Sunday, September 28, 2014

[Book Review] Combat Related PTSD: The Willie Gray Story

This book was fantastic, and, coupled with the last book I read, ignited a certain measure of fondness for nonfiction books. The story deals with the author, Melvina Gray, who fell in love with her future husband. Little did she know that he suffered from combat related PTSD as a result of serving during the Vietnam War.

This book is different from many that I have read, so I'm not quite for sure what criteria I should be using the critique this work. Normally,  I read fiction novels. So, I view this book with a more academic mentality. In that light, this book is interesting in the fact that it brings to the surface some truly sad things about PTSD and how it effects those living with it or around it.

This book also made me realize that if one were to write their life into the pages of a book and read it, then we may be able to look at the characters in them objectively and realize how things should've happened. But the problem with that is we can only write about the parts of our lives we experience, and what we write is the moment we live in.

It was made clear to me, despite going through what I would say is quite an ordeal, Melvina's life story now and forever was changed by what many may consider to be a flawed character. This book made me realize that love can be found even in the darkest of circumstances, and that even people who are intrinsically flawed can have a beautiful effect on our lives.

The Willie Gray Story is by no means a fairy tale, and it's not meant to be. It's life. The only difference between Melvina Gray and Willie Gray is that the Willie Gray Story ended when the book ended, but not entirely. His story had a great effect on Melvina and Jamar, their son. So, while his story may come the close that we all must meet, Melvina's and Jamar's story will forever be affected by that. Through their experiences, Willie, despite never having met me, also affected my life, my story.

For more information on PTSD, please visit the link below:

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

[Book Review] The Dark History of the Occult: Magic, Madness, and Murder

                I have just recently finished reading A Dark History of the Occult by Paul Roland. I bought this book many years ago for its enticing cover and taboo subject; however, I didn’t read it for a long time despite being drawn in within the first line. Hell, the first 3 pages were genuine and immediately challenged my recently denounced Christian faith. As to why it took me years to pick up again, I can’t say, but I’m glad I did.
                The cover is beautiful and spans the eons of humanity’s existence, immediately foreshadowing the rich history of the occult. The size of the book, untraditional by standard, suited the subject matter, which was another subtlety that I liked. With impressive content and the expertise to back it up, Paul had enticed me into purchasing the book.
                The content itself is executed in 5 Chapters *(plus an introduction). It identifies “Satan”, the history of magic and a brief comparison of some main religions, witchcraft, and more. I must admit, with such an ambiguous subject to be covered in 203 pages (not to mention large pictures), I was worried Paul was going to skimp over vital information that experts sometimes forget to explain or present the information in a haphazard way. To my delight, he didn’t do either.
                The Dark History of the Occult challenged some of the darker corners of my life that I hadn’t illuminated with reason, such as what the manifestation of evil was and symbolism in Christian concepts. Once he had brought what I knew under a microscope and enabled me to objectively view the subject matter, for I do like to keep an open mind to different views, he explored the occult in-depth.
                The history is rich, and I discovered many things I wish I wouldn’t have about the Catholic Church, but such “righteousness” *(some would call evil), must never be forgotten. Even progressing through modern times, Paul explained modern influence of the occult. My favorite part was in rock and roll, but the early 1900 stories of Crowley were fun to read as well. He also convinced me to read H.P. Lovecraft’s work ‘Necronomicon’.
                There's so much about this book that I'm excluding, but I can promise you, all of it is interesting. If you're wanting to know more about the neo-Pagan movement or just want to expound on your knowledge of religion, I highly encourage you to read The Dark History of the Occult (subtext Magic, madness and murder). The link to the book and where to purchase it can be found here: