Monthly Archives: January 2015

BOOK REVIEW: ‘Death Watch’ : American Terrorist Goes to Extremes to Avenge a Wrong

Who is more dangerous: A native born American bent on revenge or a foreigner engaged in a similar act of terrorist?

Death Watch cover

It’s a question with no definite black or white answer, but I’d put my money on George Haddan, the protagonist of “Death Watch” (Motivational Press, 300 pages, $16.95, available from in print and in a $7.99 Kindle edition), a techno thriller by Michael Sedge and Joel Jacobs.

Following a format established by Frederick Forsyth in “The Day of the Jackal”, the authors present us with a fully fleshed out character in George Haddan. He’s a former American DELTA Force commando who is seeking revenge for the death of his mother, which he blames on the U.S.

Haddan left the military and became a free-lance hitman. His knowledge of languages and customs helps him function seamlessly in Italy, Germany and throughout the Middle East. He funds a German scientist who manages to isolate and concentrate the deadly Ebola virus. Instead of targeting a few dozen people, Haddan’s goal is to kill everybody on the USS George Washington, an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean.

The authors have a front-of-the-book disclaimer saying that “Death Watch” is a work of fiction and that as far as science knows, Ebola is not an airborne virus, and is transmitted by direct contact with an infected victim and/or carrier. The disclaimer says that the method of spreading the virus throughout the ship is “to enhance the overall storyline.”

On the trail of Haddan is Jason Blake, Special Agent, Naval Criminal Investigative Services (NCIS), as he tracks Haddan through Europe, Africa, and abroad the aircraft carrier USS George Washington. It’s a plight that puts the U.S. Navy against itself as the crew combats a deadly outbreak of ebola, making the ship a floating “hot zone” in the Mediterranean Sea.

Blake’s role reminded me again of the 1973 film version of “The Day of the Jackal” directed by Fred Zinnemann (one of my all-time favorite movies, by the way!). Blake’s counterpart in the film is French cop Lebel, played brilliantly by Michael Lonsdale.

Continuing this comparison of “Death Watch” with “The Day of the Jackal”, Sedge and Jacobs populate their book with believable characters, both on the aircraft carrier and in Europe and Africa. This, I believe, makes their work superior to authors who present us with cardboard-cutout one-dimensional people. Some of the characters in “Death Watch” — especially those on board the carrier — may seem a bit over the top, but with 6,000 Navy personnel on the carrier, over the top is probably normal!

If you’re seeking a thriller that combines elements of Clancy and Forsyth, “Death Watch” is a good choice. I read it in one sitting and was impressed with the writing. I think it’s safe to say that George Haddan will make his presence felt in another book by Sedge and Jacobs.

About the Authors:

Michael H. Sedge

Michael Sedge

Michael Sedge is an American journalist, author, marketing specialist, and entrepreneur. He founded the marketing company Strawberry Media and co-founded the U.S. small business, Michael-Bruno, LLC, which offers architectural design, engineering services, and construction management to the U.S. government in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Sedge was born in Flint, Michigan, and graduated with a Bachelor of History and Government from University of La Verne in La Verne, California. In 1973 Sedge started his service in the United States Navy, and was soon assigned to Southern Italy for what was meant to be a 48 month stay. He was assigned to diverse locales in Europe until 1977. Eventually Sedge, who also speaks Italian, took up permanent residence in Naples, Italy to pursue writing, journalism, and ultimately as an international businessman. His non-fiction book, “The Lost Ships of Pisa”, won the President of the Italian Republic’s Book of the Year Award for a Foreign Author and the “Rusticcello di Pisa” International Journalism Award from the city of Pisa.

For David M. Kinchen’s April 6, 2014 review of Michael Sedge’s “The Oracle”:

Joel JacobsJoel Jacobs

Joel Jacobs, an East Texas native, studied journalism and photography at Northwestern University and Syracuse University. He served 20 plus years in the Navy and is the former editor of “The World of Beer” out of Milan, Italy. As he puts it, “I’ve watched the sun come up and go down over 58 countries on five continents.” He lives just outside of Commerce, Texas, a university town that has more students (10,000) than its regular population of 9,000.


