The Russia-Ukraine War Factbook is available for pre-order

Not my book, but I am looking forward to it

A friend of mine, Craig Reed, has written one of the first authoritative perspectives of the first part of ‘Putin’s War’ in Ukraine — The Russia-Ukraine War Factbook.  It reminds me of GDW’s Gulf War Fact Book that was so wildly successful decades ago.  From exerts, the book doesn’t do so much of a deep dive into the war, but rather sifts through to the facts.  In a war where the media was part of the propaganda, a book dealing with just the facts, gleaned from the most official of sources, is a godsend. 

The book is a bit controversial, but not for its content. The publisher Military Miniature Press, has struggled to get word out about this book. Social media platforms have blocked their marketing attempts with the book…a book that isn’t even out yet!  Their reasoning…it might be ‘Russian propaganda.’  Can you believe that?  Some bot tags it because it has the word, ‘factbook’ in it and they can’t communicate to the public about it over their paid social media channels. Worse yet, there is no due process with Facebook and Twitter. There’s no one to make an appeal to, no way to contact these social media giants. Those of you that know me, know that I loathe censorship in almost any form. 

So I decided to write about it – and I hope you will share this to help get the word out!

So who might be interested in this war?  Military historians for sure.  I would think that anyone out there playing modern military miniatures games, such as Team Yankee or Fist Full of TOWs, might benefit from having a book like this to craft some scenarios.

The book covers the first part of the invasion.  It gets past the hype and deals with the realities of the conflict in Ukraine.  I myself am looking forward to the background and history before the war section to get a better understanding of why this invasion happened, beyond the hype the media pushes.  I’m also looking forward to some useful maps of the conflict. 

The Russia-Ukraine War Factbook is available for preorder digitally and paperback from Military Miniature Press right now. has the Kindle version available for preorder as well. 

If you are a modern military junkie or gamer, this might just be the fix you are looking for. Please check it out and spread the word.

Review of Two Hundred Years of Tyranny by Matt Erickson

I try and support other authors as much as possible, especially those that write about politically sensitive subjects.  In our social media rage-induced world, anyone daring to tackle a subject that is such an emotional lightning rod as politics is brave in my eyes. Full disclosure, I don’t know Matt Erickson.  I purchased a copy of his book, so these are my unsolicited views. 

Matt Erickson’s book, Two Hundred Years of Tyranny is a quick hard-hitting read.  He argues, convincingly I might add, that Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Marshall, utilized the case Cohens v. Virginia, along with Marbury v. Madison and McCulloch v. Maryland, to alter the very fabric that our Founding Fathers established for our country. In his own words, Erickson says, “Together, these three court cases firmly set the federal government upon a divergent path away from the limited-government model the Framers had established, towards the all-powerful model that Alexander Hamilton had sought at the Constitutional Convention of 1787, but didn’t get.”

At first, I had to admit, I was skeptical.  I knew Marbury v. Madison from civics class in high school, but not in this context.  Erickson uses the 120 pages of this book to dissect these cases, their interconnections, and the far reaching impacts these continue to have on our lives.  In a weekend where there was wailing and moaning about the Supreme Court, my consumption of the book was incredibly timely.  Moreover, it is clear that the decisions of the court do directly impact our lives, often in ways we cannot fully understand. 

A lot of this book delves into the legalities of these cases and how they were misinterpreted to allow for a greater federal government.  I cannot profess being a master of such material, but I can say that Mr. Erickson has forced me to consider some things that I had not done before. While we are so focused on recent events and the 20th and 21st century perspectives of the dominance of the federal government, Erickson taught me that the roots lay back in the 19th century, if not further back. Erickson has a mastery of his subject matter, putting into plain English impacts that I had never contemplated.

If you are a fan of constitutional books, this is a homerun for you. It certainly has got me pondering what other little treasures have been unleashed by the Supreme Court that I was unaware of. 

Review of:  Shut Up!: The Bizarre War that One Public Library Waged Against the First Amendment – By Megan Fox and Kevin DuJan

Worth adding to your reading list

This began innocently enough.  I wrote an op ed for PJ Media about my own experiences with woke warriors slandering and harassing me.   Megan reached out to me to be on her podcast to dive deeper about the subject since she had experiences paralleling some of my own.  We shared a bond – we were conservatives who had threats on our lives by leftist stalker extremists. Megan said she was picking up my book, Blue Dawn, so I purchased Shut Up! I’m a big believer that conservative authors and artists need to stick together given what is thrown at us. She didn’t ask me to read her book, I did it on my own and I’m glad I did.

