Delve into the world of unknown authors and books, starting with “Red Chaos” by Ed Fuller and Gary Grossman. This political thriller is the third book in a series, but it’s not as well-known as it should be. Explore the geopolitics of the book and why it’s worth reading.
Then, a look at the historical fiction novel, “The Antiquarian” written by Alfred Balm. The book is based on true events, and tells the story of Berend Bouters, a talented painter who becomes a black marketer during World War I and starts bringing goods to parts of Europe, in return for valuable artwork.
Lastly, All Creatures Great and Small vs Emily in Paris. All Creatures Great and Small is a heartwarming story set in the past, where people helped each other and farmers supported other farmers. On the other hand, Emily in Paris is set in the present and focuses on social media and technology.
Blaine DeSantis: Hello everybody. This is Blaine DeSantis. I welcome you to Books and Looks. That’s right, our podcast about what I’m reading and what I am watching. And before I get into the reading and the watching, I want to thank everybody who tuned in last week and listened to my conversation with Peter Briscoe. It got the highest number of listens, views, or I wanna call those things. It got more than any other podcast we’ve had. Peter was just a fount of inform. And it was great to talk to him about books, the future of books, and I know Peter has agreed, he’s gonna come on in the future at another time to talk more about books, which is just great because I can’t think of anybody I’d like to talk about books more than peter Briscoe, so thanks so much. And not just you here in the United States. According to what I have found, our demographics expert yes, my chief cook and bottle washer, my producer, my son, Nathaniel DeSantis has advised me that not only are we getting our usual listeners from all across the world. We have added in the past week listeners from Chile, Australia, Spain, and Iceland. Yes, the Icelanders are coming in to listen to the show, so hey, thanks a lot. You know, I really appreciate wherever you are taking the time to listen to us chat about books again and what I’m looking at. I want you to please do one thing for me. Share it. Share it. Tell your friends about this. Tell your friends about this podcast. Okay? Tell them all about it. And you know, more and more people are gonna listen. More and more people hopefully are gonna like us and listen. Buy more books.
Get more books. You know what, I get nothing out of this, but the enjoyment of talking about books with you. And if I can help you and I can help authors, and I could help people buy books and read books they might not have known about. Well, that’s what it’s all about. Hey, as we start our books portion, as you remember, if you’ve read my website, my blog on that website on 2023 being the year of discovery. I am really finding a lot of authors and books that I never heard of before. And today we’re gonna share two of those with you. And this is what I mean. I’m gonna be reading all sorts of books, some by authors that you know, or established authors, but these authors that you might not have heard of. And the first book today is called Red Chaos. Red Chaos by Ed Fuller and Gary Grossman. It’s 476 pages long. And I’m gonna tell you what, it is a great book. And now this is actually the third book in a series. So you say, well, how can you be discovered if it’s the third book? Take a look on good reads, or take a look at Amazon and see the number of people who’ve read it and reviewed it.
Very few, and I’m hoping that by this podcast, all of you are gonna start jumping on the bandwagon cause what’s going on here in Red Chaos is out of this world. Okay, Red Chaos, Ed Fuller and Gary Grossman. This is an extremely important book. Now, A few years ago I read a book called One Second After, and I don’t know if any of you have read that, but it’s a wonderful, informative book about electromagnetic problems that can affect our entire electric grid. And it is, it is eye-opening, to put it mildly. What would happen if our grid went down and, you know, nowadays with cyber attacks and all the other things, sun strokes, sun spots, whatever, it’s with all this affecting the grid. It gets pretty scary and so that was a great book for you to read if you get a chance.
But here’s this book, Red Chaos. This is a wonderful book. It is a basically a geopolitical book, and it’s couched as a political thriller. But really we’re learning all about geopolitics in this book. That’s what the real emphasis is upon. I didn’t realize it until I got started in this book because it all follows the trail of a guy named of Dan Riley, who is the global security head for a major international hotel chain.
