Hidden Behind the Mist of Arrow Lakes

Hidden Behind the Mist of Arrow Lakes

Book Reviewed by Timea Barabas

Hidden Behind the Mist of Arrow Lakes is the result of an in-depth and extensive historical investigation by Lucia Mann. This is a deeply personal writing by a daughter of a Holocaust survivor. In this book, the author presents her own perspective on the history of the Holocaust and the branches that pierce through our present. Mann fearlessly shines a bright light onto uncomfortable dark corners of the human psyche.  Purchase Here.

While deeply rooted in historical analysis, the book is written in an accessible way, which is not an easy accomplishment given the topic. The vivid scenes create a sturdy bridge into the past, which allows readers to engage with history in a way that feels remarkably immediate.

Structured into four parts, Hidden Behind the Mist of Arrow Lakes follows multiple narratives that weave together seamlessly, creating a disturbing tapestry of stories that span across generations. From the fall of the Romanovs to harrowing accounts of World War II atrocities, this book is a captivating exploration of the threads of history that shaped our world.

Lucia Mann’s latest book was prompted by the revelation that the region of Arrow Lakes (which is close to her home in British Columbia) also became home to former SS officers and sympathizers who escaped persecution by entering Canada using fake identities. Mann offers an invaluable account of the social and psychological impact of Holocaust survivors (and their descendants) being faced with the living ghosts of their abusers.

The author starts and ultimately concludes her narrative by revealing what (and especially who) lies hidden behind the mist of Arrow Lakes. This creates a comforting circular storytelling arc. However, since this section of the book offers the most unique and intriguing storyline, it leaves a sense of longing for a more detailed account of how war criminals found a new home in a remote Canadian region and the intersectionality of the communities ’life with this hidden history.

For those familiar with Lucia Mann’s previous works, her unmistakable voice shines through once again. The reader-friendly prose sprinkled with the author’s personal reflections opens a window into her thought process and emotional journey. This vulnerability reveals her inner strength and emanates authenticity.

Hidden Behind the Mist of Arrow Lakes prompts a discussion about the long shadow of the Holocaust that stretches across generations. Lucia Mann’s words sound a powerful call to action, urging individuals, organizations, and nations to address the unresolved threads left in the wake of the profound historical tragedy.

The Boy Refugee

The Boy Refugee: A Memoir from a Long-Forgotten War by Dr. Khawaja Azimuddin,

Reviewed by Danita Dyess

In The Boy Refugee: A Memoir from a Long-Forgotten War by Dr. Khawaja Azimuddin, he chronicles the devastating effects of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. Back then, Azimuddin, a Pakistani, was only eight years old. His detailed account of the civil unrest chronicles two years of emotional, economical, familial, and political upheaval. About 100,000 Prisoners of War were entangled in a never-ending battle between the Bangladeshis and their quest for independence and the Pakistanis who have assumed total control. Purchase Here.

Azimuddin had two older siblings – his sister, Maliha Apa and brother, Khusro Bhaijan. His mother, Ammi, was the daughter of an influential civil servant. Their spacious home was surrounded by a pond and trees filled with bananas, apples, and coconuts.

His father, Pappa, had been educated in India. Now he was a bishari, upper class group of society. Pappa worked as a plant manager for Adamjee Jute Mills, the world’s largest manufacturer of jute and cotton products. He oversaw the Bengali workers, the poor class residing in shantis. The two classes are about to erupt in a war. Why?

The boy that liked to play cricket, ride his bike, and pet his pigeon, Kabooter, explains. He says the history of the two factions began when the East and West Pakistan were separated by geography. When the British left, two countries formed – Muslims represented Pakistan (Bengalis) and Hindus represented India. Now the Pakistani army killed mill workers. So the mukti bahini murdered Pakistani officers and civilians.

So the story unfolds with Abdul, a loyal servant of Azimuddin’s family suddenly leaves. He had heard about the slaughtering of five Bengali men. Also, Mujibar Rahman was a political leader who won the election but was denied the presidency. The Awami League supported him and protested the conditions. Bengali workers vacated their jobs at the mill.

