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.

Days of Smoke

Title: Days of Smoke
Author: Mark Ozeroff
Genre: Fiction, Historical
Reviewer: Bob Flournoy

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1934337455

Days of Smoke offers a mold-shattering view of war and Holocaust, from the unique perspective of German flyer Hans Udet. Across aerial battlefields ranging over much of Europe, Hans progresses from naive young Messerschmitt pilot to ace of increasing rank and responsibility. But unfolding events pit Hans' love of the Fatherland against his natural compassion for humanity, after he saves a young Jewish woman from brutal assault. As growing feelings for Rachel sensitize him to the "Jewish problem," Hans is torn between mounting disdain for the Nazis and his sense of duty to Germany. Rachel is the unlikely bridge joining his disparate halves.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Ozeroff, Mark

Great Hour Struck: On Eagles' Wings: Part One, The

Title: The Great Hour Struck: On Eagles' Wings: Part One
Author: Gary Varner
Genre: Fiction, Historical
Reviewer: David Tschanz

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0595517870

As the inferno of World War II engulfs 101st Airborne Division paratrooper Lieutenant Sam Henry, the scholar-turned-soldier is thrust on a collision course with the embodiment of beauty-and the horrors of combat. Training and awaiting D-Day in England, Sam's can-do Yank confidence suffers the harsh realities of a war-weary nation under siege as well as a tyrannical platoon leader. His fascination with the beautiful British schoolteacher, Maggie Elliott, sustains his hopes and softens the bite of military life but cannot erase the dread of Sam's upcoming mission. When that fateful day arrives, June 6, 1944, Sam embarks on one of the most dangerous missions of the war. But the massive parachute night drop behind Hitler's Atlantic Wall disintegrates into pockets of fractured units and individuals locked in kill-or-be-killed close combat chaos, testing Sam's optimistic intellectualism to the breaking point. His personal mission becomes nothing more than getting his beloved men out-alive. Yet, with the D-Day airborne objectives nearly secured, an unforeseen clash against a Russian Front hardened storm trooper, Helmut Behr, threatens to destroy Sam's sanity-and his life.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Varner, Gary

Sisters of Valor

Title: Sisters of Valor
Author: Rosalie T. Turner
Genre: Fiction, Historical
Reviewer: Claudia Pemberton

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0979237521

The '60's were a turbulent time in our country, and it was especially difficult for the service wife as protests against the war were so personal against the serviceman. In SISTERS OF VALOR four very different service wives come together to find the support they need. The story continues until today when the wives look at what the Vietnam Era meant to us as a country, as families, and as individuals.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Turner, Rosalie T.

For the Fatherland

Title: For the Fatherland
Author: Walter Zapotoczny, Jr
Genre: Fiction, Historical
Reviewer: David Tschanz

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1439235929

Growing up in Germany in the 1930s, Kurt Schultheiss was like the other kids in his neighborhood: rambunctious, inquisitive, and the center of his parents' world. With his blond hair and blue eyes, he was also the picture of Aryan purity, a poster child for the band of "magnificent youngsters" with which Adolf Hitler plotted to build his "new world." As Hitler's power grew, he created the Hitler Youth, a breeding ground for the Nazi SS. As members of the Hitler Youth, Kurt and his friends enjoyed camping, weapons training--and complete indoctrination into the Nazi philosophy of world domination. Eventually Kurt became part of the infamous Einsatzgruppen, a group notorious for atrocities committed against Jews and Russians at the German Eastern Front. In this captivating novel, an elderly Kurt looks back on his life and struggles to find atonement for the terrible sins of his youth, offering in the process his explanation for how youthful potential can go so terribly wrong.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Zapotoczny, Jr, Walter

Grey Wolf: A Novel in History

Title: Grey Wolf: A Novel in History
Author: David Huffman
Genre: Fiction, Historical
Reviewer: Buddy Cox

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1449909078

World War Two is about to begin and a German Naval Officer is going to war. Again. Oskar Keppler, a U-boat veteran of the Great War, takes command of the Type VII submarine U-115. Based on the actual War Diary of a German U-boat at the outset of World War II, this novel presents the U-boat experience from the perspective of those who lived it. Vivid descriptions of life in a diesel-electric powered submarine: day after day of mundane drilling, horrendous smells and ever deteriorating food are punctuated by moments of action, elation, terror and dread. In perhaps the most important single patrol of the first half of the Battle of the Atlantic, a handful of men will change the balance of power, and strategic capabilities of their adversary, for years to come.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Huffman, David