BOOK REVIEW: ‘The Same Sky: A Novel’: Poignant Tale of Two Women

One of the big stories this past summer — at least on the cable news networks — was the influx of young children unaccompanied by adults into the states bordering Mexico — refugees from the poverty and violence of central American nations like Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala. This isn’t a new story, only one that’s newly reported.

the same sky jacketAmanda Eyre Ward includes this element in alternating chapters telling the story of Carla, a refugee girl from Honduras and Alice, a relatively affluent woman in Austin, Texas, in “The Same Sky” (Ballantine Books, 288 pages, $25.00).
Nobody should have to grow up as quickly as eleven-year-old Carla, left behind in Tegucigalpa, Honduras by her mother who paid a coyote to reach El Norte. She’s working at a restaurant in Austin, Texas and sends money to keep Carla, her six-year-old brother, Junior, and her grandmother sustain life in a city where the violence — often gang-driven — is escalating.

When Carla’s grandmother dies, Carla resolves to make the journey to the U.S. There’s nothing for her in Tegu. She manages to secure the services of a young man who claims to know the way north. Thus begins one of the most horrifying parts of the novel.

Meanwhile, Alice Conroe and her husband Jake own a barbecue restaurant in Austin, Texas. Hardworking and popular in their community, they have a loving marriage and thriving business, but Alice still feels that something is missing, lying just beyond reach. Alice met Jake in New York City just after recovering from breast cancer. They married and moved to Texas, where Jake continued the Conroe family barbecue tradition that began in his hometown of Lockhart, south of Austin.

To those unfamiliar with Texas — where I’ve lived going on seven years now — barbecue is a religion in the Lone Star State. It’s taken seriously by everybody and especially by Texas Monthly, widely circulated in the state. One of the humorous parts of “The Same Sky” involves an attractive woman food writer from New York in Austin to do a story on Conroe’s BBQ.

Alice and Jake have just been dealt a severe blow when the infant boy they’ve just adopted has been taken back by his birth mother. For years, Jake and Alice have been going through fertility treatments that have drained their savings. The loss of Mitchell puts strains on a marriage that has undergone way too much stress.

The lives of Carla and Alice intersect at the very end of this page-turning novel that fleshes out the stark headlines of the migration of children from a poverty stricken, violence-plagued region to a nation that doesn’t really want them. A wonderful, moving novel!

Amanda Eyre Ward




About the Author

Amanda Eyre Ward is the critically acclaimed author of five novels, including the bestseller “How to Be Lost”. Born in New York City in 1972, she majored in English and American Studies at Williams College, Williamstown, Mass. She has spent the last year visiting shelters in Texas and California, meeting immigrant children and hearing their stories. This novel is inspired by them. She and her family live in Austin, Texas. Her website:

BOOK REVIEW: ‘The Train to Crystal City: FDR’s Secret Prisoner Exchange Program and America’s Only Family Internment Camp During World War II’


The Train to Crystal City jacketTexas is hardly the first state to come to mind when people — even hard-core history buffs — think about the internment of more than 120,000 Japanese-Americans following the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. People are — or should be — familiar with Manzanar in the California Sierras and other camps throughout the West, but one of the biggest was in the tiny town of Crystal City, Texas, southwest of San Antonio and only a few miles from the Mexican border.

San Antonio-based author Jan Jarboe Russell tells the story of the nation’s only family internment camp in ‘”The Train to Crystal City: FDR’s Secret Prisoner Exchange Program and America’s Only Family Internment Camp During World War II” (Scribner, 446 pages, illustrations, sources and notes, index, $30.00).
Based on four years of research and beautifully written, the book had its genesis more than 40 years ago when Jan Jarboe, a University of Texas at Austin student, from the East Texas town of Cleveland, interviewed Alan Taniguchi, a Japanese-American professor of architecture at the university.

She asked him how he got to Texas and he replied “My family was in camp here.” Puzzled, she suggested “Church camp?” He laughed and told the young reporter for the university’s newspaper “Not exactly!” And explained how his father,  Isamu Taniguchi, was interned in 1942, following enactment of FDR’s Executive Order 9066. Isamu Taniguchi was an innovative farmer in California’s San Joaquin Delta and his entire family, including Alan, was interned at the Crystal City Internment Camp. Along with Japanese-Americans — many of them U.S. citizens — the camp’s inmates included German and Italian aliens and Japanese and Germans from several Latin American countries. Because of the virulent racism of California and other Western states, Isamu Taniguchi, born in Japan, was denied citizenship. His children were American citizens under the nation’s birthright policy.

Russell tells how the camp’s site was chosen. Basically, it was developed as an internment center because it had railroad service. In a nation that traveled by train — the nation’s highest passenger count train travel year ever was in 1945 — the isolated town was perfect for an internment camp.

From 1942 to 1948, trains delivered thousands of civilians from the United States and Latin America to Crystal City. The trains carried Japanese, German, Italian immigrants and their American-born children. The only family internment camp during World War II, Crystal City was the center of a government prisoner exchange program called “quiet passage.” During the course of the war, hundreds of prisoners in Crystal City, including their American-born children, were exchanged for other more important Americans—diplomats, businessmen, soldiers, physicians, and missionaries—behind enemy lines in Japan and Germany.

Focusing her story on two American-born teenage girls — one Japanese-American, the other German-American — who were interned, Russell recounts the ordinary day-to-day details of their years spent in the camp; the struggles of their fathers; their families’ subsequent journeys to war-devastated Germany and Japan; and their years-long attempt to survive and return to the United States, transformed from incarcerated enemies to American loyalists. Their stories of day-to-day life at the camp, from the ten-foot high security fence to the armed guards, daily roll call, and censored mail, have never been told.

The book blends big-picture World War II history with a little-known event in American history that has long been kept quiet and reveals the war-time hysteria against the Japanese and Germans in America, the secrets of FDR’s tactics to rescue high-profile POWs in Germany and Japan, and how the definition of American citizenship changed under the pressure of war.

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt opposed the internment policy of Executive Order 9066, as did FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. Russell doesn’t go into detail about Hoover, but I had long known of his opposition to internment. Hoover was a detail oriented man and he expected people to believe him when he said his agency had located and arrested the really dangerous enemy aliens. It’s revealing to note that the Japanese-Americans of the Territory of Hawaii were never interned. For more about Hoover’s stance:

An article on Executive Order 9066, which references FBI director J. Edgar Hoover’s opposition to mass internment:…

A passage in Conrad Black’s biography of Richard Nixon on Hoover’s opposition to Japanese internment:…

I did find one error in the book, thanks to my years of living in West Virginia. On page 57 she locates Hot Springs, VA, home of the Homestead resort, in West Virginia. Japanese diplomats had been interned at the resort, which had been requisitioned by the U.S. government. They were later transferred to The Greenbrier resort, similarly requisitioned, in White Sulphur Springs, Greenbrier County, West Virginia. People are alway confusing West Virginia and its parent state, Virginia!

History buffs and general readers alike will enjoy this wonderfully realized account of a little known incident in 20th Century American history. Jan Jarboe Russell personalizes the story with sensitively written accounts of how the internment affected both the internees and the people running the camp. This book would make a wonderful Ken Burns documentary! I can’t recommend it too highly.

Jan Jarboe Russell




About the Author

Jan Jarboe Russell is a Nieman Fellow, a writer at large for Texas Monthly, and has written for the San Antonio Express-News, The New York Times, Slate, and other magazines. She is the author of “Lady Bird: A Biography of Mrs. Johnson” and has also compiled and edited “They Lived to Tell the Tale”. She lives in San Antonio, Texas, with her husband, Dr. Lewis F. Russell, Jr.

BOOK REVIEW: ‘Living the Secular Life: New Answers to Old Questions’: Secular Humanism Explained, Undemonized

living the secular life

Gee, Officer Krupke, we’re very upset.

We never had the love that every child oughta get.

We ain’t no delinquents, we’re misunderstood;

Deep down inside us there is good. — “West Side Story” (1961 film, 1957 Broadway production)

* * *

My choice of the above quotation from the hit musical “West Side Story” may seem an odd epigraph to lead off a review of Phil Zuckerman’s “Living the Secular Life: New Answers to Old Questions” (Penguin Press, 276 pages, bibliography, index, $25.95) but I think it’s strangely appropriate.

“Secular humanists” is Zuckerman’s big tent term that includes atheists, agnostics, “nones” (people responding when asked their religion), and, I might add, many members of the Unitarian-Universalist Church. The latter category is a useful home for people who feel the need for a formal religion, for whatever reason. Maybe they want to run for office in Texas or any number of states that bar atheists from holding public office. The other states are South Carolina, Arkansas, Maryland, Mississippi and Tennessee. In those states, and in parts of many others, voters would vote for an African-American, a Muslim or a Jew rather than casting a ballot for an atheist.

In addition to being a secular humanist himself, along with his wife and family, Zuckerman is a sociology professor at Pitzer College, in Claremont, California, where he studied the lives of the nonreligious for years before founding a Department of Secular Studies, the first academic program in the nation dedicated to exclusively studying secular culture and the sociological consequences of America’s fastest-growing “faith.”

