Freehold out in hard cover!


Those of you who have been following my writing for a while know I’ve been a fan of Michael Z. Williamson’s work since his first novel hit the shelves. Mike and I have known one another since probably 2001 or so. I knew him when “Freehold” was a rough, libertarian novel on 3 1/2 inch floppy disk! No, I’m not kidding. I have the entire novel on that outdated medium. I joke around with Mike that when he croaks, I’ll sell it on Ebay for a fortune!

The original “Freehold” came out in paperback in 2004, and Mike had to inscribe two copies for me, because my poor, sweet, perpetually hungry, late lab Gilbert ate the first copy.

Well, guess what!

“Freehold” is being is being re-released in a signed, hardcover edition.  This is a one time run, and there will only be about 1000 of them printed, so this is your chance to get one of my favorite books right bloody now! I reviewed “Freehold” back then, and my opinion of the book hasn’t changed since it was first released.

Kendra Pacelli escapes from a human hell — the kind of Earth most dread, but know deep inside that we could become if we continue on our present course. Human beings are controlled by government, by force, tracked, licensed and regulated. The United Nations, corrupt and power-hungry, governs earth with a socialist iron fist. Framed for a crime she didn’t commit, Kendra escapes to the Freehold of Grainne – a society of a truly free people that refuses to become part of the UN’s domination plans.

In her new home, Kendra learns what it’s like to be truly human – to live, love, work, deserve, achieve and succeed without a power-hungry government controlling her every move. She learns that to be a wholly human means relying on oneself, taking responsibility for one’s own actions and reaping the consequences. She realizes that true freedom is not easy, but worth defending.

As is typical of tyrannies, the UN cannot afford for the Freehold to exist. It cannot afford to allow its enslaved sheep to realize just how subjugated they are. The UN cannot tolerate the existence of a free, uninhibited society, so it attempts to destroy Freehold and the beneficial, successful society its inhabitants treasure.

It is during this war that Kendra learns how much she treasures freedom and what she will sacrifice to preserve it.

So go here. Pre-order the book, and have Mike sign it.

Just don’t let your dog eat it.

Foreign Enemies and Traitors


Many of you who know me personally, know I love apocalyptic entertainment and dystopian literature. I eat up novels such as “Hunger Games,” “the Giver,” and “Divergent.” I was moved to no end by Ray Bradbury’s classic “Fahrenheit 451.” I am perpetually glued to the idiot box when the “Walking Dead” is on, and I will watch reruns all day.

It’s not because I love zombies. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even give “Walking Dead” a chance at first, because zombies… meh.

But the show is not about the walking dead. It’s about those still living, and that fascinates me. The thought of an apocalyptic event doesn’t appeal to me, but society’s reaction to it does.  What happens when government completely breaks down in the aftermath of an apocalyptic event? Be it zombies, earthquakes, floods, war or the complete disappearance of electric power (see: Revolution) – what happens when a complete breakdown of law and order occurs? How does government react? How do the people react to the actions of said government?

These are all questions I love to explore, both in literature and in other forms of entertainment.

I’m ashamed to say that I only recently picked up Matt Bracken’s “Foreign Enemies and Traitors” – the final installment of the “Enemies” trilogy.  It’s been a while since Matt sent me my copy of “Domestic Enemies” to read while I was on deployment, and unfortunately, the reviews I had written for both “Enemies Foreign and Domestic,” the first novel in the trilogy and “Domestic Enemies,” perished when I deleted my old blog on the Blogger platform. I should have saved them. Both books were excellent.

But I think Matt outdid himself with this one. It’s not only gripping… you don’t just care about the characters and what happens to them… you don’t want to put the book down.

The story centers on two major events (and a whole lot of minor ones) that lead to the catastrophic breakdown of American society.

First – the economic breakdown resulting from destructive fiscal and redistributionist policies of the government (sound familiar?).

Second – natural disasters: earthquakes and floods.

I don’t want to give anything away, but the results of those events are predictable to any one of us with a shred of logic. They are the rational and expected progression of events, based on the attitudes we are currently seeing in our society.

What happens when you regulate and tax producers out of existence?

What happens when natural disasters cause desperate people to do desperate things?

What happens when local and state authorities are helpless, and can no longer protect and serve?

How far will people go to survive?

What happens to those who are accustomed to living in a cycle of dependence?

