shame on us

decadeDecade Of Betrayal, Mexican Repatriation in the 1930’s by Francisco E. Balderrama and Raymond Rodriguez; 1995; 283 pages; University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, NM; 0-8263-1575-5; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Central; 11/16/15-11/20/15

In the depths of the Depression of the 1930’s people in the United States thought that there was an chance to improve their prospects at employment by returning millions of people with Hispanic names to Mexico.  Incomplete statistics estimate that approximately 2.5 million people were repatriated to Mexico, 1.5 million of them were citizens of the United States.  As the United States was repatriating these people to Mexico, Mexico was trying to use them to colonize portions of the interior of the country.  Mexico was unable to complain too vigorously about the repatriation for two reasons, 1) one the government wanted to continue to recognize a countries sovereign right to decide how to govern their own country and 2) at the time Mexico was repatriating people  also so there would be more jobs for Mexicans.  This book (which I suspect was someones doctoral thesis)  tells the story of several people who were repatriated in the context of the people surrounding them.  It is full of numbers and the stories of many individuals in all kinds of circumstances.  Many families were split by the refusal of some members to return to Mexico, and others by circumstances beyond their control.


Did I learn something?  I knew much of what was here but it was interesting to read the individual stories of those who were affected by the repatriation during the depression.

What is with the title of the review? Too often we react to bad news in the United States by pinning the blame on someone else or attempting to expel those unlike us.  However they are all like us, other than Native Americans, as we are all immigrants or our ancestors are.  Our country has open doors to all, not just those we like.  As Christians we are called to help those who need it.




The Promise by Robert Crais; 2015; $27.95; 402 pages; G.P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, NY; 978-0-399-16149-0; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Kenton; 11/12/15-11/15/15

Elvis Cole, Joe Pike, Scott James and Maggie come together in this long awaited thriller from Robert Crais.  Scott and Maggie were introduced in Suspect, Scott is an LAPD detective suffering from PTSD after the death of his partner, Maggie is a Marine Corps explosive sniffing dog who also suffers from PTSD after the death of her handler in Afghanistan.  Maggie and Scott are teamed up as an LAPD K-9 unit.  Elvis is hired to find a woman who has embezzled a massive amount of money from her employee.  As Elvis begins to investigate he is confronted by Scott at a crime scene.  As the investigation continues both Scott and Elvis come to realize that they are not getting complete information from the client or Scott’s superior.  The story involves terrorist, bank robbers, Homeland Security, and corrupt officials.  It is another amazing story from Robert Crais, as with each new book from him it has become my favorite book by him.

Grade A

Did I enjoy it?  Immensely.  It is always an exciting adventure with Elvis and Joe and throwing Scott and Maggie into the mix makes it even more compelling.

What is with the title of the review?  The publication of this book was repeatedly postponed and it has been 32 months since I finished the last Robert Crais book.

a paperback way back machine

The Boys in the Boat, Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown; 2013; $17.00; 375 pages; Penguin Books, New York, NY; 978-0-14-312547-1; purchased from; 11/3/15-11/12/15

Nine young men from many different parts of Washington and many different backgrounds come together to row crew at the University of Washington in the early 1930’s.  They are winnowed from over 200 students to become a freshman crew that is outstanding and special according to the coach and the shell maker.  They work together and bond together and work many long hours to gain a strength that only comes from working together for a common purpose and a common goal.  Finding that one thing that matters to all of them.  They work together to challenge for a national championship, an invitation to the 1936 Olympic Trials and ultimately to the Olympics in Berlin in 1936.  Mr. Brown writes so well that I often thought that I was there watching the races and walking beside Joe Rantz, the main character in the story.  I haven’t been moved so much by a book in a while.


Did I enjoy it?  Immensely.  It was extremely well written and I want to read the author’s other two books.

What is with the title of the review?  Sherman and Mr. Peabody had their wayback machine to transport them to the past in Saturday morning cartoons I felt that I was at some of the events that the author describes.



Ingvar rising

Brotherband, Book 5, Scorpion Mountain by John Flanagan; 2014; $18.99;451 pages; Philomel Books, New York, New York; 978-0-399-16356-2; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Fairview; 10/31/15-11/3/15

The princess of Araulen has a contract out on her and as the duty ship the Heron and Ranger Gilan are called upon.  King Duncan tasks them with traveling to the headquarters of the cult of assassins who hold the contract.  On the way they encounter many obstacles before arriving at Scorpion Mountain.  Hal once again uses his mind to conquer the obstacles that confront the brotherband.  The assassins insists that they only way a contract can be terminated is by the death of the target, but Gilan comes up with another way to terminate it.  During the course of the story Hal comes up with a innovative way to make Ingvar an even more productive member of the crew.


Did I enjoy it?  Very much,  each of these books highlights various members of the crew and highlights how the mind is often mightier than the bicep.

What is with the title of the review?  Ingvar is a member of the Heron brotherband, who due to his nearsightedness has been relegated to the sidelines much of the time and only used sparingly.  Hal comes up with a way to make Ingvar an even more important member of the crew.



Brotherband, Book 4, Slaves of Socorro by John Flanagan; 2014; $18.99; 462 pages; Philomel Books, New York, NY; 978-0-399-16355-5; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Rockwood; 8/28/15-8/31/15

The Heron and the brotherband have been assigned to be the duty ship in the Skandian allied Kingdom of Araluen.  They pick up the Ranger Gilan to go to Araluen and encounter a slaver.  The slaver turns out to be their Skandian nemesis Tursgurd of the Shark brotherband so they follow his to Scorro and try to negotiate the release of the slaves.  One of them has to stay behind in the slave market while the others figure out how to rescue the those taken.  The rescue is a great adventure and battle between the brotherband and those who run the slave market.  Hal and crew recover those taken and return to Araulen.

Grade A

Did I enjoy it?  Yes it was another exciting adventure of Hal and the Heron brotherband.  Again the might of the brain is almost as important to the story as the strength of those involved.

What is with the title of the review?  It has nothing to do with the Bond villain played by Richard Kiel.  The antagonist in the story is the Herons nemesis, Tursgurd, head of the Shark Brotherband.


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