“Bruce Catton’s America”, a Collection of Largely Civil War Non-fiction by Catton edited by Oliver Jensen, A Review

This is a masterful work by a historian who actually knew Civil War vets as a boy and loved their stories. It is as well written as any history I’ve read. One senses the read is almost like being there.

Bruce Catton, a Pulitzer Prize winner, has the rare talent of making history come alive with his words. The book consists of the best essays he’s ever written per the editor who was a friend and colleague of Mr. Catton. I think he is probably right as the read is really engrossing in this artfully crafted  piece. I highly recommend it, particularly to history buffs like me.

H. Robert Rubin, a best-selling, Amazon memoirist, a novelist with a draft novelette in progress, and author of Look Backward Angel, How Did I Get Through This? and Please Save the Third Dance for Me, all available on Amazon

“Bearing the Cross” by David K Garrow, a Definitive Biography of MLK, A Book Review

Dr. Garrow has been in his distinguished scholarly career a professor of law and history. He won the Pulitzer Prize for this work in 1987.

Dr. Garrow digs deeply into Dr. King’s story. He mentions interaction and events one rarely hears about. The scholar covers the problems MLK had with some of the students he worked with as well as his colleagues. He touches on how Dr. King in a sense backed into this leadership position having just accepted a pastorship in Alabama.

The most stirring part of the biography covers his “dark night of the soul.” At that time the price of this leadership to Dr. King as well as his family hit him squarely. He made the courageous decision to proceed whatever the costs. Dr. King trusted the Lord had given him this mission.

His remarkable ability to negotiate, a gift from God, comes home when he deals in Chicago with Mayor Daly and his committee. The committee was alarmed over the proposed civil rights march.

In essence he told them all the African-Americans really had to use were their own bodies, as, any other form of power was nonexistent for them. He emphasized they just wanted A VOICE.

Garrow gives beautiful voice to this historic figure who accomplished so much in his tragically shortened life. For a deeper understanding of the man and his era I strongly recommend you read this heralded biography.

H. Robert Rubin, memoirist and author of Look Backward Angel, an e-book on Amazon and How Did I Get Through This? to be published on Amazon this year



Extraordinary, Ordinary People, A Memoir of Family by Condoleezza Rice, a Book Review

What a long voyage for Condoleezza Rice. As a child she lost a girlfriend in the infamous Birmingham church bombing. Her father was a feisty pastor she loved dearly. His temperament didn’t allow for his own participation in passive or nonviolent resistance a la Gandhi or King according to her memoir.

Her own brand of feistiness surfaced on the tennis court where her height and her skill were advantageous. Her grace surfaced on the piano, the skating rink, and, again, the tennis court where she excelled.

She obtained her B.A. at University of Denver. Benjamin Netanyahu met her there as a fellow student. Secretary Rice obtained her M.A. at Notre Dame.

Her passion for international affairs found her in the right place at the right time.  One place she has perhaps cautiously avoided is the Presidency. A taste of Secretary of State was seemingly enough. She appears quite content as a professor at Stanford where she was once at 38 years of age the Provost. According to the Office of the Provost at University of Michigan, “The Provost is the chief academic officer of the University and has responsibility for the University’s academic and budgetary affairs. ” (https://www.provost.umich.edu/about/what.html)

Is this not a fascinating story? Regardless of your political stripes this is a valuable read about a highly capable leader. It touches most enthusiastically upon that which we share.

To journey from the hatred that one could find in the Deep South of the 50s to become the most powerful African American woman in American history was quite a journey. Set sail and join her on this voyage.

H. Robert Rubin, memoirist and author of Look Backward Angel, an e-book on Amazon and How Did I Get Through This? to be published on Amazon this year


Retirement, A Few More Thoughts, a Third Look.

The last third of my life? Retirement is a bountiful thing.

Performance standards, to do lists, annual reviews and the competition with others are elements of my life that have drifted into nothingness, thank God. At a very deep level I had had enough. I felt a great weight lifted from my shoulders as I left the office for the last time.

I am doing what I have always wanted to do: helping those in need, reading the best fiction and non-fiction I can find, and publishing my writing.

I have focused on a particular quality in need of refinement in my soul, patience. I am learning to tell better stories and connect to others more fully, particularly my spouse of over 40 years.

Yes there are bumps in the road. Yes my health is not what it was ten years ago. But the good Lord has blessed me with vigor and a meaningful life.

I am old. Thank God I have lived long enough to be called old .


The other day I was taking an audio course in online marketing. The instructor suggested that early in a relationship with a client it is important to gain “trust.” He therefore proposed using automated emails that trigger every few days perhaps written as long as several years ago. He said the frequent contact can help one to develop the key vendor/client relationship. It was not lost on me that automation online, with the writer half way around the world having written the missive years ago, was being proposed as CRITICAL for “RELATIONSHIP.”

Reminds me of the two relationships that now octogenarian, Bob Newhart said in a memoir led him to do stand-up comedy.

First he was the youngest accountant in an office and therefore burdened with balancing the cash box at the end of the day. He realized since it kept him in the office from 5 to 7 PM that he could balance out the cash box with his own money rather than digging for two hours for the cause of the discrepancy. He explained to his boss that the two hours given his wage would be far more expensive than simply balancing with his own cash. The boss told Bob to do it as he was taught.

Another time Bob tried to sell a comedy bit he had written to a well-known comedian who turned him down. Soon thereafter he saw the comedian on television doing his now stolen bit and getting a lot of laughs.

The nature of those two relationships drew him rapidly into what was to become an amazing career as a comic even receiving an Emmy in his eighties for his work on “The Big Bang Theory.”

Will Ferrell actually gave some good advice on marital relationship getting back to this online thing. “Before you marry a person, you should first make them use a computer with slow Internet service to see who they really are.”

H. Robert Rubin, best selling Amazon memoirist and author of Look Backward Angel,  How Did I Get Through This? and Please Save the Third Dance for Me, available on Amazon.

The Masters: Is it the Golf or the Serenity We Seek?

And for yet another year I visit the Masters virtually. I do so on a device first presented to the public by RCA at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York.

I’ve enjoyed the tournament over television for over 60 years. In some ways it’s not the golf. The joy is more akin to what Joyce Kilmer said of trees. “I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree.”

The numerous, tall, willowy, pine trees over the abundant, manicured grass is a site rich with the beauty of spring. The site heals the soul as do the winding creeks crossed by lovely, stone bridges.

The golfers come and go. They have a game to play. Involvement in the game may be transcendent for the ardent golf fan. But I would argue that the transcendent state evoked from the course’s splendor is richer and would catch the eye and heart of every viewer including the non-athletic variety.

Bobby Jones was an attorney, a brilliant golfer and this course was his brainchild. It was designed by Dr. Alister MacKenzie, a man skilled in both medicine and golf architecture.

“But,” as Joyce Kilmer wrote, “… only God can make a tree.”

H. Robert Rubin, a best-selling, Amazon memoirist, a novelist with a draft novelette in progress, and author of LookBackwardAngel, How Did I Get Through This? and Please Save the Third Dance for Me, all available on Amazon



Are you kidding, un-retire? This is a second childhood, a time to dance, to sing, to read, to write, and critically, to scrap the demand to fill your days with DETAIL.

If someone lacks the breadth and depth to enjoy the retired state they should dig deeper and deeper and deeper into the beautiful well that is their priceless soul.

Don’t jump ship fellow retirees. Life is too short. Particularly now.

Slow down. Breathe deeply. Stretch. Share. Love. Keep in mind the words of the good book that continue to ring true a few thousand years after they were penned, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”