My Year in Oman Matthew D. Heines Print ISBN 9780990879305 $15.99 Print $4.99 Kindle/iBook/Ebook
· My Year in Oman: An American Experience in Arabia During the War on Terror should be read by any who have an interest in Middle East culture and affairs in general, and terrorism and education in particular. It's that important, and comes from the perspective of an American teacher, ex-paratrooper and writer who taught in the U.S. before challenging himself by accepting a teaching job in Oman. · One of the delights here is Matthew Heines' exploration of his own pre-conceived notions about what Oman will be like, in contrast with its reality. Not only does the country little resemble his imagination, but his experience there is something he couldn't have prepared for. (In fact, before he left for his new job, he couldn't even definitively identify Oman on the map!) · How many teachers would travel to a land they didn't know in pursuit of money and a challenging new position? How many would rent their own cars at a strange airport in the middle of the night and head off into what looks like a desert when they are stranded at the airport? And how many would fall in love with a beautiful Indian girl while on a two-week vacation, only to run into the secrecy that often permeates Indian society and relationships? · Layers of intricacy and cultural encounters come to life in a story that is far more than a travelogue. In fact, readers who come to My Year in Oman might be disappointed in its lack of 'fluff': there are no insights on where to stay, what to eat, what to do. This is autobiography and cultural inspection at its best and, as such, is a recommendation not so much for the armchair traveler as it is for those passionate about other cultures, other worlds, and thinking outside the box of the familiar travel or work pursuit. · Matthew Heines had many choices in his career. He chose to accept something different - and then, to share these insights in a powerful book that moves beyond autobiography into the realm of truly experiencing life and all of its swings. · Heines writes that "Humans have occupied Oman for the last ten thousand years. Archaeologists have uncovered settlements near Muscat that date back at least that far." · Given that this culture is ancient and its position in the region is central, it's a no-brainer that My Year in Oman should be considered for any reader interested in Middle Eastern culture and peoples. · Any who pick up the book expecting an entertaining travelogue will be in for a treat: it's so much more, and packs in the depth and attention to detail that doesn't just entertain: it educates. And, after all, that's where Matthew Heines's passion really lies.
· D. Donovan, eBook Reviewer, MBR
From Readers: I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed reading your book... it is one of those books which refuse to let your eyes rest..." Balqees. k. Al-Harthy Sultan Taboos University "...It was hilarious; because as a student in a private school I've been taught by many Western teachers as well. I've sure been part in that scene myself; where the poor teacher totally loses track! Sincerely, Hala Ahmed Muscat, Oman Matt, "I finished your book yesterday, and I want you to know how much I enjoyed it. You did a great job describing the country, the people, the contrasting cultures, and your relationships..." Richard Bellevue, Washington "I just finished reading your book over the last week...It gave me a good insight and explained some of my observations fromprevious trips. I enjoyed it from page 1 to the finish...." Sincerely, Juan Carrillo "On Amazon.com I found a lot of books about Oman, but was especially happy to find two self-published books by Matthew Heines, an English teacher in Sur, Oman from 2001-2003. These books tell first-hand the life of an American in Oman, teaching English at a university in Sur...In the first book, he has an intense romance with an Indian woman who teaches at a university in Muscat while trying to navigate through difficult teaching dilemmas with an administration in a privately run college..."
"I couldn't put it down. I really feel like I have been to Oman after reading this. It left me wanting more and thinking about international travel in a different way. Matt is an excellent author, with a way of writing that puts you there up close with him and all his adventures. You will not be disappointed."
Karen Baker, Washington State
Book Review: J. Lavoie
I want to start this Review by quoting what the author had to say in a conversation on Page 475 of this book. Back in America, he is asked by colleagues to join them for something to do, but he declined as he is busy writing this particular book. And in conversation, this is what he has to say about Oman..."Well, about my experiences. I've been almost every place and I've met lots of wonderful people. Oman is the best country I have ever been to and I'd like people in my country to know about it." I did not know much about this country in the Middle East. I don't remember reading about it in school, nor have I read or seen media coverage on it. I recently looked up Middle Eastern countries and found Oman. I'm glad that I chose this particular book to read as it is quite interesting. The author gives us great insight on Oman, and he writes about all of his adventures. These adventures detail the Omani people, their history, culture and geography. His role as a college English teacher, an avid weekend explorer/ camper, as well as a man who falls passionately in love with a woman from India, is what keeps this book so interesting. Well before I finished the book, I ordered his next book, which I believe sends him back to this beautiful land. Hopefully it will be on my door step any day now.