I took the book with me on our vacation to Savannah and Florida last week and devoured it.  On the surface, it begins with a real-life premise that Megan encountered.  She had taken her children to the Orland Park Public Library and saw a patron using the public computer to view pornography.  The library didn’t call the police, in fact, their stance was that it was his First Amendment right!  This was the fuse that was lit on a bomb that that blew up in the library’s proverbial face in terms of its twisted leftist policies, its criminal practices, and the openly corrupt American Library Association.

Thanks to a barrage of FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests, Megan and her cohort, Kevin DuJan, learned this was not an isolated incident.  In fact, child pornographers had used the library before to not only view porn, but to masturbate in the library.  The library staff did nothing, but citizens did contact the authorities. 

Things escalated when the library broke the law…multiple times, in responding to FOIA’s, violating the Open Meetings Act, and a twisted myriad of other criminal activities (such as using public money to purchase jewelry).  The library staff used the police to harass Megan and Kevin, they filed bogus lawsuits – all of which were tossed out of court…and they waged a negative public relations campaign with the media to defame the authors. 

All because they refused to install internet filters and turn the PC’s around so the librarians could see what patrons were pulling up!

The library spent a lot of money and effort fighting to protect pornography in a public building.  The incident even spilled over to Saturday Night Live.  This is a rollercoaster ride into the world of twisted politics of small towns and big organizations. Megan and Kevin uncovered wrongdoing everywhere they looked, and the more the library fought, the deeper they dug their own hole.  

I loved the book because it’s not about a local library problem.  Megan and Kevin elevate the issues they faced to the broader context of what many conservatives and concerned parents find themselves up against. Both authors tell side stories that blend seamlessly into the events they were struggling against at the time. 

The tone is snarky…at least that is one of the best words I could latch onto to describe it.  I really enjoy that the authors come up with little nicknames for their foes…that’s something I do as well.  Some of them made me chuckle out loud while reading it.  How they describe their opposition is blunt, humorous, and conjures up images in your mind that mirror the photographs the authors provided.  Where many non-fiction books come across as dry, the authors have done a great job of engaging the reader.  By the end of the story you will know Megan and Kevin quite well. 

Shut Up! is a book that I recommend to fellow conservatives, both as a form of entertainment – and a cautionary tale.  Outstanding work!

Review of Corona-Fascism by Alu Axelman

I’ve been reviewing more political books of late because I am reading more of them. This one came out from my publisher and the title grabbed my attention:  Corona-Fascism – How politicians used a virus to eliminate privacy, enrich themselves, and put the final nails in Liberty’s coffin.  The subtitle was one of the longest I had ever seen, but poetic enough to draw me in.

This isn’t a thick book, mostly because it makes its case easily with 122 pages.  Corona-Fascism is a story of lies, power-plays, political overreach, misinformation, tyranny, and the packaging of fear.  We have all lived under the dark shadow of this virus for over a year and a half. We have all formed opinions on aspects of COVID and the responses to it. For me, it was the vast over-reporting of COVID deaths.  We each clung to one or two truths that we felt were reality…things that didn’t mesh up with the ‘official’ response or government actions.

For example, a number of us watched protests last summer, streets filled with people not wearing masks, and no politicians speaking up against these. That dichotomy of how large gatherings were treated by the media was stunning.  Here’s how the author crisply addresses it in his book:

“Throughout the entire “pandemic,” anti-freedom, anti-Trump groups were not only allowed to gather in huge crowds with no social distancing, but they were encouraged to do so by politicians. Indeed, praying in a church with masks and social distancing is unacceptable and illegal, but thousands of rioters in tightly packed groups were allowed to protest as much as they wanted.”

What Alu Axelman has masterfully done is weave these myriad threads together, along with the data to back up his contentions, into a narrative that targets who benefited and profited from COVID and the response to it.  

He prefaces his work with the acknowledgement that he comes to the subject with some preconceived notions.  His writing is crisp and to the point.  He doesn’t spare politicians the occasional whack from his literary vorpal blade – especially the Governor of New Hampshire, who he refers to as “Dictator Sununu.” While some readers may get turned off by these quips, I found them oddly entertaining. 

