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.

Stand To... A Journey to Manhood

Title: Stand To... A Journey to Manhood
Author: E. Franklin Evans
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir
Reviewer: Jim Stewart

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0595450539

E. Franklin Evans had watched every war movie John Wayne ever made, sometimes several times over. When the “Duke” led his men, war was exciting and heroes were made as they ruggedly fought and predictably won each battle. But when Evans’ high school friend and real-life hero Glenn was killed in Vietnam, war became real and personal for Evans, and he felt a tremendous obligation to the buddy who gave his life in that faraway jungle.

At the tender age of nineteen, Evans voluntarily enlisted in the U.S. Army and left for basic training in early December of 1966. Before long, he was deeply entrenched in a treacherous war, far removed from his innocent and carefree youth. He had to learn not only to survive but also to muster the bravery to lead others in combat as he was thrust from adolescence into adulthood.

It has taken Evans more than thirty-five years to begin to heal the physical and emotional wounds that kept him from sharing his intensely personal story. From his depiction of the picturesque aerial view of Cam Rahn Bay to that of the barbed wire, metal planking, and squat huts housing weapons of death and destruction, Evans’s Stand To …provides a vividly detailed glimpse into what it was like to become a man on the battlefields of Vietnam.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Evans, E. Franklin's The Sandbox: Dispatches from Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan

Title:'s The Sandbox: Dispatches from Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan
Edited: David Standord
Genre: Non-Fiction, Anthology
Reviewer: Andrew Lubin

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0740769456

Launched as a military blog (or "milblog") by Doonesbury creator Garry Trudeau in October 2006, The Sandbox is an online forum through which service members in Afghanistan and Iraq share their stories with readers here at home. In hundreds of fascinating and compelling posts, soldiers write passionately, eloquently, and movingly of their day-to-day lives, of their mission, and of the drama that unfolds daily around them.

A dog adopts a unit on patrol in Baghdad and guards its flank; a soldier chronicles an epic day of close-call encounters with IEDs; an Afghan translator talks earnestly with his American friend about love and theology; a dad far from home meditates on time and history in the desert night under ancient stars; a Chuck Norris action figure witnesses surreal moments of humor in the cramped cab of a Humvee's The Sandbox: Dispatches from Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan presents a rich outpouring of stories, from the hilarious to the thrilling to the heartbreaking, and helps us understand what so many of our countrymen are going through and the sacrifices they are making on our behalf.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Standford, David
Trudeau, Garry

Securing the Global Transportation Network

Title: Securing the Global Transportation Network
Author: Luke Ritter, J. Barrett, and Rosalyn Wilson
Genre: Non-Fiction, Reference
Reviewer: Rob Ballister

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0071477519

Viable, value-creating solutions for securing global transportation networks

Securing Global Transportation Networks demonstrates how improved security processes can create value across all the business functions throughout an entire value chain. Readers will learn a whole new security management philosophy, as explained through domestic and international examples and case studies ranging from major retailers such as Home Depot to shipping giants such as Maersk and FedEx. This book also looks ahead to future developments and "best practices" for the future. If you're charged with making or evaluating transportation security decisions, you'll find the tools you need to succeed -- and prosper -- with the Total Security Management approach.

Explains globalization's impact on transportation networks
Creates a framework for realizing a return on security investments by integrating it as a core business process
Details how transportation firms, investors, and insurance companies can measure and reward smart security practices that protect a firm's fixed assets, assets in transit, brand equity and goodwill, and human capital

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Ritter, Luke
Barrett, J. Michael
Wilson, Rosalyn

Highlanders: Charlie Company Goes to the Iraq Training Center, The

Title: The Highlanders: Charlie Company Goes to the Iraq Training Center
Author: Rob Kauder
Genre: Non-Fiction, Current Events
Reviewer: Andrew Lubin

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1419688928

By April Fools Day 2004, the war to liberate Iraq had "officially" ended with Saddam Hussein's capture and President Bush's announcement that major combat operations had ceased. The truth was the war in Iraq was just getting warmed up, and it was at this point that the 1st Battalion, 161st Infantry of the Washington Army National Guard arrived in Baghdad. This is the story of Charlie Company's 1st Platoon, who were mobilized for federal service and attached to the 1st Cavalry Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team for a year in Iraq. A motley crew of part-time weekend warriors, 1st Platoon had its share of cops and criminals, professors and students, fathers and husbands, teenage privates eager to see war and thirtysomething veterans who had served in Panama and Kuwait. This is the story of 1st Platoon as told from the perspective of their "Invisible Embed" Rob Kauder, a former Marine turned journalist serving as a National Guard infantry squad leader. In The Highlanders Kauder captures the stories of struggle and sacrifice of the enlisted men as they fought the boredom, madness, heartbreak and the enemies both inside and outside the wire of the Green Zone.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Kauder, Rob

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