It Can’t Happen Here

Authored by Sinclair Lewis; A Book Review

Photo of Kelly R. Smith   by Kelly R. Smith
Rise of the fascist brown-shirts
Rise of the fascist Brown-Shirts
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Sinclair Lewis wrote the dystopian political novel It Can’t Happen Here in 1935. Fascism was experiencing its heyday in Europe exemplified by the likes of Adolph Hitler in Germany and Benito Mussolini in Italy. The book describes the rise of a US dictator similar to how Adolf Hitler gained power. Today the book is seen as a cautionary tale.



The story describes the rise of one Berzelius “Buzz” Windrip, a demagogue who is elected President of the United States, after injecting fear into the population and promising comprehensive economic and democratic socialist reforms while promoting a return to classic patriotism and “traditional” American values. Following his election, Windrip assumes complete control of the existing government and imposes totalitarian rule with the help of a ruthless paramilitary force similar to Hitler’s Brown Shirts. The basic plot centers on one journalist Doremus Jessup’s covert opposition to the strong-arm regime and subsequently, his struggle against it as part of a liberal rebellion.



The story isn’t simply a history of how a complacent population allows itself to be taken over and subjugated with empty promises by (all too familiar) politicians. It also illustrates, through the narrative of one average man, Jessup, how the human spirit, can not only resist, but endure.

How relevant is this story to current-day America? That is a matter of personal opinion for each of us to decide. The world we live in today includes so many more variables that Lewis’ contended with.

  • The Internet facilitates fake news.
  • Just before, and at an increasing rate since Biden took office, social media networking platforms have been censoring conservative viewpoints with impunity.
  • Biden/Harris have put packing the Supreme Court with liberal and Democrat Socialist justices on the table. The Constitution does not specify how many there can be. The current number has been accepted by both parties until now. The “gentleman’s agreement” is out the window.
  • The mainstream media has lost all credibility and has abandoned the principles of impartiality.

It Can’t Happen Here is not only entertaining; it’s well worth a read to examine how it is a mirror reflection of what we are going through at this point in history.

Additional Reading


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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Live Free or Die by Sean Hannity — a Book Review

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Sean Hannity -- Live Free or Die
Sean Hannity — Live Free or Die

My book review of the new Sean Hannity book — Live Free or Die; America and the World On The Brink (ISBN-10 : 1982149973). I’ve got the Audible.com version which I enjoyed on my 5-mile daily dog-walks, but the hard copy is also available.

So. Sean Hannity. People either love him or hate him, they are rarely on the fence. What I like about him is that like me, at the end of the day, he’s just a working class stiff. 20+ years as a carpenter will do that to you. He was a painter and waiter among other things. Contrast that with Joe Biden who likes to project the image but has no gravitas. Hey, Man!

What the Book Covers

The title is not all that descriptive of the content in my opinion. But, in a broad sense it does describe what’s going on. The book is reminiscent of an extended Sean Hannity radio show, minus the commercials and weather reports. In other words, he gives his conservative opinion but all backed up with hard facts. In my view, this work is just as important as The United States of Trump by Bill O’Reilley. Opinion backed up with hard, documented facts.

This book is a timeline history, compare and contrast, with previous administrations and Trump’s. So how are all these facts a clarion call to Live Free or Die, you might ask yourself? The answer of course, is Trump’s vision to make all citizens more free and prosperous.

Forces Dragging America Down

Yes, there are forces dragging America down even as Trump’s economy is building up employment and home ownership. As Hannity points out, these forces are deeply embedded in and guided from the far left.

Don’t take my word for it. Hannity lays it out in excruciating detail in this book, fact after fact. If you are not a fact and trivia junkie like me, this book might not be for you. On the other hand, if you seek verifiable truth, dig in.

I really found Live Free or Die to be very informative and entertaining but it’s not light reading/listening. Take your time with it and allow time to look up references, if you like. This book is particularly timely considering tat the general elections are almost upon us. Vote Socialist or American traditional values. You have a choice.

Caffeine: How Caffeine Created the Modern World by Michael Pollan–a Book Review

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Roasted coffee beans and coffee cherries
Roasted coffee beans and coffee cherries

Coffee, java, a cup o’ joe, or sniff, sniff, the afternoon tea and scones. The world runs on the caffeine molecule in coffee and to a lesser extent, tea. Tea is the more ceremonial elixir and coffee the more blue collar but underlying of both is… caffeine. And this is the focus of Michael Pollan’s book. As a self-confessed coffee-fiend I found the historical and social angles of his story fascinating. And this is my book review of Caffeine: How Caffeine Created the Modern World.