But this is just the beginning. Other accounts of civic unrest spread rapidly and foreshadowed ominous events. The People’s Party gained 81 parliamentary seats. Rallies and labor strikes were breaking out daily. While riding his bike from work, Pappa was confronted by angry Bengali workers; he started driving to protect himself from danger.

On December 3, 1971, loud sirens and blackouts alert the family of war. They flee for safety to find refuge with a German UN worker and in tent cities, the Kilo Camps.

The author acts as a journalist and teacher. As a reporter, he conveys the facts of the atrocity. But most importantly, he wants you to know that during challenging circumstances, the love of your family can help you summon the courage and sheer determination you never knew you had. You can change your mind and form friends that were enemies previously. Always act with compassion.

The cover picture of a boy sitting on a suitcase with travel-related drawings was apt. The use of foreign terms, e.g., Namack pore and sooji la halwa as well as the historical accounts transported me to faraway places.

The dialogue spoken between Pappa and Ammi showed the quiet power of a devoted mother. The conversation between Mr. Rauf and Mr. Huq were thought provoking. References to Kissinger and Nixon were insightful.

This work of nonfiction conveyed the gamut of human emotions – childlike joy, disappointment, confusion, fear, love, and hate.

The pace for the 160-page book was fast. Photographs of the family and his green suitcase made the story real. The maps illustrated the role of geography.

Dr. Khawaja Azimuddin is a board-certified gastro-intestinal surgeon who specializes in robotic surgery. He has practiced medicine for 20+ years and currently sees patients at Houston Colon and Rectal Surgery. He has written numerous research articles and surgical reference books. His hobby is calligraphy that includes verses from the Quran placed on tiles. His work appears at the Pearl Fincher Museum of Fine Art.

This memoir is Azimuddin’s first book. I would recommend The Boy Refugee to anyone who wants to be inspired and enjoys history and international politics.


The Ranting of an Uneducated Reactionary by Oscar J. Phillips

Book Reviewed by Lily Andrews

The Ranting of an Uneducated Reactionary” is a remarkably ardent and precisely reasoned basal that examines the legislative and bureaucratic systems in modern-day America.  Click Here to Purchase.

Here, Phillips notes that conservatism is a movement for happiness, unity, and social justice with a positive agenda to fight poverty, promote equal opportunity, extol spiritual enlightenment, and help everyone lead happier and more fulfilling lives. He neatly hammers any idea that conservative ideologies lack relevance in today’s rapidly-changing world. As the chapters unfold, the writer presents his viewpoints with candor and precision, examining different structures of governance while not shying away from sharing his atypical assessments.

The Ranting of an Uneducated Reactionary” is readable and consumable, well-written, and thought-provoking. Further, author’s command of facts is august. Having lived within a conservative environment, Phillips manages to bring lucidity to a subject that most analysts misperceive. While some of his beliefs on politics and socialism may appear contentious, his egalitarian approach to the various subjects that he discusses is what gives this book an elevated poise.

This volume offers a refined and enlightened presentation of what is singular about conservative social and political ideas. It is a compendium with an argument, that evokes pondering, reflection, and musing about the future of America and what part each American citizen can play to ameliorate living standards. Blunt and punchy in its own right, the text further suggests rejecting the values set by government socialists and returning to values that allow us to pursue life, liberty, and happiness. He further looks at areas of government, politics, society, and culture offering his insights on the same.

Overall, “The Rantings of an Uneducated Reactionary” is a must-read for anyone interested in the basic tenets upon which the United States was built, and most importantly, a rallying cry for all Americans. Indeed, Oscar J. Phillip’s forthright work is bound to serve as a rousing gallop for Americans and political science students alike. Its arresting viewpoints are worth a good read.