Fictitious, obviously, that has hotels all over the. And they always are hosting these oil conferences. There’s a series of oil conferences being held at different locations throughout the world, and at every different location somebody’s getting assassinated. Maybe a shot in the head, maybe poison, maybe a poison drink, maybe a bomb, but somebody is always being assassinated who a part of the oil industry. This is a book that gives us a crash course on oil diplomacy, on geopolitics, on climate change and our own military and foreign policy preparedness. As I said, it’s amazing what’s going on out there and we don’t put it all together like these two gentlemen do who wrote the book.
They put it all together. For instance, this whole book is about a bumbling US president and a Vladimir Putin like Russian leader who basically wants to control all of the world’s oil, which is not that far fetched because Russia, as we know, puts out a lot oil. They pump a lot. And now, thanks to climate change, yep, here we go.
Thanks to climate change, the northern sea route in the Arctic is getting more and more accessible and with the icebreakers and the tankers and everything else, Russia’s trying to get across the top to deliver their oil to the world. Not only that, they have a straight shot from their oil fields down to China.
There’s no countries in between. There’s no oceans in between. They’re direct supplier of China, and yet they want more. So we have got a whole host of things that are going on, not just these killings in the hotel. We have other things that are happening here. We’ve got a blockage of the Suez Canal.
That happened not too long ago, didn’t it? Was it a year or two years ago? There was a blockage. Well, this was a deliberate blockage, you see. A deliberate bombing of a ship that blocked the canal, stopped all the oil going through the Suez Canal. Later on, there was a bombing that blocked the Straits of Hormuz. Hmm.
Not that inconceivable. And lastly, a bombing in the Panama Canal. And if you block these areas, you have basically stopped the flow of oil for almost a year. You cannot get the oil to where it has to go unless you’re Russia. They don’t have to worry about that. They’re going across the top, they’re going other locations. They don’t care. They can get it to you and to their customers, and then gouge us to death. Take all the oil industry and it is theirs. It is so well done. But these people are being killed at these conferences and who’s behind it? One person in particular is behind. And there’s one main assassin, and Dan Riley’s trying to find the person, find this person who is the assassin.
And he goes from one location to another trying to find him until he finally does get that confrontation. But there’s also another person who’s involved who just blows up a hotel in Washington, DC. Not just a hotel. The 14th floor where an oil minister is located, blows it up, kills that person. I mean, we also have got naval maneuvers by the Russians and the Iranians off the US coast. Oh yeah. This stuff happens folks. Not too far off our coast. This is a powerful book, a powerful look at what’s going on in the world, all couched as a political thriller and mystery. See, and that’s how you can do it. That’s how the best way is. If I gave you a or myself. If I got a, a paper from a think tank about some of this stuff, I would probably be asleep in two minutes. But this 476 page book keeps you going and going, wow. It does not stop. The action is nonstop. Many authors sort of die in the middle of their books. The great beginning, great end. Not this one.
This just goes, goes, goes. And I think you are really, really gonna like this. I liked it so much that I went out and bought the first two books of the series, and they don’t cost an arm in two legs. You might not be able to find it at your library, but you can find these books on Amazon, or I’m assuming they’re over at Barnes and Noble.
I don’t know. I do my shopping on Amazon, but as I said, this is amazing. This is an author, a series of authors, that you may not have heard of. And they’ve written a book, which all of us need to pay attention to. We all need pay attention to this story because it’s, it’s something that is worrisome. It is something that makes us realize, Hey, there’s more going on in this world than the quote social justice movement end quote.
Okay. There’s much more going on that’s much more relevant and much more important to our country and our economy and our way of life. So anyway, the book is called Red Chaos by Ed Fuller and Gary Grossman. This gets a five star rating from me because it is an outstanding, outstanding book, which I think each and every one of us need to read to start to fully understand what’s going on in the world and how it affects us.
Now, my second book for today… you know, one of the things I love is art. I crave art. I love the old masters and some of the modernist ones. Well, by modernist I mean the those from the, the late 19th century, early 20th century. But I love it despite being colorblind.
I love art and I love art history. And this book was right up my alley. It’s called The Antiquarian. The Antiquarian by Alfred Balm, b a l m, 314 pages in length. Here is another really super book about the world of art. It’s a fictional book, okay? Another fictional novel mystery, and it’s all about the most stolen piece of art in the history of the world.