Axelman makes his case and backs it up with ample footnotes.  This isn’t some opinion fluff-piece of writing.  Instead it drills in on the core issues and attacks on our liberties and freedom we have all endured.  It was strange to read some of the passages because I had forgotten certain instances already.  It is this brain-fog of COVID, having been through so much since March of 2020, that the book clears and brings back to the forefront. 

If you are the person that thinks that government overreach in response to the virus is a myth…or that what we need is more intervention by the government – this book is not for you.  If you desire to have your suspicions not only affirmed but validated about the losses of freedom and mismanagement of this debacle – you should consider adding this book to your “To Read” list. 

My take is simple.  In an era of mandated inoculations, a hamstrung economy, and a whirlwind of mixed and confusing messages about how to resolve this ‘crisis,’ you can’t afford to not give Corona-Fascism a read. 

Review of Dennis Haugh’s Pocket Guide to Communism & The Foundations of Critical Race Theory

Spoiler Alert – Communism is inherently evil.  If that offends you, I offer zero apologies. I am from a generation of Americans that went to college and learned the true nature of socialism and communism in college; that it is a self-consuming economic system, destined to fail, that exists by devouring the freedoms of its followers.  So when I was sent a copy of Dennis Haugh’s book I was prepared to be bored. After all, I knew about communism already. 

Thankfully Mr. Haugh proved me woefully out of touch in some aspects. 

It is safe to say we all need a refresher from time-to-time, present company included.  I devoured this book in one sitting.  In fairness, it is short, being a pocket guide and not an in-depth study.  The length of the book is one of its strengths.  Rather than a textbook exploration of these topics, Haugh crisply keeps the focus of the book on subject; short and disturbingly sweet. 

I found the condensed format seductive. The prose of this book are concise and at times, painfully blunt.  Don’t get me wrong, it is a pain that we need.  A lot has changed since the 1980’s when I learned about this system. With social media and a never-ending assault on values, morals, and common sense, we need a book like this that positions the topic in a tight, digestible format. 

You may wonder why two topics, Communism and Critical Race Theory, are in the book. When you read this potent guide you realize just how interconnected the two topics are and what the implications of that mean to America.  I’ve had a number of people tell me they don’t know what CRT is – and even I have fumbled at times to explain it. Dennis Haugh has encapsulated the tenants of Critical Race Theory and what it means to our society, both long and short term.

I’ve plucked just a few random gems from this book:

  • “Labels are a convenient way to twist the way someone views a person, place, or thing.”
  • “Stalin identified “social reforms” as an ideal smoke screen to hide preparations for the revolution to destroy western societies.”
  • “Critical Race Theory replaces Marx’s class struggle with a race struggle for the dividing line between oppressor and oppressed, but it has gone further than classic Marxism in its quest to divide society.”

This book accomplishes in 44 pages what many college textbooks do in hundreds – it outlines the core tenants of Communism and Critical Race Theory against the framework of the society that we live in. It is a starting point and a refresher as to why this cultural and economic system is such a threat. The book is available from Defiance Press on 

Frederick Zinn of Galesburg and Battle Creek to be inducted in the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame

A true American hero

I received an email two weeks ago informing me that a person I had nominated to the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame was going to be inducted this year.  Frederick Zinn was born in Galesburg, Michigan and raised in Battle Creek.  I wrote an award winning book about him, Lost Eagles, (University of Michigan Press) years ago.

Zinn was a true aviation pioneer.  Here’s a short summary of his life:

  • After graduating the U of M in 1914 he went to Europe, became embroiled in the Great War, and joined the French Foreign Legion where he was wounded.
  • He transferred to the French Air Service as an observer – making him America’s first combat photographer. It also made him the first combat airman from the state of Michigan.
  • When America entered the war, he was one of the first aviators to transfer to the American Air Service.
  • He was one of the original members of the Lafayette Flying Corps and was close friends with the members of the Lafayette Escadrille.
  • He established the first American observation training school.
  • He flew combat missions.
  • After the war, Zinn remained behind, initiating the search for missing airmen.  Up until this point, the military did not search for missing warriors. He recovered or identified the remains of 194 out of 200 missing airmen. He embodied the phrase, “We will leave no man behind.” 
  • He ran a successful grain and feed company between the wars.
  • In WWII, he worked directly with General Marshall to create the system for recovering missing airmen (the Missing Air Crew Report system). 
  • When he was denied the chance to find missing airmen, Zinn joined the OSS – the precursor to the CIA, as a counterintelligence officer.  His cover, provided by the Kellogg Foundation, was to search for missing airmen. 
  • He recovered countless missing American airmen during the war.
  • He performed several counterintelligence missions, well past the age of 50, during WWII. 
  • After the war, he was a state representative in the Michigan House. 
Zinn in his Sopwith 1 1/2 strutter in the French Air Service

