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.

My Daddy is a Marine

Title: My Daddy is a Marine
Author: Alia Reese
Genre: Children 12 and below
ISBN: 97809833107
Reviewer: Jim Greenwald

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 9780983313007

"American Hero Books: My Daddy is a Marine" helps the infant-preschool age child to understand and feel proud of Daddy's very important job AND helps to keep Daddy present in his/her mind while Daddy is away during training and deployment. Read, march, and bark along with our fun and simple descriptions and insert your own picture over those printed in the book to see Daddy at work as a United States Marine.

American Hero Books are for the infant to preschool age children of US Service members, law enforcement personnel, firefighters, and EMT/rescue personnel. This series is written and designed for infant through preschool age children. The books use age appropriate text, concept portrayal, and pictures. Each book is specific to a service branch and available in both a “Mommy” and “Daddy” version. Additionally American Hero Books are formatted to allow the reader to insert a photograph over each picture printed in the book, thereby creating a unique and personal product.

American Hero Books fulfill a dual purpose. They 1) give an age appropriate description of the service member’s job allowing the child to understand and feel proud of the parent, and 2) the “insert your own picture” format allows the child to hold the service member present in his/her mind which can alleviate some of the anxiety caused by separation due to training and deployment.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Reese, Alia

American Secret Pusher Fighters of WWII: XP-54, XP-55, and XP-56

Title: American Secret Pusher Fighters of WWII: XP-54, XP-55, and XP-56
Author: Gerald H. Balzer
Genre: Non-Fiction, Reference
Reviewer: Frank Evans

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1580071252

American Secret Pusher Fighters of World War II analyzes the state of military aircraft procurement just prior to the start of World War II. It provides insight into the difficulties encountered by America's air services in dealing with an isolationist Congress and a limited mindset in the Army, which was seemingly indifferent to the aeronautical progress being made in Europe by the British and Germans. The book then focuses on the three winners of the 1940 fighter competition - the Vultee XP-54, the Curtiss XP-55, and the Northrop XP-56. These radical designs ("Pusher" referred to having the engine in the back) used non-strategic materials and were developed in secret. At the time, the aerodynamics of these aircraft far outpaced engine development. In addition, this book details the technical difficulties of mating an advanced aircraft design with inadequate engine development.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Balzer, Gerald H.

Breaking Squelch : A Vietnam Introspective

Title: Breaking Squelch : A Vietnam Introspective
Author: Stephen D. Saunders
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir
Reviewer: Bill McDonald

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0963769723

Out of the mists of a war-ravaged jungle half the world - and half a lifetime - away, Steve Saunders finds the introspection to put his Vietnam experience at rest. Breaking Squelch is an epic tale of mortal combat, of privation and suffering, of the ultimate test of young men's valor and of their civility. At times, it's punctuated with their boyish antics.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Saunders, Stephen D.

Darkness into Light: A Post World War ll Sequel and Thriller

Title: Darkness into Light: A Post World War ll Sequel and Thriller
Author: Richard S. Baty
Genre: Fiction
Reviewer: Cox, Ed (2012)

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 9781462022144

Darkness into Light is the story of a world trying to find its bearings after the upheaval of World War II. It is also the story of a man and a woman trying to find each other in war-ravaged Europe. The two go to unimaginable extremes to fulfill their objective, including stints in the intelligence world. The result is a stunning and unimagined conclusion.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Baty, Richard, S

Devil In The North Woods

Title: Devil In The North Woods
Author: Walt Shiel
Genre: Fiction, Historical
Reviewer: Stephen Phillips

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0974655317

What would you do if a wildfire swept through your area without warning?

In October 1908, a wildfire swept through northeast Michigan and consumed 900 homes and two million acres of farms and forest. Despite the valiant efforts of the farmers, lumbermen, and shopkeepers, only Lake Huron could quench the flames. With no fire watch towers, spotting aircraft, telephones, or organized firefighting and only limited telegraph, warnings were too few and too late.

Devil in the North Woods accurately depicts the fire's genesis, growth, and aftermath. The story's real-life protagonist, 10-year-old Henry Hardies, survived the fire but family did not. Relying on Henry's personal recollections and author Walt Shiel's faithful recreation of time and place, the book vividly brings Henry's ordeal to life.

Devil in the North Woods contrasts the terror of nature's destruction with a chronicle of family, love, sorrow, and recovery. The story leaves the reader buoyed by faith in the resilience of the human spirit and belief in love's ability to germinate amid the ashes of ruin.

Includes a map and six historical photos.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Shiel, Walt