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.

Thirty Days with My Father: Finding Peace from Wartime PTSD

Title: Thirty Days with My Father: Finding Peace from Wartime PTSD
Author: Christal Presley, Phd
Genre: Memoir
Reviewer: Cathryn J. Prince

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0757316468

A soldier's return home from war is often just the beginning of another, more internalized battle. In her memoir, Presley recounts 30 days of interviews with her Vietnam veteran father—conversations in which she attempts to understand her father, his PTSD, and her own lifetime of vicarious traumas. Each day is given a chapter, and each chapter concludes with a "Journal" entry that revisits Presley's tumultuous childhood memories. What emerges from this format is a harrowing portrait of the past's ability to haunt the present; Presley's descriptions of the troubled child she was blend all too easily into the confused and searching adult she becomes. In some cases, she is compelled to go to a Veterans Affairs hospital and even to Vietnam. The book's division into 30 days feels increasingly forced and fragmented with the passing of each chapter. Such a story is, by its very nature, fractured, and by the end of the book Presley's father is no less tormented than he was at Day One. Yet Presley has found stability in her father's story, and her willingness to share it—and her own revelations—will be appreciated by readers who deal with any form of wartime PTSD.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Presley Phd, Christal

Devil's Den, The

Title: The Devil's Den
Author: Don Helin
Genre: Thriller/Mystery
Reviewer: Terry Shoptaugh

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0938467557

Colonel Zack Kelly escorts Blake Lannigan to Gettysburg, and she disappears on the battlefield. Zack, who suffers from post traumatic stress disorder from his three tours in Afghanistan, has no memory of what happened although he believes he heard hoofbeats. He becomes the FBI's number one suspect. Zack's search for Blake takes him to Washington D.C. where a member of the Irish Mafia attempts to kill him; to Galway Ireland to determine why there's a contract on his life; then back to Washington to unravel a mysterious Irish connection.

In Zack's corner are Irish medium Shelia O'Donnell, and his partner on the President's National Security Advisor's Task Force, Lieutenant Colonel Rene Garcia.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Helin, Don

Waking Up in the Land of the Morning Calm

Title: Waking Up in the Land of the Morning Calm
Author: Jeffrey Miller
Genre: Creative Non-Fiction
Reviewer: Pat McGrath Avery

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1257851284

"How did you end up in Korea? " is a question that most people have asked when they learn that I have lived and worked in South Korea. "I turned left at Japan," I've often replied, tweaking a famous line from The Beatles' A Hard Day's Night when John Lennon was asked, "How did you find America? " upon which he replied, "Turned left at Greenland." Since 1990, Jeffrey Miller, who originally came to South Korea to teach English, has survived nuclear crises, met former U.S. Presidents, Yoko Ono, interviewed the current President of Korea, flown into Panmunjom with CNN and pushed 8G's in an F-16 in the skies over Korea.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Miller, Jeffrey

Peleliu File

Title; Peleliu File
Author: Dale A. Dye
Genre: Thriller/Mystery
Reviewer: Barbara Peacock

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0982167016

While searching for answers to World War II mysteries on the infamous island of Iwo Jima, retired Marine Gunner Shake Davis answers a call on his satellite phone. Not long after that he's back in the counter-terrorism game and immersed eyeball-deep in desperate attempts to prevent a unique and very deadly biological warfare attack.

His efforts to help thwart what could be a devastating threat to populations around the globe takes him on a whirlwind trek through the South Pacific with stops at some of the most familiar battlegrounds of the Second World War including the Philippines, Wake Island and Peleliu. His intimate knowledge of the history, people and places involved makes him an invaluable asset in a desperate chase across the vast reaches of the South Pacific. Along the way Shake teams up with new allies including U.S. Army Special Forces and a SEAL Team operating from one of the Navy's newest and most capable littoral combat ships.

He also reunites with familiar characters from his earlier sojourn in Southeast Asia in pursuit of the Laos File. Gunner Shake Davis USMC is back...and this time he's up against a ruthless enemy using science as a weapon and bound to let the evil genie of germ warfare out of the bottle. "As a Navy SEAL and combat veteran I participated in numerous highly sensitive operations around the world during my 24 years of military service.

The Peleliu File is a captivating journey into the dark world of International Terrorism and the brave people that confront the global threat. Dale Dye's masterful understanding of Transnational Terrorism, Weapons of Mass Destruction and Military Operations create an exciting and dynamic novel. " -- Rick Toms, Navy SEAL, LCDR (Ret)

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Dye, Dale A.

Tom Clancy Presents: Act of Valor

Title: Tom Clancy Presents: Act of Valor
Author: George Galdorisi and Dick Couch
Genre: Thriller/Mystery
Reviewer: Barbara Peacock

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): B006JSSFPE

Behind the secret missions. Beneath the official stories. Beyond the brotherhood…

The Navy SEALs have been fighting terrorists around the world for more than a decade. And for all that time, the Bandito Platoon from SEAL Team Seven have been on continuous combat rotation. Now they have drawn a shipboard assignment off Central America—an easy day.

But for a Navy SEAL, the only easy day was yesterday.

Act of Valor goes deep into the secret world of today’s most elite and highly trained group of warriors. When the rescue of a kidnapped CIA operative leads to the discovery of a deadly terrorist plot against the United States, a team of SEALs is dispatched on a worldwide manhunt. As the men of Bandito Platoon race to stop a coordinated attack that could kill and wound thousands of American civilians, they must balance their commitments to country, Team, and their families back home.

But each time they accomplish their mission, a new piece of intelligence reveals another shocking twist to the plot, which stretches from Chechnya to the Philippines and from the Ukraine to Somalia. The widening operation sends the SEALs across the globe as they track a terrorist ring to the U.S.-Mexico border—where they engage in an epic firefight with potentially unimaginable consequences for America…

In a powerful story of global anti-terrorism—inspired by real-life missions, Act of Valor combines stunning combat scenes, up-to-the minute battlefield technology, and heart-pumping emotion for the ultimate in action adventure.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Galdorisi, George
Couch, Dick

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