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.

Write Soon, Love Fran

Book Title:Write Soon, Love Fran
Author: L.E. Starks
Reviewed by: Edward Cox
Genre: Non-fiction Sub-Category: Biography/Memoir

ISBN (for Amazon store): 1456083805

The Army career of Corporal Frances M. Bushey, now retired, began on April 28, 1949 and lasted until she was honorably discharged on September 7, 1951. This book is based on the letters written by Corporal Bushey, now known as Mrs. Frances M. Wissner, to her mother throughout her military career as well as her personal remembrances of the events. Mrs. Wissner is my mother-in-law and the actual writer of these letters, which have been edited for clarity and brevity. The personal experiences of this Korean War WAC are shared with you, the reader, and include her opinions and thoughts on her relationships, friendships and her work as a cook in the Army. The reader will be privy to all the intimate details of daily life as recounted by a woman in the Women’s Army Corps who started her army career as a Private and ended it as a Corporal.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Starks, L.E.

Camp Angels

Book Title: Camp Angels
Author: James L. Curry
Reviewed by: Stephen Phillips
Genre: Fiction Sub-Category: Historical Fiction

ISBN (for MWSA Amazon store): 1598867776

Edward Weinstein is an actor about to play the most important role of his life! Edward and a small group of resistance fighters find themselves caught up in the midst of a web of intrigue with potentially wide-reaching consequences. With this assignment, they will each have to draw on every ounce of their being in order to endure what they will witness and be a part of at Mauthausen Concentration Camp. Come and go along with these brave men and women as they risk their lives to correct what they know as unbearable atrocities against mankind, and endeavor to save the lives of as many prisoners as possible!

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Curry, James L.

Prelude to Reveille: A Vietnam Awakening

Book Title: Prelude to Reveille: A Vietnam Awakening
Author: S.D. Sawyer
Genre: Fiction Sub-Category: Historical Fiction
Reviewed by: Rob Ballister

Lt. Tom Barrington believed fighting in the Vietnam War might be the hardest thing he’d ever be called upon to do. Maybe it wasn't. Maybe coming home was. Prelude to Reveille: A Vietnam Awakening, S.D. Sawyer’s emotionally raw novel, mines the personal histories of returning soldiers like Tom. It presents a hard contrast between the repeatedly tested valor of these heroes and the chilling response to them from this once-proud country. Inspired by real-life experiences of the author and her husband during this turbulent era, the narrative begins in December, 1967, when newlyweds Tom and Meg Barrington reported to his first military station, The Old Guard, the Army's ceremonial unit, in Arlington, Virginia. A platoon leader, Tom performed honor burials for fallen soldiers, many killed in Vietnam, most his age or younger. Meg juggled her career as an enthusiastic new teacher with the unfamiliar regulations required of an Army wife. Within months, Tom received new orders— Ranger School, then deployment to Vietnam. Meg's role transformed into that of a Waiting Wife and a soon-to-be mother. Wounded half-way through his tour, Tom went from combat on a jungle trail in Vietnam to surgery in Japan, to enrollment at a small college back home. Anti-war demonstrations and protests cordoned off him and other veterans from even their peers. Soldiers' pride was quickly replaced with feelings of guilt, anger, and betrayal. Ignored by institutions and support networks that had offered care to returning veterans in past decades, these soldiers could never have prepared for a peacetime home front that would prove as perilous and haunting as the theater of war they had faced in Southeast Asia. Prelude to Reveille: A Vietnam Awakening possesses a sense of time and place that foreshadows issues still facing military families. Its tone and details make it resonate with those who lived during this era as well as future generations who will only learn of these conflicts from a history book. Bravery and commitment to America are not limited to times of triumph and national celebration, but remain steadfast and true in the face of protracted engagement, ambiguous mission and uncertain outcome. In this tribute to our soldiers, Sawyer invokes a wake-up call for the America of today to at long last make things right for Vietnam veterans and their families.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Sawyer, S.D.

Medals, Flags, and Memories

Title: Medals, Flags, and Memories
Author: John and Stacey Holley
Genre: Non-Fiction Sub-Category: History
Reviewed by: Nancy E. Rial
ISBN: 0983416826

On November 15, 2005, John and Stacey Holley unwillingly became Gold Star Parents. Their son and only child, Matthew John Holley, was killed along with three other Soldiers when an IED exploded under their Humvee while on patrol in Iraq. Racked with grief over their son’s death, John and Stacey’s sorrow turned to outrage when they learned that Matthew’s casket would return to San Diego’s Lindbergh Field as common freight. There would be no honor guard to welcome this fallen hero back to the nation of his birth. Instead, Matthew Holley’s remains would be transferred by forklifts and baggage handlers, like a crate of auto parts. Determined to welcome their son home with honors befitting his sacrifice, the Holleys embarked on a quest to challenge the law, and to begin a journey of healing that would touch the lives of Gold Star Families across the country.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Holley, John
Holley, Stacy

I Hear No Bugles

Title: I Hear No Bugles
Author: Robert W. Mercy
Genre: Non-Fiction, Biography
Reviewer: Bob Doerr

Link to the book or work with 143571704X

The central theme is Robert's war experiences as a platoon Sergeant of an all-Korean infantry assault unit within an American rifle company; and how a lifetime of absorbed film propaganda and an idealistic quest for honor and meaning plays out against the illusion-shattering reality experienced during 8 major campaigns. The author's twin brother served with him. Collectively they earned 1 Silver Star, 2 Bronze Stars, 4 Purple Hearts and a Presidential Unit Citation for leading a bayonet charge. This is the only known recorded account by a frontline infantrymen who fought in the first hectic year of the Korean War. 106 photos, 7 maps, 18 documents.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Mercy, Robert W.

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