Category Archives: what’s on your bedside table

The Monday Book – on Tuesday

Jack is doing the Monday Book – so of course it’s late –

The Room where it Happened – John Bolton

Well – Bolton comes over in this as quite the piece of work. A hard line hawk who clearly believes in using force and any kind of underhand shenanigans to promote US policies around the world.

The book covers his time as part of Trump’s White House team and he portrays himself as the cleverest one in the place. He describes Trump as a kind of ‘useful idiot’ and the others as lightweights to be manipulated. Further, he describes a President “addicted to chaos, who embraced our enemies and spurned our friends, and who was deeply suspicious of his own government”.

In his dealings with world leaders there’s little attempt at normal diplomacy or compromise. There’s a particularly chilling passage where he describes quite matter of factly undermining the elected government of Venezuela and the country’s economy. At the same time he is supporting the attempted coup by another, more US friendly politician.

When Trump moved to reduce or remove US troops from Iraq, Afghanistan and S. Korea, Bolton wasn’t in favor. This didn’t play to his hard man image or his vision of US domination around the world.

There are some references to his time as US ambassador to the UN in George W Bush’s Presidency which show how his attitudes hadn’t changed much over time.

The book is quite well written and doesn’t appear to have been ‘ghosted’. I got the impression that it was probably based on a diary or written notes made over his time with Trump.  Of course that means that insights he displays are what he observed and experienced personally, so not so much three dimensional chess but more chequers!

Can I recommend this book?

If you want one man’s perspective on a very dangerous time in which he played a prominent part then you might find it intriguing. I found it scary!

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Filed under book reviews, Life reflections, out of things to read, reading, Uncategorized, Wendy Welch, what's on your bedside table

The Monday Book: MAKE WAY FOR THE DUCKLINGS by Robert McCloskey

I grew up on this book. It’s the story of Mr. and Mrs. Mallard, and since it was written in the 1940s, of course Mrs. Mallard took her husband’s last name. They set up house on an island in a lagoon off Boston Gardens. There, they are befriended by a policeman named Michael.

When Mr. Mallard flies off to visit upriver sites, he and Mrs. Mallard agree to meet in the gardens a week later, but to her surprise, Mrs. Mallard finds a huge stream of traffic between her and reuniting the children with their Egg Daddy.

Enter Michael, who sees the dilemma and radios for help. Soon four policeman, a patrol car, and numerous passersby form a cordon for the family, who are escorted in peace to the reunion. The family settles in the gardens so they don’t have to call out the city’s resources for future forays. You know, spending taxpayer money on journeys to recreational locations, that kind of thing.

I’m writing about this book today because it’s peaceful. Because Nancy Reagan gave Raisa Gorbachev a copy of the Boston Gardens bronze statue commemorating McCloskey’s ducklings to take back to the Soviet Union in the 1980s–another time when we were all afraid of each other. And because so many generations of children learned to read, learned to look after defenseless animals, and learned to value the small things because of this book.

If you’ve never read it, now’s a good time. If you have read it, now’s a good time to re-read it. Two wings up for Make Way for the Ducklings.

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Filed under book reviews, Wendy Welch, what's on your bedside table, writing, YA fiction