August 25, 2010

Who is Osama Bin Laden?

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:37 am by lbrosch

Growing Up Bin Laden: Osama’s Wife and Son Take Us Inside Their Secret World by Najwa Bin Laden, Omar Bin Laden and Jean Sasson (2009). What an eye opener!! It would appear that Osama was a very loving husband and devoted father in his early years but was overcome by his loss of position with the Saudi government and began to blame all Western culture for his failings, particularly Americans. There is a great deal of insight into how his hatred was formed as witnessed by his son Omar. His family has suffered as much as those in the Western world from the prejudices and misinformation that plagues all Muslims. This book should be read by all to inform how such a madman could rise up from humble beginnings. This story puts a human face on the media blur surrounding Osama bin Laden. It is also the story of a wife’s devotion to her Islamic religious beliefs and thus her faith and trust in a husband that would prove to be totally destructive to both society and his family. Only because she finally found her son Omar to be more truthful than her husband did she make a personal choice to be safe and free. This story gave insight into how many people can be brainwashed by their religious views and their own inability to accept the advice and viewpoints of others. This was what began Osama’s deterioration into violent Jihad and the loss of emotional attachments for even his family. He cast off his own sons in the face of his all consuming war on Western influences.


August 12, 2010

A Heroine for Today- Somaly Mam

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:06 pm by lbrosch

Somaly Mam tells her story in The Road of Lost Innocence: The True Story of a Cambodian Heroine (2009). In this shocking memoir Somaly tells of her own experiences as a sex slave. After her escape she returns to try and save many of the girls who were left behind. The story tells of her efforts to lead them into a new life. Somaly ends up sacrificing much of her personal life to continue her goals of making a better life for abused girls in Cambodia and still works against many difficult roadblocks today. She describes the hardened emotional state of Cambodians who suffered so much degradation and loss during the reign of the Khmer Rouge and the many wars before then. She even interviews men and discovers why they feel no remorse at using young girls as sex slaves and supporting the brothel trade. She has tried to start a campaign against this point of view. You can learn all about her work at the Somaly Mam Foundation at

Warning: You will come away from this book with anger and frustration about women’s rights and feel a need to join the fight!

August 9, 2010

Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:08 pm by lbrosch

Just finished reading Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez and I highly recommend this historical fiction novel based on the history of slave life before the Civil War. A large part of the setting is Tawawa House, a resort in Ohio which catered to rich landowners who came for a summer retreat and brought their slave wenches or mistresses as they were represented in the story. The wishes and dreams of each of four women mistresses are brought to life in a very realistic manner for the time. The main character Lizzie has a master for whom she thinks she has real romantic feelings. She has been well cared for by the standards of the day with her own bedroom in the master’s house after bearing him his only two children. She has received special treatment since her early teens and has never known true suffering as a slave. Her friends, whom she meets summers at Tawawa House, have different stories of their experiences and over the years she becomes more enlightened to the hopes and dreams of being a free woman. She shares her ability to read by reading the pamphlet obtained from an abolitionist to her companions. Further events which I will not reveal result in all of them being split up as the story is told. Lizzie must make a decision as to running for freedom or staying with her life on the plantation where she is close to her children. The story explores the difficult choices that these slaves must make. Freedom, is it possible and at what price?  I found the story compelling in that it brought to light many practices that I was not aware of between white masters and their black mistresses. The setting of Tawawa House is a place that really existed much as described in the novel. It was closed as a resort in 1855 and then sold to the Methodist Episcopal Church who established the Ohio African University. After the Civil War it was renamed the Wilberforce University which continues today.