Roses & Thorns

Roses & Thorns

Sunday, February 7, 2016

An American Dynasty by Jon D. Zimmer


An American Dynasty is the story of one family’s rise from the extreme poverty of the Great Depression to a dynasty of wealth and politics.

They are a family filled with empathy for their fellow countrymen as Jack Gilbert struggles with the paradoxes of the Great Depression: "Why are people hungry when there is enough food for everyone? Why are so many people without shelter when we can provide shelter for everyone? Why is there such an abundance of ignorance when we have the ability to educate everyone?"

They are a family of lust… [and] passion…. They are a family that knows death… [and are] fearful for their country’s future.…

About the Author:

I was unable to find a biography for Mr. Zimmer.

Review by Rochelle:

I would have given thorns to An American Dynasty because it was so poorly written and apparently not edited, but it managed to hold my attention despite my frustration while reading it. And before I even delve into the book, I have to say something about the cover. Who the heck came up with a cover showing a couple dressed in what appears to be Colonial era garb for a book that starts in the 1930s? The cover doesn't seem to represent the book at all.

The book is supposedly written in third person present, but the author can’t figure out from there how to express things that have happened in the past. Apparently neither he nor whoever edited this tome has any clue how to use past or past-perfect tenses, which about drove me nuts.

Mr. Zimmer could also use some vocabulary lessons, or at least a dictionary, as he frequently misuses words. Here’s an example: “Jack knows she is having heart rendering thoughts that are brought on by her appearance.” That should be “heart-rending.” One of Webster’s definitions for “rending” is “to lacerate mentally or emotionally.” “Rendering” means “to melt down…to hand down (as in a decision)…to restore.” I doubt the lady’s heart is melting down or being restored. She’s disfigured and worried the scars on her face will scare Jack away. She’s torn between love and fear.

There’s a dearth of hyphens in An American Dynasty, as well. Did no one teach Mr. Zimmer or his editor that adjectival and adverbial phrases need to be hyphenated? These are phrases that together modify another word. For instance: A tiger is a black-striped cat. Black and stripe unite to describe the cat, and therefore should be hyphenated. “Heart-rending” describes Joshette’s thoughts and should be hyphenated. There are plenty of adjectival and adverbial phrases in this book but not one is properly hyphenated.

Finally, if you're going to write about the military, do your homework. There are no second lieutenants or desk sergeants in the Navy. That would be an ensign and a yeoman, whose rank could be anywhere from yeoman apprentice to master-chief yeoman. (For some reason, the Navy in its infinite wisdom stationed a yeoman who faints at the sight of blood at the Oakland Navy Hospital, and we were roommates.  If you happen to be reading this, I still think of you Nana M.)

Normally, I would give thorns to a book this poorly written. In fact, I would have difficulty even finishing a book this poorly written, but there was a nugget, a kernel of something in the story that kept me reading. Therefore, I’m giving it one rose.

Heat Rating:  PG-13 (Violence)
Length:  185 Pages
Print:  $8.99
Digital:  $0.99

Thanks for visiting. Donna, Julie, & Rochelle

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