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Clark's Bookshelf.

John Quincy Adams

Harlow Giles Unger

Da Capo Press

c/o Perseus Books Group

11 Cambridge Center, Cambridge, MA 02142

9780306821285, $27.50,

Election time brings forth candidates who are striving to lead the great nation of ours. The past elections of recent years are very familiar to many and the presidents who served are well known, but when a book about the sixth president of the United States emerges, we should stop and take notice. Harlow Giles Unger has written a magnificent book, which chronicles the life and career of "John Quincy Adams" a scholar who became President.

John Quincy Adams father, John Adams who was the second president that served a four-year term while his son John Quincy served the nation in various roles as a minister to six European countries, a Congressman for sixteen years, and of course the presidency.

John Quincy was brilliant and had a great facility for foreign languages, which made him extremely welcome on foreign soil. He conversed in French, Spanish, Italian, German, and various other languages. A graduate of Harvard and was a lawyer as well. He followed example of his illustrious father who also had been a lawyer. During his formative years, his mother Abigail Adams was instrumental in his educational development and his family reared him to be religious so that he would not bring any shame upon the Adam's name.

Harlow Unger has researched this book in his inimical style of being correct with regard to his references. This book is footnoted and refers to many of the correspondences which were between John Quincy and both his mother and father. John Quincy Adams also wrote a diary that was about 14,000 pages. He started this diary when he was 10 years old and continued through his adulthood. Life during this era of the late 1700's and early 1800's comes to life because of these notations.

Authors gain respect for their work when both scholars and the public accept their books. Harlow Giles Unger has written 20 books, including six biographies of America's Founding Fathers. His most recent books include "The Last Founding Father," Lion of Liberty," and "American Tempest."

Many of the conflicts that faced our nation during the period, in which John Quincy Adams was president, are still facing our nation today. Though the magnitude was not as extreme, there were financial difficulties, questions about Federal Taxation, and the conflict that arose in the Electoral College. Relations with foreign countries like France and England created animosity between different factions here in the United States who supported either one or the other. Diplomacy was a key element in solving disputes and John Quincy Adams was a masterful diplomat.

Intrigue played a role in the relations between our United States and France. It continued from John Adams time to the time of John Quincy Adams. Additionally highlighted was John Quincy Adams' advocacy of freedom! He attempted to have Congress free slaves 4 years before the emancipation proclamation by Abraham Lincoln. An interesting fact is that he served in Congress again after having been president!

This is a five star book and one for the young scholar in your family whilst in high school or college.

The Death Relic

Chris Kuzneski

G. P. Putnam's Sons

375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014

9780399158995, $26.95,

Prolific writers with characters who enthrall create a following of readers who look forward to the next adventure with mouths watering as if they were about to eat a tasty morsel. Chris Kuzneski is such an author. "The Death Relic" which will be hitting the bookstores on January 10 is such a novel. Chris Kuzneski is a best-selling author who has written "The Secret Crown" and "The Prophecy", "The Lost Throne," "Sword of God," and "The Plantation."

"The Death Relic" takes place in Mexico and traverses the Yucatan, Mexico City, and Acapulco. Main characters are Payne and Jones, both former members of an elite military squad known as the MANIACS. These two adventurers' exploits would make a super hero cringe as they manage to take charge of dangerous situations making them turn out in their favor. This novel is no different from what they faced in previous tales of their undertakings.

One of the unique abilities that Kuzneski has is reviving characters from previous novels and tying them together in a new scenario. Maria Pelati who was in previous encounters with Payne and Jones calls upon them to help her in Cancun after her prospective new employer Terrence Hamilton disappears right after they had just met! He had gone out to his car to get some papers to show her and never returned. Maria returned to her hotel suite and found it very askew. Even her passport was missing. Fear for her safety causes her to call Payne and Jones for help. They respond and join her by flying to Cancun from Pennsylvania.

Other characters emerge throughout this tense story who play important roles in the drama, some are old friends and others foes. There is much excitement as some seemingly disconnected events take place, but through the skillfulness of Kuzneski's writing, they unfold to connect the dots as this page-turner moves forward.

