QUEST — Risk, Adventure and the Search for Meaning
WATCH THIS 90-SECOND PEEK at avalanches, wars, and a lifeboat in a typhoon, to the greatest adventure of all—finding your way to a meaningful life. I wrote it all down so you don’t have to dodge bullets or even get wet to take this journey. You can pre-order QUEST now, from your favorite bookseller or from Amazon.
In 1972, I was US Advisor to the City of Hué, South Vietnam. Some evenings, especially if the day had been difficult and dangerous, I would drive a few miles outside the City to an ancient pagoda called Linh Mu. There I would sit at this very spot on a wall overlooking the Perfume River where I would try to absorb some of the calmness of the river, the temple bells, and the monks sweeping the courtyard with straw brooms. But the war was never very far away. more
SELECTED BLOG POSTS
As you may know, Gordon Lightfoot recently died. You may have memories of the Canadian singer/songwriter’s work. My memory is that he changed my life.
In 1971-72, as a US Foreign Service Officer, I was Advisor to the city of Hué, South Vietnam. I’d volunteered for Vietnam because being in a shooting war was one adventure I’d not yet had.
I was an adrenaline addict, drawn to war zones and high, dangerous mountains. I’d asked the...more
The Iran Hostage Crisis Re-visited
In November of 1979 the staff of the US Embassy in Teheran was taken prisoner by mobs controlled by the Ayatollah Khomeini. Two months of diplomatic pressures and direct threats hadn’t freed them.
But in early 1980, I came close.
I thought I knew then why I’d failed, but I didn’t know the half of it. Decades of investigative reports have now revealed the truth. Any efforts to free...more
The recent security breach by a young idiot video-gamer out to impress his friends was worse than you think. It could end up being one of the worst security breaches in the history of US intelligence operations.
It should never have happened. It’s crazy that anybody in the US government would consider giving a top-secret clearance to a naïve, unqualified kid in the National Guard. The real damage has yet to be fully known, but it’s...more
Will a nuclear war start in Ukraine? Is that even possible? Maybe we’re just watching a Netflix re-run of Dr. Strangelove.
No. It’s possible. As someone who once planned nuclear war for NATO, I can tell you that events in Ukraine have moved us closer to Armageddon than anything since the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Putin said two weeks ago that he’d placed Russian nuclear forces in “a high state of readiness,” but NATO intelligence has...more
375 people have now been arrested, charged and intensively interviewed about their participation in the attack on the US Capitol January 6. A reliable picture is emerging of who they are and what motivated them.
It’s no surprise that they were overwhelmingly white and male and strongly influenced by Donald Trump’s campaign to overturn the November election
But it came as a bit of a surprise, at least to some, that only about 10%...more
In the summer of 1964, on a year-long global journey by bus and hitchhiking, I found myself in the middle of one of the worst famines in history. I was on the Ethiopian plateau, 10,000 feet above sea level, and it would be the most godforsaken place I would ever see. Hidden from the world in this barely accessible place,peasants wrapped in rags or even old newspapers huddled in the bone-numbing rain and cold. At everystop, crowds of them...more
A few days ago, my daughter and I carried out her wild idea of re-creating the Last Dinner on the Titanic. It was a daft way of celebrating our own rescue from another sinking passenger ship exactly 41 years ago.
She made cocktails, an elaborate appetizer, and an extravagant dessert. I did salad and meat, both of us following the recipes used on the Titanic. We had to assemble truffles,...more
Two new books suggest that on January 6 we came far closer to losing democracy than we thought.
Landslide, by Michael Wolff, describes Donald Trump’s increasingly unhinged behavior after his election loss. In I Alone Can Fix It, Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker detail how the top US military officer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley, was so shaken that then-President Donald Trump...more
As you know, the former Minneapolis police officer who killed George Floyd was convicted on two counts of murder and one count of manslaughter.
Since then there’s been nonstop coverage and analysis of the trial. Many people feared that the killer would get off because history shows it’s extremely difficult to get a murder conviction of a police officer.
Juries give cops enormous latitude and, if that wasn’t enough, in too many...more
Take a step behind the discussions on guns, misogyny, and the anger and loneliness that are driving men’s addictions and suicides. Time after time, in that dark place, I see men struggling to communicate or even acknowledge their emotions, men wanting but failing to form positive relationships with other men, men whose fathers were emotionally AWOL, men who grew up without good role models for what it means to be a brave, caring and...more
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