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.

What Were They Thinking: A Fresh Look at Japan at War, 1941-45

General book info.

ISBN (for Amazon store): 0557043336

The military leadership of Japan, dominated by the ages-old clans of the samurai class, embarked on a war in 1941 believing that the Americans and British wouldn't fight, but they also knew that Japan could not win a prolonged war. If the West didn't quit, well, the Japanese had no contingency for that. So why did Japan start a war at all? This and other questions are addressed in this new book. Other topics include: With a few exceptions, the Japanese Army was not well equipped, but was trained to attack even if the situation was hopeless; the Japanese Navy was never adequate to the task required of it in the Pacific War and the merchant fleet was even wors; the Japanese air forces suffered from acute shortages throughout the conflict that were often the result of their industrial shortcomings. Beatty and Rochwerger discuss these and many other issues in this provocative and imaginative inquiry into Japan in World War II. Photos, index.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Beatty, John D.
Rochwerger, Lee A.

Lost in the Blue Room

Title: Lost in the Blue Room
Author: Richard Barone
Genre: Fiction Sub-Category: Literary Fiction
Reviewer: Carmen Stenholm

ISBN (for Amazon store): 0975471163

Would the Twin Towers still be standing if federal air marshals were flying on September 11, 2001? Ex-sky marshal Jack High thinks so, and he’s about to make the government and airlines pay for gross negligence. Armed with a top-secret gun-cloaking device, he hijacks a new blended-wing airliner and demands that the passengers take a journey back to 1970 when the original sky marshals flew. With the taste of ashes still in their memories of 9/11, the passengers savor first-class meals and read America’s Most Wanted Novel that Nobody Ever Wanted on the inflight Internet. Fly first class around the world—Paris, Rome, Bangkok—compliments of the besieged airlines. Be anyone you want to be—CEO, plastic surgeon, biodynamic therapist—all expenses paid by the government. It’s a dream job and Andrea High loves it. Total anonymity. Drugs. Sex. Violence. Who’s to know when even your sex is in question? The hijacker, of course, ready to strike! Highly addicted to being a cover story, Andrea loses sight of the destination, and the flight becomes a terrorism of obscurity—the very thing the passengers are helpless to destroy. Written by a former sky marshal, this book takes place in jumbo jets, communal apartments, hotel rooms, and blue rooms. Boardrooms and courtrooms are not on the itinerary.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Barone, Richard

Staff Monkeys

Title: Staff Monkeys
Author: Peter Clark
Genre: Non-Fiction Sub-Category: Humor
Reviewer: jim greenwald

ISBN (for Amazon store): B004Q9TBQU

Staff Monkeys is not a typical military war journal; it is a chronological and humorous accounting of a former stockbroker's observations during his military deployments from April 2005 through September 2009. After being recalled to the Army, Peter Clark served in East Africa as well as numerous Middle East hot spots.

After his deployment to Africa, the fun and games were just beginning for Peter and over the next few years found himself in Iraq, Afghanistan, Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Kyrgyzstan. What the Army didn't know, or overlooked, was that Peter had a sharp sense of humor and wasn't afraid to use it.

War is a very serious business, yet strange and comical events do occur and US Army Staff Monkey, LTC Peter Clark, a modern day Bill Mauldin, tells about them in a most entertaining way.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Clark, Peter

King of Hearts

Title: King of Hearts
Author: Tom Seligson
Genre: Fiction Sub-Category: Thriller/Mystery
Reviewed by: Lee Boyland

ISBN (for Amazon store): 1453851372

The world’s most wanted man
A billion dollars in stolen cash
Elite soldiers turned professional killers

Those are the elements behind this new hard-to-put down thriller by long time author and television producer Tom Seligson. The story begins on a quiet suburban street. A mother is murdered while jogging. Called in to investigate the homicide is Ric Hill, a former New York City cop and veteran of the Iraq war. Murder is uncommon enough in the suburbs, but discovering that the killing has all the signs of a professional hit, Ric realizes he’s dealing with something bigger.

In fact, what begins as a simple case leads Ric back into the underbelly of the war he left behind, a world where honor and patriotism are for sale, and the difference between a fellow soldier and the enemy is not always so clear. With the help of Sharon, a beautiful fellow veteran rebounding from a devastating combat injury, Ric draws on his New York City street smarts to find an elusive killer, a quest that ultimately involves a pursuit of the world’s most wanted man, one of the biggest bank robberies in history, and an international conspiracy ranging from the streets of Baghdad to the back rooms of our nation’s Capitol. To solve the case, Ric and Sharon must both confront the demons they brought home with them from the war.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Seligson, Tom

Tales Mark Twain Would Have Loved to Steal

Title: Tales Mark Twain Would Have Loved to Steal [Revised Edition- 2010]
Author: Glenn Wasson
Genre: Fiction Sub-Category: Short Story Collection
Reviewer: Robert Ruehrdanz

ISBN (for Amazon store): 0971043558

Revised edition of a colorful collection of stories from the author's years in the military during the Viet Nam War, as well as anecdotes from the Gold Country.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Wasson, Glenn

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