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.

River of Memories - An Appalachian Boyhood

Title: River of Memories - An Appalachian Boyhood
Author: David Lee Thompson
Genre: Non-fiction, Memoir
Reviewer: Bill McDonald

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0595261949

David Lee Thompson has produced a caring and introspective personal account of the vanishing Appalachian culture. This way of life existed for over twelve generations, teaching its people the importance of family, community, and religion. Thompson's old home place, 'now empty and lonely,' holds 'faint whispers of what was once alive with laughter and reminiscences.' His boyhood memories of life on Bowen Creek represent the last vestiges of a time and place now nearly extinct.-Dr. Alan B. Gould, Executive Director The John Deaver Drinko Academy Marshall University"From the first pioneers who struggled west to make a home among our hills and hollows, our families have been our culture's backbone. The portrait of Appalachian life David Thompson paints is one familiar to generations of southern West Virginians. It is a history that should be saved and valued."-U.S. Representative Nick Rahall (WV)"As readers journey along in David Thompson's River of Memories, they uncover truths about themselves and gain a better understanding about life in Appalachia. This is especially true for those of us who have strong ties with its people, helping us appreciate our heritage even more."-Shawn W. Coffman, M.D. Huntington Internal Medicine Group.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Thompson, David Lee

Permission To Kill

Title: Permission To Kill
Author: Brian Wizard
Genre: Fiction, Historical
Reviewer: Bill McDonald

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0949702234

Permission to Kill, 4th Edition, is a fictionalized account of the author’s combat experience in Viet Nam, and stories told to him by other aviators, all combined to depict a fast moving, high-flying, front line defining life as a aerial combat soldier.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Wizard, Brian

What Am I Doing Here?

Title: What Am I Doing Here?
Author: Jim Kesey
Genre: Fiction, Historical
Reviewer: Bill McDonald

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

"What Am I Doing Here?" is a story that takes an otherwise terrifying event in American History that is familiar to all Veterans and brings it into a realm of understanding for the families of those who were there. Kesey weaves a suble but perfectly orchestrated humor through an environment of chaos.

Vietnam in early 1965 was just a place on a map. On a foggy morning of March 8th our reluctant hero, Marine Lt. Dusty Kohl, was shocked to find himself standing on a sandy beach north of Danang, Vietnam with a lei around his neck.

You are given a rare look into what it was like to spend a tour in Vietnam. You will follow Lt. Kohl's comedy of errors that brought him to that beach in Danang. You will see both the humor and the grim horror of war. This novel is not just a war story but a uniquely written insight into the life of a young Marine who finds himself in a situation where he has no control. As each day passes, time tests fate. Is Kohl going to make it home to his young wife and family? Does God have a plan or is it just dumb luck who lives and who dies? Or is there something else in store for Kohl? Survival means more than just staying alive.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Kesey, Jim

Angels in Vietnam: Women Who Served

Title: Angels in Vietnam: Women Who Served
Author: Jan Hornung
Genre:
Reviewer: Bill McDonald

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0595240909

Cry, laugh, and share womens Vietnam war experiences in their own words in this collection of stories, poems, and pictures of the Women Who Served. Over 11,000 women from America, New Zealand, and Australia went to Vietnam as nurses, American Red Cross workers, physical therapists, entertainers, librarians, and more. Ride along in a helicopter on a Christmas Day mission of the heart with Army pilots and American Red Cross Donut Dollies, in Vietnam, 1969. Meet Garys angel, a physical therapist who a wounded soldier found over three decades later to tell her, thank you. Take a trip back to the war with a woman when she finds her true love, a soldier fighting in Nam. Experience the war through a nurses eyes. Learn where the veterans are today. Read about the Australians and New Zealanders who served in Vietnam. Find out why male Vietnam veterans think the women who nursed, comforted, entertained, or just talked with them were Angels in Vietnam.Forward by David Hackworth, author of About Face and Steel My Soldiers Hearts.Jan Hornung is the author of This Is The Truth As Far As I Know, I Could Be Wrong and KISS the Sky: Helicopter Tales. www.geocities.com/vietnamfront

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Hornung, Jan

Saigon Party: And Other Vietnam War Short Stories, A

Title: A Saigon Party: And Other Vietnam War Short Stories
Author: Diana J. Dell
Genre: Fiction, Collection
Reviewer: Bill McDonald

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1893652904

After her brother Kenny was killed in the Mekong Delta, Diana Dell went to Vietnam with USO. Her short stories are not about battles, blood, gore, or angst. They are about participants of the war other than grunts: war profiteers, disc jockeys, rock stars, landladies, pedicab drivers, movie stars, pickpockets, beggars, journalists, celebrity tourists, and other REMFs. Irreverent, outrageous, cynical, satirical, intelligent, and insightful are a few of the words used to describe A Saigon Party (And Other Vietnam War Short Stories).

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Dell, Diana J.

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