Friday, March 15, 2019

Book Review: 'Under the Crown and Stripes: Two Kings, Two Princes, a Queen, and Their American Dream' by Joseph Ford Cotto

Order it on Amazon today.

'Looking toward politicians so our problems might be solved is foolish'

Author Joseph Ford Cotto, 1st Baron Cotto, GCCCR covered current events and style for the Washington Times’ Communities section, where he interviewed personalities ranging from the now-National Security Advisor John Bolton to Dionne Warwick. Cotto was also writer for Blogcritics Magazine and Yahoo’s Contributor Network, among other publications. In 2014 H.L.M. King Kigeli V of Rwanda bestowed a hereditary knighthood upon him, which was followed by a Barony the next year. In addition to these attributes, as described within the book, Joseph heads the highly regarded San Francisco Review of Books, a significant aid to both authors and the public.

The quality of Joseph’s writing introduces not only a fascinating book about governance and ideals, but it also introduces a new voice on the literary scene – one of sophisticated journalism-becoming-novel and a promise of many more fine books to follow.

As stated in the early portion of the book, ‘Strangely enough, many Americans project their highest aspirations onto politicians; something done to a degree not found in most other countries. The phenomena over Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and Barack Obama are prominent examples, but the trend repeats itself in different ways each election cycle. The reason for such a thing can be called the 'savior complex'. In a society so multifaceted and politically divided as our own, voters look toward someone who not only tells them what they want to hear but appears capable of dominating the field by imposing his or her ideology on citizens who think differently. That not only imbues a feeling of moral superiority, but warlike conquest over one's 'enemies'. Ergo, the politician becomes the personal savior of those who support him or her; this individual's capacity as a public servant ranks far down the list, if it is even on the list at all.’

Joseph examines the role of monarchs/royalty and alters our view of the discrepancy between royalty and democracy. He presents the lives of five monarchs - Crown Prince Achille Murat of Naples, Prince Camille de Polignac of the Papal States, King James I of Trinidade, Queen Liliuokalani of Hawaii, and King Kigeli V of Rwanda – true stories of monarchs who left their kingdoms and fled to America to embrace the ’American dream’. The concept of royalty leaving their countries under duress and their acclimatization to the USA may seem like the fiction of film documentaries, but under Joseph’s perceptive guidance we learn little know facts and truths. It makes for a fascinating read and an eye-opening change of point of view for each of us. Well-written moments of history are Joseph’s forte. This is a book of insight and learning – and a fine reading experience. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, March 19

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Technically speaking, Polignac was not a monarch, but papal nobility. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

Order it on Amazon today.
Two kings. Two princes. One queen. The true story of five aristocrats separated by time, culture, and circumstance -- all of them bound to the United States by accidents of history and left to hope for a tomorrow better than today. Prepare for a vision of the American Dream as few others have ever seen it.