Thursday, August 20, 2009

Reads of the Week

A writer finding his voice
Steven Pressfield
Cpl. Joseph Etchells from 3 Plt, 2 Battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, was attached to 1 Plt, 2 Rifles

Cpl. Benjamin Kopp, United State Army Ranger

This weeks recommended reads will take you from how to put your thoughts to pen, to the challenge of Afghanistan and our growing peer competitor China. Then on to the sea, before pausing to ponder the personal cost of war.
It's The Tribes Stupid! founder, author Steven Pressfield has been offering up priceless jewels that anyone who wants to write well can take to the bank. For a taste I am highlighting and link the latest.

Steven begins:

I’ve been lucky in my career in having a few really terrific mentors–just guys who’ve taught me stuff about writing and work. The best is Norman Stahl, the cosmically brilliant documentarian, novelist and military historian. Do you know people who’ve got a lot of bullshit? Norm has the least of anybody I’ve ever known. In [...]

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And this week he serves up a lesson in finding your "writer's voice."

How do you find your writer’s voice? A lot of humbug has been written on this subject. The myth is that in finding that voice, the writer achieves a kind of personal enlightenment. She discovers “who she really is.”Not in my experience.This is not to say that voice is unimportant. It’s crucial, make-or-break. Without [...]

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Weighing in on today's election in Afghanistan is Thomas Barnett direct from his World War Room at with his thought provoking views.

Because Karzai's probably going to win, and Obama's still going to trust another puppet. Because so-called democracy may take the vote, but the Taliban's still going to rule many hearts and minds. Because more U.S. troops may fight harder, but Pakistan's got the last word. To America, at least, Thursday is just another day in another long, unpopular war. And that's why Obama should be worried.
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Turning to China, Tom links an article by Henry K Kissinger that follows by 2 days a similar piece by Barnett.

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Steve DeAngelis of Enterra Solutions can always be counted on to produce some of the most thought inspiring and informative posts. In this one he tackles to sea.

William Shakespeare once penned: "My bounty is as boundless as the sea, my love as deep. The more I give thee, the more I have, For both are infinite." We are fast learning that Shakespeare might have been right about love but he was wrong about the ocean. Neither the sea nor its bounty is infinite. Since a portion of my business involves port and harbor security and international supply chains, I pay attention to events in the maritime realm as well as events on land. For example, in another post that drew from Shakespeare entitled A Rose by Any Other Name Might Smell as Sweet, but Would It Sell? Consider the Slimehead, I discussed the issue of collapsing fish stocks in the world's oceans.

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Michael Yon closes out tonight's recommended reads with this reminder of the sacrifices made by men most of us did not know, but own a moment to pause and reflect on their lives.
Benjamin was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates quietly attended the funeral, as did my good friend, Colonel Erik Kurilla, the new commander of Ranger Regiment, where Kopp served until America lost one of its finest Sons.

Yet the effect of Corporal Kopp did not end on the battlefields of Afghanistan; he only regrouped and continued to serve. Corporal Kopp had volunteered as an organ donor and his heart was transplanted. Two days after most people would have died, Benjamin Kopp’s heart was transplanted into Judy Meikle. According to the Washington Post, Meikle said, "How can you have a better heart?" said a grateful Judy Meikle, 57, of Winnetka, Ill., who is still recovering from the surgery. "I have the heart of a 21-year-old Army Ranger war hero beating in me."
Other organs were also donated for other recipients.
And of Joseph Ecthells:
On August 11, I attended a small ceremony for a British soldier from this base in Helmand who was killed in combat the day after Benjamin passed. His name was Joseph Etchells. I was told how Joseph died in a bomb ambush, and that his last request was to be cremated, loaded into a firework, and launched over the park where he used to play as a kid. When Joseph’s last request was explained, I burst out laughing and the British soldier who told me also was laughing. The absurd humor of Joseph’s request was familiar, and it was as though Joseph were standing there with us, laughing away.

Steel your hearts and read more as you gaze on the incredible photos that accompany this post:


Steven Pressfield said...

Thanks, History Guy, for linking to and spreading the word on "Writing Wednesdays." You and I should do a guest post for each other. Whaddaya think?

All my best,

HISTORYGUY99 said...

Hi SP,

Thank you for the kinds words. I am honored and open to your invitation to do mutual guest posts.