Category Archives: Book review

1619–A Portentous Year. A Book Review and Summary

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

Horn, James. 1619:  Jamestown and the Forging of American Democracy.  New York: Basic Books, 2018.

Notwithstanding the title, this book is not part of the controversial 1619 Project.  The author is currently the most prominent and knowledgeable scholar of early colonial Virginia.  He is the president and chief officer of the Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation, which is responsible for the management of Historic Jamestowne, the original site of the first permanent English colony in America.  As a reviewer in The Wall Street Journal put it, “If anyone today knows colonial Virginia, it is James Horn.”

Relying heavily on primary sources, Horn provides a brief summary of the early years of the colony of Virginia, culminating in  1619, when the “Great Reforms” were instituted.  Although coincidental, Horn declares the meeting of the first representative government and the arrival of the first African slaves in 1619 was “portentous.”  His thesis is that  “1619 marks the inception of the most important political development in American history, the rise of democracy and the emergence of what would in time become one of the nation’s greatest challenges:  the corrosive legacy of racial stereotypes that continues to affect our society today.”

As Horn describes it, the early history of the Virginia colony can be divided into four phases:  1606-1609, the early unruly years; 1609-1619, the military rule years; 1619-1622, the Great Reform; after 1622 and the dissolution of the Virginia Company. Continue reading

Dust Mites Book Review: “A Surprisingly Creative Effort.”

by Peter Galuszka

Jim Bacon has released a self-published novel that is wildly imaginative. He envisions the politics of a U.S.-related colony on the moon in the year 2075.

At Galileo Station, a semi-autonomous outpost, residents live and work in underground spaces while they work to harvest various important minerals as well as a helium isotope used to power the intergalactic universe. The miners are called “Dust Mites,” hence the title.

The 500-plus-page whopper of a novel relays a power struggle between Washington politicians and liberty-loving Galiletians who resemble American Revolutionary patriots standing up to King George III.

During a dispute over mining, things get so out of hand that U.S. Attorney General Alyssa Reyes (an apparent look alike for Vice President Kamala Harris or U.S. Rep. Alexandra Ocasio- Cortez) orders U.S. Marshalls to blast off for the moon and charge Alexander Macaulay, the Governor of Galileo Station, with sedition. Continue reading

“The Last Romantic War,” a Review

by James Wyatt Whitehead V 

In the spring of 1986, I was given an old foot locker with the name Charles Faben Redd and V.M.I. emblazoned on it. Uncle Charlie had just died and the family had gathered in the stately parlor of his home in Studley, Virginia. At the age of 15, I had never inherited anything before and I wasn’t quite sure of what to make of this gift. Aunt Liz made a big production about how the contents of the foot locker were Uncle Charlie’s most prized possessions and he wanted me to have this. I waited until I got home to open that foot locker  I expected to find items of great monetary value. What a surprise! Inside the foot locker were very carefully arranged memorabilia from a long time back. A pair of black polished leather boots, a shako, trousers, a thick high collared blouse and coatee. A small box containing VMI collar tags, brass buttons, and a tarnished belt buckle. There was a mouth harp, a bundle of letters, a size-16 pair of track cleats, an old-fashioned Kodak camera, a thick scrap book, and a shoebox full of pictures. My initial disappointment gave way to wonder. I had a perfectly preserved snapshot into Uncle Charlie’s early manhood. The foot locker even smelled like Uncle Charlie. I now had answers to questions about Uncle Charlie I never got around to asking.

Author Robin Traywick Williams offers readers a priceless time capsule in her new book, “The Last Romantic War: How two members of the Greatest Generation survived love and war.” The story centers on the courtship of Flo Neher and United States Army Captain H.V. “Bo” Traywick with the backdrop of World War Two. In the spring of 1942, a young prom trotting girl meets a dashing Army Captain on a blind date at Fort Benning, Georgia. A handful of dates and a daring proposal on April Fool’s day, launch a romance with a fairy tale finish. A three-year pause between proposal and matrimony is punctuated by a roller coaster ride in the events of World War Two. Continue reading