Tag Archives: book reviews

Review of On Tyranny, by Timothy Snyder

On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth CenturyOn Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An essential and easy read for the times. Times that portend the end of American democracy and descent into authoritarianism, should Biff (think Back to the Future, the movie), AKA Donald J. Trump, be reelected. Noted historian Snyder has the expertise to describe the historical antecedents from Germany, Russia and more to how tyranny arises. Unfortunately, that happened elsewhere with the acquiescence of the populace. It
happen here.

The Founding Fathers tried to protect us from the threat they knew, the tyranny that overcame ancient democracy. Today, our political order faces new threats, not unlike the totalitarianism of the twentieth century. We are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism, or communism. Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience.

So says the back cover of Timothy Snyder’s book. Snyder offers twenty lessons from the last century, in short and simple chapters in this powerful book. Which makes the author eerily prescient on what was to come during the next three and one half years of the Trump administration.

But then, Donald J. Trump was not a complete unknown by the 2016 election—he had announced a campaign the year before and had made countless appearances and tweets even before the inaugural. There was the transition and the inaugural as well—which gave many clues on what was in store for America.

Snyder had the goods on Trump before the current president got started on his path to destroying the rule of law, setting America back decades of progress on so many fronts and–through his appointment of uninformed sycophants to key positions, managed to fail overwhelmingly at dealing with the worst health crisis in 100 years.

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NOTE: Coming late this month, more on this book, plus many more and other great topics in the 2nd  Eagle Peak Annual. Stay “tuned.”

Review of Sally Cronin’s Life’s Rich Tapestry: Woven in Words

Just one book added to reviews this time, but it’s a special one.


Life’s Rich Tapestry: Woven in WordsLife’s Rich Tapestry: Woven in Words by Sally Cronin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The book lives up to its title–indeed, Sally Cronin has woven a rich tapestry of life in words of many kinds. A variety of poetry–in forms unfamiliar in name to me, microfiction and short stories. What’s more, the graphic imagery of the short poems is inspiring to a person like me who has never really found poetry either appealing or easily understood. This time, for a change, the words grabbed me. I found meaningful passages that could be useful as well in prose writing as in poetry. Examples I must return to in settings or other places where showing and not telling is essential.

The microfiction and short stories were equally compelling, all the more so for me who is focused on those forms of writing. So, perhaps I too should consider the combination of ingredients that Sally Cronin published in this book. She is a writer worth reading.

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May Eagle Peak Quarterly Now Up on the Web

Cover of the May Eagle Peak Quarterly
Cholla blooming in New Mexico

NOTE:  Regretfully, as we are not yet 100% compliant with the GDPR rules, the  Quarterly is not currently available within EU countries

Here’s what’s in the current issue:

Finding Forgiveness–Practicing Peace

Perspectives on transcending the violence in America (and elsewhere around the world)

Sleep Apnea–Know the Symptoms and Don’t Ignore It

 It’s more serious than you think and the treatment isn’t as bad as you may expect.  Learn the risks of avoiding treatment and how it can be dealt with for you or those you care about.

Writing Tips Revisited

We did it before, in a multi-part series (you can download it here). It’s time for some fresh writing tips–mostly from the web. Like what?

Here’s one tip, from Stephen King: “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” 

There’s many more–like why “writing rules usually don’t work but guidelines do.” Why not to take crappy first drafts too seriously. “Micro-plotting” and other valuable info for current and would-be writers.

Reviews of Books We Liked (or Didn’t)

You can’t be much of a writer if you aren’t also a reader. Politics, religion, classic works–you name it, I have read it. So here’s an eclectic mix of books I think you should know about. You may or may not agree with my take on all of them, but they all contribute in one way or another to how I look at the world and how I myself write.

Publishing and Other Forms of Insanity–our second link to writing resources

Erica Verrillo, a fellow writer, has much to offer on her oddly named (but aptly, perhaps) blog. Things like:

  • writing conferences
  • agents accepting new clients
  • paying publications accepting submissions
  • no-fee contests and more

Eagle Peak Quarterly Becoming an Annual

After much consideration, we find that we cannot do justice to multiple topics in a quarterly edition while meeting our novel publication schedule. Accordingly, our next issue and those following will be an annual. Look for the next one in the spring of 2019. Well before then, all of our sites will be SSL secure (https) AND fully compliant with GDPR so they will be available around the world (except for well-known hacker havens).

Worth Noting (10) Things We Think You Should Check Out on the Web

We have some doozies this issue, from serious to surprising: from cloud security and web-connected appliance privacy to the unexpected way we rid ourselves of fat. Like making your Dropbox account more secure, beware of the “smart toaster,” and the unlikely way your body rids itself of the fact you consume. You’ll be amused and enlightened by these.

Honest Reviews

We know people who are fellow writers. We read and offer comments on each other’s blogs and social media posts. We want to support them in their book writing endeavors and hope they will do the same for us. Amazon would prefer that we not post reviews of people we are friends with. Both they and Goodreads especially don’t want review trades. So we are more circumspect. We don’t really trade reviews; we just read books and offer our opinions. But here’s the predicament: Do we feel obligated by our connections to write glowing 5-star reviews, hoping for the same for our books?

Here is my opinion, I want to call them as I see them. In other words, I post honest reviews of all books I read, even those of people I know. That may mean four or even three stars along with comments about shortcomings or what I might have preferred to see done differently. Or it may mean indeed mean glowing 5-star reviews. To me, that’s the ethical thing to do. While it’s a great feeling to have wonderful reviews, it’s not reasonable to expect nothing but raves. While I might wish they would, I don’t expect everyone I know to write glowing reviews of my work either if that’s not their honest opinion.  Of course I don’t have to post a critical or one/two star review. And I probably won’t if it’s one by someone I know.

What do you think? I really want to know.