Historical references abound and some of the explanations about the disappearance of the Mayan civilization delve into the body of this novel. Travel among the ruins is with accuracy. Insight as to Mayan temples and their use for sacrifices is with candor. Societies which existed in the 1500s, both Mayan and Aztecs and their relationships are explored. European explorers, church historical figures, and modern day events blend to an electrifying conclusion.

Demonstrating the skill of Payne and Jones in their adventures without overshadowing others in their roles is the sign of an author who has command of the storyline. In "The Death Relic", each of the players has a part even if that part is for good or evil. There is no confusion as to who the good guys are, Payne and Jones, of course.

This is a five-star adult book because of language, murder, and innuendo, which is highly recommended!


Francis Hamit

Brass Cannon Books

97815955954008, $21.00

Unfolding events draw a reader into a thriller. Unfolding slowly in the beginning to build a climaxing crescendo is "Meltdown" by Francis Hamit. Experienced writers have this uncanny ability to pique your interest and move you along without your realizing that you are going on a journey led by a masterful storyteller.

Francis Hamit wrote two other novels, which are well accepted "The Shenandoah Spy" and "The Queen of Washington." These books are historical novels. "Meltdown" is what the author says is an "alternative reality" calling attention events that might take place if there is a failure to take adequate precautions.

Two main characters are highlighting this compelling novel. One is a new security chief who takes over the function of leading guards and others in the care of keeping intruders out of a nuclear power plant. The other is an erstwhile engineer who works in the maintenance of the facility and directing safe operating procedures. Each of these people is very different and who have their own lives. Their connection is in the running of the plant. Each has their own separate agenda to prove their ability. Hamit superbly portrays their interplay with management who run the nuclear reactor.

Since the author has a background in security and having been involved with nuclear power plants, he uses jargon from real events. Learning about the training of the guards, the past military careers each had prior to being a guard and the continuation of preparedness play an important role in keeping intruders at bay. There are intruders who attack with a ruthless plan to call attention to the inadequate safety of nuclear power reactors. Making an example of Chernobyl or Three Mile Island disasters is the goal of militia comprised of a rag-tag group of misguided deviants of society.

Jimmy Berger, the engineer, has an interesting role. He is able to fix just about anything pertaining to the facility. A graduate engineer who prefers to still wear a ponytail, have a beard, and not wear a tie is not what he appears at the start of the book. He demonstrates he is a true patriot who really cares about the job. As the story unfolds, his abilities and concern about community readers will recognize he is a likeable fellow!

Her energy company was clamping down on unnecessary spending at their nuclear power facility and so they sent Maria Lockhart as the new security chief. Her boss was suspect of misappropriations going on at the power plant. She was primarily to be a bean counter and cut back on costs. She developed into a well-respected hero of the management team by her leading the security forces in combating intruders.

This is a five star book, extremely well written, entertaining, informative, and definitely an adult novel because of its graphic descriptions and some sexual overtones, which added to the story.

Knowing Your Value: Women, Money, and Getting What You're Worth

Mika Brzezinski

Weinstein Books

345 Hudson Street, 13th floor

New York, NY 10014

9781602861602, $15.00,

Men and women in the business world each have uniquely different skills when it comes to asking for a raise in salary. Culture, background, and self-worth play into how each gender will ask for a raise. Mika Brzezinski in her recently published book "Knowing Your Value" relies upon other women in the business world to give their opinions on how to succeed in obtaining more money, better contracts with better perks, and establishing women as equals in the market place.

This is a well written, clear, and definitely a worthwhile aid for women to achieve that well-worn phrase "show me the money." Mika is a co-host on the show "Morning Joe" where she shares the stage with Joe Scarborough in their discussion of issues and meeting with celebrities.

One of the outstanding features that Mika presents is her ability to recognize her failings in negotiations with her bosses at the MSNBC and not earning enough money to compensate her fairly for the 15-hour days she is working. It was not as if they were paying a minimum wage for her efforts, but she felt that she could be earning more.

What Mika found was the glass ceiling was holding her back. As a woman, she found herself at a disadvantage by the management playing her heartstrings as a woman. Mika was told by another woman mid-management representative to be happy with what she was earning and frankly that it was more important to be "liked" than it was to make waves by asking for more money.

Mika has discussions with many women, Chief Operating Officers and other executives throughout the book on various topics relating to relationship in business to the crucial aspect of how to ask for more money and earning what you are worth. This advice is not only useful for women, but men as well. Men and women have different levels of success not only due to abilities, but also due to perceived limits on being able to do the job.

Family and child rearing obligations in some companies limit the ability of the working woman to achieve parity in income with men. Interestingly, Mika discusses that in some companies the relationship with the family and children is a top priority to a happy worker and they have found it enhances the company and the worker providing a win-win situation.

Another interesting side note was how Mika's attitude to her co-host Joe changed. She had discovered Joe had been earning income far greater than she was because of the way he had his contract negotiated. When Joe realized she was upset about the disparity of income, he gave her some of his bonus money to make her happy. Mika became upset and felt that MSNBC should have raised her income, not Joe sharing his with her. However, the difference was when Joe explained to her he knew her value as a co-host and until negotiations could take place with the company, he felt it was a worthwhile investment, which would benefit him in the end by having her stay on the show. He told her he was being selfish. When she realized this, all was rosy once again.

This is an excellent 5-star book, which can enhance your career, and that is why you should read it!

The Healing Remedies Sourcebook

C. Norman Shealy, MD, PhD

Da Capo Press

c/o Perseus Books Group

11 Cambridge Center

Cambridge, MA 02142

9780738215914, $25.99,

An old axiom "physician heal thyself," is as useful today as it was when it was coined so many ages ago. The holistic approach to medicine is the methodology where using many common natural items are used to solve many of the body's ailments without a trip to the local emergency room or pharmacy. Dr. Norman Shealy wrote this book, which contains historical references to the various cultures and how they have treated maladies for hundreds of years.

Dr. Shealy is the founder of the American Holistic Medicine Association and a world-renowned neurosurgeon. He is the author of "The Complete Family Guide to Natural Home Remedies" and "The Self-Healing Workbook."

Divided into Part 1 and Part 2, this book gives an introduction to Ayurveda, Chinese Herbal Medicine, and Traditional Home and Folk Remedies in Part 1. In Part 2, there are treatments for common ailments. Under the treatment section are alternative types of treatments for those discussed in Part 1. This may sound a bit confusing, but the approaches for the different methods are varied.

"Ayurvedic medicine is the traditional system of medicine practiced in India and Sri Lanka. Like traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda is a complete system of healthcare, designed to contribute to a way of life, rather than an occasional treatment," according to Dr. Shealy.

Other treatments, which are discussed, include Herbalism, Aromatherapy, Homeopathy, Flower Remedies, and Vitamins. These are easy to follow and in Part 2 their use is more fully explained.

The very last part of the book discusses First Aid and how to treat using one of the methods discussed in Part 1. An example is how to treat blisters! Under the Ayurveda method, Aloe Vera juice is applied to the blister to help it heal. Under Traditional Home and Folk Remedies; "boiled and mashed carrots can be applied to help heal the area, and this is good for infection," there are some other methods under this section. Using Herbalism, "Aloe Vera can be applied to the blister to help it heal." There are also additional methods listed for Aromatherapy, Homeopathy, and Flower Essences.

One of the best ideas advanced by Dr. Shealy is to see a doctor when the relief tried in various sections is not effective. Simply stated is some illnesses are not what they appear to be. A blister, which mysteriously appears without injury, could have other causations. A blister, which becomes infected, could be very painful and inflamed.

During these difficult economic times, it is a good idea to do as much as we possibly can without incurring expense for some injuries, which we can treat ourselves. This book is excellent and provides many remedies under various theories of treatment. However, remember that you can obtain a lot of information from the internet or the public library. When you are in your local pharmacy or health food store clerks can also guide you to some very reasonable methods of treatment that work! This is a three star book, but might be a welcome addition to your library at home if you use it!

Clark Isaacs

COPYRIGHT 2012 Midwest Book Review
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Author:Isaacs, Clark
Publication:Reviewer's Bookwatch
Article Type:Book review
Date:Nov 1, 2012
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