Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Book Review, a Progress Report, and Christmas Greetings

Wow. Finally finished Ray Holcomb's book, Endless Enemies. For the first time, I felt compelled to write a review for Amazon (which they are reviewing for profanity or sedition or what I don't know) before they post it to the book title. Anyway, I thought I'd share it with you not because the review is that good, but because the book is and I want you to buy it and read it and marvel that he is our classmate:

Endless Enemies By Ray Holcomb

The exploits of this career-FBI counter terrorism agent are quite enough to propel the narrative of Endless Enemies to a satisfying if not cautionary conclusion. This can be said of many first person documentary writings. This tale rewards the reader in many other ways.

The narrative is a historical zoom lens. On the one hand, Mr. Holcomb zooms in and describes the milestones of his career in the Bureau in astonishing and often amusing detail that could only come from a field operative on the inside; on the other he pulls back and is able to place these events in context on a strategic international stage. He presents the dynamic of the domestic and international roles played by the FBI; he covers budgetary constraints and internal political and personal agendas; he intelligently discusses the difficulties of recasting a large law enforcement agency into an effective tool against new and evolving foes; he caringly describes the human toll that its agents continually pay to adapt to that changing role. On a personal level, Ray wistfully recalls the emotional pull of the comfort and safety of a career in corporate law against his visceral desire to meet the security needs of the country.

What makes this narrative so compelling is that Mr. Holcomb is a self-aware narrator. He has clearly given great thought to his role in these sadly real events and it is the depth and clarity of his thinking that makes this book special. He does not posture about his role. He simply lived a life of understated patriotism to the best of his ability and to the extent of his character, and that has taken him farther than most are willing to go. Endless Enemies deserves a read. When you’re done, you’ll come away with a much deeper appreciation for the dedicated people like Ray Holcomb who are doing their best to protect us amid all the political ambitions and drama being played out in the national headlines of the past 30 years.

I don't know about anyone else but my hat is off to Ray. No one has to ask him what he's been doing these last 45 years!

On the class front,  Linda is revisiting some old lists which we are now looking at with new eyes. When first we scanned them, all we saw were the inaccuracies. Now we are seeing hidden (in plain sight, of course) clues that we glossed over. We hope that this will result in another significant grouping of found classmates of the remaining 70 or so that have not yet been either located or contacted directly. We located and called Linda Wilkes Savacool, but she told her husband to tell me that she wasn't interested. I don't understand it. It's happened to me on several different occasions that a classmate couldn't even bother to come to the phone if nothing than to say they had no connection to school any longer. Granted, I don't know whether she remembered me or not. I sure don't flatter myself into thinking that I was universally known just because of my circle of activities and friends in high school. Maybe that was it, she just didn't recognize the name. What bugs me more is that people that I knew, saw everyday for the time we were in school together, hung with socially, won't pick up the phone after getting a voicemail or email to at least acknowledge that they got them, if nothing more than to say no thank you.  Maybe it's just the holiday blahs. Just not what I was expecting...and more than a little disappointing.

On a brighter note, got an email from Bobbye Cooke Gluesencamp who has a CD of photos from our high school productions, including Teahouse of the August Moon. I wasn't involved with that one (no music) but saw it and remember it well. The CD is in the mail amongst the USPS slowdown and holiday mail so I hope it arrives intact and soon. There are classmates waiting to see them!

Speaking of the Holidays, Christmas prominent among them (no I'm not real PC. It's still Christmas to me, Kwaanza not withstanding), if I don't do this now while I'm thinking about it, I won't remember and Linda is already fed up with reminding me to make phone calls to this one and that one. So here goes: 
and every 
classmate near 
or far, In village or 
town, wherever you are. 
It may be by mail, or it may
be by phone, We'll find one and all
So you won't be alone.   Have a very
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
and Linda Yuan

Yo Ho Ho and a bottle of rum (if I've been good).

1 comment:

  1. Milton and Linda -
    The task that you have undertaken - connecting all of us - is huge and you are both working so hard! Thanks to both of you. I appreciate it and look forward to reports of who you have connected with and what people are up to.
    Sue Eck