Book Reviews

Reviews of books by MWSA members. Reviews appear in reverse chronological order, with the most recent review posted appearing first.
Note: Some older reviews are being reposted to this site and those will appear out of order.

And My Mother Danced with Chesty Puller

Title: And My Mother Danced with Chesty Puller
Author: Bruce Hoffman
Genre: Military, Marine
Reviewer: Hodge Wood

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): ISBN / EAN

Bruce Hoffman spent four years in the United States Marine Corps from 1964 to 1968. Two of those years were in Vietnam and Okinawa. This is a story about his adventures from Parris Island, serving in the rear with the beer, to flying as an Aerial Gunner in UH-1E Huey Helicopters. These four years left a lasting impression, some good some bad. It is a story worth telling.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Hoffman, Bruce

Texas Gun Club, The

Title: The Texas Gun Club
Author: Mark Bowlin
Genre: Military, Army
Reviewer: Lee Boyland

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1933651555

The Texas Gun Club is the story of two cousins' journey from south Texas to wartime Italy in 1943. Perkin Berger and Sam Taft are officers in Able Company, 141st Infantry Regiment of the 36th Division, Texas National Guard. Although the cousins are closer than most brothers, they have differing views on the war and their role in it. Perkin is excited to test himself in combat; Sam just wants to survive the war and return to Texas.
D-Day was a shambles, and then the battle went from bad to worse. While Perkin is dispatched on a reconnaissance mission down the Italian peninsula, Sam is left to shore up crumbling defenses and prevent Salerno from becoming another Dunkirk.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Bowlin, Mark

Porcelain On Steel | Women of West Point's Long Gray Line

Title: Porcelain On Steel | Women of West Point's Long Gray Line
Author: Donna M. McAleer
Genre: Military, Army
Reviewer: Bob Flournoy

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0984551123

Porcelain on Steel is an insider's tour of one of America's most storied institutions and shares with the reader what it takes to succeed in the high-pressure, high-performance, high-testosterone lab that produces leaders for the Army and for our Nation.

In an era where the American public is saturated with women selling sexuality, this book highlights those who, blessed with strong character traits, use them to make a positive contribution to society. Leadership is a matter of character; leadership is matter of how to be, not how to do it. Leadership is something that is instilled in you--and great leaders in turn instill the ability in others. The women in Porcelain on Steel exemplify this--for all ages and wisdom for all time. Their qualities and strength of character would lead to success in any era but most importantly, their stories are especially relevant now, in today's times.

Porcelain on Steel is a book for your daughter, your sister, your best friend, and most of all, yourself.

The women in Porcelain on Steel are genuine role models. America's youth, whether male or female, as well as parents in search of stories of inspiration, courage, loyalty, public service and leadership that set a positive direction for our young people, should read this book.

Porcelain on Steel is a powerful and inspirational portrait of the women who serve--not just our country, but their families, their communities, and their own commitment to a purposeful and meaningful life. These women, like the author Donna McAleer herself, had the courage and strength to attend West Point--the toughest and most elite military school in the nation--and have the heart and soul to be role models for women everywhere. We can find courage in their courage, faith in their faith, and our own best selves in them. Porcelain on Steel is a book for your daughter, your sister, your best friend, and most of all, yourself.

West Point is an indispensible institution that has helped sustain our democracy for more than 200 years.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
McAleer, Donna M.

Hill Called White Horse, A

Title: A Hill Called White Horse
Author: Tony Sobieski
Genre: Military, Army
Reviewer: Don Arndt

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1438925727

The battle of White Horse lasted ten days, with many lives lost. This story concentrates on the first two days of the battle, as recounted by Joe Adams, Jack Callaway, and the rest from the 213th Field Artillery Battalion who were there. These two days coincide with the letters and personal remembrances of these men and this story is based on their real life experiences. The events and people are real, coming from those personal interviews, declassified documents and historical reference. What they went through is real, documented history. Not one of them has ever bragged about what they did or thought of themselves as some great warrior soldier. Everyone simply did what they had to do, and that there was no glory in it.

Not just another war story, this is an attempt to put the reader "there" in the thick it, to be a participant in battle and to feel what it was like to be in the Forgotten War. Exploding artillery shells, bullets striking targets, the eeriness of flares drifting down over a battlefield, breathing the dust of trenches on a hill in the middle of a far off place. Taking the reader out of their seat and putting a rifle in their hands, this story transports you a thousand miles away from your surroundings to an artillery battery receiving "incoming mail", trench lines where death is around every corner, and a bunker on a hill where some of the most violent combat takes place. This book lets you feel, taste and smell it like it was, brutal, unforgiving, and above all, a cold hard reality for those that were there.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Sobieski, tony

They Were Ready -- The 164th Infantry in the Pacific War, 1942-1945

Title: They Were Ready -- The 164th Infantry in the Pacific War, 1942-1945
Author: Terry Shoptaugh
Genre: Military, Army
Reviewer: Bob Ruerhdanz

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): B004OB4M7I

A narrative history of the 164th Infantry Regiment's experiences in the Pacific War, from its activation and training to its service at Guadalcanal, Bougainville and the Philippines. The 164th (North Dakota National Guard) reinforced the 1st Marine Division on Guadalcanal in October 1942 and subsequently served in some 600 days in combat in the Pacific. The book is based on unit records, correspondence and diaries, and interviews with over fifty of the veterans.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Shoptaugh, Terry