Whether you make a daily pilgrimage to Starbucks, have a drip coffeepot, or indulge in the slow-motion popular cold-brewing coffee process, you are mainstream if you indulge in coffee or tea. You are an addict but socially and legally benign.

A Brief History of Coffee

Pollan traces the history of coffee and tea consumption from their roots to how they transformed economies, cultures, and the workplace. Coffee as we know it today can trace its heritage back centuries to the ancient coffee forests on the Ethiopian plateau.

Coffee was a social beverage. It was not only enjoyed in homes, but also in the many public coffee houses, called qahveh khaneh, which began to appear in cities across the Near East. The popularity of the coffee houses was unequaled and people frequented them for all kinds of social activity. European travelers to the Near East brought back stories of an unusual dark black beverage. By the 17th century, coffee had made its way to Europe and was becoming popular across the continent.

In the year 1714, the Mayor of Amsterdam presented a gift of a young coffee plant to King Louis XIV of France. The King mandated that it be planted in the Royal Botanical Garden in Paris. Then in 1723, a young navy officer, Gabriel de Clieu, secretly obtained a seedling from the King’s cherished plant. In spite of a difficult voyage, complete with horrendous weather, a saboteur who tried to destroy the seedling, and a pirate attack, he was able to transport it safely to Martinique.

From there, it couldn’t be stopped. Once planted, the seedling did not only thrive, but it’s credited with the spread of over 18 million coffee trees on the island of Martinique in the next 50 years. Even more incredible is that this seedling was the parent of all coffee trees throughout the Caribbean, South, and Central America. You’re welcome Juan Valdez, you imaginary Madison Avenue caricature.

Michael Pollan, an Experiment of One

To research and write this book, Pollan shunned coffee so he could write and document caffeine as, yes, a drug, albeit less harmful than say, meth. He also relates his experience of re-acquainting himself with it at the end of the experiment.

If you are like most of us, you take coffee, tea, soda, and the essential ingredient, caffeine, for granted. But a close reading (or in my case, listening to) of this book will educate and surprise you. From a war-time tie manufacturer who increased production via “coffee-breaks” to how London-coffee houses became the places to be for stock tips, you will be amazed how this caffeine molecule transformed the world. Without you noticing.

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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.


The United States of Trump

How the President Really Sees America: A Book Review

by Kelly R. Smith

The United States of Trump book cover
The United States of Trump book cover

The United States of Trump is yet another offering from Bill O’Reilly’s stable of historical and insightful books. This book begins with a look at Trump’s childhood and family life, particularly how his father, Fred Trump’s work ethic affected his own personality and work ethic.

While it is true that The Donald worked with his father and learned his chops there, he wasn’t content with real estate work that was confined mostly to the New York City boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn. He wants Manhattan. When Trump wants something, he’s all focus and strategy.

New York Business vs Washington

O’Reilly delves into how “business as usual” differ between New York real estate and inside-the-beltway Washington. They are completely different paradigms and Trump has not been eager nor inclined to morph into a “swamp-dweller.” Unlike the career bureaucrats, his vision includes a strong sense of national sovereignty.

As O’Reilly says, “But Trump did not temper his New York style and swagger when he rolled into Washington. His inauguration was met with wide-spread loathing, and he did little to win over the DC establishment. He simply did not understand the game because he didn’t want to take the time to figure it out. In New York, it’s in your face. In Washington, it’s in your back.”

President Trump, the Biased Media, and Fake News

If there is one thing Trump has roiled about both during the campaign and after taking office, it’s the mainstream media’s tendency to produce fake news. He takes it as a personal insult, which in verified examples it is. It is broadly believed that there are two reasons for this. First, rather than being impartial, the mainstream media is left-leaning. Secondly, the press resents losing their voice to Trump’s tweets where he takes his gritty prose directly to the American people.

Just as bad as the mainstream media is the world of social media. Twitter has taken to banning the New York Post and censoring a story exposing the corruption of Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. It is real news preceding the 2020 election. Covering it up is a blatant attempt to influence the election. Forget Russiagate, this is Twittergate.

The Presidential Election

Much of the book details the campaigns of both Hillary Clinton and Trump as well as the election itself. O’Reilly is in an excellent position to chronicle this period of time as he was behind the scenes and in fact includes many of his interviews with Trump in the book.

