Sunday, September 27, 2015

ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror by Hassan Hassan and Micheal Weiss

Image result for isis inside the army of terrorI was recently travelling to NYC, while I was there I visited Strand, a 90 year old, three story legendary book store in Manhattan. I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of books, obviously I was looking for something in history or mystery. So I reached out to the store assistant and asked him if he could suggest me something on the middle east crisis, as I have been wanting to read up on it since a very long time, that is when the gentleman handed me: ISIS, inside the army of terror.

In the beginning of our story Iraq was ruled by Saddam Hussein, a brutal military dictator who ruled with an iron fist and was known for his genocidal tendencies. Anyone who opposed his tyrannical rule was put to death. The Kurds were to him what Jews were to Hitler. Enter USA, after 9/11 the Bush administration got an opportune pretext to invade and destroy the Saddam regime. Saddam was captured and hanged, but the invasion of the great serpent(USA, as referred by Jihadis and all Muslims alike) in Muslims land was a source of great trepidation and opportunity for many Islamic terror groups. One of them was the Jordanian terrorist called Al Zarqawi, also the founding father of the ISIS. Al Zarqawi traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, after his return he was imprisoned by the Jordanian government in 1992. It was during his time in confinement that Zarqawi became radicalized and formed his own coterie to overthrow the Jordanian rulers. We see this as a recurring theme in the book some misguided albeit budding terrorist gets locked up in Jail either by Jordanian, Americans, Egyptians or Iraqis and he comes out as a full blown Jihadist, wiling to even murder fellow believers.

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Zarqawi went on to ally with Al Qaeda, he was even declared their Emir in Iraq. A Brutal man who had a known hatred for Shias, targeted them with the same ferocity as was reserved for the Americans. VBIED, was the weapon of choice for Zarqawi's group and they used it devastatingly. Zarqawi was eventually killed in 2006 by the American forces, but the damage had already been done and an organization was already in place. When in 2015 Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi announced the caliphate and then the eventual capture of large swathes of land in both Iraq and Syria many people were left stupefied by the incredible rise of ISIS in a very short span of time, but to observers and SMEs on the Middle East, rise of ISIS was neither quick nor without help.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

My Late Wives by John Dickson Carr

Image result for my late wivesThe Grand master of mystery returns! JDC is back with another mystery involving the 'old man', perhaps one of the greatest detectives in detective fiction, Sir Henry Merrivale(HM). My Late wives is not a locked room mystery nor an impossible crime novel, but it is an excellent murder mystery. Very different from the standard Christie fare.

My Late wives offers a serial killer as the pivot to the engrossing story. Roger Bewlay is a serial murderer, he preys on young lonely woman and when he has taken what he needs, he kills them. Roger has been elusive and enigmatic to the police.  They don't even have an accurate description of the charlatan. Chief Inspector Masters(Watson to HM) has been trying to hunt down Roger for years without any success.

Enter Bruce, a well known actor who receives a script on the life of Roger Bewlay. The content of the script are suspiciously detailed. This makes Bruce and his coterie of friends to think about a most dangerous plan i.e. to act out the script in real life and see how the unwitting participants react. This decision sets off chain of events which leads to murder, mystery and the eventual discovery of Roger Bewlay.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Eminent Historians by Arun Shourie

Image result for eminent historians"Eminent Historians: Their Techniques, Their line, Their Fraud" is a noble effort by Arun Shourie to counter the lies and propaganda that has been peddled by communist historians. Romila Thapar, Irfan Habib, D.N. Jha and Bipin Chandra etc have all been accused of whitewashing history so that their masters the Nehru-Gandhi family and Congress can rule without anyone questioning them and several generation of Indians are brainwashed into believing that their servitude towards the Congress is a virtue.

 Communists authors are in powerful positions in Universities, historical boards and committees. The government has been unusually kind to them, The Congress governments and these historians are symbiotic organisms, both feeding of each other. These historians have created an oligarchy in the history field in India, where they keep promoting each other and each other's work. The author has also accused them of not only toying with history but also of being corrupt and inefficient. Something to ponder over as you turn page after page of evidence that the author brings to light i.e. the money that they took from the government for completing historic projects and gave nothing in return.

All of us, who have read history outside NCERT text books know that a lot of important events in our history like the Emergency imposed by Congress, anti Sikh riots, Sikh struggle against Muslims rulers etc are completely skipped over in text books. So we always had an inkling of tampering of history but only after reading this book will you get an idea on how inordinately large this fraud is, and how anti Hindu subtle messaging in text books is a work of clever planning and organization.

Communists authors, who Shourie keeps referring to as 'Eminences' have spent a life time in coercing Indian history and culture. Communist line dictates that in order for communism to take hold people or sheeple (as communists like to really think about us) have to be made to think that their own culture and history is nothing but lies and shameful acts by their ancestors. Communist authors have gone great length to prove in text books taught at schools that:

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Durbar by Tavleen Singh

Image result for durbar by tavleenDurbar's literal translation in English is a royal courtyard. The durbar which the author refers to here is not of some Mughal or Mauryan emperor but this is the durbar of a post British monarchy which over the last seven decades has been the most powerful in South East Asia, the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty.

The author Tavleen Singh, belonged to a rich Sikh family but she claims that she wasn't content with being simply one of the privileged class, she yearned to do something with her life and took up journalism as a profession. At a time when we had fewer and fewer women at workplace, Tavleen decided to challenge the glass ceiling by becoming a journalist. The book acts as a conduit for Tavleen's journey as a journalist and the rise and rise of India's first family. Tavleen's access to the rich and powerful through her profession and her circle of high society friends provide fodder for political and social gossip which is the basis of her book.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Accidental Prime Minister by Sanjay Baru

Image result for the accidental prime ministerIn 2004, when Dr. Manmohan Singh ascended to become Prime Minister of India, the most powerful position in South East Asia it was not only a surprise for his supporters and detractors but a pleasant surprise for the man himself.  ManMohan Singh edged out men like Pranab Mukherjee, Arjun Singh and other sly and seasoned politicians to rule India for the next decade. The author, Sanjay Baru, was then Media adviser to the PM. He served the Prime Minister in UPA 1 and thus claims to have a close working relationship with Manmohan and had intricate details about the workings and Politics of UPA.

ManMohan Singh is a world renowned erudite, whose work in economics is unparalleled. He along with PV Narasimha Rao were the architect of the modern Indian economy and responsible for opening up India to the free market. Manmohan Singh's legacy was already sealed but he got the opportunity to lead India in 2004, when Sonia Gandhi, an Italian waitress who married into the most powerful family in India, and become the leader of Congress Party by virtue of her marriage to the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi family decided to rule India through a proxy.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Worst mystery novels of all time

Well we have seen a lost of best of lists, best of Agatha Christie, best of John Dickson Carr, best of Ellery Queen etc. but there is no dearth of really boring and terrible mystery novels. So I thought I should do a list of the worst mystery novels of time. This list might push some buttons because I'm especially going to chastise a most beloved and celebrated author.

Here is my list(drum roll please):

5. The Arabian Nights Murder by John Dickson Carr - I hate to start the list with the grand master himself, but JDC has been known for giving some really boring and annoying duds. 'And so to murder' is another book which was I remember being equally sub standard. What pinched it for Nights was the farcical plot filled with absurdities.

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4. A Taste for death by P.D. James  - Very long and boring. Not a proper mystery, can be used as a cure for insomnia. read the detailed review by clicking on the book link.

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3. Trial and Error - The first book I read from Anthony Berkeley was the case of the poisoned chocolates, which was one of the most brilliant mystery books that I have ever read. After finishing poisoned chocolates, I had to get my hands on another book from Berkeley. I ended up with Trial and Error, which I disliked so much that I never got back to reading another Berkeley - The plot is interesting in the beginning but then falls so much in quality that its hard for the book to ever recover. Its also deeply misogynist and insensible.

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2. Parker Pyne Investigates by Agatha Christie - Queen of crime she has given so many gems which we will cherish over and over again, but she has also given us so many duds which we will revile every time we remember those horrible books. Parker Pyne is of course the paramount of worst Christie books, it just edged out some other very strong contenders like the 'Nemesis'.

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1. Wisdom of Father Brown by GK Chesterton - Worst book series of detective fiction, excruciatingly slow and boring. Bigoted, slow, racist and plain pathetic with very few positives. The whole Father Brown series is worst series in detective fiction for me.

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