Tag Archives: politics

Patriot Number One


Patriot Number One: American Dreams in Chinatown is the true story of Zhuang Liehong, a Chinese immigrant, and activist. The story begins in Wukan, a small fishing village in Guangdong Province in China. Zhuang, incensed by the corruption in his town, spearheads a movement that he hopes will bring change. Instead, it becomes obvious that he is a marked man. He defects to the United States along with his wife, Little Yan, leaving their infant son with relatives.

The saga winds through the frustrating and often confusing bureaucracy of the asylum process and centers on the Chinese-American community in Flushing, NY. Patriot Number One highlights the immense challenges that immigrants face when they come to the United States, along with the sacrifices, suffering, and tenacity that are necessary parts of the process.

Patriot Number One really reminded me how blessed I am to live in a free country. In China, social media accounts are tracked and censored. Zhuang’s father was imprisoned on trumped up charges and his mother and disabled older brother were regularly visited by security forces. People who escape China to Thailand worry that the local police will send them back to China. China’s human rights violations are widely known, but I still appreciate the reminder this book gave me.

I found the book hard to follow, however. The big picture was clear, but I often got lost in seemingly disjointed details. I admit I’m a detail-oriented person and I might pay more attention to small details that might not be important to the story, but there were numerous instances where I just went “what?” One such instance is where Zhuang tells Tang (another activist) that he “…had so many Facebook followers….but my Facebook account has been closed down.” The very next page it says “…more than two thousand people were following Xhuang on Facebook. People were supporting him in the comments, clicking “like” and leaving behind emojis of crying faces.”

I also wish that the book had pictures in it of the people that are in it. I’m a visual person and it really helps to see a face to go with a name. I finally went online and found some articles and that helped me envision who the author was talking about for at least Zhuang and Little Yan.

Patriot Number One was a disappointment for me, but it is still a valid picture of Chinese immigrants and the issues they face both in China and in the US.

*I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.


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Filed under Non-Fiction

Under Fire: The Untold Story of the Attack in Benghazi

I read this book because I wanted to get another perspective on what happened on the fateful night of 11-12 September, 2012 in Benghazi, Libya. I knew that 4 people were killed, including the Ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens. I had read 13 Hours by Mitchell Zuckoff and wanted to know how much artistic liberty he took. I still don’t really know the answer. This book was full of detail, but not about the attack at Benghazi.

If you want to know a lot about the DS, then this book might interest you. If you want to know what happened in Benghazi on the night of September 11-12, 2012, read something else. This book doesn’t even get to the first assault on the compound in Benghazi until chapter 10! Then there are the acronyms….I think my head might explode from so many letters. There were acronyms for agencies that really didn’t matter to the story. If you’re a weapons buff, you might like the mind-numbing details of weapons used in conflicts (most unrelated to Benghazi). I found it another tedious layer to sort through to get to the story.

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Filed under Action-adventure, Non-Fiction

If you don’t vote, don’t complain!

Divine providence. Manifest destiny. American exceptionalism. These are all terms bandied about in the political arena today. There is no debating that many of our Founding Fathers invoked “nature’s god” and “divine providence” in their writings. Is America exceptional? Is there a plan for this country ordained by God himself? Do the actions of citizens invoke God’s favor or His wrath?
Carol Swain addresses these topics in her book “Be The People”, making a largely well-informed and well-articulated argument for her tenants. The crux of her book hinges on 2 Chronicles 7:14 “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” New International Version (©1984)

Conservative Christians have made the same arguments for decades and sadly, many of the issues facing our country are worse — not better. The best point of Carol Swain’s book is that we each have the responsibility to know our beliefs and to know our history and our founding documents. As a society we have abdicated our role as the keepers of that for which our Founding Fathers fought and died. You may not agree with Ms. Swain’s conclusions but as an American you cannot disagree with her methods…know what you believe (can we at least agree on the Ten Commandments?), know what the Constitution, Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence have to say about how things should be done.

There’s an old saying “If you don’t vote, don’t complain!” I’d take that a step further and say “If you don’t vote from an informed perspective, don’t complain!”

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