John Jakes has gone up the trail.
Jakes was a journeyman writer when he hit HUGE with The Kent Family Chronicles in the mid-1970s, timed fortuitously to take advantage of a spike in interest in heritage around the 1976 Bicentennial. The runaway bestseller status of the chunky, pulpy novels created a 20-year vogue for multi-generational historical family sagas. He followed that up with an equally successful Civil War yarn, North & South.
I was in junior high school when I read The Bastard and watched the miniseries on TV.
I was already a history nerd — I was reading and re-reading Allan W. Eckert at the same time — but Jakes certainly strummed the right chords for a young feller primed to experience history as a lusty adventure. And there was plenty of “lusty” in The Kent Family Chronicles… the avatar of which was the lovely, and ultimately tragic Alicia, played by Olivia Hussey in the miniseries…
The novels presented a very “adult” view of history. When I read The Rebels, I had not conceived of the idea that a Founding Father could be an alcoholic mess like Judson Fletcher — who redeemed a spiral of debauchery in a selfless act on behalf of the great Frontier Partisan Captain George Rogers Clark (himself a raging alcoholic). Bracing stuff for a mid-teens kid — and it obviously stuck with me, cuz I remember the poignancy of it even though I read The Rebels more than 40 years ago.
Jakes represented a moment in time in the publishing world that we’ll never see again. What a fun ride it was…
Jack Carr has announced that he’s launching a series of non-fiction books on major terrorist events. He’s been a student of terrorism and counter-terrorism since he was a kid, a study which became professional development for a Navy SEASL and thriller writer.
Here’s the caper:
Carr will be teaming up with Pulitzer Prize finalist James M. Scott for a series of nonfiction books that explore seminal terrorist events.
The first, Targeted: The 1983 Beirut Barracks Bombing, is scheduled to be published in the fall of 2024 by Atria Books/Emily Bestler Books, a division of Simon & Schuster.
The nonfiction series will investigate terrorist attacks that changed the course of history.
“Those who have read my James Reece ‘Terminal List’ series or who follow me on social media know the importance I place on history, particularly the history of warfare, terrorism, insurgencies, counterinsurgencies and special operations,” Carr told Fox News Digital in emailed comments.
“My upcoming book, ‘Targeted: The 1983 Beirut Barracks Bombing,’ explores this seminal terrorist attack — the effects of which still reverberate through U.S. foreign policy decisions today.”
In that attack, terrorists drove a truck packed with explosives into the U.S. Marine Corps barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, killing 241 U.S. service members — 220 Marines, 18 sailors, and three soldiers — and badly wounding many others.
He said it’s based on thousands of pages “of military and political records, personal letters, and more than 50 hours of interviews with survivors.”
I will be very interested to see if the book includes information on the 2008 masterpiece hit that the CIA/Mossad put on Imad Mughniyeh, the exceptionally capable Hezbollah operator who was deeply involved in all of the action in Lebanon in the 1980s and ’90s, and who facilitated training for Iran-backed Shiite militias in Iraq after the U.S. invasion. He was directly implicated in the development of IEDs that killed American forces there, which is why the CIA targeted him. Well, that and some long-deferred payback for the torture and murder of CIA officer Bill Buckley, abducted in Beirut in 1984. Mossad, of course, had their own reasons.
I’m in on this one.
Paul McNamee says
In a way, Jakes was a reflection of what Robert E. Howard might have become, had he not died young. Howard wanted to write historical fiction. He probably would have made the transition from the ‘weird’ to historicals. And it would have been right about the time when the pulps transitioned from the magazines into novels.
Jakes started off pastiching Conan with Brak the Barbarian. He also wrote some science fiction novels before he hit that historical stride (as it turned out, quite the sweet spot for mid 1970s.)
I think that is quite accurate.
Michael K. Vaughn recently did a video on the Kent Family Chronicles.
Jakes was a REH fan.
The Kent Family Chronicles should not be confused with the Kents a graphic novel by John Ostrander and Timothy Truman of Grimjack fame. The idea behind that novel is its the history of the family that adopted Superman. Thing is, aside from a few modern sequences involving the Man of Steel, it’s a pretty straight historical/Western series. I’m actually thinking of reviewing it here.
I’ll have to check that out. I appreciate Vaughn.
lane batot says
I saw the trailer for “The Covenant” when I just went to see “65”–and yeah, looks like a good ‘un! Is it based, I wonder, on an actual incident?…… I really liked “65” too, by the way. I’ve heard(but not actually read many of their complaints) that “The Critics” don’t have much good to say about “65”. But I’ll say this, if you like dinosaurs, and you like a good survival movie, this is a good ‘un! “The Critics” never can get their panties out of a wad when it comes to DINOSAURS, it seems! I’ve heard many people are confused that it’s a poorly explained time travel movie, but it’s NOT! Such folks obviously were busy taking a pee or getting popcorn at the beginning of the movie, and missed the brief written part, describing that it was about a crash landing of an ANCIENT space traveling culture from another planet to earth 65 million years ago. All us History Channel “Ancient Aliens” fans know all about THAT! And if you know anything basic about yer paleontology, you know that 65 million years ago was a very, very bad time to be on earth, dinosaurs aside! Anyhoo–I give it two vestigal Tyrannosaurus arms up! A BIG PLUS in the movie was what I considered an EXCELLENT portrayal of primeval landscapes. Since I always stay and read the end credits, I learned it was filmed in Louisiana(swamp scenes), Ireland, and……OREGON!
Right on. I’m for this.
lane batot says
….something else probably only I would have noticed regarding “The Covenant” trailer–in one blip of a second, upside down, there was a shot of two Saluki-like/Tazi-like dogs(I have two Tazis from Kazakhstan myself, and have always loved Salukis. Tazis are just a type of Saluki, of course….), which perked my interest considerably! I’ll havta see this movie IF ONLY to see those dogs–even if they are only seen for that one blip! But maybe, just maybe, there will be a bit more of them in there…..
Ugly Hombre says
The Bill Buckley kidnapping- horrific torture mental and physical and finally murder where one of the worse episodes in CIA history. A awful thing to even contemplate…
Satanic evil to the 9th power- terrorist devils.
American in general have a hard time realizing the evil that is in the world and I fear it may come to us now in ways that we can’t even imagine on U.S. soil.
Instead of “Climate Change” “America is racist” “America is evil” “You can change your chromsones” and other baloney stories we should concentrate on correcting course before it is to late.
Sad to say the odds of that happening a’int good at all.