SENDING PEACE AROUND THE WORLD TO US ALL, J. LAVOIE
Review Another Year in Oman: Between Iraq and a Hard Place Matthew D. Heines
Print ISBN 9780990879312 Print Edition $11.99 $3.99 Kindle/iBook/Ebook
Another Year in Oman: Between Iraq and a Hard Place is the second of a three-book series that describes the author's life in the Middle East and once again offers a powerful perspective, continuing the saga begun by Heines' venture into Oman post-9/11. At this point the U.S. is about to invade Iraq, and Heines is the only American in the region - so he's viewed with undue suspicion and faces the additional challenges of being involved in a clandestine relationship with an Arab woman and struggling with a very different culture. Like My Year in Oman, this book is neither 'fish nor fowl' - it's not a travelogue; so don't anticipate that direction. Neither is it strict autobiography: there's a lot of cultural observation and history that would be lacking in a more egocentric production and it's this cultural interaction that forms the backbone of Heines' experience and story. It's about Muslim faith, cultural values, the interaction of Arab countries with the rest of the world, and how Heines' decision to live in Arabia succeeds in changing not only his life, but those around him. Expect more details about Omani culture than were provided in the first book, expect more rich viewpoints of male and female lives and how they are changed by Muslim faith and politics, and most of all, anticipate a deepening romance set against the backdrop of protests and heightening tensions in the Middle East. Most accounts of the region come from relative outsiders. Even reporters who have extensively traveled throughout the Middle East and who have more in-depth background in the region's political turbulence don't have the personal associations that Matthew Heines develops in the course of working and developing a love relationship in Oman. Another Year is about adventure and romance - but more importantly, it's about one average American's understanding of the underlying forces that drive Muslim culture and heritage, offering a rare opportunity for understanding based not on so much on history or politics as upon personal interactions.
And that's a rare perspective, indeed - especially in a post-9/11 world which too easily equates 'terrorism' with 'Muslim' and negates individual matters of the heart.
D. Donovan, eBook Reviewer, MBR
"I loved reading these stories because they’re told from an expatriate’s viewpoint and he’s a university English teacher, as I will be. I really can’t wait to experience Oman for myself and create my own adventures!"
Book Review J. L.
Even though he introduced us to so many interesting aspects of Oman in his first book, this follow-up continues with more in-depth detail about the Omani Muslim culture. Indeed this continues to be a book of adventure; yet it entails following the rules of a strict Muslim culture. A culture whereas people respect and respond to human beings differently, as a result of their strict Muslim values and faith nurtured during their childhood and carried on throughout their lives. (And I personally believe that to be a good thing.) But for the women of these sacred Islamic countries, their lives are of little choice for what is in their future, as well as equality. Sadly, it strips them of their rights to make choices of their own, and in many countries such as this one, to marry a man who might not be of her own choosing. (Note to Middle Eastern women that I am making this conclusion from the standpoint of a woman of the West. We like having our own choices. I mean no offense to you.) The men in their families, as well as their elders, are the glue to the core of their value system. Therefore, due to a romantic situation that unwittingly falls into Mr. Matt's lap, a new adventure begins for him when he becomes involved with a beautiful, young Omani woman who's religious beliefs do draw lines in the sand (pardon the pun). Therefore, she and Matt may not openly show mutual affection in a public interlude, as it could result in a life or death situation...for the young Omani woman.
