Books Vol 4 [Mesa, Gilbert Professional Photographer]

        I have this problem. There are not enough hours in the day to get in the reading I would like to do. The only time I have to devote to reading is before bed. Most of us have a tv in our bedrooms and it was a habit to turn it on when I crawled into bed. Almost a year ago we made a commitment to remove that habit. Enter the books. I'm constantly finding another book I want to check out. This last year has been about trying to find balance. Figuring out what to read has been no different. I finally came up with a plan on how to tackle my read list. My goal is to read 3 books a month. I belong to a book club with some lovely ladies and we meet once a month to discuss that months read. In addition to that I always come across one that I would like to read just for myself. Finally, business. As much as I love shooting pictures, the business side isn't something that comes easily for me. I have made a business goal to rectify that and get my business organized and running the way it should be. So here is another installment of my most recent reads.

       Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris- A little unorthodox in some of his story telling, but the nice thing about this book is each chapter is almost a stand alone read. While some of the chapters will have references to a situation that had occurred earlier in the book, you could read only what you wanted and still laugh. The first chapter was captivating but then I had a bit of a hard time staying with it. Until.... later in the book. At that point I was trying to hold my laughs in. You know the kind that shake the bed? 

       Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T Kiyosaki- I don't think I actually need to review this one. I'm sure I am probably one of the last people to finally crack open this book. I've had this book in a box for at least 10 years. If this book is any indication, I hope reading business books aren't all going to be this difficult to get through. I think the thing that bugged me about this book was his ability to constantly quote his mentor (rich dad).... in full paragraphs....when he was 10 years old. However, there were some really good nuggets to apply.

       The Pirate Coast by Richard Zachs- This event is what keeps us knowing there is even a place called Tripoli although the events are not well known. In 1785 Tripoli harassed countries with pirates. To 'protect' ships from being harassed, countries would pay 'protection fees.' It was a win win.... for Tripoli. They were harassing many countries including the young United States under Thomas Jefferson. 

                   "By 1804, the war had escalated, with six U.S. fleet ships in the Mediterannean. Then Bey Yussef siezed the officers and crew of the U.S.S. Philadelphia, and held them as slaves while he waited for ransom and tribute to be paid. Jefferson responded by sending William Eaton, a former consul to the region who had already proved himself no friend to piracy or slavery, with a commission to find and support Bey Yussef's brother Hamet in a coup atttempt to create a U.S.-friendly state on the Barbary Coast.Once Eaton had departed, however, Jefferson began to reconsider the commission. In the age of sailing ships, information from the other side of the world might be years out of date, and Eaton, no diplomat, had ruffled more than a few feathers while a consul in the Middle East. A former army captain, Eaton had recently been court-martialed and convicted. He was impetuous, hardheaded, argumentative. His loud voice cut through conversations; his ramrod-straight stance inspired respect; his Dartmouth education added polysyllables to his vocabulary. Diplomacy, he had very little; he was blunt-spoken, exceedingly direct. He once wrote of the feeble efforts of the U.S. Navy that "a fleet of Quaker meeting houses would have done just as well." The US. government, with a huge debt from the Revolutionary War, found it cheaper to pay off Tunis—and keep the pirates away—than to fight against them, Jefferson's anti-tribute bluster to the contrary. Eaton, however, was appalled by the aspect of slavery close-up. Within two years, this disgraced diplomat would lead a band of eight Marines (then a service chiefly known for supplying military bands to Washington ceremonies) and several hundred foreign mercenaries, "the dregs of Alexandria, on a mad hopeless mission to march across the hell of the Libyan desert." Eaton, cut off from the promised funds for his mission, used every wit and wile available to him to round up the missing Hamet, corral the nomadic tribes who had allied against Bey Yussef, and keep them all marching in the same direction. Eventually this rag-tag group would mount a surprise-attack on Tripoli's second-largest city, Derne, and they would achieve a near miraculous victory—followed by a disastrous retreat in the face of that victory, as commanded by the jealous U.S. Naval commander, John Rodgers, and the pompous (and disastrously compliant) Ambassador to Tripoly, Tobias Lear. (Six years after his suspiciously lenient treaty with Bey Yussef, Tobias Lear, then United States consul general to Algiers, would accept two female Italian slaves to work as housekeepers in the consulate. Their $75-a-year upkeep was part of his reimbursed expense accounts, making the U.S. government complicit in their slavery.)
Their retreat would abandon the allied tribes to the vengeance of their enemies, most of whom had fled when the U.S. fleet showed up in the harbor of Derne, assuming the fleet was there to support Hamet's allies. Despite the slaughter that followed the U.S. retreat, the United States Marines acquired a new reputation for courage. Eaton's single Marine officer, Lieutenant Presley O'Bannon (a fiddle-player in the Marine band), raised the U.S. flag over the harbor of Derne. This was the first time the flag would fly over conquered foreign territory; it flew side-by-side with the banner of Hamet, would-be Pasha of Tripoly. Returning to the U.S from the Barbary Coast, Eaton found himself lauded and fêted by a 15-state nation that had thrilled to his victories. In Washington, however, Eaton was faced with another campaign far more dangerous than his recent trudge across the Libyan deserts: he set out to recoup his financial losses from multiple Mediterranean campaigns, and to bring Lear, Rodgers, and Jefferson himself under censure for commanding his retreat from Derne. None of the principals are simon-pure; Zachs spares no one, not even Eaton himself.
        It's no secret about my love for history. When I picked it up I found it shocking that there was a 'war' in US history that I did not know about. So, I checked it out based in annoyance of my ignorance. 
        So there you have it world wide web, it's January and I have met my goal of reading my book club book, a business book, and a personal choice book. 
Happy Reading!

1 comment:

Maryann Watkins said...

If you're ever in need of good history books - historical fiction, biographies, anything ... just let me know. I have enough of them to keep you busy! :)

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