My novel, “Death in Saigon,” currently a Barnes&Noble Nook Book is now available free as a download for about 30 days as it waits for its new publisher. It’s sequel, “Death in Manila,” will follow sometime in 2017. Thanks for reading. Ron Steinman
Fly Me to Mars. Sure.
Elon Musk of Pay Pal and Tesla fame, wants to fly to Mars. This brilliant, innovative, highly creative man says he is building a huge (and it better be big) rocket that will take those who can afford perhaps as much as a half million dollars a ticket for the journey. Once there, if they get that far, they will attempt to colonize Mars and make it habitable in an effort to save humanity from itself. Fat chance of that succeeding. I am something of a devotee of science fiction so I admire Mr. Musk’s vision, but put that aside for the moment. Consider where you, Mr. Musk can better use the multi-billions for the trip, right here on good old Earth, a place whose infrastructure is seriously in trouble. We live on a plant that is literally falling to pieces, from global warming, to rutted roads, rotting bridges and collapsing tunnels. With those in dire shape, there is no place for us to go but up because we are so deeply already in a bottomless trench. Mr. Musk, without my being frivolous, your idea is good fun but useless in terms of its affect on our immediate lives. But clearly, that is not how you think. Your creativity is usually at a fever pitch and has nothing to do with practicality. Your guiding principle should be how much more you could do if only you looked to the ground instead of the stars.
Driverless Cars by Ron Steinman
If my mother was alive and we were talking about self-driving cars, she would, I am sure, use one of her favorite words of derision: phooey. I agree with her assessment, meaning who needs a self-driving car because the odds are that nothing will help most people who can’t drive even with the help of a computer. I would rather continue in the realm of The Flintstones who drove cars with massive stonerollers for wheels using their feet as brakes skimming the ground beneath them. You get the idea. Maybe there will be fewer serious accidents or maybe none at all; a saving in fuel, perhaps; less congestion on the roads, doubtful. The list goes on and you can add to it whatever you want. Really, though, I don’t care. Driverless cars for me are silly, hyped as an indulgence by techies with overly fertile brains whose so-called genius is clearly unsatisfied, underdeveloped and underemployed. If you read anything about cars, you will see that the driverless industry is having big problems preventing accidents. Maybe I am on to something. Time will tell. Finally, there is this: what if in this newly perfect world, the driver of the driverless car falls asleep at the wheel. What then? What then, indeed.
Free Books from Ron Steinman
I am giving for free two of my books for a period of about 30 days before they go back on sale. All you do is download them from Barnes&Noble. One is, “Notebooks,” my memoir of my somewhat wayward youth and formative years. The other, “Women in Vietnam,” in print for many years is my well-received oral history of the little known American women who served nobly in the Vietnam War. I hope you will take advantage of my offer and have a couple of good and enjoyable reads.
Note: I am sure many of you have no idea about Dirck Halstead”s “The Digital Journalist,” a pioneering digital publication and a powerful, thoughtful journal of fact and opinion in the pursuit of the truth. I wrote for TDJ for many years. Dirck once asked me if I would write a column about why I wrote for TDJ. I did and here, these many years later is an edited version of my response to his request. For anyone interested, the archive is online and available to those who seek its scope and wisdom. So this is for you, Dirck Halstead, as I recall that wonderful past we shared.
2003. Out of the news loop for several years, writing books and making documentary films, I had been looking for a home for my ideas but I did not know where to go. It was difficult to break into publications, either online or in print, where well- established writers already were in residence. I did not want to write a blog because I did not think I had that much to say. My ego was in check; I had no need to fill it further. However, I wanted a structure similar to the one I had had all through my professional life — deadlines, form, and purpose. .
Until my editor at the University of Missouri Press told me about The Digital Journalist in early 2003, I did not know it existed. I was not a devotee of the Internet. I used the Web for research, for staying updated on news, for checking the weather and getting sports scores. On my editor’s advice, I looked at the site and liked what I saw. Here was a community of journalists serious about their work, and though specific to photojournalism, the magazine seriously cared about all aspects of the profession. It was not a blog. It was a solid newsmagazine run by journalists who cared about journalism. I liked the idea that it contained pieces about how journalism in the modern age happens. These pieces had substance, the photos were sharp and interesting, and, more importantly, working journalists contributed to the site. It had a serious tone and I liked the idea that it was a mix of the practical and the theoretical. I decided I wanted to be part of The Digital Journalist. But how would I do it?