Review Killing Time in Saudi Arabia An American Experience Matthew D. Heines Heinessight, Inc. 9780990879374 $18.99
Now, Killing Time in Saudi Arabia demonstrates perfectly the reason why some books written as a trilogy should be viewed as 'one', read in order, considered as a unit, and stronger as part of a package production. For without the background provided in My Year in Oman and Another Year in Oman (which documents the author's experiences from 2001-2003) this third book would not feel nearly as rich and fulfilling in background, setting and sentiment as it covers eighteen months of life from 2004-2005, when some of the heaviest fighting of the War on Terror occurred - right under the author's nose. In Killing Time in Saudi Arabia Heines has left Oman and taken a job as an English teacher, training national guard officers for the Saudi Arabian military. Amidst the backdrop of educational progress are the uncertainties and threats of war: gunfire erupting and changing lives, drives through the streets of Riyadh, reflections on life, death, and independence ("…I had become a person who was somewhat in control of his situation…I suddenly realized that the act of buying a car had changed in one night, my entire Saudi Arabian experience.") New reports of gunfire, killings, and terror are a very effective conclusion to every chapter, documenting daily life in the Middle East and placing the author's experiences within the context of a wider world's troubles and a culture's psychology and wonders. This isn't just about serious life-threatening moments, as readers might expect: there is much humor to be found in cultural misunderstandings - as when Heines believes he has contracted to tour a camel farm and gets something far different: "The worst thing I thought could happen was a terror attack. I had been concerned about being killed when I should have been concerned about being embarrassed and humiliated. "I did everything I could to make it clear that we wanted to see a camel farm," I explained. "I must have asked him three different times…Wouldn't you just assume that a camel farm would include camels?" It's one thing to fail to arrange to see camels. It's quite another to bring a group of eager tourists along for the ride: a group interested in the trappings of culture, not the culture itself: "With few exceptions, most of the group was not interested in Saudi culture at all, which made my appearance in Saudi clothes just one more bizarre detail in an increasingly bizarre story." Against the backdrop of love, war, tourism and teaching, the gaps between West and Middle East are highlighted. Under Heines' deft hand these cultural interactions and misunderstandings come to life and ultimately serve to provide a better understanding not only of Middle East atmosphere and culture, but of the psychology and perspectives of ordinary people living in a very different world. A series of misadventures and ironies emerges; even more so than in the two Oman books - which is unexpected, because by Book Three readers would anticipate that Heines has likely penetrated the Middle Eastern veil and is settling in. Nothing could be further from the truth: he's now in a different region and his understanding is still uncertain, his grasp of politics and peoples still tenuous, and his experiences greatly different than in the comparatively isolated medieval town atmosphere of Oman, with its very different world. Again, humor is embedded in every chapter; so if you don't want quirky observations and tongue-in-cheek wry remarks, look elsewhere … though that would be a shame, because this approach is what lends all three books a personal, interactive, intimate perspective lacking in most other accounts of the Middle East: "…except for the threat of a large-scale attack by a battalion of terrorists, car combings, or random acts of terror, I had little to fear." Another difference between these books and other Middle East accounts is that Heines always seeks to think - and act - outside the box. Thus, he often arranges for expeditions beyond his teaching objective and his comfort zone: "…we made plans for yet another expedition into the far reaches of Saudi Arabia with the Riyadh Rovers. With no map, and no GPS, all I knew six days later, was that we were somewhere in the north, near Kuwait." His expeditions, as with his teaching goals, are all about breaking through these boundaries of comfort, and bring readers along for the bone-rattling jeep rides and cultural encounters introduced by romance and experience alike.
Some might fault Heines for including romance in every book. Some might look for more background history, or more cultural insight, or even more teaching encounters (if the reader intends on teaching abroad and is seeking pointers) - but that's not the objective of this trilogy.
Its purpose is to profile the author's cultural encounters and his immersion in foreign lands and perspectives, and it's here that this trilogy shines.
It's life in the middle of war, life in the middle of cultural incongruities, and most of all, it's about reaching out of one's familiarities to grasp for more. Individually each book in the set stands alone as an engrossing saga. Taken together, they form the nexus of a cultural investigation not undertaken in your usual Middle East books written by commentators, observers, and military personnel.
Any who would truly understand the region and its psyche would do well to enjoy the combination of rollicking adventure and cultural insights that permeate all three stories, defying the usual labels of 'travelogue', 'teacher's experience', 'romance' or 'social analysis' to embrace elements of all four approaches.
D. Donovan, eBook Reviewer, MBR
"This book is hilarious. I couldn't put it down once I started reading it. It is a view of Saudi Arabia I never knew about. I recommend this book to anyone. It is such great reading about the Middle East and the hazards of working for companies that do business there. A very funny book." Jamie Havican-KGRA RADIO
Killing Time in Saudi Arabia: An American Experience
I think it is fair to say that Killing Time In Saudi Arabia was not quite what I expected. I have known several PMC’s (Private Military Contractors) over the years. They are a unique breed, often working at the behest of a government but somehow not quite getting the respect and protection deserved. It was with this preconceived notion that I started to read Killing Time In Saudi Arabia.
