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.

Trail Cook

Title: Trail Cook
Author: David Michaelson
Genre: Historical Fiction
Reviewer, Betsy Beard

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0984842268

Young and penniless, Absalom Piddington journeys from England to America as a cook searching for adventure in the wild west of the 1870s.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Michaelson, David

CORPS VET: A Memoir

Title: CORPS VET: A Memoir
Genre: Memoir
Author: Dick Hrebic
Reviewer: Hodge Wood

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0981950582

"LOYALTY TO GOD, COUNTRY, AND CORPS" More than just a Marine's motto, Dick Hrebik takes these words to heart and lives the life he espouses. From the streets of Chicago to the jungles of Vietnam to law offices in Washington, D.C., Hrebik's moral compass and values guide him through the highs and lows of his life. Dick's courageous voice from the "Silent Generation," offers a unique insight into a Marine's mind, and how the lessons he was taught in the military carried forward into his life after his distinguished career in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Hrebik, Dick

A Passel of Hate

Title: A Passel of Hate
Author: Joe Epley
Genre: Historical Fiction
Reviewer: Edward Cox

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1461075939

Gripping, visceral, and full of intensity, A Passel of Hate is as historically fascinating as it is emotionally satisfying; capturing the heartache and triumphs of a war that brutally pits brother against brother, neighbor against neighbor in the western Carolina frontier in 1780. “The first link in a chain of evils…the loss of America” is how Sir Henry Clinton, Britain’s commander-in-chief in the Colonies, describes the decisive American victory at the battle of Kings Mountain. This fact-based novel brings the events leading to that battle into sharp focus through the highly personal experiences of families and individuals who shaped its outcome. Through the eyes of Jacob Godley, A Passel of Hate brings to life the hardships and challenges of frontier living where there is a constant threat from Indians, roving raiders and British invaders. Without government orders or formal training, mountain and piedmont patriots join together with their own weapons and horses to expel a British led Loyalist army that plunders the western Carolina countryside, delivering harsh retribution to those supporting rebellion. Jacob and his 15-year-old brother enter the savage fighting with the Liberty Men, but with a dread of having to face their three Loyalist brothers. The overwhelming victory at Kings Mountain is bittersweet for Jacob who suffers a crushing personal tragedy on the battlefield. In addition, his nemesis, the notorious Tory raider Rance Miller escapes, and Jacob, consumed by hatred, tracks the terrorist through the Carolina backcountry to seek the revenge he so desperately needs. A battle Thomas Jefferson called “the turn of the tide of success,” Kings Mountain has a devastating impact on the British Army’s goal of quashing the rebellion in the south. Brutal in its depiction of the harrowing nature of war and the price paid by our revolutionary ancestors, A Passel of Hate is a powder keg of highly charged personal feelings and military significance.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Epley, Joe

Tying Up Water and Other Stories

Title: Tying Up Water and Other Stories
Author: Ross H. MacKenzie
Genre: Short Story Collection
Reviewer: Rob Ballister

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): B007K1VMYU

A helicopter crash leaves Stuart adrift with unreliable memories, foggy recollections, and bittersweet realizations. Through this catastrophic experience, Stuart must rely on his strength, his family, and his faith to try and persevere. Sensual passion, exhilarating rock climbs, and tender hope for a legacy combine to define this remarkable story as not only a harrowing adventure, but also a touching love story.

The collection delivers other stories equally captivating in arenas varying from Australian rock climbing to high-sea Navy adventures. Ross H. Mackenzie is an award-winning author best known for his Patriot Kids children’s book series that positively impacts military families every day.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
MacKenzie, Ross H.

Changing the Rules of Engagement

Title: Changing the Rules of Engagement
Author: Martha LaGuardia-Kotite
Genre: Non-Fiction History
Reviewer: Betsy Beard

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 159797689X

Changing the Rules of Engagement documents the lives of American women who have shattered the glass ceiling and performed extraordinary feats while serving their country in the military. By telling their stories about their remarkable careers in traditionally male-dominated environments, Martha LaGuardia-Kotite demonstrates how tenacious and courageous women can achieve the unimaginable. Among the pioneering women profiled are Vivien Crea, who as vice commandant of the Coast Guard held the highest position of any woman in the history of the U.S. military; Tammy Duckworth, a Purple Heart recipient and triple amputee who was shot down in Iraq while piloting a helicopter; and Heather Wilson, an Air Force Academy graduate, Rhodes scholar, and the country’s only female veteran in Congress. Included are the inspirational stories of women Marines, one of the three female Space Shuttle commanders, and the first female members of the military service academies gender-integrated classes, who recall the highs and lows of their trailblazing experiences. These are only a few of the remarkable women who tell their own inspiring stories. Representative of a widely diverse group of enlisted women and officers from different races and cultures, they have succeeded since the mid-1970s at combating prejudices and aiding change in the military with intelligence, passion, and honor.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
LaGuaria-Kotite, Martha

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