Salt & Light; The Complete Jesus by Jonathan Geoffrey Dean

Book Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

An extraordinary deep dive into the life of an extraordinary man, Jonathan Geoffrey Dean’s Salt & Light; The Complete Jesus presents a masterful guide for inquiring minds to the definitive life and ministry of Jesus. The first edition to his two-book series, this book offers an intelligently posed wealth of knowledge, garnered from many years of research and fueled by the layman author’s ignited curiosity. As a whole, the book was written in search of the entire true scope of Jesus’ life and works, particularly as an earnest way of seeking to answer three simple questions, 1. Who was Jesus? 2. What did he do? 3. What did he say? However, instead of focusing on the religious elements, author Jonathan Geoffrey Dean leaves his faith out of his search, choosing to focus primarily on the academic aspects, which works out very well throughout the book. Albeit while there is no simple answer to discovering the complete life of Jesus, however, the level of work ethic, thorough research, comparative analysis, and discernment employed by author Dean raises the bar for other books of this nature to meet. Moreover, as thorough, as it is well-written, this work provides a masterful reading venture that is part historical dissertation, populated with literate reaches into obscured aspects of biblical texts, such as the Gospels, and Acts, which contain elements of the true history of Jesus. Moreover, the information contained in this book is catalytic in the way that it does well to offer definitive, perception-altering data when it comes to the life of Jesus, often bruising long-standing myths and alternate religious-based concepts previously known, concerning the life of Jesus. Meanwhile also included are instances of contact with those around him used to establish a credible timeline of his life and ministry.  Click Here to Purchase.

Altogether, author Jonathan Geoffrey Dean did well in answering his proposed questions via sorting through the broad spectrum of information providing sources on the life of Jesus. In part 1 of the book, he delves into the explanation of how myth can become reality and shares the intriguing example of the life of Betty Crocker to prove his point. Additionally, he shares his methodology of reviewing available source materials while meticulously narrowing down the material to a concisely viable list and was able to establish a credible timeline of the true life of Jesus. He examines what made a source useful, including parameters that proved useful in narrowing the scope of truth. Then in part 2 he delves into answering his aforementioned questions by also studying other resources of information including scriptures from Jewish, Muslim, Christian and Pagan perspectives.

Altogether, I enjoyed reading Jonathan Geoffrey Dean’s, Salt & Light: The Complete Jesus and believe this would make a fantastic documentary. This was an absolutely phenomenal read that piqued my curiosity and excited my mind.  This was a work that was easy to relate to because it came from a well-versed layman’s perspective and not from the religious perspective bogged down by dogma. I enjoyed the thoroughness of his methodology and look forward to reading the second book in this series. This is a must read for seekers of the true Jesus.

Still the Night Call

Still the Night Call by Joshua Senter

Book Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

Joshua Senter’s Still the Night Call traces a memorable and emotionally rending journey to self- realization, with a tale which rattles the heart and mind into giving pause and reflecting on how you may value your life and the world you live in.  Purchase Here.

Told through the lens of central character Calem Honeycutt, a dairy farmer, whose whole life is centered around making a living through farming which he does mainly by helping his father work his farm. Moreover, at thirty-two years old, Calem is a man who has lost hope. A quiet man of few words, the narrative is fueled by his internal mentations, more so than his face- to-face interactions. Ultimately a bit of a loner, he does not often venture far from his life as a dairy farmer; however, for the most part, he seems to enjoy his life that way and sees his life as nothing worthier than that.

Immediately the curiosity is piqued when Calem, who comes across as an intelligent, determined and sympathetic character, seems convinced he is living his “last day”. Consequently, the story traces the events of his self-prophesied last day counting time down, to his final “night call”, a time known when your activity ceases to go to bed, but for his intents and purposes it would mean much more. As he lives out the hours of his last days he ruminates over his life’s events, experiences, and memories as well as comes across a life altering experience which would teach him the hardest lesson of all to value your life, live it your way no matter what is happening in your world externally.

