Flight of a White Dinosaur
by James Edward Harris, Jr.
Xlibris Corporation

"Liberalism has run amok with too many liberal lawyers, politicians, professors, administrators, boards, and news media and not enough adherence to our founding documents and common sense."

Most of the world's societies are in a state of constant flux. New technologies, ideas, and methods of dealing with problems emerge. Yet not all of these innovations are successful, and some even create more societal conflict than what existed before they were implemented. People tend to react to changes they dislike in one of three ways: they decide to ignore them and hope they will fade away in time; they accept them as inevitable; or they resist them and possibly work toward changing them. The author is in the latter camp, and in his retirement now feels the freedom to voice his opinion. Through his writing he hopes to help swing the pendulum back to the traditional values he believes we have lost as a country.

Harris does not choose to simply jump on his soapbox and rant against society's ills from an uninformed position, though. Instead he seeks to prove his points by giving the reader a chance to see the failure of specific governmental policies in action through his recollections as a long-time employee of the criminal justice system. Much of the book is filled with his experiences as an assistant warden in different juvenile correction facilities. It is in these often harsh locations that he encounters firsthand how societal attitudes and public policy affect the youth who wind up in the nation's detention centers.

The author's memories of twenty-six years of service in corrections are also peppered with several anecdotes, some of which are humorous such as the one about the young escapee who got turned around and ended up pounding his fists on the ground in frustration as he realized after being on the run for three days he had inadvertently made his way back to the Center. Others are not so funny and deal with the corruption of various wardens or other criminal justice officials, some of whom were caught in compromising situations with their young wards. What comes across most in his recollections, however, is how disgusted the author is with many of the policies imposed on the facilities that he sees as detrimental to not only the correctional staff and their youthful charges but also to the system as a whole.

Harris veers frequently in his narrative to offer his readers other glimpses of his life that do not revolve around juvenile corrections, making the book more of an autobiography than merely a memoir of his criminal justice career. For example, he tells several stories from his days as a private pilot, vignettes from his twenty years on active duty and as a reservist with the United States Air Force, and tales from his athletic pursuits in high school and college. He also spends a significant amount of time giving credit to some of the more influential people in his life, such as his mother and his uncle Tellus. The latter was an outdoorsman and a much-needed father figure to Harris after his dad died at an early age. The author rounds off his book with selected words of wisdom predominantly from his mother and Tellus.

Harris' early work in journalism and as a Public Information Officer with the Air Force is evident in his skillful word choice and overall writing style. His arguments, such as his critique of the nation's racial policies in education and the juvenile correctional system, are well-constructed but will possibly be seen as the most controversial points he makes. However, in many ways these fit with what seems to be Harris' overall purpose in writing the book, which is to get people talking and motivated enough to bring about what he hopes will be positive change.

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