Now you may say, what is the most stolen piece of art in the history of the world? A lot of people will say, well, maybe it was the, it was the Mona Lisa. Well, the Mona Lisa has been stolen, but not as much as this. It is the Ghent Altarpiece. . That’s right. The Ghent Altarpiece that is over there in the Netherlands.
It is the most stolen piece of art ever in the history of the world, and not all of it, because the Ghent Altarpiece is 12 panels in size. One panel may be stolen, another panel may be stolen, two panels at a time may be stolen. It is a wonderful, wonderful, fictionalized story as to who steals and who stole the Ghent Alterpiece during World War II.
Now, this is written by a gentleman by the name of Alfred Balm. Now he is a fascinating gentleman. He’s an older individual. He had started his own business and eventually grew it into a multinational corporation, and then he quit. That’s right. He quit because his number one love was art and art history. And so he went and got a degree in art history.
Can you believe this? And then he begins starting to write historical fiction novels. Mm-hmm. . Many of these are based on his own experiences while growing up in Nazi occupied Holland. Now you see now there’s something that I like. Not some of these historical fiction books that are just basically bottis Rippers, more like Harlequin Romances.
This is a book that’s actually based on true events that have happened, true things that are being experienced by the authors. And this book blends fiction and facts so well, cause as I said, it all goes around that stolen parcels, panels of the Ghent Altarpiece, which goes back to being stolen by Napoleon, and he took it away and it was repatriated and backed by the Germans took it and can you believe it?
It was actually part of the treaty of Versailles? That’s right. It was repatriated to Ghent as part of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles only to be stolen a few years later, and then some returned and then re stolen during World War II. This goes on and on and on to this day, not all 12 of them are there.
And this tells a story of Berend Bouters, Berend Bouters. I, I apologize, I’m not pronouncing his name properly, but this is the story of Berend Bouters, who was a talented painter discovered by another who mentored him, got him into art school. He was very much, he was into the naturalist movement.
And then all of a sudden things started happening and all of a sudden painting that you and I might recognize no longer is the painting becomes familiar. The Picassos of the world comes over, starts taking and making really strange looking art. And all of a sudden people didn’t want the old masters or the old naturalist way of doing things. Well, he’s upset. He has a lot of problems in his life. His parents die, his mentor dies, and next thing you know, it’s World War I and Berend Bouters decides the only thing left for him to do is become a black marketer. And so what he does is he starts bringing goods, okay? Food supplies to parts of Europe, because at the time, Holland was neutral, you see?
And so he would bring these things down the on a river boat. And then in return, they couldn’t pay him. So they gave him artwork, valuable artwork. But when everything was over, when the war was over, the artwork was confiscated by him. He was thrown in jail. Other people could get away with it, you know? And that’s one of the things that drove Berend Bouters is that that museum curators and other people would get the benefits of basically the stolen artwork . He wanted it himself. Okay. But the bottom line was they took the things from him. Oh, there was always a logical, reasonable way that it would be taken from him, but it always ended up with the art world, they always ended up getting it. It was never returned to the original owners. See, that’s the thing.
So he begins forging pieces of art. Very ingenious, the way he does this stuff, and you learn a lot about forgeries, how they do it, how he goes about painting it, aging it, et cetera. And then eventually he decides to do the biggest one, the Ghent Altarpiece, and he gets two panels and he takes them with them and all of a sudden he decides that he’s gonna be on the run.
He better make sure he’s okay. So he becomes and disguises himself as a whole different person. Takes all these different identities. It’s wild what this guy does on the, on the run, and he goes one place, he’s in, he’s in Switzerland, he’s in Italy, he’s over in the United States, different, different names, different places.
He even put a a, a death notice in the paper for himself. I mean, it is unbelievable. We even get the Mafia involved. That’s right. The mafia is even involved down in Sicily, I’m telling you. It’s a wild book. It is a wonderful, wonderful read. I mean, this is just a, a, a fascinating look at this, and so I really would ask if you get a chance to, to, to go out and, and, and look for this book.
The Antiquarium by Alfred Balm and again, you might not find this at Barnes and Noble. It may be on Amazon, I think it is on Amazon. It doesn’t cost more than two or $3. Okay. Only costs two or $3. And I think you are really, really, really gonna like this story about art history, art forgery, and about the art world in particular, and the Ghent altarpiece.
And we get a very, very, very good little bit of a history on the Van Ikes who painted it, the brothers who did this, and the why it’s considered maybe even more and a better masterpiece then what’s been done by the Leonardos, the Michelangelos, the Raphaels. I can go on and on and on from the Italian Renaissance.
It’s a wonderful, wonderful book, wonderful altarpiece. And I’ll tell you what, give it a shot cuz I think you’re gonna like it. Now, before I get into my looks portion of today, again, I want to, you know, promote my website viewsonbooks.com, where you can go and you can get my weekly. Well, more than weekly, a couple times a week we put out a book review.
We also have author interviews that do not appear here on the site. Some authors I just prefer and they prefer just answering a written interview questions and that’s great and that always shows up there. I write a weekly excuse me, that’s a monthly book blog, which I think you’ll like, and there’s a lot on that website.
And I direct you to viewsonbooks.com. Now, part and parcel with that is that viewsonbooks.com has now moved into the podcast area. That’s correct. We now have a second podcast that we’re putting out called Views on Books. Wow. That’s unique, isn’t it? Yeah. But we call it Views on Books.
You can get it on your Apple Podcast, your Spotify, wherever you get podcasts, views on books is available. Now, why would you go to that podcast? Well, maybe you don’t wanna take the time or you maybe don’t feel like going to the website to get the book review. We are putting out select book reviews on this podcast, all done by artificial intelligence.
Can you imagine this? You won’t believe it. You just won’t believe it. AI sits there and reads my book review to you. That’s correct. I have nothing to do with it. It’s all done by the Greenville Podcast Company. My son, Nathaniel, has figured this whole thing out, how it works. I mean, this is spectacular. So you say Blaine, I I really, I really don’t have the time.
Well, Pop on views on books, and you’ll hear you’ll hear the book reviews. We’ve got two or three out already. We’ll be putting out at least one or two a week. No, not all the book reviews on viewsonbooks.com are gonna be on that podcast. But a bunch of them are.
And I think you’re gonna really enjoy hearing the ai. It’s hard to tell it is an AI until certain little words come out or something like that. But it’s, it doesn’t sound like a robot. It’s a person. It just sounds utterly amazing. So I really would like, Get a chance. Go to, to the Views On Books podcast.
Okay. Again, all put together by the folks at the Greenville Podcast Company, I’ll tell you, Nathaniel’s working like Billy Badamn to get this stuff up here for you and, and just show what he can do. And if you’re interested in it, again, subscribe, share it with your friends, and if you really wanna do a podcast, hey, Nathaniel’s right there for you.
He can do it anywhere in the world. Now part two, we move on to looks. Now what have I been looking at? You talk about two completely different programs. You, you can’t get any further apart than what I had been viewing. Okay. It begins with the fact that I wanted to watch this PBS show called All Creatures Great and Small.
Okay. All Creatures Great and small on pbs. It’s about a veterinarian named James Harriet and his experiences in New Yorkshire, England the late thirties, early forties. And then my kids said to me, you know, dad, you need to watch Emily in Paris. Oh my god. Emily in Paris is set in current day Paris, and you can see this in and On Netflix.
Oh my God. Talk about two completely different shows. Talk about two completely different lifestyles… cultures. You can’t get any further apart than All Creatures Great and Small, and Emily in Paris. . And the thing is, Emily in Paris grows on you. You see, if you get past the first episode, , if you get past the first one or two episodes, you know you’re not repulsed by it.
It’s sort of fun. It’s sort of interesting, you know, it’s, it’s even done. It’s even created by the guy who created Sex and the City. Well, this is basically an updated version of Sex and the City, but it’s set in 2020s and it’s set in Paris, and it’s the same thing basically.