A germ of an idea came to me about what I might contribute. I contacted Dirck Halstead, whom I had met in Saigon, and he agreed to publish parts of the introduction to my memoir, “Inside Television’s First War,” about how NBC News covered the war in Vietnam. After the piece appeared, it was good to see myself in print, though only in cyberspace. After my first long piece, Dirck offered me a column. Originally, I thought I would contribute sporadically, not every month. I had no thoughts about what I would write. Ideas I talked to friends about became columns. I found a home for feelings that had been percolating inside me about the state of broadcasting, about TV, film and photography, even about books, and
especially about coverage of the war in Iraq. Once I started writing and contributing, there was no turning back.
Too many sites allow the writer to go on forever. We know that reading blogs is an endless endeavor. Most of the pieces on The Digital Journalist, thankfully, do not go on without end. Fortunately, though on the Internet, the old model of print in newspapers and magazines still prevails with this publication. It is a good model and a challenge to keep from writing everything you know every time pen goes to paper. That requires discipline and knowing when to stop.
I continue to read newspapers and magazines online and off, and to watch TV news. I respect the reporters who cover the news every day and help get me the information I use for my columns. My loss would be great without those who find and report the news. The culture would lose because of the infinite darkness that would follow if the people who gather the news did not exist. This is not heartening. Being able to watch this ever-changing world closely enables me to turn an increasingly critical and disappointed eye on an often-fragmented media, one often devoid of ethics and one that has no sense of purpose other than to make money and get ratings. Many news operations are second-class, especially local TV news. It is increasingly the same at the networks. Blame the excess of mammon on the conglomerates that run all news businesses and you might be right. Blame it on the people who today choose news as a career, and you might be right. Blame it on the rapidly changing landscape of news, and you may be right.
All that is fine with me, for now. It just gives me more to write about in a venue I am proud to have as a home for my ideas.
Most of my books are still available at very low prices on the usual internet web sites.Here are the titles and where you can find them.
“The Soldiers’Story: An Illustrated Edition,” newly published in a large format, hard cover with much new written material, beautifully illustrated with more than 400 photos, graphics and maps. In book stores, also on Amazon, at Barnes&Noble and many other platforms as an e-book.
“The original edition of “The Soldiers’ Story” in hard cover from Sterling Publishers at Barnes&Noble book stores and as an e-book online. Considered one of the best oral histories of the Vietnam War told in the words of the men who were in the war.
“Women in Vietnam.” An oral history in sixteen stories in their own words from American women who were in Vietnam during the war. An Nook e-book online at Barnes&Noble.
“A Saigon Journal:Inside Television’s First War.” A new, updated edition from KCM Publishing as an e-book and hardback on demand. Also on Amazon and Barnes&Noble, it includes much previously unpublished material.It is my memoir of the Vietnam War about my time as bureau chief for NBC News.It is the only book from the Vietnam War by a television bureau chief.
“Death in Saigon,” is an adventure/mystery novel set in Saigon during the Vietnam War.Only available as a Nook Book from Barnes&Noble, Coming soon with the same central character as “Death in Saigon”: “Death in Manila.”
“Notebooks” is my coming of age memoir. Vivid. Moving. Strong. Only available as a Nook Book from Barnes&Noble.
“Survival Manual: A Memoir of Near Death, Illness and Survival.” A tough minded, no holds barred, powerful autobiography and memoir of a life in journalism that changes when illness forces its way into my life and nearly kills me. Available as an e-bookat Smashwords.com, Barnes&Noble as a Nook Book and on other platforms.
Thanks for reading.
For those of you who have an abiding interest in ballet, and, of course the gifted Merrill Ashley and her search, as with many women, for a second act, we are working on a book. Based on our film, “The Dance Goodbye,” the book will have in it the material, interviews, photos and other images we could not fit into our film. We will let you know when we have a publisher. Meanwhile, the DVD of the film is still available on Amazon.