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.

Vietnam Trilogy: Vol. 1 Veterans and Post Traumatic Stress: 1968, 1989, 2000, A

Title: A Vietnam Trilogy: Vol. 1 Veterans and Post Traumatic Stress: 1968, 1989, 2000
Author: Raymond Scurfield
Genre: Non-Fiction
Reviewer: Joyce Gilmour

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0875863221

An internationally recognized expert on war and post-traumatic stress therapy analyzes the Vietnam War s psychological and social impact and the implications for today s veterans through the lens of his service in 1968 and two return visits in 1989 and 2000.

Through the stories of veterans and the author s own understanding as a psychiatric social work officer in Vietnam and his extensive post-war experiences as a mental health professional, A Vietnam Trilogy describes the impact of war on veterans from a psychiatric, psychological, social and cultural perspective, both during and decades after the war.
The large numbers of psychiatric casualties from war used to be attributed to an underlying psychiatric disorder presenting the classic blame-the-victim scenario. When they were finally classified as what is now known as PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), the path was opened for more realistic and fruitful healing techniques. A Vietnam Trilogy describes a care-giver s and numerous veterans perspectives of what happens to combatants during war, the therapeutic processes fostered by an innovative Dept. of Veteran Affairs treatment program directed by Dr. Scurfield, and the pioneering return trips he co-led to peace-time Vietnam in 1989 and 2000.
This book offers a unique vicarious journey of healing and pathos by relating the experiences of those who participated in these therapeutic efforts. For families, care-givers, students and teachers of history, and others, the book offers a glimpse from the participants view of the shock, the horrors, the overwhelming stress, and the mindset that were so damaging to personnel in the war zone, as well as of the extraordinary courage and strength necessary to survive. Finally, it offers insight into creative therapeutic approaches and recommendations for veterans and those who wish to help them recover from the traumas of war. Volume 1,"A Vietnam Trilogy. Veterans and Post-Traumatic Stress, 1968, 1989 and 2000", describes the healing processes of hundreds of veterans from Vietnam and earlier wars up until 1990, when the author co-led a group of veterans on a therapeutic trip back to Vietnam to face their demons.
The second volume, "Healing Journeys," continues from 1990 to 2000 (including a discussion of the impact of the first Gulf War on veterans of earlier wars) and a second return trip to Vietnam in 2000, as part of a university Study Abroad program, to help veterans in their healing process.
Volume 3, "War Trauma, Lessons Unlearned From Vietnam to Iraq" (Algora, fall 2006), completes the Trilogy with a consideration of the experience of prior wars to help people who are now in the military or in the healing professions, and their families and communities, to deal with today s realities of combat and its aftermath.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Scurfield, Raymond

Fire in the Night: Creative Essays from an Iraq War Vet

Title: Fire in the Night: Creative Essays from an Iraq War Vet
Author: Lee Kelley
Genre: Non-Fiction, Anthology
Reviewer: Joyce Faulkner

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1438235488

Already a freelance writer, Lee started a blog when he was sent to Iraq in 2005. His family and friends expected to read of his experiences, and a blog was the perfect medium. A hometown reporter visited his unit in Iraq, and Lee ended up on the front page of the Salt Lake Tribune. That's how it all began. Since then, he's been in the top 10 military blogs on for years, featured in TIME magazine, read some of his essays on radio shows, and even been on the local news in Salt Lake City, Utah. Through it all, readers have been very supportive of Lee's writing and he has received thousands of queries about when he might publish a book. Here are 53 of the most popular essays. They have been adapted from the blog, and writing that he's done in other forums, such as The New York Times and All of the work in this book was either written while he was still in Iraq or as a direct result of his experiences there.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Kelley, Lee

Ether Zone, US Army Special Forces Detachment B-52, Project Delta, The

Title: The Ether Zone, US Army Special Forces Detachment B-52, Project Delta
Author: Raymond Morris
Genre: Non-Fiction, History
Reviewer: John Cathcart

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1555716628

Project Delta and its clandestine special reconnaissance operations proved to be one of the most successful Special Operation units of the Vietnam War, yet few Americans have ever heard of them, or know that this unit's operational model was precursor for the renowned Delta Force. This small unit of less than 100 U.S. Army Special Forces amassed a record for bravery that rivals few. For the first time, the Project Delta "Quiet Professionals" finally share their amazing story.Highly trained as experts in special reconnaissance techniques and procedures, the covert Project Delta missions were accomplished through recon team insertions into enemy territory. As the primary sources of intelligence collection for Project Delta, these tough and tenacious recon men recount hair-raising adventures from personal recollections."The Ether Zone" is certain to appeal to those with an interest in Special Operations Group, the Vietnam War, special operations and military history in general.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Morris, Raymond C.

Sacred Ground: A Tribute to America's Veterans

Title: Sacred Ground: A Tribute to America's Veterans
Author: Tom Ruck
Genre: Non-Fiction, Picture Book
Reviewer: Dave Brown

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1596985240

Sacred Ground" is a sweeping tour of some of America's most beautiful and moving cemeteries, Sacred Ground features richly evocative photographs from military cemeteries across the country, enhanced by poignant quotes, powerful essays, and speeches from famous Americans throughout history.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Ruck, Tom

Jackie O: On the Couch

Title: Jackie O: On the Couch
Author: Alma Bond
Genre: Fiction, Historical
Reviewer: Joyce Gilmour

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

Jackie O: On the Couch is the story of Jackie Kennedy Onassis as she might have written it.

This is not just another biography. For the first time, Jackie O: On the Couch highlights Jackie's life from her own perspective, as imagined by author Dr. Alma Bond, a psychoanalyst and long-time student of Jackie lore.

The facts are all historically correct, as are the ideas, the Washington intrigue and politics, and the examination of the role of women in society and in the White House. Jackie speaks of her need to record her story truthfully--to replace the hodgepodge of lies published during her lifetime. Speaking as an older woman, she ponders how her points of view have changed from those she held when she was young.

The book delves into her childhood and explores how and why Jackie became the person she was. It also explores the Kennedys, and how John F. Kennedy's background affected his marriage. Jackie's deep love for Jack, his early inattentiveness, their difficulties together, his outrageous womanizing, happy times at the White House, and the tragedy of his assassination-all are viewed through Jackie's eyes.

Jackie writes of her need for Aristotle Onassis, debunking the notion that she married him purely for his money, and traces the joyful early years of the marriage through to its dramatic collapse and Ari's difficult death.

A different Jackie emerges into the world of publishing. Her new persona allows her to establish her very best relationship with the stout and adoring Maurice Tempelsman, until non-Hodgkins lymphoma takes her life in 1994, at age 64.

Jackie O: On the Couch is a unique exploration of the life and loves of a great historical figure. Jackie Kennedy Onassis deeply prized her privacy and, as a result, she was both revered and mysterious

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Bond, Alma