Matt answers all of these questions and more in grizzly, realistic detail. He pulls no punches, and he doesn’t sugar coat reality. This is what happens when society breaks down. This is what happens when tyrannical politicians gain control. This is what happens when we give up our rights willingly for a little handouts. This is what happens when we forget how to fend for ourselves and every survival instinct is bred out of us.

This one was really the best of the batch.

Well done, Matt. Well done.

For those of you interested in Russian…

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So here I am – week two of intensive Russian in Garmisch. has become my friend, because after an entire of day of speaking nothing but Russian, I’ve begun to forget English. Ergo, when I write, think or dream, I do so in Russian, which is very disturbing when I wake up and tell myself (in Russian) that I was just dreaming.

The weather here has been cloudy, to say the least. However, it’s been cool and breezy, and the air circulating from the alps is so fresh and yummy, I want to actually chew it. There’s a little car tunnel we walk through to get to the DFAC (dining facility for those of you who hate military acronyms). Inside the tunnel there’s a little rivulet of… well… what looks like pee. The rivulet has been there for several days, and looks like it has no hope of drying out. I’ve often wondered what it was when I walked by it.

Turns out, according to my friend Mike, that the rivulet is, in fact, squirrel pee. As a matter of fact, he claims he saw the offending squirrel commit its offense. He says the squirrel was small and black. Problem is that the rivulet is quite large – too big to have been made by a tiny critter such as a squirrel. He, however, insists that he saw the varmint commit the act. Ergo I must believe him, unless he’s just hallucinating from all the fresh air.

So speaking of Russian…

My friend Boris does translations. His current project is to translate a Soviet military manual on knife, unarmed and bayonet combat from Russian to English. For those of us fascinated with Soviet military history, this is a real opportunity, and for those of you who don’t speak Russian, it’s even more so.

Boris plans to raise some funds for this project. He has set up a fundraising site through indiegogo in hopes of being able to abandon his usual translation work in favor of this project. I do think it’s worthwhile, and if you’re interested in Russia’s military history, it’s a true find.

Over the years, the weapons and tools of humanity evolve. Spears. Rifles. Cruise missiles. Drones. But some things stay the same. No matter how advanced the weapons, there is still a need for men to close face to face with their opponent, to engage him in a direct manner. Sometimes there are sentries that must be eliminated. Sometimes a soldier is attacked suddenly, and does not have the time to raise his rifle before he feels the enemy’s breath on his face. Sometimes it the last minutes of the infantry advance, when men stand face to face with their foes. Sometimes it is simple personal defense.

This book had been developed by Red Army martial arts expert, N. N. Simkin, based on the combat experience of Soviet soldiers and sailors as well as NKVD special operatives. He wrote: “In those circumstances where the firearm is unavailable or malfunctioning, or when a soldier must operate in silence – then the knife becomes a powerful defensive and defensive weapon in the hands of a brave warrior, provided he possesses knife-fighting and martial arts skills.”

Ergo, if you’re someone who is interested in Russian tactics, you should definitely go over there and make a contribution to this worthwhile project.

If you’re not, you should go over there and make a contribution anyway, because this is just cool.

Boris also told me that if $600 is not raised within a certain timeframe, your money will be returned to you.

So go, donate, and enjoy!

As for me, I’m going back to class to discuss Navalny and corruption in Russia. In Russian. Until my brain bleeds.

Book Update


I actually started it. Crazy as that may seem with everything else I have going on, with the encouragement of some good friends and readers on this blog, I’m going to give this a try.

We’ll see where “The Journey” takes me.

I’m Considering Writing a Book


This is just a raw idea in my head, and knowing my attention span (that of a gnat), the idea will probably fall by the wayside, but…

I was thinking of writing a book about a journey – my journey.

Most readers here know that I’m an immigrant. I came to the United States when I was 8 years old with my parents – a Jewish refugee from the Soviet Union. I’ve made many discoveries on the way. Some of them are detailed here on the blog, and some of them in my previous writings. But I’ve never stopped examined my mental journey from my childhood in the former USSR to the present. I’ve never detailed the evolution of who I was then to who I am now.

It’s as much a mental journey, as it is a physical one, so I had this idea of writing it down and publishing it as a book, entitled “The Journey.”

I have no idea if it’s something I need to pitch to an actual publisher.

I wouldn’t know how to go about it if I did.

This is an idea in its infancy, so I’m still mulling it over in my head.

However, if anyone has any advice about how best to accomplish this, or about what publisher to approach, do toss your ideas into the comments.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


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