Through Calem’s perspective, pessimism, doubt, and fears rear their ugly heads threatening farms and businesses as a contemporary world in flux steadily and mercilessly moves away from the conventions of small family-owned farms and businesses, especially the dairy farm as the demand for milk moves from conventional cow’s milk towards other alternative milks, making it difficult for them to make a decent living. Ultimately it is through Calem’s discussions, philosophies and internalized insights which reveal other catalysts to economic hardship, as the story interweaves real life elements concerning the current social, political, economic, and moral elements affecting the livelihoods of local dairy farmers, small businesses and the like.

Conclusively, I enjoyed Still the Night Call.  I found myself enmeshed in this touching and dramatic story eager to follow Calem’s emotion rending journey towards his proposed night call. Overall, author Joshua Senter is simply an excellent storyteller.  The story flowed seamlessly, with the articulate scenes presenting many instances of deep thought provocation centering on facts of contemporary life and how it affects and changes those that lead simple more community connected lives. Overall, this is not only a book which I recommend reading, but I believe wholeheartedly, would also make a fantastic movie.


An Antidote to Violence

An Antidote to Violence by Barry Spivack and Patricia Saunders

Reviewed by Timea Barabas

An Antidote to Violence: Evaluating the Evidence” is not your casual mid-afternoon read. It is a thought-provoking and in-depth presentation of a still-controversial topic, Transcendental Meditation (TM). The authors, Barry Spivack MA and Patricia Saunders Ph.D. have created a monumental piece by critically analyzing decades worth of scientific research on the social effects of the practice. After a careful evaluation of evidence, the authors conclude that there is indeed an antidote to violence. Purchase Here.

This universal antidote is accessible to all and completely free. While this might sound like oversimplifying a vastly complex and far reaching issue, that is not necessarily so. While researchers have linked group meditation to measurable growth in social welfare (under different forms), they do not consider the TM effect the sole cause of these measures. Rather, they view it as part of a complex web of forces which govern the world and life as we know it, yet, often fall beyond our regular conscious grasp.

To those less familiar with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and his teachings, there is ample opportunity to acquaint yourself throughout the pages of the book. Barry Spivack and Patricia Saunders take a peek behind appearances and explore the science behind this elusive phenomenon. They gradually walk the reader through different scientific experiments and statistical analyses of growing complexity to answer a set of questions and consequently ask new ones.

By bringing to the forefront a series of socio-psychological experiments that offer perceivable proof of decrease in violence and increase of social welfare, “An Antidote to Violence: Evaluating the Evidence” aims to attract the attention of both individuals and governments to this feasible antidote. Organized groups have ventured into volatile war zones to bring outer peace through their inner tranquility. And they seemingly succeeded time and time again.

The authors discuss in-depth the implication of paradigms in the history of ideas, mainly paradigm shifts. Discoveries and systems of thought that did not conform to the mainstream view of the time were often first ostracized before being accepted as groundbreaking leaps. The historical contextualization outlined by the authors acts as a possible explanation of why the TM continues to be met with resistance by so many. It simply does not comply with our modern Occidental view on reality and the self.

An Antidote to Violence: Evaluating the Evidence” is somewhat similar to a meta-analysis, in that it collects a vast body of academic literature and analyzes the data and results presented. However, it is far from being a sterile statistical account, as it is deeply infused with the passion of the authors. Although starting from different fields (Philosophy, Politics and Economics, and Music respectively), both Barry Spivack’s and Patricia Saunders’ life journeys merge in the blossoming universe of Transcendental Meditation.

New Yorkers

New Yorkers: A Fiesty People Who Will Unsettle, Madden, Amuse and Astonish You by Clifford Browder

Reviewed by Lisa Brown Gilbert

When it comes to New York City, its dynamic environ and multicultural fusion of distinctive inhabitants, author Clifford Browder focuses his keen literary eye on his life and experiences as a seasoned resident there, as well as providing glimpses of the eclectic history of the city in his recent work, New Yorkers: A Feisty People Who will Unsettle, Madden, Amuse and Astonish You. Moreover, being no stranger to using the backdrop of New York as a setting for his previously published books, including a series set in nineteenth-century New York, titled Metropolis, author Browder once again provides an intriguing exploration of a very culturally distinctive locale. Purchase Here.