If you live near Kalamazoo, you should consider attending the induction ceremony. Zinn was, and remains, a true American hero.  While I have a prior commitment that prevents me from attending the ceremony, I am pleased and honored that he is finally getting the recognition that he so richly deserves. 

Review of Nueces Reprise by Mark Greathouse

I have been reading westerns recently because their stories transcend the genre.  A western tale easily can be migrated to a science fiction or other setting.  I snagged a copy of this at the Rally Against Censorship recently and it finally worked its way to the top of my reading pile.  It is the second book of the Tumbleweed Saga, the emerging legend of Luke Dunn, Texas Ranger. 

The book is a wonderful read, picking up almost immediately after the events of the first novel. I won’t spoil the story other than to say that the plot thickens.  Many of the characters that you are introduced to in Nueces Justice are back, with more depth added to their backstories.  Some seemingly minor characters in the first novel, emerge and stand on their own.  The ensemble cast is part of the mystique of this series. Everyone has a motive, many of which conflict with the others – which is where the conflicts arise…and there are a lot of conflicts in this book – true to the western genre.

Some authors chop off the heads of characters as if they were George R. R. Martin. Mark is not above killing characters, including those that have redeemed themselves. In fact, their redemption makes their deaths all the more poignant. He’s not a butcher like some writers, but puts a notch in his author’s pistol only when necessary and impactful.   

As with the first novel, Greathouse is a master of crafting a plot that is far from obvious. Just when you think you know what is going on and then you find yourself in a new, unexpected place. That is the mark of a good storyteller.  Handling ensembles of characters and complex plots requires a firm yet artistic hand, one that Greathouse possesses.

The author does his research, right down to the idiosyncrasies of the firearms being used. He stays true to the western genre, weaving in bits of real history with his fictional characters. His heroes are far from perfect, as demonstrated at the end of this novel – which I really found myself enjoying. 

Nueces Reprise doesn’t stand alone – you need to read the precursor novel.  Fortunately both are a good investment of time.    

To my friends that served in Afghanistan…

The events of the last few weeks have no doubt been disturbing, if not, infuriating for you and your loved ones.  I wanted to say this, clearly and concisely…your time there was not in vain. 

You put your lives on the line for the rest of us.  Your efforts prevented dozens, if not hundreds, of potential terror attacks.  You preemptively prevented terrorists from killing other Americans.  There are few things more honorable than protecting your family, friends, and homeland. You traveled far from home, lived a life under constant threats and stress for us.  Those of us that weren’t called or didn’t serve, were shielded by your service.  We all owe you a debt of thanks.  You have mine.

Many of us believe you deserve better than what our performance has been in leaving Afghanistan. 

Was it time to go? Probably. It was never a matter of the decision to depart.  What matters is the execution of that departure.  It is nothing short of a debacle. Calling it anything else is an insult, and the majority of Americans who witnessed it unfold on television.  Lives have been lost and more may be as a result of one of the worst planned and executed military operations in US history since the Battle of Little Bighorn.

Your service is not reflected by the events unfolding over there right now.  You are not defined by the actions currently taking place.  You did your job, and for that, I am thankful as are millions of others.  You do not bear any taint from what is taking place right now. Your service was not wasted.  You did your duty with honor and dignity. 

The fact that so many civilians in Afghanistan want to leave and come here is a testimony to your roles as ambassadors of our great nation. Many are willing to lose everything because they saw the kind of country and people we are because you were there. Even though you may not have been there in years, you are still saving lives…those of the civilians who are risking their lives to come here. Each civilian saved that comes to America is your greatest living legacy. 

We owe you more than our appreciation and sincere thanks. We owe you accountability, both in the government and the military. The people that unfurled this poorly conceived operation need to be held responsible. It is not vengeance or blame-setting; it is our solemn responsibility to you to ensure that such a disaster does not happen again.

We do not owe this just to you, but to your loved ones who have also endured hardship and strife as a result of your service. Men and women do not go to war alone, their families are impacted as well. We owe them as well to get some answers to how this happened. People must be held accountable – period.

