Mike Sharpe was deeply saddened after hearing that a graduate from his high school in Connecticut had been killed in Iraq in November 2004. Memorializing the soldier in a poem turned into a collection of thoughts and feelings about the war. The end result was Sharpe's first book of poetry, Thou Shalt Not Kill Unless Otherwise Instructed (release date October 1, 2005).
This 107-page book is insightful and thought-provoking writing. You may not agree with his politics, Lord knows I don't, but you will find his thoughts make you stop and think about what your beliefs really are, no matter what the issue, whether it is the war in Iraq, 9/11 or intelligent design (all of which are touched upon in this book.) Former Governor (New York) Mario Cuomo said of the book, "A people's poet praying for an end to 9/11 by making 9/11 unforgettable."
Sharpe does not hide his beliefs, but does so in a non-threatening way, so that even the most conservative reader with an open mind will question their support for the war. His website even states what his political views are.
His most poignant poem of the book, at least in my opinion, was Thou Shalt Not Kill, in which God commands "thou shalt not kill," and both Osama bin Laden and President George W. Bush agree, creating a dialogue between the three about what constitutes killing.
Despite his anti-war writings, he considers himself patriotic, saying,
...the invasion of Iraq was one of the greatest tragedies in American history. We have turned Iraq into a recruiting ground for terrorists. I hope that we have learned not to rush into war when we have the alternatives of diplomacy, alliances, inspection, aid, world opinion, and all kinds of carrots and sticks.
For the hesitant reader, like me, Sharpe says,
don't be afraid to read Thou Shalt Not Kill ...I have written nothing esoteric. My meaning is clear. No previous training is necessary. Just start reading.
I would have to agree with Sharpe's last statement. As I said early on in my review, I do not agree 100% with his politics, but I enjoyed reading his thoughts. I encourage everyone to get the book and read it right away. Sharpe truly is the people's poet. Don't take my word for it, see for yourself, check the book out today.