Thursday, March 1, 2012

Kidnapping Henry Kissinger

Kidnapping Henry Kissinger
Peddler Creek Press
September 17, 2011
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-105-50772-4
276 pages
Kindle version $9.99

The turbulent 1960s were a time when our country was changing and change is not always
easy. Between the civil rights, women’s rights, equal rights, civil disobedience, sexual
preferences, abortion, the use of drugs, free love, music changes, and the Vietnam War, all
of these eventually seemed to evolve our society into a different world.

Living in Kansas at this time, Joe Ball was delighted with being offered a full scholarship
to Cornell University. Since Joe was a loner and his childhood left him orphaned, he
discovered this opportunity to become a part of something and to belong. The anti-war
movement filled this void in his life.

Joe didn’t want to burn his draft card like his friends. He actually just sent it back to Kansas. While he is involved with this movement, his only real crime is taking his lawyer’s advice. When questioned by a grand jury, Joe is told that he can refuse to testify. That causes him to be imprisoned until the year 2006. This is obviously a case of where crime and the punishment are not just. Being that Joe has no family, no one cares, visits, or questions this injustice, his prison sentence is lengthy.

As Joe leaves prison, he expects to find a country with the Constitutional rights of the 1970s, not a post 9/11 country where many rights have been restricted by Homeland Security.

Kidnapping Henry Kissinger is actually the telling of two stories that eventually merge into one. The approach involves Joe reestablishing himself in a much changed world of 2006 while simultaneously looking at Joe in the late 1960s as he enters Cornell and begins his new life.

The intertwining of the fictional Joe’s past with the real people and events was insightful giving depth to all the characters as well as a history lesson. Being with Joe in the present is a genuine and appalling reality of how our Constitutional rights have been restricted due to the post 9/11 war on terrorism.

The author, Coleman, pen name for Joe Gilchrist, lived in Oklahoma and received his education in New York at Cornell, where he actively participated in the civil rights and peace protests of the 1960s. Much of this story is based on his earlier life. He now lives and works in Wisconsin.

Through the eyes of Joe Ball, Coleman has masterfully written a history of the people in this country and how and why we have changed. Whether it is for the better is left to the reader.

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