Halfway Home: Race, Punishment, and the After life of Mass Incarceration by Reuben Jonathan Miller, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

  One of the stories often hidden from public view with tremendous consequences is the astonishing size of our country’s incarcerated population at 2.3 million while another 20 million live with a felony record. That does not include the 555,000 locked up in the U.S. who have not been convicted of a crime. I heard an interview of the author and decided this book would be a good place to dig into this grave reality. Reuben Miller knows the issues from first-hand experience. He was a chaplain at the Cook County Jail in Chicago and is now a sociologist studying […]

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At Home and Abroad by V.S. Pritchett, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

While perusing my books recently, I recognized this book by V.S. Pritchett, who is a British writer and literary critic and a well-known travel writer. I’d recently written several of my own stories on Latin America, “The Ying & Yang of Travel: Traveling Solo,” and “Tschiffley’s Epic Equestrian Ride,” so I decided to get this author’s take. After all, according to the “WorldCat List,” which is the largest data- base on books for libraries around the world, Pritchett had logged 422 works in 1,896 publications in 5 languages in almost 43,000 library holdings. And he was knighted of Sir Victor […]

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Million Mile Walker Dispatch, March, Drama on the Border: No Easy Solutions

Friends and Colleagues from Around the World, As the number of asylum-seeking migrants, including unaccompanied minors, crossing the southwest border of the U.S. soared to 3,500 a day in February, and the number of unaccompanied minors from Central America rose 60%, many of us are asking, “What’s going on in Central America anyway?” I’ll explore this and more in Culture Watch. My Writing & Book Reviews will include several book and movie reviews.  We’ll look to inspiration in Voices of the Day and, as always, What Others Are Saying. My latest article, “Tschiffely’s Epic Ride: Part of the Yin & Yang of Travel Series,” was in […]

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Under the Wave at Waimea by Paul Theroux, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

I’ve read and reviewed the last six books from the iconic travel writer Paul Theroux and was fortunate enough to snag a copy of the uncorrected proof of his next book which will be available in mid-April. Initially I was unenthusiastic about reading of the life of an aging surfer in Hawaii, but after reading “On the Plain of Snakes” about Mexico, I felt sure he’d manage to turn Hawaii into one of his ebullient tomes—and I was not disappointed. After all, the author has lived there for over 30 years during which time he’s been gathering stories and materials […]

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Million Mile Walker Dispatch, The Impact of Climate Change, February, 2021

Friends and Colleagues from Around the World, 2020 and the beginning of this year were prone to ecological breakdown. Simultaneous climate disasters have roared, including the worst wildfire season in the history of California, record heat here in Arizona, record hurricanes coupled with drought in Guatemala and, most recently, the deep freeze and resulting infrastructural and leadership breakdowns in Texas, all of which will be the focus of Culture Watch, My Writing & Book Reviews, and will include several book reviews and a movie review.  We’ll look to inspiration in Voices of the Day and, as always, What Others Are […]

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“Keep Sharp: Build a Better Brain at Any Age”, by Sanjay Gupta MD, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

Keep Sharp: Build a Better Brain at Any Age by Sanjay Gupta, MD Reviewed by Mark D. Walker   My youngest daughter handed me this book and said, “Dad, we don’t have time to read this, but this is important. Could you read it and report back to us?” So I did. And I believe that all adults should take responsibility for our health, especially our mental health, so this looked like a timely book to review and reflect on with my family. The author caught my attention with a study that indicated that 47 million Americans have some evidence […]

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How I Learned English by Tom Miller, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

I purchased this book as a Christmas present for my Guatemalan wife because, she like millions of other Latinos, has struggled to master the quirks and challenges of English. Ligia took English in school in Guatemala. But I’ve always insisted we speak Spanish in order to maintain my fluency and she patiently corrected my grammar, which she continues to do.  After our first year of marriage, I took her to my hometown of Evergreen, Colorado in the dead (cold) of winter, where she tried to communicate with my mother by writing notes. But my mother insisted that we get a […]

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Storming the Wall: Climate Change, Migration, and Homeland Security” by Todd Miller

  Reviewed by Mark D. Walker  This book caught my attention, as the author connects climate change and the hostility toward refugees, which is a key theme I focus on in a documentary on immigration in Central America. Although much debate on the existence of climate change that I’m exposed to takes place among relatively well-to-do urban dwellers, the author points out that 48 of the “least developed countries” are five times more likely to die in a climate-related disaster than the rest of world. Floods are now impacting 21 million people worldwide annually and by 2030, a “double exposure […]

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The Million Mile Walker Dispatch: Trump’s Impact & The Future of Democracy, January 2021

  Trump’s Impact and the Future of Democracy!   Friends and Colleagues from Around the World, Although 2020 was chaotic at best, the new year has started off with a bang. We’ll take a look at how the rest of the world perceives our country’s electoral woes in the Culture Watch, check out my latest reviews in My Writing & Book Reviews, look to inspiration in Voices of the Day and, as always, What Others Are Saying and an updated Calendar. My year got off to a good start with an interview on Global Connections TV, which includes interviews of Jane Goodall and two former Peace Corps Directors, plus […]

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The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

  My middle daughter gifted me this book, which remained next to my bed for over five months due to its imposing size and more than 500 pages. But I decided to check it out as part of my “Black Lives Matter” awareness program. What was slavery about and how had it impacted the U. S. for so long? In this case, Aminata Diallo would be taken from her village in West Africa and placed on a slave ship in Sierra Leone – where I’d worked for three years. The ship was bound for South Carolina and from there she’d […]

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