Inspired by the incredible adventures of various historical figures and finally spurred on by the book, Prince Rupert — The Last Cavalier (2007) by Charles Spencer, which I recently read and reviewed — I have compiled a brief list of arguably the ten most adventuresome characters of history.
Barack Obama swore as U.S. President to uphold the Constitution of the United States. Instead he has violated his oath of office repeatedly by expanding the powers of the federal government at the expense of individual citizens and attempting to yield the sovereignty of the U.S. to the U.N. The Obama administration, for example, has sided with the U.N. against state laws in his own country on several occasions.
Prince Rupert — The Last Cavalier (2007) by British author Charles Spencer — journalist and former correspondent for NBC News, writer, broadcaster, and British peer 9th Earl Spencer and brother of the late Princess Diana, the former Princess of Wales — should be congratulated for writing this magnificent and comprehensive biography of Prince Rupert of the Rhine (1619-1682), a prince who packed more adventure into a single lifetime than seemed humanly possible by the standards of any age.
Just as I was beginning to warm up to Vladimir Putin and the new emerging "democracy" in the Russian Federation (which like a phoenix rose out of the ashes of the communist Soviet Union), the Russian President and his minions in the Ukraine invade the Crimean peninsula and threaten to foment a second cold war! Who is Putin trying to imitate?
Suleiman the Magnificent — Scourge of Heaven by Antony Bridge is an engaging, but not exhaustive, narrative of the major events in the life and times of the great Ottoman Sultan Suleiman (r. 1520-1566). I was not disappointed in this book, which reads like a charming storybook. The tome is at times suspenseful, always informative, and frequently suitably illustrated, including excellent illustrative maps.
Soldiers of Fortune — The Story of the Mamlukes (1973) is another undiscovered gem of a book by a scholar, historian, author, and soldier, a British Lieutenant General, Sir John B. Glubb (1897-1986), better known as Glubb Pasha by the Arabs he commanded in the Middle East in his many years of service while in the British army. The tome is a masterpiece of research on a topic little known to students of history — arcane, indeed, to most Western scholars and historians!
There is a Cuban proverb: “Tell me who your friends are, and I will tell you who you are.”
There is a Cuban proverb that reads: Dime con quien andas y te dire quien eres, which roughly translates: "Tell me who your friends are, and I will tell you who you are." For those who have not studied the issues and ramifications of convening a Constitutional Convention, now referred to as "Convention of States" to make it more palatable to state rights conservatives, the Cuban refrain should ring bells of concern. The Left has brought forth this issue numerous times.
The Galleys at Lepanto by Jack Beeching (1982) is a marvelous book, so well researched and mellifluously narrated as to read almost as a fairy tale or an epic romance of yore, elegantly scribed in poetic prose. Foremost among the knights-errant in this tale of chivalry is Don John of Austria, illegitimate son of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and half-brother of the stern King Philip II of Spain. The characters come to life as they are vividly described in the enthralling narrative, thus once begun, the tome is very difficult to put down.
Stalin's Secret Agents — The Subversion of Roosevelt's Government was written by two experienced authors and recognized authorities on the Cold War, M. Stanton Evans and Herbert Romerstein. Evans is a veteran journalist and former broadcaster, as well as the author of Blacklisted by History (2009), a biography of Senator Joseph McCarthy, and other momentous books. Romerstein was the former head of the Office to Counter Soviet Disinformation at the U.S. Information Agency and a congressional staffer of the House Intelligence Committee.
John Quincy Adams (2012) by Harlow Giles Unger is a well written and well-researched book that brings to light the sixth president of the United States, and the only son of a Founding Father to become president — John Quincy Adams.
The Last Founding Father — James Monroe and a Nation's Call to Greatness by Harlow Giles Unger (2009) is a well written and eloquently narrated book that goes a long way to accomplish what it set out to do — to make James Monroe, not only the last Founding Father, but also the greatest of the founders, second only to George Washington.
Moghul by Alan Savage, a pseudonym for a prolific British novelist, is a historic novel of adventure, sex, and brutality of epic proportions.
Case Closed — Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK by Gerald Posner is the definitive book on the JFK assassination. Case Closed is duly named as an authoritative and definitive treatise on the subject. The book is well investigated, well written, and thoroughly convincing because of the meticulous research and persuasive, logical narrative of the accomplished author Gerald Posner, a former Wall Street lawyer.
