Saturday, February 28, 2009

To Troll or not to Troll...

About a week ago I received an email notice that one of my posts had received a comment. Since such notices are few, I immediately logged on to see what had been said. The post was one of my political ones so I was prepared for disagreement or agreement. After all, robust debate is part of our political system.

I was not quite prepared for what I found. An anonymous user who identified herself (I take their word for their gender) as "Lynore" had taken umbrage at my views on abortion. While that is not unusual, what struck me was the way she went about expressing her views. In an opening comment she dragged out the moth-eaten line that I cannot have or express an opinion on abortion simply because of my gender. She then accused me of being simple-minded and obsessed with women's breasts. Strange way of expressing one's views. I responded. She answered none of my points, confused the abortion debate with the war in Iraq, and accused me of being judgemental. Very odd way of discussing any issue.

Following that, she left comments on several of my other posts. She brought up issues that were not in my posts, implied that I do not understand my job and lack sufficient training to do it and said that I "scared" her. In addition, she went after a previous comment left by a reader who does not post on this blog.

All of this left me wondering, is "Lynore" a true believer in the far left, or a Troll trying to stir up hate and discontent? Is there any difference?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Book review - The Steel Wave.

Finished reading The Steel Wave this morning. This is the latest in a series written by Jeff Shaara and brings the series up through the D-Day landings in Normandy.

Mr. Shaara started writing this series after the production of the movie Gettysburg, which was based on his father's book, Killer Angels. He first finished the Civil War and then went back to Revolution. Two books on the revolution and one on the Mexican War bring the series to the three books on the Civil War. After that is one one WW1 and, so far, two on WW2. Officially labeled as historical fiction, the series is very close to a historical rendering of events.

I have found all of Mr. Shaara's work to be excellent and The Steel Wave is no exception. Once again, war is viewed through the eyes of those who fight it. From Eisenhower, Patton, and Rommel, to the fictional characters in the enlisted ranks; each has their own story and unique vantage point. They all have different motives and ideas about fighting the war.

While the Allied players are perhaps more familiar, I found Rommel to be particularly intriguing. Historians have long debated whether he knew about the Holocaust and his exact involvement in the plot to assassinate Hitler. Shaara has apparently concluded from his research that Rommel knew little of the plot and was only beginning to become aware that something was dreadfully wrong in the treatment of the Jews. Trapped by his perceived duty to obey but nagged by his conscience, Rommel is torn as to a course of action. In the end he does nothing but still cannot escape. In one passage he asks himself about the world that his son will inherit because nobody had the courage to say no to Hitler earlier. He then asks himself if anyone has the courage now. He leaves the question unanswered.

In summary, Mr. Shaara has again lived up to the high bar he has set for himself in his previous work. The Steel Wave is a must read for any history buff, those interested in human psychology, and everyone who appreciates a ripping good yarn. You would do yourself a favor though to start with the founding of the nation and the beginning of the series.