Quote: The Terrorist Next Door–How the Government is Deceiving you About the Islamic Threat

The Terrorist Next Door: How the Government is Deceiving you About the Islamic Threat by Erick Stakelbeck

FTC NOTICE: Purchased Book

Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat identified a four-step process that leads an individual or group to accept jihadist ideology and to act on it:

*Pre-radicalization: The subject is searching for something else in their life and comes into contact with radicalization agents.

*Identification: The individual begins to adopt various changes of dress, mannerisms and lifestyle in accordance with adopting a new set of beliefs.

*Indoctrination: Now involved with a new set of associates, they are subjected to intense ideological training that reinforces jihadist narratives and justifications for violence.

*Jihadization: The individual agrees that violence is necessary for the “defense” of Islam, and is recruited to engage in violent acts.

The report’s authors stress that this process can happen over long periods of time, or can occur rather quickly” (188).


Workspace Wednesday for March 8, 2017

20170308_WorkspaceWedBeautiful deep red carnations–the same color as the flowers found on my wedding dress, worn almost a decade ago. Perhaps that thought compelled me to choose these carnations.   The pictured books were read, with some covered in different shades of red.  Regardless of cover colors, my question became, “How many reviews could be written and posted for these books with a week?”  If you already reviewed any of these works, feel free to share a link to your blog posts about them.  In the meantime, wish me luck on mine!

Imperium by Ryszard Kapuscinski
Why Israel Can’t Wait: The Coming War Between Israel and Iran by Jerome Corsi, PhD
Operation Shakespeare: The True Story of an Elite International Sting by John Shiffman
The Shah by Abbas Milani (whose brother was Prime Minister under the last Shah of Iran)
Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East, 1776 to the Present by Michael B. Oren
The Siege: 68 Hours Inside the Taj Hotel by Cathy Scott-Clark and Adrian Levy

February 2017 Reading and Blogging Wrap-up

The old saying “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” that historically applied to items to be carried by a bride on her wedding day seemingly applied themselves to my reading and related adventures in February. My collection included a 1980 publication date (considered old, depending upon who you asked), two new releases either read and/or reviews written, the balance borrowed, plus one book with a minuscule amount of blue on its cover.

There was something else new that, while central to a new release, existed as a “first” for me: I went to an author event and met one of my favorite authors, Stephen Kinzer, who just released his newest book: “The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of American Empire.” I wrote two “Groupie Moment” posts about the lead up to his book discussion, with one more, “The Grand Finale” anticipated this upcoming month. In the meantime, in case you missed it/them (ICYMI), here are links to the posts about that special occasion (followed by February’s reads and blogging stats):

Groupie Moment: Countdown to Kinzer
Groupie Moment: Countdown to Kinzer (Part Two)

Books: 5
Pages: 1,405
Avg Pgs/Bk: 281

Books: 9
Pages: 2,781
Avg Pgs/Bk: 309
2017 Releases: 2

Lenin on the Train (2017 Release) by Catherine Merridale
Shah of Shahs (1992 Release, A Re-read) by Ryszard Kapuściński
The Fall Of The Shah (1980 Release) by Fereydoun Hoveyda, Roger Liddell (Translator)
United States of Jihad (2016 Release) by Peter Bergen (NOTE: The book’s official title is “United States of Jihad,” but it has a few different secondary titles; I tried including them in my original post’s name (making it quite long)
Who Lost Russia? (2017 Release) by Peter Conradi


1.  Infidel (2007 Release) by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
2.  The Fall of the Shah (1980 Release) by Fereydoun Hoveyda
3.  United States of Jihad (2016 Release) by Peter Bergen

Infidel (2007 Release) by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Jihad Academy (2016 Release) by Nicolas Henin

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Groupie Moment: Countdown to Kinzer (Part Two)

the-true-flag-theodore-roosevelt-mark-twain-and-the-birth-of-american-empire-by-stephen-kinzerThank goodness that I recently joined the Twitter-verse (@StreedsReads)! It was there that I quickly became a follower of one of my favorite authors, Stephen Kinzer (@StephenKinzer), resulting in something I had dreamt of, but never thought would happen: meeting him. On the eve of one week ago, I just happened to be on Twitter late at night…such a romantic thing for a wife (who adores her husband) to do…don’t you think? Instantly I saw the transformative tweet from Kinzer, about his newest release, “The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of American Empire.” If you missed it, details were posted in: Groupie Moment: Countdown to Kinzer.

