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.

Boys of Diamond Hill: The Lives and Civil War Letters of the Boyd Family of Abbeville County, South Carolina, The

Title: The Boys of Diamond Hill: The Lives and Civil War Letters of the Boyd Family of Abbeville County, South Carolina
Author: J. Keith Jones
Genre: Non-Fiction, History
Reviewer: Joyce Faulkner

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0786463333

In April 1861, brothers Daniel and Pressley Boyd left their farm in Abbeville County, South Carolina, to join the Confederate army. The Civil War soon swept their other brothers, William, Thomas and Andrew, as well as brother-in-law Fenton Hall into service. By the war's end, only Daniel survived. The extensive collection of letters the Boyds left behind, assembled for the first time, details their experiences across almost every theater of the war and offers commentary on many aspects of soldier life--from illness, death, and religion to friendly fire, desertion, and politics. Few families sacrificed as much to the Confederate cause as did the Boyds. Their letters remain a testament to their commitment and reveal the profound human impact of war.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Jones, J. Keith

101 All-Time Best Quotes About Finding Financial Success, The

Title: The 101 All-Time Best Quotes About Finding Financial Success
Author: Randall Filbert
Genre: Non-Fiction, How To, Inspirational
Reviewer: Joyce Faulkner

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): B004Z8S6WC

The 101 All-Time Best Quotes About Finding Financial Success is the quintessential "must have" pocket guide to remind yourself that, you too, can find financial success. This Book is full of fiscal wisdom from the mouths of geniuses who have managed to succinctly capture complex financial theories and ideas and condense them into modest expressions that have withstood the tests of time.

Perhaps the best known and most frequently quoted legend of fiscal prowess is Benjamin Franklin. He was a hard working and innovative man and was one of America's earliest rags-to-riches successes. It has been well documented that, while a man of great wealth, he lived well below his means and championed frugality. His work ethic and innovative spirit made Franklin a self-made man and he was quick to point out that "He that rises late, must trot all day, and shall scarce overtake his business at night, while laziness travels so slowly that poverty soon overtakes him."

You will find great wisdom and insight within these pages. If you can find a way to internalize some of these sayings, I implore you to do so. I have found inspiration in these quotes and I hope that you do as well!

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Filbert, Randall

Mitakuye Oyasin

Title: Mitakuye Oyasin
Author: Jim Greenwald
Genre: Poetry
Reviewer: W.H. McDonald Jr.

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1424138884

This book is a mix of love, loss, the past, respect and survival. This planet we live on (Mother Earth) is in peril, of this no one should have any doubts. The issue is awareness, and whether we are to be part of the problem or part of the solution. What we do now will determine not simply issues of quality of life, but of life itself. If we continue to poison the air, water and seas, this home of ours will die.

He drove to work sipping coffee from a styrofoam cup, and when he finished he pitched it to the side of the road; it is only one styrofoam cup after all. It is a shame we often think of individual instead of collective concerns. For on that morning he was joined by at least a million others with the same thought.

It is time we all hugged a tree!

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Greenwald, Jim

Ten Months in Iran

Title: Ten Months in Iran
Author: John F. Simpson
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir
Reviewer: Carmen Stenholm

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 097550990X

This is an account of the developments in Iran prior to the 1978 collapse of the Shah's government. It details the civil and political conditions that led to the collapse and subsequent anarchy. It answers to the question of why Iran is now our enemy when, at the time, it was our best friend and a stabilizing force in that area of the world.

He gives you an idea of what went wrong in our foreign policy that caused the loss of Iran to religious fanatics and he points a finger at the person responsible for losing Iran's friendship and support. He worked for Bell Helicopter in Isfahan, Iran as a cobra test pilot. The story begins with a vivid account of his final trip through the city of Isfahan amidst gunfights between soldiers and rioters. On his return home, the author was stunned to learn that many of the people he knew had been executed by the cleric dictator Ayatollah Khomeini.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Simpson, John F.

Spooks: They Strike from Beyond and Leave No Trace

Title: Spooks: They Strike from Beyond and Leave No Trace
Author: James P. Slusser, Sr.
Genre: Fiction, Historical
Reviewer: Bill McDonald

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0977143198

When Mary Ellen Winslow received her Master s degree in Nursing at Loyola of Chicago she never dreamed she d be using it in a helicopter over the jungles of Vietnam. But when her husband, a Korean War fighter ace, 16 years her senior, flew his plane into the side of a mountain rather than answer his Country's summons to return to service, and took one of his girlfriends with him, she somehow felt the only way to erase the shame and anger she felt was to serve in his place. This single-mindedness of purpose made Dusty , in her superiors opinions, the best field evacuation Nurse in Vietnam. It never seemed to matter to her how hot the LZ (landing zone) might be where she would have to go to pick up wounded soldiers or marines. They didn't realize that, as far as she was concerned, her life ended on that mountain when Jack slammed their Beechcraft into it. That was also the reason she showed absolutely no interest in the many young pilots, doctors, and other males that tried to attract her attention around the 125th Surgical Hospital at Da Nang; until, that is, Lieutenant Commander James Cooper came along. They say opposites attract. It must be true. Jim Cooper was the total antithesis of everything Dusty believed in. Her sole purpose for being in Vietnam was to save as many lives as she could. Jim Cooper was a Naval Intelligence Black Ops Spook whose sole purpose was to collect information about the enemy, and to do whatever he could to make as many Viet Cong and North Vietnamese die in the process as he possibly could. And if he wasn't t in Vietnam, he was in Europe, tracking down deserters from our own military with orders to retrieve or neutralize . He was a stone-cold killer and the more she tried to hate him the harder she fell in love with him. When he proposed and she accepted, the Military Hierarchy decided that it was not in the best interest of the war effort for them to marry and leave the military, so a Command conspiracy was formed that was designed to separate them forever. It almost succeeded. Spooks takes the reader through the horror of torn bodies on the battlefield to the intrigue of tracking defectors and spies through the streets of East Berlin. It clearly shows that all of the heroes of Vietnam weren't t big, tough guys with shaved heads, but a lot of them were little-bitty things with ponytails. But the main thing Spooks shows the reader is what it was really like for two people who met and fell in love in Hell.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Slusser, James P.

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