You can hold your heads up high for your service in that strife-filled country. Your honor is sterling and remains, as always, intact.  None of us believe your service was anything short of honorable and in the finest tradition of the United States.  We, as citizens, need to take action to evaluate the intelligence, planning, decision making process, and execution of this catastrophe. This is our call to duty, to ensure that this kind of horrid affair does not occur again. 

Review of The Blueprint of Liberty: Why And How We Could Restructure The United States In a Way That Pleases Everyone And Preserves Freedom by Alu Axelman

I try and avoid political non-fiction, but having had a phone call with the author, his premise caught my attention.  This is a short book making it a fast non-fiction read – but the topic is anything other than light. What Axelman does with this book is layout a detailed case for secession in the United States.  As a historian, I found the concept intriguing enough to pick up the book and managed to finish it off in just a few evenings of reading.

To be clear, I don’t personally support the premise.  That doesn’t mean that Axelman doesn’t do an admirable job of making his case.  There were a few times where I found myself in such agreement with the case he presents that I was actually challenging what I thought; which is what good writing can and should do.

He does a remarkable job of highlighting the philosophical and cultural differences that exist between the left and the right in America. Rather than resolve these, he contends that resolution may not be possible.  Thus, the solution, is a division of the United States.  He goes so far is to present a new Constitution, which is more Libertarian than traditionally conservative (at least in my opinion). 

His case for secession is seductive, because it allows both sides to rule in the manner they desire.  He even tackles the roles of the military in such a split, as well as how basic services would be administered. 

The author makes his case solidly with prose like:  “The United States is becoming increasingly divided and polarized. This polarization is augmented by federal laws that prohibit States from governing themselves. With each passing year, the laws that govern all 300+ million people in the US are becoming more similar, while ignoring how unique we actually are. As time passes, it will become increasingly evident to progressives as well as conservatives that a peaceful dissolution of the union – and independence for each State – is the only way to truly satisfy the dramatically different populations which comprise the union. Consider the avoidance of a violent civil war to be a bonus benefit of secession. If you don’t want to secede, at least give conservatives the nudge they need in order to leave the union.”

Powerful and thought provoking stuff to say the least!

I found myself agreeing with much of the early part of the book, but less with the solution. It didn’t feel right…yet.  I stress the ‘yet’ in this. Sometimes this kind of work is dependent on the historical context and current events.  While the present-day events don’t necessarily push for the solution that the author presents, that doesn’t mean he is wrong.  Having started a book titled Texit, about Texas splitting off as its own nation again, forces me to concede that this line of thinking may very well gain momentum in the politically charged environment that we find ourselves in. If that is the case, then Axelman is a visionary.  Only time will tell. 

If you have had thoughts along the lines of, “Maybe we should just pack up our stuff and form our own country, with our values,” then this is a book I highly recommend.  It is not a piece of fantasy, as evidenced by the extensive footnotes of support.  This book grabs you hard, shakes you, forces you to reflect on the world around you, and lays a possible foundation for a roadway to political sanity.

A Shout-Out to a Fellow Author – Justin Sheffield and the All Eagles Oscar Organization

Justin and me in Dallas

At the recent Rally Against Censorship, I had the opportunity to meet fellow Defiance Press author Justin Sheffield.  Justin is a former Navy Seal and the author of the book, MOB VI

Justin’s first book

In my career, I write about brave men and women, from fictional characters to real-life historical figures out of military history.  I just write about heroic people.  Justin is the real thing.  The stories he was telling were incredible and moving.

I’ll be doing a review of his book in an upcoming blog post.  From what I have read, he is an author of considerable merit.  This, however, is not about promoting books.  Today I want to draw attention to Justin’s organization, All Eagles Oscar.  While the name may sound strange, it is the callout made when all ‘eagles’ or warriors are okay and heading back to base. 

This organization helps warriors recover, rehabilitate, and transition after their time in the service. Many veterans suffer with chronic pain and the stress that this can cause, and All Eagles Oscar helps them with this transition.  You can go to their web site here – obviously I encourage you to do so:

All Eagles Oscar

Justin has committed himself to this organization and its cause. I am a person that believes in supporting noble organizations, especially those that support the veterans of our nation.  I invite you to take a few minutes and hit their web site, and if you feel inclined, make a donation to them.