In the noted biography, Flawed Patriot (2006) by former CIA agent and author Bayard Stockton, CIA legend Bill Harvey, was introduced to President John F. Kennedy as "America's James Bond."(1) Harvey was indeed a charismatic legend in the CIA, but two other, almost equally unknown American heroes, could also vie for the title. One of them is Feliz Rodríguez Mendigutía, the indomitable subject of the book, Shadow Warrior, who, among his many other accomplishments, helped track and capture Che Guevara in the jungles of Bolivia in 1967.(2)
The Widow Spy is a real-life thriller that begins with a seemingly typical American housewife, Martha ("Marti") D. Peterson, who in an unusual gesture invites her two teenage children out to lunch. This is twenty years after the main events subsequently depicted in the book. She had remarried and was living what appeared to be the ordinary life of an American wife and mother. But what she flat out confesses to her astonished teenagers is that she worked for the CIA, had been previously married to an unknown American hero, and had a long story to tell them.
A Time to Betray — The Astonishing Double Life of a CIA Agent Inside the Revolutionary Guards of Iran by Reza Kahlili is one of the most heartrending and enthralling accounts I have ever read of courage, dissimulation, and personal suffering in the genre of espionage memoirs.
Antony and Cleopatra is the seventh and final book in the Masters of Rome series of historic novels by Australian author Colleen McCullough. This tome covers the years 41-27 B.C. of the late Roman Republic. At 567 pages, it is shorter than the previous books in the series.
The October Horse (2002) is the sixth tome in the Masters of Rome series of historic novels by Australian author Colleen McCullough. It spans the turbulent years of Roman history from 48 B.C. to 41 B.C.
Recently, Bill Ferguson, a local columnist in The Macon Telegraph, opined it is "time to call for a new constitutional convention." To make his points, he tells us about the public's general dissatisfaction with the state of affairs in our nation, and then tries to scare us to death with the frightening scenarios of a government shutdown, the U.S. defaulting on the national debt, and the gridlock in Congress, so that "these once-unthinkable situations could come to pass."(1)
Caesar — Let the Dice Fly (1997) is the fifth installment of the Masters of Rome historical novel series by author Colleen McCullough. This tome encompasses the period from 54 B.C., when Julius Caesar invaded Gaul and Britannia, and ends with the heinous and treacherous assassination of Pompey the Great in Egypt in 48 B.C.
Caesar's Women (1997) is the fourth installment of the Masters of Rome historical book series by novelist Colleen McCullough. The complete series spans the period from 110 B.C. to 27 B.C. This tome covers the eight years of the Late Roman Republic from 67 B.C.
A recent article appearing in the magazine Scientific American Mind caught my attention as a perfect example as to how science (scientism) is being used to demonize those who disagree with a particular issue. The article, “What a Hoax,” appeared in the September/October 2013 issue. In fact, the article goes far beyond just demonizing dissenters of the orthodox opinion; incredibly, it classifies them as mentally ill and a danger to society. This of course reminds one of a similar methodology used in communist countries, such as the Soviet Union, Maoist China and communist Cuba.
Fortune's Favorites is the third installment of the fascinating Masters of Rome series of historical novels by famed Australian novelist Colleen McCullough. The 878-page book opens in 83 B.C., as the triumphant general, Lucius Cornelius Sulla, returns from the East after his successful campaign against King Mithridates VI of Pontus. The book ends with events taking place at approximately 69 B.C.
The magnificent "Masters of Rome" series of historic fiction by novelist Colleen McCullough continues down the annals of the Roman Republic with the notable careers of Gaius Marius, Lucius Cornelius Sulla, Aemeilius Scaurus, Metellus Numidicus, Metellus Pius, and Marcus Livius Drusus. This second tome at 894 pages also contains magnificent maps, improved glossary, and sketch portraits of many of the main characters.
This is a wonderful introduction to the "Masters of Rome" series of historic novels by famed author Colleen McCullough. The first tome in this series, The First Man in Rome, at 896 pages, including magnificent maps, glossary, even sketch portraits of many of the main characters, is incredibly well-researched. Crisp writing, eloquent prose, exhilarating reading, spellbinding plots and intrigue — are all parts and parcel of this literary, unfolding, historic drama.
The disintegration of the USSR is inextricably entwined and intimately related to the life and times, failures and accomplishments, paradoxes and contradictions of the courageous Russian who is the subject of this book — a man with tenacious clarity of purpose and the steely determination to carry on through and accomplish his goal at any price.
Stalin — Breaker of Nations by Robert Conquest (1991) covers the life of Joseph Stalin, from his childhood in Gori to his death at his Nearer dacha (Kuntsevo) near Moscow on March 5, 1953. This book is 346 pages, including bibliographical notes and index. The book is easy to read, well-organized, and ideal for the beginning student of Soviet history and Stalinism.
Young Stalin by Simon Montefiore is a well-researched, well-written, absorbing, and authoritative biography of Joseph Stalin's early years. Following the usual formalities, the book begins with a tantalizing "Prologue," the audacious robbery and bloody bombing at the festive Yerevan Square in the center of the town of Tiflis (now Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia).