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.

Border: Exploring the U.S.-Mexican Divide, The

Title: The Border: Exploring the U.S.-Mexican Divide
Author: Daniel Danelo
Genre: Non-Fiction, Current Events
Reviewer: Andrew Lubin

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): B005DIADJC

Thoughtful investigative report about a central issue of the 2008 presidential race
- Asks and answers the core questions: Should we close the border? Is a fence or wall the answer? Is the U.S. government capable of fully securing the border?
- Examines the border in human terms through a cast of colorful characters
- Reviews the political, economic, social, and cultural aspects
- Discusses NAFTA, immigration policy, border security, and other local, regional, national, and international issues

More than 250 million people cross the U.S.- Mexican border legally each year, and as many as 10 million do so illegally, making the border--la frontera to Mexicans--the most traversed national boundary on the planet. In an age of terrorism and economic uncertainty, that border is already one of the most hotly debated issues in American politics and is certain to play a prominent role in the 2008 campaign for president. In 2007, David Danelo spent three months traveling the 1,952 miles that separate the United States and Mexico, beginning at Boca Chica, Texas, and traveling to the westernmost limit at Border Field State Park in California--a journey that took him across four states and two countries through a world of rivers and canals, mountains and deserts, highways and dirt roads, fences and border towns. Here the border isn_t just an abstraction thrown around in political debates in Washington; it_s a physical reality, infinitely more complex than most politicians believe. Danelo_s reporting digs beneath the debate and attempts to explain the border and related issues--from legal and illegal immigration to NAFTA and border fences--as they are experienced by the people who live and work there: businessmen, smugglers, Minutemen, migrants, humanitarians, border patrol agents, government officials, and everyday people in the U.S. and Mexico. The divide is great, as Danelo makes clear, but so is the opportunity. Refreshing in the new perspectives it offers and captivating in its depiction of this vibrant, if troubled, region, The Border is an essential starting point for understanding this vital topic.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Danelo, David

Proximity: A Novel of the Navy's Elite Bomb Squad

Title: Proximity: A Novel of the Navy's Elite Bomb Squad
Author: Stephen Phillips
Genre: Fiction, Military, Navy
Reviewer: Rob Ballister

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1425751563

EOD-"It's a lot like brain surgery, except if we screw up the patient detonates....Oh yeah, and we do it underwater."
- A Navy EOD Technician

The Sailors of the United States Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) community "perform under pressure" in the hazardous job of bomb disposal, often deep beneath the sea...alone.

An EOD Technician must have the brains of an engineer, the hands of a surgeon, and the courage of a martyr. In the U.S. Navy, carrier flight operations only occur under the watchful eye of EOD Techs ready to respond to ordnance accidents. U.S. Marines assault enemy beachheads only after EOD Techs clear the littoral seas and landing zones of mines. The U.S. Secret Service even relies on military bomb squads to protect the President and visiting foreign dignitaries. Perhaps the best testimony of their value is that when the Navy needs to place a limpet mine under an enemy ship it tasks the Navy SEALs, but to respond to such an attack - the Navy summons EOD.

Proximity highlights the exciting work of one EOD detachment as they become enmeshed in the efforts of a terrorist coalition operating both in Europe and the United States. Lieutenant "Jazz" Jascinski and the men of Detachment Four become the key to helping the FBI apprehend these terrorists - until their unique skills place them under suspicion. To protect themselves, the Techs must race to find the culprits before they become the next victims...

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Phillips, Stephen

One Weekend a Month

Title: One Weekend a Month
Author: Craig Trebilcock
Genre: Fiction, Military, Army
Reviewer: Andrew Lubin

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1591138922

An eight man Army Reserve team struggles to find meaning in the Iraq War, as their attempts to save a critically ill Iraqi boy are hampered by careerist superiors, enemy insurgents, and the unyielding Arab culture. Written by an Iraq War veteran.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Trebilcock, Craig

Fire Mission:The World of Nam-a Marine's Story

Title: Fire Mission:The World of Nam-a Marine's Story
Author: Earl Gorman
Genre: Non-Fiction, Military, Marines
Reviewer: Andrew Lubin

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0615205941

Award Winning Memoir of a life-changing 2007 adventure back to Vietnam with a medical mission team that weaves in the author's 1965-66 combat experiences as a Marine artillery officer, "who spent too much time with the grunts." Against all odds, he searched for the two Vietnamese friends he had emotionally connected with during the war. Closure for combat veterans is the powerful message that weaves through the inspirational story. A deadly Viet Cong sapper unit attack on his artillery battery as well as episodes from Operation Hastings, the first large scale battle along the DMZ are featured combat stories. Tours of Hue, the Gulf of Tonkin, and the "Hanoi Hilton" prison round out the Annapolis graduate's memoir.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Gorman, Earl

Through the Wheat: U.S. Marines in World War I

Title: Through the Wheat: U.S. Marines in World War I
Author: BrigGen Edwin Simmons (USMC, ret) and Col Joseph Alexander (USMC,ret)
Genre: Non-Fiction, Military, Marines
Reviewer: Andrew Lubin

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1591148316

One of the great defining moments in the history of the U.S. Marine Corps was their participation in World War I. These two highly regarded historians, recount this experience in great detail, capturing the spirit that earned the WWI Marines the sobriquet "Devil dogs," while providing an important combat study of the conflict. Names like Belleau Wood, Soissons, and St. Mihiel still resonate today, nearly a century later, and Simmons and Alexander leave no doubt as to why. Hand-to-hand combat as seen through the lenses of a gas mask is accompanied by cogent analysis and thought-provoking assessments of this war and its impact on the U.S. Marine Corps.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Simmons, Edwin
Alexander, Joseph