Moreover, this is not your typical cut and dry biography, providing dry facts; instead, the read is a heartfelt memoir of a man and the city he lives, loves, survives and works in. The narrative keeps you rapt in its pages with a winning combination of information gleaned from Mr. Browder’s unique standpoint, research, and experiences from his many years as a resident. Consequently, author Browder does well with transfixing the mental eye with descriptions of his life as a longtime resident, including historical glimpses and insider tidbits of the better-known aspects of New York as well as the lesser-known and even the obscure.

Providing a narrative which flows well, as Author Clifford Browder employs a friendly, authentically knowledgeable tone, within which he gives literate life to a multilayered perspective of New York, through his work in this book. In no particular chronological order, the text is divided into five parts with each section bringing into focus an intriguing variety of elements.

Firstly, Part one includes topics covering looks into the many people, languages, the hustlers, scavengers and the rich. Next, Part 2 looks at how New Yorkers live with chapters including Fun, Booze, Smells, and Graffiti just to name a few. However, also included within this section is my favorite chapter #16, Are New Yorkers Rude? I think author Browder explored this question in fine style. Consecutively, Part 4 covers some of the more iconic locales including Broadway, Fifth Avenue, The Bowery, Wall Street and 14th street. Part four continues with a tour of some of the museums, statues as well as an obscure but interest-piquing, whiskey-tasting cemetery. Followed by Part 5 which delves into some of the past history of New York, providing the insightful histories of both the good and the bad.

Overall, I enjoyed reading New Yorkers. Author Clifford Browder gave a fascinating insiders tour of New York. Part biography, part historical dive and part travel guide, this work offers a tantalizing vision of an exciting city overflowing with diversity in all respects. This was a worthwhile read which I do recommend. However, as a fellow New Yorker, I experienced some turbulent emotions while reading this book particularly with the advent of Coronavirus and the current lockdown in NY and all those wonderful people locked inside of their homes because of a virus. My heart and prayers go out to my family and friends as well as the author, his family and all other New Yorkers-God Bless Us All.

Endless Incarnation Sorrows

Endless Incarnation Sorrows by Lucia Mann

Reviewed by Timea Barabas

Endless Incarnation Sorrows is a daring literary feat of an intergenerational tale that closely follows a soul across its rebirths. Triggered by true events, Lucia Mann shares her personal insights into what was and what might come to be. Following repeated resuscitations, she starts un-forgetting her previous selves. Thus many seemingly disconnected lives scattered across time and space are connected by an invisible string that pulsates throughout the pages of the book. Lucia Mann takes us on an inspirational inward journey, by unveiling the darkest corners of her past and present. Purchase Here.

One of the features that makes the read stand out is how gripping all the characters are. Since, the main players shift between the scenes of this play of life, the reader has a narrow window of opportunity to become emotionally invested. Yet, Lucia Mann successfully outlines convincing and enticing personages that faithfully act out their destiny in front of our eyes. And through these harsh lives we can see and to a certain extent even feel some of the hardships that plagued humanity and continue to do so. The first incarnation, Lala bares the burden of her parents’ incest and her desert exile ends in enslavement; Lyveva surpasses her victim status branded upon her by Vikings to become a healer; Lucja experiences the lowest and highest of humanity within the Auschwitz fences.

The sands of time uncover various taboo subjects, ushered away by our consciousness, such sensible subjects that we would much rather turn a blind eye to. While these practices are presented in a contextual fashion, as an integral part of a certain period in history, some survived into our present under various forms, themselves being subjected to a string of reincarnations. Behind the front narrative of survival and redemption of a lost soul, there is a strong underlying outcry for the incarnation of social practices that embrace numerous souls.