While names and places have been changed to protect those still in the region Matthew Heines maintains that the story is factual. The first thing I noticed was that Matthew Heines was not a wanna be Rambo, he is a teacher of the English language, a noble task and unfortunately one not often appreciated. Simon Barrett
Deceptions of the Ages "Mormons" Freemasons and Extraterrestrials Matthew D. Heines
Print ISBN 9780990879329 Print Edition $18.99
Deceptions of the Ages: "Mormons" Freemasons and Extraterrestrials doesn't continue Matthew Heines' previous travelogue/teaching books covering intercultural relationships and discoveries: instead, it analyzes a different kind of relationship between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, aliens, and Freemasons.
If this approach seems a 'stretch', for some readers - it will be. Deceptions comes from a teacher who takes five thousand years of history and brings a variety of disparate forces together, using a blend of historical texts, philosophical reflections, holy writings, and more to provide factual historical insights into traditional conflicts between science and religion - and he does so with an added measure of humor to make his approach more palpable.
From the incongruities of a secret society that claims the ambiguous situation of not being a 'secret society' so much as a 'society with secrets' to the great dig under the Temple of Solomon, why it happened, and the contrast of various theories about what they found (or didn't find), Heines takes a step-by-step approach in examining various facets of history and its deceptions.
And perhaps that's the most intriguing approach of all: not just the evidence of deceptions and how they evolved over the eons, but why they happened and how their stories were perpetuated and changed over time.
Few new age or historical discussions take the form of closely analyzing the gaps between science, history and religion. Too few pinpoint exactly where and how these gaps occurred, why they widened, and the various controversies that sprung from them, creating in and of themselves new perspectives and even religions and belief systems.
And few such considerations skirt the line between history, new age analysis, and philosophy, incorporating elements of all in a compendium that is, ultimately, greater than any of its individual parts.
Despite Heines' attempts to inject humor and readability into the text, this is by no means a light read. Typical new age readers (the book's most likely audience) will find it dense, packed with historical, philosophical and spiritual references, and filled with evidence that points to the obvious fact that "we are not alone".
An index to its many references and approaches would have made Deceptions of the Ages even more useful for readers who want to cross-reference strings of thought and different historical figures - but would have been a weighty undertaking in a discussion of this magnitude.
Suffice it to say that Deceptions of the Ages offers much food for thought, will find its most enthusiastic readership among new age circles who appreciate wide-ranging discussions pulling together facts from a range of disciplines, making for a powerful, thought-provoking read.
Deceptions of the Ages:... I was a little leery when I read the subtitle, it sounded more like a description of Art Bells famed radio program Coast to Coast AM, a conspiracy theorists sand box. However as I had greatly enjoyed Matthew Heines other books detailing his adventures in Oman and Saudi Arabia I threw caution to the wind and settled down on my front porch to discover what possible connection there might be between “Mormons” the wriggly finger mob and good old ET.
Deceptions Of The Ages turned out to be quite an interesting read, a journey through history, well researched and well reasoned. Sure there are a few ‘leaps of faith’ and some speculation, but you find that in every non fiction book.
The one thing that the Mormons, Freemasons and UFO’s do most certainly have in common is mystery. Mystery always breeds speculation, and speculation in turn breeds conspiracy. A great example is the assassination of JFK, I have lost count of the number of books and documentaries I have read or watched on the subject. Some have plausible plots, some are just out and out ridiculous. But as long as you have a situation where there is mystery, you will find speculation and conspiracy theories.
The Mormons are a good example. If you were to ask people at random to write a short description about them you might get something along the lines of:
Founded by some dude named Joseph Smith who found a bunch of gold tablets and wrote his own bible, Silly man lost the tablets so all we have to go on is his word. They all live in Utah, wear funky underwear and have a dozen wives each. Young Mormon teenagers of 16 dress in black pants a white dress shirt and black tie, carry a small briefcase, travel in pairs and knock on strangers doors to elicit new members, particularly young girls in order to maintain the supply of breeding stock.
While most of that statement is untrue, it is the perception. There is an air of distrust about what happens behind the closed doors of the Mormon church, so theories abound.
Perception also plays a big part in thinking about the Freemasons.
Oh, the wriggly finger handshake mob, they cavort naked in their lodges, performing all kind of sexually deviant acts, and form part of the ‘shadow government’, they are the new world order. They used to sacrifice virgins, but the supply of virgins ran out in the 60’s with the sexual revolution.