These interviews are perhaps the best view-ports into Trump’s vision for America and how he plans to make it great again. The businessman-oriented approach is a completely different animal than the Washington-entrenched apparatchik paradigm. His view includes an America strengthened by a robust economy, a strong military, and a southern border wall.

Although the polls and the mainstream media were all in for Clinton, they all underestimated how Trump’s unorthodox style would play in fly-over country. This is evidenced by the fact that Trump did not win the popular vote but took it by way of the electoral college. Although this book does not delve deeply into how the country has changed because of Trump’s ascendancy (those books were be written later), it does offer an insight into how the president really sees America. I’ve got to give The United States of Trump 4.5/5 stars.



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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation and financial and energy trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.


The Rational Bible: Genesis; a Book Review

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This volume by Dennis Prager (the second in the Rational Bible series, ISBN-10: 1621578984, ISBN: 978-1621578987) was released after the his take on the Book of Exodus. Why write the books out of order? As I stated in my Exodus review, ” As Prager says, “The Torah: because its central message–that God is good and demands that we be good–is the only belief that will enable us to make a good world.” So I will assume that Prager wants readers to grasp the central message even if they don’t read the rest of the series.

After reading these first two books, I was inspired to order a copy of The Torah and I am currently reading it. Although it is essentially the same as the Old Testament of Christian edition bibles, it is closer to the original before various kings, monks, and “officials” tinkered with it. As they say, the devil is in the details. (“Let us guide the populace?”) So, reading this in addition to Prager’s first book of the series book gives additional insight.

Why All the Explanation?

Well, this is an interesting question. I can answer it for myself but you may have other views. In my opinion the Bible is damnably hard to read, and then interpreting the underlying meaning of the text is almost impossible. So if one has a literal understanding of the verses, the contextual understanding may be skewed.

This is where Prager’s works come into their own. He is a Talmudic scholar, speaks the lingo, has studied the text for many years, and applies his common (or not-so-common) sense to his interpretation.

My Opinion

I think if you have just started reading Dennis Prager’s series of The Rational Bible or are considering reading the bible, you can now start with Exodus or Genesis, but start now if you want a detailed ride.

I hope that you have found my review of The Rational Bible : Genesis a help. If so please forward it to your friends. We bring you the best info that we can find but this site relies on donations, not subscriptions,


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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation and financial and energy trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.


Killing the SS — A Book Review

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Killing the SS -- a book review
Killing the SS — a book review

Killing the SS: The Hunt for the Worst War Criminals in History (ISBN: 9781250165541) is the latest in the Killing series of books by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. Whereas there are a plethora of books about what happened to the Nazi SS during the war, this book puts the focus on what transpired after the war. Specifically, tracking the SS down and bringing them to justice.

Who Were the Nazi SS?

To understand why it was so important to bring these men to justice, it is key to know just who they were. Officially they were the Schutzstaffel or Protection Squadrons. They were a military arm unto themselves in the military of Nazi Germany and were comprised of men who thought of themselves as the “racial elite” of the Nazi future.

They held the responsibility for party security, ethnicity identification, settlement and population policy, as well as intelligence gathering and analysis. The SS also controlled the German police forces as well as the concentration camp system. They were tasked with conceiving and implementing plans to restructure the ethnic composition of eastern Europe as well as the occupied Soviet Union. They were the strong arm of the democratic socialist Nazi party as Hitler envisioned it.

For the most part, it was their brutal and inhuman work in the concentration camps as they did their best too carry out the “final solution” for the Jews in the typical efficient German style. This is the reason that post-war justice had to be sought. Many met their fate at the Neurenberg trials. Others went on the lam; mostly to South America.

Enter the Nazi Hunters

The book goes into exciting and factual detail regarding the exploits of the Nazi hunters; many of them were members of the Mossad. Their mission was to track down and eliminate SS members wherever they were found. Once found they were not hard to verify; their blood type was tattooed high up the underside of their arms.


Killing the SS: The Hunt for the Worst War Criminals in History is a good read and I give it a 9 out of 10. It presents a well-researched, factual account while still reading like a spy novel. It’s best to know the history of monsters such as the SS lest we repeat it. If this book review helped you please pass the link on to your social media friends.


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About the author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation and financial and energy trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.


Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance

A Book Review

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At first glance, this book by Alex Hutchinson would seem to be just another running book. After all, that’s what the cover photo shows. But in reality the book examines the slippery nature of endurance by looking not only at running, but also mountain climbers, skiers, cyclists, free diving, and more. Regardless of the activity, the boldest among us continue to push the known boundaries of endurance.

Is There a Limit to Endurance?

This is the central question of the book. It turns out that endurance is analogous to nutrition; every day it seems some “qualified person” comes up with the latest and greatest theory. Case closed; mystery solved. Well, until the next day. Then someone comes along and changes the game; moves the marker.

New records are constantly being set, from 25-year-old medical student Roger Bannister’s 4-minute mile to Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya setting a new world marathon record in Berlin. He ran an amazing time of 2:01:39. Ask anyone who is a distance runner; this time is phenomenal under any circumstance. Kipchoge says, “It’s not about the legs; it’s about the heart and the mind.”

He’s on to something there and that is precisely what this book explores. We can talk about physiology all day long but there is something else going on here. The real issue is that the “something” is so hard to quantify.

This book is a must-read (or in all honesty a must-listen since I listened to the audible.com release on my long runs) for any of us weekend warriors who are looking for a little bit more inspiration. The latest nutritional supplement may give us an edge or not but is it real or a placebo effect? Does it matter? You decide.


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The Rational Bible: Exodus; a Book Review

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The Rational Bible: Exodus (ISBN 978-1-62157-772-0) is the first book in a series authored by religious scholar and talk show host Dennis Prager. Rather than starting with the first book of the Torah (Old Testament or the first five books of the Bible) he begins with Exodus.

Why Begin with the Book of Exodus?

Why not begin at the beginning? Good question. The Book of Genesis is the first book and it would seem to be the place for Prager to start. But Exodus really gets to the meat of the matter. It encapsulates the essence of the message. As Prager says, “the Torah: because its central message–that God is good and demands that we be good–is the only belief that will enable us to make a good world.”

It sounds simple and that is exactly what it is; it’s not rocket science. But, up until this point in human history religion had never embraced this simple concept. But this is what Exodus is all about. Monotheism and the system of commandments that are the foundation of a moral existence. Prager says the Ten Commandments are, “the most important moral code in world history, and the central moral code of the Torah.”

Face It; Reading the Bible is Hard

Most modern people have attempted to read the Bible and failed. The translations are ambiguous and the phrasing is cryptic. In this book, however, Prager does the hard work for us. He puts the actual passages in bold and then goes into excruciating detail to explain the meaning. He does so with reason, logic, and the experience of a life-long study of the material. It could be said that he takes a scientific approach to explain the mystical.

Since he works from the Torah rather than one of the many Christian translations, and the fact that he is fluent in Hebrew (where words and phrases can have multiple meanings) his observations are likely the closest thing to reality that a layperson can hope to attain. After all, he has been teaching the Torah verse-by-verse for eighteen years.

The Deeper Meaning of the Plagues Visited Upon Egypt

Exodus of course means  the departure of the Israelites from Egypt under Moses. This was quite a process since the Pharaoh was reluctant to let all this free labor go. One might wonder why God did not just “make it happen” rather to instruct Moses to visit the Ten Plagues upon the Pharaoh and Egypt.

God had to convince not only the Egyptians but also the Israelites that he was the one and only God. The Egyptians worshiped many nature Gods and each plague was directly connected with destroying the belief in one of them. 

The first plague turned the Nile water into blood; so much for the Nile Gods. The second plague, that of the frog infestation, destroyed belief if the frog God and Goddess. So on and so forth.

Moral Absolutes and Moral Relativism in Modern Society

Sam Malone coined the phrase “the Godless Alt-Left” and while it might be primarily click-bait, it’s not far off the mark. The modern left has not only become an anything-goes cult but in a contradictory way has become the intolerant that trumpets the virtue of all-tolerant.

Prager points out that moral truths by definition require God. Scientific truths can be proven or disproved but moral ones can’t. Why is murder wrong? Because it is right there in the Commandments. Keep in mind that there is a distinction between murder and killing which is where the opposition to capital punishment using a religious justification falls apart.

A Book that Warrants Re-Reading

While reading The Rational Bible: Exodus is revealing, instructive, and entertaining, there is so much food for thought in it that it is hard to digest it all in one setting. Like one of those favorite movies, you will find yourself asking, “How did I miss that the first time around?”

This book contains important lessons on politics, morality, religion, history, philosophy, and the direction society is heading.


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