The next day, I called Vroman’s to reserve my copy of “The True Flag.” No way was I going to risk not having one for the event. Plus, that bookstore’s policy stated that with the purchase of said book, attendees could bring up to three other Kinzer works from home library for the author to sign–YIPPEEEEEE!

But, just one problem: the “Kinzer Groupie” status was achieved by borrowing books from my local library system. The time had come for that big word—“C-O-M-M-I-T-M-E-N-T:” It was the only way to prove my groupie worthiness by purchasing some of the author’s books. My husband revealed that he was already one step ahead of me, because he intended to take me to the local (for us, but not in a corporate sense) bookstore so that we could pick up other Kinzer titles for the event.  Finally, I would officially have Kinzer-esque bragging rights!

The store had only two other Kinzer books:
1. All The Shah’s Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror (I read this one years ago, having reviewed it on my Goodreads and LibraryThing profiles at the time; recently, I posted it to this blog as well.)
2. The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War (I planned to read this one upon its release in 2016 but allowed myself to be lured into temptation by other books…even though they kept their covers on. Shame on me! What kind of Kinzer fan am I?)

My husband and I got dressed up for our date night, because nerds-at-heart do things like this for excitement. We really do! We left our home to allow two and one-half hours for the commute and arrived in approximately 90 minutes…relieved by the lack of normally-heavy Los Angeles and Inland Empire traffic.

2017-02_kinzerbooksfortrueflagauthoreventOnce inside the store, I immediately purchased my book, bringing my “To Be Autographed” set to three pieces; so, I knew I could relax a little bit.  I realized that I was in a special place…feeling as though no outside world existed.  Endless aisles of texts surrounded us, as well as anything that a book nerd/aficionado would want to couple with reading: luxury pens and high-end stationary sets, fragrant candles and exotic incense, cosmopolitan coffees and unusual teas plus specialty cups/mugs to enjoy them, themed socks and aprons, plus more, more, more. We entered the adjoining cafe and ate a light meal together, not wanting to chance a growling stomach interrupting Stephen Kinzer’s lecture. My husband opted to have some coffee and work for a little bit while I walked around the store…with less than a half-hour left in my “Countdown to Kinzer.”

I’ll never forget what happened next…as I was looking at books in the “Military History section, I heard HIS voice. Not to confuse anyone…it was not GOD’s voice. It was that of the man of the hour (other than the one of every hour, who is my husband) Mr. Stephen Kinzer. I turned toward the voice, and there he was! Adenaline coursed through me, causing my heart to race. For an instant I froze, like a little girl caught with her hand in the cookie jar. The next second I came to my senses, slowly took a deep breath and sauntered away.

How rude of me to walk away, right?  I moved calmly, as though seeing Kinzer was an everyday thing. Then, when I rounded the corner, I doubled by pace and raced to get to my husband, back at the cafe. I leaned toward him and in an excited whisper I said, “He’s here!” And, my totally calm and cool husband smiled and said, “That’s why we’re here, right?”

Of course that was why we were there! But why did I walk away from one of my favorite authors, especially when I had been wanting to meet him for years? YEARS!!! My reason was simple. Despite my excitement, I wanted to be respectul of the fact that the man was not “On Stage” or “On Duty” yet. His personal time was his own; so, what possibly appeared to be rudeness or indifference was really about my effort to respect boundaries.

I spent the remaining time just perusing the opposite side of the store taking pictures. Then I began to feel more like a tourist or a really bad wanna-be spy. After two non-covert and very obvious snapshots were taken, I realized I had snapped the most important pre-event images anyway (except a display of “The True Flag“): Scrabble and Shakespeare, and I’ll tell you why.

