James “Jim” Edward Harris, Jr. had always wanted to write his memoirs. He had experience as a newspaper reporter for the Farmville Herald and as a public relations officer in the Air Force and felt he had some writing skills. With his retirement in 2009 and his initial meetings with a Tea Party group and the “Don’t Tread on Me” focus of the group, Harris was inspired to put his story on paper. Not just a story about his life, but an exposé of what he saw as corruption, inefficiency and entitlement in our government with recommendations for returning society to more individual accountability and traditional values. “Flight of a White Dinosaur” tells the story of one man’s observation and life experiences with government and how our Constitutional principles and organizational standards have been compromised by liberals.
“I just want the word to get out that this country needs to change,” he said. “The only way it is going to change is with the citizen.”
With a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Virginia and an M.P.A. from the Virginia Commonwealth University, Harris life’s calling was dual tracked. He began criminal justice work in 1973 and served 20 years on active duty and the reserves with the Air Force. He worked 36 years in Virginia’s juvenile correction system. Harris felt like he was on the frontline working with juveniles. Over the years he worked with systems and directives that were successful and some that were not. In his book he writes about what went on behind the scenes in his government work and how the system panders to “leveling the playing field” mentality. “I just want Virginians to know the problem we have in state government,” he said.
Harris writes in the introduction of his book:
Life’s mission carried me into the bowels of maximum youth correctional units, because I wanted to be where our country begins each life cycle (with each new generation). The news is not good because the liberals are in charge of the youth prison system, the same as they are in charge of our primary, secondary and college education. What is being done is almost akin to Nazi Germany, where Hitler indoctrinated youth and made their minds subservient to the state. Youth are not being taught responsibilities as individuals; too often they believe they should support the state because it will provide for their every need.
Harris pens his book about his life experiences and interactions with individuals along the way with humor. His editor, Charlie Finley, felt his initial writing was too “uptight” and referred him to read the work of Pat McManus, an outdoorsman and humorist author. Harris read eight of his books, most of them while sitting in a gobbler blind during turkey hunting season. He was then inspired to write his story by maximizing a comedic approach to his characters, structure, dialogue and voice with changing names and adding humor to situations he experienced while working with incarcerated juveniles and dealing with government bureaucracy.
A good friend, Mickey Smith, a retired SWAT Assistant Team Leader for the Chesterfield County Police Department, listened and read many drafts of Harris’ chapters. His book jacket review states, “Skillfully written, filled with information and humor, “Flight of a White Dinosaur” is a riveting memoir readers will surely find amusing and interesting.”
Harris resides in Chester with his wife, Caryl, who is an avid UVa fan.
A book signing of “Flight of a White Dinosaur” is being held Oct. 3, at Greenfront Furniture in Farmville at 10 a.m. until 12 p.m. Should you wish the author to appear before your group for a presentation or book signing or to order a book, contact Jim Harris, P.O. Box 4212, Chester, VA, 23831. Books may also be ordered by calling 888-795-4274, ext. 7879.