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.

Cherries - A Vietnam War Novel

Title: Cherries - A Vietnam War Novel
Author: John Podlaski
Genre: Fiction, Historical
Reviewer: Rob Ballister

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1452879818

A book chronicling the experiences of eighteen year-old Army Infantry soldiers during their tour in the Vietnam War. During the draft years, scores of naive, frightened, and awed young soldiers arrived daily in Vietnam; they were immediately branded "Cherries" (slang for virgins) by their in-country peers. Thrust into an unpopular war, these new recruits had much to learn before being accepted and fully trusted by their brothers. These boys were forced to become men virtually overnight, learning the ropes quickly to make life or death decisions, while depending upon one another to survive. The first few months in country served as an intense learning experience where they saw, heard, and endured things never thought to be humanly possible - providing they lived that long.

There are 2.5 million existing stories from soldiers having served in Vietnam. Cherries is unique in that it is told from a "Cherry's" point of view. The story follows a group of teenaged soldiers throughout their transitions from Cherries to war-hardened veterans. Their experiences are at times educational, horrific, comical, and tragic, in their never-ending search for the enemy through the dark, wet, bug-infested jungles and mountains of South Vietnam.

Though Vietnam serves as the setting for Cherries, this story could take place during any war.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Podlaski, John

Argopelter: A Sergeant Sandy Coker Novel

Title: Argopelter: A Sergeant Sandy Coker Novel
Author: Ronald Smith
Genre: Fiction, Thriller
Reviewer: Hodge Wood

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1451227841

Air Force Sergeant Sandy Coker, now retired, finally joins his families billion dollar lumbering business as its new Director, and immediately hires old military comrades to fill key positions. Two of them assisted Coker in the dramatic rescue of his wife, kidnapped by a maniacal industrialist while stationed in England; the third saved his life in 1968 in the jungles of Vietnam.

On a routine company familiarization trip to one of its plants in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula forests, Coker and his friends finds themselves suddenly entangled in an eighty year old murder mystery which crosses borders and leads to a present day pattern of murder and violence.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Smith, Ronald

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