My husband and I played Scrabble on our first date. We had agreed to meet for coffee; but I brought Scrabble, a Scrabble Players’ Dictionary, and Boggle. He had never played Scrabble before; and, wouldn’t you know it? They guy won the game and the girl!

Shakespeare was a man who snuck into my teenage daughter’s bedroom in a way that I never would have guessed. A while back, my teenage daughter began disappearing to her bedroom and only coming out for meals, school, and quick chores. I was growing concerned; so, one night I tip-toed to her door (wanna-be spy mode, again) and suddenly knocked. She immediately responded for me to come in. That was when I found her in bed with Shakespeare. I was proud to discover that she was disappearing because she did not want to stop reading books. Later I learned that she had been giving her younger brother lessons in Shakespeare, which really warmed my heart. That was why I took a picture of the Shakespeare socks.  I think I should get them for her.

Groupie Moment: Countdown to Kinzer

Late last night my husband and I had just settled into bed. He had worked one of his extended days that seemed to start the day before, and I was looking adoringly at him…so thankful for him. I thought about how in that moment I loved him more than when I woke up yesterday morning.

Then, I did what any loving wife would do…I opened my iPad and went onto Twitter. It was in that moment when I saw a tweet from one of my favorite authors, Stephen Kinzer. He announced that he was going to be in Pasadena (California) tonight (Feb. 13, 2017). Excitedly, like a hyper-puppy greeting its owner as she walks in the door, I was all over my husband and mentioned the event.


He told me we could go, and a long-held dream of mine (to meet Kinzer) was suddenly going to come true in the only way that it could ever happen…because it was a gift from the man I love more than the air I breathe. My husband is giving of his time, hard-earned money, and making the drive, all for the woman he loves. I am so grateful to him and idolize him more than anyone else on the planet.

So, tonight, my husband and I will be in a different area of the planet…which can take one and one-half to three hours to get there, from where we live, depending upon traffic. And, when is there ever not traffic in Southern California!!! I am sharing a link to the event details on the Vroman’s Bookstore web-site.

Event: Stephen Kinzer Discussion and Book Signing
Subject: His Newest Book–The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of American Empire
Details: Vroman’s Bookstore

To say that I am excited is an incredible understatement. I have already read a few of Kinzer’s works, but I figured that his piece titled, “The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles & Their Secret World War” would be my next read of his. But, I’ve been naughty by not keeping up on my Kinzer reads. What kind of a groupie am I??? These are his books that I have already read:

*All the Shah’s Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror
*Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq
*A Thousand Hills: Rwanda’s Rebirth and the Man Who Dreamed It (My favorite of his, so far!)
*Reset: Iran, Turkey, and America’s Future

I would love to read about any of Stephen Kinzer’s works that you have read and what you thought about them. In the meantime, I’ll be doing two things as once: 1.) spoiling my husband all day to express my utmost gratitude; and, 2.) doing my countdown to Kinzer.

Workspace Wednesday for February 8, 2017


One, just one book in my workspace…at least officially. Sometimes I keep a monster sized book smoldering in the background. I read it a few pages at a time until I am sure I want to invest myself completely. Its no different than sticking your toe into the bathtub, or the sea, to gauge the temperature.

However, this book’s temperature (about an imprisoned Iranian journalist) is just fine…but as the Iranian Revolution becomes more inflamed, this book’s story starts to smolder.

Camelia: Save Yourself by Telling the Truth–A Memoir of Iran, by Camelia Entekhabifard

January 2017 Month-End Reading and Blogging Wrap-up

Mid-January, I initiated a “Blog Re-launch.” It was a hopeful time with no expectations of gaining any type of blog/social media/statistical traction. I was surprised when supporters before my hiatus were still with me; and, I was delighted as I gained more followers. Thank you to everyone for the interest in my variety of posts, the dialogue, and sharing of yourselves. Below were the month-end results:

Books Completed
Count: 4
Pages: 1,678
Avg Pgs/Bk: 419.5

Reconciliation (2008 Release) by Benazir Bhutto
Imperium (2007 Release) by Ryszard Kapuściński, Margaret Atwood (Contributor), Klara Glowczewska (Translator)
The Shah (2012 Release) by Abbas Milani
Jihad Academy (2016 Release) by Nicolas Hénin, Martin Makinson (Translation)