And of course the always popular UFO. You can blame UFO’s on almost anything. In the 70s I recall working for the Xerox corporation. Phil was a guy that would be late for his own funeral. One morning he tuned up late and while waiting for the elevator a vice present walked in. “late again Weigard” the man remarked, “Yes, so am I” he replied in his Aussie twang. His best one however, occurred a couple of weeks later, when asked why he was late, he explained that he had been on the London Underground and Aliens had abducted him.
Space is a really big place, to think that we are the only planet with life on it is statistically very unlikely. But would an intelligent lifeform want to visit us? We don’t have a unified language, we spend most of our time blowing each other up, watching sitcoms, and generally doing our best to destroy the planet. If I was an alien I certainly would not want to come visit.
The delightful part about the whole extraterrestrial gig is that you can’t prove or disprove it. Some are convinced that it is a huge government cover up.
All three subjects make for great subjects for a book, Mathew Heines takes it one stage further and interconnects them.
I enjoyed the history lesson, particularly that of the Freemasons. Yes I can see how the dots can be traced back to the Crusades and The Knights Templar. It is when you journey further back in time that, for me at least the dots and lines become blurry. We get into the whole Holy Grail discussion, one that made Dan Brown a very rich man with his book The Da Vinci Code. I am also not convinced of the connection of the Freemasons to early Egypt. But many are, so I bow down to more learned people.
Deceptions Of The Ages is a book that I can recommend, however, it will not appeal to everyone. It requires an open mind and an inquisitive nature. Matthew Heines opens some interesting doors, peek behind them if you dare.
To order your copy of Deceptions Of The Ages click on the Amazon link above.
Simon Barrett"I bought your book and am totally blown out of the water. If I had your writing skills, this is my story. There is not one thing that you have written that I have not said or thought myself." Jeff Slack, Sydney, Australia
"Intriguing..." Dr. Steven Greer-TheUFO Disclosure Project
"An incredible amount of research...you are such a funny writer!"" Pat Dillon Ogden, Utah
"I feel blessed to have ran upon your e-book and I downloaded it as soon as I read what it was about. Some things are so right on to how I feel about the church as well. Thank you for writing this jem of a book. I may do another review after I finish this book. Kudos to you for doing this project and spreading seeds of truth." "Laura Green-kulcak "Lil Wing" Amazon Customer Reviews
"I will not give a negative or positive opinion of the books suggestions or implications, but will leave that completely to the individual reader. I think most people with an average education will understand and enjoy reading this book and many will come away inspired to dig a little deeper into the "how's and how comes' of our beginnings on up to our present level of society." "Tarona" Amazon Customer Reviews
"Your book may have helped more than you or I could understand." Thank you." Ann Ohio USA
"I am grateful to have found this book and would highly recommend it to anyone who is searching for, and loves the-truth." "Phyllis" Amazon Customer Reviews
"In his first two books, his descriptions of the people in Oman and his sense of humor keep you interested. In this book, it is his sense of humor, along with the way he is able to describe history and science and make it funny at the same time that keeps you going." "Valerie" Amazon Customer Reviews
"I am a mother and have never been interested in the topics that are mentioned in the book. I hardly even watch the news! But now that I have read this book, it is more that obvious that there is something going on in the world and it can't be good. Matthew makes a comment in the first part of the book that when you see a magic trick, it seems incredible until you know how the trick is done." "Karen" Amazon Customer Reviews
"It would be wrong...to imply an official opinion. I suppose that my hope is that... it will be to the non-member: a tool to help them become more enlightened." Matthew Ball LDS Public Affairs:TheChurch of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.org
"A bit slanted for sure but very interesting read. A bit scary if mostly true. I couldn't put it down." Tom D. Amazon Customer on July 16, 2015
I want to G+ this, and yet there is no link to do that; yes, this book is that important to me and I feel there are others that are looking for this information and will never know of its existence unless they stumble on it on the web. No, warm fuzzies to be taken away at the end of your read of Deceptions; only your soul satisfaction of; 'so that is what is going on, NO! so that IS what has been going on'. Matthew's writing style is Professor with a sense of humor. The book is easy to follow and will fill in the blanks as far as history of the world goes and what you slept through at School/University. Read this book and get on with your life; it really will help you to see it as the gift it is and truly believe it is a gift.