All in all, Endless Incarnation Sorrows is hard to put down; there is always an immediate sense of peril or surprise on the next page. While, the subject and the writing style makes the read appealing to a wide audience, there are some details that steer the direction toward an adult or young adult group. Lucia Mann does not shy away from topics that are now deemed taboo and this piercing truthfulness might just be the secret ingredient that keeps the reader on this magically painful and eye-opening journey that the author initiates.

Dirty Science

Dirty Science: How Unscientific Methods are Blocking Our Cultural Advancement by Bob Gebelein

Book Reviewed by Nancy Eaton

Bob Gebelein begins by stating “This book needs to be written.” “The story needs to be told.” You will discover why he makes this statement as you read this book. Purchase here.

I’m only going to mention a few subjects in this book because I don’t want to give too much away for the readers.

The author begins many of the chapters with a question. “Have you been ridiculed by members of the scientific establishment because of your psychic beliefs?” So, just think about this statement. Many of us have experienced spiritual believes and psychic experiences. What happens when you express these beliefs and experiences to other people? Do they look at you like you are some kind of quack? It doesn’t even have to be someone with a scientific background. These beliefs are ground into our minds because, as the author states, “science has tapped into a human psychological need for authorities who are people who know all the answers”. These scientists believe there is no reality beyond the physical. Therefore, people who express an interest in subjects like clairvoyance, the power of prayer, reincarnation, etc. are dismissed as mentally incompetent. We all know that there is much more to clairvoyance, reincarnation, etc. The author states that he had a dream about his grandmother’s death one hour before he received the telegram. I, also, had an experience similar to this when my father was very ill. I came to the hospital to visit him and he told me that he had a lot of visitors that day. When I asked him who came to visit, every person he named was dead. I knew right then and there that he was getting closer to death. I’m sure many of us have had experiences like this whether it pertained to death, a miracle that happened because of prayer, or how about the times we have gone to a certain place and felt like we have been there before? How about the times when we first met a person and could swear we knew this person before? Could this possibly be anything to do with reincarnation?

What is science? The author states that in order to have science, there must be three essential ingredients; observation, replication, and valid logic. He considers observation the most important of the three. Now take a moment and think about the word “status”. There are many types of status in the world. We have the status of a teacher, the status of our parents, etc. We look up to and believe what anyone with a so- called “status” tells us. If our teacher told us something, we would believe it. The author is pointing out that this very same thing is true of scientists. They have an authority status and just because they are a scientist, people will believe what they say. The author states that religion is a rigid belief system and an explanation of the unknown. Once again, we are reverting back to the authority figure. When we were young, we looked at our parents as someone who knew all the answers. Many things were “unknown” to us and we learned from a very young age that our parents had the answers because this was engraved in our mind. It is also the way we feel about our priest. They are also an authority figure and we believe they know all the answers. Now if a scientist indicates “that doesn’t exist” is this the same as saying “I don’t know the answer”. Bob calls this an ego-defense. Think about it – it does make sense. Could this be an example of dirty science?

Bob Gebelein believes that many subjects have been “ignored, dismissed and/or suppressed because of the domination of physicalism.” He had some suggestions; all subjects should be debatable, scientists should be the best qualified to operate in that particular field and lawyers who use illegal methods are disbarred. The author lists several ways that people who have money can use their wealth to help the academic community gain self-awareness.

Bob Gebelein’s style of writing is clear and to the point. However, this book is not to be considered light reading. The author will bring up many subjects that he is very passionate about and you will be left with many things to think about. You will have to do some very deep thinking and will have to try to put your own views aside for a moment while pondering the author’s statements. After you read Dirty Science, it will be up to you to decide whether or not you agree with the author. Even if you do not agree with him, you will find this book unique and compelling. I have read another of Bob Gebelein’s other books, The Mental Environment. This book is also very interesting and he speaks on the subject of “mind pollution”. If you find Dirty Science an interesting and challenging read, you might want to add The Mental Environment to your list.