Boy, how things changed since the 1990s when, when Sex and the City came on, and, my God, have they changed since all Creatures great and small. I mean, I love All Creatures. To me, I can watch that again and again and again. We’re halfway through the third season and it is just wonderful, you know, because that’s a show about a, a young veterinarian who came to Yorkshire, England and he moved there from Scotland.
And he begins the process of becoming a vet. Now Emily of Emily in Paris fame, she is a young marketing social media guru, and she moved from Chicago to Paris. What we have to realize is, and what I think is important is for all of us to watch the All Creatures Show because it shows you what life was like at that period of time in 1930s, late 1930s, early 1940s, when there were no cell phones, when there were no texts, there was no social media, there were no basically phones out in the middle of nowhere of Yorkshire where the cars did not need a computer to run.
Where the cars look different, where one person helped another. Farmers helping other farmers, the little towns supporting the farm, et cetera. It is just a wonderful, heartwarming story, which I think again is important that we see. This is only 80, 90 years ago, not that long ago.
You can watch all those shows set in the 17 hundreds or early 18 hundreds, and they’re nice. They’re good period pieces, but this is set 80, 90 years ago, and it’s not that long ago. Not that long ago that we see what life was like, how far we have come. Now you say, well, what about, how can you watch Emily?
Well, Emily basically is the same thing. While I might not like the social media stuff and all the tweets and texts and everything else, and the selfies that they do. In the end, they’re all helping each other. Emily is helping the ad agency that she now works for. There are two other subordinates there who work with Emily.
. They’re always coming in with something. You don’t think they have much to say, and yet they always have a valuable part in a lot of these episodes. It’s just amazing. It’s just amazing how related these two shows actually are. You just have to get over that it’s 2020, and I don’t live in that world. I don’t understand that world. Do you, do you understand selfies, texts, tweets, social media? You know, I don’t get it. I don’t get it. I’m a child born in the fifties, so I like to read. I like stability. I like down to earth. But it’s very good cast. Very good cast.
Actually. The supporting cast is better than Emily. Emily’s done by Lily Collins, who is Phil Collins, the musicians, that’s his daughter by his second marriage. She’s fair. But the supporting group is great. There’s one young lady on there who plays a character, Mindy.
She’s a singer. My God, can she sing? That’s the best part of the show when she starts to sing and she sung on Broadway and other locations. Very talented actress and singer. And when she sings, it just, you know, that’s what I like to watch for. How does she sing? And the outfits she wears are just great stuff.
So it’s wonderful, wonderful shows, wonderful lead actors, wonderful supporting actors. And you get a look at life at two different times in theworld. And all creatures, they sit around at night. They sit around the radio or by the, or by the fire reading or playing board games. Because they’re on, they’re vets and they’re always on call.
There are no books in Emily though , no books. She can’t entertain herself other than texting, tweeting, Instagramming, selfies… No deep sticking in Emily. But that’s exactly what this generation has become and tie that into last week’s interview with Peter Briscoe. In more than two sentences, they can’t do it. Okay. So it’s a fascinating look at two different eras in our time. All Creatures Great and Small and thank you Sara and Nathaniel for getting me to watch Emily in Paris. You know, I can’t go back to the time of all creatures, but I don’t know if I really wanna inhabit the world of Emily other than the scenery of Paris, which I do like a lot since I’ve been there.
Beautiful shots of the scenery, but I don’t think I could live in Emily’s world either. I guess I’m happy I’m stuck here in the upstate of South Carolina. That’s what I’ve been looking at, folks. That’s what I’ve been reading. That’s what I’ve been looking at. And we’re gonna be coming back at you next week with another another segment.
We’re gonna have an author interview next week. We’re getting authors and people lined up when the book industry are collaborating to come on here. It’s gonna be a lot of fun. What I thought was gonna be in every other week is turning into a weekly show, and I hope you don’t mind. I hope you listen. And as I said, we’re having a lot of fun in our year of discovery, new authors, new books, and what I’m looking at, and there’s still a lot I’ve been looking at, I haven’t had a chance to tell you about yet.
And we’ll be doing that in our future shows. So until that time, on behalf of ViewsOnBooks.com, our new podcast Views on Books, the Greenville Podcast Company. This is Blaine DeSantis for Books and Looks saying so long.