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review 2018-02-27 21:24
A Very Prophetic Novel Subject to Interpretation!
It Can't Happen Here - Sinclair Lewis,Michael Meyer

It Can’t Happen Here, Sinclair Lewis, author; Grover Gardner, narrator The time is 1936. The Depression is a nightmare memory which has changed the mood of the country. There is political unrest, a charged atmosphere of distrust for government officials, anger at rich corporate giants, and a general somber malaise is hanging over America. Political candidates represent the people’s fears, and one in particular appeals to their emotions by stressing the idea of helping “the forgotten man”. Although there are those that find his diatribes unbecoming, because of his racist and anti-Semitic remarks, there are more who seem to be glomming on to his message of hope and equal, economic opportunity for those who feel left behind. Socialism, Fascism, Communism and Capitalism are on the radar of all voters. Which ideology will be chosen in this country overrun by opinion and nationalism, where certain groups of people are being vilified and ostracized and others praised as more worthy? Each major party accuses the other of wrongdoing, of being fascists. In the novel, Hitler is becoming more popular in Europe and in America where FDR is facing a myriad of other Presidential pretenders. When the Socialist Brezelius Windrip defeats him and is elected President, there is disbelief. Soon, all Hell breaks loose as he begins to change the face of the country. He wants to give everyone $5000 a year as a minimum, standard wage, (but he doesn’t. He makes promises to promote health care and provide free education. He offers pipe dreams that cannot be fulfilled, and when he is swept into office, with a country divided for and against him, he merely eliminates his detractors using his volunteer band of supporters called Minute Men. He immediately arms and begins to pay them. They eagerly remove those who defy him, by any means they choose. Congress and the Supreme Court Justices are arrested. The M.M.’s, as they are called, are thugs who indiscriminately and gleefully used their power to brutalize and abuse those who formerly had power over them. Windrip used old venerable institutions of education as prisons and created concentration camps. By eliminating those that would not acquiesce to his demands, by putting them into work camps or murdering them after using barbaric methods of torture to get them to confess to crimes or rethink their positions, he gained more and more power. Rebellion was almost impossible as it was easy to suppress. When some well known and respected citizens were arrested and killed for no apparent reason, few protested lest it happen to them too. Racist and anti-Semitic laws were passed. If one disobeyed, arbitrary punishment and horrific methods of torture were used. Windrip’s minion’s brutality rivaled Hitler’s. As people came to their senses, realizing that no one was safe from the whims or wrath of these ill equipped leaders and military men, some attempted to rebel. Journalists began to realize that they might have helped this man get into office and they tried to remedy the situation with editorials. They were quickly silenced, arrested and/or eliminated. No opposition was tolerated. An underground effort formed to help victims of the brutality escape from the country, but the borders were well guarded. Some got to Canada, which was predictive of a time decades later when resisters of the Viet Nam War crossed the border. Soon, there was unrest at the highest levels of government. After a little over two years, Windrip was betrayed and overthrown by his friend and confidante, Secretary of State Lee Sarason. A month later, Sarason was murdered by the new Secretary of State, Dewey Haik who took over and consolidated power even further and was even more ruthless. What kind of a country would the United States become after all was said and done? Which group would emerge victorious? Who were the culprits causing so much dissidence in the country and suspicion of the government? Was it the rich, the corporations or the ignorant who were hungry for power and equality even though they actually were not prepared to handle the authority given without abusing it? Sinclair Lewis never really provides an answer. The book condemns Fascism and Communism but really does not offer a better alternative when it ends, leaving the resolution of the rebellion unfinished. The book was prescient since WWII and its atrocities were not in full swing when it was published. Still, there must have been more of an awareness of Hitler’s vicious policies than I had believed, because many forms of cruelty and maliciousness used by Hitler were arbitrarily practiced in the concentration camps of Lewis’ imagination. Most of the current reviewers are saying this book describes a political climate like our own today, and they proclaim it laid the groundwork for the election of Donald Trump, a President they do not support. It is a well documented fact that the media is biased against him because of his unsophisticated and often immature retorts to their criticisms; also the publishing industry, as well, falls into that category of progressives who do not approve of his election. It is also a fact that these very same people supported one of his opponents, overwhelmingly. This opposition seems to be largely responsible for creating the same atmosphere today, that Lewis wrote about in 1935. They call for resistance to the President for the same behavior they are even more guilty of and are therefore hypocrites, hiding behind an emotional appeal to people who wish to remain ignorant, in the same way as Lewis’s characters did, at first. That said, anyone who followed our recent election would realize that Bernie Sanders, the Socialist Senator who represented Vermont, was more closely related to Berzelius Windrip than Donald Trump. Sanders offered free education to all and wished to impose a mandatory salary for everyone, as well. However, Sanders was against the power of big corporations, so in that way he veered from Windrip who used them to further his agenda. Sanders wanted to represent those who felt they were getting short changed. Trump wanted to represent those who were being ignored. The continued practice of presenting only negative views, without addressing anything positive about the President’s achievements, may very well set the stage for something like “It Can’t Happen Here” to actually “Happen Here!”, especially if people remain complacent or simply behave like lemmings, taking as doctrine the false statements made, simply because they fit their narrative. The book was excellent, but the reviews seem contrived in order to promote the particular political point of view of the reviewer, namely the progressive or socialist one of the extreme left. Just like in the book, our own cast of characters is blown this way and that by the different politicians and their speeches. Our most powerful and famous personages use their bully pulpit to make wild accusations, often without any basis in reality, just because they can’t deal with, or simply refuse, t,o accept the facts. Could someone, like Windrip slowly commandeer power by eliminating individual choice, speech and freedom? The media today has taken to pointing fingers at Trump to make him appear frightening. If they continue to sow dissent and discontent, perhaps there could be someone like that, but it isn’t Trump. His agenda is in no way like that of Windrip’s. Still, it is horrifying to contemplate how easily and quickly a country could be corrupted by a leader who harbored hateful, despotic plans and who had the support of a ready military organization behind him/her. Occasionally, it felt like there was a bit too much dialogue in the audio version, so I believe that, the book should be read in print in order to get the most out of it.