Zuckerman discovered that despite the entrenched negative beliefs about nonreligious people, American secular culture is grounded in deep morality and proactive citizenship—indeed, some of the very best that the country has to offer. The Golden Rule that Christians and Jews try to live by is the grounding principle for secular humanists, too, Zuckerman writes.

Over the last twenty-five years, “no religion” has become the fastest-growing religion in the United States. Around the world, hundreds of millions of people have turned away from the traditional faiths of the past and embraced a moral yet nonreligious—or secular—life, generating societies vastly less religious than at any other time in human history.

Revealing the inspiring beliefs that empower secular culture—alongside real stories of nonreligious men and women based on extensive in-depth interviews from across the country—Living the Secular Life will be indispensable for millions of secular Americans. I found the stories an enthralling part of this very readable book. Maybe it’s because I was raised as a secular humanist myself. I don’t consider myself “misunderstood” in the words of the singers in “West Side Story.” Rather, I consider myself enlightened. Like many of the secular humanists interviewed by the author, I have respect and tolerance for my religious friends.

Drawing on innovative sociological research, the book illuminates this demographic shift with the moral convictions that govern secular individuals, offering crucial information for the religious and nonreligious alike. “Living the Secular Life” reveals that, despite opinions to the contrary, nonreligious Americans possess a unique moral code that allows them to effectively navigate the complexities of modern life. Spiritual self-reliance, clear-eyed pragmatism, and an abiding faith in the Golden Rule to adjudicate moral decisions: these common principles are shared across secular society. Living the Secular Life demonstrates these principles in action and points to their usage throughout daily life.

“Living the Secular Life” journeys through some of the most essential components of human existence—child rearing and morality, death and ritual, community and beauty—and offers secular readers inspiration for leading their own lives. Zuckerman shares eye-opening research that reveals the enduring moral strength of children raised without religion, as well as the hardships experienced by secular mothers in the rural South where church attendance defines the public space.

Despite the real sorrows of mortality, Zuckerman conveys the deep psychological health of secular individuals in their attitudes toward illness, death, and dying. Zuckerman shows how Americans are building institutions and cultivating relationships without religious influence. “Living the Secular Life” combines the sociological data and groundbreaking research with the moral convictions that govern secular individuals, and demonstrates how readers can integrate these beliefs into their own lives.

“Living the Secular Life” offers secular humanists, atheists, agnostics and other “Nones” a manifesto for a booming social movement—and a revelatory survey of this overlooked community.

If you’ve been looking for tools to explain to your religious friends what secular life has to offer, “Living the Secular Life” offers essential and long-awaited information for anyone building a life based on his or her own principles. For those who are religious, it’s a book that’s well worth reading.

About the Author

Phil Zuckerman is a professor of sociology and secular studies at Pitzer College in Claremont, California. He is the author most recently of Faith No More and Society Without God and blogs for Psychology Today and the Huffington Post. In 2011 Zuckerman founded an interdisciplinary Department of Secular Studies at Pitzer College, the first such program in the nation.

BOOK REVIEW: ‘Home for Dinner’: An Impossible Dream: Having Family Members Get Together for Meals?

Reading Anne K. Fishel’s “Home for Dinner: Mixing Food, Fun, and Conversation for a Happier Family and Healthier Kids” (Amacom, American Management Association, 240 pages, foreword by Michael Thompson, Ph.D; notes, index, $16.00) I was intrigued by a book that seemingly wants to turn back the clock to a 1950s sitcom era, when Robert Montgomery and Donna Reed ruled the TV world.

Fishel is a Ph.D. psychologist, professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School and co-founder of the Family Dinner Project, among many other acomplishments. She’s the mother of two young adult sons, so she’s aware of the challenges facing anyone who wants to round up family members for dinner together.

The book is replete with stories of people who want to do something about the fragmented world of smart phones, social media (I often think of it as “anti-social” media!), ballet lessons and soccer matches, long hours at work and long commutes and have family dinners. It’s the kind of challenge Amy Chua’s “Tiger Mother” would be hard pressed to achieve.

The stories in Fishel’s book should appeal to readers who have their own memories — good or bad — about family dinners. I personally have few such memories, because in our house when I was growing up in the late 1940s and early 1950s, I don’t recall any family dinners! With my mother, divorced and working hard to keep the family together in a series of low-paying factory jobs, if you wanted to eat, she pointed to the kitchen.

Fishel provides many recipes and advice about making food interesting — in an era when food is often viewed as generic fuel to keep overbooked people going. With so much to do, she writes, dinner has been bumped to the back burner. Fishel says that research shows that family dinners offer more than just nutrition. Studies have tied shared meals to increased resiliency and self-esteem in children, higher academic achievement, a healthier relationship to food, and even reduced risk of substance abuse and eating disorders.

