Day Weekend!

Did You Know About the Other Tea Party?

The Edenton Tea Party

the other tea party
A British cartoon satirizing the Edenton Tea Party women.

Not long ago I learned about another famous American Tea Party. However, it seems it is famous only to a relatively small group of people. On the way to  Elizabeth City, NC in northeastern North Carolina, I passed through a small town called Edenton.  I learned Edenton is famous for its own Revolutionary War era Tea Party. I had never heard of this. Therefore, I decided to do a little digging.

The Other Tea Party

The Edenton Tea Party …  a political protest organized in Edenton, North Carolina in 1774. Like the Boston Tea Party, it was in response to the Tea Act passed by the British Parliament in 1773. The Edenton Tea Party is a historic landmark event. Not because of the boycott on tea … such protests were happening all across the Thirteen Colonies. This tea party is most noteworthy because women organized it.

Meet Penelope Barker

Penelope Barker led a group of 51 women who met on October 25, 1774. These women wrote and signed a statement of protest, vowing to give up tea and boycott other British products.

In addition, Barker decided their protest should reach ears in England. Therefore, she sent a copy of the declaration to the British press. Penelope Barker stated:

Maybe it has only been men who have protested the king up to now. That only means we women have taken too long to let our voices be heard. We are signing our names to a document, not hiding ourselves behind costumes like the men in Boston did at their tea party. The British will know who we are.

The 51 Women

The Signers of the Declaration include: Abagail Charlton, Mary Blount, F. Johnstone, Elizabeth Creacy, Margaret Cathcart, Elizabeth Patterson, Anne Johnstone, Jane Wellwood, Margaret Pearson, Mary Woolard, Penelope Dawson, Sarah Beasley, Jean Blair, Susannah Vail, Grace Clayton, Elizabeth Vail, Frances Hall, Mary Jones, Mary Creacy, Anne Hall, Rebecca Bondfield, Ruth Benbury, Sarah Littlejohn, Sarah Howcott, Penelope Barker, Sarah Hoskins, Elizabeth P. Ormond, Mary Littledle, M. Payne, Sarah Valentine, Elizabeth Johnston, Elizabeth Crickett, Mary Bonner, Elizabeth Green, Lydia Bonner, Mary Ramsay, Sarah Howe, Anne Horniblow, Lydia Bennet, Mary Hunter, Marion Wells, Tresia Cunningham, Anne Anderson, Elizabeth Roberts, Sarah Mathews, Anne Haughton, and Elizabeth Beasly.

Historic Record

Finally, while many famous documents from the American Revolution exist in the united States, this petition survives only through British accounts. The text of the petition, and the list of signers, was printed in the Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser on January 16, 1775. As a result, many Americans do not even know this Tea Party occurred.

The full text of the petition is as follows:

As we cannot be indifferent on any occasion that appears nearly to affect the peace and happiness of our country, and as it has been thought necessary, for the public good, to enter into several particular resolves by a meeting of Members deputed from the whole Province, it is a duty which we owe, not only to our near and dear connections who have concurred in them, but to ourselves who are essentially interested in their welfare, to do every thing as far as lies in our power to testify our sincere adherence to the same; and we do therefore accordingly subscribe this paper, as a witness of our fixed intention and solemn determination to do so.

 

 

Book Review: The Last Battle by Stephen Harding

The war is over …

The Last Battle

It is May, 1945. Adolf Hitler lies dead and burned  in his bunker. The Third Reich is now little more than a smoking pile of rubble. American soldiers think about going home, now that the war is essentially over. Formal surrender is just days away.  Then something unbelievable happens. The  Last Battle is still yet to be fought.

The last battle begins …

According to John C. Lee, Jr, “Well, it was just the damnedest thing!”

Captain John C Lee, Jr. is in command of a small group of American soldiers, disheartened Wehrmacht soldiers and one ex SS officer. A startling  alliance forms to protect a group of VIP French prisoners from being executed at the end of WWII.

The stage is set …

German forces invade France in May of 1940.  Hitler’s troops round-up many French government officials and other VIPs, including   Wimbledon champion. Initially, these prisoners spend time in places like Dachau, Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen. Hitler decides to have some hostages on hand to exchange if things go bad.

As a result, this group of illustrious prisoners find themselves interred at Schloss Itter, a castle in northern Austria. The living conditions at Schloss Itter are much better than at the concentration camps.  However, the French prisoners were not out of the woods.  The commandant of the castle is a brutal, murderous thug who, at one time, was in charge of prisoner discipline at Dachau.

The German army is in compete disarray after Hitler’s death. Deserters are very common. A fanatical unit of SS troops receives orders to execute the French VIP’s before they can be rescued. The SS set out to carry out their last orders.

An unbelievable tale …

The Last Battle tells the unbelievable story of this unlikeliest battle of WW II.  This small group of American tankers, led by Captain Lee, who with the help of German soldiers, fight off these fanatical SS troops and protect the stronghold’s VIP prisoners. This is a tale of unlikely allies, real bravery and desperate combat between soldiers who just want to go home alive and fanatical Nazi killers.

While this is a great story., it is not a bang, bang, shoot-em-up!  It is a history and well-documented.  The story does start a little slow because of the great attention to detail. Beginning chapters contain biographies of the French prisoners and there is a great deal of historical background.  The battle comes at the end.

I did thoroughly enjoy the read and if you are a historian, you should enjoy it as well.  If you need not stop action … this might not be a book for you.  It is a fascinating and excellent story. I give it 4 Stars!