Predominant Countries in my Reads

Most Popular Post
All American (2014 Release) by Steve Eubanks

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Library Loot for February 2017


Library Loot: February 2, 2017

Library Loot” takes place each week; it is hosted by Claire from “The Captive Reader” and Linda at “Silly Little Mischief” for those of us that wish to share and support (or enable) other readers, while delighting in (and sometimes, coveting) other people’s reads.  My library haul follows:

A Woman in Arabia: The Writings of the Queen of the Desert, by Gertrude Bell, Georgina Howell (Editor)
My initial interest in the Arabian Peninsula started at a young age, when I saw the film “Lawrence of Arabia.” Gertrude Bell played an important role in that area and in that era; so, it was time I read her story.

Shah of Shahs, by Ryszard Kapuscinski, William R. Brand (Translator), Katarzyna Mroczkowska-Brand (Translator) (Translated from Polish)
I read this book in June, 2013, and it enthralled me. The story covered a brief, but important, set of Persia’s historical points, through the change of Qajar Dynasty to the Pahlavi leadership (when the country became known as “Iran”) and the evolution of scenarios leading to the revolution that overthrew the last shah: Mohammad Reza Pahlavi One could argue that people would find a plethora of books on the topic (an inarguable point); but, nobody could do it like Kapuscinski. It was an experience…one I wished to replicate. Additionally, while I took detailed reading notes, I became too aggressive at whittling them down in the process of writing my review. This book was certainly worthy of a high-caliber review; and, writing one required a re-read.

Camelia: Save Yourself by Telling the Truth, A Memoir of Iran, by Camelia Entekhabifard
I wanted to read another book about post-revolutionary Iran: drastic religious, political, and social/societal changes coupled with human rights abuses (including wrongful imprisonment).

The Origins and Evolutions of the Arab-Zionist Conflict, by Michael J. Cohen
While I read this book in July, 2015, it was not selected for a re-read. I chose this piece to help me clean-up my notes and write my review of it; skimming the book for certain details was my intent.

Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party, by Dinesh D’Souza
Well, there certainly has been quite a bit of passion surrounding this book and its author. When I walked into the library to pick up my holds, I saw this piece on one of the “Just In” shelves and had to bring it home with me.

The Book Giveaway Winner that Never Was and What I Learned in the Process

img_test-profile-pic-from-gravatarThe end of January gave way to me sponsoring a book giveaway for the first time.  I was excited!  I knew that scores of people would want to enter for a chance to win.

I had previously committed to sponsoring one in my “Update: Blog Re-launch, Re-arranging the Furniture, and an Upcoming Book Giveaway” post.  Then I posted a review of  the book that I intended for the giveaway:  “Jihad Academy:  The Rise of Islamic State, by Nicolas Henin.  Finally, I had to figure out the legal stuff (What a quagmire!) and how the winning entrant would be selected:  I opted to let Rafflecopter randomly select the winner.  I wrote the book giveaway post and waited, and waited…..and waited.

The giveaway came to a close, and I learned that I waited for nobody to enter.  Zero Entrants= No Winner!  The formula was not exactly rocket science, nor the answer to peace in the Middle East; but it made me realize that I had some learning to do–immediately.  This was what I learned.

Some visitors were interested and read my Giveaway Policy, too.  It was complex, to put it simply.  I wanted to do everything right; and, in doing so, I may have scared off an entrant or two.  The giveaway was open to residents of (and with mailing addresses within the) United States, except where prohibited, and yada, yada, yada.  My site’s stats revealed that my largest visitor count came from this country, followed by Britain, then Canada.  When I looked at the cumulative numbers, the overwhelming majority of my visitors came from outside of my home country.

But, what was most interesting…and rewarding…and fulfilling to me was that during the entire time of the giveaway  and up until I started writing this post, I continued to receive visits, likes/favorites, and commenting from you–plus more followers.  So, while I intended to giveaway something, I was the one to receive the prize.  You gave of your time, your interest, and your thoughts.  I cannot thank you enough.