“Home for Dinner” makes a passionate and informed plea to put mealtime back at the center of family life and supplies compelling evidence and realistic tips for getting even the busiest of families back to the table.

The book explains how to:

* Create quick, healthy, and tasty dinners;

* get kids to lend a hand (without any grief);

* adapt meals to the needs of everyone – from toddlers to teens;

* inspire picky eaters to explore new foods;

* keep dinnertime conversation stimulating;

* add an element of fun; reduce tension at the table;

* explore other cultures and spark curiosity about the world.

Mealtime should be a place to unwind and reconnect, far from the pressures of school and work, Fishel writes. As the author notes, family therapy can be helpful, but regular dinner is transformative.

For one thing, you’ll have to curb technology at the table, she says on Page 109, writing that “a 2011 survey found that there are two sets of standards at the dinner table. Parents use technology at the table at twice the rate their children are allowed”. What’s good for the goose, she says, isn’t so good for the gosling! She suggests the best solution might be a total ban of technology, i.e. phones, at the table…Similar to the pleas in movie theaters about phones.

“Home for Dinner” is a provocative book, a book of family dinner advocacy that should be read by everyone concerned about the state of the family in a world where people are trying to do too much.

About the author

Anne K. Fishel, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, teacher, blogger, and family therapist. She is an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychology at the Harvard Medical School and Director of the Family and Couples Therapy Program at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where she has won many teaching prizes from psychiatry residents and psychology interns. She also has a private practice focusing on clinical supervision, and individual, couples and family therapy.

Dr. Fishel is a co-founder of The Family Dinner Project, a non-profit group that works on-line and in person to help families overcome the obstacles that get in the way of family dinners. She speaks, consults, and publishes widely on a range of issues to do with families and couples.

Dr. Fishel is the author of Treating the Adolescent in Family Therapy: A Developmental and Narrative Approach (Jason Aronson, 1999). She writes a blog on, “The Digital Family,” and has also blogged about family issues for NPR and PBS. She is an editor for the Harvard Review of Psychiatry and Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice. She lives outside Boston with her husband, and is the mother of two young adult sons.

BOOK REVIEW: ‘Sweet Simplicity: An Exploration of the Simple and the Complex’: Philip Yaffe’s New Book Is Packed with Useful Information About Writing, Science, Logic, Everyday Living


Philip A. Yaffe’s books are always entertaining and informative — as I’ve learned from reading and reviewing many of them — and his latest one, “Sweet Simplicity: An Exploration of the Simple and the Complex” (File Size: 631 KB, Print Length: 283 pages; sold Amazon Digital Services, Inc.; $3.99) is no exception.

Perhaps more than any other work by this American who has lived for many years in Brussels, Belgium, “Sweet Simplicity” is a very personal, revealing book. We learn of Yaffe’s early interest in mathematics; his majoring in science and math at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA); his love of writing honed by experience in print journalism at UCLA and Los Angeles; his two years as a Peace Corps worker in Tanzania; his love of dogs; and his interest in language that led him to be proficient in several besides his native English. Yaffe relates his experiences in creating a universal language that avoids the spelling pitfalls of English and French and would be a potential universal language. Of course, this has been done with Esperanto, which has the exotic air of Wes Anderson’s 2014 film “The Grand Budapest Hotel” but it was something I enjoyed. The spelling of both English and French is so difficult that it makes both wonderful languages so much more difficult to learn.

I read the book, provided to me in the form of a digital review copy, in one sitting at my computer and was particularly pleased by his praise of journalistic writing. This month marks my 49th year in journalism, beginning in Hammond, IN where I answered an ad for a reporter trainee in The Hammond Times. It was the first of five newspapers I’ve worked for — including almost 10 years at The Milwaukee Sentinel and almost 15 at the Los Angeles Times. It may be self-serving, but I’ve known many journalists on all five newspapers and their work inspired me to do my best with my own writing.

Enough about me; I’ll let Yaffe describe his new book in his own well chosen words:

Have you ever gone to a restaurant and when asked about it later, you said “The food was simple but good”? Or gone to an art gallery and said “The sculptures were simple but memorable”?” Or read a book and said “The plot was simple but entertaining”?

