Monday, September 8, 2008


We all owe Andrew Carnegie a great debt of gratitude for his generosity in creating hundreds of libraries. Generally, barons of industry are belittled, but Carnegie (1835-1919) grew from poverty in Scotland to become one of the richest men in the world, and then gave virtually his entire fortune away for the benefit of mankind.

He is quoted as saying, “It is the mind that makes the body rich.” Carnegie also said upon receiving his first dividend check, “Here’s the goose that laid the golden egg.” Upon retirement in 1901 at age 66, Carnegie gave away $350 million ($3 billion in 1996 dollars) that funded more than 2,000 libraries.

Today we are blessed to benefit from Carnegie’s grants and have wonderful local libraries that continue to provide enjoyment and knowledge to all. Yes, there is a taxpayer fee on our property taxes, but it is well worth our financial support. Your Commander loves to read, and I find it to be both educational and mentally rewarding, especially in my senior years.

With this in mind, may I recommend three wonderful books that I have recently just read? It is my opinion that International Terrorism is one of the major threats to our future; all three are Action Adventure writing at its best.

Brad Thor’s THE LAST PATRIOT is a page turner and the most recent in a series of stories surrounding the escapades of Scott Harvath (the hero) to save the American way of life. I predict that Thor will be one of our best action writers before long.

Next, I suggest popular author Jack Higgins’ ROUGH JUSTICE as a top-notch continuation of his series of Sean Dillon hero shoot’em-up adventures. I find myself reading Higgins’ books in two sittings, because I cannot put them down.

Today, I finished Stephen Coonts THE ASSASSIN, which is his latest book surrounding the efforts of Admiral Jake Grafton and his paid heavy, Special Agent Tommy Carmellini, to save the day. Another great read that will keep you up late at night.

While these action/adventure “save America” books are enjoyable, they do draw our attention to a current problem. But, my favorite reading continues to be historical and/or biographical themes. In earlier essays I have covered this category, but I would be remiss if I did not remind my readers that Newt Gingrich’s Civil War three book series is worthy of your reading consideration. While Gingrich is a controversial political figure, he and his co-authors are wonderful historians and put you right into the Civil War action. I suggest you get copies of NEVER CALL RETREAT, GRANT COMES EAST, and GETTYSBURG. His DAYS OF INFAMY and PEARL HARBOR are great reads, too. All of these books are at your local public library or book store.

Books and libraries are windows onto the world for senior citizens who can no longer travel this wonderful globe. They are also magnificent educational tools for our youth and can enable children and younger adults to enhance their educational needs and provide a better quality of life.

Thanks to Andrew Carnegie for his gift of information, knowledge and enjoyment. Our wonderful world is much the better because of Carnegie’s hard work, foresight, and generosity.


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