DO WE NEED A FRESH SENSE OF MORALITY IN WASHINGTON DC?
GRAMMYS CRASH AND BURN
LOWEST RATED IN HISTORY
REVIEW: GRAMMYS Tone-deaf,
out of touch mess…
ONLY SMALL THINGS ARE GOOD
GUEST AUTHOR: Micah Harris, author of the new book, Only Small Things Are Good.
In Micah Harris’ incisive new novel, Only Small Things Are Good (January 20, Pagescape Press), Joel Alden, a low-level employee at the Pentagon, unexpectedly finds himself at the nexus of power. Raised in a devout, rural Texas family, Joel grew up working on the farm and later as a mechanic in his dad’s shop. His people were flawed and stern but gave him a sense of what is real and true. He was also raised with a mission to protect the weak. That mission and his faith sent him to Africa to see what he could do to alleviate suffering. He returned an agnostic.
That is part of Joel’s origin story interwoven with the present day realist, who brings the craftsmanship of a mechanic to his job at the Pentagon. He knows how to take a broken machine and set it working again. Yet, in the Pentagon, he spends frustrating days writing memos for actions and initiatives that may never happen. Then he reads a memo that grips him, about the repatriation of released detainees and religious “deradicalization” studies, required by their home countries and funded by the U.S.
Joel’s critique of the “deradicalization” system and his proposal to improve it attract the attention of his President. Intrigued by the voice of this mechanic-turned-policy-professional the President asks Joel to take three weeks then come back and describe the thing that makes us American and tell the President what it will take to repair this thing. Joel is overwhelmed. Can one person speak such a truth and set a wrong right? Does he even have something meaningful to say?
Joel asks for the help of his perceptive ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend “Socrates.” But their abstract philosophical conversation pales against the good sense of Joel’s housemate Sam-Bob, who has actually served in the military and experienced the price an individual pays for the distant actions of policy makers. Joel also pays a visit to his family and realizes the distance between his life, working in the Pentagon, and the lives of people who work hard in small towns. In the end, Joel’s truth is not a thundering statement but a portrait of America. Can this truth have meaning for a president isolated by layers of bureaucracy from his people?
This is not a tell-all tale, luckily for Micah’s coworkers, directors, (and assistant secretary!) but, still, it builds a picture of the bureaucracy that can only be built by someone who has lived through the joy and frustration of making a difference. This is a novel that offers a lively portrait of the realistic and fantasy life of a Pentagon staff officer–using a startling sense of humor to color the thoughts of a very earnest narrator. –Madelyn R. Creedon, Former Assistant Secretary of Defense
I cannot remember the last political novel I read with any enjoyment. But this book is smart and deeply attentive to the importance of language itself in human relations, and its characters all have functioning hearts, even if bruised or buried. I am pretty sure Joel is more conservative than I am, and I rooted for him, which felt good. –Dr. Devon Miller-Duggan, author of Alphabet Year, Professor of Creative Writing, University of Delaware
Only Small Things Are Good is the Iliadic tale of a hero who, despite the tidal wave of events put upon him by the gods, remains determined to see his task through to the end. I have spent my time down range and I can only say: I wish everyone at the Pentagon had a friend named Sam-Bob. I hope you laugh or groan (or groan/laugh) as much as I did over this book. –Matthew Thomas, former Sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps infantry
PLUG BOOK: www.amazon.com/Only-Small-Things-Are-Good/dp/0999305905/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1515958391&sr=8-1&keywords=micah+harris
BIO: Micah Harris grew up on a West Texas ranch then moved to Washington, DC. Over the past 12 years he has worked in the Senate, the White House, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He holds an MA in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College and works as a consultant for the Department of Defense. Only Small things Are Good is his first published novel.