“You probably don’t realize it, but every time you use this turn of phrase, you are betraying a prejudice, i.e. that simple and good are almost contradictory terms. If it is simple, it is unlikely to be good; if it is good, it is unlikely to be simple;” says Philip A. Yaffe. “The fact is, simple things are often the best. What you should really be saying is that it was simple and good. Or perhaps more to the point, It was simple, which is why it was good.”

This is the theme of Yaffe’s new book “Sweet Simplicity: An Exploration of the Simple and the Complex.” It is largely a collection of 28 of his essays over several years; the value of simplicity is the leitmotiv running through them all.

“I hadn’t planned it that way, but I was recently asked how I get ideas for my expository (non-fiction) books. I said I really couldn’t answer because I really didn’t know. They just came. But then I suddenly realized that whether on topics of science, political philosophy, language learning, etc., there was a common thread running through them: a search for simplicity,” he recounts.

The book is divided into five major chapters:

Essence of Simplicity

Simplicity in Writing

Simplicity in Speaking

Simplicity in Science and Logical Thinking

Simplicity in Daily Life

These principal chapters are augmented by an eight-part appendix covering topics such as simple techniques for writing and speaking clearly and concisely, the simple concepts that underlie basic science, and simple rules of logical thinking vs. illogical thinking.

“You may be puzzled by the claim that logical thinking is simpler than illogical thinking;” Yaffe says. “This is because illogical thinking is not thinking at all. It is a perfect example of confusing simplicity with simplistic. Because Illogical thinking so often leads to false ideas and conclusions (occasionally you can get lucky), it is largely a waste of time. On the other hand, logical thinking almost always leads to correct ideas and conclusions, so it is never a waste of time.”

Another key appendix is “The United States Constitution: Simplified and Updated for the 21st Century.”

“If the United States Constitution were written today, it would have pretty much the same content as the original but would look different, be organized differently, and would be considerably easier to understand,” Yaffe says.

The simplified and updated Constitution excludes all text deleted by amendments from the original Constitution and all text rendered invalid by legislation, historical events, or other factors. The list of amendments, of which there are 27 in the original Constitution, has been entirely integrated into the main text.

For easier understanding, the simplified and updated Constitution has also been somewhat reorganized.

“There is a misconception that the Bill of Rights, the collective name of the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, spells out all the rights and freedoms of the people. However, other rights and freedoms are also in the Constitution, either in the original body or in later amendments. Thus, there is a new section called ‘The Rights and Freedoms of the People.’ This new section brings together all the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution into a single place, for better understanding and for easy reference,” he concludes

* * *

Philip A. Yaffe was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1942 and grew up in Los Angeles, where he graduated from the University of California with a degree in mathematics and physics. In his senior year, he was also editor-in-chief of the Daily Bruin, UCLA’s daily student newspaper.

He has more than 40 years of experience in journalism and international marketing

communication. At various points in his career, he has been a teacher of journalism, a

reporter/feature writer with The Wall Street Journal, an account executive with a major

international press relations agency, European marketing communication director with two

major international companies, and a founding partner of a specialized marketing

communication agency in Brussels, Belgium, where he has lived since 1974.

Books by this Author

●The Gettysburg Approach to Writing & Speaking like a Professional

●The Gettysburg Collection:

A comprehensive companion to The Gettysburg Approach to Writing & Speaking like a Professional

●Actual English: English grammar as native speakers really use it

●Gentle French: French grammar as native speakers really use it

●God Doesn’t Exist and He Knows It

●What’d You Say? / Que Dites-Vous?

Fun with homophones, proverbs, expressions, false friends, and other linguistic oddities in English and French

●The Little Book of BIG Mistakes

●The Little Book of Big Government

●Sweet Simplicity: An Exploration of the Simple and the Complex

●Myths and Misconceptions

Things We Know that Just Aren’t So

●Extraordinary Ordinary Things

●One-line Wonders: Humor in the Fast Lane

●The Eighth Decade: Reflections on a Life

●Funny How You Say That!

Books in “Major Achievements of Lesser-known Scientists” Series

(at January 2015)

●Astronomy & Cosmology: Major Achievements of Lesser-known Scientists

●Human Biology: Major Achievements of Lesser-known Scientists

Books in “The Essential Ten Percent” Series

(at January 2015)

●College-level Writing: The Essential Ten Percent

●Human Psychology: The Essential Ten Percent

●Logical Thinking: The Essential Ten Percent

●Public Speaking: The Essential Ten Percent

●The Human Body: The Essential Ten Percent

●The U.S. Constitution: The Essential Ten Percent

●Wise Humor: The Essential Ten Percent