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review 2018-02-15 18:44
Do Not Judge This Book By The Cover
Burning Both Ends (Hot Aussie Knights Book 2) - Sinclair Jayne

Sexy, romantic, heroic, with a believable romance and no cheesy lines! First lets talk about that cover. What on earth is happening with that flame placement ? I had at least 6 people point that out to me. Didn't anyone look at it before going to publishing ? Poor cover design, but great inside. I won this book and had low expectations, I expected the average cheesy romance that follows a over used formula. What I got was a very well written story about interesting characters with full backstories and real life issues. Not one eye roll from this reader. Woot Woot. A young female fire jumper is on a learning exchange program in Australia from Montana. She was picked for this program for several reasons. One being her Grandfathers funeral is in the same area, so she has family there to support her. The other is that she is "damaged" emotionally from a great loss of her unit in a forest fire. She needs time to recover her footing and to morn. Right off the plane she heads to the funeral where she meets a sexy firefighter, and a one night stand is just the right medicine for this messed up time. Sparks fly the sheets heat, she walks away but karma nips her and she bumps into him again. He is a firefighter who has raised his siblings, taken care of others all his life. He loves like he works with all his being, and he wants this crazy jumper from the USA in more than his bed. I really enjoyed their stories, each had such a different and difficult trail to walk to get where they were. Both were such honest people, no game playing, no half held truths. I liked them, would invite them over for coffee and pie. I can not wait for more of this series.

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text 2018-02-13 17:05
Reading progress update: I've read 32%.
Burning Both Ends (Hot Aussie Knights Book 2) - Sinclair Jayne

Awww she saved the kitty

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review 2018-01-22 04:15
Lots of struggles but very much worth the read.
Highlander Entangled (Highland Adventure) (Volume 9) - Vonda Sinclair

Another great read from Vonda Sinclair! There are many dark moments in this story, but it makes Kristina's and Colin's journey toward each other so much more fulfilling. There were times I had tears but these made the smiles bigger. I enjoyed this story greatly and highly recommend it.

I received a copy of this story as a gift, and this is my unsolicited review.

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review 2018-01-12 00:00
Returning: The Journey of Alexander Sinclair
Returning: The Journey of Alexander Sinclair - Sharon Gunason Pottinger  While a buttery smooth preamble serves to set this heartwarming anecdote of insensitivity, regret, remorse, and absolution into motion, Sharon Gunason Pottinger, its Scotland-born author, transports the reader to a war-torn Kandahar, Afghanistan where the latter makes the fictional acquaintance of both Alexander Sinclair—our leading man, an author, and a freelance journalist—and William Tallgrass Macdonald, a Pulitzer Prize worthy photographer and Alexander's editor, as the pair of Frontline-like correspondents travel together on assignment abroad.

 The two Scottish colleagues—Alexander, an aborigine of Caithness; and William, an indigene of Edinburgh—are communing, casually, about life back home in their respective nativities, wondering aloud what changes have occured over all the years of their individual absences from their families, and sharing their ideas of just how they plan to right many wrongs upon their returns. The men continue their bond of communication with William discussing Ahmad, a young Afghan
boy who has become utmost special to him, and whether or not he should take Ahmad back to Scotland with him when that time comes. But thoughout their dialogue, neither Alexander nor William can foresee an impending tragedy. The men are being driven along a dusty Afghan road, with William leaning from the window and focusing his camera lens to seize the perfect shot, when their vehicle suddenly rolls over a rigged landmine, exploding and killing William Tallgrass Macdonald instantly. Alex luckily survives the blast, suffering only a mild concussion and a brief stretch of deafness.

