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.

Chess Players, The

Title: The Chess Players
Author: Francis J. Partel
Genre: Military Sub-Category: Navy
Reviewed by: Stephen Phillips

ISBN (for Amazon store): 0615414516

The Chess Players is both a naval story and a love story and opens with an audacious, espionage mission, a Soviet submarine penetration of Stavanger, Norway, and closes with a thrilling, bizarre episode between a missile-equipped, Russian nuclear submarine and a US Navy destroyer escort in the Mediterranean Sea. Commander Pebbles, Operations Officer of anti-submarine carrier, Essex, on a career track for admiral, mentors the well-educated and competent, but inexperienced young Ensign Cannon. Based in part on untold, historical events typical of the Cold War at sea, their task group encounters several provocative incidents at the hands of the Russian Bear above the Arctic Circle and in the Mediterranean Sea prior to and after the 1967 Six Day Arab-Israeli War. The love story begins when beautiful Laetitia Martin, a Ph. D. candidate in art history, meets Ensign Cannon, both members of a wedding on Martha's Vineyard, shortly before Essex deploys for NATO exercises in the Eastern Atlantic. She is a consummate "belonger" with a growth motive and catches a whiff of the women's movement and begins to find her upper-class life stifling. Cannon doesn't flinch at women's liberation, but he has other anxiety-producing issues related to women. Her research into the turbulent life of the painter, Caravaggio, the novel's fourth character, if you will, will also take her to Europe in the summer of 1967 and provides the opportunity for their romance to bud and bloom in London and in Malta as she succeeds in explaining Caravaggio's self-destructive behavior in modern psychological terms.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Partel, Francis J.

Good, the Bad and the Murderous, The

Title: The Good, the Bad and the Murderous
Author: Chester D. Campbell: Night Shadows Press
Genre: Fiction Sub-Category: Thriller/Mystery
Reviewed by: Rob Ballister

ISBN (for Amazon store): 0984604448

Medicare fraud, drug trafficking, a hired killer, a crooked cop, it's a nightmare scenario PI Sid Chance finds himself in when he takes a tough assignment-prove a young man just out of prison for murder when he was twelve did not commit a new homicide. Everything is thrown upside down when Jaz LeMieux, the wealthy ex-cop working with him on the case, finds herself accused of a despicable crime, and the evidence is damning. When a hit man comes after Sid, all hell breaks loose.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Campbell, Chester

200,000 Heroes

Title: “200,000 Heroes”
Author: Leon Weckstein
Genre: Non-Fiction Sub-Category: History
Reveiwed by: Weymouth D. Symmes

ISBN (links to MWSA Amazon store): 1555716989

Italy, July 1944. The unendurable insult to Italy's inherently genial way of life brought about by Hitler's storm-troopers and Mussolini's Fascist toadies was both taking its toll on the people of Italy and creating a fledgling underground Resistance movement whose heroic ranks would soon swell to nearly 200,000 brave men and women.

Author Leon Weckstein was there--an American GI in combat fighting with and befriending the Partisans. Here is the story, as told through eye-witness accounts and carefully researched historical archives, of the Italian Partisans and their American OSS allies' battle to destroy the Nazi-Fascist regime and expel the culprits from their beloved Italy.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Weckstein, Lion

Hollywood Through My Eyes The Lives & Loves of a Golden Age Siren

Title: Hollywood Through My Eyes The Lives & Loves of a Golden Age Siren
Author: Monica Lewis with Dean Lamanna
Genre: Non-Fiction Sub-Category: Memoir
Reviewed by : Hodge Wood

ISBN (for Amazon store): 1934980889

HOLLYWOOD THROUGH MY EYES is the intimate portrait of "America's Singing Sweetheart": Monica Lewis. It chronicles a young girl's rise from Depression-era Chicago, through the glamour and grit of New York City's nightclub scene and live broadcasting (including the very first Ed Sullivan Show), and finally to the privileged environs of Beverly Hills as the wife of top MCA/Universal executive and producer Jennings Lang.

Follow Monica as she gets her first job with Benny Goodman, sings on the radio with Frank Sinatra, tours war-torn Korea with Danny Kaye, goes out on the town with Ronald Reagan, clowns with Red Skelton at MGM, and opens her Beverly Hills mansion to an impressive list of Who's Who including Senator Ted Kennedy, Barbra Streisand, Clint Eastwood, Ava Gardner, Steven Spielberg, and the Beatles.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Lewis, Monica
Lamanna, Dean

W.I.A. (Wounded in Action)

Title: W.I.A. (Wounded in Action)
Author: Thomas C. Robison
Genre: Non-Fiction Sub-Category: Biography
Reviewed by: Bob Flournoy

ISBN (for Amazon store): 1453596402

Based on actual events and set against the historical backdrop of America’s longest war, Wounded in Action tells the compelling and gripping story of courage and determination of one of the Army’s most elite combat soldiers as he faces the realities of surviving near fatal wounds and struggles to overcome the life changing devastation inflicted on his mind and body from the explosion of an enemy landmine.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Robison, T. Clement

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