Book Chat

This month’s book reviews, which may contain affiliate links:


james whitcomb riley young poetI recently visited the home of Hoosier poet James Whitcomb Riley. While there, I bought James Whitcomb Riley, Young Poet, a children’s book, for my sister who is a teacher. Of course, like all good readers, I had to read it first.

I enjoyed this as a simple intro to Whitcomb’s growing-up years. It gave me just the right amount of information. Riley, his parents, and siblings grew up in the big house on National Road that is still standing. Life was happy until Riley’s dad joined the army to fight for the Union in the Civil War. They came upon hard times then and had to leave the house, although Riley promised he’d buy it back when he grew up and became rich (he did!).

The book tells many childhood incidents that inspired Riley’s poetry, and little excerpts of the poems are then included. Really neat, charming book.

The Gobble-uns’ll git you Ef you Don’t Watch Out!


infamy tolantSo we all know the basics of Pearl Harbor, right? On December 7, 1941, that “date that will live in infamy,” the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, taking it totally by surprise and killing thousands, and also launching the U.S. into World War II.

Only, what if that wasn’t exactly what happened? What if FDR knew that the Japanese would be attacking Pearl Harbor, but didn’t pass that information along to the commanders there? Why on earth would he do that, you ask?  Perhaps he saw Japan developing as a power that would threaten Western civilization, yet felt the American public neither fully appreciated this threat nor were prepared to go to war against it. But,  if that power attacked them in a major way — they might then support going to war.

That’s the premise of Infamy: Pearl Harbor and Its Aftermath, and it’s not just John Toland’s speculation; he backs it up with various committee hearings and reports, none of which are common knowledge today (at least that I know of).

And there is plenty here to read: officers’ changed testimonies, tales of FDR telling relatives at dinner on December 6 that we would be going to war the next day, etc. Upon hearing of FDR’s death, General MacArthur comments, “”Well, the Old Man has gone; a man who never told the truth when a lie would suffice!”

Despite this book being filled with dozens of commanders and military high-ups, most of which I never could keep straight, I found it fascinating to peer back into history and contemplate that much of what we “know” may, in reality, be far from the truth.



12 thoughts on “Book Chat

  1. In my recent visit to Pearl Harbor, I felt I touched history’s hemline. I hope I never forget the oil in the water representing tears of many.
    God bless America, again!

  2. I’ve never heard the theory, but agree with Barbara H. that if true, FDR’s acts were as infamous as Japan, perhaps more so.

  3. I agree with you on the Oprah post – I admire her in some ways but definitely feel she has taken the wide road.

    Enjoy your November reading!

  4. Everytime I open your website in my browser I smile at your picture header. =) It’s just fun!

    I, too, have heard of that theory of FDR but I haven’t looked that deeply into it. That would be a FASCINATING book and one I would very much like to read. I’m going to stick it on my Amazon wishlist right now so that I remember it.

  5. So is Infamy non-fiction or a fictionalized history. FDR and the State Dept knew quite a lot about what the Japanese were up to. We were still selling them steel, for example, when Pearl Harbor occurred and we KNEW what they were using it for. Pearl Harbor saved the world. Without being attacked, the isolationist USA would not have entered the war–or would have done so too late for Europe…..I’ll have to look for this book! Definitely my kind of thing…..

  6. Yes, I enjoy buying children’s books and I always read them before gifting them….Sometimes I keep them for myself to read again.

  7. Interesting book review on Where has Oprah Taken Us?. It’s sad, really, that someone can have so much and still be searching for Truth. She’s going to have to find her way back to God in order to be truly satisfied.

    The Pearl Harbor book sounds good. I’ve heard a lot of conspiracy theories on JFK, MLKJr, 9/11, OKC bombing, and Pearl Harbor. I think there will always be a lot going on behind the scenes that we never know about.

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