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Book Review of "100 Monkeys"
By Bruce Gatten (reviewer)
(Taos Press, 2013)
"100 Monkeyz" is a collection of short stories which map the globe, from the rust belt of Buffalo, N.Y., to the rice paddies of Vietnam, from the desert Southwest to the rolling hills of West Virginia.
These stories deal with the universal themes of war, love, death and the place of soldiers returning from a distant country torn by civil war and destructive chaos.
Here we find heroes and villains, brave soldiers and cowardly ruffians. We encounter a chivalrous protagonist who battles enemies both internal and external. We discover the underlying causes of a man's search for meaning in a world gone mad with senseless violence and the meaningless pursuit of empty pleasure. In short, we see a man come to grips with his relationship to modern society and the inner springs of love of God.
It is in pursuit of eternal truth that the author of these powerful stories redeems himself. The reader is brought through gripping tales of battlefield horror, as these stories of troubled youth entering manhood in war-torn Vietnam, grip the consciousness and probe the heart until the reader can say of the author, "This man has led a worthwhile life."
We are brought into a behind-the-scenes look at the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, commonly known as the Hare Krishna movement. The devotee author encounters the machinations of a crooked rural sheriff, a wayward swami and a temple community of farmer-devotees engrossed in pioneering attempts to establish an oasis of sanity in the desert of the modern world which has forgotten its Lord and God. For it is in approaching God, Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, that the author manifests the qualities of the perennial hero who lays his life on the line not only for his personal survival but also his sacred honor in defending the innocent and punishing those who would prey upon the helpless.
The author of "100 Monkeyz" is a Vietnam Veteran who received numerous combat commendations including the purple heart, bronze star and combat infantryman's badge.
In reading these stories, "100 Monkeyz," one is inescapably drawn into the pulse of a modern world where, if one does not question the violence and chaos which assaults the senses via modern media, one becomes prey to it. There are no simple answers to today's complex problems but if one goes along the journey of the author, he will be rewarded by a satisfying exposition of the thirst of the soul for its God and the quest for peace in a society that would just as soon forget the men and women it sends into battle in far distant countries for sometimes dubious causes. To buy "100 Monkeyz" or read selections from this book, visit www.100monkeyz.com and go to "Click here to buy 100 Monkeyz."
Bruce Gatten attended Cathedral High School in Springfield, Massachusetts and studied at Saint Anselm and American International colleges in the 1960's. He was the producer of "100 Monkeyz" and is a free lance photographer in New London, Connecticut where his art work has been exhibited at various galleries.