 Finally going home, although in shock and under mournful circumstances, Alexander escorts William's boxed remains back to Edinburgh, delivering them to those by whom he is survived: his stoic father Andrew, and his profoundly aggrieved stepmother, Plyllidia. The couple provide Alexander with free room and board—not to mention clean clothing—preceding William's funeral. And in the wake of his dear friend's eulogized burial, Alexander vacates the environs of Edinburgh only to direct his fleeing feet right back into those of Caithness, and to the home of the would've-been wife and daughter that he selfishly abandoned sixteen years before for the sake of his new "job assignments."

Member of Parliament
Established 1266 
Treaty of Perth

It is here in the lieutenancy area of Scotland, bounded to the south and west by Sutherland, that the literary script enters Heather and Lexie, the two most important women in the world to one Alexander Sinclair. Skipping out on Heather and their then three-year-old daughter, Lexie, all those years ago has plunged Alex into a cavernous ocean of regret. And in a penitent reflective mood—especially in the aftermath of his dear friend William's death—the aging journalist has returned home to his geographical roots to make amends with his family, and to get it right this time if, perhaps, they would be willing to grant him a second chance. Nineteen-year-old Lexie is good and ready to receive her long-lost father back, willing to forgive him and to forget his egotistical iniquities, but her mum Heather? Not so much.

As weeks pass into months, Alex and Heather's "reunion" is anything but happy as the volatile spitfire prefers to unleash her pent-up rage on the man who so effortlessly abandoned her and their daughter only to reappear as though he never had, even too nonchalantly. Alex desperately fancies repentance, however, after too long an absence as both a husband and a father, it's just not going to be that easy. But is anything ever?

 Poetically scribed and harmoniously structured by the evidently talented Sharon Gunason Pottinger, Returning: The Journey of Alexander Sinclair is 100 easy-going pages of pure astonishment. A serene, calm, lovely, and relaxing fiction, were the European-set novella a musical genre, it would indeed be that of extremely mellow Easy Listening.

Alexander Sinclair is one of those protagonists that the reader will either pity, hate, become annoyed by, or passionately love. And to my particular reader, every one of those emotions—especially that of love—applied. I especially loved this man more so. He is as much strong as he is weak. And despite his many ill-advised decisions, still, his compassionate and undying love for his family overrules. Unfortunately, the ghastly death of a good friend—right before his very eyes—is what it took to bring Alexander Sinclair back into the sphere of reality, and force him to the understanding that time waits for no one.

Not a single man or woman has ever gotten it just right, and not a single man or woman ever will. Mistakes will be made, that is why erasers exist. But the tenacity of this narrative's leading man going out of way to correct his own is certain to galvanize the reader into an emotional reaction, even to the point of shedding a tear . . . or two.

 To those readers who absolutely love the genres of Historical fiction and Cultural Heritage, I would avow that Returning: The Journey of Alexander Sinclair is for each and everyone of you a must-read.

 Five Great Scott!—er, Great Scot!—stars.

 • It is my kindly pleasure to thank Pottinger Publishing, as well as Sharon Gunason Pottinger herself, for the author-issued copy of Returning: The Journey of Alexander Sinclair in exchange for my honest review.

Analysis of "Returning: The Journey of Alexander Sinclair" by Sharon Gunason Pottinger is courtesy of Reviews by Cat Ellington: https://catellingtonblog.wordpress.com

Date of Review: Friday, January 12, 2018

• Note to the author: Sharon, reading your (well) written composition had brought to me nothing short of genuine enjoyment. And I humbly thank you for your loving gesture in gifting me with a personally signed copy of said effort in honor of Reviews by Cat Ellington.

 I will forever bless that fateful day in July of 2017 when both my husband (Joseph Strickland) and you crossed paths for the very first time in our beloved Chicago. That fortunate day had brought upon itself a massive rain storm in which the two of you—along with a generous bunch of others—found yourselves stranded. I say 'fortunate' because had it not been for that major rain storm which had delayed all of your travels, Joe and you probably wouldn't have ever met, and I would not have ever come to know of you by way of him. Therefore, I will forever bless that fateful day. Your warm spirit is what had attracted him to your conversation. And it was meant to be as he was soon made aware of your work as a novelist, and you were soon made aware of me and my work at RCE. Of course, one thing soon led to another and here we are. Now, that's fate. Beautiful fate.

 Though your primary residence be based in Scotland, respectively, Chicago is still your esteemed second city . . . literally. And of that, we are truly proud. Sharon, I want you to know that our family will always cherish this signed work of fiction that you have given us, even for generations. On that, you can most definitely count. Not only do I congratulate you on all of your fictional releases, but I also pray that God will continue to greatly bless you and yours through their circulation.


Cat Ellington
Reviews by Cat Ellington
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